Totem Animals

Page 191

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By Advent

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 them.
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 Animal
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 tailfeathers. 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
power animals:

(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

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.

Libraries are on this row
INDEX Page 1
(Divination & Dreams, Guides & Spirit Helpers)
INDEX Page 2
INDEX Page 3
(Main Section, Medicine Wheel, Native Languages & Nations, Symbology)
INDEX Page 4
(Myth & Lore)
INDEX Page 5
(Sacred Feminine & Masculine, Stones & Minerals)
INDEX Page 6
(Spiritual Development)
INDEX Page 7
(Totem Animals)
INDEX Page 8
(Tools & Crafts. Copyrights)

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