Finding Your Power Animal
What Is A Power Animal ?
Before you're ready to find out who your Power Animal is, you might be curious about what an animal totem is and why you'd want to know about yours.
Although Indigenous North American spirituality is presently most famous for totem and power animal work, the indigenous peoples of all lands once utilized (and many still do) shamanic practices to connect with the Earth around them and with the power of various animals.
By observing the way each animal lived, located food, found mates and protected itself, the shaman was able to learn of the particular strengths and weaknesses of that animal. Bears, for instance, hibernate during the winter, and thus possessed the magick of dreams. They were also formidable foes to those who would hunt them, and thus Bear energy was also about strength and physical power. Mouse, on the other hand, represents scrutiny, because of they way they observe objects up close.
It is interesting, but hardly surprising, that shaman of different cultures and lands, but who shared similar animal species, came up with similar interpretations of those animals.
In dreams and visions, these shaman would connect with the "Manitou" of those animals -- the primal spirit energy of that animal type -- cougarness, bearness or deerness, etc. These Manitou could help the shaman learn the particular lesson of that animal species.
It was believed that every person had a particular Manitou (sometimes more than one) which they were especially attuned to. This was their personal animal totem, or Power Animal. These totems were generally discovered through vision quests, although sometimes the totem made their choice known by more obvious methods. If you survived an attack by a wild animal, it was believed that the animal had chosen you and marked you as theirs.
In our opinion, there really is not a lot of difference between the terminology of POWER ANIMAL and ANIMAL GUIDE. It is perhaps dependant upon what a person feels more comfortable in calling these Spirit Guides ... after all, it is purely but a name, and as in the famous words of Shakespeare .. *A Rose by any other name would smell as sweet*. Another name given to the same entities is TOTEM ANIMAL. It is our personal feeling that one should refer to these special Guides by the name to which they feel the most akin - the ANIMAL GUIDE will be there for you, no matter what *label* you put upon him :) We all have several different Spirit Animals to guide us through our path in this human existence - some of them staying with us for most of our journey, whilst others may come and go as needed, to assist us.
Earth Medicine is concerned with our connections with the Earth, with the elements, and the Seven Directions with which they are associated - North, South, East, West, Above, Below and Within - and with other forms of life with which we share the Earth environment - the mineral, plant and animal kingdoms. These connections act like wavelengths that enable us to tune in to the Whole and to understand the whole self. They also act like "call signs" that enable us to contact the True Self within.
~Sacred Power Animals~
The attributes and the characteristics of a particular animal can certainly be very helpful over a period of time. For example, we might become aware that there is tremendous transformation going on in our life at a particular point in time. In looking at the Medicine that your Power Animal offers, this transformation almost certainly will be attributed to your Totem. Animal totems are very important in that they bring us a sense of power and facilitate our own personal growth.
The selection or receiving the gift of a Power Animal is a very impacting experience. Power animals tend to stay with us for long periods of time. Honour them and try to live your life with the characteristics and the Healing Medicine that each of these animals presents. Power animals are generally given by a shaman or spiritual healer. The shaman will do a journey into the lower world and retrieve the Power Animal for the person. When the shaman returns from the journey, the animal is generally blown into the chakra centre that has been opened to receive this Power Animal. Often, the Power Animal that has been received is an animal that has not been a Totem for that person in the past. They go on to have a relationship with that animal that will allow them to continue to heal and to increase power in their lives.
We all have animal allies (totems) whether or not we are aware of them. It is possible to use the Medicine given by your Power Animal to assist in finding out if you are "on purpose" … If you are living the life you want to live.
If the time has come for you to take part, to a greater degree, in the Art Of Making A Difference In Your Own Life, you might want to devote some time to contacting your sacred Power Animal personally.
Every aspect of the animal's behaviour will have some significance to you. Experience the environment as you think your Power Animal might. Allow your body to move as the animal moves.
Take several minutes to do this exercise. Then thank the animal for it's gifts to you. Digest and feel what you have experienced. Take time to write about it - keeping a Journal specifically for this purpose is very enlightening.
If you desire, your Power Animal will visit you often. Be open and observant to all that happens. After each encounter, it is extremely important that you thank the animal for it's presence in your life.
Perhaps not having worked a lot in your conscious being with your Guides before, you may need to sit very quietly at first to soak in the energy that is being offered to you. It is not always possible to either hear or see our Guides … some people have this privilege it seems, but most don't. It is more a learning experience of "knowing" what is being conveyed to us. This comes with practice and lots of attention to what is around us. Little instances are usually what are given as a message ….. something dropped in our path for example - as long as we are astute and observant enough to see it! When we look at the item, it will symbolise something to us …. just pay attention to all around you in a more alert fashion and you will quickly notice this type of thing.
Your Guides are there for you to assist you … as to whether or not you are "meant" to work with them ….. that is always your choice. It is our suggestion that you do whatever possible to learn from your Guides, or Higher Self and to tap into this fabulous energy that is surrounding you.
And remember: The animal chooses the person, NOT the other way around.
“Animals of the Road come part of the way.
Animals of the Heart with you always stay”.
When you are gifted with a Power Animal, develop a relationship with that animal so that your personal medicine will continue to grow and you will be more powerful.
Once you learn to work with the medicine of your Power Animal, it then becomes a doorway to connecting with others of the animal realm. You are not limited to just one Totem. Each can teach or add something to your life that the others can't. Working with your Power Animal will help teach you how to align with others. This way if you need greater strength, you can call up the image and draw upon the energy of a bear. If you need speed, you can connect with the energy of cheetah. Through your Power Animal, you learn to align with, and shapeshift to, the energies of other animals and beings.
Much Love to you all
(The Meaning of "Mitakuye Oyasin"
This is a Lakota expression that means "we are all related" (mih-TAHK-e-yeh oh-YAH-sin). It is often spoken as a closing for prayer or as a parting comment. It is to remind us of our role and responsibility in this world.
You may also see colours blue (for sky and Grandfather, the Great Spirit) and green (for ground and Earth Mother). These remind us of our relationship to all that is. We are brothers and sisters to all living things; everything we see and experience is sacred and worthy of our respect. Most importantly, it reminds us that we have been created by Grandfather. Just by being, we have importance and significance. )
We will be following on with this series of SHAMANIC Guides as time permits. Watch out for the next one.
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