Welcoming The Dawn Meditation

Welcoming The Dawn Meditation
In many spiritual traditions dawn–when the world is at its most peaceful–is regarded as an ideal time for meditation. Just before dawn go outside and find a place to sit and watch the sunrise. As the sun emerges above the horizon, fill your awareness with brightening hues of the sky and rejoice in the beauty of the new day. Feel the golden rays of the sun warm your face and allow hope to fill your heart and refresh your spirit. You have started the day well.
If the weather is poor or you are unable to get a clear view of the sunrise, visualize the dawn instead.

The Unnatural Positions Meditation

The Unnatural Positions Meditation

 

A sure way to relax your body is to have your arms and legs relaxed. If your extremities are tension-free, so will be your mind and emotions, and you will tend to become drowsy and sleepy. So, for example, when we are in a business meeting, we habitually sit in a way that we have become used to, and invariably soon have to fight the urge to fall asleep. Let’s do a demonstration. Right now, cross your legs the way you always do. You will have either your right leg over your left or vice versa. Or, you will have your right ankle over your left, or vice versa. Feels good, right? Now, interlace your fingers. Your right thumb will be over your left thumb, your right index finger over your left, and so on, or vice versa. Now just sit there for about 108 seconds and enjoy how relaxing your habitual posture is, and how comfortable it makes you feel.

Now, cross your legs and interlace your fingers the opposite way. So, if you usually have your right foot crossed over your left and have your left thumb over your right, now put your left foot over your right and interlace all your fingers starting with your right thumb over your left. Now sit there for about 108 seconds.

O.K. Fine, now you see. It is only a small change, just as a pea under a mattress is, but it is annoying enough to keep you awake. Now you can pay attention. You will not be able to fall asleep even if you want to. We are so habituated to our comfy conditioning manner of sitting that anything that is different makes a huge impression on us, overly annoying us and thus waking us up. So now you can pay attention to the boss, the teacher, the priest, or your mother-in-law, or whomever. But most importantly you can now pay attention to the present moment, and it is only in the present that your merging with the universe will take place. You must be present to receive this divine, truly royal present. This little change in physical discomfort can lead to your eternal spiritual comfort. Try it, be annoyed, wake up, and live happily ever after.

Meditation on the Pentacle and Earth

Meditation on the Pentacle and Earth

Into a dark world comes the dawn, the start of a new day coming from the East. The powers of Earth spring from the same source. Buds burst forth into new growth. Animals come out to look at the world as it blooms again and fill their bellies once more, the starvation and hunger of winter at an end. The Earth is our foundation and our stability as we learn to frolic and play.

The powers of Earth are vast and abundant. When she is angry, the ground shakes and trembles, warning us to change our actions and helping to shake us free from standing around and watching life pass us by. The gifts she gives are boundless.

If this element were to be placed on the face of a clock, following the path of the sun, it would be in the east, at dawn, when time is new and the earth is just beginning to burst forth with new life. It is a light, creative time that holds the promise of the day to come.

Similarly, the moon rises in the west, and if a witch wished to follow the lunar cycle, the element would be placed there. The new, waxing moon is a time of promise of things to come. It is a time of bringing things into being and manifesting growth into the world. This is the time of the Maiden, of the Huntress, those who hold the reins of creativity and inspiration.

The earth, for a witch, is symbolized by the pentacle. It may be as elaborate or as simple as is meaningful. Simple rocks have been used along with things as complex as sun catchers, crystal plates, and hand thrown pottery. It is the foundation to all a witch’s works and all her spells and magick. It helps to keep them stable and able to work their magick and let go of themselves into ecstatic states, knowing they will find their way back.

If a stone is to be used, the best kinds are ones that are found out on one of the walks or trips that the witch takes. Tumbled or polished ones will work, but they are somewhat distracting from the natural ties that the pentacle has to the earth at times. If you want a shiny one, purchase a small rock tumbler (Most are less than $20.00) and tumble the rocks that you find outside on your own. Granite also works well, if there is a source nearby, since it has both a rough surface and a glossy one.

Marble is another choice, if available, that is a good option if a fancier pentacle is desired. Since the pentacle represents the north and is the stability that a witch ties her spells to as she casts them, it is the anchor point for a circle. Make certain that your pentacle is sturdy enough to take the strain of these things before you acquire and consecrate it.

Meditation on Thinking and Believing

Meditation on Thinking and Believing

In a world as fast paced and technological as this, it is sometimes hard to come face to face with something that we do not understand. Even this book is a modern miracle. It was created on a PC, typeset on a different PC, send off to the publisher where it was loaded onto still other machinery, and copied at an incredible rate of speed. Someone created the cover picture and loaded it into a form that computerized machinery could use, and it was printed off nearly as fast.

Finally, the cover and the book were bound on still more machinery and the books were packed and placed onto a truck for delivery to your local bookstore. We exist outside of natural time. Instead of rising with the dawn and working until it is dark, we set our alarms to wake us, dash off to work, come home, and continue to work long into the night under the glaring false light of technology.

We can see tiny cells that are far to small to see with the naked eye, and fall victim to high tech crime and other problems. Every day brings new discoveries of still smaller and smaller particles and creations. We analyze everything until we understand it in the smallest detail possible. Why? So that we can think we understand it. We fool ourselves into believing that everything can be rationally explained.

But what about the things that we can’t explain? What about the things we can explain but that words just do not describe well? The birth of a child is a miracle in action. Through our research, we can describe what is physically happening throughout the entire development from fertilized egg to human. Yet, those same words cannot hope to ever express the miracle of two single cells coming together to create the marvelously complex beings that we call people. It cannot describe what a soul is or how it comes to be there. It cannot describe the bond that exists between mother and child, or the wonder in the eyes of that child as it learns about its new world.

Thinking and believing have a place in the world. We could not get along without it. However, it is far from sufficient to strive to explain everything there is through this process. Some things should be left as what they are. Miracles. Faith. Mysteries.

(Meditate on these ideas for several days in succession)

Meditation on Knowing and Faith

Meditation on Knowing and Faith

When a person is alone in the woods, lost, and faced with the decision of which way to go to get out of the woods with no information, how does he find his way out again? When a witch is faced with trying to figure out what is needed to heal someone or what is necessary to do a spell, how does she decide?

Deep inside of each witch is a spot that holds our Self. This Self can tell us many things, what ritual is right to do, which way to turn when lost, what herbs and oils are needed for the upcoming ritual. It holds many answers if a person can learn to listen to that quiet space. It is much like journeying to your own center and just sitting and listening to what comes.

Witches can find out things from other places as well. They are given answers by their spirit guides. Sometimes the answers just pop into their heads and they blink and wonder why they could not figure that out on their own. This is the essence of what knowing is. It is not worrying about where the answer came from or whether it is right, because the witch just knows that it is.

It is a difficult skill to learn, and an even more difficult one to accept. While you are learning, you will question whether or not the answers are coming from somewhere else or whether you are just making them up in your head. On occasion, no answer will come. How do you know that you are not deluding yourself? Essentially, you do not know this. As you work more with your skills, and as you learn more about the world around you and what your beliefs are, you will come to realize that it does not matter where it comes from. It doesn’t matter if it comes from deep in your subconscious and you are just playing games to get to where you can understand it or whether it comes from outside yourself entirely. When you feel that an answer is right, you can accept that you may never know where it came from and simply use it.

Throughout time, every religion has been asked to prove its beliefs. Solid, tangible proof has been demanded for everything from the existence of God to the ability of people to “just know” things. Oracles have been required to try to show how they are not really cheats and hustlers that have no special powers. Atheists, time and again, will try to prove that you are deluding yourself about the existence of higher powers and special abilities. Magick is not really, they will tell you, because there is no way to measure the results because they are so subjective.

There is no way to prove that God exists. This is proof, to someone with no faith, that there really is no God. By using a circular pattern of reasoning, they avoid having to think about things that confuse or disturb them. The things that cannot be measured are ignored.

Faith is the ability, like knowing, to believe in something while asking for no physical proof of its existence. It is the ability to suspend the reasoning mind for a while about something while leaving it active for everything else. Perhaps it is nothing more than the suspension of disbelief, and is not so strange after all.

It does not matter to someone who comes to you for healing whether it was the spell or ritual itself that heals them or whether it is their own faith and belief that it can heal them that brings about the state. The important thing is that they have been healed. We have faith that it was the magick that was done, but the truth of the matter is, it does not make a difference which it was that healed them.

The mind is a powerful tool that must be taught and shown how to work. Faith and belief are two ways of tricking it into working with little or no understanding of what is going on in reality. When you do a binding on a person and their behavior changed, has the magick worked? Maybe. If the person did not know what you were doing, behavior change might signal the existence of magick. Or, instead, it could simply be that the person has realized that what they were doing was wrong and changed their behavior. Does it matter which one it was? No. What matters is that the behavior changed.

We have faith that our magick works because we have no proof. We have faith that the Gods exist because we have no proof. What a boring world it would be if we needed proof for everything. There would be no little miracles or mysteries left for us.

(Meditate on these ideas for several consecutive days)

Meditation on the Law of Thelema

Meditation on the Law of Thelema

Wicca was started by Gerald Gardner sometime in the forties. His new religion was a mish-mash of philosophies ranging from traditional English folk religions, Ceremonial Magick, and the works of several fraternal organizations. He was also a follower of Alistaire Crowley’s work, and this had some degree of influence on the original ideals of Wicca. Crowley’s followers tended towards using the Law of Thelema as it became known. “Do what thou Wilt shall be the whole of the Law. Love is the Law. Love under Will.”

The Rede itself is an altered, and simplified, version of this Law. This can be taken literally, just as any rule or law can be when a person does not wish to think about the meaning of it or the spirit of the law. By examining the underlying meaning, however, a person is able to understand the morality that is attached to it.

The first part, “Do what thou Wilt shall be the whole of the Law” is often taken alone, without the remaining parts, in order to justify doing whatever a person wishes to do without thought of the effects it will have on others. When looked at closer, though, it becomes plain that this is not what the statement means. First, the capitalization alone tends to call attention to the important factors.

This emphasis on Will and Law are very important. The capitalization of Law makes one believe that there are absolute laws and rules guiding our lives and paths, and that breaking these laws is a “bad thing.” What might result from doing these bad things is left to the imagination of the practitioner. How, then, is a person supposed to know what the Laws are and how not to break them? This is done by living according to Will. Will, in this case, is not living by however you want to live. It is living by True Will, the path that is laid out before us at the time of our birth. By following Will, we stay on that path and do not stray from it.

Many traditions believe that a person can know their path and their true Will by listening to the Self, the soul, or to God. It is an intrinsic path that is a part of each person, if they can only find and listen to it. It will tell them the right thing to do and how to do it. The first part of the Law of Thelema, then, tells a person how to live. Follow your true path and only your true path.

The next part tells us what the Law itself is. “Love is the Law.” Love, here, is not passionate love, romantic love, or any of the things that humans think about when they think of love. Instead it is an expression of the Divine in a person and what holds the universe together. It is the ability to sacrifice for someone that is a stranger, and it is the love that the Gods have for everything around us. It is the Order of nature and the world that tames Chaos.

This force, though, has to have its own set of restraints, or it, too, would become Chaos in the end. This is the third part of the Law. “Love under Will.” This brings us full circle back to the self. Your true path can tell you what the loving action is that needs to be taken. Sometimes that means healing someone, and sometimes that means cutting them loose to drift until they find their own Will.

When the Rede is looked at in the same manner, remnants of the Law can be seen. “An it harm none, do what thou will.” Looking at the second part first, a faint echo of “Do what thou Wilt shall be the whole of the Law.” However, the emphasis on true will and what the Law is has been removed, leaving a person looking to the first half of the Rede for the way to apply it. “An it harm none” looks nothing like the last half of the Law.

A person is left looking at trying to define harm to understand how they are to live. Harmful is defined as causing or capable of causing harm, or injurious in the American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language. Under this definition can be found words such as: malevolent, churlish, bitchy, malicious, catty, spiteful, malignant, treacherous, merciless, vindictive, evil, wickedness, curse, scourge, poison, pest, shame, and abuse. Undoubtedly, these can be bad things, but they still do not tell a person how to apply the Rede. Harm is subjective to the person that is creating it and to the person that is receiving it.

This, then, is why so many people reject the Wiccan Rede in favor of other methods of living a moral life. There are times when being malevolent is what is called for by your Will. If you are following the true path that is yours, then doing such will bring you no harm. There are consequences to every action, including inaction. Examine those consequences in order to see if they are something that can be shouldered easily or if they will be a burden to great to bear before performing an action….in other words….think.

(Meditate on these ideas for several days)

Meditation on the Pentacle

Meditation on the Pentacle

Pick up your pentacle or a rock if you don’t have a pentacle, and see how it integrates itself into you. See how it balances who you are and what your strengths are. Find out for yourself how to draw the pentacle into balancing your weaknesses.

When you find your pentacle, take it to your private place. If you can take time to be outdoors with it, this is even better, but not necessary. Examine it in great detail, finding all its quirks and attributes. Look for tiny cracks and fissures that could widen or break your pentacle after heavy use. It is wise to check from time to time for these things even after you consecrated it. If you use it a great deal, eventually you will have to replace it, as the stresses on it eventually will damage it.

After you feel you can find nothing more out just by looking at it, hold it and get to know the feel of it. Is it heavy? Does it make you feel more within yourself when you hold it? Does it make you think of earth and growing things?

Hold the pentacle close to you so that you and it can begin to work closely together. Meditate with it and see if there is a difference in meditating with or without it. Notice if your circles are more stable with it. Take as much time and as many sessions as you need in order to be positive that this is the right thing for your pentacle.

Meditation on the Wand

Meditation on the Wand
Take your wand with you to your meditation time. See how it fits into all the things that you have found out about yourself and the element of Air. It is what balances out your weaknesses. Find out how the interaction of the wand and your own self create one unified whole to allow you to work with Air completely.
Once you have truly seen your wand, lift it up. Feel the weight of it and the balance of it. Hold it to you so that it can learn about you. Listen and see how it reacts, learn about its skills and knowledge. You will find that your wand, like all your tools, has its own personality and ideas. This is what you must learn to work with. Once you can, it will help you to bring what you wish into being as well as calling it down and directing it.

Meditation on the Wand and Air

Meditation on the Wand and Air
Think of a dark winter night, cold and harsh. This is the power of the North, of Air. It is the time of midnight, a dark so black that it is almost impossible to see. The wind is bitter and biting, desolate. The snow howls through the land echoing the call of the wolf as he hunts the stag. It is a time to be tested for survival to see how we will fare. Only the strong can survive it. Only those who plan can live through it.
This biting power can also sweep away stagnation and ready us for new things to come. It has the energy to sweep away stagnation and cobwebs. In the early spring, the wind howls just as strongly, but it brings with it the touch of new growth and the coming warmth.
Air is the thinking element, associated with the mind and with creativity. It brings us inspiration and new ideas. This element can help us to create innovative solutions to problems that have existed for many years.
Air is also a destructive force. Each thing in existence has a creative and destructive side. The destructive side of air is the storm, the tornado, the hurricane. It destroys what is not stable and supportive. It shakes up the existing arrangements of things. When one of these storms blows through, things die and make room for the new that will follow.
Both of these are the power of the Air and the North. It holds the power of tornados and the power of new growing things. As we look at the phases of the moon, at this time she is dark, hiding her face from all. It is a time for introspection and rest. Divination is a favored activity at this time as the Goddess rests.
The Wand is closely tied to the element of air. It is the tool that we call things into being with and the tool that we use to ask for blessings. It also has the characteristics of air, that being those of holding creativity and inspiration, thinking and planning, the ability to find new solutions.
Imagine the power of the wind. It can be soft and gentle, blowing across the land in a sun-warmed kiss of spring. It can also be the destructive force of the tornado and the hurricane. The wand, representative of the power of Air, the element of the wind, can be just such a tool. It is the tool representative of the powers of Air and of the North. It holds the power of survival and represents the ability to think and learn.
Wands can be anything that you choose. It can be a branch of hawthorn or a pewter wand with a crystal on the end. Of all the tools, the wand is often the most whimsical, reminding the witch that the religion is not all seriousness and formality. This is a tool of invoking and of calling something into your presence. It is something that you should feel comfortable with and should be non-threatening looking.

5-Minute Meditation: Light-Song

5-Minute Meditation: Light-Song – By Avalon De Witt

Sit quietly in a comfortable place with your eyes closed. Take a few deep breaths, in through your nose and out through your mouth. Listening to the rhythm of your breath, feel your body relaxing from the top of your head, all the way down to the tips of your toes…

Begin to form a vivid picture in your mind. See before you a large golden chalice, spilling over with a pale green light. The soft glow of this light is calming to look at and seems to emanate a sound like a thousand angels singing…

Let this light-born music become clearer and more vibrant. Notice how the light-song harmonizes with your heart beat. You can sense a healing power in the lilting melody that is already making you feel lighter…

Visualize yourself reaching out with your hands cupped together and dipping into the green light as though it were a pool of cool water…

Now ease your hands toward your your heart center and let the green light gently penetrate you there. Allow this gentle green light to expand in your heart and throughout your body filling you with immense joy, bringing a smile to your face…

Feel the song of this light dancing within you, moving through your bloodstream, washing away all your stresses and worries. Observe the way your body responds to the comforting, harmonious music freeing your mind, balancing you…

Spend as long as you like reveling in the relaxation of this tender light-song. Hear it flowing through you, cleansing you completely. Enjoy the feelings of peace and contentment, and remember that you can take in this beautiful light song any time you wish…

Gradually deepen your breath and return to the moment. Bring your attention back to the room. Gently move your fingers and toes and slowly open your eyes. This is a wonderful way to release anxiety and lift your spirits any time of day.

Receiving The Spirit Helper During The Vision Quest

Receiving The Spirit Helper During The Vision Quest
The spirit helper is usually received during the vision quest. Before initiates embark upon their ordeal, tribal elders and Medicine priests tutor them for many weeks on what to expect and what is expected of them. Most important, they are made to understand that while they are on their vision quest, they are to fast, exhaust their physical bodies, and pray to the Great Mystery at least three times a day, asking that their spirit guide appear to them.
One of my spiritual mentors, a man who was reared in the Winnebago tradition, told me that the shamans advised his group of supplicants that after a few days on the quest a forest creature would be likely to approach them, as if to offer itself as a guide. A friendly chipmunk might nudge against their legs; an inquisitive crow might land on their shoulders; an especially curious deer might come forward to sniff at their faces.
The initiates were forewarned by the tribal elders that the temptation to accept the first animal that approached as one’s spirit helper would be great; but if they were able to endure continued hunger and exposure, the Great Mystery would be certain to send them a more powerful spirit helper, one especially destined for the individual. The Medicine priest instructed the supplicants to thank each animal for its coming and to tell it of its beauty, strength, and intelligence, but to also inform it that they sought one even greater.
If one endured, according to some traditionalists, the true spirit helper would appear as if it were glowing, as though it were composed primarily of light.
As my mentor told me, “I don’t think there was any way that we could have fooled the tribal elders. They knew when we had a true and real experience.”
“One important thing we were taught: We must never call upon our guide until we had exhausted every bit of physical energy and mental resource possible. Then, after we had employed every last ounce of our own reserve, we might call upon our spirit helper and it would appear.”
Totems
The Transformative Power Of Your Personal Animal Totem
Brad Steiger
ISBN 0-06-251425-3

Ambassadors to the Animals

Ambassadors to the Animals:
What Pagans Need to Know About Spiritual Creatures and Human-Animal Relations
by R.J. Stewart
If you are involved in magical and spiritual work, you are already an ambassador for humanity. You are standing to plead on behalf of those humans who are unwittingly aggressive and destructive. You are declaring to the infinite range of living beings, phsyical and metaphysical, that not all humans are stampeding blindly to oblivion. Ready to join up? Do you want to know more?
We are doing more, I trust, hope, and invoke, than just dressing up in robes and going to Renaissance Faires. So this article is a call to arms…not the kind of arms that profit the cronies of government, but open arms that reach out and embrace our fellow creatures.
As responsible people of spirit and magic, one of our tasks must involve improving human relationships with the living creatures of our world. Without them we are nothing; we would have no basis for our manifest existence. Yet we have abused, ignored and plundered them for centuries. Only those with a talent and a discipline for spiritual magic can change this. Our bad relationship with these others orders of biological life epitomizes the human rage, anger, greed, and self-destruction that we must seek to transform.
The primal magical traditions, world-wide, all have methods for working with other orders of life, with spirit beings and living creatures (i.e. birds, animals, fishes, insects, and all orders of life that have a biological manifestation in form). In this context, the faery and UnderWorld traditions of Europe and the Mediterranean and North Africa, have much in common with the Native American and shamanistic traditions. These traditions, be they shamanistic or not, all share this perspective: Humans cannot survive alone, and must co-exist and cooperate with the other orders of life, rather than coerce and exploit them. Fortunately for us, there is much wisdom and learning available from ancestral traditions, if we are ready and willing to work and thoughfully adapt it for contemporary use. This article contains a few loose ideas on how we might proceed. It is not intended as a rigorous philosophical or procedural document…but as a few signposts on the Way Back Home.
Who Wants Toad?
One evening back in the mid-1990s, I met with a Lakota elder, Grandmother Kitty, who had a reputation for being strict and fierce. We did what all good people involved in magic and spirit do when they meet, which is to drink beer and crack jokes. Yet, there were serious things moving underneath our laughter and shared stories. Among the many things that we talked about was the current obsession with Power Animals, Totem Beasts, or, as I prefer to call them, Spiritual Creatures. Neither of us could understand why, at a time when biological species are dying out hourly, thousands of people seem perfectly willing to ignore the crisis, yet are willing to spend time and money to go to seminars and courses to find “power animals.” We noted and confirmed that in the Gaelic and Lakota traditions power animals are always associated with living organisms–and, equally importantly–are never symbolic.
As we talked, we confirmed that there were a few fundamental truths of working with Spiritual Creatures that we shared, but which seem to differ from the popular view.
“Everyone wants to have the wolf, the bear, the stag,” said Grandmother Kitty, “as if that gives them merit.”
“But what if the one that comes is the toad?” I replied, and she gave me a long hard look.
“Why would that be so?” she said at last, testing.
“My teachers told me that small is powerful, and that the ones that choose you, even if you dislike them, are the most powerful for you, no matter what you think you want.”
She nodded, and we drank our beer and sat in silence for a while, knowing that we were in agreement. She then changed the subject, whish is what you do after talking about something powerful. We came back to it later, sideways from time to time, which is often done in traditional cultures.
Three Truths About Spiritual Creatures
Here are a few of my conclusions from experience, most of which were discussed in that long evening with Grandmother Kitty. They are three typical problems about our revival of interest in power animals, or Spiritual Creatures.
1. “Power animals” are NOT possessions. How many times have you heard someone say “my power animals are…” and then a list? Such an attitude betrays a fundamental misunderstanding of such Creatures. They are powerful and independent living beings, who associate with us through choice, not on command. When I hear the words “animal helpers,” I burn with anger and chill with sorrow.
In traditional magic, one hardly ever speaks about non-physical allies. In some ways of working it is strictly forbidden to even mention them. That summer evening, when I intuitively mentioned Toad to Grandmother Kitty, it suddently occurred to me that this was one of the creatures that she worked with. But I knew better than to ask her outright–that would have been crassly insensitive.
2. Living Creatures are NOT symbols. The second great falsehood about these Creatures arises when they are regarded as “qualities” or “attributes” that the individual “needs,” in order “to develop.” Thus someone who wants strength “chooses” the ox, or who wants power “chooses” eagle. Attitudes like this reveal a sad truth: for many, “power animals” are only the symbols of egocentric fantasies of personal empowerment. It is shocking but true: exploitation has invaded the spirit realm as well as the physcial one.
Such attitudes of ownership and objectification are only marginally removed from the gross materialism and consensus culture, in which living beings are viewed as little more than products. Not only do global corporations now claim to patent genes and seeds, but humans claim to own the spirit power of the Living Creatures. Hubris might be an appropriate word, but it is far too lenient.
But maybe some of this widely published and practiced nonsense over power animals arises because we are so cut off and isolated from actual living creatures. In all ancestral wisdom traditions, without exception, the power animals are associated with, identical with, at one with, actual living creatures in the natural world. They are never symbolic.
3. Spiritual Creatures are NOT pets. If we work with traditional methods, we understand that the creatures choose us, even if we do not like them. There is no room for a romanticized self-identification; traditonally, a creature will work with you during a certain phase of your life, or for certain tasks. Then they, and you, move on. It is a working relationship, not a sentimental one, and has nothing at all in common with our relationship with companion animals.
Just as Grandmother Kitty was sceptical of people who “had” the wolf, the bear, the deer, I am tired of people who “have” dragons. Why does no one have Frog as their ally? Or Prairie Dog, Gerbil, or Snail? An infatuation with animals perceived to be cute and/or aggressive reveals much about the shallowness of these supposed relationships.
A good example of a more healthy attitude comes from a completely different tradition, that of the Hindu deity Ganesh. His power animal is the mouse or rat. A small, persistent, hungry rodent, the rat shows us how we should be hungry for wisdom, dig in hidden places, and endure against all odds. In ancient times, the rat was sacred to Apollo because of its UnderWorld attributes. Not Apollo in his chariot in the heavens, but Apollo in the UnderWorld, where the hidden Sun is found by secret ways. What better creature to lead to wisdom than the Mouse?
Solutions from Tradition
Very well, I hear you say, you have given us a list of problems to think over, but how about offering some solutions?
During thirty years and more of spiritual practice, I have found that most questions are answered simply within folkloric traditions. By this I mean the traditions handed down by our ancestors, grass roots traditions that have endured through centuries. I do NOT mean our revival traditions of Witchcraft and Paganism. Our revival traditions draw upon the folkloric ancestral traditions, but they also create new material that has yet to withstand the test of time, dream, and memory.
There are many practical examples from ancestral European sources which have parallels in many traditions worldwide. When I discussed some of these practices with Grandmother Kitty, we found a number of similarities between the Lakota practices and the ancient European. Not, I hasten to add, because they are all “shamanism” but because they all embody ways in which the various ancestors related to the living world around them. At this level, the older traditions share much in common. How could it be otherwise?
Really Want to Commune with Spiritual Creatures? Try This.
1. Open to Dreams. When you go to sleep, form an intention that when you awaken, you will be open to the presence of a spiritual creature or power animal. When you go out of your door at dawn, look up, then down, and then all around you. The fist living creature that you see is your spiritual creature. If this is a slug on your doorstep, so be it. Form a relationship with the first physical creature that you see, and develop it in dreams, visions, and meditations. This method was used extensively by the Scottish and Irish seers, and by the peoples, priests, and priestesses, of the ancient Mediterranean cultures. It forms, among other things, the spiritual basis of the ancient art of augury (not, I hasten to add, that you should sacrifice your slug upon a tiny altar and try to read its entrails).
2. Read Folk Tales. In many traditional tales of birds, beasts and fish there is great truth. In my book Celtic Myths, Celtic Legacy, I wrote about the Breton tale of N’oun D’oare, the Wise Fool. The Wise Fool is a boy who sets out on a mysterious quest to find a girl that he loves yet has never met. On the way, he saves a small bird, and then a small fish. Each little creature he saves, turns out to be the king or queen of the birds or the fishes, and each helps him in his quest. Eventually he progresses from these small, apparently insignificant beings to the many-horned Lord of the Animals, Griffescornu, who has a horn upon his head for each day of the year. But N’oun D’oare could not have come to the presence of this mighty power of nature, redolent of Pan or Cerne, without his foolish-wise love and care for the Living Creatures that helped him upon the way.
Please be aware that there is no sentiment in such stories: they are about mutual respect and cooperation. There is, however, deep wisdom for us in such stories, in our quest to improve our relationships with our fellow creatures, in a world that is under threat.
3. Become Aware of Birth–and Death. We are so cut off from these processes that many of our ideas of non-human beings and their lives are almost entirely idealized. Be aware that real living creatures die all the time, as do we; that they are reborn ceaselessly, as are we. You cannot work with power animals without working consciously with death. One of the great secrets of traditional magic is that the physical creature, your ally, has a spiritual presence in the world beyond death, in places where you, as a living human, may not go.
In your work with Spiritual Creatures, it is important to think long-term and ignore egocentric fantasies of self-development. That is not what working with Spiritual Creatures is about. Think of the living world, and of a long-term expanding relationship between humans and every other organic life form.
Ultimately we may become true beings, complete inhabitants of Earth, by building a Threefold Alliance. Two parts have been discussed herein: human and creature. The third part is, of course, faery. A complete being on Earth is a harmonious relationship between human, faery, and living creature. What are you waiting for? Your potential friends, mighty allies, mentors, companions, are out there. The slug on the porch, the mouse in the bushes. Oh, and, of course, the stag in the forest and the bear raiding the dumpster.
–R.J. Steward is a Scottish author, composer, and musician, living in Washington State. He has forty-two books published worldwide, and has composed and recorded for feature films, theater, and television. His latest book is The Well of Light, From Faery Healing to Earth Healing, which includes a CD of visualizations with original music. Incidentally, he is not the R.J. Stewart who produced Xena: Warrior Princess.

The Dugong – Animal Guides/Totem Animals

The Dugong

The dugong is a large marine mammal that spends its life in the sea. It inhabits shallow coastal waters from the Red Sea and Eastern Africa to the Philippines, New Guinea and Northern Australia. Although aquatic, it breathes air through lungs and gives birth underwater. Birthing a human child underwater has been investigated in our present society with good results. Because water symbolizes the emotions in man a human child born underwater has the opportunity to connect with their deepest emotions immediately upon birth. Scientists are finding that babies born underwater grow up to be healthier with a more balanced temperament.

Dugongs are slow moving giving them little protection from predators which include sharks, salt water crocodiles and killer whales. Those with this totem should study each predator to gain a deeper understanding of this medicine. Dugongs graze on green algae and marine grasses. A diet rich in chlorophyl will benefit those with this medicine.

The dugong lives in pairs or groups of up to 6 individuals. The number two in numerology represents conscious emotional interrelationships. The number six understands the energies of compromise which serve a broader interest. Both numbers symbolize the characteristics of the dugong. The study of even numbers can awaken deeper insights about this totem.

The dugong has a large tapered body. Its forelimbs are rounded flippers. It has no hind limbs. It moves in a forward motion and asks those with this totem to do the same. When it appears in a persons life it serves as a reminder to let go of procrastination and swim into the waters of new beginnings.

Ancient myths surround this creature. When resting, the dugong may “tail stand” in water of proper depth, keeping their heads out of the water. Sightings of dugongs by early seafarers are believed to have given rise to the extensive mythology of mermaids.

The dugong holds great symbolism and is a complex totem to understand completely. Because of this the dugong nudges us forward into a wide range of possibilities. It asks us to study symbols of different origins, compile the information acquired then grow into expanded consciousness. If your goal is to achieve wisdom the dugong will be happy to accommodate you.

Author Unknown

Deer – Animal Guides/Totem Animals

Deer
Among all Native American tribes who had contact with the deer, the graceful creature was considered a sacred totemic animal. The Medicine doctors of various tribes believed that the deer had a keen sense of determining which plants yielded the greatest curative powers, and a great deal of time was spent stalking the deer for its ostnesible knowledge of pharmacology as well as its flesh.
The Native American zodiac names deer people as those born from May 21 to June 21 and says that they are generally of a good disposition, but they sometimes appear to be creatures of perpetual motion.
In numerous cultures throughout Europe, Asia, and North America, the male deer, the stag, was regarded as a symbol of regeneration because of the way its antlers are renewed. In certain mystical traditions, the horned deer is also linked with the Tree of Life because of the similarity between its antlers and the branches of a tree. Consequently, the horn contained great magic, whether worn intact, broken in pieces, or ground into powder.
Very early in humankind’s religious observations, the stag became the Shamans’ Horned God, the sacrificial consort of such goddesses as the huntress Diana/Artemis. With the spread of Christianity across Europe, the Horned God easily became a representation of Satan; but in nearly as many instances, the stag was idealized as a symbol of Christ, for the deer, as did Jesus on the cross, gave its blood (flesh) for humankind. St. Withburga has the doe, the female deer, as her animal symbol.
If the deer has come to you as your totem animal or if you have felt drawn to the animal through a dream or a vision, your spirit self is now in the company of one who has long been cherished as an intermediary between the Great Mystery and humankind. With the deer as your totem, you will feel an acceleration of your powers of intuition. Many Shamans attribute the greatest psychic sensitivity to the Deer People.
With the deer as your spirit helper, you will find that you have and increased desire to spend more time in the Silence and in nature. You will also notice that your dreams have become more enriched. Among the lore of some native tribes is a regard for the deer as the Lord of the Dream. To focus on the deer before falling asleep, according to some, will bring prophetic dreams that may be shared for the good of your family and/or your community.
Dreams
If you continue to trust in the Great Mystery, good news and financial gain are on their way to you.
Totems
The Transformative Power Of Your Personal Animal Totem
Brad Steiger
ISBN 0-06-251425-3

Duck – Animal Guides/Totem Animals

Duck
The Native American tribes of the northeast admired the duck as a marvelously resilient individual. In tribute to the hardy fowl is the tale of Shingebliss, who dared to defy the very spirit of the north wind.
Shingebliss lived alone in his lodge, hardy and fearless. He would venture out on even the coldest days, find a hole in the ice, and dive into the water for his fish. In this way, he always had plenty to eat while others, less hardy, were nearly famished. While they sat in their lodges nearly starving because they did not dare brave the cold, Shingebliss could be seen returning home with strings of fist.
Kabibonokka, the spirit of the north wind, had watched the boldness of the little duck with growing annoyance. How dare the feathered fisher ignore even the most severe of his icy blasts? To teach the duck a lesson, Kabibonokka sent forth tenfold colder blasts and drifts of snow, so that it was nearly impossible for any creature to live in the open. But still, Shingebliss went about his daily fishing, seemingly unmindful of the terrible cold.
The spirit of the north wind decided to pay a visit to the duck in his lodge. There he found Shingebliss happily frying fish over his fire. Kabibonokka entered the lodge, anticipating that his very presence would turn the duck to ice. But Shingebliss merely built up the fire until Kabibonokka could no longer bear the heat and fled his lodge.
As Kabibonokka left the lodge, he heard the duck chanting: “Windy god, blow your coldest breeze / Shingebliss you cannot freeze. / Ho, for life! Ho, for bliss. / Who is so free as Shingebliss?”
At last the spirit of the north wind gave up. “He must be aided by some powerful manitou,” Kabibonokka said. “I can neither freeze nor starve him. I think he is a very wonderful being. I will let him alone.”
If the duck is your totem animal, be advised that just as the physical representation of its energy swims upon the water of lakes and ponds, so does the spirit representation of its energy swim and dive into the pool of creative energy hidden in your subconscious. The duck will also assist you in building emotional stability and will enable you to face daily challenges with a stronger emotional balance. Just as their physical counterparts bravely navigate through the stormy waters of their often hostile enviroment, so will the spirit essence of the duck help you to find your way through the sometimes rough emotional wave of your physical enviroment.
Interestingly, just as contemporary artists and storytellers have often depicted the duck as an amusing and daffy character, your spirit helper will also teach you to be able to laugh at yourself and to discover the strength in a good sense of humor.
Dreams
You may rely upon a friend whose faithfulness you had questioned.
Totems
The Transformative Power Of Your Personal Animal Totem
Brad Steiger
ISBN 0-06-251425-3

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The Duck

The duck is a short necked large billed waterfowl. The legs are placed rearward resulting in a waddling gait. They are swift fliers leaping upward on noisy wings before attaining level flight, usually in compact flocks. Ducks are hatched with a complete covering of down and can take to the water as soon as they leave the nest, usually within 24 to 48 hours.

Ducks are at home on the water. Since water is linked to the emotional rivers of mankind it reminds us to honor our deepest emotions and nourish ourselves adequately. Those with this totem have a tendency to look for emotional solace in others. Although emotional support from another is comforting, true emotional strength must be acquired within. Those with this medicine often have specific lessons to learn about balancing emotional discord. They, like the duckling, plunge into the waters depth at an early age to gain understanding about their inner chaos.

Past lives associated with low self esteem is often reflected in present day life for those with this medicine. They are highly emotional and sensitive to everything around them. Sensitivity can be an attribute if it is balanced with logic and reason. Otherwise it can cause chaos and confusion in our lives. Developing a stronger sense of self is part of the teaching duck holds.

Most ducks pair only for a season. Those with this totem often find that long term relationships are difficult to maintain and restlessness within the relationship is common. Learning how to take flight and spread ones wings without destroying the foundation of that relationship is one of their greatest challenges.

Ducks come in a variety of shades from iridescent to bold colors. It is important to understand the significance of this. Iridescent colors represent a fine line between reality and imagination. Bold colors are solid and hold the qualities of strength and perseverance. If your personal duck has iridescent colors examine your emotions carefully. Are you getting lost in the imaginative side of self and creating more chaos than necessary? If strong and bold it is time to take charge of your life and become the master of your emotions.

Affectionate and community oriented duck medicine people love and are loved deeply. They often feel a great need to be of service and make excellent healers. Because the coloring of ones personal duck is symbolic, healing with color can be beneficial.

Ducks are graceful as they glide through the water reminding us to be gentle with ourselves as we heal, learn and grow into our perfected self.

Author Unknown