Tag Archives: shamanism

Shamanism #5: The Five Elements

“In nearly every indigenous culture on Earth, all of life is thought to be made up of a handful of elements. Depending on where you get your information, there are either four or five of these sacred building blocks of creation, each carrying their own innate wisdom. In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), the elements are wood, fire, metal, earth, and water. In medieval alchemy, it was thought that four elements- earth, water, air, and fire, were the main players in every process on the planet. Many shamanic traditions, including modern New Age philosophy, have added a fifth element, Spirit (also called ether), to the alchemical collection, and we will explore these components here.

Our ancestors tapped into these elements for everything in life- nourishment, inspiration, knowledge, surrender, and empowerment. These five energies were essential to living in harmony and balance with all that is, and were considered the main “food groups” of daily existence. Our physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual bodies are constantly being fed and supported by these elements, whether we are aware of them or not. Over the centuries, we have lost touch with the delicate frequencies of the five elements, and our relationship to them. Each one brings its own wisdom and intuition.

A quick note: this is the Western 5-element theory, which isn’t to be confused with the Eastern or TCM 5-element theory.

The fluid movements of water invite us into a place of creativity and surrender. Water does not get stuck on problems, but simply flows around them, finding a new path. This element works with our bodies to provide hydration, nourishment, and lubrication, and aids in physical movement, alertness, digestion, and detoxification. Water washes away what is no longer needed in the moment, and does not stop to second-guess its own power. In ceremony, water is used to bless, purify, and cleanse.

2. AIR
The air element is ripe with inspiration (a word that shares an origin with “to breathe”) and life force energy. Air moves in to blow away the dust, create change, and ignite our intellect. We can work with the air element with our own breath, inviting fresh, cleansing air to infuse our cells, awaken our minds, and move oxygen into our blood. Air is invigorating and clarifying, and provides the buoyancy for birds and other spirit messengers to travel and deliver their wisdom.

Hot and bright, the fire element is all about bringing the light where there is none. Fire burns with intense energy, warming our hearts and souls, in a flame of hope and action. The sun is a classic example of fire energy, rising and setting each day in a sacred cycle that reminds us of optimism and new beginnings. Fire is powerfully transformative- burning away the old to create space for the new, and calls us to keep our inner purpose burning bright. In ritual, fire is thought to cleanse the soul, as well as deliver prayers to the Heavens.

The grounded and stable earth element is the embodiment of our Pacha Mama’s (Earth Mother) wisdom. The earth provides nourishment, safety, security, and a place in which to sow our seeds of manifestation. We experience this element in the bounty of fruit, flowers, herbs, roots, and vegetables, as well as through the vibrations of crystals, minerals, and stones. The element of earth is protective and empowering, and is important for our survival.

The most ethereal of elements, pure Spirit is what gives the life force energy to all that we experience. This element weaves through every fiber of the natural world, infusing everything with a living vibration, an active aspect of the Divine. Pure Spirit is what animates the other elements, and forms our connection to the Universe. It is representative of the invisible thread that holds our existence together.

There are a lot of ways that you can work with the wisdom of the five elements.”

Source: https://www.abrighterwild.com/blog/an-intro-to-the-five-elements

Spirirual Laws #10: Divine Oneness

“The Law of Divine Oneness is the foundational law, according to which absolutely everything in our universe is interconnected. In other words, every choice, word, desire, and belief you have will also have an impact on the world, and on the people in your life.

Sometimes this impact will be immediate and obvious. At other times, it may take a while to manifest, or you may never even discover that it has occurred. Try to think of yourself as part of everything around you to live in accordance with this law. We are all one, and awareness of this makes us more powerful as well as more empathetic.”

Source: https://www.thelawofattraction.com/12-spiritual-laws-universe/

According To Shamans Of The Andes, We Come Into The World With Two Books

“According to the shamans of the Andes, we come into the world with two books:

One golden and one silver book.

The silver book is already written, but the golden book is empty.

We spend a large part of our lives studying, editing, and following the written book; living according to what is written within its pages.

But the myth says, that there comes a time in each of our lives, when we must put away the silver book and begin to fill our own book:

Your golden book! A script for YOUR life.

You have to stop following the stories and dreams of other people and start writing your own story. The story of your life, your own life-script!

This is the moment when you start to take responsibility for what happens in your world, you cease to be just a seeker, and you become the one that brings truth into the world!

In our modern, western society, we have forgotten the rites of passage that used to tell us when it was time to put away one book and pick up the new one.

We no longer have elders to show us how to write our own golden book…how to make our story a reality…

…and so, it happens that instead of making our own dream come true, we spend our lives trapped in someone else’s dream.

In a state that the shamans call the ‘collective nightmare.’”

Source: Email Newsletter

Spiritual Laws #6: Perpetual Transmutation Of Energy

“The Law of Perpetual Transmutation of Energy states that everything around us is in constant flux. You can’t see all of these changes because many of them exist at the cellular or atomic level, but they carry on regardless.

The reason that it’s so important to be aware of this Law is that it helps you see how you can trigger positive change. Specifically, keep in mind that high vibrations can trigger improvements in low vibrations. For example, if you’re vibrating at a low frequency, exposing yourself to the high frequency of a happy, encouraging friend will naturally trigger energy transmutation in you.”

Source: https://www.thelawofattraction.com/12-spiritual-laws-universe/

Guest Post: Practising Shamanism During Covid-19

This is a guest post by shamanic practitioner Nick Levitt.

If you’d like to guest post feel free to connect by going to the blog’s connect page.

I have been a shamanic practitioner for nearly 20 years. I have absorbed many teachings from indigenous shamans, in several countries, as well as from ‘modern’ western teachers and

Currently, I wake up wondering what the day will bring: what changes of freedom, what restrictions on movement, socialising, working and living (as we knew it) may be presented to us.

Not only is Covid dominating our intercourse, but Brexit has slipped into action under it’s’ cape, with little comment or objection, and will affect may many lives socially, economically and spiritually.

This is a time of what is labelled as ‘turmoil’ and chaos. A time of strife and for many a time of a fight for pure survival, and subsequently a time of global panic. It is true that, despite some serious conflicts across the world during my lifetime, the world has not seen such a global threat to humanity. Why? Not because of Covid 19, but because the unsustainable, weak, short-
sighted foundations that have beencreated by the ignorance of our global ‘leaders’ for decades.

Those who have allowed ego and self-importance to mean they put their needs (both political and personal) first. Allowing money making and short sited vision to be the basis of the policies made. We have clung to notions of economy and consumption, repeating destructive patterns that we have been handed again and again. Patterns tied to economy, lack of respect for the planet and peoples of all nations across the planet. But it still feels like our politicians want us to
go back to ‘normal’. But we know ‘normal’ has not supported the greater community of humans and ‘all our relations’ the plants animals and land of our mother earth. It is clear that, during this ‘pandemic’, we have been experiencing a bombardment of signs from Mother Earth, making her voice heard, showing us, the obvious lessons we have ignored, if we do not nourish her, she cannot nourish us. This pandemic is, in the great scheme of things, only a wee nudge, a reminder, along with the climate change catastrophes the world over, of what will happen if we do not stop, take stock, and change our path of self-destruction.

The word ‘extinction’ is now being freely used by scientists and politicians alike to describe the current threat to our planet. But with this comes a sense of fear and powerlessness. So how do we move forward and bring about change?

What we need now is collective bravery.

This is an opportunity to change, to capture this moment. We are in the middle of a seismic shift, a change of paradigm, a change of our values, a change in our models of existence, a change of our capitalist structures, a change of our very humanity, that has not coincidently collided with the pandemic.

We are being asked to wake up and partake, to join the change, to join Spirit, join infinity, join the invisible forces that shape our existence to model a more sustainable and nourishing future. This is the challenge! None of these changes can happen without Intent. Intent, the massively powerful energy that exists within Spirit. It is our intent that moves energy, intent that creates change. Intent is not a thought, but a force of invisible energy that interacts with Spirit. The underlying conduit of our collective dream. Voicing our intent to the universe, voicing our intent of positivity and hope, however hard and contradictory to our current challenges, is this maybe the way? The way we that we can help steer the change to a way of living with love and respect for all humanity and love and respect for the planet that enables our existence.

We need to make a statement with action, make our voices heard, send our arrows of intent to the universe, let Spirit hear us and feel us. Is this the way to help our brothers and sisters on a universal level, one more arrow of hope?

The dilemma we have is how to engage those who have lost loved ones or who are ‘witness’ to suffering, physical, mental and financial.

“Change is neutral” I heard an elder say, “change is there for us to hold and flow with not against”, this is also my belief and I try to absorb and adhere to this philosophy; but I ask how do I convince someone who is struggling to survive, to ‘go with the flow’ of positive change? How do I present this knowledge and portray positivity and hope?

How does the family who cannot eat or cannot even see their families to support them react to this overwhelming information and how do they believe or even have time to consider that we collectively can affect the future in a positive way? I am blessed with my family’s health, blessed with space around me in nature, blessed to be able to feed and educate those around me, so I can at least begin to absorb the myriad of information coming from the wisdom and knowledge of the world of Shamanic Elders. But how do I support those less fortunate?

I was told many years ago that my path was not to withdraw from the everyday western world’ and practice shamanism in a bubble, but to embrace the world I lived in, by bringing the healing methodologies I had been taught, into my community, into my work practice and beyond, that is practicing shamanism!

So, Shamanism has become to me, not just a healing methodology, but an attitude, a way of living, a way of communicating with those around me, a link and a marriage to nature and all that nature gives us; a practice of ceremony and rituals of celebration, that send prayers and intent across the sacred bridge, to meet my spirit guides and teachers to spread hope and optimism.

But most of all, it is a responsibility to use my intent for hope, to represent those who are locked in a struggle and cannot muster the energy to make their ‘arrows’ of intent.

So, I feel that those of us who can, must draw the bow for those that cannot and send those arrows of intent, to step forward and walk a path of strength and love and to create the web of

In the current circumstances, it seems ever more important, that I look at my fellow humans with respect and try not to judge those whose opinions maybe differ and do not fall within step to my
own. To look at their purity not at their darkness, to offer light and love to support them and in parallel to mother nature as she instigates the changes that are happening and that will happen in the future. To swim with the tide and not fight against it.

Some might perceive we are walking on a path of darkness for some time, but this path will only lead to an explosion of light and to a new humanity of love, if we will it, walk it, dream it and allow it to be so.

Nick Levitt
Shamanic Practioner

Find more about Nick here:

Sacred Trust: https://sacredtrust.org/testimonials/

Email: n.levitt@me.com

Shamanism #2: What Is Shamanism?

Shamanism is an ancient healing tradition and a way of life. It is for us to connect with nature and all of creation. The word shaman originates from the Tungus tribe in Siberia. Anthropologists coined this term and have used it to refer to the spiritual and ceremonial leaders among indigenous cultures worldwide. The word shamanism can be used to describe the ancient spiritual practices of these indigenous cultures. Clearly, the countless similarities between various ancient traditions played a role in the continual generalization of the word.

Over the past few decades, the term “shamanism” has been popularized throughout the western world, especially in new-age circles. Today, it can be difficult to distinguish between traditional forms of shamanism and modernized, often esoteric practices that utilize the term.

One could view shamanism as the universal spiritual wisdom inherent to all indigenous tribes. As all ancient spiritual practices are rooted in nature, shamanism is the method by which we as human beings can strengthen that natural connection.

Source: https://www.shamanism.com/what-is-shamanism

Shamanism #1: Shape-Shifting

The Art of Shapeshifting

“I feel the wind flowing around my wing feathers as I float in the air suspended by the invisible breeze. I look down and see the forest below me, then briefly toward the horizon. I flap my wings a few times, moving into the flow of air and soar even higher! My human body is somewhere, but I pay it no mind right now. My consciousness is here, now, in this other physical being. I am Hawk!”

We hear folk tales and fairy tales that describe how men and women transform into animals or vice-versa. The Frog Prince comes to mind, as does the Irish tale of the Selkie (as in the movie, The Secret of Roan Inish) where a seal comes to the land and shape-shifts into a woman. A young man falls in love with her, hides the sealskin so she won’t be able to return to the sea, and they marry. Yet she pines to return to the sea and eventually finds the hidden skin, puts it around her like a cloak and immediately shape-shifts back to being a seal. Other tales abound of humans who become wolves or other animals, such as werewolves or weretigers—a recent comical version being the Nick Parks movie, Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit.

Children playing will spontaneously growl like a bear, spread their arms as if in flight, or crawl along on the ground lizard-like. As adults we often smile and take delight in observing children in these games, and if we tap into our own inner child we may even join them. We’ll tend to write off this kind of play as childhood imagination. In doing so, however, we denigrate the incredible power of imagination and how it can open up realms that are beyond the usual senses. Consider imagination as extending beyond our immediate physical self and consciousness into the energy field of the world around us and different dimensions and possibilities become available, ones in which we can extend our “self” into.

There are many stories of shamans who have mastered this ability to shift their form and consciousness into animal-beings because they have not limited their imaginative capacity to the degree that those of us in modern civilization have been conditioned. Indigenous peoples not only lived in the natural world but were of it and intimately connected to the earth-beings both physically and spiritually.

Shamans had a particular gift of being able to transit across the usual boundaries of the self by sending their soul (or consciousness) via the shamanic journey into non-ordinary reality. There they would contact various spirit guides, including spirit animals, that assisted them with sustaining their tribe or community by helping them with healing, finding food sources, weather magic, and various other kinds of guidance.

Shamans had a specialized relationship with an animal spirit guide that was their power animal (they often had more than one) that served to guide and protect them in both ordinary and especially non-ordinary reality. They were known to shift their consciousness into the body and being of that animal, sometimes actually becoming the animal while still retaining their primary human consciousness. They would also commonly allow their power animal to cohabit their human form so their power animal could experience what it was like to be human for a while. This mutual arrangement was a way of honoring their power animal and deepening that relationship. The art of shapeshifting was a fact, not merely a theory or fantasy.

With the increasing interest and practice of shamanism in the past few years, more people are learning how to journey and are discovering their power animals. Yet you don’t have to be an expert at shamanic practices to get a sense of what shapeshifing is all about. You just have to be willing to open your mind, heart, and allow your imagination to lead the way.

One simple exercise to try is to call on any animal spirit guide with whom you have an affinity (doesn’t have to be a power animal), sit or lie down, close your eyes, take a couple of deep breaths, and invite this animal spirit to come into your body and consciousness. Notice how you feel. Can you feel the fur, feathers, or skin of the animal? Can you see with their eyes? Hear with their eyes? Any emotions come up? Just simply observe all of this for just a few minutes, then thank the spirit animal and release them.

The power of imagination is limitless and is what will help us remember our forgotten intimacy with all of life here on earth. Shapeshifting to any degree is one way to help us rediscover that memory at a very profound level.”

Source: https://drstevenfarmer.com/the-art-of-shapeshifting-2/

All About Animal Spirit Guides & Totem Animals

“Some people talk to animals. Not many listen though. That’s the problem.” ~ A.A. Milne

“Just about every day someone asks, “What is a Spirit Animal?” While it’s easy to simply reply, “The animal spirit you are inside” that’s not necessarily accurate.

This article gives history, definitions, and ideas from around the globe. No one way of thinking is right or wrong. If you truly want to work with your animal allies, you’ll gather all the wisdom and use the bits that most speak to you as you need them.

Depending on the culture, you might hear or read the terms Spirit, Totem, or Power Animal. Each means mostly the same thing. However, here at WhatIsMySpiritAnimal.com I ‘categorize’ and further define the terms only for the purposes of making it easier to work with the energies and medicine of each.

My way is not the only way or even the ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ way. It’s just the way I’ve ‘invented’ through my 20-plus years of teaching Shamanism, Psychic Development, Tarot Reading, and working with Spirit, Totem, and Power Animal energy and medicine.

The short definitions are here and the expanded Spirit, Totem, Power Animal definitions are below so keep scrolling! You’ll be glad you did!

Spirit Animals are animal spirit guides who appear when we need love, strength, support, inspiration, and guidance.

The Totem Animal is who you ‘are’.

The Power Animal is a spiritual energy that you call on from within or invoke for assistance in a specific situation. You can ask this energy to stay ignited in you for your whole life or only in certain circumstances. We are all connected. We share so many DNA pairings with plants and animals that you really ‘are’ a Mammal, Insect, Bird, Fish, Reptile, Amphibian, Fish, and Crustacean! So, when invoke or call on from within means a literal re-awakening of a part of your ‘self’ that has been lying dormant or has been injured and needs healing.

So, what exactly is a Spirit Animal and how do we work with it effectively?

Even Einstein felt that God revealed itself in both man and animal. That’s a pretty good letter of reference.

Your Spirit Animal will present to you during the times when you consciously call on it and during times when your conscious mind is not aware of what you need but your soul is. By way of example, perhaps you keep seeing Butterflies in the oddest places. And you want to leave a toxic relationship or job but just don’t know how or are afraid to make the necessary changes. Butterfly teaches us that it’s OK to live in the dark (cocoon) before transforming into a ‘place’ of beauty. Butterfly says you’ll be OK when you make the transition and allow metamorphosis in your life. Just one animal can appear in a dream, on TV, in songs, in art, et al or it can be many. The animal spirits know what to do and when to do it.

Can a Spirit Animal Be a Human

Humans are technically animals so, yes. I believe humans can be a Spirit Animal

You know that guy or girl who helps you change a flat tire? Spirit Animals are somewhat like that. It (s/he) has come into your life to fix, encourage, teach or offer perspective on something. This is typically a short-lived relationship. Once the Animal Guide’s work is done they move on but they can and do come back whenever you need assistance. In the case of issues that last for months or even years, a person may come into a deeper relationship with the Spirit Animal knowing it is behind life’s stage cueing you with information and suggestions.

Because life has many phases, occasions, transformations, tasks and proverbial journeys, you can or might encounter more than one Spirit Animal in your lifetime. How many? That depends a lot on how open and aware you are. A Spirit Animal will try and capture your attention, but if you brush off all those signals as happenstance the Guide won’t hang around waiting for you to answer, as they say, the clue phone.

How does an Animal Spirit make itself known?

In any number of ways including:

-Encounters, particularly in odd places
-Images during meditation
-Pictures on advertisements, products etc.
-Sense cues (hearing, smell, taste, touch, psychic impression)

Starting with dreams this one is pretty forthright. If you dream of the animal, again and again, there’s something to it. Perhaps the creature actually conveys a message to you in the dream. Now that’s a truly fortunate experience as it leaves little doubt. It is important to remember that Spirit Animals may use non-verbal communication like body language, facial expressions, etc. in order to get their point across. Take notes when you wake up so you can think about the entirety of your experience compared to your waking reality.

Depending on the Spirit Animal there may be moments when their earthly visage appears in your life. Bird Guides, Dog Teachers, Gopher Allies – these critters can help your Spirit Animal say hello. A Bird of the same species might land near you with an expectant song, or fly by your window several times. A strange Dog might sit at your feet and gaze upward, or perhaps you see several dogs in one day in peculiar settings. The Gopher might keep digging up those Magnolias until you accept the “hello” it offers. Balancing that it is highly unlikely that you will run across a stray Tiger or Monkey any time soon.

Also a word of warning. If you have a Bear totem do not go merrily hiking out in the woods hoping to find the earth-bound brother of your Spirit Animal. This is a recipe for disaster. Wild animals are called WILD for a reason. Matters of spirituality require some common sense too! You know how all warnings on labels come from someone having done something ‘not smart’? Well there’s a reason I caution about traipsing out in the wild to encounter your Spirit Animal. LOL Just be careful!

If you are meditating and a picture begins to form of an animal that’s a pretty good indicator. It may not be like a photograph. Sometimes the images are smoky or a little incomplete. That’s not a bad omen, it just has to do with human psychology and how we handle unexpected spiritual matters.

Our world is filled with imagery. Say you turn on the TV and see a show that has a Wolf in it. Then you see a magazine ad featuring a Wolf. Next, you’re browsing “miss you” cards for a friend, and there again Wolf stares at you with those engaging eyes. Time to get your howl on and ponder the meaning of Wolf in your life.

What about 6 Sense cues? These are a little tougher. Take smell, for example. Except when you are dealing with a fragrant Animal Spirit like a Skunk who would know? Alternatively, maybe it is the smell of a plant like lavender that keeps lingering nearby. Lavender attracts Bees and Butterflies so you have a starting point. Some folks are a little off-put with the idea of an Insect Animal Spirit, but these little critters have a lot of sound Medicine.

How to Understand Your Spirit Animal’s Message

The message from Animal Spirits is highly personal. We begin with what we think of immediately when that creature comes to mind. If you associate Lion with its roar, then maybe the message here has to do with communication and using your voice. Or, if Crow has come into your awareness and you deem it a negative sign, then move to the next question. What plans or activities are going in which you need heightened awareness and protection?

If the Animal Spirit is unfamiliar to you, then seek out a guide that shares the symbolism, meaning, folklore, religious connotations etc. of that creature. Nearly every Spirit Animal has an underlying theme along with other secondary energies. Take Shark Spirit. The keynotes of Shark are strength and survival. Do either of those strike a chord based on your current circumstances? If not, dig a little deeper. Shark has ties to the Water Element (our emotional nature), adaptability, intuition and personal power.

No matter what, these two steps are those that most people take when first encountering a new Spirit Animal. If after this you find you’re still having a disconnect try mimicking the animal in dance, meditating, reading about it, etc.

Once you figure out your Animal Spirit’s message what you do with it is truly in your court now. What’s happening may work itself out quickly or slowly. You may choose to act immediately, ponder or wait a while. Situations may shift and change showing another lesson from your current Spirit Animal altogether.

Some things to remember about your Spirit Animals

A Spirit Animal may return to you on more than one occasion increasing your rapport.

If a Spirit Animal’s presence seems to disappear before matters are tied up, ask yourself if you have done something that implies disrespect or a lack of appreciation? There are ways of mending errors, but first you have to figure out exactly what that was. Alternatively, a Spirit Animal may leave in order for another Guide, better suited to this moment, to enter the picture. i.e. the initial Spirit Animal has done all it can. You need a different type of help.

You may get seasonal Spirit Animals that guide you through that cycles energies. An example would be a baby Bunny in Spring, a Badger in Summer, a Whitetail Deer in Fall and a Penguin in Winter.

There is not always a dire reason for a Spirit Animals’ visit. Sometimes they may swing by on a special occasion like your birthday just to say hi and bring more positive energy into that moment.

Spirit Animals can, and often do, work cooperatively. A good illustration of this is when a Priest or Priestess invokes a sacred circle calling on four Animal Protectors in each of the four corners. The Priest or Priestess develops contact with these Beings beforehand, and they freely agree to the situation. Now, we have to be smart here. Don’t put Cat Spirit near Fish Spirit or Bird Spirit. Even in their magical forms, the underlying nature of our Animal Guides remains. We must honor that accordingly.

There may be times when more than one Spirit Animal is “in the house” so now you have a sticky wicket. They each may have messages that you need now or maybe combining energies for a more complex lesson. Take a Frog and a Dove as a 1-2 punch for an illustration. The Frog speaks to you about your words, while the Dove symbolizes peace. So, watch the way you communicate. Move gently, maintaining accord as best you can in order to reach a resolution. In any case, there is no hard and fast rule that you can have only one Spirit Animal Guide at any given time.

Totem Animal Definition

Totemic beliefs appear around the world. However, there are two types of Totemism – one that’s individualistic and one that’s related to a group. Totemism is not considered a religion perse, even though elements of religion, like ritual, take place. And Totemism is not Ancestor Worship.

Group Totemism:

Group Totemism has several features. It collectively recognizes an animal, plant or phenomena as important to a family, hereditary line, tribe or clan. This association between the group and the Totem may go as deep as believing that Totem is an ancient ancestor to all people within that family or community, akin to a great, great, great, great (maybe 15 more greats?) Grandmother or Grandfather. An ancestor may have a key role in Creation myths too.

Overall, the group will describe the Totem as having magical powers, particularly those of protection and assistance. It may also have shapeshifting abilities, often turning into a human visage. This mystical energy is the reason for showing the Totem respect.

Totemism goes further in that there are symbols and taboos often associated with the Totem (such as “no harm”). The Group Totem has myths and observances tied to it. The consistency of these beliefs creates communal bonds that support the whole group in a vision, behaviors and activities. We can find examples of group totemism in areas as far separated as Australia (Aborigines), the Northwest Coast in the US (Tribes and fishermen), Africa and Oceana.

Individual Totemism

Individual Totemism is where we see the modern reawakening of intimate spiritual Animal connections expressed more clearly. A person believes that an animal or natural object gives them power. This Totem becomes part of the ego through a bond that likely begins before birth as if it there is a soul contract between the Totem and the human to work in tandem. For instance, all my life I’ve been obsessed with Bears. Long before I knew anything about Shamanism, Spirit, Totem, and Power Animals, or even metaphysics I LOVED BEARS! Then, one day, I discovered that my name “Bernadette” is the feminine of the male French name “Bernard” – which means ‘brave, strong bear’! It was an incredible moment in my life! At that second I knew I was one with Bear! I kind of even look like Bear and have many similar personality traits and characteristics. I’m funny and always want to play. But when you threaten my home or the ones I love I am a protector. Oh, and I crave sweets! LOL

The Aztec described this as a hidden simultaneous existence between the person and their Birth Totem. This magical creature was important to Chiefs, Medicine men and Shamans as it delineated not only their status but also skills and virtue. The phrase “clothing makes the man” comes to mind. We are the clothing – a partner with the Totem within. Make mine tweed, please!

Among the Aboriginal people of Australia, the mother transmits a Totem to the child, considered a spirit companion within. It is prohibited to eat of that creature because it would be akin to eating your own flesh and blood. Provided the Totem has not been insulted in any way, it will guard a person during sleep and ritual. For the Shaman the Totem can also move into other realms capturing important tribal information. There is also a lovely tradition here of “singing” in the Totem. Performed by an elder Medicine Man, the song helps the energy sink into a youth. Afterwards, there are lessons on how to treat this new companion.

In New Guinea children can choose between the totems of their mother or father upon initiation into adulthood. Malaysian lore says that a person dreams of an Ancestor who introduces the Totem and even reveals its name. A belief in India says that a person my have physical similarities to their Totem and in Liberia, the Totem is a “thing of birth” (an alter ego) that acts as a guide and protector.

One key commonality in Totemism is that one does not “choose” a Totem. It chooses you and reveals itself in due time. Sorry readers, we cannot all be glorious Horse, Eagle, Dolphin or Lizard. In truth that would be very boring. As a person becomes more aware of this cooperative relationship, a greater understanding of the Totem, its qualities and characteristics develop. The personal connection to that inner Animal Wisdom is truly sacred.

Power Animal Definition

The definition of Power Animal is sketchy from a global standpoint. Some Shamanic societies see the Power Animal as a guide who protects individuals. From our perspective, this applies to a Spirit Animal too. Going one step further we have beliefs that say the Power Animal has a symbiotic connection to the human that defines the quality, character and power in one’s life akin to a Totem.

The Power Animal may infuse your spirit with its energy through dreams, during meditation or in physical form. The gifts a Power Animal manifests comes directly from their natural symbolism and meaning. More importantly, you can become, shapeshift, or metapmorphosize into the animal of your choosing.

So, let’s say you need patience. You might invoke ‘Stick Insect energy’ go to give you the strength to sit perfectly still until just the right moment. And, when the time is right, the Stick Insect can help you make the giant leap you’ve been planning to take! Or maybe you are afraid to have children but do want them. The teachings of Cow can be a great helpmate. You can literally tap into, call forth, or invoke all the Cow’s maternal instincts to help you work through your fears and become a great mommma. These are just two examples and the possibilities are endless!

Shamans and wise people tell us that honoring our Power Animal is very important. That particular piece of advice resonates across the Animal Spirit realm. Gratitude is the name of the game, especially if one has asked a favor of the Power Animal, and it is certainly one with which modern seekers agree. The thoughtful act of thanks also builds a greater understanding of the Power Animal beyond what we might simply assume.

The Attitude of Gratitude
Even though your time with a Spirit Animal may be fleeting being thankful for its help is very important. Just as you shouldn’t let kind gestures between people go by without notice, your Spirit Animal offers you a great gift. Hold it in your heart as a cherished treasure.

Look for ways to give back.

Spirit, Totem, & Power Animal History

When we speak of Spirit Animals it’s necessary to look at our Animistic roots as human beings. Animism takes its name from a Latin term that literally means “life breath”. In this worldview, everything has a spirit or ‘soul’ – from rocks and trees to animals, insects and stars (although we might make an exception for mosquitoes LOL).

Studying this vantage point it becomes clear that our most ancient ancestors laid the foundation of what could be called the “supernatural” or a ‘spiritual world’ throughout indigenous cultures. More interesting still is that the notion of a living universe felt so natural that some languages don’t even have a word describing this concept (let alone “religion”). It was as ordinary and usual as eating and sleeping, which really sets Animism apart from many modern attitudes that say humans have dominion over nature. Hint: nature is going to win.

At its foundations, Animism tells us that all phenomena we experience has an agency or force behind it. There was no separation between the mundane and spiritual, the physical and natural. Eventually the myths and folktales of the world reflected this abstract belief, and kept those stories alive through oral tradition. Hence, here come the “bards”, record keepers and historians who played a vital role. They gave us a peek into a culture and setting that otherwise may have disappeared.

Bouncing off of Animism, the notion of Spirit Animal helpers seems completely intuitive. In more modern times we have the terms “Spirit Animal”, “Totem Animal” and “Power Animal”. These descriptions have mixed and mingled into one homogeneous, confusing tangle that we have to unravel.

No matter the phrase, Spirit Animals are the ‘souls’ of animals on the other side – the ‘other side’ being the realm of the Great Spirit, Force, the Universe, God, the Great Mystery, angelic realms, et al. The idea is these animal spirits are our allies. They appear when we need them most to offer love, support, warnings, protection, teachings, and inspiration.”

Source: https://whatismyspiritanimal.com/animal-spirit-guides/what-is-a-spirit-animal-and-whats-the-difference-between-a-spirit-animal-vs-totem-vs-power-animal/

Soul Loss – Loss Of Our Light

“At some point we may also experience trauma and difficult situations that we find hard to cope with. These situations affect each of us differently. Some may be severely impacted by what others may deem insignificant. Even our mind may judge us for the way we react to an
event. It may say, “Don’t be ridiculous, this is a small thing compared to what other people are going through.” No matter what the mind thinks, it is important to acknowledge all the
situations we find hard to cope with. When we do not acknowledge the pain, a numbing or freezing can take place within us.

In some shocking situations our only option may be to freeze and we may not be able to express our feelings because the trauma is too overwhelming and we do not feel supported enough to express ourselves. Or, it may be too dangerous for us to do so, for example, in abusive relationships. Sometimes after a traumatic event, or even regular exposure to stressful situations, we may
lose interest in life, lose our ability to feel joy and be spontaneous, and be unable to change our circumstances. When this happens we may become like an automaton. Some part of us,
the inner sparkle, has dimmed. In shamanism we say that life has become too difficult and part of our soul, our light, has switched off or withdrawn. In indigenous traditions this is called
‘soul loss.’

Part of our soul has left the body because life or the situation was too hard, and that soul part
did not want to be there. The part that leaves can be ‘frozen in time,’ remaining stuck at the age when the trauma took place, while the rest of our soul goes on with life. In other
situations, such as co-dependent or abusive relationships, part of our soul may be attached to another person, or alternatively, we may carry part of someone else’s soul.”

Source: The School Of ISIS December Newsletter


Any religion similar to Asian shamanism (especially as practiced by certain Native American tribes). A basic principle of shamanism is the belief that everything has a spirit and is alive. The tree has a spirit, the rock has a spirit, my drum has a spirit, and yes, even this computer has a spirit. If everything has a spirit and is alive, we humans then find ourselves in a position of equality rather than dominance. If you follow this logic, you begin to realize that shamanism is a radical act. Shamans don’t follow the laws of man; they follow the laws of spirits. They don’t dominate the earth and its creatures; they strive to live in harmony and balance.