& Spirit Helpers
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The 29 pages in this Guides & Spirit Helpers section are
Working with a
Throughout our lives, we may encounter
animals of a special nature that bring to us certain gifts of
the Spirit. These are power animals... and they visit us for
the purpose of sharing knowledge, giving us necessary abilities,
or teaching us wisdom that it is important for us to know. These
may be called familiars by some (a common European term), allies
(a more common North American Indian term), totems, guides,
or power animals. Different cultures and different faiths have
different views on exactly what constitutes a power animal.
I won't address those distinctions here. I'm not the end-all
expert in every culture's traditional correctness! But more
importantly, there are certain features of power animals and
how we can relate and work with them that are true and effective
regardless of what they are called.
First and of greatest importance,
always understand that power animals are gifts of the Spirit,
and are never to be taken lightly. They may be sent to teach
and guide us, we may draw them or seek them out because of our
needs, or we may naturally share their strengths and characteristics.
They may be seen in our day-to-day earthwalk or in our Dreamwalk.
They may be common animals that we encounter frequently, such
as dogs, coyotes, birds, or cats. They may be such uncommon
animals as dragons, unicorns, or exotic animals that we have
never seen (before) in our earthwalk. As small as a spider or
as large as a whale. But the fact that the paths of these special
animals meet ours is never an accident, and remains a very special
gift that should always be treated with respect and appropriate
thanks to the Great One. We who wish to walk the Spirit's path
are responsible to not only carry his gifts to others; but to
accept and use wisely those gifts that he gives to us. Power
animals, and what they share with us, are some of his gifts.
Seeking the Power Animal
Power animals may visit us as our
needs arise, without any specific seeking on our part. However,
there are times in our lives when we need the assistance of
a power animal, yet one does not "magickally" appear
for us. This isn't surprising, when one thinks about it. While
many of the Spirit's gifts are there for us if we will only
be willing to observe and receive them, many of these gifts
require some dedicated effort on our part to obtain. We are
not carried on the Spirit's path... we choose to walk it. That
means we choose to encounter and overcome all of the obstacles
that exist as lessons on that path, and we continue on the path
nevertheless. In instances where we need the gifts or strength
of a power animal, we can seek one out and the Spirit will provide
one consistent with what he knows our needs to be.
A good technique for seeking a power
animal commences with our recognition of the need which we have.
Evaluate where in your life assistance is needed. Work on clearly
understanding and expressing this need to yourself. Don't waffle,
or try to sugarcoat anything. You can't fool the Spirit, you
won't be able to trick a power animal, and it would be dangerous
to try to do either one. When your need is clearly understood
by you and you have a clear expression of that need, seek a
quiet place, out of doors if possible. Face the world of nature
that the Spirit has created, and turn slowly to face the four
quarters, east, south, west and north; and face the Spirit above
and the Earth Mother below. As you face each direction, cast
your need out and pray to the Spirit to send you assistance
in this matter. Needless to say, your need in seeking a power
animal should be a need that can be filled with a gift of strength,
knowledge, or ability to you.
Don't expect a power animal to appear
that will change someone else. Power animals are personal relationships
that we encounter for the betterment of ourselves. They won't
make your boss less demanding or your spouse more understanding.
They may, however, impart certain strengths or powers to us
that permit us to deal with that boss' demands, or help us to
explain things in such a manner that our spouse better understands
Once one has extended their needs
to the Spirit in the form of proper prayers, we need only wait
and be observant.
Recognizing Your Power Animal(s)
Sought or unsought for, how do we
recognize a power animal? They are special and different to
us. We may meet them with unusual frequency or in unforeseen
places, such as a bird that lands on a tree outside our house
every day and sings, or watches us as we pass. Possibly a spider
that continually weaves their web across our window. Meeting
20 dogs in one day may be significant (unless you work for a
veterinarian or animal shelter). The same coyote that howls
near your yard every night. The rat that suddenly appears in
front of your building every time you leave. An animal that
is not native to your region appears to you. And of course meeting
these special animals in our Dreamwalk may be a clue. We may
find ourselves unusually drawn to them in artwork or clothing
decorations. The practice of Shamans the world over applies:
BE OBSERVANT. Something will call you to the power animal, just
as they have been called to you. They will be special to you.
Don't rationalize their presence away by saying "they are
often seen around here," or "the snake could have
crawled into my house accidentally." There are no accidents
with power animals, and you will feel their importance to you
if you stop playing games with your logical mind.
Communicating with Your Power
One very important way to recognize
power animals is the way they communicate with us. Power animal
communications are different. Your power animal will naturally
draw your attention and talk with you. You will find yourself
drawn to them, and usually experience a close feeling of spiritual
relationship with the power animal. You may find that you talk
with the power animal in your earthwalk or Dreamwalk. A close
empathy and understanding will develop as the basis of communication
between you and the power animal. They become very important
to us, and "mean" something to us in ways that we
may not be able to express at first.
To communicate with your power animal,
it is important to first understand the nature of the animal.
There are many good books on the subject (see bibliography).
Every animal has certain characteristics, mannerisms, and talents
that are unique to that animal. Research them and learn the
habits and characteristics of the animal, for these are likely
to be important to you. Some animal features are readily apparent.
The bat and owl both see well at night. The peacock is notable
because of their extravagant tail feathers. Deer is fleet and
hides well. Mountain lion is powerful and territorial. Learn
all you can about the way the animal lives, their physical strengths,
and their spiritual features. Study what different cultures
have known about the animal for many years. In NA traditions
the coyote is the trickster. The dog is very loyal. Skunk is
powerfully defensive. Eagle sees far and is a spiritual symbol.
Raven is a messenger of magic.
Once you know the characteristics
of your power animal, you are in a position to learn of what
value their presence (or power)
may be in your life.
They are there to share their power
and to give you gifts of the Spirit. Search for areas of your
life that may be enhanced by developing more of the traits of
the power animal. Has owl presented himself to you? You may
need to learn to be wiser, quieter or less obvious in your movements
or activities. Or you may need to learn to be silent and unobtrusive
as you pursue (hunt) for those things that you need in your
life. Learning of your power animal's characteristics requires
some book work and research; but that is only half the effort.
The other effort in working with your power animal goes beyond
just knowing what bat means, what whale means, what otter means,
etc. The rest of the effort involves listening and talking with
your power animal.
Talking with your power animal requires
a close empathy for the animal, and a willingness to communicate
on your part. You must be willing to talk with the animal with
no reservations, and listen to or observe their response. It
is important to ask the animal questions, or for certain strengths
if you need them. And having asked, be prepared to listen and
accept the response! The power animal's response may be found
in the way they move, their actions or change in actions, or
a direct response to our questions. Yes, they may talk back.
Not in a way that everyone in earshot would necessarily hear
(although some might); but in a way that manifests itself to
you as clearly as if the animal was talking straight into your
ear. Some persons have a difficult time accepting this strength
of power animals, and as a result may miss out on one of the
Spirit's greatest gifts. Don't get caught in the trap of believing
that as humans we are nearest the "peak of creation"
and are therefore the only animals that can speak! Many animals,
and especially our power animals, may speak to us. It is our
part to open our souls and listen. Some power animals may never
speak in this manner; but others will, and it is our part to
respect their gifts and listen up!
Special Techniques for Working
with Power Animals
With all of the above being said,
there are certain techniques that may help us in dealing with
(1) Observe how the power animal
presents itself. Does the power animal appear immediately in
front of you, to your side, or only in passing instances, such
as in pictures, artwork, occasional instances? An animal that
presents itself in front of you in your earthwalk usually has
a pressing and immediate need to pass a gift to you. An animal
that is seen only to your side or out of the corner of your
eye is generally making itself known to you in a more subtle
way, and is tasking you with the job of recognizing the need
that may exist in your life for a gift that the animal may offer.
Observe the way the animal moves as well. Does the animal appear
to follow or accompany you? If so, the persistence of the animal
is a key to your understanding. Consider whether you may have
an ongoing need for the gift the animal has to offer. If the
animal crosses in front of you note whether it passes from right
to left or from left to right; bearing in mind that the left
side is generally associated with the female, intuitive nature
and the right side is generally associated with the male, logical
nature. Your power animal may be intentionally drawing your
attention toward the side that currently needs your focus.
(2) Is the power animal presenting
itself in your Dreamwalk? You may need certain gifts from animals
that are not native to where you live, and by meeting you in
your dreamwalk they can provide
you with their gifts whether any of these special animals reside
near you or not. In the Dreamwalk, you can obtain the gifts
from an ocean-swimming dolphin even if you live in the cornbelt.
A visit by the animal in your Dreamwalk may be significant in
other ways as well. It may mean that you may not consciously
acknowledge the need for their gift. They may be presenting
their gift to you for use in a life circumstance that you have
internalized, or for a problem that is so pervasive that you
cannot come to grips with it in your common waking state. Power
animals do not distinguish between the earthwalk and the Dreamwalk,
other than the extent to which one means of communicating may
be superior to the other. Their reality is no less or greater
in one than the other. So in the Dreamwalk it is important to
observe the features of the animal's movements just as it is
in the earthwalk.
(3) Is the animal talking to you
in a way that manifests itself as ordinary speech? To hear the
speech of such animals is a strong force on your being. It implies
a very direct and significant effort of communication by the
power animal; and correspondingly indicates a very strong willingness
on your part to listen. Never brush such communications off
as "your imagination," "just a dream," or
something that must have been a mistake on your part. Power
animals do not make mistakes.
(4) Always feel free to ask the power
animal for clarification. When the message or gift being offered
by the power animal is unclear to you, ask! Their path is crossing
yours for a reason, and they are generally willing to explain
that reason. Although in some instances their gifts may be contingent
upon action on your part, such as an honest recognition of important
features in your life, or an important adjustment in your lifestyle.
In these cases, the power animal usually doesn't just leave
you guessing... their "clues" are quite clear if we
are honest and brave enough to recognize them. Incidentally,
if you feel silly or unrealistic about asking the power animal
a direct question you will not benefit from their gifts. They
don't question your existence or the importance of your needs;
so don't question their reality or remarkable abilities.
(5) Try mimicking the power animal
for clarification. If the reason for the power animal visiting
you remains unclear, try mimicking the power animal. Spend some
time alone and try to become the power animal. Try visualizing
yourself as running like a deer, stalking prey, swimming through
the sea, or flying like the power animal. Don't
just visualize the power animal... visualize yourself as being
the power animal. In such states you are frequently better equipped
to understand the gifts, strengths or abilities that the power
animal is there to share. This is also the first step in shapeshifting,
so don't be startled if your visualization becomes extremely
real. The more real your visualization, the easier it is to
assume the strengths and abilities of your power animal.
Saying Goodbye to Your Power Animal
Power animals will come and go in
our lives. We may have more than one, many or a few, at any
one time. Some may stay with us most or all of our lives. The
paths of these remarkable animals may follow ours for a long
time, or may cross ours just briefly, just long enough to share
their special gifts of the Spirit with us. Under any circumstances,
however, the Spirit sends us these friends in many forms to
care for and help in our walk along the path he has set for
us. Whenever we receive aid from a power animal, never neglect
to offer gifts or extend your appreciation in appropriate form,
such as food or shelter for these wonderful animals that have
so willingly carried the gifts
of the Spirit to us. And above all, never neglect to extend
your thanks in prayer and action to the one who has caused our
paths to cross: the Spirit.
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