Power animals may be referred to by other names such as: spirit animals (Native American), guardian spirits (North America), helping spirits (North America), tutelary spirits (Siberia), nagual (Mexico and Guatemala), assistant totems (Australia), familiars (Europe), animal guides, animal totems, assistant spirits, and energy animals.
Note: Some Native American tribes have requested that non-natives do not use the term “spirit animal” in their work. They consider it to be cultural appropriation of a sacred and secret process.
The characters in Philip Pullman’s trilogy His Dark Materials, had spirits similar to power animals that were called dæmons. Dæmons were the external physical manifestation of a person's inner-self that took the form of an animal. Children's dæmons could change form to but at adolescence an individual’s dæmon became permanent and assumed the form of the animal which s/he most resembled in character. Interestingly, dæmons and their humans were almost always of different genders.
A power animal is an entity that acts as a guide, ally, teacher, messenger, and/or protector. Power animals can be mammals, fish, birds, reptiles, or mythical. However, domesticated animals and pets are generally not considered power animals.
Power animals communicate through signs, symbols, words that you may receive through any of your senses (hearing, feeling, knowing, seeing, and tasting).
Each animal has its own unique medicine. Animals have a group soul so their power comes from the entire species not just a specific or single animal. Who your power animal is will be based on your emotional needs and the qualities that you need in this world. Your animal has a specific lesson for you. If an individual is without a power animal, s/he becomes disempowered and vulnerable to illness and bad luck.
Everyone has at least one animal guide even if you are not aware of it. Many have more than one. There may be one that is the primary while others may be secondary. Some may be permanent and others may be temporary. Some believe that you have 3 principle power animals, one on your left, one on your right, and one within you. You probably had one as a child. Remember that stuffed animal your parents gave you as a baby?
Shamans and shamanic practitioners are assisted by power animals on a regular basis. They meet during dreams, meditations, visions, and shamanic journeys to non-ordinary reality.
HOW TO FIND YOUR POWER ANIMAL
There are various ways to find out what your power animal is. The process is considered to be sacred. In traditional indigenous cultures, the animal would come to an individual in a dream, during a vision quest, walkabout, or pilgrimage, or through a physical encounter.
A power animal chooses you, you do not choose it. Also it is not recommended that you choose a power animal by pulling a card from an animal deck. Card decks are meant to give you messages but not identify who your power animal is.
Here are some ways that you could find your power animal:
1. Having an animal appear in your dreams.
2. Participating in a guided meditation by an experienced guide.
3. Doing a personal meditation, vision quest, walkabout, or pilgrimage.
4. Do your own power animal retrieval by learning how to do shamanic journeys.
5. Have a mentor, shaman, or medicine person do a power animal retrieval for you.
6. Observing repeated and/or unusual visitations from an animal in Nature within a short time frame.
Be aware that any animal that appears to you, whether your power animal or not, is presenting a message to you. Note, any quest for a power animal requires multiple appearances of that animal. A single encounter is not a clear indicator that the animal that appeared is your power animal.
For instance, a single encounter may be an animal that will act as a guide to lead you to your power animal. When in doubt, always ask the animal. Some believe that if you have a strong affinity for an animal, it is likely that is your power animal.
As an experienced shamanic practitioner, I do power animal retrievals for individuals through a journey to the Lower World for a nominal fee. I provide a certificate as shown below with the animal and a few of its attributes.
WHAT TO DO WITH YOUR POWER ANIMAL
Once you have a power animal, it is very important to honor it. Your connection to your animal must also be kept alive. The old proverb, “use it or lose it”, applies to your relationship with your power animal. You must maintain your connection with them or they will leave.
Following are ways in which to connect, communicate, and honor your beloved animal:
1. Pray or sing to your animal.
2. Give offerings of tobacco or corn meal.
3. Visit real life animals of the same species.
4. Invite your animal in to your body, mind, and spirit.
5. Express your love and gratitude to your animal regularly.
6. Ask your animal for advice, support, protection, and wisdom.
7. Prepare and eat a ritual meal consisting of your animal’s favorite foods.
8. Donate time or money to organizations that support and protect your animal.
9. Learn as much about your animal as you can. List the qualities of your animal
10. Wear jewelry or clothes that illustrate your animal. Perhaps even get a tattoo of your animal.
11. Find a picture and/or figure of your animal and keep it near you (in your home, in your wallet, on your altar, etc.)
12. Meditate or journey to communicate with your animal on a regular basis. Ask what your animal wants to be called.
13. Merge with your animal and “dance” as a merged spirit. (Always remember to disconnect with the dancing is done.)
14. Many keep the identity of their power animal secret. It is up to you whether or when you will reveal the identity of your animal.
RECOMMENDED READING & CARDS BOOKS
Melissa Alvarez - Animal Frequency: Identify, Attune, and Connect to the Energy of Animals
Ted Andrews - Animal Speak
Ted Andrews – Animal Speak Workbook
Ted Andrews – Animal Wise
DJ Conway – Animal Magic
Stephen D Farmer – Animal Spirit Guides
Nicki Scully - Power Animal Meditations: Shamanic Journeys with Your Spirit Allies
Ted Andrews - Animal Speak Runes
Philip & Stephanie Carr-Gomm - Druid Animal Oracle
Steven Farmer - Power Animal Oracle
Steven Farmer - Messages from Your Animal Spirit Guides Oracle
Susie Green - Animal Messages
Scott Alexander King - Animal Dreaming Oracle
Caelum Rainieri - Nahualli Animal Oracle
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