Re: Power Animals

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Donata
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Re: Power Animals

Postby Donata » 17 Mar 2007, 14:42

http://www.rjstewart.org/blessbeasts.html

This is an excellent article by R.J. Stewart on our relationship to power animals. need for respect, etc. It's long, but very worth reading! It has much to think about, and perhaps discuss. Here's one from it: why doesn't anyone have a gerbil as a power animal?

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Last edited by Donata on 20 Mar 2007, 15:20, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby scopulus » 17 Mar 2007, 16:05

havent read this before yet.
Thank very much Donata.
I am still in search of my totemanimal.... cant seem to be sure if the one I got now is the one for me or a poweranimal.
In time and with help I will figure it out I believe.

Warmest regards.
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Yet ... they have a subtle magic in them.

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Postby Rocas Faol 777 » 20 Mar 2007, 07:40

Greetings


This is an excellent article Donata!  This is one of the most honest and intuitive discussions on the topic that I think I have ever read.  Anyone wanting to work with animal Spirits should read this article or be given a similar discussion by their teachers or guides.  It is too late to respond in detail now; I just wanted to let you know I appreciated it right away!  I about died when I read the line "Why does no one have the gerbil?”.  I will explain later--I will be back...




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Postby Rocas Faol 777 » 20 Mar 2007, 19:22

Greetings


Before I go any further, I just wanted to say that what follows are my own opinions and ideas based on what I have observed and learned.  Feel free to share your own.

First, I just wanted to share one of the things that was truly amusing to me.  In the article, Mr. Stuart asks the question why no one has the gerbil, and while I have to honestly say he has a point, that is not why this question was so amusing for me.

My wife recently brought home the newest addition to our family, a white gerbil with red eyes (no, that does not mean she is albino--she is not), and I have been smitten.  I have never had any rodentia before, so I was quite amazed by how quickly I became attached to her and watching her antics.  I named her Sara, short for Sarangerel--which in Mongolian custom would be an appropriate name for the little lady (it means Starlight).  Gerbils are from Mongolia, so the first name that popped into my head to fit the spirit of this creature that had found me, Gwenhwyfar, would not fit her heritage.  And so, knowing nothing of rodent companions, and sadly nothing about Mongolian customs, I read and questioned those who did until I learned her name.

Well, if I had any doubt of it, my daughter made good Sarangerel’s escape the other morning, and we also have two cats.  About an hour later, an odd feeling settled over me and I was calmed; I was no longer freaking out because this new little love that had found me was gone.  Even though I was still saddened, I started to pick up the mess that had been made of her cage.  As I did so, Sarangerel snuck out of hiding under my entertainment center, walked right up to me when I "clicked" my tongue at her (as I had already been training her to do--they are very smart) and kissed my hand.  I held it out to her; she climbed in and curled up, allowing me to restore her home and her to it.

Now I know I am rambling a bit, but the point of this story is that even if you cannot see the lessons, I have learned many from Sara in the past week.  I know that the Gerbil Spirit is working in my life--at least for right now.  Unwanted, unasked-for, and most importantly unlooked-for, Sarangerel has found me and settled herself into my life and family.  It has been so long since a wholly new "type" of animal spirit has entered my life and began to work that I had almost forgotten what the experience was like.  It is funny, because I remember the first thought that came to mind when I introduced myself to Sara for the first time was, "I am going to learn a lot from you, I can tell."

Like Mr. Stuart points out, animal Spirits choose to work with you and within your life--you do not choose to work with them unless they wish it.  I personally do not like the term or notion of “power animals” or even totemic animals (the way he refers to them being used--I agree on that level).  I also prefer referring to them as animal Spirits, though I often slip into the incorrect use of the term totem because--as he points out--it has become integrated into our society and can be easier to grasp for some than “animal spirit”.

To provide a little insight from my own personal book, there is a difference (for me at least) between totemic animals and animal spirits.  The way I look at it is simple; totemic animals are those animal spirits that most strongly attach themselves to you, often from birth, and become aspects of one’s personality and being while animal spirits are the actual spiritual representation/manifestation of the creature.  Totems can be determined by one’s self, but often are discovered by someone knowledgeable in animal and spirit lore while observing the individual in question (or by another method).  If you fear biasing your decisions based on what you want or think you need (as R.J. discusses in the section The Power of the Toad) then it is best to have a knowledgeable individual study you, if you really have to know in the first place.  I only know mine because it was part of my study and training in Native American shamanism.

Animal Spirits on the other hand may be called upon and worked with (if the spirit of the particular animal is willing), but they do not “belong” to the person they are working with, nor do they necessarily stay with the individual or integrate themselves into the individual’s being and life for any given length of time.  Totems are representations of the characteristics of certain aspects of the animal’s Spirit whereas the Spirit of the animal itself is an entirely different thing altogether.  Like any living thing, they make their own choices.

I will share my “polar” totems because most of you know one of them, and because it will illustrate the point further.  The totem that is identified most within the male aspect of my personality is Coyote, while my female aspect identifies most with Crow.  There are other totem animals that share their traits with me, but these are the strongest influences, the ones who have been there since birth and will likely remain.  The others are a bit more fluid and changing, as is my personality and very being with its constant growth and flux.  I have often requested and made use of their magic and medicine when it was needed, calling upon the actual Spirits of these creatures because of the aspect of their essence that I share.  Yet like the asterisms of the zodiac, many others share them with me.

Animal Spirits on the other hand, work differently.  For example, unlike most, I struggled for many years AGAINST the Wolf Spirit and its medicine.  I did not want the wolf, but the wolf wanted me.  It was always there, and worked in ways I did not notice, because I did not want to, until years later looking back.  When my son was born, I did not have a choice; the Wolf Spirit took me and began to work more powerfully in my life than any of the others.  Wolf is a teacher, and the first lesson it taught was patience.  I still do not have much, but I had virtually none when I started.  It was the Wolf that guided me, that led me back to the spiritual and personal path of growth I had left mostly behind for several years.  It was the Wolf that I had seen in dreams years before when I was much younger; it was the Wolf that made me tremble then and fear for myself.

And it is the Wolf Spirit now, many years later, that teaches me to not fear those changes I was not ready for then; those lessons it had to share that I was not ready to hear.  All of the Animal Spirits are always there, walking side by side with us, and it is simply a question of when (and sometimes why) they choose to share their medicine with us.

Perhaps the Wolf Spirit will always influence my life till the end.  Perhaps it will teach the lessons it has to teach and then move on--another Spirit taking its place (or maybe not).  Either way, the Wolf Spirit, like any other, shares its medicine in my life for as long as it sees fit, not just when I desire it.  Like the creatures that the Spirits represent, they show themselves to us and make us aware of them for a time, then wander on about their business.  We cannot capture them, tame them, and make them “ours”; we can only share the world with them and learn from the harmony they share with life--in the special way that is unique to each of them.  Pay attention to these beings as they wander about life, intersecting briefly with ours.  Take notice of their relationship with the universe, and pay attention to how we fit into it.

They are our kindred, our brothers and sisters--not our property to be claimed.




Good Hunting

ps. For anyone wondering, my handle online is meant to be an acknowledgement, a measure of respect and admiration for the two Animal Spirits who have influenced my life most profoundly and helped to guide me to who I am--not a claim.
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Postby Wolfwalker » 25 Mar 2007, 03:08

Rocas,
I must agree that wolf, like the bear & cats, tend to chosose their person, much more than the person doing anything that actively or passively leads them to this animal. Remember also, though the wolf is teacher and guardian of the old and tradition, wolf is also the fore-runner and bringer of the new knowledge. In another group which I spend more time in these days than here on OBOD, many friends  refer to me as Wo_Hya rather than the english Wolfwalker... one is an aspect of what I do, where the Cherokee name (as I'm told) refers more to what  am in the group.
Personally I tend to reject that as my other totem & shifting animal is owl, which I see more as my seat of wisdom at times than wolf, but then, perhaps, others see in us what we do not see or perceive. Those my mentor gifted me as medicine animals are all different ones entirely... starting with the southern cottonmouth, which was different enough being from a northern Atlantic tribal heritage, far from anyplace a cotonmouth lives, and I was lifelong in terror of snakes. So much so, that staying on my aunt & uncle's place in KS, I was about ready to climb the side of their house to get away from a garter snake! The others are equally odd, but once meditated on their character and talents, it made perfect sense they shoudl be my medicine companions as wolf already bears it's own strong medicine.  
Be well friend, Peter    :wolfmoon:
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Postby Seeker » 25 Mar 2007, 13:02

Wolfwalker said:
...but then, perhaps, others see in us what we do not see or perceive.
These words hold an immeasurable amount of truth, my friend.

Like you, I am known by two names: "Seeker" to many involved with druidry as it denotes what I do...and the name gifted me by my mentor. I have been named  "Wanbli Wacignuni = Wandering Eagle" because it denotes what I am; having both a spiritual meaning and personal history in my life.

I have been told that Eagle is my Spirit Guide and will remain with me throughout my life though I have been visited by several others as messengers and teachers (owl, coyote and buffalo). My mentor has also told me that I am guided strongly by bear and turtle and two others that surprised me - raven and salmon. This was unexpected.

I had to meditate deeply to understand their significance to my journey...but I am beginning to comprehend.
"Do not seek to follow in the footsteps of the men of old; seek what they sought."
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Postby Motuckquas Cwningen » 27 Mar 2007, 22:28

Great article thank you Donata  :)

I don't know about gerbils but in these days of a certain genre of spiritually interested people being referred to as 'fluffy bunnies' as you know I initially found my name of 'rabbit rabbit' highly embarrassing. :-)

I have had to learn a lot about and from rabbits and hares (the vision I get is a large eared animal which apparently is a Jack Rabbit) to get past the initial interpretation of 'rabbit = fear' although also in some respects that was a lesson for me.  Not fear as being generally a timid person but a fear of being disapproved of, for example, with the Wampanoag word or of being thought pretentious.  All valid lessons rabbit has to teach me and more yet to come I know.  Having said that I don't think I can pick an animal to teach me what I think I need to know.  Rather that I am fortunate when one enters my life to guide me for a while.

I have realised having read the article I do occasionally refer to the animals that have befriended and guided me as 'my' but for me that is not possession other than in a family sense as I refer to my son or my friend.      I don't 'own' them either!

As for 'they chose you'.  Most definately.  Although I have panther and wolf with me currently when I am journeying which some may feel would be an impressive choice of powerful animals I would personally probably have chosen a vegetarian animal .......... a deer or something possibly  :grin:  :-)
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Re

Postby Bman » 16 Jul 2007, 17:27

probably because my power totem would eat him!

but ya its a good book

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Re: Power Animals

Postby Griffin » 23 Sep 2007, 09:46

My first Power Animal came along when I was 7. I was born and brought up in a remote location in the Kenyan Rift Valley, and the one person I remember most from my formative years was a giggling Kikuyu witchdoctor. Mzee, as I called him (meaning Old One and a mark of great respect) would have been a fab model for Rafiki in the Lion King ..... but one day I spoke to him of my desire for an animal companion. I desperately wanted a lion cub, but Mzee stroked his chin in reflection and eventually pronounced that such an animal would not be suitable. I was playing in the garden one day, when out of the forest came a black cat. I always now think of her kind as magician's cats, sleek black coats with white gloved fingers, neat white bib and white whiskers. She stayed with me, real as anything, until we came back to England 4 years later - when, according to friends of my parents, she just melted back into the forest never to be seen again.

Mzee is still one of my Guides, in spirit now, but he appears as one of his previous incarnations - an inscrutable Zulu warrior with leopardskin slung over one shoulder. He says very little, mainly (irritatingly at times) holds up a mirror to me, telling me I know all the answers and I just have to look at what the person / situation I have a problem with is telling me!

So, the years went by and eventually I found myself at an introduction-to-shamanism workshop. We were told how to find our Power Animals by sitting in a place in nature (etc., etc) ... So I sat, and sat, and sat for what seemed ages. I felt at any minute the drum would stop and I would have found nothing. "A failure in this as in everything," I thought, miserably. Suddenly the sky split into fractals of red and blue, and a wonderful scarlet macaw flew in. Landing at my feet he proceeded to take a top hat from under his wing. Plonking it on his head, he winked at me and said, "Please stop taking yourself so Goddam SERIOUSLY!" It was a great lesson that went on for a long time - whenever I got pompous there was the macaw complete with top hat somewhere in the upper left quadrant of my vision. Eventually I christened him "Astaire" and the "Astaire moments" got fewer and eventually stopped. He taught me to fly!

My totem is Wolf - I have a white one with blue eyes .... and over the years I guess I've come to look increasingly like her 'cos I now have a mane of white hair to go with my blue eyes. When we were studying lac lupinum (wolf's milk) at homoeopathy school one of my colleagues confessed she hated blue-eyed wolves and couldn't look at programmes about them because she felt their eyes penetrated her soul ......... and turning to me she said, "I have a problem with you, too, I always have done, because you have the same eyes!" I'm also very much a pathfinder and intensely loyal to my family.

I often shapeshift into Raven when I'm journeying, which is also very apt because Raven is the bringer of magic ... which is what I always endeavour to do in my crafting of sacred objects for people. In my capacity of shamanic practitioner and craftswoman I'm often visited by the Power Animals and Guides of the people I'm working with, which is an amazing privelege.

And - talking of gerbils, or at least "ordinary" animals - I have a Jack Russell terrier as well. He came to me when I was halfway through my shamanic practitioner course, after a soul retrieval in which aspects of my Child returned to me. I had a somewhat dysfunctional childhood of physical, emotional and sexual abuse ... and I always hated dogs. I felt that dogs, with their extra-sensory perception, would be able to tell how dirty I was inside even though I could hide it from people 'cos most people aren't really very aware. At the time (synchronistically) I was working on illustrations of the animal milks as homoeopathic remedies - and I'd started lac caninum (bitch's milk). It's actually an amazing remedy for healing abuse trauma, so I guess I soul retrieved on all levels and in all realities simultaneously. I began to have dreams about a little tri-coloured dog snuggling up to me, and in one journey my Child and I crossed a bridge together. Waiting for us on the other side was this little dog, and my child flung her chubby arms around his neck and proclaimed joyfully that his name was Sandy. Later on in the course we were learning to do psychopomp work, and were given the task of journeying to find an ally to help us in that. I found myself in the Void, and looked around for a while expecting a physically big ally - and eventually heard a voice near my ankles saying impatiently, "I'm here, stop wasting time, you know how to do this anyway, let's get on with it!" Of course, it was Sandy the Jack Russell.

And Griffin? Griffin is my Guide. I met her when I started my Ovate Grade - that journey to find a Guide to help us through the course. I journeyed into a wonderful grove of beech trees, in spring green with rays of sunlight piercing the canopies of the trees. In the clearing was a griffin. I was expecting a Guide in human form, probably Druidic human, and I couldn't find any further path out of the beech grove to lead me to one, so I courteously bowed to the Griffin - and left. This went on, over and over, about 6 times before I twigged ....... by this time the Griffin was lying down, resting her head on crossed front legs and looking bored. Eventually I turned and looked at her and said, "It's YOU, isn't it? YOU are my Guide?!" - and got laughed at / with for my slow comprehension. She gave me my name, perching spectacles on her beak and reading it from a scroll she produced from under an armpit.

Anyway, here endeth my first posting - and what a lovely topic!

Blessings of Alban Elfed,

Chris /l\

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Re: Power Animals

Postby Blackswan » 28 Sep 2007, 20:32

I am going to follow with a post as well then. Because this seems to be the wolf thread. It might be rambling and ranting and not really make much sense but anyway.
Wolf took care of me always.
Wolf guided my way when I fled to the forests.
Wolf showed me what was good to eat.
Wolf howled with sorrow when I would not let it protect me.
Wolf welcomed me without reproach when I fled back to it.
Wolf bit into my neck when I grew to red riding hood age.
Wolf always demanded the best from me.
Wolf never demanded more from me than I was capable of.
Wolf always consoled me.
Wolf taught me to be cautious.
Wolf was always faithful.
Wolf was always patient.
Wolf was always rigidly honourable.
Wolf held me to my vows and promises.
Wolf always loved me.
Wolf is now trying to teach me how to trust.
Wolf is trying to learn me how to find my pack and family.
I owe wolf so much, but somewhere along the line...
I guess I became the she-wolf.
I am very grateful for that.

... um.
Just wanted to say that.
:roll:

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Re: Power Animals

Postby Griffin » 28 Sep 2007, 23:27

Oh, that is simply fabulous and SO moving!

Thank you for your words.

Blessings /l\

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Re: Power Animals

Postby Wulfgar_Shadowpaw » 30 Sep 2007, 05:01

Hey all,

Well, I personally believe is that not only is my totem animal a wolf, but that the wolf is part of my soul, my being, who I am. There is a bit of fox in there too (I reckon 40% Human, 40% Wolf, 20% Fox). I am what most people would call a 'Furry' or a 'Therian' (And I am an active member in the Furry Fandom). There any many, many reasons for this, and to be honest, i can't be bothered to go into them, but if you wish to know, ask ^_^

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I see through the eyes of the wolf, and feed on it's pain and lonliness

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Re: Power Animals

Postby scopulus » 08 Oct 2007, 05:17

Wulfgar,
I am not sure how you think of being wolf and fox. If you place them in the medicinwheel, you will find this will be a very contradiction. Let me just point this out that this is MY opinion, and I am a human, so might be mistaken.

As for "most people" I don't believe most people here know what therian is, since the term is like less then 2 years old?
Please tell us more ;)

Blessings
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Yet ... they have a subtle magic in them.

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Re: Power Animals

Postby tullsa » 14 Oct 2007, 02:34

I have heard that totems may change with life experiences. If not, I have certainly have a crowd with me! lol
I have seen through the eyes of a wolf; when I meditate, I have a dragon protector/advisor, with a plant name; I have a lifelong fascination with the texas horned lizard, I have one tattooed on me; there's a bat at the zoo that will come to me when he won't come to other people who have handled him more.
Is there something I should know about my dragon having a plant name?
I have so many questions!
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Re: Power Animals

Postby Donata » 15 Oct 2007, 01:21

Is there something I should know about my dragon having a plant name?
I have so many questions!
Your dragon knows the answer, where we may be only guessing! ask him/her.

BB
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Re: Power Animals

Postby Dryadia2 » 15 Oct 2007, 16:49

I have heard that totems may change with life experiences...
Is there something I should know about my dragon having a plant name?...
Some of my animal totems have come and gone throughout my lifetime, depending on what lessons they have to teach.

Also, one of my dragon's has a plant name too. And she told me why. So, yes, go ahead and ask. :wink:

Peace and Blessings,
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Re: Power Animals

Postby Griffin » 17 Oct 2007, 09:06

Just lately - following an eye operation - I've been returning to my Bardic Grove more than usual.

And there, in this magickal place, was my Jack Russell Terrier power animal pissing up against one of the trees.

He DID have the good grace to look (slightly) embarrassed at having been caught out.

Takes the piss, that does!

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Re: Power Animals

Postby Wulfgar_Shadowpaw » 17 Oct 2007, 18:20

Wulfgar,
I am not sure how you think of being wolf and fox. If you place them in the medicinwheel, you will find this will be a very contradiction. Let me just point this out that this is MY opinion, and I am a human, so might be mistaken.

As for "most people" I don't believe most people here know what therian is, since the term is like less then 2 years old?
Please tell us more ;)

Blessings
Whoa, sorry, havnt been on in a while...
I personally dont use medicine wheels, so I wouldnt be able to shed light on that, but a very good friend of mine who studies power animals and whatnot says that Wolf and Fox are a very powerful combination. I take who I am from my traits, both as a Wolf, Fox, Human and an Asatruar aswell.

Basically, in the furry fandom, there are 2 main classicifactions. Furry and Therian. A furry is someone with a love of Anthropomorphic art, basically mixing a human with an animal. Therian is basically someone who takes it alot more spiritually, like me, and belives that however big or small, that an animal (sometimes more, like in my case) is part of their very existance.

I have a religous and spiritual mentor, and he has a direct connection with Odin. He has seen me on the astral plane (even though I didnt realise I was on it) and he also said this "Not everyone on the astral plane appear as they are. For you, it's something about your skin, and it's not the colour'
This left me wondering. Could it be fur? If not, what is it? I have since spoken to him on the phone to confirm that 'You have fur. Medium to long pile Fur. Its Light Grey, White and black, with flecks or Orange'
This only confirms the fact (for me, at least) that my soul/spirit is mixed with wolf and fox (where the orange comes from).

Waes Hael,
Wulfgar
I see through the eyes of the wolf, and feed on it's pain and lonliness

Into battle we ride with Gods by our side!

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Re: Power Animals

Postby Ainevar » 18 Oct 2007, 00:41

I personally have a connection to canines in general and most of all wolves then dogs.

I'm a hybrid to say the least.
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Re: Power Animals

Postby CornishShaman » 26 Mar 2009, 18:59

As I understand it Power Animals are what most people commonly call Totems Animals! Totem Animals are for a Group, so a Grove or Seed Group may have a Totem, but it is unlikely we as individuals would! Having said that, it is very common to have a Totem Animal Species as a Power Animal. Eg the Groves Totem is the Wolf, and so is your Power Animal.
I beleive we all have 2 main Power Animals which stay with us for life, but we can I beleive have up to 9 in total at any one point, these others come and go as we are learning Lifes lessons.
Most Northern Hemisphere Shamen, usually have 4 shared Power Animals, these are Bear, Wolf, Eagle and Owl, as I understand it, this is instead of the usual 2. These may also change if your from a country that doesnt have these creatures as natural inhabitants, eg Southern Hemisphere, instead you would have their equivalents.

As for Gerbils, Ive had Gerbil, Rat and Guinea Pigs as Power Animals! I also have Gerbils as pets! Dont let them get loose! Fascinating creatures, but they can give your house subsidence if they get out into the earth, they are excellent and enthusiastic burrowers! LOL!


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