What is an Animal Familiar?

What is an Animal Familiar?

By , About.com

In some traditions of modern Wicca and Paganism, the concept of an animal familiar is incorporated into practice. Today, a familiar is often defined as an animal with whom we have a magical connection, but in truth, the concept is a bit more complex than this.

History of the Familiar

During the days of the European witch hunts, familiars were “said to be given to witches by the devil,” according to Rosemary Guiley’s Encyclopedia of Witches and Witchcraft. They were, in essence, small demons which could be sent out to do a witch’s bidding. Although cats — especially black ones — were the favored vessel for such a demon to inhabit, dogs, toads, and other small animals were sometimes used.

In some Scandinavian countries, familiars were associated with spirits of the land and nature. Fairies, dwarves, and other elemental beings were believed to inhabit the physical bodies of animals. Once the Christian church came along, this practice went underground — because any spirit other than an angel must be a demon. During the witch-hunt era, many domestic animals were killed because of their association with known witches and heretics.

During the Salem witch trials, there is little account of the practice of animal familiars, although one man was charged with encouraging a dog to attack by way of magical means. The dog, interestingly enough, was tried, convicted, and hanged.

In shamanistic practices, the animal familiar is not a physical being at all, but a thought-form or spiritual entity. It often travels astrally, or serves as a magical guardian against those who might try to psychically attack the shaman.

Today, many Wiccans and Pagans have an animal companion that they consider their familiar – and most people no longer believe that these are spirits or demons inhabiting an animal. Instead, they have an emotional and psychic bond with the cat, dog, or whatever, who is attuned to the powers of its human partner.

Finding a Familiar

Not everyone has, needs, or even wants a familiar. If you have an animal companion as a pet, such as a cat or dog, try working on strengthening your psychic connection with that animal. Books such as Ted Andrews’ Animal Speak contain some excellent pointers on how to do this.

If an animal has appeared in your life unexpectedly — such as a stray cat that appears regularly, for instance — it’s possible that it may have been drawn to you psychically. However, be sure to rule out mundane reasons for its appearance first. If you’re leaving out food for the local feral kitties, that’s a far more logical explanation. Likewise, if you see a sudden influx of birds, consider the season — is the ground thawing, making food more available?

If you’d like to draw a familiar to you, some traditions believe you can do this by meditation. Find a quiet place to sit undisturbed, and allow your mind to wander. As you journey, you may encounter various people or objects. Focus your intent on meeting an animal companion, and see if you come into contact with any.

In addition to familiars, some people do magical work with what’s called a power animal or a spirit animal. A power animal is a spiritual guardian that some people connect with. However, much like other spiritual entities, there’s no rule or guideline that says you must have one. If you happen to connect with an animal entity while meditating or performing astral travel, then that may be your power animal or it may just be curious about what you’re up to.

Power Animal: Butterfly

BUTTERFLY BUTTERFLY’s medicine includes joy, transformation, courage.

“BUTTERFLY, REVEAL MY INNER BEAUTY.

GUIDE ME IN THE TRANSFORMATION OF MY SOUL.

WITH MY NEW WINGS, I RISE ABOVE THE CLOUDS.”

Butterfly is a magical animal. She represents change more so then any other power animal. She was a symbol of the soul in earlier times. The Greek work “psyche” meant both “soul” and “butterfly”. It was believed that when a person died, their soul became a butterfly.

A butterfly person loves to dance. The dance of Butterfly is full of bliss, joy and power. Butterfly will come to you at a point in your life when you are undergoing a change which requires courage. You are coming out of your cocoon, and that takes a lot of bravery, going to face something you have never faced before. When Butterfly comes to you, examine what changes you are going through.

Butterfly gives you the chance to make your transformation a beautiful experience. Once transformation is complete, your possibilities will have greatly expanded. Nothing can stop you as long as you use your wonderful new wings and fly.

Daily Feng Shui News for Jan. 20th – ‘Penguin Awareness Day’

It’s ‘Penguin Awareness Day’ and I thought I might fill you in on the lore involving having a penguin as your power animal or totem. Should you adopt a penguin as your power animal, expect a two-month period in which you will nurture, protect and then hatch creative energies that will propel you up the ladder of success. This information is ages-old and in black and white, so if you want to stir up some creative opportunities, then put an image of a penguin in the ‘Creativity’ area of your living space (middle of right-hand wall) and watch how things start to go swimmingly for you.

By Ellen Whitehurst for Astrology.com

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Meeting Your Power Animal

Meeting Your Power Animal

Totem animals represents great spirit or that which they need to survive. We all have power animals which can be accessed by meditation. Below are a list of animals and their symbology.

Ant: group mind, patience, action

Antelope: action, agility and sacrifice

Armadillo: safety, boundaries, medicine shield

Bat: rebirth, secrets and initiation

Bear: power, healing

Bears hibernate in the winter, which may explain their association with “dreaming the Great Spirit” or  retrospection. The symbolism of the Bear’s cave reflects returning to the womb of Mother Earth. [A Cave is an archetype for the mind – sleep – returning to higher consciousness.] This also suggests a strong feminine aspect, one of nurturing and protection. Bear cubs, born in the early spring, can spend as many as seven  years with their mother before reaching maturity.  People with Bear Medicine are considered by many as self-sufficient, and would rather stand on their own two  feet than rely on others. They are often considered dreamers. Many have developed the skill of visualizing new things, but as a result can get caught up in the dreaming, making little progress in waking reality.  Bear’s medicine includes introspection, healing, solitude, wisdom, change, communication with Spirit, death and  rebirth, transformation, astral travel, creature of dreams, shamans and mystics.

Bearpaw: power and direction

Beaver: builder, protector

Boar: is one of the most important totem animals of the Gaelic Celts:  the South and the element of Fire: The life giving power of the sun

Buffalo: sacredness, life, abundance

Buffalo is considered by many tribes as a symbol of abundance: its meat fed the people, skins were used for clothing and covering, bones and sinew were crafted as survival tools, hooves were converted into glue. According to Lakota tradition, White Buffalo Calf Woman gave them the Sacred Pipe, promising abundance as long as they prayed to the Great Spirit and honored All Their Relations, that is, all other creations of nature.  Buffalo’s Medicine symbolizes an honor, reverence or special love for all the things that Mother Earth offers her children. It is also knowing that abundance is present when all relations are honored as sacred, and when gratitude is expressed to every living part of Creation.  Buffalo signals a moment to reconnect with the meaning of life and the value of peace, to praise the gifts you already have, and to recognize and honor the sacredness in all paths, though they may be different than yours.

Butterfly: metamorphosis and transformation

Scientific research has shown that the butterfly is the only living being capable of changing entirely its genetic structure during the process of transformation: the caterpillar’s DNA is totally different from the butterfly’s. Thus, it is the symbol of total transformation.  Butterfly represents a need for change and greater freedom, and at the same time it represents courage: one requires courage to carry out the changes necessary in the process of growth. Its Medicine is related to the air and the mental powers. It teaches us to find clarity in the mental processes, to organize projects or to figure out the next step in our internal growth.  If Butterfly is your Power Animal or if you feel in any way attracted to it, this means you are ready to undergo some kind of transformation. Examine which stage calls your attention the most: the egg is the beginning, the birth of some project or idea. The larva is de decision to manifest something in the physical world. The cocoon has to do with “going inside”, either through insight or the development of the project or idea. The breaking of the cocoon deals with sharing the splendor of your creation with the whole world. Once you understand the stage you are on, you can discover which is the next step.

Cat: Independence

In Egypt cats were always given special privileges and were treated like royalty. In Scandinavia the cat stood for fertility, and in India it is a symbol of childbirth. In ancient times it was believed that witches took the form of their cats at night. Cats are fiercely independent. You can never own one: it allows you to take care of it and love it, but only on its terms. They come and go as they please, when they please.  Cat’s medicine is independence, curiosity, many lives, cleverness, unpredictability, healing, the ability to fight when cornered, seeing the unseen, and protection. He also represents love and can assist us in meditation.  If Cat is your Power Animal, then you have magic and mystery in your life. You are independent and a free thinker. You probably feel energized at night. You will stay with a person or situation until it bores you, and then you’re gone. You have a great talent for organizing things.

Coyote: the trickster, devilment

Crane: solitude and independence

Crow: law, shape shifting, change

Deer: gentleness, caring and kindness

Deer blend very well with their environment but are very sensitive to every sound or movement. Often twins, even triplets, are born in the spring. Does and bucks live in separate groups until the mating season. The white-tailed deer are moderately gregarious, and family members forage food together along with other family groups, giving the appearance of a large herd. People with Deer Medicine are often described as being swift and alert. They are intuitive, often appearing to have well developed, even extrasensory perceptions. Sometimes their thoughts seem to race ahead, and they appear not to be listening. Deer’s medicine includes gentleness in word, thought and touch, ability to listen, grace and appreciation for the beauty of balance, understanding of what’s necessary for survival, power of gratitude and giving, ability to sacrifice for the higher good, connection to the woodland spirits, alternative paths to a goal. The gentleness of Deer is the heart-space of the Great Spirit which embodies His love for us all. Deer teaches us to find the gentleness of spirit that heals all wounds, to stop pushing to get others to change and to love and accept them as they are. The only true balance to power is love and compassion.

Dog: noble, loyal, teaching

Dog was the servant/soldier that guarded the tribe’s dwellings and protected them from surprise attacks. Dog helped during the huntingÕs and provided warmth in winter. It is a symbol of loyalty, unconditional love, protection and service. Its Medicine incorporates the loving kindness of the best friend and the protective energy of the guardian.  If your Power Animal is Dog, your devotion towards your family and friends is infinite. You get great satisfaction from rendering service to others, offering your hand to a friend in need. A kind word, a caress, an act of kindness mean much more to you than material things. However, there is a risk of coming too close to the other side: allowing people to take advantage of you because of your gentle nature.  Dog reminds you that your loyalty should always be to yourself, to your own truth. He reminds you that by respecting and valuing yourself you can truly render a service to those who honor what you can give them.

Dolphin: kindness and play energy

The beautiful, graceful, sleek dolphin carries many messages for the two-legged. Even though it is a mammal, its home is the sea and has mastered the art of breath control. Since water is the symbol of all life – of creation, passion and even sexuality – dolphin brings us teachings from the waters of life.  Playful creatures, dolphins have long entertained man with their joyful antics. Studying dolphin communication has proved to be an awesome task for man. As in all animals, dolphins have developed sophisticated auditory signals that warn others of impending danger. Some believe that these animals are now warning man of impending danger as he ignores the balance of the natural world. Swimming with the dolphins has become a powerful experience for many people, and as they interact with these playful creatures, they cannot help but feel their communication.

Dolphin reminds us that time to play is a crucial element to walk in balance. It moves through the water quickly and with great grace. Dolphin tells us to move with the ebb and flow of life, and not to search for brick walls to smash into, for to spend our energy fighting the current gets us nowhere.  Dolphin medicine includes change, wisdom, balance, harmony, communication skills, freedom, trust, understanding the power of rhythm in your life, use of breath to release intense emotions, water power.

Dragon: longevity, infinity, wisdom, movement through space

Dragonfly: Illusion – Transcendence

Eagle: divine Spirit and connection to creator

Eagle feathers are used all over the world as ceremonial instruments and are considered to be the most sacred healing tools. They are a symbol of power, healing and wisdom. Eagle represents a state of grace that is reached through inner work, understanding and passing the initiation tests that result from reclaiming our personal power. Eagle Medicine is the Power of the Great Spirit. It is the spirit of tenacity. It is the gift of clear vision with which one can truly see the things one sees. It is the patience to wait for the appropriate moment. It is to live in balance with heaven and Earth. Eagle reminds you of your connection with the Great Spirit. It tells you that the universe is giving you the opportunity to fly above your life’s worldly levels, or above the shadow of past realities. Eagle teaches you to look above in order to touch Grandfather Sun with your heart, to love the Shadow as much as the Light. Eagle asks you to grant yourself permission to be free in order to reach the joy that your heart desires.

Elk: strength and agility

Fox: cunning, agility, quick-witted

Frog: water energy

Hawk: messenger, intuition, discernment

Horse: stamina, mobility

The horse shows up in almost every mythological writing, folklore, and reality. There is the mighty winged Pegasus, the eight-legged horse of the Norse god Odin, the stallions of the Hindu sun god, the stallions of Apollo, and so on. Many legends speak of the horse as being clairvoyant and able to perceive humans with magical powers. No single animal has given man the physical freedom of movement as the horse. If you are drawn to Horse, you feel a power in your spirit that is sometimes difficult to control. Horse is a symbol of loyalty and devotion, of unquestioning love and faith in his master. He says that you love to travel, and have more than a touch of gypsy in your soul. Horse is also your warrior spirit – the brave fighter who brings you safety in your journeys, both physical and metaphysical. Horse’s medicine includes power, stamina, endurance, faithfulness, freedom to run free, control of the environment, awareness of power achieved with true cooperation, interspecies communication, expanding one’s own potential abilities, friendship and cooperation, travel, astral travel, guardian of travelers, warns of possible danger, guide to overcoming obstacles.

Hummingbird: messenger, timelessness

Hummingbird – the tiniest of all birds – brings special messages for us. It is the only creature that can stop dead while traveling at full speed. It can hover, or can go forward, backward, up or down. It lives on nectar and searches for the sweetness of life. Its long tongue lets it bypass the often tough and bitter outer layer to find the hidden treasures underneath. Hummingbird is loved by the flowers and plants, for as it sucks the nectar from the flower, the plant reproduces and more of its kind are created. In many traditions, Hummingbird feathers have been prized for their almost magical qualities. It is said that Hummingbird brings love as no other medicine can, and its presence brings joy to the observer.

If you have Hummingbird medicine, you adapt easily to whatever situation you may find yourself in, and make the most of your new circumstances. You don’t waste time looking back and wishing for “what was” for you are concerned with making the most of “what is”. Also, you could never become addicted to any artificial stimulants, for you find joy in your own heart. You take great pleasure in spreading joy and love and beauty to all around you, and have the gift of taking that inner joy into new and different surroundings. You have a talent for finding the good in people, and are not put off by a gruff or abrupt exterior, for you know that, if you can only get beyond that tough outside layer, you’ll find goodness and beauty inside. You may have a gift for working with flowers, maybe growing them to share with others, or using flower essences for healing. Aroma therapy may be your calling.  You have high energy and a spirit that must be free. To restrict that wonderful, free, loving energy is to suffer great depressions and feelings of uselessness. Hummingbird must fly free in search of beauty, spreading joy and love to all it touches.

Kokopelli: fertility, music and joy

Lion: Power of feminine energy

The female hunts and kills prey, feeds the group and takes care of the young. She is the nurturing force in all senses. The male roars to frighten prey and force them toward the lioness, who waits patiently for the right moment to attack. Although the male is the group’s protector, he doesn’t look for confrontation nor attacks needlessly. He only acts when challenged and will fight to death in order to protect, but in reality he prefers the easy, peaceful life.  Lion’s Medicine teaches us the magic of group interaction, of group energy. It also teaches us the secrets of silence and patience. Patience is to pay attention to detail. Lion suggests that we examine ourselves closely in order to understand our strengths and weaknesses, and to wait for the proper moment to act and take full advantage of a given situation.  Learn from Lion the proper way to use power and strength. Stay calm and still, sure of your power. But if necessary, don’t hesitate to fight for the things you are interested in.

Lizard: conservation

Lynx: keeper of secrets, guardian and guide

Moose: headstrong, longevity, steadfastness

Mountain lion: courage, leadership and foresight

Mouse: scrutiny, order, organizer

Opossum: diversion, strategist, deceiver

Otter: playful, prognostication, woman medicine

Owl: deception, clairvoyance, insight (the night eagle)

Owls come in all sizes, from a tiny miniature that actually lives inside the cactus in the desert, to the great horned owl, which is the only bird that can out fly the golden eagle. A fully grown great horned is an awe inspiring creature. Its talons are furry, and closely resemble the paws of a baby mountain lion with claws extended. It is a meat eater, which means it can be a fierce warrior if challenged, or if something dear to it is threatened. It is often referred to as Night Eagle.  Owl is at home in the night. It has great awareness of all that is around it at all times. It has predator vision, which means it sees clearly what it looks at. It has great intuition: it is the totem of psychics and clairvoyants. It has the courage to follow its instincts.  Owl’s medicine includes seeing behind masks, silent and swift movement, keen sight, messenger of secrets and omens, shape-shifting, link between the dark, unseen world and the world of light, comfort with shadow self, moon power, freedom.

Porcupine: innocence, companionship, trust

Rabbit: fear, timidity, nervousness, humility

Rabbit’s medicine includes moving through fear, living by one’s own wits, receiving hidden teachings and intuitive messages, quick thinking, strengthening intuition, and paradox. Rabbit also represents humility, because he is quiet and soft and not self-asserting.  Rabbit reminds us not to be afraid. Fearful thoughts reproduce (like rabbits) and bring the very thing we fear. Rabbit people are so afraid of tragedy, illness, and disaster, that they call those very fears to them to teach them lessons.  If you see Rabbit or in any way feel attracted to him, it may be telling you to wait for the forces of the universe to start moving again, to stop worrying and to get rid of your fears. It always indicates a need to re-evaluate the process you are undergoing, to rid yourself of any negative feelings or barriers, and to be more humble.

Raven: introspection, courage, self-knowledge

Seahorse: confidence and grace

Shark: hunter, survival, adaptability

Skunk: reputation, presence, strength

Snake: shrewdness, rebirth

Spider: Creatrix, web spinner

Squirrel: planner, gatherer

Swan: grace, balance and innocence

Turkey: generosity, life-giver, sharer

Turtle: nurturer, protector, mother energy

Many Natives refer to North America as Turtle Island, because their legends say that when the earth was covered with water, Turtle dove to the bottom of the oceans bringing up earth on its back so that the people could have a safe and dry home. Turtle is at home anywhere because it carries its home on its back. It does not become attached to places, for it is free to search for new opportunities wherever they may be found. When they sense danger, or are in uncomfortable and insecure settings, they withdraw into their shell, and are protected.  If you have Turtle medicine, you value both the power of the earth, the waters of the earth, and the magic of the heavens, for Turtle symbolizes both the grounding quality of earth energy, and the magic of the mystical. Using Turtle energy can help you achieve real balance in your life and your spirit so that you don’t get “stuck in the mud”.  Turtle’s medicine includes a connection with the center, navigation skills, patience, self-boundaries, associated with the feminine, power to heal female diseases, respecting the boundaries of others, developing new ideas, psychically protecting oneself, self-reliance, tenacity, non-violent defense.

Whale: wisdom, provider

Weasel: (ferret) strength, energy, ingenuity and stealth

Wolf: loyalty, perseverance, success

Wolves have been long regarded by Native Americans as teachers or pathfinders. Wolves are fiercely loyal to their mates, and have a strong sense of family while maintaining individualism. In the stars, Wolf is represented by the Dog, Sirius, thought by many aboriginal tribes to be the home of the Ancients.  Wolves are probably the most misunderstood of wild animals. Tales of cold-bloodedness abound, in spite of their friendly, social and intelligent traits. They are truly free spirits, even though their packs are highly organized. They seem to go out of their way to avoid a fight. One is rarely necessary when a shift in posture, a growl, or a glance gets the point across quite readily.  Traditionally, someone with Wolf Medicine has a strong sense of self, and communicates well through subtle changes in voice inflection and body movements. They often find new solutions to problems while providing stability and support that one normally associates with a family structure.

Wolf’s medicine includes facing the end of one’s cycle with dignity and courage, death and rebirth, Spirit teaching, guidance in dreams and meditations, instinct linked with intelligence, social and family values, outwitting  enemies, ability to pass unseen, steadfastness, skill in protection of self and family, taking advantage of change.

Source:
Crystalinks

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Power Animals

Power Animals

A power animal, is a broadly animistic and shamanic concept that has entered the English language from Anthropology, Ethnography and Sociology. A tutelary spirit guides, helps or protects individuals, lineages and nations. In the shamanic worldview, everything is alive, bearing an inherent virtue, power and wisdom. Power animals represent a person’s connection to all life, their qualities of character, and their power.

Power animals are endemic to shamanic practice in both Eurasia and the Americas. They are the helping or ministering spirit or familiar which empowers individuals and is essential for success in any venture undertaken.

In the shamanic worldview, everyone has power animals or tutelary spirits which empower and protect them from harm, like guardian spirits or angels in the Abrahamic Traditions. The power animal may also lend its ward or charge the wisdom or attributes of its kind. For example, a hawk power animal provides hawk attributes, such as hawk-eye.

Power animals most often come to us in dreams, meditations, initiations, and visions.  You can have more than one power animal.  Your power animal at a given time can change depending on your life-path at that time.  Power animals are often attracted by one’s emotional needs of the person – viewed as protectors who help overcome fears and empower us.

The concept of a Power Animal is universal to all cultures. Tribal cultures  will recognize a Totem for the tribe, one for the clan one belongs to,  and one for the family that one is born into. In the United States, and  in other countries, the Tribal and Clan Totem still exists, although it  is thought of in a slightly different manner.

There are also totems for our adopted cultures, such as clubs or societies which we may belong  to, such as the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, the Loyal Order  of Moose, and the Lions Club.

Even Christianity, the prevalent religion  of this country, has maintained two Totem animals, these being the Fish  and the Lamb. Specialized Totems are also seen in organized sports, their  names being reflected in the team names. Example: Chicago Bulls, Atlanta Falcons

The next type of Power Animal or Totem is that which is personal for  the individual. These Totems are protective spirits which help us in our  everyday life. Everyone has such a Totem. Even today most parents give  a special protective Power Animal to their children and tell the child  that it will be protected over night by that Power Animal. They don’t realize that is what they are doing when they give a teddy bear to their little one.

We often unconsciously recognize the Power Animal affecting someone, and use terms which give away our unconscious recognition.

In the shamanic belief every thing is alive and carries with it power and wisdom.  Power animals are an essential component of shamanic practice.  They are the helping spirit which add to the power of the shaman and are essential for success in any venture undertaken by the shaman.

Shamans believe that everyone has power animals – animal spirits which reside with each individual adding to their power and protecting them from illness, acting similarly to a guardian angel.  Each power animal that you have increases your power so that illnesses or negative energy cannot enter your body.  The spirit also lends you the wisdom of its kind.  A hawk spirit will give you hawk wisdom, and lend you some of the attributes of hawk.

Everyone is thought to have a few of these guardian power animals or it is thought that the individual could not survive childhood.  Over the course of her or his life the person may have several.  If a power animal leaves and one does not come to take its place the individual is considered, by the shaman, to be disempowered and therefore vulnerable to illness and bad luck.

Power animals do not have to be mammals and can be reptiles, insects or sea creatures.  Any living creature can serve as a power animal.  (Plants and trees can serve as plant spirit guides.) Domesticated animals are generally not considered power animals because they already in service to human beings.  It is possible to have a domesticated animal, but it is more likely to have a wild untamed animal serve in the capacity of a power animal.

The gifts that a particular animal is thought to give an individual varies depending on the culture.  Although there are certain consistencies for certain animals.  A particular power animal can come to help you with an issue that is very specific for you.  It is important not to lock each animal into a category, and be open to the gifts it may be coming to share with you.

It is important to honor your power animal.  In many western cultures we are not taught to value animals or the gifts that they add to our life and the world around us.  In shamanic work the power animal is essential, for a shaman who has no power – is not going to have very good results.

On a personal level by honoring your power animal you let it know that its assistance is appreciated.  The spirit of the animal is giving up its mobility in order to spend its time with you and assist you with your life.  Also, by honoring the power animal we make a deeper connection with it.  Honoring it can be as simple a saying a thank you inside yourself, or getting an object which represents it and putting it where you can see it as you go about your day.

Shamanic practice honors and acknowledges the life and wisdom that exists in all things.  Everything is believed to have something to teach you and animals are thought to have a wealth of wisdom and protection to offer you.

If you would like to find out who your power animal is, consulting a shamanic practitioner is an option.  But to discover this on you own, you can ask for a dream and see if anything comes up. You can ask the power animal to show itself to you and if you start seeing one or another animal frequently that would be its way of revealing itself to you.

Power Animals are usually a reflection of your deepest self and also represent qualities which you need in this world, but which are often hidden or obscured. A mistake that people often make is to be dissatisfied when they find that their Power Animal is some non-ferocious animal like  a mouse. We tend to think that a mouse is not very powerful – that it  is meek and afraid. What they forget is that spirits are not limited to  physical reality and that size is irrelevant. Your Power Animal may be  a tiny mouse, but in times of need this mouse can and will change its size  and deportment to that which is appropriate to the occasion.

Source:
Crystalinks

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ANIMAL GUIDES

ANIMAL GUIDES

Do I Have an Animal Guide? Some believe that each person has one and possibly
more (one guide being the most commonly held belief), personal animal guides
that they can rely on. Most also believe that they can access other animal
guides for help in areas where their personal guide(s) are not as strong.
However there are also some who believe that anyone can access guides for help,
but each person does not have a specific one. Believe whatever feels right to
you. Before you decide that this is a wonderful idea and that you should have
365 personal animal guides, one for each and every day of the year, and want to
run out and meet them all, think about this. I was once told that those who meet
many personal animal guides in their life are not to be envied for they are the
ones who need the most protection and guidance. However that does not mean that
you cannot call on different guides for help when you need the specific type of
help they can offer you. It also does not mean you can can’t have more than one
personal guide. I just wanted to throw in a word of warning; too much candy can
make you sick after all. So if you suddenly find a flock of animal guides at
your side at all times, look at what you are doing and where you are going in
your life. Perhaps you have some decisions to make.

How Do I Meet My Animal Guide?

Patience, patience, patience… Animal guides are not owned by anyone, even if
some might be called pets. It is their choice whether or not to make themselves
known to you at any particular time. You may ask nicely, but you can never force
a meeting. Most often your guide will reveal itself in its own time. Just
because they do not appear the first time you try to contact them doesn’t mean
you should give up. Keep trying every so often and when they feel the time is
right they will show themselves. There are three ways you can meet your power
animal or discover which animal medicine is right for you. First, you could just
wait until the guide decides that it is time for it to show itself. Second, you
could write and perform a ritual to call and ask for the assistance of the
animal that would best assist you in your present magical workings or be of help
in resolving a conflict in your life or simply ask that a guide make itself
known to you.  Finally you could opt for the method of entering a meditative
state (for example ashamanic trance, astral travel or lucid dreaming) and meet
the animal in the spirit world. When the ritual technique is used, you will most
likely see the animal in its natural form or it may appear in your life through
seeming coincidences sometime after the ritual. There may be a synchronistic
conversation where the topic is of the animal, or you find a book about the
animal, images of it keep popping up, etc. When you catch that first glimpse of
that particular medicine, you will know it in your heart. If you meet the animal
in the meditative astral state, converse with it and ask its help. Anything is
possible in the astral, so ask questions and get to know your new partner. If
you have seen the animal after a ritual, plan sometime to go into the meditative
state to cement your relationship, get to know the animal and the wisdom it
represents. It is important to remember that in many cases, we are chosen and
not the one making the choices when it comes to the alliance with an animal
spirit. We may wish to seek the wisdom of a particular guide but others will
show up instead. Remember to be receptive to any or all who appear because they
all have important lessons or wisdom to impart. It is also possible that before
we can progress to our next level of understanding, we must first resolve or
overcome some underlying issues that we may not be fully aware of or are denying
within ourselves. Once you have met and began your relationship with an animal
spirit, what do you do with it? Power animals are great advice givers, often
representing aspects of our higher selves that we haven’t been paying close
enough attention to.  In a meditative state you can ask for their assistance on
problems that have been nagging at you. At times, it is also necessary to seek
the assistance of more than one power animal at the same time to maintain
balance, as is the case between Badger and Deer.

How to Discover Your Guide:

One way of starting to discover your animal guides by examining the animals you
have been most interested in and the times of your life that interest was
piqued. Also examine the animals that have appeared in your dreams or in your
everyday life, especially the ones that have appeared over and over and at odd
times. The following questions can help you determine which animals might be
guides in your life. Has a specific creature or specific creatures, be it
animal, bird, reptile, Amphibian, insect or mythological beast, always
fascinated you? We are drawn to that which most resonates with us. Those
animals, which fascinate us or the ones that we fear the most, have something to
teach us. Animal guides are not always those that we have the most similarities
with. Often they are in our lives to help us learn what we are lacking. When you
visit the zoo, which animal do you wish to visit first? This is especially true
with children and this question is easy for them to answer since they are often
more receptive than teens or adults. What animal or animals do you see most
frequently when you are out in nature? The animals we encounter in their city or
wild environments have significance for us. We can learn from them about
survival within their environment and often much more. Of all the creatures,
which are you most interested in now? Our interests in animals change. Yes, we
usually have one or two that are lifetime power animals, but others become
prominent in our lives when there is something of importance to learn from them.
Do any animals frighten you? That which we fear is often something we must learn
to come to terms with. When we do that, the fears then become power. Some
Shamans believe that fears will take the shape of animals, and only when we
confront them without fear do their powers/medicine work for us instead of
against us. Such an animal then becomes a shadow totem. Have you ever been
attacked or badly wounded by an animal? Historically, if a Shaman survived
an attack, it was believed that the animal was the Shaman’s spirit totem and the
attack was the totem’s way of testing the Shaman’s ability to understand and
handle its power. Do you have dreams with animals in them or are there animal
dreams you have never forgotten? This is especially important if the dreams are
recurring or if a specific animal image keeps popping up in your dreams.
Children often dream of animals and attention should be given to these animals.
They will often reflect specific animal guides of the child or areas of weakness
where the parents can help in their child’s growth.

Meet Your Spirit Guides

Before retiring, or going to bed, spend a few minutes in bed relaxing. Just
focus on being relaxed. Be relaxed…
While relaxed, imagine a Veil in front of your eyes. A curtain, or a wall.
Imagine the Veil, or the wall, as being void, black. Accept the Veil, or the
wall. Do not be threatened by the Veil, because you are relaxed, and because
you know the Veil is an illusion, and serves purpose. You are still relaxed.
Then, you visualize the Veil (or wall) slowly lifting. You see the Veil lifting,
and you see stars, you see lights. You know you can see things you haven’t seen
before. You are still relaxed. When you are ready, you ask for Spirit to join
you. You ask Spirit to touch you, and to embrace you, because you are ready to
embrace Spirit. You know that Spirit is Divine Love, you know you are safe, you
know you are loved. You know you are ready to meet Spirit. Hold your hands out.
Let your fingertips feel the touch of Spirit. Know that when you are ready, you
can ask Spirit to embrace your arms; ask for Spirit to give you a huge hug. You
will feel it. Accept the love that is given to you, and know that you have
earned it, that the love is yours. You may feel many things. Electricity, and an
urge to cry, is what I felt, and great joy. There are many methods regarding
meeting your spirit guides. I met my guides in delayed stages. I had two human
guides and three critter guides. This is not “common” but is also not unheard-
of. What is common is for people to have two human guides. For those who study
critter-paths, I believe that they also have two human guides, but that they are
working more consciously with critter-wisdom, and therefore it is likely that
they have “critter-medicine”, and may actually have critter guides, as I do.
Names? Gender? These are generally the first two issues we would like to
distinguish within our guides. What I would recommend, as a matter of deduction,
is that you ask your inner voice, if your entity is Male or Female. You WILL
receive a definite impression. Lesson number one – learn to trust yourself. (I
like to ask the gender question first, as it’s an easy one-two, this or that
approach, and helps to distinguish our own emotional responses.) When it comes
to names, let your mind be open to receive impressions. When I first met Elmo,
my bear, I had a hard time believing that was his name, because I am a “serious”
person, I associated “Elmo” as being playful, and therefore antithetical to what
I thought his name should be. (Yet, I’ve learned a lot from Elmo, including “not
being so uptight” I also learned more about not judging a person – or entity –
by their name.) When I first met Garulf, as a spirit, I thought he had a
fascinating name. Weird name, dynamic personality. This was the label I hanged
on him. How was I to know Garulf was a fairly common, respectable name several
hundreds of years ago, in Denmark? How was I to know Garulf was actually a Soul
name, befitting him perfectly as a spirit, and as a person? So, in other words,
whatever name you get in meditation, or whatever, really is their name?
Sometimes, the names of your spirits will help you bust up your own
preconceptions of what names mean – or what roles people should play in your
lives. What it all really comes down to is trusting your impressions. If you can
do that (we salute you!), but more, you are already on a healthy journey of
rediscovery. Your spirits will help you find the way.

Our Animal Allies: Power Animals

OUR ANIMAL ALLIES: POWER ANIMALS

As humans, we each have one or more animal guardians that have come to us at the time of our births to protect us, whether we are conscious of it or not.
Generally, these guardians, or power animals, are our spirit allies that have
volunteered to do us service. Their job is to keep us healthy-physically,
emotionally, mentally and spiritually. A person may have many different power
animals during his or her life. These animal beings may be any type of animal:
of the Earth, of the Sea, of the Air, extinct in this realm, seemingly
“mythological” etc., though they generally are not insects or domesticated
animals. Though a power animal can have a distinct gender, age and personality,
it is representative of the entire genus or species. For example, if your animal
guardian happens to be Bear, the spiritual power and guidance comes not only
from that one specific bear, but from the entire genus or species of Bear. Also,
there is no hierarchy of power animals. No particular animal is more power-full
or more beneficial than another.

Power Animals are only helpful and never bring harm, no matter how fiercely they may present themselves. They are here to help us. Though your animal ally is available to help you in times of crisis, illness and/or danger, they can also
offer guidance and support in your day-to-day life. Power animals often awaken
our creativity as well as the ability to perceive the beauty and magic that
surrounds us. Shamans may call upon their power animal(s) for many reasons: in the diagnosis of an illness, to assist the shaman in spiritual journeys through
other realms of reality, to bring power to a ceremony or to provide needed
information and teaching.

Calling upon your animal can be as simple or as elaborate as you want. However,
the most important ingredient is your intent and focus. You can call out with
your voice or quietly in your heart. You can simply repeat its name or recite
many beautiful words of welcome. Whatever you do, be sincere and not frivolous
in your request. There is a story of a poor Tibetan man that spent much of his
day turning the prayer wheels of a monastery as he circled the complex repeating
the prayers of a certain female deity. From the monastery, the monks could see
that as the man prayed, the deity followed behind him. One day, a monk overheard the man’s prayers. Realizing the man had some of words wrong, he promptly corrected him. The next day, the monks saw the man as usual but no longer did the deity follow behind. Acknowledging the error, the monk returned to the man and instructed him to recite his prayers as before. Because, though the man now said the correct words, his heart was no longer in it.

In building a relationship with your power animal, it is also beneficial and
important to often honor your animal in some way. Once again, this can be as
simple or elaborate as you want. In general, gifting the animal with your
attention is a way to honor and  respect it. The simple act of silently greeting
your animal in the morning as you wake and, for a few moments, opening yourself to being receptive to any information your animal may have for you can be a transformative experience. Giving thanks to the animal for Big Dreams you may have, drawing or creating images of the animal as well as physically exercising your animal by inviting it into your body as you hike or swim are also ways to honor your animal guardian. In this way, the power animal has the pleasure of experiencing the material world. It is important that the animal feel welcome and appreciated. Shamans often honor their animal allies by singing of the animal andor inviting the animal into their body and dancing the animal. This is not mere imitation, but transformation.

So, how can you know if you have a power animal and what it may be? I invite you to look about your home. Are there pictures or figures of a particular animal
that occur throughout your home that you feel an emotional connection to? Is
there an animal that comes  to you in dreams or meditations that provides you
with guidance or answers to questions? These are valuable observations and worth investigating further. All things are significant in some way. One way a shaman can discover whether or not an individual currently has the help of a particular guardian animal is to undertake a spiritual journey into non-ordinary reality, and ask the spirits.

How They Communicate With Us

In ancient times, there was unity between the animal beings and the human
beings. We conversed freely and easily with one another. Now, however, this
unity is lost in this physical world of limitation. Though the shaman is able to
journey to realms where this unity continues, it is important for all to be
aware of when an animal ally is communicating with us and what information they are bringing.

Power animals are not the only animals that can and do communicate with us. Any animal can bring us a teaching at any time. An animal may come for an extended period of time to help us with a particular issue, or it may appear only to bring a timely  message or teaching and then be gone. Most helpful in building
relations with the animal beings and opening yourself to their assistance, is to
see them as sacred beings worthy of your attention and respect, rather than
viewing them as objects, inferior, or stupid.

There are some practical steps you can take in learning to understand an
animal’s message. Observe the animal. What does it look like? How is it moving?
How is it relating to its environment? Perhaps most importantly, how are you
feeling as you observe the animal? What thoughts or memories are you having?
Where is your attention drawn? Often, animals will attract our attention in some
way before they offer us the message. Be patient. Use all of your senses.
Silently ask the animal what it has for you and then be receptive to what comes
to fill the space after your question. Some people worry that they are ‘making
up’ the information. It is possible that in that moment you may fill the space
with mind chatter rather than hearing any message the animal has for you. Even
so, this is also an important message to you. Perhaps it is a teaching about the
importance of truly listening to others, or perhaps an awareness that your
mental chatter is blocking you in some way. There is no pretend, all things are
significant and meaningful. Sometimes all that is needed is a view from a
different perspective.

There are books available that can help in deciphering the message or gifts of a
particular animal. Some of these books are quite insightful. Above all, pay
attention to how the visit from the animal felt to you. For example, if you were
to search in a book for the meaning of a visit by Bee, you may learn about the
importance of productivity or the value of community. However, Bee came to me
with some unexpected information, information that I’d not seen in any book.
During a time when I was doing research on the nature of prayer, I was
approached by Bee during one of my journeys. She told me that all Bees live
their life as a prayer. She went on to share with me much information about
prayer and how to pray. Recently, during a time of loss, I was again visited by
Bee. She asked that I ask the Bees to pray for me and also to go out into my
gardens. Sitting beneath the Spring blooming trees, my attention was drawn to
a loud humming. I looked up to see a cloud of Bumble Bees among the branches of the trees. I began to hum along with them and felt a peace settle over me. For
months after that day, I encountered Bees in the most unlikely places. Reminders for me that they continued to pray, and also that I was not alone. Neither are
you.

Your Animal Spirit for January 1st is The Cardinal

Your Animal Spirit for Today
January 1, 2014

 

Cardinal

Wake up! Cardinal is chirping at you—bringing a message of personal power. Stop shrinking from your destiny. Stop pretending that you are less than. If you are unsure of your path, ask Cardinal to fly with you—it’s certain he will help you focus, gain clarity, formulate a plan, become self-assured, and step out into the world with the confidence befitting a person of your power.

Animals as Spirit Guides

Animals as Spirit Guides

 

(excerpted from Animal Spirit Guides by Dr. Steven  Farmer)

Those spirits that are in animal form that teach us, guide us, empower us,  and help us heal are called animal spirit guides or spirit  animals. In shamanic and indigenous cultures they’re usually called  totem animals or power animals. Often these terms are used  interchangeably, although there are subtle differences in meaning.

The term totem animal has two meanings. First, a totem animal is  typically one that is shared by a family, clan, or group. In indigenous  cultures, the family you were born into all have a totem animal in common. In  modern societies, various groups also have communal totems, such as sports teams  or clubs that identify with a totem animal. A second meaning of totem animal is  a representational object of a particular animal, like a small tortoise, owl,  raccoon, or hawk figurines. We often give our children totem animals, like teddy  bears or bunny rabbits to give them comfort.

The term power animal has its origins in shamanism. This is a  specialized animal spirit guide the shaman or shamanic practitioner acquires  early in their initiation into their practice. Their power animal travels with  them whenever they go on a shamanic journey, which is an altered state of  awareness in which the practitioner sends his soul or consciousness into  non-ordinary reality—another term for the spirit world—to receive teachings,  guidance, and healings. You can, however, have a relationship with a power  animal even if you’re not a shaman or shamanic practitioner. They may come to  you in meditations, visions, dreams, or shamanic journeys. It’s a highly  personal and specialized relationship with an animal spirit guide, one where the  personality and characteristics of the particular power animal that you have  attracted to you are reflective of your own personality and characteristics.

Although every creature on the planet can be an animal spirit guide, in some  traditions domesticated animals can’t be power animals because they’ve lost much  of their wildness and are removed from the natural world. Likewise, some  traditions believe that insects are to be excluded from being power animals  because of their size and nature. I have, however, included both domesticated  animals and some insects such as butterfly and dragonfly my book, and even two  mythological animals, dragon and unicorn, to account for those who have enough  of a special relationship with them to call them power animals.

However to experience the tremendous value of working with animal spirit  guides you don’t need to be a shaman, have any interest in shamanism, nor be  associated with an indigenous culture. For most purposes you don’t even need to  be concerned as to whether an animal spirit guide is a totem or power animal.  Instead, consider these wonderful beings as spiritual allies that want to reach  out to each and everyone one of us who are open to their guidance and, when  called with sincere intent, will respond.

One of the great advantages of working with animal spirit guides is that the  actual animal is physically and symbolically present in so many ways throughout  every society and culture on earth. Because of their abundant representations in  third-dimensional reality, they’re continually in our consciousness. Depending  on how and in what way they show up in the material world, whether in the flesh  or as a symbol, their appearance can be  a representative of the spirit of  that animal. When an animal shows up in an uncommon way or repetitively as  spirit guide, that animal isn’t just the single animal, but is representing the  entire species. The hummingbird that flits about and then hovers for several  seconds directly in front of you isn’t just a hummingbird but is carrying with  her the essence of all hummingbirds, and is therefore Hummingbird with  a capital “H.” That’s also why when we speak of an animal spirit guide, we leave  out the “a” or “an” as a way of recognizing and honoring that spirit animal. The  hawk that visited me wasn’t only a hawk, but in those instances was representing  the essence of all hawks, and was therefore Hawk.

Not only do these spirit animals help us in many ways, but another positive  effect is that you’ll deepen your appreciation for the magic and mystery of all  animals, whether they are of the air, water, or the land. Every being on this  beautiful and majestic planet has its place in the web of life, and as we  develop our consciousness and awareness of the unique quality of animal spirit  guides, we enhance our relationships with all of our animal brothers and  sisters.