Power animals are easier to contact than ancient ones. Their voices are louder. They are easier to see. They will come and speak to you when you need them. The animals are helpers. Like ancient ones they are guides. They tell you what you need to know. They give you their immense energy. No shaman would ever go into sacred space without their animal helper.
Power animals can assist you in the waking state as well. Perhaps you are trying to teach someone a particular theme and they are having difficulty understanding. Power animals are not limited to mammals. The reptilian and insect kingdoms can be just as helpful.
- Ask Wolf for assistance; she is the great teacher.
- Remember the old adages: clever as a Fox, strong as an Ox, etc.
- Perhaps you need camouflage – then ask Brother Fox for assistance.
- If you seek wisdom, ask the Eagle.
- Lynx knows the art of keeping secrets.
- Swan guides one into dreamtime.
- Panther is a good protective animal, though she does have a sarcastic, laid back nature.
- Dragonfly tells us how to break through illusions and how to gain power through our dreams and goals. She teaches higher aspiration.
For a listing of animals and their qualities, you can visit these posts: Animal Symbols in Magick, Animal Symbols and Archetypes, Celtic and Druid Spirit Animals.
The energy of the animals, birds and other creatures that assist us should be honored. For too long, we have subjugated these creatures who are our equals in the system of the Universe. The act of honoring an animal is not an act of worship, but is the acknowledgment of their power and their being as brothers and sisters of the entire universe.
When honoring – leave a gift of some sort. The Native Americans leave tobacco as a gift, scattered on the ground. You could also burn incense in honor of the animal. You might also consider donating to The Nature Conservancy, World Wildlife Fund, or other organization committed to the preservation of our wild family.
Meditation To Meet Your Power Animal
This guided imagery is about meeting your power animal. Like the ancient ones, the power animals come from deep within the consciousness of our Earth Mother. Power animals are our deepest memories. We all share DNA with all the animals alive on earth. A lion has the same DNA as we do for many systems. We can, in our memories, see out of the lion’s eyes. We are them. They call to us deeply, loudly.
Read the following meditation a number of times, and then take the journey from memory. Alternatively, you could record it and play it back.
Close your eyes, take a couple of deep breaths, let your abdomen rise and fall. Allow yourself to become really relaxed. Think about a place, real or imagined, where you feel really safe, where you feel deeply connected with the earth.
Now put yourself on a path. Feel your feet touch the earth, smell the fresh air, feel the warm breeze on your face. Walk down the path. It goes downhill slightly. The ground is hard and has small stones in the soil. It is solid and secure. Feel the ground and the grass that is on each side of the path.
Walk down the path. It crosses a wooden bridge across a rushing stream. The bridge has stout railings. You can hear your feet echo on the bridge like a drumbeat as you walk across. If you need to drop something in the water that you want to get rid, of you can do that now.
The path now goes upwards slightly and comes over a rise. Below you is a large meadow. In the center of the meadow is a grassy circle. Sit in the circle and wait. Now ask for your power animal to come to you.
It might come from a distance or appear from nowhere. Whatever animal appears to you is your animal helper. It is your power animal. Allow the animal come towards you. Watch how it moves, listen to it speak.
You can stay in the meadow as long as you like to and feel connected to the earth. Your power animal is part of the earth. It has tendrils that reach deep into the earth, the sky, and you, and connect it all together. If you feel comfortable, you can invite your animal to come to you, touch you, even come into your body. You can merge with them and see out of their eyes.
When you feel complete, stand up and leave the meadow. The path goes out of the far side and you can walk down the path further. It leads to the edge of an ancient forest of old growth trees. Stand at the edge of the forest by a great ancient tree.
Find a tree that speaks to you and tells you to come to it. Now put your hand on the tree touch its rough back. Feel its warmth, it life. Now imagine that when you put your hand on the tree, you spiral deep into the spiral of your own being. You spiral deep inside yourself, into your heart. And inside your body, your heart opens with wings. A spirit eye opens within you and sees this experience.
Walk back to the meadow, then to the bridge, retrace your steps until you are back to where you started. Bring your spirit animal with you. Bring the connectedness with you. Now move your feet, your hands, your body. Look around. Your life has changed.
Source: The Powers That Be
Shamanism is a great mental and emotional adventure, one in which the patient as well as the shaman-healer are involved. Through his heroic journey and efforts, the shaman helps his patients transcend their normal, ordinary definition of reality, including the definition of themselves as ill.
The shaman shows his patients that they are not emotionally and spiritually alone in their struggles against illness and death. The shaman shares his special powers and convinces his patients, on a deep level of consciousness, that another human is willing to offer up his own self to help them. The shaman’s self-sacrifice calls forth a commensurate emotional commitment from his patients, a sense of obligation to struggle alongside the shaman to save one’s self. Caring and curing go hand and hand.
How is it learned?
Ultimately, shamanic knowledge can only be acquired through individual experience. You must learn the methods in order to utilize them, however. They can be learned in a variety of ways.
For example, among the Conibo of the Upper Amazon, “learning from the trees” is considered superior to learning from another shaman. In aboriginal Siberia, a death/rebirth experience was often a major source of shamanic knowledge.
In certain preliterate cultures, persons spontaneously answer the “call” of shamanism without any formal training, while in others they train under the guidance of a practicing shaman anywhere from a day to five years or more.
At what point are you a shaman?
That status can only be conferred on you by those you attempt to help in matters of power and healing. In other words, it is recognized success in shamanic work that determines whether you have indeed become a shaman.
~from Michael Harner’s The Way of the Shaman
You must learn to see. There is seeing the visible. Most people see only the physical world around them. But there is also seeing the invisible. There is emotion, spirit and mind. The whole circle of the Human Being is both these things ~ the visible and the invisible. Most people refuse to look at the whole Circle and see what is really there.
From: One is the Sun
If you come to me as a victim I will not support you.
But I will have the courage to walk with you through the pain that you are suffering.
I will put you in the fire. I will undress you, and I will sit you on the earth.
I will bathe you with herbs, I will purge you, and you will vomit the rage and the darkness inside you.
I will bang your body with good herbs, and I will put you to lay in the grass, face up to the sky.
Then I will blow your crown to clean the old memories that make you repeat the same behavior.
I will blow your forehead to scare away the thoughts that cloud your vision.
I will blow your throat to release the knot that won’t let you talk.
I will blow your heart to scare fear, so that it goes far away where it cannot find you.
I will blow your solar plexus to extinguish the fire of the hell you carry inside, and you will know peace.
I will blow with fire your belly to burn the attachments, and the love that was not.
I will blow away the lovers that left you, the children that never came.
I will blow your heart to make you warm, to rekindle your desire to feel, create and start again.
I will blow with force your vagina or your penis, to clean the sexual door to your soul.
I will blow away the garbage that you collected trying to love what did not want to be loved.
I will use the broom, and the sponge, and the rag, and safely clean all the bitterness inside you.
I will blow your hands to destroy the ties that prevent you from creating.
I will blow your feet to dust and erase the footprints memories, so you can never return to that bad place.
I will turn your body, so your face will kiss the earth.
I will blow your spine from the root to the neck to increase your strength and help you walk upright.
And I will let you rest.
After this you will cry, and after crying you will sleep.
And you will dream beautiful and meaningful dreams.
And when you wake up I will be waiting for you.
I will smile at you, and you will smile back.
I will offer you food that you will eat with pleasure, tasting life, and I will thank you.
Because what I am offering today, was offered to me before when darkness lived within me.
And after I was healed, I felt the darkness leaving, and I cried.
Then we will walk together, and I will show you my garden, and my plants, and I will take you to the fire again.
And we will talk together in a single voice with the blessing of the earth.
And we will shout to the forest the desires of your heart.
And the fire will listen and whisper the echo, and we will create hope together.
And the mountains will listen and whisper the echo, and we will create hope together.
And the wind will listen and whisper the echo, and we will create hope together.
And then we will bow before the fire, and we will call upon all the visible and invisible guardians.
And you will say thank you to all of them.
And you will say thank you to yourself.
And you will say thank you to yourself.
And you will say thank you to yourself.
Igluik, an Eskimo shaman describes his shamanic enlightenment:
“I endeavored to become a shaman by the help of others; but in this I did not succeed. I visited many famous shamans, and gave them great gifts… I sought solitude, and here I soon became very melancholy. I would sometimes fall to weeping, and feel unhappy without knowing why.
Then, for no reason, all would suddenly be changed, and I felt a great inexplicable joy, a joy so powerful that I could not restrain it, but had to break into song, a mighty song, with only room for the one word: joy. Joy! And I had to use the full strength of my voice. And then in the midst of such a fit of mysterious and overwhelming delight I became a shaman, not knowing myself how it came about. But I was a shaman.
I could see and hear in a totally different way. I had gained my quamanEq, my enlightenment, the shaman-light of brain and body, and this in such a manner that it was not only I who could see through the darkness of life but the same sight also shone out from me, imperceptible to human beings, but visible to all the spirits of earth and sky and sea, and these now came to me and became my helping spirits.”
~From The Way of the Shaman by Michael Harner
Some day, if you are lucky,
you’ll return from a thunderous journey
trailing snake scales, wing fragments
and the musk of Earth and moon.
Eyes will examine you for signs
of damage, or change
and you, too, will wonder
if your skin shows traces
of fur, or leaves,
if thrushes have built a nest
of your hair, if Andromeda
burns from your eyes.
Do not be surprised by prickly questions
from those who barely inhabit
their own fleeting lives, who barely taste
their own possibility, who barely dream.
If your hands are empty, treasureless,
if your toes have not grown claws,
if your obedient voice has not
become a wild cry, a howl,
you will reassure them. We warned you,
they might declare, there is nothing else,
no point, no meaning, no mystery at all,
just this frantic waiting to die.
And yet, they tremble, mute,
afraid you’ve returned without sweet
elixir for unspeakable thirst, without
a fluent dance or holy language.
~ Geneen Marie Haugen
The Shamanic journey starts when we begin to live what we have grasped of the Great Plan.
Where do we start? Physically from where we are, however tempting it may be to wait until “the conditions are right,” until we move to another place, until we get a new job, until we find more understanding, more congenial people, until… until…
The Grandfathers say, “Start now,” Now is all we have, all we shall ever have. Start now.”
Our journey is a resumption of the long way we have come, not a totally new start. Spiritually we start from that moment and that place where we decide to re-commit ourselves to the journey, to re-surrender our wills to the will of the Great Source, to enlist with finality in the Company of Light.
Sooner or later this great moment comes to us, but it must be with finality, total commitment, we must stick with it, or it will be only another half-hearted attempt to take a few hesitant steps on one of the ways leading to the Center, and away from it. We must go forward firmly. or we may find ourselves again in the “dark wood.” Each time this happens it gets harder to resume the journey, and whether we go on foot, or “over wonderful slippery water” in a Shadow Canoe, resumption of the journey is what our spirits crave.
Learning to listen means distinguishing real Vision from your own dream voices of fear and memory and desire. Belief in the inevitability of nuclear destruction is a dream of this type, felt by people who can sense that the world they have known is no longer working, but who have not turned far enough to seek a vision beyond war.
Even when you get beyond your fears, sometimes your expectations will get in the way. Somehow you expect your Vision to be spelled in lightning across the sky. But while you watch the sky, you may miss the tiny drama of butterfly upon leaf happening at your feet.
The Vision itself can come in many forms, through a clear visual impression or visitation of spirit, physical contact and communication from an animal, a song or a dream.
Very often in completely unexpected fashion, out of the darkness of a Vision Quest will come an awareness of a Guardian Spirit, a force or energy that provides a clear channel for greater wisdom. Many cultures have believed that such guardians, like saints or angels, protect and guide us even when we are unaware of them. Conscious acknowledgment of a Guardian Spirit offers the possibility of communication and a ready source of strength and counsel.
Awareness of the guardian could come when you see a hawk fly and are uplifted by a sense of strength and freedom, when an oak tree drops its leaves at your feet, when the Northern Lights dance overhead, when you hear words whispered by the wind. Or a guardian might communicate itself as an intellectual concept, a particular energy that is understood to be a source of strength and direction, such as innocence or bravery, or love.
From: A Voice From The Earth
Once you are alone upon the land there is no longer anything to do. But the process of being still may be the greatest challenge of the quest. Praying, chanting, singing and burning incense or kinnickinnic, a mixture of herbs and tobacco, are all ways of focusing into the present, of encouraging yourself to look within.
As you become more open to the spirit world and to your inner self, you may begin to look at yourself without the masks and self-deceptions that help you perform properly in the world. If you don’t define yourself by your work, your relationships or your reflections in other people’s eyes, not by how you dress, how you walk or how you speak, you may be surprised at what you see.
It may be uncomfortable and you may not recognize yourself without your masks, but if you sit still long enough, unmoving through all fear, boredom and cynicism, you might catch a glimpse of your real self coming out of hiding, cautiously, like some wild animal.
The process is simple, but powerful, if you can allow yourself to be alone for a few hours or a few days, to talk, and for once listen to all that you have to say, to cry and not be ashamed, to be cold, alone, hungry and afraid, but not to run away.
The Earth will listen to every word you say. After a while when you wonder why no one is answering, you might realize that you haven’t stopped talking. A hundred spirits of the Earth could be imparting their wisdom except that your own thoughts are so loud and incessant there isn’t silence enough for another sound to come. The reason you don’t hear anything is that you haven’t begun to listen.
From: A Voice From the Earth
The animal kingdom is very important to those who immerse themselves in shamanism and natural magick. Sometimes you may want to communicate with animals or simply see the world through their eyes. A simple technique for merging your mind with animals is as follows:
Center yourself by sitting or lying upon the ground, closing your eyes, and imagine a whirlpool of energy surrounding you, travelling in clockwise motion from your head down to your feet, back up to your head, and back down to your feet. Continue this imagery until you feel grounded and centered, oblivious to daily distractions and cares. Once centered, allow your mind to wander to the animal you wish to merge with. Don’t force the imagery, rather allow it to happen.
Picture the animal clearly in your mind. Watch it, empathize with it, feel yourself merging with it. Imagine what it is like to be the animal. Imagine the sights it sees, the smells it senses, the motivations and ways of thinking it may have. Become those thoughts. Merge with the animal by dissolving the distinctions that make it separate.
Once you have fully merged with the animal, you can communicate with it. Ask it what you want to know. Tell it what you want it to know
Source: The Powers That Be
- Khetani Machangana: Learn To See