Working with Your Power Animal

giraffe

If you have learned how to do a shamanic journey, with journeys to the Lower World, here are some steps I would recommend you follow up on.  Some shamanic traditions refer to a Totem Animal rather than a Power Animal.

1) Find images or references to your Power Animal(s) that resonate with you. It could be a sculpture, a toy, a photograph, a drawing or painting. You will know it is the right image or sculpture if you get that sudden sense of familiarity when you see the representation of your Power Animal, like when you see an old friend after many years of absence.

2) Honor your Power Animal, by thanking him/her/it for being in your life, for the teachings, insights, and guidance given to you. Offer a promise that you will learn to receive, to be more observant, to pay attention to the messages given to you.

3) Create a ceremony in which you honor your Power Animal(s). In Native American cultures, cornmeal or tobacco is often sprinkled on the Earth at the end of a ceremony as a gesture of gratitude, of giving back. These were substances of great value to them. Repeat your ceremony frequently. A good time for ceremony is early morning with the light of the new day.

When I do ceremonies like this one, I give my heart energy, spreading Love and Joy to ALL that is, rather than sprinkling cornmeal or tobacco. Heart energy is what is most precious to me. For someone else, it could be Second Chakra Creative energy, or some other energy.

4) While lying in bed at night, ask your Power Animal to be with you during dreamtime, expressing gratitude for its presence in your life.

donkey

5) At night before going to sleep, ask your Power Animal for dreams that will help you, and that you will remember in the morning.

6) Learn to feel what your body feels like when you fill yourself with your power. Breathe in your Power Animal. Watch how your movement changes, your thoughts change, how your awareness shifts. In doing this you recognize what it feels like to be filled with your power, and what it feels like when you are not paying attention to your power.

7) Think of a difficult situation, such as speaking with a relative who is going through major challenges. You would like to have a helpful conversation with that person. First, imagine the conversation between you. Then take a moment, close your eyes, and seeing your Power Animal in front of you, ask your Power Animal to fill your body, and breathe its essence into every cell of your being. Now, imagine your conversation with your relative… Notice the difference.

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8) Learn to pay attention to messages from your Power Animal. The very first step in that process is learning to pay attention, to be fully present, to see, to hear, to perceive.
Notice when these representations of your Power Animal appear to you. What were you thinking when your Power Animal (say a Blue Heron) just flew across in front of you as you were driving? What were you saying? And if you were driving and not paying attention to the road, the traffic, and the speed limit, slow down!

Oh Shinnáh described a very potent experience of a Power Animal appearing just in front of her car as she was driving at high speed. Happily, she slammed on the breaks and avoided the huge collision right around the bend of the road that she could not see.

9) Practice doing Lower World Journeys. If your Power Animal is not there when you arrive in the Lower World, call your Power Animal to you. The more you practice journeying to the Lower World, the easier and faster it will be to get there, and return. Always remember to take a deep breath into your belly when you end your journey. You want to be fully present!

White Peilican

And above all, have fun with your Power Animal! Feel his/her/its presence in your life and enjoy!

For those who have not learned how to journey to the Lower World, you can still follow the first eight steps listed above with an animal that you are drawn to, especially one from your childhood.

For those interested in learning how to do a shamanic journey, I recommend the books and recordings found here.

For further information, I recommend  www.sandraingerman.com and http://www.shamanism.org/fssinfo/index.html.

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