animals and shamanism
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Animals and Shamanism
Shaman (pronounced SHAH-maan) is a word from the language of the Tungus people
of Siberia. A Shaman is a man or woman who enters and altered state of
consciousness at will. The Shaman does this to contact and utilize an ordinarily
hidden reality to acquire knowledge, power, and to help others. The Shaman usually
has at least one or more spirits in his or her personal service.
The trance or "ecstatic" state of consciousness the Shaman enters can be termed as the
Samanistic State of Consciousness (SSC). The shaman does not enter this state for
play, but only for serious purposes. The Shaman must also know the basic methods of
accomplishing the work in the SSC before entering such a state. For example, if the
Shaman wishes to recover a patient's guardian animal, he must know the techniques
for reaching the Lowerworld, entering it, finding the spirit animal and bringing it
back safely. Subsequently, he must know what instructions to give the patient in the
ordinary State of Consciousness (OSC).
The Shaman is an accomplished seer who works in the dark, or at least with the eyes
covered in order to see clearly. For this reason, the Shaman usually engages in such
practices at night. Some kind of Shamanistic seeing can be done with the eyes open,
but that kind of perception is usually less profound. In darkness, the distractions of
ordinary reality are less, making it possible for the Shaman to concentrate on aspects
of non-ordinary reality essential for the Shaman's work. The SSC must also be entered
with the assistance of drumming, singing, dancing and the use of rattles.
Shamanistic Enlightenment is the literal ability to lighten the darkness and see what
others cannot perceive.
As humans, we each have one or more animal guardians that have come to us at the
time of our births to protect us, whether we are conscious of it or not. Generally,
these guardians, or power animals, are our spirit allies that have volunteered to do us
service. Their job is to keep us healthy-physically, emotionally, mentally and
spiritually. A person may have many different power animals during his or her life.
These animal beings may be any type of animal: of the Earth, of the Sea, of the Air,
extinct in this realm, seemingly "mythological" etc., though they generally are not
insects or domesticated animals. Though a power animal can have a distinct gender,
age and personality, it is representative of the entire genus or species. For example, if
your animal guardian happens to be Bear, the spiritual power and guidance comes not
only from that one specific bear, but from the entire genus or species of Bear. Also,
there is no hierarchy of power animals. No particular animal is more power-full or
more beneficial than another.
Power Animals are only helpful and never bring harm, no matter how fiercely they
may present themselves. They are here to help us. Though your animal ally is
available to help you in times of crisis, illness and/or danger, they can also offer
guidance and support in your day-to-day life. Power animals often awaken our
creativity as well as the ability to perceive the beauty and magic that surrounds us.
Shamans may call upon their power animal(s) for many reasons: in the diagnosis of an
illness, to assist the shaman in spiritual journeys through other realms of reality, to
bring power to a ceremony or to provide needed information and teaching.
Calling upon your animal can be as simple or as elaborate as you want. However, the
most important ingredient is your intent and focus. You can call out with your voice
or quietly in your heart. You can simply repeat its name or recite many beautiful
words of welcome. Whatever you do, be sincere and not frivolous in your request.
There is a story of a poor Tibetan man that spent much of his day turning the prayer
wheels of a monastery as he circled the complex repeating the prayers of a certain
female deity. From the monastery, the monks could see that as the man prayed, the
deity followed behind him. One day, a monk overheard the man's prayers. Realizing
the man had some of words wrong, he promptly corrected him. The next day, the
monks saw the man as usual but no longer did the deity follow behind.
Acknowledging the error, the monk returned to the man and instructed him to recite
his prayers as before. Because, though the man now said the correct words, his heart
was no longer in it.
In building a relationship with your power animal, it is also beneficial and important
to often honor your animal in some way. Once again, this can be as simple or
elaborate as you want. In general, gifting the animal with your attention is a way to
honor and respect it. The simple act of silently greeting your animal in the morning
as you wake and, for a few moments, opening yourself to being receptive to any
information your animal may have for you can be a transformative experience.
Giving thanks to the animal for Big Dreams you may have, drawing or creating
images of the animal as well as physically exercising your animal by inviting it into
your body as you hike or swim are also ways to honor your animal guardian. In this
way, the power animal has the pleasure of experiencing the material world. It is
important that the animal feel welcome and appreciated. Shamans often honor their
animal allies by singing of the animal and\or inviting the animal into their body and
dancing the animal. This is not mere imitation, but transformation.
So, how can you know if you have a power animal and what it may be? I invite you to
look about your home. Are there pictures or figures of a particular animal that occur
throughout your home that you feel an emotional connection to? Is there an animal
that comes to you in dreams or meditations that provides you with guidance or
answers to questions? These are valuable observations and worth investigating
further. All things are significant in some way. One way a shaman can discover
whether or not an individual currently has the help of a particular guardian animal is
to undertake a spiritual journey into non-ordinary reality, and ask the spirits.
How They Communicate With UsHow They Communicate With UsHow They Communicate With UsHow They Communicate With Us
In ancient times, there was unity between the animal beings and the human beings.
We conversed freely and easily with one another. Now, however, this unity is lost in
this physical world of limitation. Though the shaman is able to journey to realms
where this unity continues, it is important for all to be aware of when an animal ally
is communicating with us and what information they are bringing.
Power animals are not the only animals that can and do communicate with us. Any
animal can bring us a teaching at any time. An animal may come for an extended
period of time to help us with a particular issue, or it may appear only to bring a
timely message or teaching and then be gone. Most helpful in building relations with
the animal beings and opening yourself to their assistance, is to see them as sacred
beings worthy of your attention and respect, rather than viewing them as objects,
inferior, or stupid.
There are some practical steps you can take in learning to understand an animal's
message. Observe the animal. What does it look like? How is it moving? How is it
relating to its environment? Perhaps most importantly, how are you feeling as you
observe the animal? What thoughts or memories are you having? Where is your
attention drawn? Often, animals will attract our attention in some way before they
offer us the message. Be patient. Use all of your senses. Silently ask the animal what it
has for you and then be receptive to what comes to fill the space after your question.
Some people worry that they are 'making up' the information. It is possible that in
that moment you may fill the space with mind chatter rather than hearing any
message the animal has for you. Even so, this is also an important message to you.
Perhaps it is a teaching about the importance of truly listening to others, or perhaps
an awareness that your mental chatter is blocking you in some way. There is no
pretend, all things are significant and meaningful. Sometimes all that is needed is a
view from a different perspective.
There are books available that can help in deciphering the message or gifts of a
particular animal. Some of these books are quite insightful. Above all, pay attention to
how the visit from the animal felt to you. For example, if you were to search in a
book for the meaning of a visit by Bee, you may learn about the importance of
productivity or the value of community. However, Bee came to me with some
unexpected information, information that I'd not seen in any book. During a time
when I was doing research on the nature of prayer, I was approached by Bee during
one of my journeys. She told me that all Bees live their life as a prayer. She went on
to share with me much information about prayer and how to pray. Recently, during a
time of loss, I was again visited by Bee. She asked that I ask the Bees to pray for me
and also to go out into my gardens. Sitting beneath the Spring blooming trees, my
attention was drawn to a loud humming. I looked up to see a cloud of Bumble Bees
among the branches of the trees. I began to hum along with them and felt a peace
settle over me. For months after that day, I encountered Bees in the most unlikely
places. Reminders for me that they continued to pray, and also that I was not alone.
Neither are you.
� AardvarkAardvarkAardvarkAardvark: Finding hidden things
� AlligatorAlligatorAlligatorAlligator: Survival, stealth, initiation, power, patience, basic earth energy, hold
onto your money
� AntAntAntAnt: Patience, industry, community, craftsmanship
� AnteaterAnteaterAnteaterAnteater: Ability to find lost objects, connection to the insect world, ability to
smell out trouble before seeing it, understanding the value of “rooting around” to
� AntelopeAntelopeAntelopeAntelope: Action, grace, speed, rapid advancement
� ApesApesApesApes: Communication, group government
� ArmadilloArmadilloArmadilloArmadillo: Boundaries, personal protection, empathy
� BadgerBadgerBadgerBadger: Aggressiveness, courage, bold self-expression
� BarracudaBarracudaBarracudaBarracuda: Making it your own
� BatBatBatBat: Rebirth, vision, the soul’s journey
� BearBearBearBear: Introspection, healing, solitude, charge, communication with spirit, death
and rebirth, transformation, astral travel, creature of dreams, shamans and mystics
visionaries, defense and revenge, wisdom, medical diagnosis, strength, power,
cycles, guardian energy, sacred to Odin and Artemis
� BeaverBeaverBeaverBeaver: Building, shaping, structure
� BeeBeeBeeBee: Community, clan, work, industry, organization, messages, communication,
luck, sacred to Venus
� BlackbirdBlackbirdBlackbirdBlackbird: Enchantment, between-the-worlds work
� Black Widow SpiderBlack Widow SpiderBlack Widow SpiderBlack Widow Spider: Weaving a new fate
� Blue JayBlue JayBlue JayBlue Jay: Communication, magickal mimicry, guardian energy
� BoarBoarBoarBoar: Strength, family protection, warrior spirit, leadership
� BobcatBobcatBobcatBobcat: Solitary magick, psychic warning, secrets
� BuffaloBuffaloBuffaloBuffalo: Prayer, abundance, healing, good fortune
� BullBullBullBull: Wealth, creativity, ability to expand opportunities
� ButterflyButterflyButterflyButterfly: Transformation, balance, grace, dance, artistic endeavors,
enlightenment, reincarnation, sacred to the Horae
� CamelCamelCamelCamel: Survival during lean times
� CaribouCaribouCaribouCaribou: Travel, mobility
� CatCatCatCat: Magick, mystery, independence, psychic warning, grace, playfulness,
equilibrium, grace, sacred to Bast
� ChameleonChameleonChameleonChameleon: Changing environment, camouflage
� CheetahCheetahCheetahCheetah: Speed, flexibility
� ChickenChickenChickenChicken: Divination, fertility, health
� ChipmunkChipmunkChipmunkChipmunk: Finding treasures in the earth, working for the future
� CicadaCicadaCicadaCicada: Happiness, joy
� ClamClamClamClam: Closing ranks for protection
� CobraCobraCobraCobra: Swift decisive action
� CopperheadCopperheadCopperheadCopperhead: Aggressive healing, psychism
� CougarCougarCougarCougar: Balance, majesty, power, agility
� CoyoteCoyoteCoyoteCoyote: Humor, trickiness, reversal of fortune
� CowCowCowCow: Prosperity, the goddess aspect, sacred to Hathor
� CrabCrabCrabCrab: Good luck, protection, success
� CraneCraneCraneCrane: Balance, majesty
� CricketCricketCricketCricket: Luck, faith, intuition, happiness, abundance, blessings
� CrocodileCrocodileCrocodileCrocodile: Primal strength, creation, patience, Great Mother, balance
� CrowCrowCrowCrow: Council, wisdom, resourcefulness, law
� Daddy Longlegs SpiderDaddy Longlegs SpiderDaddy Longlegs SpiderDaddy Longlegs Spider: Invisibility
� DeerDeerDeerDeer: Gentleness, sensitivity, peace, nature, education (spiritual), security, sacred
to Artemis, Aphrodite, and Diana
� DingoDingoDingoDingo: Relentless pursuit of goals
� DogDogDogDog: Loyalty, guidance, protection, friendship, service, trust, devotion, psychic
� DolphinDolphinDolphinDolphin: Joy, harmony, connection with self, intelligence, psychism, community,
protection, oracles, divine messages, the breath of life, sacred to Apollo
� DragonflyDragonflyDragonflyDragonfly: Skill, refinement, relentlessness, dreams, psychism, artistry
� EagleEagleEagleEagle: Potency, healing power, illumination, spirit, intelligence, courage, decision
making, carrier of prayers
� EarthwormEarthwormEarthwormEarthworm: Reworking old projects, investigation
� ElephantElephantElephantElephant: Prosperity, power, strength
� ElkElkElkElk: Stamina, pride, power, majesty
� FerretFerretFerretFerret: Stealth, agility, uncovering the truth
� FireflyFireflyFireflyFirefly: Hope, inspiration, beginnings, ideas, creativity
� FishFishFishFish: Fertility, perseverance, providence, sacred to Oannes and Vishnu
� FoxFoxFoxFox: Camouflage, cleverness, subtlety, discretion, shapeshifting, transformation,
cunning, diplomacy, invisibility, half-truths, quick action, sacred to Bacchus and
� FrogFrogFrogFrog: Cleansing, peace, emotional healing, new beginnings, abundance, medicine,
hidden beauty, fertility, health, honesty, sacred to Hekt
� Garter SnakeGarter SnakeGarter SnakeGarter Snake: Activity, opportunity
� GeckoGeckoGeckoGecko: Overcoming strife
� GoatGoatGoatGoat: Tenacity, diligence, reaching success, confidence
� GooseGooseGooseGoose: Safe return, love of home, protection, parenting, perseverance
� GoldfishGoldfishGoldfishGoldfish: Peace, prosperity
� Guinea PigGuinea PigGuinea PigGuinea Pig: Group mind
� HareHareHareHare: The moon, fecundity, sacred to Aphrodite and Eros
� HawkHawkHawkHawk: Awareness, truth, cleansing, nobility, remembering, clarity, spirit
� HedgehogHedgehogHedgehogHedgehog: Self-preservation
� HippopotamusHippopotamusHippopotamusHippopotamus: Transformation, initiation, creative power
� HorseHorseHorseHorse: Freedom, power, safe movement, the Goddess, travel between the worlds,
rebirth, grace, fertility, divination, sacred to Mars and Kwannon
� HummingbirdHummingbirdHummingbirdHummingbird: Beauty, wonder, agility, joy, repair relationship difficulties,
� HyenaHyenaHyenaHyena: Family/clan life, group mind, heightened perception
� ImpalaImpalaImpalaImpala: Grace
� JackalJackalJackalJackal: Protection from hidden dangers, guidance
� JaguarJaguarJaguarJaguar: Reclaiming power, strength, speed, ability
� JellyfishJellyfishJellyfishJellyfish: Sensitivity to water energy, emotions, understanding of the value of
floating rather than swimming through trying emotional times, proper use of
softness (not being rigid), ability to become untangled from the webs of peril in
� KangarooKangarooKangarooKangaroo: Forward movement
� KolaKolaKolaKola: Serenity, peace, removing sickness
� Komodo DragonKomodo DragonKomodo DragonKomodo Dragon: Long life, survival
� Lady BugLady BugLady BugLady Bug: Wish fulfillment, luck, protection, prosperity
� LarkLarkLarkLark: Cheerfulness, solar magick
� LemurLemurLemurLemur: Heralds ghosts
� LeopardLeopardLeopardLeopard: Ghost buster, overcoming bad habits, destroying jealousy, intuition
� LionLionLionLion: Courage, strength, loyalty
� LizardLizardLizardLizard: Dreaming, letting go, elusiveness, patience
� LoonLoonLoonLoon: Communication, serenity, creative inspiration, fidelity
� LynxLynxLynxLynx: Secrets, vision questing, visionary work, cutting-edge mentality
� MoleMoleMoleMole: Luck, revealing secret matters
� MooseMooseMooseMoose: Self-esteem, unpredictability, spontaneity
� MothMothMothMoth: Sending and receiving messages
� Mountain LionMountain LionMountain LionMountain Lion: Leadership
� MouseMouseMouseMouse: Attention to detail, economy, getting around barriers, sacred to Apollo
� MuskratMuskratMuskratMuskrat: Navigating through tricky situations
� MusselsMusselsMusselsMussels: Filtering information
� NightingaleNightingaleNightingaleNightingale: Love, lightening burdens, sacred to Adonis and Attis
� OctopusOctopusOctopusOctopus: Creative center, intelligence, power
� OpossumOpossumOpossumOpossum: Diversion
� OtterOtterOtterOtter: Medicine (woman), joy, laughter, lightness, sharing, playfulness, grace in
the water, learning to swim
� OwlOwlOwlOwl: Wisdom, vision, insight, heightened perception, female magick, messages to
and from the dead, self-truth, sacred to Athena
� PanPanPanPandadadada: Nourishment, finding the heart of a problem
� PantherPantherPantherPanther: Regaining one’s power, protection, finding information, Dark Mother
� PigPigPigPig: Abundance, fertility, intelligence, renewal
� PoPoPoPolar Bearlar Bearlar Bearlar Bear: Supernatural power, guides between worlds
� PorcupinePorcupinePorcupinePorcupine: Innocence, humility
� Praying MantisPraying MantisPraying MantisPraying Mantis: Finding solutions to problems, dreaming, using the higher mind
� QuailQuailQuailQuail: Protectiveness group harmony
� RabbitRabbitRabbitRabbit: Conquering fear, safety, innocence, balance, rebirth, intuition, messages
from the Spirit world
� RaccoonRaccoonRaccoonRaccoon: Dexterity, glamouries, secrecy
� RamRamRamRam: Achievement, strength, success
� RatRatRatRat: Intelligence, socialization, success
� RattlesnakeRattlesnakeRattlesnakeRattlesnake: Transformation, healing, cycle of life and death
� RavenRavenRavenRaven: Mystery, exploration of the unknown, magick, healing, initiation,
protection, messages, wisdom, balance, prophesy, sacred to Hellios
� RhinocerosRhinocerosRhinocerosRhinoceros: Ancient wisdom
� RobinRobinRobinRobin: Harbinger of spring, the fire element, sacred to Thor
� SalamanderSalamanderSalamanderSalamander: Inspiration, help, creativity
� SalmonSalmonSalmonSalmon: Trust, strength, determination, persistence
� SandpiperSandpiperSandpiperSandpiper: Quickness, foraging, scavenging
� SSSScorpioncorpioncorpioncorpion: Transformation, success, cycle of life and death, protection, weather
� Sea HorseSea HorseSea HorseSea Horse: Honor, codes of conduct, creativity
� SeSeSeSeagullagullagullagull: Carefree attitude, versatility, freedom
� SealSealSealSeal: Contentment, dreaming, the collective conscious, birth, imagination
� SharkSharkSharkShark: Relentless ferocity, intuition
� Siberian TigerSiberian TigerSiberian TigerSiberian Tiger: Creativity, power, passion, unpredictable
� SkunkSkunkSkunkSkunk: Caution, warning, respect, reputation
� SnailSnailSnailSnail: Perseverance, determination, birth, luck, divination, sacred to Tecciztecatl
� SnakSnakSnakSnakeeee: Transmutation, power, life force, sexual potency, initiation, wisdom,
health, sacred to Hermes, Ra, and Hygeia
� SparrowSparrowSparrowSparrow: Desire, fertility, manifesting new love in one’s life, understanding the
aspects of race, ability to use the power of music, all aspects of color
� SpiderSpiderSpiderSpider: Web of life, interconnectedness, industrious, weaving strong magick, fate,
spiral energy, destiny, networks, sacred to Holda, the Norns, Spider Woman, and
� SquirrelSquirrelSquirrelSquirrel: Trust, thrift, gathering, preparation, saving money, collecting, storage,
sacred to Medb
� * StagStagStagStag: The God, independence, purification, protection of forests
� StarfishStarfishStarfishStarfish: Working towards your desires, regeneration
� Stick Bug Stick Bug Stick Bug Stick Bug (Walkingstick)(Walkingstick)(Walkingstick)(Walkingstick): Camouflage, focus
� SwanSwanSwanSwan: Grace, elegance, nurturing together, relationship, oneness
� TigerTigerTigerTiger: Strength, power, new adventures, family magick
� ToadToadToadToad: Inner strength, protection
� TurkeyTurkeyTurkeyTurkey: Giveaway, increase material abundance, charity, self sacrifice
� Turtle/TortoiseTurtle/TortoiseTurtle/TortoiseTurtle/Tortoise: Symbol of the earth, connection with the center, navigation
skills, patience, self-boundaries, associated with the feminine, power to heal
female diseases, respecting the boundaries of others, developing new ideas,
psychically protecting oneself, self-reliance, tenacity, non-violent defense, faith,
patience, rewards, wisdom, creation, creativity, regeneration, sacred to Vishnu,
Hsi Wang-Mu, and Ea-Oannes
� WhaleWhaleWhaleWhale: Record keeper, creativity and intuition, the water element, rejuvenation,
sacred to many oceanic deities
� WeaselWeaselWeaselWeasel: Stealth
� WolfWolfWolfWolf: Facing the end of one’s cycle with dignity and courage, death and rebirth,
spirit teaching, guidance in dreams and meditations, instinct linked with
intelligence, social and familial values, outwitting enemies, ability to pass unseen,
steadfastness, skill in protection of self and family, taking advantage of chance,
family, clan, teaching, protection, intuition, strength
� WolverinWolverinWolverinWolverineeee: Boldness, ferocity
� ZebraZebraZebraZebra: Agility, finding individuality within a group
Animals in Witchcraft
Witches and CatsWitches and CatsWitches and CatsWitches and Cats
"The rise of Christianity in Europe heralded a fundamental shift in attitudes to cats.
During the Middle Ages, the cat's links with the ancient, pagan cult of the mother
goddess inspired a wave of persecution that lasted several hundred years. Branded as
agents of the Devil, and the chosen companions of witches and necromancers, cats,
especially black ones, were enthusiastically tortured and executed during Christian
festivals all over Europe. It was also believed that witches disguised themselves as cats
as a means of traveling around incognito, so anyone encountering a stray cat at night
felt obliged to try and kill or maim the animal. By teaching people to associate cats
with the Devil and bad luck, it appears that the Church provided the underprivileged
and superstitious masses with a sort of universal scapegoat, something to blame for all
of the many hardships and misfortunes of life. Fortunately for cats, such attitudes
began to disappear gradually during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries with
the dawn of the so-called Age of Enlightenment. However, not until the middle of
the nineteenth century did cats eventually begin to regain the popularity they once
enjoyed in Ancient Egypt."
Locust on TrialLocust on TrialLocust on TrialLocust on Trial
The discussion so far has put me in mind of a terrific book I once read on European
animal trials, which were conducted up until I think the 17th century. One example
especially pertinent to the topic at hand: if a plague of caterpillars or locusts or
whatever infested an area, the local legal community would put the swarm on trial. A
locust would be captured and taken to the courthouse. It would become the
"defendant", and would in effect stand-in for the whole swarm. The trial would be
conducted with all pomp and circumstance, with a lawyer appointed to represent the
swarm and etc. There were a number of standard defensive strategies, and sometimes
the swarm was even judged innocent if their lawyer was especially able. If judged
guilty, however, the locusts were ordered to get out of town. If the infestation abated,
the trial was given credit. If the infestation continued, this does not appear to have
been seen as an argument against conducting animal trials in the future. I trust the
resemblance to the rain dance ceremony is fairly clear here.
The author of the book (I cannot recall the title or author; I remember that it was
published in the early 1900s and the cover shows a reproduction of an old print,
portraying the public execution of a pig by hanging) argues that such trials are an
attempt by the human community to intervene in the natural order, to exert its will
over the world. I think this is a pretty insightful comment.
"Exerting human will over the world" could serve as a definition of the goal of
science. Bacon sometimes describes science as the human "conquest" of nature, and
certainly many modern critiques of science (feminist, for example) have taken this to
be the self-defined goal of scientific inquiry. I'm not arguing for the ultimate truth of
this particular position, but on the other hand if you look at things along these lines
than certain aspects of religious and scientific thought seem to be closely related, at
least in their purpose. Bacon's studies of heat are supposed to yield a (universal)
process for making heat, the shaman leading a rain dance is trying to make it rain, the
animal trial is an attempt to bring the plague to an end etc.
Note that the various rituals used for bringing about these interventions don't have to
work very well in each case for the ritual to be accepted within the community. The
community may simply accept that human powers are limited in what they can
accomplish. I believe that within alchemical studies this was a common view; even if
all the processes were carried out correctly, you might still not create gold from lead
or whatever, and in fact usually would not. Note also that the ritual might have
multiple functions within the community. The rain-dance both be used for bringing
rain and bringing about group solidarity. These are not mutually exclusive. Again, I
have read something similar with respect to alchemical procedures; that the alchemist
"purifying" metals with his various tools is also going through a process of spiritual
purification. And certainly the animal trial, even if it does not drive out the
infestation, makes the community feel better. The community is "doing something"
about its situation, even if its acts are ineffective.
I also like the animal trial example because it muddies the waters here in interesting
ways. The conversation to date has concerned itself with comparing/contrasting
religious/scientific thought. Yet here we see legal institutions using their procedures
in a way that suggests a religious ritual. Conversations on the distinctions/similarities
between legal and religious thought, and legal and scientific thought, would also be
good to have.
The Animals of SalemThe Animals of SalemThe Animals of SalemThe Animals of Salem
Salem Story: Reading the Witch Trials of 1692 by Bernard Rosenthal Cambridge
University Press 1993
p.18 John Hughes, while testifying about seeing beast transform into Sarah Good,
Sarah Osborne, and Tituba, also mentions that on March 2 "a great white dog
followed him and then disappeared, and then that night in bed he saw a great light
and a cat at the foot of his bed." (from Narratives of the WC Cases 1648-1706 ed. G.
p.21 Tituba's testimony included many animals...black dog/hog/man/yellow bird told
her to serve him; yellow bird was accompanying Sarah Good (who had already given
accusers legitimacy); also said she saw a cat with Good on other occasions
p.22 T. saw 2 cats, black and red. "What did the cats do? Tituba did not know. Had
the cats hurt or threatened her? They had scratched her. What had they wanted of
her? They had wanted her to hurt the children. They had forced her to pinch the
children. Did the cats suck Tituba? No, she would not let them."
p.82 Bridget Bishop (owner of shuffle-board and cider teenage hangout) was testified
against by Wonn, slave of John Ingerson. He "told a story of frightened horses, the
vanishing shape of B.B. (at the time B. Oliver), the appearance of an unknown cat,
and mysterious pinching and pain."
p.124 Martha Carrier: 7 yr. old daughter Sarah was induced to confess that "a cat,
identifying itself as M. C., had carried Sarah along to afflict people when her mother
was in prison."
The Animals of Finnish WitchtrialsThe Animals of Finnish WitchtrialsThe Animals of Finnish WitchtrialsThe Animals of Finnish Witchtrials
I have studied over 1200 finish witch trials 1520-1700 (with PD Marko Nenonen) and
there is a certain role of animals. "Para" was a small "cat-like" animal, used to steal
milk and a butter called cow lucky especially in Swedish speaking west coast in
Finland. The "Para" was not found out by judges, but it had a long folk tradition.
There are many examples where a neighbor was accusing another by stealing "butter
lucky" with "para".
"Para" is just the same "trollcat" as it was in Sweden and Norway. You can find "Para"
in court protocols in western part (Swedish speaking part) in Finland (1520-1600), but
not in Finnish speaking parts on the country. So "Para" can't be shamanistic (Lapland)
phenomenon, but it surely is known all parts of Scandinavia.
As time goes, You could find "Para" in Finnish speaking areas too, but in in 1500-
1700. So we have learned it from Swedish speaking people.
But, as we are dealing with animals, you can find other animals than "trollcat" too.
We have cases with "trolldog" which I mean the Devil with a shape of a dog. Some of
our accused had meet the devil with a shape of a dog (and a coat).
We have at least one case with a "metamorphose", where people have been accused of
being "werewolves". In Estonia the tradition of those being wolves in night time was
strong. There were many cases like that.
I think, the idea of "trollcats" is not shamanistic, it is surely Scandinavian!
There is quite a lot of articles about "Para" (Trollcat) but only few of them would be
available in English.
But, there is one point we have to keep in mind. People were accused of having
"Para" and they were convicted to using witchcraft, but they were never convicted to
having para! The matter of trial was not, is there really animal shaped "butter
stealing" para, but it was a question of practicing witchcraft or superstition!
In Scandinavia we have very old "lore", written by one historian about 1200-1300,
were a man was killed by "Mara" (bad dream animal?) because he had not kept his
promise to his Finnish wife.
Another instance of using "para", other than trying have luck in stealing butter, was a
"Finnish way" to use a bear as a helper for killing someone's cattle. People believed
that some (almost always a man) people had ability to force bears to kill enemy's
horse or cattle. But I have no idea, if the bear wanted some price of it's doings
(nourishment or protection).
Even in the oldest witch trials (before people had any idea about satanic pact with
devil) witches were believed to use some animals as a helper of their maleficium. So,
this belief must be older than the Christian theory of pact.
The bear cases seems to be common way to do harm among Finnish speaking people.
In some rare cases the helper was a wolf. In some cases (1670s) the helper was a dog,
but it seems that the dog was not really an animal, but it was a Devil with a shape of a
Some ladies used cows (or even a pig) to ride to "Bl=E5kulla" (the Sabbath), but those
animals were usually "borrowed" for some neighbor and they were not acting like a
helper - they were forced to do so.
Laplanders who had long shaman traditions used to use "animal spirit helpers" to do
things, but they were not accused of forcing real animals to do any harm, as far as I
There is one big difference between using a "Para" and a bear. "Para" was supernatural
familiar, but bears were really acting animals whom could be seen. Damage made by
para was a loss of butter or milk lucky, but a damage made by bear was real. Anyone
could see the damage.
In some cases there was so called "tonttu" (tomptegubben or rgubbe in Swedish).
They were not used as helpers, but You should give them some presents for getting
rid of harms they could do. People believed, that "tonttu" was living in particular
place and people living in same area were disturbing the tonttu. So You had to do
something to keep tonttu in good mood. Tonttu was spiritual, because no one had
never catch one. Tonttu was not an animal, but small human kind of creature.
Then there was "Nekki" or "Nacken". It was a creature living in lakes and killing
people by taking them under the water. Nekki was not a real animal and it did not
acted like a helper for anyone – it did what it wanted to do.
First little more about "para". The belief of "para" helping to steal cows must be very
old, because in one Finnish church there is a painting of para. The painting is older
than the belief that a Witch have a pact with the devil, the devil then giving a
"spiritum" to a helper for the witch (This belief was not known in Finland until
Secondly, I think too, that a witch-hare (para)is common in Sweden. Probably
Finnish speaking people have borrowed in from Sweden, because there are no witch-
hares in our oldest mythology as far as I know. The witch-hare (para) was mentioned
in trials some times in the Swedish speaking area of Finland (west coast), but not in
Finnish speaking Karelia, suggesting it is borrowed.
Thirdly, I have to check my papers to find out is there any "pet connection" in
Finnish witch trials, but without doing so I can't remember any cases where pet
animals had some part of being helpers and neither did PhD Marko Nenonen as we
But I could find at least one case where a man was killed by his own dog. The victim,
Antti Yrjonpoika Paivikainen, was a customer of famous witch Antti Lieroinen who
did all kinds of maleficium for salary. After their contact Paivikainen was found dead
and the cause for that was his own dog. So Lieroinen was thought to cause the death
by using victim's own dog to kill him. This was not proved, but Lieroinen was
executed for other witchcraft he had done. This happened in 1643.
Fourthly, 27.3.1641 witch Erkki Juhonpoika Puujumala ("Tree god") was convicted in
Turku Supreme Court. He was sentenced to death for many reasons - for killing
people with witchcraft etc. He has had an argument with other people and he had
said that he was going change those people into wolves with his maleficium. This was
not proved to happen, but it was one prosecution among many. By the way, Tree god
said that he was 120 years old.
Fifthly, we have some cases where a witch has used a snake to do some crime. One
witch argued with his wife and then separated. Later that ex-wife got pregnant from a
snake, and later gave birth to some snakes. In one another case the snake had gone
inside of a woman (and they used a Lappish healer to try to get it out).
Snakes had also a strong part of shamanism, but I don't know what really was the
function of shamans snake-shape belongings(??instruments??). Finnish folkloristics
seem to believe that the snake was for the shamans protection.
We had few cases where a snake's head was used by magical meanings.
Sixthly, in 1732 court was dealing with a case, where Lauri Heikinpoika Tervo
accused his neighbor "of sending a bird with fire on its head (nose)" to burn his house,
which burned. Due to losses of protocols, we don't know how the case was handled,
but I'm sure the court did not find neighbor guilty. Birds have been known to used to
carry fire in saami tradition (says Finnish folklorist Aune Nystrom).
Seventhly, we have found one case where a woman gave birth to some frogs, and one
case where a frog was put in a box and buried inside of a church. The box was just
like those boxes they used with human bodies.
Eighth, we have a case where they used a fish to heal sick person. The idea was that
the "Grande mal" (falling sickness) would be moved from people to fish. So they did
it, but unfortunately one innocent person touched the fish and got himself sick. And
of course the sickness was grande mal.
Ninth, I have a strong feeling, that Finnish courts did not tried to found out if the
accused had animal helper or not. The law mentioned nothing about animal imps or
spirituals, so they were not needed as evidence. Maleficium was maleficium and it
could be proofed without any animal helpers or spirits.
10th According the old folk tradition the bear will not harm the cattle if one takes a
blind puppy dog and buries it with some rites in the land on area, where the bear
lives. But I have no evidence that this has ever been done.
11th In Finland was believed, that milking others cow, would steal not only the milk
but the further milk lucky too. I think this believe is common in whole Scandinavia.
12th A bear could be sent to harm neighbor's cattle. But at least in one case (1746)
shows, that it could also to sent back to harm the original witch.
13th I have no reason to believe that the animal (except the bear or wolf sent to do
harm) were real ones. If it was so that the helpers were real pets, why they did not
execute the pets too?
I think that the judges has sent the animals to death as they did with cases where
humans had sexual intercourse with animal. They executed both! One reason to not
to do so could be, that the animal was not "guilty" for anything because it could not
differ the right and the wrong from each other. But so did the raped animal neither.
14th The worms. At least in one case the witch used worms to destroy a pig. He used
some magical technique and the victims pig get "full of worms" as they found out
when they slaughtered the sick pig. Worms could be sent to a human being too.
15th The lycanthropy. Werewolves had no part of Finnish trials, but they had one in
Estonia. Why? The Finnish people have common roots with Estonian people and our
languages are still quite similar. Our oldest pre-Christian religion is common, and
there is no werewolves in that tradition, as far as I know. So, where the Estonians got
the idea about werewolves? I think that they have adopted it from Germans. Estonia
has been under strong German influence, but Finland hasn't. So, I believe, that they
must have copied the idea from German "Werewolffe".
According Maia Madar (Estonia I: Werewolves and prisoners, in Early Modern
European Witchcraft ed. Bengt Ankarloo and Gustav Henningsen, Clarendon Press,
"Belief in werewolves was widespread. At eighteen trials, eighteen women and
thirteen men were accused of causing damage while werewolves. At Meremoisa 1623,
the defendant Ann testified that she had been a werewolf for four years, and had
killed a horse as well as some smaller animals. She had later hidden the wolf skin
under a stone in the fields." (page 270)
Maia Madar tells other examples, too. And in one case where 18-year old Hans had
confessed that he had hunted as a werewolf for two years, "when asked by the judges
if his body took part in the hunt, or if only his soul was transmuted, Hans confirmed
that he had found a dog's teeth-marks on his own leg, which he had received while a
werewolf. Further asked whether he felt himself to be a man or a beast while
transmuted, he told that he felt himself to be beast." (page 271)
Madar writes: "It was acknowledged that people could be transmuted not only into
werewolves, but also into bears."
So as a lawyer I must ask why they were confessing that they were hunting as
werewolves in Estonia. The answer must be torture. Torture was widely used in
Estonia ecen it was under the Swedish jurisdiction, where torture was forbidden.
16th The devil in a shape of a dog. All over the Scandinavia we had trials where the
accused said, that the devil they've met had a shape of a dog. Why the dog? Danish
witchhistorian Jens Christian V. Johanssen writes (in book mentioned above), that
the popular culture (peoples believes) borrowed ideas for wall-paintings in the
"In Ejsing church, Christ is tempted in the desert by the devil – in the shape of a
ferocious-looking dog! Popular imagination was so vivid that on given occasions the
devil came to take his form". (Johansen: Denmark: The Sociology of Accusations in
Early Modern European Witchcraft.. page 363-364).
Well, so and so. But surely the popular culture appointed ideas from elite's culture.
17th The shamanism. I have not specialized about shamanism, so I'll now follow the
ideas that Finnish shamanism expert Anna-Leena Siikala writes in her book
"Suomalainen samanismi" (Finnish Shamanism), Hameenlinna 1992.
Siikala writes about moving the demon from someone to another. In Finnish folklore
it is usual to remove a disease from patient to an animal or some idol, like wooden
puppet. This is common between Middle- and East-Siperia shaman too. She remind,
that even Jesus removed demon from a man to some pigs. (page 187)
There is information about this kind of "removing" in German and Estonia too. In
Finland this was usually done by soothsaying, but this was not common in Middle-
Europe or Scandinavia.
Siikala guesses, that this habit has very old shamanistic roots and that the churches
middle-age tradition has forced this old religion. (pages 188-189)
In these cases animals are shamans helpers and they carry the evil demon away.
Shamans (spiritual) animal helpers are also spies, Shaman can send them far away to
collect information what is happening. Helpers also carry the information from here
to the "heaven". "Because shamans helper animal do not only to take the disease to
themselves, but carry it to "heaven" (or "to the other side" as shamans say), they are
not usual (real) animals" (page 191).
Siikkala says, that middle age church adopted these old ideas and they used the idea
to their rituals (to carry out demons).
Shamans used to call their helpers for instance by singing (and using the drum). In
my opinion it is surely understandable that shaman was all the time demonstrating to
the audience, that he has very important helpers.
The shaman uses his helpers to fight against other shamans helpers, too. So when
shaman is healing a patent, he first finds out where the disease has become, and then
force it to go back. If the disease is caused by demon, you have to fight against demon.
If it is caused by other shaman with his helpers, so the helpers must fight together. (as
Carlo Ginzburg's "benandati" did).
The idea about shamans fighting together is old and it is common in Northern-Asia,
too. In Siperia tradition the fighting shamans could take a shape of animals.
But I could not find any reason to believe that the helper animals were real animals in
Siikalas book either.
According to Joan's Witch Pages they executed a dog in Salem Witch trials. This is
something I had not pointed out earlier. If they really executed the dog, so I'll have to
reuse my argument: why they did not executed other suspected "pets" too (if the "pet
theory" is right)?
The Trials of FamiliarsThe Trials of FamiliarsThe Trials of FamiliarsThe Trials of Familiars
One reason why they may not have executed pets is because the law assumed that
these creatures were supernatural beings - by definition. If the animals had been
captured, brought to court, examined by authorities, etc., it would have been difficult
to avoid the conclusion that the witch's cat or dog was, in fact, no different from any
other cat or dog. In addition, according to folklore, these animals could not be killed
by ordinary means because they were spirits. We have found one account, for
example, of a suspected familiar (a poodle dog called Boye, belonging to Prince
Rupert) being killed by a silver bullet fired by a 'soldier skilled in necromancy' at the
battle of Marston Moor in 1642. Also, perhaps it was assumed that the familiars would
perish as soon as the witch was executed, since they were assumed to depend on
her/him for nourishment (coincidentally, of course, the animals probably didn't
survive for long once their owners were incarcerated and executed). However, I agree
with you that the fate of these animals is somewhat mysterious. My guess would be
that the witch's neighbors dealt with them swiftly and discretely, but I have no
evidence either way. I wasn't aware of the Salem dog execution but will now look
into this. In the bestiality trials, the animals were not generally executed as criminals.
Rather they seem to have been regarded as polluted creatures which might have a
corrupting influence on public morality if allowed to remain alive. Thus, there was a
particular incentive to identify these (real) animals and kill them.
Badger (Guardian of the South)
Zuni name: Black Mark face
Wide, bulky, compact body, spread out along the ground, legs and tail barely
suggested. Narrow, blunt face, prominent nose. (Describing the fetish itself)
As Talisman:As Talisman:As Talisman:As Talisman:
This fetish helps you focus your attention and deepen your passion. It is an antidote
to passivity and 'victimized' feelings. It helps you become more tenacious and
grounded, for achieving any goal.
Personality Type:Personality Type:Personality Type:Personality Type:
If you are a Badger person, you are aggressive, highly goal oriented, able to
concentrate on a single task or mission for long periods; and a good provider.
I looked through all my information, but as far as the Seminoles go I couldn't find any
reference to the Badger. I'm not saying that it doesn't exist, I just couldn't find any.
Here is something from one of my books that I thought you might find interesting:
"Badgers are 2-3 feet long and are about 12 inches high. Family members mark each
other with scent for recognition since their sight is poor. Their senses of smell and
hearing, however, are excellent. Their diet includes a wide variety of roots, herbs,
plant, and many small animals. They dig with remarkable speed to catch burrowing
prey and when they need to get underground quickly. Badgers live in simple but
extremely clean, well kept dens. They pay close attention to details within their
home environments. They change their bedding often, backing carefully into their
dens with straw, so as not to make a mess in the process.
Badgers bring us gifts of tidiness and organization. They are fastidious about their
surroundings and will correct any disorder quickly. If Badger has come to you in
some way, it may be saying that you need to concentrate on maintaining an orderly
environment to better facilitate your day to day living. Badger can also be helpful to
call upon for aid in managing your time. This can be useful for those of us who are
trying to satisfy our need to devote time to ceremonies and the spirit realm and still
work a job.
Badger will fight to the death if cornered. While this may be a useful trait in the wild,
men used this quality of Badger to exploit it in the so-called sport of Badger-baiting.
Captured Badgers were put into small enclosed areas with a dog or dogs, and bets
were placed on the outcome of the fight. Are you stuck in a pattern that served you
well once, but is now damaging? Badger could be warning you that a change of
behavior is in order if you don't want to be cornered or used."
Bats Shouldn't Be Pests
Over the last few decades, much has been learned about bats and how they help to
keep our environment healthy. Many species of bats, such as those known as flying
foxes, are also surprisingly appealing and intelligent. Ironically, though, bats continue
to be among the most misunderstood and feared of all our wildlife. This fear and
ignorance have contributed to the almost total destruction of sever bat species and
threatened the existence of many others. Such loses can seriously harm ecosystems
and reduce the quality of life for more living things. Including humans. But with our
help, bats can continue to function as one of nature's most beneficial creatures.
Bats are mammals, and like all other mammals, the females possess mammary glands
where milk is produced and fed to the young. Baby bats, called pups, are born alive
and have to be taken care of for an extended period of time. The body of a bat is
covered by hair, as is true of other mammals.
Bats fly, which does make them different from most mammals. Bats belong to the
Chiropterea, which means "hand-wing". Species in this order are divided into two
suborders. Megchiroptera, which includes the various species of flying foxes, and
Microchiroptera. Flying foxes use echolocation, a kind of natural sonar for locating
prey and other objects. Megachiropteran bats are found only in Europe, Asia, etc.
Microchiropteran bats do echo locate and are a much more diverse and widely
Bats are indeed beneficial to people. In many cultures, bats are a symbol of good luck
and fortune. In our own western culture, this for the most part is not so. Many view
bats as unclean, disease carrying, symbols of evil. In reality, bats are actually very
gentle, and will only bite if attacked or threatened or improperly handled. They are
no more likely to carry disease then a bird. Rabies, as with any other wild animal is a
valid concern. Use caution if you must handle them, wearing gloves, and even better,
have a rabies vaccination prior to handling. Fortunately, there is no reason to handle
As predators of nocturnal insects, pollinators of flowers, and distributors of seeds of
many plants, bats are a crucial to ecosystems. Consuming volumes of insects, they are
worth their weight in gold, in many areas where humans are finally learning of the
benefits. Fortunately for the bat, many humans are learning just how valuable they
Sometimes there may be a problem with bats getting in where they are not wanted. A
safe solution to keeping bats out of your attic or garage, is to see where bats leave the
building at dusk to feed. Then identify the specific holes or cracks during the day by
looking for brownish stains at the exit sites. These sites will frequently be found
where a wall meets a roof or a chimney, behind a loose board or in holes made by
other animals. Wait until the young can fly or the bats migrate, then hang bird
netting over the exit points, allowing it to hang at least two feet below the nesting
site exit. Wait three more days after the netting has been in place, and close over the
holes with screening, caulking or boards. Please refrain from using chemical or
ultrasonic device techniques or repellents.
There are now organizations to assist in protecting bats, and in fact, more and more
people are becoming concerned with the conservation of bats, through private as well
as governmental organizations. The increased awareness is most certainly die to the
efforts of the Bat Conservation International, and numerous other organizations that
emphasize education, which is ultimately the key to conserving our bat friends.
You can invite bats to your own backyard and become active in bat conservation by
using an artificial roost to attract bats. Bat houses are enjoyed by a variety of bat
species that also use natural crevices and tree hollows. Even if the house is not used
by bats, its presence causes visitors to ask about the house which provides the owner
an excellent opportunity to educate friends about bats.
Bat houses are inexpensive and easy to build. You can buy these at garden centers,
order them from conservation groups, or build your own.
Dreams from a Shamanistic point of view are of two types, 'ordinary' and 'non-
ordinary' or 'Big Dreams'.
Big Dreams are ones that occur several times, or ones that are so vivid that they
almost seem real. Big Dreams are considered to be communication from your
Guardian. These are not symbolic, but are literal.
Should you have a Big Dream that has negative connotations, e.g. an automobile
accident, you should immediately enact the dream once you are awake. The dream is
not symbolic, but your enacting of it is. Just go through the notions of the incident in
a simple way and get it over with.
Calling Your Power Animal
There are different names for this exercise in different cultures. It is a way for a
person to get in touch with their animal aspects through dance. Keep in mind that a
Guardian Spirit can appear in animal or human form.
Undertake this exercise in a quiet, half darkened room which is free from furniture
that can hamper your movements. It is helpful if you have the use of one or two
rattles, but these are not necessary.
There are two parts to this exercise, 1 The Starting Dance, and 2 Dancing your animal.
In both dances, you loudly shake a rattle in each hand and dance in time to the rattle.
In all dancing, you keep your eyes half closed. This allows you to cut down on the
light and at the same time enables you to know where you are in the room.
The Starting DanceThe Starting DanceThe Starting DanceThe Starting Dance
Standing still and erect, face east and shake one rattle very rapidly four times. This is
the signal that you are starting, ending or making an important transition in serious
shamanistic work. Think of the rising Sun and the power it brings to all living things.
Still standing in place, start shaking one rattle at a steady pace of about 50 beats per
second. Do this for about half a minute in each cardinal direction while thinking of
the element or power animals of that direction. For example, you can think of an
Eagle in the East, a Lion in the South, a Serpent or Dolphin in the West, and a Bull in
the North. Move clockwise.
Return to the East and shake the rattle above your head at the same rate for about half
a minute. Think of the sun, moon, starts and the entire universe above. Now shake
the rattle towards the ground and think of the earth, our home and the gifts she gives
Still facing the East, begin shaking both rattles at the same rate and dancing along
with the beat as if you were jogging in place. In this starting dance, you are giving
proof of your sincerity to the power animals wherever they may be, by making a
sacrifice to them of your own energy in the form of dance. Dancing is a form of
praying and evoking the sympathy of the Guardian Spirit.
Stop dancing and stand still. Shake one rattle four times to signal that you are about to
make an important transition.
Start shaking your tattles loudly, but in a slow tempo of about 60 beats per minute.
Start dancing around the room in time to the rattle. Move slowly and in a free form.
Try to pick up the feeling of some kind of mammal, bird, fish, reptile or a
combination of these. Once you feel the sense of something, concentrate on it and
slowly move your body in accordance with the creature. Be open to the experience
and emotion of the creature.
Don't hesitate to make noises or cries. By keeping your eyes half closed, you might be
able to see the non-ordinary environment in which the animal is living. You may
even be able to see the animal. Do this for about 5 minutes. Without pausing, shift to
a higher state of rattle shaking and movement. Do this for about 4 minutes. Another
shift to a still faster pace of rattle and body movements. Do this for about 4 minutes.
Stop dancing and mentally welcome the animal into your body. To do this, shake the
rattle four times and draw it and the animal towards your solar plexes.
Face the East and shake the rattle four times, while standing still. This is the signal
that your work has ended.
Once you have successfully gained your power animal, make it content enough to say
with you. This is done through exercising your animal through dancing and singing
songs of the animal.
Guardian animals usually only stay with a person for a few years, and then depart. So
in the course of a life long shamanistic practice, a person will have a number of
For thousands of years, cats have been regarded as mysterious creatures with
supernatural powers. These beliefs certainly did not disappear during the European
witch-craze. The witch trials started in the 13th century. People began to believe that
witches had the ability to turn into an animal, usually a hare or a cat, in order to
transport themselves to a sabbat (a midnight meeting) presided over by the Devil. The
idea of familiar spirits soon developed. These were imps or minor demons who took
the form of any small animal, from a hedgehog to a toad. A familiar acted as an
intermediary for the witch, carrying out her orders so that she wouldn't have to be at
the scene of the crime when the evil deed was done. A witch's cat came to be called a
"grimalkin". The Scottish goddess of witches was called "Mither o' the Mawkins", a
mawkin or malkin being either a cat or a hare. Originally a gremalkin was a gray cat.
Later the term came to refer to the "pussies" or "catkins" on a pussy willow, as well as
to the witch's cat.
* Some of the above info from John Richard Stephens, author of "The Enchanted Cat"
Cat Folklore and MagiCat Folklore and MagiCat Folklore and MagiCat Folklore and Magicccc
Cats have been sacred to more than one religion, and at different times and places
have been considered both good and bad luck-bringers. The Egyptian goddess Bast
was both lion-headed and cat-headed and attended by cats and therefore cats were
sacred and revered in Egypt; killing one was a heinous crime, and when a household
cat died mourning rites were performed for it. Cats were often found in temples and
were ritually fed; stray cats were treated with honor and fed, and the household cat
was allowed to share the family's food. Cat amulets were produced and elaborate cat-
sized sarcophagi crafted for cats who had died, who were often embalmed as humans
were. Followers of the goddess Diana also considered the cat sacred because she once
assumed the form of a cat, and cats were under her special protection. In Scandinavia,
Freya's chariot was drawn by cats. The Celtic goddess Cerridwen was also attended by
white cats, who carried out her orders on earth.
Cat Dream InterpretationsCat Dream InterpretationsCat Dream InterpretationsCat Dream Interpretations
To dream of a black cat is lucky.
To dream of a tortoiseshell cat means luck in love.
To dream of a ginger cat means luck in money and business.
To dream of a white cat means luck in, spiritual matters, divination and spell-craft.
To dream of a black-and-white cat means luck with children; or the birth of a child.
To dream of a tabby cat means luck for the home and all who live there.
To dream of a gray cat means to be guided by your dreams.
To dream of a calico or multi-colored cat means luck with new friends and old ones.
A dream of two cats fighting means illness or a quarrel.
Cats in Witchcraft: A History
A familiar is a spirit contained in the form of an animal that lives as a faithful friend
would do, and is sometimes said to be attracted by an unnatural force to its owner. In
many cultures, this familiar has been said to do the bidding of the owner, and often
for harmful purposes. This is portrayed in the media by the use of an old hag with her
cat or bat, or the wizard who keeps a lizard or a snake by his altar. Sometimes, spiders
or toads are also used. However, the familiar is simply an animal that is linked to the
witch in order to share the magical energies of nature.
The notion of a familiar has been around for many years, and has its roots in
Shamanism and Native American cultures. These wise people had a different kind of
familiar that they could use for guidance, who came to them in times of need, and
protected them from harm. For the Native Americans, they believed that your
familiar comes to you in the dream world. They appear before you as you sleep, and
offer their services as a faithful guardian, often allowing you to change your physical
shape and run as they do. Upon waking, the animal is then carved out in wood or
painted on stone so that the familiar is with you at all times. The Native Americans
also use other animals depending on the nature of the power needed, but the personal
familiar will always be present when the crossing over to the astral world happens.
For a western witch, finding a familiar works in a similar way, although it is most
likely that a physical animal will be found rather than a totem animal. That's not to
say that totem animals aren't use is western witchcraft, but the instances are less
often. The witch will often find themselves drawn to a particular animal, and will
have a deep affinity to an animal they consider a pet of theirs. Again, there are many
different animals that have been named as familiars, such as cats, rats, horses, spiders,
lizards, and even pigs have found themselves safely in their owners houses.
The cat has been the animal linked to those practicing witchcraft for many years.
During the Middle Ages, and up to the late 18th century, people who kept black cats
were more likely to be targeted as being a witch, due to a fear that the cat was
inhabited by the spirit of the Devil, and would harm them while they slept. In some
countries, cats were considered to be witches in disguise, and so sadly suffered the
same fate as the people who were convicted of witchcraft due to their nocturnal
habits. Today, most witches feel attuned to the cat, as they are solitary creatures and
are able to pick up on the emotions of their owner without needed to be too close.
This enables the witch to complete his or her rituals as and when they arise.
Celtic Animal Birth Signs
Date of Birth: Date of Birth: Date of Birth: Date of Birth: December 24 - January 20
Animal: Animal: Animal: Animal: Stag
Gaelic Name: Gaelic Name: Gaelic Name: Gaelic Name: Damh (Approximate pronunciation: Dav)
Ruling Planet: Ruling Planet: Ruling Planet: Ruling Planet: The Sun
Key Words: Key Words: Key Words: Key Words: Independence, Majesty, Integrity, Pride
Gift Quality or Ability: Gift Quality or Ability: Gift Quality or Ability: Gift Quality or Ability: Sensitivity to other worlds, shape shifting, initiation,
Birthstone: Birthstone: Birthstone: Birthstone: Crystal
Compatibility: Compatibility: Compatibility: Compatibility: Harmonious relations with the signs of adder and salmon. Will also
relate well to the signs of seal, otter & goose. Difficulties may be expected in relation
to all other signs.
Animal: Animal: Animal: Animal: Crane
Gaelic Name:Gaelic Name:Gaelic Name:Gaelic Name: Corr (Approximate pronunciation: Corr)
Ruling Planet:Ruling Planet:Ruling Planet:Ruling Planet: Uranus
Key Words: Key Words: Key Words: Key Words: Secret Knowledge, Eccentric, Patient
Gift Quality or Ability: Gift Quality or Ability: Gift Quality or Ability: Gift Quality or Ability: Crane people are unusually clever people with specialized
skills and talents, with a progressive outlook on life. Sense of the evolving spirit.
Sensitivity to the other world, journeying, magick.
Birthstone: Birthstone: Birthstone: Birthstone: Peridot
CompatCompatCompatCompatibility:ibility:ibility:ibility: Harmonious relations with the signs of bee and swan. Will also relate
well to the signs of bear, owl and cat. Difficulties may be expected in relation to all
Date of Birth: Date of Birth: Date of Birth: Date of Birth: February 18 - March 17
Animal: Animal: Animal: Animal: Seal
Gaelic Name: Gaelic Name: Gaelic Name: Gaelic Name: Ron (Approximate pronunciation: Ron)
Ruling Planet: Ruling Planet: Ruling Planet: Ruling Planet: Neptune
Key Words: Key Words: Key Words: Key Words: Spiritual, Loving, Super-sensitive.
Gift Quality or Ability: Gift Quality or Ability: Gift Quality or Ability: Gift Quality or Ability: Seal people tend to have great compassion and are highly
adaptable folk. They are also the romantics and dreamers of life. Artistic and
emotional. Sensitivity to the other world. Shape changing and connection with the
Compatibility:Compatibility:Compatibility:Compatibility: Harmonious relations with the signs of otter and goose. Will also
relate well to the signs of salmon, stag, and adder. Difficulties maybe expected in
relation to all other signs.
Date of Birth: Date of Birth: Date of Birth: Date of Birth: March 18 - April 14
Animal: Animal: Animal: Animal: Bear
Gaelic Name: Gaelic Name: Gaelic Name: Gaelic Name: Art (Approximate pronunciation: A as in cat, R as in English, T as in
English Chin. AiRCH)
Ruling Planet: Ruling Planet: Ruling Planet: Ruling Planet: Mars
Key Words: Key Words: Key Words: Key Words: Achieving, Primal Power, Instinct.
Gift Quality or Ability: Gift Quality or Ability: Gift Quality or Ability: Gift Quality or Ability: Bear people are very connected to their ancestral roots. Filled
with courage and a sense of adventure. Extremely physical, extroverts. Protection,
journeying, and sensitivity to the other world.
Birthstone: Birthstone: Birthstone: Birthstone: Ruby
Compatibility: Compatibility: Compatibility: Compatibility: Harmonious relations with the signs of cat and owl. Will also relate
well to the signs of crane, bee and swan. Difficulties may be expected in relation to all
Date of Birth: Date of Birth: Date of Birth: Date of Birth: April 15 - May 12
Animal: Animal: Animal: Animal: Adder
Gaelic Name: Gaelic Name: Gaelic Name: Gaelic Name: Nathair (Approximate pronunciation: na-CHair. N, a in cat, T as in
Chin, h - silent, air.)
Ruling Planet: Ruling Planet: Ruling Planet: Ruling Planet: Moon
Key Words: Key Words: Key Words: Key Words: Transformation, Healing, Life Energy.
Gift Quality or Ability: Gift Quality or Ability: Gift Quality or Ability: Gift Quality or Ability: Adder people have a virtue of resourcefulness, that is one of
their greatest strengths. Strong interest in family. Excellent memory. Drawn to
natural methods of healing. Healing, magick, shape shifting and initiation.
Birth Stone: Birth Stone: Birth Stone: Birth Stone: Moonstone
Compatibility: Compatibility: Compatibility: Compatibility: Harmonious relations with the signs of stag and salmon. Will also
relate well to the signs of seal, otter and goose. Difficulties may be expected in
relation to all other signs.
Date of Birth: Date of Birth: Date of Birth: Date of Birth: May 13 - June 9
Animal: Animal: Animal: Animal: Bee
Gaelic Name: Gaelic Name: Gaelic Name: Gaelic Name: Beach (Approximate pronunciation: beh-ach. B, E as in gEt, A as in cAt,
CH as in German iCH.)
Ruling Planet: Ruling Planet: Ruling Planet: Ruling Planet: Vulcan
Key Words:Key Words:Key Words:Key Words: Organization, Community, Analytical.
Gift Quality or Ability: Gift Quality or Ability: Gift Quality or Ability: Gift Quality or Ability: Bee people are very charismatic and full of new ideas. Lively
spontaneity and the ability to communicate on every level. Influential and very
social. Fertility and creativity.
Birth Stone: Birth Stone: Birth Stone: Birth Stone: Topaz
Compatibility:Compatibility:Compatibility:Compatibility: Harmonious relations with the signs of crane and swan. Will also
relate well to the signs of bear, cat and owl. Difficulties may be expected in relation to
all other signs.
Date of Birth:Date of Birth:Date of Birth:Date of Birth: June 10 - July 7
Animal: Animal: Animal: Animal: Otter
Gaelic Name: Gaelic Name: Gaelic Name: Gaelic Name: Dobhran (Approximate pronunciation: dav-rhan.)
Ruling Planet: Ruling Planet: Ruling Planet: Ruling Planet: Jupiter
Key Words: Key Words: Key Words: Key Words: Family, Helpfulness, Intuitive.
Gift Quality or Ability: Gift Quality or Ability: Gift Quality or Ability: Gift Quality or Ability: Otter people are enterprising with a wide breadth of vision.
Very optimistic with a personal magnetism. Protection, shape shifting, and
Birth Stone: Birth Stone: Birth Stone: Birth Stone: Diamond
Compatibility:Compatibility:Compatibility:Compatibility: Harmonious relations with the signs of goose and seal. Will also relate
well to the signs of salmon, adder, and stag. Difficulties may be expected in relation to
all other signs.
Date of Birth: Date of Birth: Date of Birth: Date of Birth: July 8 - August 4
Animal: Animal: Animal: Animal: Cat
Gaelic Name: Gaelic Name: Gaelic Name: Gaelic Name: Kati (Approximate pronunciation: ka-Chi.)
Ruling Planet:Ruling Planet:Ruling Planet:Ruling Planet: Earth
Key Words: Key Words: Key Words: Key Words: Creative, Sensual, Nobility
Gift Quality or Ability: Gift Quality or Ability: Gift Quality or Ability: Gift Quality or Ability: Cat people have a strong sense of personal integrity and a
firm set of values. Loyal and trustworthy. Deep devotion to family. Affectionate.
Protection, shape shifting and sensitivity to the other world.
Birth Stone: Birth Stone: Birth Stone: Birth Stone: Red Carnelian
Compatibility: Compatibility: Compatibility: Compatibility: Harmonious relations with the signs of owl and bear. Will also relate
well to the signs of the crane, bee, and swan. Difficulties may be expected in relation
to all other signs.
Date of Birth:Date of Birth:Date of Birth:Date of Birth: August 5 - September 1
Animal: Animal: Animal: Animal: Salmon
Gaelic Name: Gaelic Name: Gaelic Name: Gaelic Name: Bradan (Approximate pronunciation: bra-TAN.)
Ruling Planet:Ruling Planet:Ruling Planet:Ruling Planet: Mercury
Key Words: Key Words: Key Words: Key Words: Wisdom, Inspiration, Rejuvenation
Gift Quality or Ability:Gift Quality or Ability:Gift Quality or Ability:Gift Quality or Ability: Salmon people have knowledge of the arts and science as well
as good reasoning powers. Perceptive and clever. Keen observers. Initiation, shape
shifting, connection with Faerie.
Birth Stone: Birth Stone: Birth Stone: Birth Stone: Amethyst
Compatibility: Compatibility: Compatibility: Compatibility: Harmonious relations with the signs of adder and stag. Will also relate
well to the signs of otter, seal and goose. Difficulties may be expected in relation to all
Date of Birth:Date of Birth:Date of Birth:Date of Birth: September 2 - September 29
Animal: Animal: Animal: Animal: Swan
Gaelic Name:Gaelic Name:Gaelic Name:Gaelic Name: Eala (Approximate pronunciation: ellah.)
RuliRuliRuliRuling Planet:ng Planet:ng Planet:ng Planet: Venus
Key Words: Key Words: Key Words: Key Words: Beauty, Love and Soul.
Gift Quality or Ability:Gift Quality or Ability:Gift Quality or Ability:Gift Quality or Ability: Swan people are kind and gentle, adept in love and the social
arts. Calm and serene with a strong domestic sense. Connection with faerie, shape
shifting, and creativity.
Birth StonBirth StonBirth StonBirth Stone: e: e: e: Emerald
Compatibility: Compatibility: Compatibility: Compatibility: Harmonious relations with the signs of crane and bee. Will also relate
well to the owl, cat and bear. Difficulties may be expected in relation to all other
Date of Birth: Date of Birth: Date of Birth: Date of Birth: September 30 - October 27
Gaelic NameGaelic NameGaelic NameGaelic Name: : : : Geadh (Approximate pronunciation: Gia-gh.)
Ruling Planet:Ruling Planet:Ruling Planet:Ruling Planet: Moon
Keywords: Keywords: Keywords: Keywords: Veiling, Direction, Vigilance, Stamina
Gift Quality Gift Quality Gift Quality Gift Quality or Ability:or Ability:or Ability:or Ability: Goose people are generous providers but also thrifty savers
and investors regarding their future security. They have a sharp intellect as well as a
wit. Artistic. Protection, fertility, and creativity.
Birth Stone: Birth Stone: Birth Stone: Birth Stone: Opal
Compatibility:Compatibility:Compatibility:Compatibility: Harmonious relations with the signs of seal and otter. Will also relate
well to the signs of adder, stag and salmon. Difficulties may be expected in relation to
all other signs.
Date of Birth: Date of Birth: Date of Birth: Date of Birth: October 28 - November 24
Gaelic Name: Gaelic Name: Gaelic Name: Gaelic Name: Cailleach-oidhche (Approximate pronunciation: Kall-eeck Oheeche.)
Ruling Planet:Ruling Planet:Ruling Planet:Ruling Planet: Pluto
Keywords: Keywords: Keywords: Keywords: Wisdom, Change, Detachment.
Gift Quality or AbilityGift Quality or AbilityGift Quality or AbilityGift Quality or Ability:::: Owl people have a powerful presence and personal
magnetism that can both attract and overpower sensitive people. Highly imaginative
and passionate. Initiation, sensitivity to the other world, magick.
Birth Stone: Birth Stone: Birth Stone: Birth Stone: Jasper
Compatibility: Compatibility: Compatibility: Compatibility: Harmonious relations with the signs of cat and bear. Will also relate
well to the signs of bee, swan and crane. Difficulties may be expected in relation to all
Date of Birth: Date of Birth: Date of Birth: Date of Birth: November 25 - December 22
Animal: Animal: Animal: Animal: Raven
Gaelic Name:Gaelic Name:Gaelic Name:Gaelic Name: Bran (Approximate pronunciation: Bran.)
Ruling Planet: Ruling Planet: Ruling Planet: Ruling Planet: Saturn
Birth Stone: Birth Stone: Birth Stone: Birth Stone: Lapis Lazuli
Gift Quality or Ability: Gift Quality or Ability: Gift Quality or Ability: Gift Quality or Ability: Raven people have a constructive approach to life. They will
continue a struggle that would defeat most people. They are very self-disciplined and
patient. Shape shifting, sensitivity to the other world, connection to the Faerie.
Code of Ethics for Spiritual Guides
People have long sought to enrich their lives and to awaken to their full natures
through spiritual practices including prayer, meditation, mind-body disciplines,
service, ritual, community liturgy, holy-day and seasonal observances, and rites of
passage. "Primary religious practices" are those intended, or especially likely, to bring
about exceptional states of consciousness such as the direct experience of divinity or
of cosmic unity.
In any community, there are some who feel called to assist others along spiritual
paths, and who are known as ministers, rabbis, pastors, curanderas, shamans, priests,
or other titles. We call such people 'guides': those experienced in some practice,
familiar with the terrain, and who act to facilitate the spiritual practices of others. A
guide need not claim exclusive or definitive knowledge of the terrain.
Spiritual practices, and especially primary religious practices, carry risks. Therefore,
when an individual chooses to practice with the assistance of a guide, both take on
special responsibilities. The Council on Spiritual Practices proposes the following
Code of Ethics for those who serve as spiritual guides.
1. IntentionIntentionIntentionIntention Spiritual guides are to practice and serve in ways that cultivate
awareness, empathy, and wisdom.
2. Serving SocietyServing SocietyServing SocietyServing Society Spiritual practices are to be designed and conducted in ways that
respect the common good, with due regard for public safety, health, and order.
Because the increased awareness gained from spiritual practices can catalyze desire
for personal and social change, guides shall use special care to help direct the energies
of those they serve, as well as their own, in responsible ways that reflect a loving
regard for all life.
3. Serving IndividServing IndividServing IndividServing Individualsualsualsuals Spiritual guides shall respect and seek to preserve the
autonomy and dignity of each person. Participation in any primary religious practice
must be voluntary and based on prior disclosure and consent given individually by
each participant while in an ordinary state of consciousness. Disclosure shall include,
at a minimum, discussion of any elements of the practice that could reasonably be
seen as presenting physical or psychological risks. In particular, participants must be
warned that primary religious experience can be difficult and dramatically
Guides shall make reasonable preparations to protect each participant's health and
safety during spiritual practices and in the vulnerable periods that may follow. Limits
on the behaviors of participants and facilitators are to be made clear and agreed upon
in advance of any session. Appropriate customs of confidentiality are to be established
4. CompetenceCompetenceCompetenceCompetence Spiritual guides shall assist with only those practices for which they
are qualified by personal experience and by training or education.
5. IntegrityIntegrityIntegrityIntegrity Spiritual guides shall strive to be aware of how their own belief systems,
values, needs, and limitations affect their work. During primary religious practices,
participants may be especially vulnerable to suggestion, manipulation, and
exploitation; therefore, guides pledge to protect participants and not to allow anyone
to use that vulnerability in ways that harm participants or others.
6. Quiet PresenceQuiet PresenceQuiet PresenceQuiet Presence To help safeguard against the harmful consequences of personal
and organizational ambition, spiritual communities are usually better allowed to grow
through attraction rather than active promotion.
7. Not for Not for Not for Not for ProfitProfitProfitProfit Spiritual practices are to be conducted in the spirit of service.
Spiritual guides shall strive to accommodate participants without regard to their
ability to pay or make donations.
8. ToleranceToleranceToleranceTolerance Spiritual guides shall practice openness and respect towards people
whose beliefs are in apparent contradiction to their own.
9. Peer ReviewPeer ReviewPeer ReviewPeer Review Each guide shall seek the counsel of other guides to help ensure the
wholesomeness of his or her practices and shall offer counsel when there is need.
Concerning the Heyokah
This article is excerpted from the Rocky Mountain Pagan Journal. Each issue of the
Rocky Mountain Pagan Journal is published by High Plains Arts and Sciences; P.O.
Box 620604, Littleton Co., 80123, a Colorado Non-Profit Corporation, under a Public
Domain Copyright, which entitles any person or group of persons to reproduce, in
any form whatsoever, any material contained therein without restriction, so long as
articles are not condensed or abbreviated in any fashion, and credit is given the
Hello, people! Before I get to the subject of this little piece, let me give you a bit of
information as to its roots.
Recently I have been doing a lot of writing, horror stories for the most part, and this
article grew out of that. It is also derived from a dream that I had not too long ago and
something that has puzzled me until recently. Now, with all that out of the way, let's
get to it.
Those of you who are familiar with Native American beliefs already have an idea of
what a heyokah is. For the benefit of those who aren't, I'll try to briefly describe him
for you. Who knows? There may well be a counterpart in your own tradition.
The word heyokah comes from the Lakotah (Sioux) and is used in reference to a
particular type of shaman. According to tradition, the heyokah is one who has
"dreamed of the Thunder Spirits." This dream bestows great powers upon the
medicine man/medicine woman, one of which is reputed to be an ability to influence
storms. However, these powers have their price in that the shaman becomes a
"contrary." If you've seen the movie Little Big Man, then you have seen a sample of
the heyokah's antics. Of course, this was a parody of the real thing, but our subject
does do a lot of clowning around in reverse.
Now I've read quite a bit on the subject (there's a lot out there, too), but still couldn't
put it together. There seemed to be something missing! It's only in the last month or
so that it's become clear to me and I'd like to share my insights with you.
Probably the greatest barrier to my understanding was the one created by language.
Not being able to speak Lakotah, and additionally not knowing the culture, I lost
something in the translation. Here's the whole picture, as I see it anyway.
In his vision, the heyokah comes into direct contact with the life-force itself. This is
symbolized by the Thunder Spirits that he dreams of. When this occurs, a
death/rebirth sequence is begun, which gives the shaman the capacity to control some
of the manifestations of life-force. This would include an ability to influence storms
and, as is typical of the shamanic experience, the power to heal. He also becomes a
very potent teacher. This last is where the "contrariness" comes into focus, in two
ways. The first is that the heyokah is teaching us about our selves. By "mirroring" all
of our doubts, fears, hatreds, weaknesses, etc. he forces us to examine what we really
are. For example, if you have any self-hatred (a common malady in our society) this
sacred teacher will make you look at it. The second aspect of his mirroring is that, as
we are taught, the heyokah heals us of our hurts. This is the most important and
remarkable part of the holy man's clowning. For this wonderful shaman takes our
pain and transforms it into laughter. And what can heal a human beings faster than to
laugh at ourselves?
As you can see, these "sacred clowns" had a very important role in traditional
societies. And personally, I think we could use a few more of them in today's world.
Suggested ReadingSuggested ReadingSuggested ReadingSuggested Reading
Seven Arrows, Hyemeyosts Storm
Song of Heyokah, Hyemeyosts Storm
Lame Deer: Seeker of Visions, Richard Erdoes and Lame Deer
Shamanic Voices, Joan Halifax
Consulting Your Animal
The Power Animal can be consulted in order to obtain advise on problems. This is
commonly called "divination". To do this, simply journey to the Lowerworld to see
your animal. Your Power Animal is usually quite close by and you won't have to
journey far before you see it. Quite often it is at the end of the tunnel.
When you see your Power Animal, silently greet it and pose your question. Most
often the Power Animal will provide the answer by moving it's body in an unusual
way. However, sometimes it may lead you on a journey. The experiences of the
journey will be relevant to your answer.
The first few times you do this, it is best to keep your answers simple so that they
may be answered in a "yes" or "no" form. When you become more experienced in
understanding the animal's language, the questions can be more complicated.
You should keep some form of diary in which to record your shamanistic experiences.
These you should record as soon as you finish a journey so that the memory is still
You need not wait until you have a problem before you undertake a journey to see
your animal guardian. It is beneficial to visit without posing a question. You will find
positive things happening in your life around such visits.
Do I Have an Animal Guide?
Do I Have an Animal Guide? Some believe that each person has one and possibly
more (one guide being the most commonly held belief), personal animal guides that
they can rely on. Most also believe that they can access other animal guides for help
in areas where their personal guide(s) are not as strong. However there are also some
who believe that anyone can access guides for help, but each person does not have a
specific one. Believe whatever feels right to you. Before you decide that this is a
wonderful idea and that you should have 365 personal animal guides, one for each
and every day of the year, and want to run out and meet them all, think about this. I
was once told that those who meet many personal animal guides in their life are not
to be envied for they are the ones who need the most protection and guidance.
However that does not mean that you cannot call on different guides for help when
you need the specific type of help they can offer you. It also does not mean you can
can't have more than one personal guide. I just wanted to throw in a word of
warning; too much candy can make you sick after all. So if you suddenly find a flock
of animal guides at your side at all times, look at what you are doing and where you
are going in your life. Perhaps you have some decisions to make.
How Do I Meet My Animal Guide?How Do I Meet My Animal Guide?How Do I Meet My Animal Guide?How Do I Meet My Animal Guide?
Patience, patience, patience. Animal guides are not owned by anyone, even if some
might be called pets. It is their choice whether or not to make themselves known to
you at any particular time. You may ask nicely, but you can never force a meeting.
Most often your guide will reveal itself in its own time. Just because they do not
appear the first time you try to contact them doesn't mean you should give up. Keep
trying every so often and when they feel the time is right they will show themselves.
There are three ways you can meet your power animal or discover which animal
medicine is right for you. First, you could just wait until the guide decides that it is
time for it to show itself. Second, you could write and perform a ritual to call and ask
for the assistance of the animal that would best assist you in your present magical
workings or be of help in resolving a conflict in your life or simply ask that a guide
make itself known to you. Finally you could opt for the method of entering a
meditative state (for example a shamanic trance, astral travel or lucid dreaming) and
meet the animal in the spirit world. When the ritual technique is used, you will most
likely see the animal in its natural form or it may appear in your life through seeming
coincidences sometime after the ritual. There may be a synchronistic conversation
where the topic is of the animal, or you find a book about the animal, images of it
keep popping up, etc. When you catch that first glimpse of that particular medicine,
you will know it in your heart. If you meet the animal in the meditative astral state,
converse with it and ask its help. Anything is possible in the astral, so ask questions
and get to know your new partner. If you have seen the animal after a ritual, plan
sometime to go into the meditative state to cement your relationship, get to know the
animal and the wisdom it represents. It is important to remember that in many cases,
we are chosen and not the one making the choices when it comes to the alliance with
an animal spirit. We may wish to seek the wisdom of a particular guide but others
will show up instead. Remember to be receptive to any or all who appear because
they all have important lessons or wisdom to impart. It is also possible that before we
can progress to our next level of understanding, we must first resolve or overcome
some underlying issues that we may not be fully aware of or are denying within
ourselves. Once you have met and began your relationship with an animal spirit,
what do you do with it? Power animals are great advice givers, often representing
aspects of our higher selves that we haven't been paying close enough attention to. In
a meditative state you can ask for their assistance on problems that have been nagging
at you. At times, it is also necessary to seek the assistance of more than one power
animal at the same time to maintain balance, as is the case between Badger and Deer.
How to Discover Your GHow to Discover Your GHow to Discover Your GHow to Discover Your Guide:uide:uide:uide:
One way of starting to discover your animal guides by examining the animals you
have been most interested in and the times of your life that interest was piqued. Also
examine the animals that have appeared in your dreams or in your everyday life,
especially the ones that have appeared over and over and at odd times. The following
questions can help you determine which animals might be guides in your life. Has a
specific creature or specific creatures, be it animal, bird, reptile, Amphibian, insect or
mythological beast, always fascinated you? We are drawn to that which most
resonates with us. Those animals, which fascinate us or the ones that we fear the
most, have something to teach us. Animal guides are not always those that we have
the most similarities with. Often they are in our lives to help us learn what we are
lacking. When you visit the zoo, which animal do you wish to visit first? This is
especially true with children and this question is easy for them to answer since they
are often more receptive than teens or adults. What animal or animals do you see
most frequently when you are out in nature? The animals we encounter in their city
or wild environments have significance for us. We can learn from them about
survival within their environment and often much more. Of all the creatures, which
are you most interested in now? Our interests in animals change. Yes, we usually
have one or two that are lifetime power animals, but others become prominent in our
lives when there is something of importance to learn from them. Do any animals
frighten you? That which we fear is often something we must learn to come to terms
with. When we do that, the fears then become power. Some Shamans believe that
fears will take the shape of animals, and only when we confront them without fear do
their powers/medicine work for us instead of against us. Such an animal then
becomes a shadow totem. Have you ever been attacked or badly wounded by an
animal? Historically, if a Shaman survived an attack, it was believed that the animal
was the Shaman's spirit totem and the attack was the totem's way of testing the
Shaman's ability to understand and handle its power. Do you have dreams with
animals in them or are there animal dreams you have never forgotten? This is
especially important if the dreams are recurring or if a specific animal image keeps
popping up in your dreams.
Children often dream of animals and attention should be given to these animals. They
will often reflect specific animal guides of the child or areas of weakness where the
parents can help in their child's growth.
Meet Your Spirit GuidesMeet Your Spirit GuidesMeet Your Spirit GuidesMeet Your Spirit Guides
Before retiring, or going to bed, spend a few minutes in bed relaxing. Just focus on
being relaxed. Be relaxed. While relaxed, imagine a Veil in front of your eyes. A
curtain, or a wall. Imagine the Veil, or the wall, as being void, black. Accept the Veil,
or the wall. Do not be threatened by the Veil, because you are relaxed, and because
you know the Veil is an illusion, and serves purpose. You are still relaxed. Then, you
visualize the Veil (or wall) slowly lifting. You see the Veil lifting, and you see stars,
you see lights. You know you can see things you haven't seen before. You are still
relaxed. When you are ready, you ask for Spirit to join you. You ask Spirit to touch
you, and to embrace you, because you are ready to embrace Spirit. You know that
Spirit is Divine Love, you know you are safe, you know you are loved. You know you
are ready to meet Spirit. Hold your hands out. Let your fingertips feel the touch of
Spirit. Know that when you are ready, you can ask Spirit to embrace your arms; ask
for Spirit to give you a huge hug. You will feel it. Accept the love that is given to you,
and know that you have earned it, that the love is yours. You may feel many things.
Electricity, and an urge to cry, is what I felt, and great joy. There are many methods
regarding meeting your spirit guides. I met my guides in delayed stages. I had two
human guides and three critter guides. This is not "common" but is also not unheard-
of. What is common is for people to have two human guides. For those who study
critter-paths, I believe that they also have two human guides, but that they are
working more consciously with critter-wisdom, and therefore it is likely that they
have "critter-medicine", and may actually have critter guides, as I do. Names?
Gender? These are generally the first two issues we would like to distinguish within
our guides. What I would recommend, as a matter of deduction, is that you ask your
inner voice, if your entity is Male or Female. You willwillwillwill receive a definite impression.
Lesson number one - learn to trust yourself. (I like to ask the gender question first, as
it's an easy one-two, this or that approach, and helps to distinguish our own
emotional responses.) When it comes to names, let your mind be open to receive
impressions. When I first met Elmo, my bear, I had a hard time believing that was his
name, because I am a "serious" person, I associated "Elmo" as being playful, and
therefore antithetical to what I thought his name should be. (Yet, I've learned a lot
from Elmo, including "not being so uptight" I also learned more about not judging a
person - or entity - by their name.) When I first met Garulf, as a spirit, I thought he
had a fascinating name. Weird name, dynamic personality. This was the label I
hanged on him. How was I to know Garulf was a fairly common, respectable name
several hundreds of years ago, in Denmark? How was I to know Garulf was actually a
Soul name, befitting him perfectly as a spirit, and as a person? So, in other words,
whatever name you get in meditation, or whatever, really is their name? Sometimes,
the names of your spirits will help you bust up your own preconceptions of what
names mean - or what roles people should play in your lives. What it all really comes
down to is trusting your impressions. If you can do that (we salute you!), but more,
you are already on a healthy journey of rediscovery. Your spirits will help you find
Do You Know Your Animal Totems?
Begin the process of discovering your animal totems by examining the animals you
have been most interested in & the times of your life that interest was piqued. Use the
following questions to help determine which animals are probably totems to you in
1. Which animal or bird has always fascinated you? (We are drawn to that which
most resonates with us. Those animals which fascinate us have something to teach
2. When you visit the zoo, which animal do you wish to visit the most or first? (esp.
3. What animal(s) do you see most frequently when you are out in nature? Have you
had encounters with animals in the wild? (The animals we encounter, in their city
environments or in the wild, have significance for us. We can learn from them, even
if only about survival within that environment.)
4. Of all the animals in the world, which are you most interested in now? (Our
interests in animals change. Yes, we usually have one or two that are lifetime, power
animals, but others become prominent when there is something importance or
specific to teach us.)
5. What animal most frightens you? (That which we fear the most is often something
we must learn to come to terms with. When we do that, it then becomes a power.
Some shamans believe that fears will take the shape of animals, and only when we
confront them without fear do their powers/medicine work for us instead of against
us. Such an animal become a shadow totem.)
6. Have you ever been bitten or attacked by an animal? (Historically, if a shaman
survived an attack, it was believed that the animal was the shaman's spirit totem and
the attack was the totem's way of testing the shaman's ability to handle the power.)
7. Do you have dreams with animals in them or are there animal dreams you have
never forgotten? (This is especially important if the dreams are recurring or if at least
the animal image in the dream is a recurring one. Children often dream of animals, &
attention should be given to these animals. They will often reflect specific spirit
totems of the child.)
Non-Pagan history describes familiars as low-ranking demons in constant attention to
Witches for the purpose of carrying out spells and bewitchments. Familiars usually
assumed animal forms - cats, toads, owls, mice and dogs seem to have been the most
common - though virtually any animal or insect could be suspected. In the
Witchcraft Trials, if so much as a fly buzzed in the window while someone suspected
of being a witch was being questioned or tried, it was said to be her (or his) familiar.
The inquisitors took the Bile to heart: those who had familiars were "an abomination
unto the Lord" and should be "Put to death: they shall stone them with stones: Their
blood shall be upon them" (Lev. 20:27).
Familiars - also called imps - were said to be given to Witches by the Devil or bought
or inherited from other Witches. A Witch could have several of them. Cats were the
favored forms, especially black ones. The fear that all cats were Witches' familiars was
one of the primary reasons for the famous cat massacres that swept through medieval
Familiars were given names like any household pet, which most of them undoubtedly
were. Perhaps the best known familiar name is Pyewackett, the moniker the Witch's
cat in the movie Bell, Book and Candle, and a name that dates back to Renaissance
England. Pyewackett, Matthew Hopkins (the famous Witch hunter) stated, was a
name "no mortal could invent."
During the Witch hysteria of the Middle Ages and Renaissance, the obsession with
familiars was confined mostly to England and Scotland, where they are mentioned in
numerous trial records, especially those related to Hopkins. The Witchcraft Act of
1604 made it a felony to "consult, convene with, entertain, employ, feed, or reward
any evil and wicked spirit to or for any intent or purpose." But the Malleus
Maleficarum (1486), the major Witch inquisitor's handbook, offers no instructions
concerning familiars in the interrogation and trial of Witches. The book does
acknowledge that an animal familiar "always works with the Witch in everything."
There is a scant evidence of familiars in early American Witch trials. In the Salem
Trials in 1692, John Bradsheet was indicted for "inciting a dog to afflict." The dog was
tried and hanged as a Witch. Outside of Witch trials, more benevolent familiars were
believed to exist, serving wizards and wise men (and women) who were magicians or
village healers. The familiars helped diagnose illnesses and the sources of
bewitchment and were used for divining and finding lost objects and treasures.
Magicians conjured them in rituals, then locked then in bottles, rings and stones.
They sometimes sold them as charms, claiming the spirits would ensure success in
gambling, love, business or whatever the customer wanted. This sort of familiar was
technically not illegal; England's Witchcraft Act of 1604 prohibited only evil and
wicked spirits. Some familiars were said to be Faeries. Oberon was a popular name for
fairy familiars in 15th and 16th century England.
Many modern Witches have animal familiars, usually cats, which are their magical
helpers. Some also have dogs, birds, snakes or toads. Witches do not believe the
familiars are "demons" or spirits in animal form but simply animals whose psychic
attunement makes them ideal partners in magical workings. Some Witches say that it
is possible to endow pets with magical powers and turn them into familiars, though
others don't believe it should be done. Still others believe familiars are never "pets"
(and should never be treated as such) but are animals who volunteer to work as
familiars and are Karmically attracted to Witches. Witches who do not have familiars
send out psychic "calls" to draw the right animal.
Familiars reputedly are sensitive to psychic vibrations and power and are welcomed
partners inside the magic circle and other magical work. They also serve as psychic
radar, reacting visibly to the presence of any negative or evil energy, whether it be an
unseen force or a person who dabbles in the wrong kind of magic. Familiars are also
given psychic protection by their Witches. Some Witches it seems also use the term
familiar to describe thought-forms created magically and empowered to carry out a
certain task on the astral plane.
Sorcerers and shamans in cultures around the world also have helpers in the form of
spirits. Dispatching them on errands to heal, harm or kill - called sending. The
physical shape of a familiar varies. New Guinea sorcerers rely on snakes and
crocodiles, while in Malaya, the familiar is usually an owl or badger passed down
from generation to generation.
Throughout Africa, the wild creatures of the bush are said to be Witches' familiars:
for the Lugbara, they are said to be the toad, snake, lizard, water frog, bat, owl,
leopard, jackal and a type of monkey that screeches in the night; for the Dinka, they
are black cobras and hyenas. The Zulus' familiars are said to be corpses dug up and re-
animated with magic; they are sent out at on night errands to scare travelers with
their shrieking and pranks. In Shamanism, a novice shaman acquires his familiar
spirits, usually manifesting in animal, reptile or bird shapes, when he completes his
initiation. He or she may send them out to do battle in his or her place, but if they
die, so does the shaman. Familiars usually stay with their shaman until death, then
disappear. Among certain Eskimos, the familiar is embodied in an artificial seal, not a
In closing, what I usually instruct in this area is that the student of magic who feels
that they have found a familiar is that they should practice an exercise called "Trading
Places" by Keith Harry. This exercise is simple enough to memorize and to practice,
and though it was not written specifically for bonding with an animal familiar it was
designed for becoming familiar with an animal, and inducing a mystical experience. I
think you will readily discern its value in the acquiring of a familiar.
TradiTradiTradiTrading Places Exerciseng Places Exerciseng Places Exerciseng Places Exercise
To trade places (mentally) with a dog or cat, or other animal.
Home, Zoo, Wilderness, etc.
1. Relax your body as completely as you can. Calm your mind, eliminating all
thoughts which do not relate to your intent and purpose. Sit so that you are
comfortable, and as nearly as possible on the same level with the animal you will be
working with. Lie down if you like. The important thing is that you are able to
comfortably make eye contact with your animal partner in this exercise. It is also
important to satisfy yourself that the animal is likewise comfortable and secure with
2. Take a deep breath. As you slowly exhale, look into the animal's eyes, and imagine
that a part of your awareness is being transmitted through your breath into the
animal's mind. Watch the animal breathe, and imagine that a part of its awareness is
being transmitted into your mind.
3. Continue looking directly into the animal's eyes until you fell your consciousness
merge with the animal's consciousness.
As the boundaries between you and the animal dissolve, you may feel as if you've
really traded places with a member of another species, as though a part of you has
become the animal - this is the height of subjective merging. You may begin to feel
compassion for another species. You'll also probably recognize some of the artificial
differences between the human and animal worlds. You may be able to feel or sense
the actual flow of the animals emotions and mental imagery. Should you accomplish
this then it should be no trouble for you to contract with the animal to serve as your
magical partner. Asking another to become such a partner also places upon you the
responsibility of becoming its partner. I would not recommend contracting an animal
to become your familiar and then treating the animal as a pet. A pet is something you
possess, own. A Familiar, to my way of thinking, is an individual who has entered
into a mutually beneficial relationship (partnership) with you, and therefore should
be afforded the respect and consideration due a partner.
I am sure you are familiar with the typical figure of the witch and her black cat.
Witches have been using animals to help them with their magickal works for a very
long time. It is said that the familiar is the animal that the witch has. The familiar
lives with the witch and assists him/her in magickal works. Traditionally cats are
associate with witches. Other animals, like dogs, rabbits, horses, and snakes, can be
However, your pet is not necessarily your familiar. I have a small fish tank with a
Beta fish in my room where I perform most of my magickal works. Even though I
love it dearly, my red Beta fish is not my familiar. A familiar represents all the good
qualities of that animal, and it is attune to the witch. It provides the witch with a link
to the animal kingdom and the essence of their power.
Totem/Power AnimalsTotem/Power AnimalsTotem/Power AnimalsTotem/Power Animals
Witches cannot always work with physical familiars due to many reasons. Perhaps
the most common one will be space limitation. Let's face it, who can keep a tiger in
his/her house? Sigfried and Roy do notnotnotnot count! Therefore, many witches work with
their totem animals in the astral. Totems are not specific animals but mystical powers.
Totem animals are sought in the astral world. Witches choose those power animals
that closely represent their higher selves. In other words, power animals are chosen
by their affinity to the witch. Power animals are used for specific purposes too. For
example, a Witch may choose the animal that lends to a specific kind of magick.
Maybe the spell needs some "medicine" from the Snake. Some animals are associated
with the quarters. Sometimes these energies are activated with the quarter calls.
Totem animals are great advisers. So if you are confused about something, call the
To most people today, a familiar is a Witch's companion, a small animal 'pet' that
helps the Witch with magick. The idea of the familiar is a very ancient concept and is
generally applied to such creatures as cats, dogs, ferrets, toads, snakes, and some birds.
Unfortunately, familiars have been given negative connotations by those who know
nothing about them and do not bother to separate fact from propaganda.
Anyone can have a familiar. You may already have an actual physical familiar living
in your home in the guise of a pet. You can also attract an astral-bodied animal
familiar. This can be a particular creature that is impossible to have as a 'pet' in the
Most people have at least a little knowledge about the power of animals of the Native
American traditions. However, the Native American's were not the only ones who
knew of and used the powers of familiars, which is what power animals are. For
centuries, European cultures called upon animals allies in shamanistic rites. European
shamanism eventually evolved into Wicca and Paganism.
Types of FamiliarsTypes of FamiliarsTypes of FamiliarsTypes of Familiars
There are different types of familiars. The first king is an actual physical creature who
lives with and has a rapport with a human. These familiars are the ones who establish
a psychic link with the human of their choice. They can communicate their needs
without vocalizing and are usually very good at telepathy.
The second kind of familiar is an astral creature of animal form that attaches itself to a
human for the purpose of aiding the human. This type of familiar can be a creature
that cannot be kept in the house, and cane be drawn to the human by the person's
intense rapport with it. It may also appear because of specific need within the
human's life. Deceased pets sometimes return in this capacity.
The third category of familiars are elemental spirits or other world entities. Although
ceremonial magicians sometimes call upon such an elemental to inhabit an object,
such as a talisman, statue, crystal, magick mirror, or peace of jewelry, most magicians
do not command or imprison such beings. The mythical, fantastic beasts such and
such entities as faeries and brownies often work as familiars and co-magicians in
magick. Even if your circumstances prohibit you from having a physical 'pet', you are
never barred from having an astral familiar. Common sense should tell you that
having a panther or bear in the house is impossible, if not illegal. Allergies may
prohibit you from sharing your life with an animal, but you can enjoy the
companionship of an astral creature safely and completely. The only restrictions are
your own desires to be friends with such a familiar, to learn from them, and to grow
spiritually and magically.
Benefits of FamiliarsBenefits of FamiliarsBenefits of FamiliarsBenefits of Familiars
The familiar (physical, astral, or elemental) can help you by strengthening you
magickal power. Some physical creatures do this by actually being in the room
whenever you work a ritual.
Familiars can improve your life by warning you of danger, or defending you when
danger arises. Animals, such as cats and dogs, can warn you when danger is present
by hissing, growling, and even refusing to enter a room if someone they consider
questionable is there. They will also awaken their owners during the night to alert
them to fires, intruders, or other potential disaster. Quite often they, will refuse to
enter an area that has a malicious, troublesome ghost.
An example of subtle warning is when a cat or dog leaves the room when a particular
person enters, or when the animal avoids a person altogether. The animal may also sit
and stare at the questionable person. If you listen to these warnings, and are truthful
to yourself about the person in question, you will find in some way that the person is
not compatible with or healthy for you.
Animals are also good healers. They seem to know when someone they care about is
sick. It does not matter to them whether the illness is emotional or physical. They get
as close as they can and send comforting, healing vibrations. When it comes to
strengthening the magickal power during a ritual or spell working, there is nothing
better than familiar. Some physical creatures simply cannot be kept out of the room
when magickal happenings are in progress. The buildup of energy draws them like a
magnet. You can tell if your 'pet' is a true familiar if the power builds up even more
with his or her presence. A very few pets, like some people, siphon off energy, but
this is rarer in the animal kingdom that it is among humans.
A good familiar can also let you know by telepathy and subtle actions whether or not
you are using the appropriate type of magickal procedure. If you are not, they
sometimes become disruptive until you listen to them. Usually, only an adjustment in
viewpoint of the desired result is necessary to bring back their help.
Another benefit of familiars is learning certain techniques from them. By studying a
creature a magician can learn how to temporarily adopt some of their traits which
may be necessary to cope with a situation. For example, you may find yourself
wanting to make a stealthy exit from a crowded room. By concentrating on the
quietness of a mouse or the cunning of a fox, it is possible to leave the room without
being noticed. In a way, this is becoming 'invisible.'
Physical or astral familiars are frequent companions during astral travels or
meditations. They are protectors and guides in otherworld realms. Often, by
following them, you are led to new sources of information and understanding,
particularly those of a spiritual nature. There is nothing evil about having a familiar,
whether they are creatures of the earth plane or the astral plane.
Non-pagans sometimes do not understand the companionships and working
relationship between Pagans and their familiars, and sometimes fear the very idea of
familiars. However, having a familiar makes one more aware of the connection
between humans and all other creatures, and the more intricate connection between
all creatures (humans and otherwise) and the universal source of spiritual power.
Finding Your Power Animal
Entering into an altered state of consciousness is the first step to discovering your
power animal. Coming in all sizes and shapes, your power animal is the best animal to
shape shift with because it mirrors your deepest essence and also reflects qualities and
knowledge that you need to survive and progress in the world.
Using visualization, drumming, breathing, and dreaming, you can journey into
Otherworlds of experience. During these journeys, you will find that some spirits are
helpful and some are not. A key to knowing the difference is paying close attention to
the general disposition of the animal’s spirit energy. Does it seem friendly or hostile?
For example, if you meet with an alligator or other reptile, and it looks like it wants
to eat you for dinner, it would be wise to work with another power animal.
Most birds and mammals are benevolent power animals. Also, mythical animals such
as the dragon, unicorn, or Pegasus also make powerful animal allies. Go with your
intuition and gut feeling.
You may already be aware of your power animal, and that animal may greet you as
you journey into other realms, giving you power and assistance. To find your power
animal, and to communicate with it once you find it, is a uniquely personal
experience. No two people are going to go about it exactly the same way. Some people
discover their power animals while dreaming, and others in “A-ha” experiences.
Others meet their power animals on spirit journeys, in meditation, and during out-of-
The simplest way to find your power animal is by paying close attention to animal
signs and signals in your daily life. Ways of doing this include noticing what animal
names you encounter during the day, what animals you see, what animals are in your
dreams, what animals you most resemble, and what animals you admire or think
about most. Also be aware of which animals you are most attracted to, and which
ones seem to like you. For example, do you growl, purr, or flit and fly around a lot?
Do you wear clothing with animals on it or drive a car with an animal name such as
mustang or jaguar? Noticing all of these little details often provides insights into the
When finding your power animal, the locality you live in has a significant impact
because the energy and spirits within a particular locale imprint you, and vice versa.
Each area has different flora and fauna and this affects the energy of the land. Making
an effort to know and create a bond with the animals in your specific area both helps
and empowers you.
How to Become a Shaman
To the beginner, it would seem that the primary goal of everything one does is to
become a Shaman.
It is a common misconception that experiencing Shamanic ecstasy or embarking on
that first Shamanic journey makes you a Shaman. It is more complicated then this.
Not everyone can become a Shaman. It is a terrible experience to survive a calling and
thus one should not "wish" to be a Shaman.
However, anyone may still benefit from the experience of practicing Shamanic
techniques and ecstasy without being a Shaman.
A Shaman is a master of the Shamanic abilities, journeying, ecstasy, even healing.
A Shaman is also one depended on by some form of a group or community, while I
believe one might be a Shaman to their own brotherhood or family, in most cases this
is a village or some nation of people.
To these people, the Shaman is their window between the worlds. So to answer the
question, there are three ways most Shamanic traditions agree one can become a
1. By birth into a Shamanic family, one can receive the hereditary right to be a
2. One might be called as a Shaman. Often a person will become seriously ill
(physically, mentally or psychically) during this calling. They will then realize, or
be informed of, their calling. Once the person begins their training and accepts
their calling, they will be freed of their illness. This calling is not a request, but
rather a divine command. Once may be raised in a Christian family which rejects
the path of the Shaman, but to ignore the call would not be acceptable. Most
Shamanic cultures believe that rejecting a call is a fatal mistake. Surviving the call
is what gives the Shaman the experience needed to begin healing others.
3. One may choose to become a Shaman. This involves an intense, personal quest
towards being a Shaman, including the traditional training and studying.
According to "orthodox" beliefs, a Shaman who chooses his path is less powerful.
Many cultures believe there is no such thing as one who chooses to be a Shaman and
such a person is either fake or simply unrespectable. Survival of the calling is part of
the experience and to choose this path is to surpass the calling.
Regardless of the way one initiates the journey, it is a very tough and devoted path to
follow. A Shaman must endure intense physical discipline, days in sweat lodges,
seeking visions, long journeys between the worlds, and deep study of deities, myths,
the secret language, and their heritage.
This is why Shamanism is not a religion but a way of life that becomes the nature of
Insects are Our Friends
Most insects and other arthropods found in the yard and garden do not feed on or
harm plants. Many of these are just "passing through" or have very innocuous habits.
Others feed on and destroy pest species. In many cases, the activities of these
beneficial species can completely prevent or greatly limit pest problems. It is
important to recognize these beneficial arthropods so that they may be appreciated
Beneficial arthropods are categorized broadly as either insect predators or parasites.
During development, in both adult and immature stages, insect predators actively
search out and consume several prey insects. Predators include ladybird beetles,
lacewings and spiders. Insect parasites develop in or on a single host form eggs or
larvae deposited by the adult parasite. Common insect parasites are tachinid flies and
the brconid and ichneumonid wasps.
Insect PredatorsInsect PredatorsInsect PredatorsInsect Predators
Ladybird beetlesLadybird beetlesLadybird beetlesLadybird beetles – Often called "ladybugs", ladybird beetles are the most familiar
insect predator. Most adult ladybird beetles are round-oval in shape, brightly colored
and often spotted. The immature or larvae stages, however, appear very different and
often are overlooked or misidentified. Ladybird beetles larvae are elongated, usually
dark colored and flecked with orange or yellow. Adult and larval ladybird beetles
feed on large numbers of small soft-bodied insects such as aphids. One group of very
small black ladybird beetles (Stethorus) is also very important in controlling spider
mites. Ladybird beetles can rapidly control many developing insect problems,
particularly if temperatures are warm.
Green lacewingsGreen lacewingsGreen lacewingsGreen lacewings – Several green lacewing species commonly are found in gardens.
The adult stage is familiar to most gardeners – a pale green insect with large, clear,
highly-veined wings that are over the body when at rest. Adult green lacewings
primarily feed on nectar and other fluids, but some species also consume a few small
Green lacewings lay a distinctive stalked egg. Lacewing larvae emerge in four to ten
days. These larvae, sometimes called aphid lions, are voracious predators capable of
feeding on small caterpillars and beetles as well as aphids and other insects. In general
shape and size, lacewing larvae are superficially similar to ladybird beetle larvae.
However, immature lacewings usually are light brown and have a large pair of
hooked jaws sticking out from the front of the head.
Syrphid fliesSyrphid fliesSyrphid fliesSyrphid flies – These flies are called by several names such as flower flies or hover
flies. Most are brightly colored, yellow or orange and black, and may resemble bees or
yellow jacket wasps. However, syrphid flied are harmless to humans. Usually they
can be seen feeding on flowers. It is the larval stage of the syrphid fly that is an insect
predator. Variously colored, the tapered "maggots" crawl over foliage and daily can
feed on dozens of small, soft-bodied insects. Syrphid flies are particularly important
in controlling aphid infestations early in the season when cooler temperatures may
inhibit other predators.
Similar in appearance to the syphid fly larvae is a small, bright orange predatory
midge (Aphidoletes). These insects often can be seen feeding within aphid colonies
late in the season.
Mind Altering Chemicals and Shamanism
I have been asked repeatedly what my view of mind-altering chemicals as they relate
to shamanism is, so I figured I would say something about them.
First of all, let me put in a disclaimer here before anyone decides to send me email
telling me I am condoning the use of illegal drugs.
I do not condone, nor do I condemn the use of chemicals, recreational or otherwise.
I believe each person is entitled to make their own decision on the subject, I would
only hope that that decision be an educated one.
All chemicals can and most often do have some sort of detrimental effect on your
body, alcohol and tobacco included.
Anyone making a choice to use these or any other substances should be aware of
what those effects are and be willing to deal with the consequences.
As for drugs in relation to shamanism, yes, they have been and still are used by many
For instance, the Maya used mushrooms to induce trance states, Siberian shamans use
the fly agaric mushroom, some Native American shamans used and still use peyote,
and shamans in the Amazon use yage, just to name a few.
Heck, I'm pretty sure some groups licked frogs for the psychotropic chemical,
bufotenin, that is exuded by the skin of certain species.
However the shamans that use these substances have had quite a bit of training and
have been supervised by older shamans who have undertaken the use of such
No one should attempt shamanic work under the influence of mind-altering
substances unless they have been trained to do so by a shaman that is skilled in the
use of such chemicals.
There is a very good reason for this.
The spirit world can be a treacherous place.
Many of these substances can make you forget that, as well as make you think that
you can do anything.
That is a very, very dangerous combination.
I am all for learning your path on your own.
Self-teaching can be a wonderful experience, but not in this case.
Besides, any and all of the effects that shamans achieve through the use of drugs can,
and have been, achieved without them.
Spiritual growth takes time, but so do most things and drugs are not a quick solution.
If you have come to a decision that you have a problem with drugs or alcohol, please
get help. Your doctor can recommend various treatment organizations and Narcotics
Anonymous and Alcoholics Anonymous are in the phone book.
Centaur Healing, shape shifting, music, divination, teaching
Chinese Lion Dog (Fu-Dog) Guardians against evil, will drive away any evil from
Gargoyles Protection of house or property, psychism, removing
Griffin Protection, spiritual wisdom, enlightenment
Horned Snake Cures illness, kundalini energy, wisdom
Phoenix Transformation, spiritual growth
Rainbow Serpent Magick, rain, life, procreation
Sphinx Initiation, elemental magick, wisdom, mystery
Unicorns Good will, fame, prosperity, success, wisdom
Winged Horse Aids in astral travel, fame, eloquence, visiting the
Winged Serpent (Buto) Wisdom, protection, teaching, guide to ancient
Power Animal: Bear
Bear's medicine includes: inner knowing, healing, dreaming, transformation,
"Bear, lend me your gentle strength
Show me the way to my inner child
As I explore the magickal secrets
Of the dreamtime"
Bear is the keeper of the dreamtime. He stores your dream knowledge so that you
may learn from it when you awaken.
Bear thinks his actions through very carefully. He is to quick to judge, but rather
thinks deeply about his decisions. When you ask Bear a question or ask for an
opinion, you can be sure that he will reply with an informed, well thought out
Bear is usually nourishing and gentle, but has quick reflexes and will readily fight if
necessary with brute strength and speed.
Bear loves to get his paws into sweet things but even more importantly, Bear lives to
feel comfortable and warm. Other people feel cozy with Bear. Bear people are often
sleepy and tend to "hibernate" more than others.
Power Animal: Butterfly
Butterfly's medicine includes joy, transformation, courage.
"Butterfly, reveal my inner beauty.
Guide me in the transformation of my soul.
With my new wings, I rise above the clouds."
Butterfly is a magical animal. She represents change more so then any other power
animal. She was a symbol of the soul in earlier times. The Greek work "psyche" meant
both "soul" and "butterfly". It was believed that when a person died, their soul became
A butterfly person loves to dance. The dance of Butterfly is full of bliss, joy and
Butterfly will come to you at a point in your life when you are undergoing a change
which requires courage. You are coming out of your cocoon, and that takes a lot of
bravery, going to face something you have never faced before. When Butterfly comes
to you, examine what changes you are going through. Butterfly gives you the chance
to make your transformation a beautiful experience. Once transformation is complete,
your possibilities will have greatly expanded. Nothing can stop you as long as you use
your wonderful new wings and fly.
Power Animal: Coyote
Coyote's medicine includes shape shifting, intelligence, cunning.
"Coyote, teach me the paradox of life,
The balance of the dark and light,
The sacredness of what is not sacred at all."
While one may imagine that Coyote represents a trickster (and he does), he also
represents one worthy of trust. This is just one way he is a symbol of duality. He
teaches us the importance of balance by being foolish and wise, silly and serious,
simple and complex, happy and sad.
Coyote is humorous and funny, but sometimes his laughter is a mask for his sadness
and desolation. His laughter is really at the very brink of teats. He will do anything to
make people laugh, even if it means being a complete fool, as long as nobody
discovers his secret pain.
The important lessons Coyote teaches us are to love our children, laugh at our
mistakes and appreciate the paradox that is life – all is sacred, yet nothing is sacred at
Power Animal: Dog
Dog's medicine includes loyalty, protection.
"Dog, teach me the importance of loyalty.
Show me the joy of blind love.
I follow my heart to see the unseen."
Dog is a watcher and protector. He is loyal and trustworthy. Dog is true to himself
and lets nobody change his values. His love is absolute and unconditional. Once you
have befriended Dog, you have made a friend and guardian for life.
A Dog person is kind and caring. There is nothing Dog won't do to help their family
and friends. Dog doesn't ask for anything in return for its services as watcher and
protector. A gentle touch, a kind word or a friendly gesture has more meaning then
money or material treasures. A Dog person also has a tendency to "smell" something
bad – they sense trouble from a distance and can tell when a person has evil
intentions simply by being near them.
The down side of Dog is that he can be too trusting, allowing himself to be taken
advantage of. If you are a Dog person, do not let yourself be walked all over. Don't let
others abuse your generous and loyal nature.
Power Animal: Dolphin
Dolphin's medicine includes communication, wisdom, the power of breath and
"Dolphin, lend me your insight,
Deep as the ocean,
To follow the rhythms of the universe
And hear the voices of my ancestors."
Dolphin warns mankind of the danger that nears as we ignore the balance of our
Dolphin teaches man how controlling our breathing can release emotions and help us
reach altered states of consciousness. If you are able to breathe in rhythm with
Dolphin, he will take you to all the places that existed before man walked the earth,
before the seas covered the land, during our primordial beginnings. Dolphin also
teaches how inner sound, along with breathing, can allow you to enter the waters of
life to seek your desires. Dolphin's lesson is to move with the flow of life. Go the
direction life carries you and you will avoid great obstacles. He encourages you to
dive deep into the waters of life, don't forget to enjoy life, and always remember to
Power Animal: Eagle
Eagle's medicine includes courage, spirit.
"Eagle, carry me into the sky,
To rise about my doubts.
Set me free to reach my soul's desire."
Eagle rises above everything, he is ambitious and reaches for the stars. Eagle is
thought of as being the closest to the Creator. He flies above the material things to see
the spiritual. This gives Eagle a great amount of insight and spiritual wisdom.
An Eagle person is tenacious, in control, and very brave. They often "rise above" the
chaos below them to reach spiritual solace. As long as Eagle follows his intuition, he
will be heading in the right direction.
Power Animal: Fox
Fox's medicine includes cleverness, camouflage.
"Fox, share with me your wisdom,
To see the unseen,
And unseen, see."
Fox reminds all people to stay in touch with their feminine side. Fox people often
have an affinity for faeries, elves, gnomes and other magickal creatures of the faerie
Fox has a keen sense of small, so you may notice odors more then most people or have
a stronger sense of taste that allows you to pick up subtle flavors in foods.
A master of camouflage, Fox can blend in to any background. A Fox person can enter
a room and meld into the surroundings, going unnoticed for a long while. This
"invisibility" allows Fox to silently observe his surroundings and use his conclusions
to his advantage.
Power Animal: Frog
Frog's medicine includes cleansing, rebirth.
"Frog, little one with great wisdom,
Teach me to call the rain
To make new life blossom from old worries."
Frog's medicine brings the rain of cleansing, both physical and spiritual. Frog will
come to you at a time when you are worried, stressed, nervous, overwhelmed or
weak. Take some time to cleanse spiritually and take a break from the troubles of life.
From this cleansing comes rebirth. A Frog person has the ability to cleanse away
negative energies whether by song, words, or tears. Frog may seem small, but his
lesson is great. He teaches us that we must cleanse and release negative energies in
order to conquer our daily problems. All too often we forget this, and let the stress
consume us. Frog comes to you when you need a vacation to regain control of your
life, enjoy this message.
Power Animal: Hawk
Hawk's medicine includes Messenger.
"Hawk, your call awakens me in the night
And I see what the daylight reveals.
One day, I too, will pull people from the darkness."
Hawk carries a message in his shrill cry which only those with Hawk medicine can
decipher. His piercing shriek slices through the shroud of unknowing, asking you to
seek the truth. His cry represents illumination in the darkness of ignorance. Hawk
will not let your talents and skills go to waste, instead, he will scope out the situation
to make sure you use as much of your talents as possible. Hawk can solve a problem
by flying above the situation. He removes himself from it, observing it only as a
passive viewer. This allows Hawk to see the big picture. Hawk's broad vision allows
you to see the past, present and future all laid out before you. Once you are aware of
the opportunities in front of you, Hawk will help you to wisely choose your moves to
make the best of your potential.
Power Animal: Horse
Horse's medicine includes freedom, clairvoyance, endurance.
"Horse, teach me to see the truth.
Show me the ties of friendship.
Free my warrior spirit."
Horse is a beautiful, powerful, proud creature who has taken many forms in
mythology. Pegasus, Unicorn, Centaur, and many other creatures in mythology are
brothers to Horse. Horse is a magickal creature who can see into man's soul.
Horse shows his devotion in his willingness to carry man on his back, giving him a
freedom of movement and travel that no other animal can provide.
The lesson Horse brings to man is that there is strength in numbers. He teaches that
cooperation, collaboration, and the ties of friendship equal power. Horse shows us
that when we can synchronize our motive with the motives of others, we have the
power to do anything and reach any goal.
A Horse person has a wild spirit that cannot be broken. Horse loves freedom, but also
is unquestioning and faithful to his master. A warrior lies inside those with Horse
medicine. This warrior spirit keeps you safe in your travels and fills you with stamina.
Power Animal: Lion
Lion's medicine includes patience, family importance, courage.
"Lion, teach me to be a protector
Powerful, yet silent and still.
I am strong and proud,
But know my weaknesses."
Lion is a totem of feminine power and strength. The male Lion sits and boats his
beautiful mane while the Lioness is out hunting, working and feeding the pride.
The male Lion is the protector of the pride, but he does not fight if he can avoid it. He
would sooner bask on a rock as get into a brawl. Lion always tries a passive, calm
approach before resorting to violence to protect what he loves. Lion knows that one
must not underestimate the power of peace, and suggests that we release all out stress
and frustration before making any rash decisions.
Lion teaches many lessons. He reminds us to examine our behavior to find flaws and
weaknesses as well as strengths. He teaches us to keep our temper under control. He
also teaches us the power of silent, unseen observation, just like Fox. And, most
importantly, he teaches us the importance of family and of team work.
Power Animal: Lizard
Lizard's medicine includes dreaming, regeneration.
"Lizard, teach me your medicine.
Let me sleep in your skin,
And see the dreamtime
Through your heart."
When Lizard comes to you, he is telling you that it is time to start paying attention to
your dreams. When you accept Lizard as your power animal, you will see that your
dreams are more vivid, more lucid, and much more meaningful. Lizard teaches us to
think about the deeper meaning of our dreams. What are our dreams trying to tell us?
Lizard is perceptive and he can see the shadows of our souls, our doubts, fears,
uncertainly, frustration, and worries. He wants us to see these things and learn to
overcome them. Lizard encourages us to face our fears.
Lizard has the unusual ability to regenerate something which has been lost. When a
Lizard loses his tail, he can grow it back. This is a lesson to us. There is nothing that is
so easily lost. We can regain things through repair and regeneration.
Power Animal: Owl
Owl's medicine includes clairvoyance, awareness, intuition.
"Owl, let me see and hear all around me.
Teach me to understand even that with is hidden,
To have clarity when others do not."
Owl has a very keen perception of everything that is going on. She is aware of
everything that is happening around her at all times and she can see whatever she
focuses on with sharp clarity. People with Owl medicine know what's going on and
have clairvoyant or psychic powers. Their intuition is accurate, clear and precise.
Those with Owl medicine are the least gullible of all people. Nobody can get a lie or a
con past them because Owl sees right through them, peering past their mask to see
the truth beneath.
Power Animal: Panther
Panther's medicine includes rebirth, knowledge of darkness and death.
"Panther, let me know your silent wisdom.
As my perception expands,
I will find a wealth of insight awaits me."
Panther is secretive, silent and graceful in her every move. She is solitary by choice,
she tell little but listens much. She is careful not to share too much information, only
enough to ease curious minds.
Panther people have a broader vision. Panther medicine gives them a deeper insight,
both spiritually and physically. Their enhanced perspective lets them see things in
close detail or from a distance. Panthers enter the world enlightened whereas others
have to work to achieve that.
Black Panther is very mystical. She finds the most power in darkness. Black Panther
understands death and teaches people not to fear it, for out of death comes rebirth.
When Panther enters your life, it is time for a new beginning, a new door has opened
for you. Panther introduces you to an expanded awareness, alternate realities, the
elimination of fears, and most of all, total rebirth. Panther gives us the opportunity to
become a whole new person and she promises to be our protector and guardian
throughout this rebirth process.
Power Animal: Rabbit
Rabbit's medicine includes humility, fear, guile.
"Rabbit, teach me to face my fears.
Lend me your medicine to free my mind of boundaries."
Rabbit's lesson to us is to not let fearful thoughts get the best of us. When we let a
fear take our mind over, soon that fear will manifest itself in reality. Rabbit people
sometimes invite the thing they fear – disaster, tragedy, sickness – so that they can
overcome the fear by finally facing it.
Sometimes Rabbit comes to us to tell us that when things seem to be going nowhere,
simply wait for life to get back into motion. Re-evaluate how you are going about
things to eliminate the fears and obstacles that may be causing life to be slow and
then let life flow again.
Power Animal: Raven
Raven's medicine includes consciousness.
"Raven, share with me your magick.
I am the darkness in the light,
The light in the darkness."
Raven carries magick from the dark void of the Crone (dark mother) to our realm.
This void is where great knowledge awaits us. Thus, Raven has a great responsibility
to the spirit realm. Those who have Raven medicine will also feel this responsibility
and will tend to be those who share deeper knowledge – spiritual teachers, healers,
priests, doctors, prophets.
Raven comes when you ask for love, light and healing. When Raven brings his
medicine to you, he gives you a heightened awareness, sharper perception and an
expanded consciousness. With this new perception, you can look into the heart and
soul of people, begin feeling what they feel. This strong empathy can be a burden.
With this refined perception comes a responsibility to use the Raven medicine
wisely. Once could abuse it, using it for selfish, nefarious purposes. This is not the
way to go. Use the clarity and understanding that Raven gives you for good purposes.
That is why Raven comes to you when you need night the most. He does not want
you to turn to the darkness because it will eventually destroy you. As long as you use
Raven's powerful medicine for the good of others, life will continue to flow smoothly
for you as well.
Power Animal: Snake
Snake's medicine includes change, immortality.
"Snake, your venom is sweet.
My fear is gone,
I am ready for change.
I follow you down the new path
You have guarded."
Snake medicine is rare and is most often presented to the person using the approach
of fear. A person with Snake medicine will find that they are fearful of this Shadow
Animal most of their lives. But after surviving many venomous snake attacks, they
conquer their fear and are opened to the world of Snake's medicine.
Snake comes to you at a time when you are heading for change. You are ready to
explore the mysterious, voyage where you have never gone before, whether in the
physical world or in the depths of the mind and soul. People with Snake medicine
know the power of renewal. Snake sheds his skin leaving it behind and slithering
away completely renewed. Snake people can do the same, shedding their dull layers
to reveal a brilliant new self underneath.
Snake people are also creative and have strong psychic intuitive powers. Snake
represents the silver cord that connects the physical body to the astral body, so Snake
people may also be especially adept in astral travel.
The snake is a symbol of Goddess energy and he will protect you from religious
Power Animal Song
Come to us: Eagle, Wolf, Bear and Cougar.
Dance we now The Power dances.
Eagle soaring above the peaks,
Share with us freedom, majesty and fighting skills.
Teach us lessons we need to learn.
Dance with us The Power dances.
Wolf, cunning tracker, by day or night.
Share with us endurance, courage and adaptability.
Teach us lessons we need to learn.
Dance with us The Power dances.
Bear, trampling along earthen paths,
Share with us Mighty strength and sense of smell.
Teach us lessons we need to learn.
Dance with us The Power dances.
Cougar, lonely tracker of terrains,
Share with us Agility, stamina and endless curiosity.
Teach us lessons we need to learn.
Dance with us The Power dances.
Round and round.
Dance we now
The Power dances.
You and I.
With me, in me
I am you, you are me.
Together as one,
Yet separate, too.
Dance we now
The Power dances.
All Spirit Beings,
To dance the dances
With your human kin.
Dance the Cycles
Of Life and Death,
Hope and Fear,
Good and Evil.
Dance the Cycles,
Now and Again.
Of Time and Space
All is Once,
There is none.
Dance the dances
Again and again.
Power Animal: Spider
Spider's medicine includes we weaving destiny.
"Spider, weaver of the web,
Show to me the connection
Between all thing.
Open me to the universal consciousness."
Grandmother Spider was the weaver of the cosmic web which is the very fabric of the
universe. Spider has a great and very important lesson for us. She teaches that a
delicate web connects everything in the universe, when we ourselves have a
weakness, the entire web is that much weaker and thus everything we do affects
existence as a whole. When we can be stronger and more honorable, we make
everything else stronger and more honorable.
Spider represents two sides of the Goddess, the creatrix and the destroyer.
A Spider person tends to draw people into their "web". Those who become close to
Spider are engrossed, enchanted, captivated, raveled in Spider's beautiful enigma.
People love Spider and find her hard to turn away from, even when she wants them
to be gone. She fascinates them so much that they willingly tangle themselves in her
web in hops of understanding her better. But, the person who really gains Spider's
affection is the one who can escape.
Power Animal: Turtle
Turtle's medicine includes Earth wisdom, protection.
"Turtle, teach me your magick.
I follow you to the source of power
To learn the Earth's greatest secrets."
Turtle has many mystical powers – earth magic, water magic, psychic protection,
healing. Turtle can allow you to find balance in your life as well as freedom from
struggles. He teaches carefulness, tenacity, and patience as the keys to reaching your
Turtle people can feel at home anywhere they go because they carry their protective
shell with them. But when Turtle finds himself in an uncomfortable situation, he
tends to retreat into his shell instead of facing the problem. While sometimes this
keeps Turtle from learning valuable lessons, it also means that people with Turtle
medicine are survivors. They can chase new opportunities but feel safe knowing that
they can withdraw into the refuge of their "shell" when trouble rears it's head.
Power Animal: Wolf
Wolf's medicine includes Spirit teaching, social family importance.
"Wolf, my spiritual guide,
Lead me down the sacred path.
I have much to learn
And much to teach."
Wolf is a teacher and pathfinder. He comes to you when you need guidance and once
you accept his medicine, you will move on to be a teacher to others about sacredness
and spirituality. Wolf can solve other people's problems easily, finding solutions in
difficult situations. He communicates through subtle gestures and expressions. A
simple glance can be worth a million words.
Would people are social and have a good sense of family values and togetherness.
They are friendly and intelligent. They are also loyal to their mate and highly
protective of family and close friends.
There are many "heaven’s", as I see it.
One of these, which I go to for information, is the Realm of Spirit Animals. I do the
usual preparations for a journey, then halfway up (I use a rickety wooden ladder) my
teacher suggested a ladder when I was very young, and I haven't rebuilt it yet. It's had
many years of almost constant use, and I think that it's time to repair this mental
tool), and though the ladder continues (both up, down, several other ways) I swing
through a little hole and come up underneath an enormous tree. The place is filled
with animals (of course) and I can find out from them, generally, whatever I need to
know. There's usually something I do in return; I was taught (and believe, since it
works for me) that there are essentially five (5) knownknownknownknown ways to relate to a spirit. The
first rule, as I believe it, is that no matter what, in any dealing between entity and
entity, the relationship mustmustmustmust be made clear for there to be useful communication. It
doesn't matter as much whatwhatwhatwhat the relationship is (although I have preferences), so long
as it is clear. The five ways I am aware of are:
1. Binding by Gift.
2. Binding by Love.
3. Binding by Trade.
4. Binding by Spirit.
5. Binding by Weapon.
Since the last one is, in mymymymy way of thinking, least desirable, we'll start there: Binding
by weapon, for me, is only used when a spirit or entity comes to me with something
nasty planned, and only if there is no other way. It is kind of like putting the genie in
the bottle (the old Arabian Nights Genies were very tricky, and would just as soon
devour someone who lets them free as grant them wishes): first, you must have
superior force, and superior will. And Plenty of Reasons.
Binding by Spirit is muchmuchmuchmuch more preferable: This is the link you have with your spirit
animals: A link from like to like, regardless of form. It usually happenshappenshappenshappens to you, rather
than you causingcausingcausingcausing it to happen.
Binding by Trade is offering something in return for what you wish to receive. Not as
wonderful an experience as Binding by Spirit, but still worthwhile. It is necessary to
find some entity willing to trade, however, and for this the Realm of Animals is
where I use it most. After a while, you can get into a routine, whereupon in becomes
Binding By Gift:
Binding by Gift is when the shaman leaves a gift or gives a gift, in expectation of
needing a favor later. This can be considered the case when a spirit comes to you for
help, but generally I classify that as Trade, since it is the same as trade, just the other
way around. Binding by Gift, you do the thing first: If I need information that I think
the Squirrels, for instance, in the Animal Realm can offer, I'll leave out a selection of
nuts underneath the pine tree in the front yard, for I know that there are squirrels
which frequent it. Then, later, I'll go up to the Animals and ask for what I need. This
originally started as Binding by Trade, where they'd tell me the information I needed
to know, and then say, "In Trade, you can leave nuts for the Little Brothers." Now, I
do it a forehand, knowing. This is a much more comfortable relationship than Trade,
as Trade is generally a one-or-two-time thing, while Gift is something much more
meaningful and long-lasting.
Binding by Love is actually entering into a friendship (or deeper) with a spirit. Most
of the shamans to whom I speak agree with me that the relationship they have with
their Spirit Helpers/Guides is a love or lover relationship. Some explain that they are
soul-mated to their guides. This makes sense to me, and is the last form of
relationship of which I am aware in this context.
Shamanism is perhaps one of the oldest divinatory practices in the world to promote
healing. By archaeological and anthropological evidence the practice has existed for
some 20,000 to 30,000 years, perhaps since the beginning of the human race.
Evidence of shamanism has been found globally in isolated regions of the Americas,
Asia, Africa, regions of Europe and Australia.
It is most prominent in tribal cultures. Although differences of the practices are found
among the cultures similarities are found too. The shaman is a person who can enter
an ecstatic state of altered consciousness. While in the state of altered consciousness
or trance he communicates with his guardian spirit who gives him information
and/or power to heal the sick person. Usually the shaman who enters the trance is
said to seek information in another reality.
Most believe that they must have a close connection with nature because their
guardian spirit usually is that of a plant or animal. Many say the guardian spirit takes
the shaman to the other reality where he is given his needed knowledge and power
through a hole in the world. The shaman may also seek information to help his
people and village.
In the various cultures trances are induced by singing, dancing, chanting, and
drumming. Some cultures also used psychedelic drugs to actuate trances.
Deity Deity Deity Deity
A common concept is that of a dual divinity. A creator who is responsible for
the creation of the world and is recognized in religious ritual and prayers. A mythical
individual, a hero or trickster who teaches culture, proper behavior and provides
sustenance to the tribe. There are also spirits which control the weather, spirits which
interact with humans, and others who inhabit the underworld. Simultaneously, the
Creator and the spirits may be perceived as a single spiritual force, as in the unity
called Wakan Tanks by the Lakuta and Dakota.
Creation Creation Creation Creation
In the beginning, the world was populated by many people. Most were
subsequently transformed into animals, thus feeling a close bond with animals.
Natives, because of their shared human ancestry. Dogs are excluded from this
relationship. This bond is shown in the frequent rituals in which animal behavior is
simulated. Each species has its deer who is larger than all the others. Master, for
example. The deer have a master. The master of humans is the Creator.
Emergence of the Tribe Emergence of the Tribe Emergence of the Tribe Emergence of the Tribe
This is a concept found extensively in the Southwest. The universe is believed
to consist of many dark, underground layers through which the humans had to climb.
They emerged into the present world through a small hole in the ground - the world's
Sacred Texts Sacred Texts Sacred Texts Sacred Texts
Native traditions have been preserved as an oral tradition, not in written form.
As a result, traditions are often updated and changed as a result of dreams and visions.
Afterlife Afterlife Afterlife Afterlife
In general, native religions have no precise belief about life after death. Some
believe in reincarnation, with a person being reborn either as a human or animal after
death. Others believe that humans return as ghosts, or that people go to another
would. Others believe that nothing definitely can be known about one's fate after this
life. Combinations of belief are common.
CosmolCosmolCosmolCosmology ogy ogy ogy
The universe is understood as being composed of multiple layers, with the
natural world as a middle segment. These layers are thought to be linked by the
World Tree, which has it's roots in the undergrounds, has a trunk passing through the
natural world, and has it's top in the sky world.
Shamans Shamans Shamans Shamans
Spirits may be encouraged to occupy the Shaman's body during public lodge
ceremonies. Drum beating and chanting aid this process. The spirits are then asked to
depart and perform the needed acts. Other times, Shamans enter into a trance and
traverse the underworld or go great distances in this world to seek lost possessions or
Vision Quest Vision Quest Vision Quest Vision Quest
Young boys before or at puberty, are encouraged to enter into a period of
fasting, meditation and physical challenge. Girls are not usually eligible for a quest.
The boy separates himself from the tribe and goes to a wilderness area. The goal is to
receive a vision that will guide his development for the rest of his life. They also seek
to acquire a guardian spirit who will be close and supportive for their lifetime.
Renewal Celebrations Renewal Celebrations Renewal Celebrations Renewal Celebrations
The Sun Dance amongst the Plains Natives is perceived as a replay of the
original creation. Its name is a mistranslation of the Lakota sun gazing dance. Other
tribes use different names. It fulfilled many religious purposes to give thanks to the
creator, to pray for the renewal of the people and earth, to promote health, etc. It also
gave an opportunity for people to socialize and renew friendships with other groups.
A sweat lodge purifies the participants and readies them for lengthy fasting and
dancing. It was successfully suppressed in most tribes by the Governments of the US
and Canada. However, it survived elsewhere and is now being increasingly
Sweat Lodge Sweat Lodge Sweat Lodge Sweat Lodge
This is a ritual of purification, of spiritual renewal and of healing. It is
sometimes used to educate the youth in Native traditions. A sweat lodge is typically a
small structure made of a frame of saplings, covered with skins, canvas or blankets. A
depression is dug in the center into which hot rocks are positioned. Water is thrown
on the rocks to create steam. A small flap opening is used to regulate the temperature.
As many as a dozen people can be accommodated in some lodges.
Hunting CHunting CHunting CHunting Ceremonies eremonies eremonies eremonies
These involve the ritual treatment of a bear or other animal after its killing
during a successful hunt. The goal is to appease its spirit and convince other animals
to be willing to be killed in the future.
Prophets Prophets Prophets Prophets
The Abramic Religions (Judaism, Christianity and Islam) trace their
development through a series of patriarchs and prophets. Native religions do not have
corresponding ancient revered persons in their background. There have been a few
prophets among the Natives, the most famous being Handsome Lade in the Iroquois
confederacy. However, they appeared after the European invasion.
TTTTraditional Housing raditional Housing raditional Housing raditional Housing
There were many variations across North America conical wigwams or tipis,
long houses, and cliff dwellings. The shape of the structure often represents a model
of the cosmos.
There are two types of shapeshifting; changing your light body in the astral to power
animal, and changing your physical form on the earth plane into an animal. Perhaps
this is where the lycanthropy legend actually began. Very adept shamans are said to
be able to change their physical human forms into that of animals.
There is also a middle ground where we should not miss. During certain ritual dances,
humans can be possessed by the animal spirit. Although they outwardly do not
become the animal, their body may contort or move in the fashion that the animal is
most comfortable. Vocalizations are also heard, such as the cry of the Eagle, scream of
the Falcon, etc. These power dances are not harmful, as long as they are done within
some type of magick circle. Inwardly, the individual melds with the animal. The
human's sense of smell or sight may be heightened, there could be increased dexterity
in the limbs, or a feeling of savage power that the animal may represent. It is
exhilarating and enlightening.
In the astral, taking on the shape of the animal is not particularly dangerous. I had
only one glitch, & that was in the form of a panther, where I had to learn to control
the beast and not let it run away with my (or its) strength.
In order to keep accurate track of your astral studies, you should use your notebook.
Be sure to write the date, time, moon phase, weather conditions and your own health
at the time of the travel. Also indicate the reason for the exercise.
Spirit familiars can be the spirits of animals that have once lived or they can be those
animal spirits a witch or magician has come into contact with through divination,
astral travel or other extra sensory communications.
These beings have either lived as animals in a past incarnation (and thus contain all
the species' totem characteristics) or they exist as spirit "governors" of a sort. They
watch over and govern the spirits of their species in between incarnations. They also
teach the attributes of their species to magicians, witches, shamans and other seekers
of arcane and esoteric knowledge.
Most commonly, the operational spirit familiars of witches and magicians are animals
that they have loved and cared for in life. On occasion a spirit familiar from a past life
will contact its human counterpart in a later life. This can happens when there was a
strong connection in a past life between the two entities but the animal has a strong
reason to remain in the non-physical planes rather than reincarnate and rejoin its
In this case the witch might feel the strong presence of an animal spirit and not know
the source. Divination and past life regressions through hypnosis can be helpful in
"remembering" and reconnecting with the spirit.
Sometimes magicians and witches will find themselves patronized by a High Animal
Spirit, one who is evolved and acts as a governor for its species' spirits members. The
feeling of being patronized is different from the feeling of connection with an animal
that one has loved in the past.
A High Animal Spirit will seek to raise the consciousness of the person it patronizes
to encourage spiritual evolution. The spirit's goal in this case is to make the witch's
own spirit stronger, more evolved, and more god-like. This can sometimes involve
tests that that individual will not understand at the time and sometimes even leaving
the witch to handle difficult situations on his or her own.
On the other hand, former pets that have an emotional connection with living
individuals will probably have entirely different goals for their loved ones than a
High Animal Spirit. Instead of encouraging spiritual evolution, they will probably
wish only to help prevent anguish and suffering in their loved ones. Since they
themselves are not as evolved as spirits occupying the upper planes (as High Animal
Spirits do), they will be unable to see that the lessons are sometimes in our best
interest even though they cause pain.
Needless to say, this can often cause serious conflicts between animal spirits that
operate with opposing agendas. These conflicts can show up physically in the
environments of the human individuals patronized by a High Animal Spirit.
Depending almost exclusively on the motivation of the High Animal Spirit, the
witch's once living animal familiar might win the conflict and prevent "teaching"
experiences that might be painful for the witch. However, when the High Animal
Spirit is truly determined to win, it virtually always will. It is far more evolved and
thus more powerful than other entities still undergoing evolution from the lower
planes to the higher ones.
This seems unfair and even cruel at times. Why would an evolved High Spirit want to
cause pain or suffering to a being it has chosen to care for and teach? In fact the
lessons it teaches are better for the individual because they bring him or her closer to
higher consciousness which is the goal of all beings from the lowest thought-forms
(too weak even to stimulate life in a single-celled organism) to the highest gods in the
Great controversy exists today over the concept that the low animal spirits (those
who have known the human individual in a past life) may at times know what is in
the individual's best interest better than the High Animal Spirit. Some people say this
is not possible because a highly evolved spirit would be able to see so much more than
a lower, less evolved spirit. However, I have to agree with the alternative explanation
that sometimes, lower animal spirits that have known us in life sometimes know
when we are too fragile for some tribulations that might under other circumstances
force us into a higher consciousness.
I will also take the middle road here and say that it is at those times that the High
Animal Spirit will usually back off and allow the lower animal familiar to relieve
some of the pressures put on their human counterparts until they are better able to
Of course High Animal Spirits will not patronize just anyone. They choose their
pupils carefully and while much frustration can result from the experience, it is
always an honor to be chosen. Evolution of the soul is more valuable than gold in the
cosmic scheme of things. It is the single most important journey we take and those
people who undertake this goal consciously through studies of religion or the esoteric
arts are light years ahead of those who force themselves to learn by mundane trial and
Another main difference between High Animal Spirits and lower animal spirits is that
High Animal Spirits will not perform actions of magick for the witch or magician that
will cause considerable imbalances to result in the fabric of our universe. Lower
animal spirits on the other hand, will perform most magickal acts for their human
counterpart regardless of their intentions or impact.
In many parts of the world, one of the first lessons that a Shaman was taught is
Weather working. Learning to control the weather is an integral part of a Shaman's
training. A shaman was expected to call in the rains when needed, and if he couldn't,
then he wouldn't get much respect. When I was taught how to control the weather,
the first thing I was taught was splitting clouds. It's really a very simple technique
and most people can do it after practice. Go outside and pick out a cloud. Stare at it
and take slow deep breaths. Do not force the breath, just allow it to be deep and
natural. Now send out from your Third Eye (area in the forehead and between the
eyebrows) a beam of white light to cloud. Visualize (with eyes open) the cloud
splitting into two, and mentally command/will it to do so. It may take a few seconds
or minutes, but if this technique is done properly, the cloud will usually split. Once
you have learned how to do this, you are well on your way to becoming a weather
worker, and in the future I may teach you how to bring in the rain, winds, or sun.
Just be careful not to jump ahead of yourself. Weather working is something that
takes practice and guidance from an experienced teacher, because you may end up
causing a flood in your area. May the Thunder Gods help ya!
Statement of Principles and Ethics
This is an era of decision. Do we allow ourselves to cut the throat of the Mother who
has nourished us as a species since we "came down from the trees"? Or do we work to
walk in Beauty and Harmony with Her, and cherish Her, and work to see Her healed?
The resurgence of Shamanism, the primal Earth Religion of practically all of the
Earth's pre-Agrarian cultures, is an important thing, foretold by the Paiute prophet
Wovoka and in the Hopi Prophecies. It was said that both the Red Man would return
to the Ways of the Old Ones and that the non-Native would also embrace the
Lifeway. There are non-Natives who respectfully have chosen these Ways, and are
carrying them on in a reverent way. If the Lifeway was only given for the Native
peoples, it would die out within our lifetime. There are simply not enough traditional
It has been shown to some of us that Our Mother The Earth is not willing to die
quietly. She has demonstrated this by the increase in natural disasters of the past
decade, which continue day by day. The Hopi prophecies state that, when the "bowl
full of ashes" (most interpret this as the Thermonuclear Bomb) is overturned, that
Our Mother shall rise up in Her righteous anger and destroy humanity. This prophecy
is coming true, although it may yet be reversible. Perhaps it is we who reverence the
Ways and walk in harmony with Our Mother that may stay Her hand.
The Lifeway Fellowship is here for those who wish to honor Our Mother and Our
Father, Earth and Sky, and to honor The Giver Of Life, from whence all things flow
in the Universe. Our world-view is primarily allied with that of the Navajo/Dineh,
Apache/Teneh, and Hopi peoples. However we do not represent ourselves as the
keepers of those ways. The secrets of those Nations are for them alone, unless Usen'
wishes to reveal them to us. Our mission is to help heal Our Mother, The Earth, and
to help each other walk in closer harmony with Her. We also exist to provide a way
for urban and suburban people to learn and practice the root Shamanic techniques
that aid us in finding our True Vision and True Way of Power, and following that
Vision and that Way.
We identify ourselves as Pagan (Webster's New World Dictionary "1. b)a person who
is not a Christian, Moslem, or Jew (by faith); heathen. Pagan specifically refers to one
of the ancient polytheistic (or pantheistic) peoples.") and as unashamed Pantheists
and Poly-theists. The Lifeway is truly a religious commitment. No one can make a
commitment to the Lifeway and to the worship of Life Giver, The Earth Mother and
The Sky Father and remain a worshiper of other Paradigms of the Deity, much as one
cannot be a Christian and worship the Greco-Roman pantheon. However this does
not imply the condemnation of other Paradigms, nor impel a duty to "convert" others.
We stand by other Pagans who do not share our paradigms, IE. Wiccans, Asatruans,
Hellenists, and other Shamanic traditions, (African and neo-African (Santeria &
Voudoun), Australian, Siberian, Traditional Native American, and Polynesian, to
name a few) and even though we may disagree with some or all of their practices and
beliefs, they are Brothers, Sisters and Cousins, and in times of persecution as well as
times of goodwill we must defend them. We may even share in their open rituals and
allow them to share in our open ceremonials. But that which is ours must remain
ours, just as that which is theirs must remain theirs.
As our Fellowship is inherently religious, we must declare a The(a)ology. (The
strange spelling refers to the fact that we acknowledge a Goddess as well as a God)
This is summed up very easily. There are three main powers we worship, Usen' the
Life Giver, The Earth Mother, and The Sky Father. The latter Two are emanations of
the First, as all, including the God and the Goddess, are emanations from Usen',
which is the primeval First Cause.
Usen': One cannot look upon The Life Giver as either Male or Female, for The Life
Giver is beyond those distinctions. Usen', and The Life Giver, are names for this First
Cause, this Force that pervades all and caused all to come into being. From Usen', the
God, Sky Father, and the Goddess, Earth Mother, emanate, as the lesser Deities
emanate from Them.
The Earth Mother: We live and walk and are sustained from The Earth Mother,
which is our Earth. She is alive, and we all exist within Her as part of Her structure.
Science, through the Gaea Hypothesis, has finally acknowledged Her existence, and
some even have learned the lesson that our duty in this life is to care for and honor
Her. This is a lesson that all must learn, for as long as we despoil Her, we risk Her
wrath. She is expressed through the faces of White Painted Woman, Who is The
Woman Warrior, through Corn Mother, Who is The Nourishing Mother, and
through Spider Woman, Who is The Wise Woman, The Ancient One, The Custodian
of Wisdom. Women are acknowledged as being human representatives of The Earth
The Sky Father: Just as among we Humans, there is both Man and Woman, so there is
no Earth Mother without Sky Father. Sky Father is the air we breathe, the flame that
gives us warmth and cooks our food, and brings forth the rain that fertilizes Our
Mother and allows Her to provide us with the crops and animals that sustain us. Sky
Father is also express-ed as The Hunter, The Warrior, and First Shaman, and is also
expressed in Killer Of Enemies and The Child Of Water. He is also present and
acknowledged as being present in every Man.There are other spirits that exist in the
Universe, some beneficent, some maleficient. But most important is Usen', Earth
Mother, and Sky Father. By walking in harmony with the God(esse)s, one can tell the
Good from the Evil, welcoming in Good, and protecting each other from Evil.
We have our code of Ethics. It is neither lengthy nor overly restrictive. We do not
include ancient taboos in this list, such as Mother-In-Law avoidance or the taboo
against Fish, because they may not apply nowadays. If you wish to not eat fish or to
avoid your Mother-In-Law for religious reasons, it is your prerogative. But it is not a
1. If the action does not harm yourself, other people or intelligent beings, or Our
Mother The Earth, you are free to do as you wish.
2. To charge for healings, sweats or ceremonials is totally wrong and extremely
offensive. Also, to charge excessively for teaching is equally offensive, but a
modest fee over expenses is allowable. Your conscience is the best guide, that and
the Will of the Deities.
3. Magick should be limited only to protection of Self and Loved Ones, and to
healing and helping those in need, provided that permission is given by the
patient and that help other than healing does not interfere with the Will of
others. Magick that is used in a coercive (IE. Love spells) or destructive (harming
or killing magick) way is patently wrong and is considered Black Magick.
4. Contact of spirits by any means other than Shamanic journeying or the Vision
Quest is very risky, and Possession is a real possibility. The practice of
mediumship, or "channeling" has no place in the Lifeway, and exposes not only
Self but others to danger.
5. Permission must always be asked of the spirits of plants and/or animals before
taking them for either sustenance or for medicine.
6. One's visions and one's personal ceremonies are one's own. Personal visions
should not be spoken of, but shared visions are for all of the group.
7. It is wrong to criticize another within the group or outside the group. Racism,
sexism, xenophobia or general disrespect of others has no place in the Fellowship.
Individual decisions about lifestyle and other ethical issues not covered here are
an individual's own affair.
4) Group Structure and Initiation PracticesGroup Structure and Initiation PracticesGroup Structure and Initiation PracticesGroup Structure and Initiation Practices:
There is only one Initiation, which is the Initiation that makes one Kin within the
group and in the sight of The Deities. It is given after one has taken their first Vision
Quest, has found their Power Animal(s) and has met the Shaman Within. It can only
be denied to those who have met these requirements, is younger than the legal Age
Of Consent (in most places, 18 years) is not of sound mind, and/or is under suspicion
of being a Law Enforcement Officer or other person antipathetic to Pagan and/or
Shamanic belief who requests initiation for fraudulent purposes (usually to infiltrate
to either sabotage or publicly discredit the Fellowship) Initiation must not be denied
on account of physical disabilities, blindness, deafness, or sterility, nor on account of
sex, race, nationality, political belief, or sexual preference.
There are no set offices within the Fellowship. Ideally, leadership should be by
consensus, with true leaders being temporary and purpose-oriented. Facilitation of
rituals may be done by any Initiate of the Fellowship. Anyone who represents themAnyone who represents themAnyone who represents themAnyone who represents them----
selves as a high priest/ess of the Lifeway shamanic fellowship is a fraudselves as a high priest/ess of the Lifeway shamanic fellowship is a fraudselves as a high priest/ess of the Lifeway shamanic fellowship is a fraudselves as a high priest/ess of the Lifeway shamanic fellowship is a fraud, and is , and is , and is , and is
doing so contrary to this statement of principles and ethicsdoing so contrary to this statement of principles and ethicsdoing so contrary to this statement of principles and ethicsdoing so contrary to this statement of principles and ethics.
Support of the Fellowship is done on a purely voluntary and mutual basis. No tithe or
dues should be assessed unless they have been agreed upon by all members, initiates
and non-initiates alike.
Membership is extended to all. But initiation is reserved for those who meet the
criteria mentioned above. Non-initiates can participate in open ceremonials and in
basic workshops, but may be denied participation in certain ceremonials and
5) The Question of Recognizing ShamansThe Question of Recognizing ShamansThe Question of Recognizing ShamansThe Question of Recognizing Shamans:
In traditional societies, the title Shaman was not just an honorific, or recognition of
talents. Nor was it the highest initiatory level in a Shamanic society. The Shaman
was, in most cases, above the Chief in decision-making power and was judge, doctor,
father-confessor, and intercessor with the Deities for the tribe. Some Shamanic
societies are now providing their membership with "Shaman training seminars" and
"Shaman apprenticeships" that can be had for an exorbitant price. This implies that
the cost of being a Shaman can be paid in money and in a set amount of time. This is
not the case. Many tribes believe that the office of Shaman is not one that is earned,
but one that one is born into. Certainly, the skills are never something one is born
with, and this is not merely hereditary. Rather, when a child is born, the current
Shaman would recognize that the child had the potentialpotentialpotentialpotential of being the next one, and
the child's training would begin when they were considered ready by the Shaman. At
adulthood, they would be tested. If they passed the test, they would become the next
Shaman. If they failed, usually the test was such that they would either die outright,
or they would go insane. Many "heroic quest" tales, and most notably the Arthurian
legends have echoes of this practice within the ancient Shamanic traditions of
But the point that is being made here is that we should not go back to that sort of way
of doing things, because in this society it is nigh on impossible. The stand I am
offering here is that recognition as a Shaman can be conferred only through shared
vision, and signs from the Deities. It is not my place to say what the signs are...it will
be obvious to the Fellowship. I am not Shaman myself, and will not brook anyone
calling me that. This is something I place in the lap of the Deities to decide. I cannot
do anything more. It is a mockery of those people that can truly be called Shamans,
who are respected, powerful people of traditional tribes, to do anything less. In any
event, to claim such a title is definitely not enough, and is punishable by withdrawing
Fellowship from the one who claims to be Shaman falsely.
6) Festivals and Worship DaysFestivals and Worship DaysFestivals and Worship DaysFestivals and Worship Days:
The festivals are reckoned as they have been for centuries by most Southwestern
tribes, by both the Sun and the Moon. The seasons begin on the first full moon after a
Solstice or an Equinox. The Solstices and Equinoxes themselves are times of
celebration as well, and perhaps the period between the two (which usually works
out to be no more than a week or so) could be considered a time of Holiday. Lesser
ceremonials are held on New Moons and Full Moons between the first Full Moons of
the seasons. Optionally certain Pagan festivals could be celebrated in conjunction
with other groups, but they are not to be adopted as official Lifeway Fellowship
There are other ceremonials that are personal in nature, and can be held at any time,
although synchronizing them with the Festivals and the New and Full Moons is
advisable. They are Naming, where a newborn child is named in the presence of the
group and their Life-beads given; Coming Of Age, where the child's physical maturity
is acknowledged, and where, for a short time, they become Child of the Water (if a
boy) or White Painted Woman (if a girl); Initiation, where a person becomes a full-
fledged member of the group, given after a person becomes a legal adult; Joining,
where a man and a woman consent to be married; Unjoining, where a man and
woman who are married consent to have the bond dissolved, which is to be done
only after four reconciliation attempts fail or after evidence of marital infidelity or
abuse is given before the group; the Moonlodge, which is a special sweat for women
in their Moon-time; and Release, where a ceremony for a dead member of the
Fellowship is done to guide their soul Back Home. Other ceremonials that are
dreamed or envisioned by a person or group are also encouraged.
7) Summing UpSumming UpSumming UpSumming Up:
A few quick ones: One can be either clothed or unclothed at ceremonies, but it
should be known that none of the Southwestern tribes did ceremonies in the nude.
However, one should disrobe for the sweat lodge, as clothes are not only
uncomfortable within the sweat lodge, but interfere with the cleansing process of the
This Statement can be accepted or rejected by individual groups that federate
themselves with Lifeway Fellowship. But federation can be denied to those groups
who stray too far from some of the basic guidelines, or do anything that would sully
the reputation of the Fellowship in general.
Ten-Point Checklist for Discovering Your
On a sheet of paper or in a notebook, write down your answers to the following
questions. After you finish, review your answers and look for recurring names of
animals or types of animals such as big cats or birds. The animals you have listed
either already are, or have the potential to become, your power animals.
1. Which animals do you dream about, either while you are sleeping or while
daydreaming? Does any particular animal appear regularly in your dreams? If so,
which one(s)? Write down the animal you first dreamed about when you were a
child. Do you dream about any of your pets, either ones you have now or in the
past? Has the memory of any animal dream ever stuck with you for more than a
year? If so, which one(s)?
2. Which animals keep coming up in your daily environment? When commuting to
work, watching television, shopping, or talking on the phone, which animals keep
coming up? Notice the animal sings in people’s jewelry, cars, manners of speech,
T-shirts and the like.
3. Determine which animal or animals you most resemble. For example, are you
more dog-like, cat-like, or bird-like? Are your movements more like a cat, wolf,
lizard or bird? Ask friends and family members which animal you remind them of
or resemble. Many times people will resemble their pets, indicating a close bond
4. Which animals are attracted to you and come up to you? Do cats always come up
and rub against you? Do dogs always come over to you and want to be petted? The
animals that always seem to come up to you are your power animals. They are
trying to get your attention by physically interacting with you.
5. Which animals are you attracted and drawn to? When you see an assortment of
animal pictures, cards, T-shirts, or books, which animals most fascinate you? The
animals you most resonate with often make the best power animals. Through
time, you will probably be drawn to different animals, depending upon the kinds
of energy and wisdom you need at that particular time.
6. Which animals frighten you? Which animals do you run away from? Most people
are afraid of one or more animals. Sometimes your fears will take the shapes of the
animals you most dread. Confronting theses fears through shapeshifting can lead
to personal empowerment. Shapeshifting is often a less threatening and more
accessible way to become familiar with an animal, rather than interacting with
the animal in the flesh. Through shapeshifting, you begin to understand the
animals you most fear, and they can then become your allies and potent power
7. Make a note of any animal that has bitten or attacked you in the past. Have you
been bitten by a dog, snake, lizard, bird, horse, cat, mosquito, chased by a bull or
goat, or been stung by a bee? Traditionally, this means that the power animal is
testing your ability to deal with its power. If you survive the attack, you have
attained a powerful spirit animal.
8. Which animals do you see most often when you go outdoors? The animals you see
and encounter outside in the city and country have helpful messages for you.
They teach ways of surviving in their world through their actions and behaviors,
ways that can be utilized by people. For example, the squirrel teaches the value of
saving for a rainy day, the dog teaches loyalty and tracking ability, while the
pigeon teaches homing and directional skills. In addition, by becoming aware of
an animal’s niche in the ecosystem, it becomes easier to understand where
humans fit in.
9. When presented with the opportunity to go to a large aquarium, zoo, animal
reserve, or farm, which animals do you focus on? Which animals do you find
yourself looking at again and again? As you grow older, you will most likely still
home in on the same animals you have for years, but you may also find that you
begin to pay more attention to other animals, adding a new favorite or two. This is
an indication that these animals have something of value to teach you, something
that can help you in daily life.
10. Which animal(s) are you most interested in right now, at this moment, as you
read this sentence? Don’t so much think about your answer, but feel it. Write
down your first response. If the animal you have written down is a power animal
you are already aware of, then this animal has more to teach you, especially in the
next year. If you have written down an animal that is not already one of your
power animals, then spend time becoming familiar with the animal’s behaviors,
habitat, and other qualities. This animal has great power to offer you if you open
yourself up to receiving his/her natural gifts and abilities.
The 12 Steps and Shamanism
Recently a local character in Alcoholics Anonymous here in the Worcester MA. area
died. His name was "John the Indian" (he identified himself this way) and he was well
known as an AA speaker all over the world, although he lived near central
Massachusetts. John had about thirty years of sobriety and was a great power of
example to many people including Betty Ford who told him she had listened to tapes
of his talks while she was in detox.
John's story intrigued many people. An Indian who had been orphaned on the
reservation when Tuberculosis wiped out his family, he had ended up on skid row
after serving in the Canadian army during World War II as a dishwasher. He came to
AA in his mid-twenties, an illiterate wine. (my note - this is notnotnotnot to imply that most
alcoholics are on skid row. In fact most of them are people with nice families, a place
to live, a car or even two, a job, etc. etc. etc. Less than 2% of the alcoholics in this
country are on skid row). He ended up owning his own construction business after
learning to read (from an elderly woman in AA who was a school teacher) and
marrying a lady in AA with whom he raised a lovely family.
Because John had inspired me and so affected my life with his gift of simplicity, I was
inspired to do a shamanic-style rite in his memory. I had always felt sorry for John
because, in the process of his recovery, he seemed to have lost touch with the beauty
of this heritage. Then it hit me; John waswaswaswas a shaman and anyone who truly worked a
12-step program was one too.
In Birth of a Modern Shaman by Cynthia Bend and Tayja Wiger (Llewelyn
Publication box 64383, St. Paul MN. 1988) it states "A shaman is hard to define. There
are no two alike what happens, a shaman goes through a catastrophe or a string of
catastrophes that enhance certain abilities within him (or her!)
Most often the Shaman has to go through a severe trauma, a severe illness or a severe
psychosis and recover from it before he learns the recovery process that he can use."
The authors are quoting Tsonkawa, Tayja's teacher on the Shamanic path. (A Native
American Medicine person)
Many other authors on Shamanism; Sunbear, Lynn Andrews, Amber Wolfe and
Michael Harner, to name a few: echo this truth. A shaman is a person who goes
through great suffering, usually in the form of a mental or physical illness, and then
goes on to heal himself or herself. They are then able to use that same process to heal
This is what happens in a twelve-step fellowship. Through the process of healing
ourselves, we come to the point where we can help others by "carrying the message"
after having had a "spiritual awakening" as the result of taking the first eleven steps.
Here are some books that can help any Pagan, Shaman, Druid, Witch, Practitioner of
Feminist Spirituality, or other Magickal folk as they walk the steps in the process of
recovering, while retaining their own unique spiritual path.
Truth or Dare by Starhawk (San Francisco, Harper and Row, 1987) This contains
many references to the 12-step programs, especially Alcoholics Anonymous and
Adult Children of Alcoholics, in a work on Wicca by a well-known priestess of the
Craft who is also a psychotherapist.
Crystal Clear by Connie Church (Bew York, Willard books 1987) It contains a good
section on how to use quartz crystals to help in relieving yourself of bad habits,
compulsions, and obsessions, specifically for use with the various twelve-step
programs. (note - amethyst is traditionally said to help in all these areas)
Birth of a Modern Shaman, mentioned above, tells the story of a blind Native
American woman who was a survivor of Child abuse and had been Psychotic as well
as Alcoholic. This is the story of her complete recovery, including her eyesight,
(documented by doctors) and the discovery of her Psychic gifts with her Native roots.
Her healing occurred through a process that began for her in Alcoholics Anonymous.
The Twelve Steps for Everyone published by Compcare (Minneapolis MN.) This is a
non-sexist book on the steps by a grateful recovering member of Emotional Health
Anonymous written in non-sexist language. The author draws heavily on the Eastern
traditions of spirituality as well as the traditional Western monotheistic ones.
Everyday a New Beginning Published by Hazelden corp. (Also in Minneapolis, MN. I
believe) This is a daily meditation guide BY women in Anonymous fellowships and
for for for for women in these same self-help groups. Unlike the Twenty-Four Hours a Day book
(published by the same company and widely used in AA) it doesn't use quotes from
the Bible. Instead it uses quotes from various women authors. Many men also claim to
have benefited from it due to its non-religious approach.
Pagans in Recovery a networking newsletter for Magickal folk, Shamans, Druids,
Feminist Priestesses, Witches, Pagans, Pantheists, etc. who are in recovery via a 12-
step fellowship of any type. It has contacts, reviews, articles, recovery techniques and
more. It is a great source of support and inspiration to any Pagan in any of the
Anonymous support groups. It is $8.00 a year and the address is P.I.R. c/o Bekki 6500
S.R. 356 New Marshfield, Ohio 45766
AddiAddiAddiAddition to Reading Listtion to Reading Listtion to Reading Listtion to Reading List
Reflections in the Light by Shakti Gawain, published by New World Library, San
Rafael, California 1978. While not only for the 12-step programs this book does go
into the problems of addictions in light of the New-Age, Psychic Awareness as well as
many other subjects. It provides a inspirational message and/or a creative
visualization exercise with a non-sectarian affirmation for each day. The book is
neither sexist nor sectarian and is truly a beautiful aid to anyone seeking to work the
program of recovery. It is also a great way to share what you are doing with friends
who share your spirituality but not your program, as it makes no direct references to
the 12-step groups at all. It is very useful to those of us who prefer a daily meditation
to the "prayer" people in the monotheistic Churches and Synagogues tend to use in
their application of the program to their lives.
The Basics of Shapeshifting
When you shape shift, you bridge the gap between people, animals, and nature.
Bridging this gap allows you access to many different magickal animal energies. With
this knowledge, you can release the power of the tiger, a willow tree, or the Earth.
This is wisdom that is inherently yours and resides within the coding of your DNA.
As an avenue to connect with your inner nature, shapeshifting is activated by
merging with Oneness. Merging is that state of being where boundaries and
separations between everything dissolve away and you see everything as One. At this
point, you see the interconnectedness of everything including the relationship
between humankind and nature, in particular animals.
When you shape shift, you take on the qualities of the animal you choose to be.
Shapeshifting is often done for a limited time and for a particular purpose. With this
experience you gain the knowledge you need to continue your magickal training.
The first thing in shapeshifting is to choose the animal you want to be. Once you
have chosen an animal, such as a dog, you need to spend time merging into the
qualities that make that animal unique within the animal world. Observing the
animal and becoming familiar with its characteristics and behavior patterns help the
shapeshifting process. Until you actually touch, or are in close proximity to the
animal, it is more difficult to clearly and completely shift and become one with the
When you merge and become one with an animal, you release something inside
yourself having to do with your wild nature. People often comment that dogs and
their owners are alike, from physical characteristics to the way they act. This is
because anyone that is around you for any length of time, picks up your
characteristics and you pick up theirs, including animals. This is why when you are
starting out, it is easier to shape shift into animals that are within your immediate
environment such as a cat or dog.
At first, some individuals have a problem doing shapeshifting because they don’t
believe they can transform into an animal or any other shape other than what they
already are. Sometimes getting beyond our conditioned responses is difficult. It is this
same conditioning that tells them that magick is not real and that ordinary reality is
all that exists.
Belief is not a major factor in the shapeshifting process. The important thing is to let
go and start by pretending you can shift into the animal. Allow the animal’s energy to
flow into you, like a force field that moves both ways, back and forth.
Learning to pretend and have fun with the shapeshifting experience has an
immediate positive impact on the results because suddenly you enter a conducive
state of mind for shapeshifting forms. When you actually shape shift, you will
recognize the experience because your view of reality shifts. Everything from the feel
of the earth to your sense of what an animal is becomes altered in a very real way.
Every time you shape shift you are awakening some hidden part of yourself.
Ultimately shapeshifting brings humankind closer to nature and animals, to a point
where we understand our inherent connection to nature. With every animal that
becomes extinct, we lose an inherent part of ourselves. On a very literal and basic
level, when we kill endangered animals, we are killing a part of ourselves. The
importance of saving species and habitats is crucial to our very existence as they are
extensions of our Divine connection to Oneness.
The Deer's keynote is that of Gentleness and innocence a gentle luring to new
adventure. While its cycle of power is that of autumn and spring. The deer has always
captured the imagination of humanity. It is one of the most successful families of
mammals, native to every continent except Australia. They have been able to adapt to
every sort of habitat. The white-tailed deer, the mule deer and the caribou are three
that are prominent on the North American continent. The moose and the wapiti (Elk)
are also part of the deer family, but they are described separately.
Each type of deer has its own special qualities and characteristics, while sharing some
of the qualities of all deer in general. Caribou, for example, make long migrations
twice a year, reflecting the need for those who have it as a totem to use that same
pattern in their life. They begin running in fall and early winter, and these then are
the power times. The mule deer is also a wanderer. It never follows the same path
twice. This is part of its natural defense, making it less predictable to predators. Most
of the information in this section will focus on deer in general, and the white-tailed
The name "deer" has several variations on its origin. These may provide clues to past
lives for those with this totem. The Anglo-Saxon word "deor" was a general word for
animals and was often used just in the general sense. In the German language, it has
its root in "tier", simply meaning wild animal also. It can also be traced to the Sanskrit
"mriga", also meaning wild animal.
To many the deer is considered the most important animal ever hunted. The hunt of
the deer is what transfers our civilization to the wilderness. There are many stories
and myths of deer luring hunters or even kings deep into the woods until they are
lost and begin to encounter new adventures. One such example is found in the tales
of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table. Sir Gawain follows a white hart
to many adventurous encounters. A reading of Sir Thomas Malory's Le Morte
D'Arthur will also provide more examples.
The deer is also a central religious image for Buddhism. Buddha is often pictured with
a deer, and legend tells how he first preached in a deer park. This image itself
reasserts the meaning of the deer as representing innocence and a return to the
The white-tailed deer is the most common in the United States. One of its most
outstanding features is the set of antlers that the male develops. In other members of
the deer family, i.e. reindeer and caribou, both the male and the females grow them.
The antlers are solid bone, and they are shed every year. Antlers grow behind the
eyes and are very protective.
Each year until the age of five, the antlers grow bigger and with more points. If you
encounter a deer in the wild, try to make count of the number of points. This will tell
you some of the significance the deer will have for you. Remember that numerology
can help define the essence.
Antlers are symbols of antennae, connections to higher forms of attainment. Deer
with antlers thus can be a signal to pay attention to your inner thoughts and
perceptions, as they are probably more accurate than you think.
The antlers are shed every year, and each year they grow back larger and with more
points, for five years. If a deer has entered your life, look for new perceptions and
degrees of perceptions to grow and expand for as much as the next five years. It can
indicate that there will be opportunities to stimulate gentle new growth increasingly
over the next few years.
One to two young are born. Fawns are born a color that protects and hides them. In
the first few days, they hardly move, and the mother nurses them often. This is very
significant for those with this totem. Many societies taught the importance of staying
with the new-born for a prescribed period of time. No visitors, no family members
other than the father were allowed to contact with the new-born. Even today in the
Muslim religion, a mother who breast feeds for a prescribed time makes that child her
own, whether or not it is her biological child. This kind of attention and separateness
enables the child to link with the family more strongly and protects the new-born
from subtle outside influences.
Our auras or energy fields are electromagnetic and exchanges of energy do occur with
other people and places. The kind of energy a child is exposed to can have strong
effects. Until the child's energy is strong and firmly grounded, it should be protected
from extraneous influences.
The deer leads us back to the primal wisdom of those old teachings. It reminds us to
establish a strong healthy connection with the child before we expose it to many
people and other strange energies. It is a reminder that there is a tradition that is
natural and suitable for family units and for the health of the young. It is for the
child's best interest.
After the first few days, the fawn can usually stand and follow its mother about. Doe
fawns may stay with the mother for as much as a year. The buck or male will usually
leave after a few months. The father takes no part in the rearing of the young; it is all
the rule of the mother. Again this can be a reminder for us to move gently back to the
traditional family unit and roles. It may indicate, if the deer has shown up in your
life, that you have gotten too far away from the role that would be most beneficial to
you at this time.
A deer's senses are very acute. Its vision is designed for clarity at a distance. It is
especially effective at detecting contrasts and edges in dim light. Its hearing is equally
acute. Anyone who has deer as a totem will find increasing ability to detect subtle
movements and appearances. They will begin to hear what may not be said directly.
When deer shows up in your life it is time to be gentle with yourself and others. A
new innocence and freshness is about to be awakened or born. There is going to be a
gentle, enticing lure of new adventures. Ask yourself important questions. Are you
trying to force things? Are others? Are you being too critical and uncaring of
yourself? When deer shows up there is an opportunity to express gentle love that will
open new doors to adventure for you.
Woodland dreams of intuition come with the graceful deer. I greet you, graceful brothers of the forest. Your gift of magic will brighten my life. Transformation will come to me. Like you, I stand listening to the drum beat of life, Poised to follow my guiding spirits.
The Raven's keynote is that of magic, shape shifting, and creation. While its cycle of
power is that of winter solstice. The raven is one of those birds that has a tremendous
amount of lore and mythology surrounding it, and it is often contradictory. It is a bird
of birth and death, and it is a bird of mysticism and magic.
In the near East, the raven was considered unclean because it is a scavenger. It is one
of the foods listed as forbidden in the Bible. The raven is one of the birds that Noah
sent out after the floods, but it did not return to the ark. On the other hand, also in
Biblical lore is the tale of how a raven fed the prophet Elijah when hiding from King
In Scandinavian lore, the raven played a significant role. The Norse god Odin had a
pair of ravens who were his messengers. Their names were Hugin (thought) and
Munin (memory). Odin was known to shape shift as a raven himself. This reflects the
idea of raven being a messenger of the great spiritual realm.
In the Middle Ages the croak of the raven was believed to foretell a death or the
outcome of a battle. It was even taught to the common folk in Christian communities
that wicked priests became ravens when they died. Even today, some old timers tell
how you can expect hot weather when a raven is seen facing a clouded sun.
The raven is a member of the corvids family, to which belong crows and magpies and
other such birds. In truth, the only really significant difference between the crow and
the raven is in size, the raven being much larger. It would be beneficial to study the
information on the crow for anyone who has a raven as a totem. Much of the same
information that applies to one, also applies to the other. It is simply a matter of
degree. Rather than repeat that information here, I would like to give you some
information not generally associated with the crow itself.
The raven has a wealth of myth and lore surrounding it. In many ways it is
comparable to the coyote tales of the plains Indians, the Bushmen tales of the mantis
and other societies in which an animal plays both a significant and yet confusing role.
The coyote was both trickster and wise being-fool and wise one. This was true of the
mantis in the tales of the Kalahari Bushmen.
In the Pacific Northwest the raven has this same aura about him. In the Pacific
Northwest, raven brought forth life and order Raven stole the sunlight from one who
would keep the world in darkness. Nothing could exist without raven. Raven is
honored in art and on totem poles, reflecting the tales and mysticism that have
developed around it.
With raven, human and animal spirits intermingle and become as one. This is
reflected in its deep, rich shiny black. In blackness, everything mingles until drawn
forth, out into the light. Because of this, raven can help you shape shift your life or
your being. Raven has the knowledge of how to become other animals and how to
speak their languages.
Ravens are great at vocalizations, and they can be taught to speak. They incorporate
and mimic the calls of other species. In the Northwest are tales of the Kwakiutl
Indians who offered the afterbirth of male newborns to Raven so that when they
grew up, they would understand their cries. Raven can teach you to understand the
language of animals.
Ravens are playful, and they are excellent tool users. They will use stones and
anything else that is available to help them crack nuts and such. They are birds not
intimidated by others, and they are very fast and wary Because of this, they are not
easy prey for other animals or birds. This implies the ability to teach you how to stir
the magic of life without fear They are also known for their amorous behavior,
reflecting the strong creative life force to which they have access.
This creative life force can be used to work the magic of spiritual laws upon the
physical plane. It can be used to go into the void and stir the energies to manifest that
which you most need. All this and more is what raven teaches. If raven has come into
your life, expect magic. Somewhere in your life, magic is at play Raven activates the
energy of magic, linking it with your will and intention.
Raven speaks of the opportunity to become the magician and/or enchantress of your
life. Each of us has a magician within, and it is Raven which can show us how to
bring that part of us out of the dark into the light. Raven speaks of messages from the
spirit realm that can shape shift your life dramatically Raven teaches how to take that
which is unformed and give it the form you desire.
The winter solstice and winter season is the time of greatest power for those with the
raven as a totem. The solstice is the shortest day of the year The sun shines the least
on this day, thus it is the darkest. From that day forth, the light shines a little more
each day This is symbolic of the influence of raven. It teaches how to go into the dark
and bring forth the light. With each trip in, we develop the ability to bring more light
out. This is creation.
Wing so black it shines like Moon at midnight, O Raven, strong, hear my cry! Teach me old magick, powerful, bold, O Raven, eloquent and wise.
Totem Animal Qualities
Totem AnimalTotem AnimalTotem AnimalTotem Animal QualitiesQualitiesQualitiesQualities
Wolf Earth wisdom, protection
Bear Healing, inner knowledge
Fox Elusiveness, agility, cleverness
Hawk Perception, focus, protection
Mouse Innocence, faith, trust
Eagle High ideals, spiritual philosophy
Dolphin Psychic abilities, initiators
Heron Intuition, organization
Horse Stability, courage
Rabbit Faith, nurturance
Jaguar Shamanic wisdom, focused power
Deer Physical pacing, body awareness
Raven Inner journeys, dreams
Owl Symbolic wisdom, shadow work
Mountain Lion Strength, elusiveness
'All of the beasts obeyed Noah when he admitted them into the ark. All but the
unicorn. Confident of his strength he boasted 'I shall swim!'. For forty days and forty
nights the rains poured down and the oceans boiled as in a pot and all the heights
were flooded. The birds of the air clung onto the ark and when the ark pitched they
were all engulfed. But the unicorn kept on swimming. When, however, the birds
emerged again they perched on his horn and he went under-- and that's why there
are no more unicorns now.'
-- from a Ukranian folk tale
The unicorn has been a topic of wonder and speculation for centuries. The writings of
such men as Aristotle, Genghis Khan, Saint Thomas, and Saint Gregory reflect the
fact that these men considered the unicorn as a very real creature.
Webester's Seventh defines a unicorn as 'a mythical animal generally depicted with
the body and head of a horse, hind legs of a stag, tail of a lion, and a single horn in the
middle of its forehead'. The word 'unicorn' comes from the Latin 'Uni', meaning one,
and 'Cornu, meaning horn.
The unicorn has been depicted in the folklore and legends of other cultures besides
ours. The Chinese believed that they had the body of a deer, with horses' hooves and
an ox's tail. Where in the west the horn was made of bone, the Oriental unicorn's
horn was made of flesh. The coat of the unicorn was of the five sacred colors of the
Chinese; red, yellow, blue, white, and black.
The Chinese called the unicorn 'K'i-lin'. To them, it was a symbol of wisdom. Around
2800 BC, the Emperor Fu Hsi wrote of seeing a k'i-lin. He saw markings on the coat
of the animal, and perceived those symbols as a written language, thus giving credit
to the k'i-lin for the establishment of the written Chinese language.
The sighting of a K'i-in was a considered a good omen, and often signified the birth of
a good ruler. Other times, it appeared to give a warning to men. A scouting party for
Genghis Khan reported seeing a Chio-tuan, a type of K'i-lin, that warned the party to
stop the war, and that 'moderation will give boundless pleasure'. Upon receiving the
report, the Mongol stopped his battle plans.
Unicorns were reported in India as well. The Greek Ctesias wrote of seeing a 'wild
ass' there, which was as large as a horse. He said that the horn of the unicorn was
about a foot and a half long, and three colored, with the base being white, the middle
black, and the top red.
The best known legends surrounding the unicorn are in Western culture. The
common view of the unicorn as a horse with a horn is popular, and has been depicted
in our heritage for thousands of years. The unicorn is mentioned in the Bible in
several verses. The Palm Sunday tract in the Roman Catholic missal reads, 'Deliver
me from the lion's mouth, and my lowliness from the horns of unicorns'. Saint
Ambrose, the Bishop of Milan in the fourth century, considered the unicorn a symbol
of Christ as he wrote, 'Who then has one horn, unless it be the only begotten son, the
unique word of God, which has been next to God from the very beginning?' Saint
Augustine considered the horn of the unicorn to be a symbol of the unity of the faith
of the Church.
The horn of the unicorn has been sought after for centuries. In the west, it was
thought to have magical properties, and could purify poisons. Therefore, it was a very
valuable commodity to have. Pope Paul III is said to have paid 12,000 pieces of gold
for one, but James I of England got a much better deal for his, only paying 10,000
pounds Sterling for one. The horn of the narwhal was a common substitute for that of
the unicorn for those unscrupulous businessmen.
Because of that problem, a common test to determine the validity of a unicorn horn
was to use its magical properties of purification. David De Pomis wrote, 'There is very
little of the true horn to be found, most of that which is sold as such being either
stag's horn, or elephant's tusk. A true test by which one may know the genuine horn
from the false: Place the horn in a vessel of any sort of material you like, and with it
three or four large and live scorpions, keeping the vessel covered. If you find four
hours later that the scorpions are dead or almost lifeless, the horn is a good one, and
there is not enough money in the world to pay for it'.
The search for the unicorn, and proof of its existence, dates back almost as far as the
legends which surround it. Ctesias spoke of the unicorn in the court of Darius II, the
King of Persia in 416 BC. Chinese writings date back to 2800 B.C.E. The men of the
ancient world believed in the existence of the unicorn, so the object of their
searching was to find it, not to prove it existed. It wasn't until later in history that
man began to doubt the unicorn's physical existence. In the ninth century,
Margoulies wrote, 'It is universally held that the unicorn is a supernatural being and
of auspicious omen; so say the odes, the annals, the biographies of worthies, and other
texts whose authority is unimpeachable. Even village women and children know the
unicorn is a lucky sign. But this animal does not figure among the barnyard animals,
it is not always easy to come across, it does not lend itself to zoological classification,
nor is it like the horse or bull, the wolf or deer. In such circumstances we may be face
to face with a unicorn and not know for sure that we are. We know a certain animal
with a mane is a horse and that a certain animal with horns is a bull. We do not know
what the unicorn looks like'.
Even though the existence of the unicorn is questionable, its symbolism is not. The
beast, like all mythological creatures, has been a reflection of man's hopes and fears,
dreams and nightmares, and inner consciousness. Freud considered mythological
beasts as representations of 'universal fears and feelings'. Specifically, Jung thought
that the purity of the unicorn was of greater importance. Most mythological creatures
represent man's worst traits, and are usually more evil than animals, or man. They kill
for pleasure, and are often involved in unspeakable atrocities. The unicorn is an
exception to the rule, being a symbol of purity, hope, love, and majesty.
The decline of the unicorn began with the Renaissance and the advent of scientific
thought. The beliefs that had held for thousands of years began to crumble when man
could not prove the existence of the unicorn. Systematically, report after report of a
unicorn was attributed to a more believable occurrence of a more mundane animal.
Rhinos, goats, and horses were all considered explanations of unicorns. As technology
advanced, more exact tests and record keeping were developed, which added to the
mounting evidence against the unicorn. Finally, the unicorn was added to the list of
animals regarded as 'mythical', and would later only be found in children's stories and
What of the unicorn today? The unicorn is returning, if only symbolically. It is that
symbolism that people are seeking today, the idea of natural truth, purity, and love
that much of society has lost in the shadow of technology. Odell Shepard wrote, 'It is
not that the men of the Middle Ages who believed in unicorns were less intelligent
than we; their intelligence was turned in a different direction... we wrong ourselves
when we insist that if they cannot make good their flesh and blood actuality on our
level we will have none of them'. To find the unicorn, as the ancients did, we have to
unlearn what we have learned; we must go back to an earlier way of looking at the
world. Only then will we find the unicorn.
'Well, now we have seen each other,' said the unicorn, 'if you'll believe in me, I'll
believe in you. Is that a bargain?'
What Can Animal Guides do and How do I
Work with Them
Animal guides can help you in many areas of you life whether they are of the
physical or astral plane.
They can help focus and raise the energy of a ritual or magickal circle.
They can protect you in your dreams, meditations and quests, as well as in the real
They can teach you how to take on their abilities through shape shifting.
They can help you learn to take yourself less seriously (or more so if needed).
A guide can be your friend, confidant, sister, brother, teacher. They can be playful,
loving, protective and supportive. They will change and grow with you throughout
You work with spirit guides the same way you work with anyone else, ask them for
help, advice, or support, whatever you need. They will decide if they will do what
If it is for the best they will almost always help.
To talk with a guide, do a visualization in which you call to them.
They will come if they choose.
If they do not, try again later or try to work out the problem on your own.
If your guide is a physical one just talk with it. It will help if it chooses.
Talk with your guide.
Ask it to teach you.
Get to know your guide as you would get to know any close friend.
Spend time with it.
You will learn how to work with it as you get to know each other, as you learn to
become a team and understand each others needs.
Just remember to always, always, treat your guide with respect and gratitude for the
help it gives.
What is Shamanism?
Pardon me for asking, but what is Shamanism? That's one area of "the occult" that I
don't remember hearing about.
Ok, I guess I'm the resident shamanism maven here, so I'll try to define it. Shamanism
is the name (from the Tungus Shaman, meaning miracle-worker) for any tradition of
ecstatic worship of the Earth, and the forces that reside and pervade Her. Most
traditions of shamanism worship two deities, the God and the Goddess. In the
European shamanic tradition, also known as Wicca, the God and Goddess are most
commonly known as The Lord and The Lady, or Great Mother and the Lord of the
Hunt. In the Yoruban tradition, they are known as Ogun and Yemaja. In the
shamanic tradition of the Chiricahua Teneh (Apache), they are known as Earth
Mother and Sky Father, and also as White Painted Woman and Killer of Enemies. In
other traditions, there are more deities worshipped, and in most of those named,
there are other lesser deities. Some forms of shamanic tradition can be classified as
true polytheism, some, like the tradition of the Australian Dreamtime, are truly
pantheistic (the God-force is in all, and all exists in the God-force, or as they put it,
the Dreamtime) and at least in the tradition of the Yoruba (Nigerian African) and in
most Native American traditions, these Gods and Goddesses are seen as emanations
from a Great Spirit. In the Teneh tongue, this spirit is known as Usen', Who is neither
Male nor Female but encompasses both. Joe Wilson describes the difference between
the path of the Shaman and the path of the Priest this way: the Priest is the custodian
of tradition and rite, the Shaman is the one who journeys within and experiences the
God(desse)s directly. The path of the shaman is the path of healing, direct
involvement with ones Gods/Goddesses, and the path of acquiring Power for The
Good. Modern Shamanism in America is usually of two currents: Wiccan and Native.
Wicca is a reconstructed system, which is probably similar but not identical to the
pre-Christian religion of the Keltoi (the Britons, the Gallics, the Irish and Scottish
Gael, the Picts, and the Cymri (Welsh) It used to claim quite an impressive history,
but is reliably traceable to people like Gerald Gardner, who designed a system of
Wiccan practice from various sources, including, supposedly, a wealthy woman
whose family had practiced witchcraft for generations. He obviously had a good grasp
of some of the Anthropological works on the subject, but liberally borrowed as well
from Crowley, Freemasonry, and fin de Sieclefin de Sieclefin de Sieclefin de Siecle occultism like the Order of the Golden
Dawn. Artificial or authentic, it seems to still work.
Native shamanism works with either traditions of a native people like the Native
Americans or the Yoruba tribe (present in Santeria), or is a distillation of many
practices, as is the shamanism taught by Dr. Michael Harner and by Joseph Wilson of
Toteg Tribe. The true native traditions are dying out quickly, and most native
Shamans are unwilling to transmit their knowledge. In some cases, the knowledge
has died out, and those descendants who remain and wish to embrace the Old Ways
must re-invent their tradition. My teacher, Misha Sacred Wolf of the Naiche-Tosawi
band of the Chiricahua, is in that unenviable position. The Apache still exist, and
they celebrate some of the old festivals for the benefit of tourists. But much of the
Old Knowledge died with the coming of the white man, the reservation, and the
missionaries that considered the reservation their rightful "mission field".
While it is true that many Native peoples are indignant about any non-Native
involvement in shamanism, and the new age movement is full to the brim with
hucksters and shysters who if you give them money will teach you "how to become a
Shaman", there are two non-Natives who seem to respect the Ways, and have
attempted to present the teachings of Native shamanism in a respectful, reverential
way. One is Dr. Michael Harner, author of "The Way of the Shaman" (Bantam) and
his "core shamanism" system. His approach is sometimes a little too eclectic, with a
glaring lack of the ritual and mythos that makes shamanism so powerful. He has
reduced the shamanic experience to a few major elements: The Lowerworld Journey,
where the shamanist comes face-to- face with their "Power Animal", which is a
representative of the person's basic animal energy; The Upperworld Journey, where
the person journeys to contact their "Teacher Within", who is a representation of the
person's Higher Self; the Middleworld Journey, where ordinary reality is seen
through non-ordinary eyes; and various techniques of healing, primarily the Jivaro
"sucking doctor"technique. A non-ordinary state of consciousness is reached through
rhythmic drumming, singing, and visualization. Despite the very clinical "self-help"
aspect of Harner's work, it is very valuable. If you live in the Los Angeles area, you
are quite fortunate in that perhaps the most exciting work in the eclectic shamanic
way is going on through Toteg Tribe, a shamanic society founded and facilitated by
Joseph Wilson. Joseph was a participant in the Neo-Pagan (Wiccan-shamanic)
movement for more than 25 years, and is now trying to forge a new shamanic way for
**allallallall people of the Americas. He has built on the techniques of Harner with insight
from both traditional Native peoples of this land that he has studied with and entirely
new ways of expression that he and others that work with him have spontaneously
come up with. He does not claim to teach traditional shamanic ways, but his work is
quite valuable and instead of looking behind to the old days of Tribal America, is
aimed towards the 21st century and beyond. Again, I study with a woman who is of
the Chiricahua Apache tradition, but I also find Wilson's work to be exciting and
I hope this cleared up a few things there's a lot of good info in the file areas about
What is Shamanism: Another View
Since the term "shamanism" has been used in a number of ways during the
discussions here I thought it might be helpful to present some basic information on
shamanism as the inter-disciplinary subject that it has become since Mircea Eliade
The following is from the forward, which explains the approach that Eliade took to
study Shamanism as a magico-religious phenomena, and which has been the
foundation that shamanism as a spiritual tradition, as well as explaining how other
academic disciplines approach the subject.
Mircea Eliade Shamanism: Archaic Techniques of Ecstasy Princeton University,
Bollingen Series LXXVI 1964
Originally published in French as Le Chamanisme et les techniques archaiques de
l'extase, Librairie Payot, Paris, 1951. Revised and enlarged for the Bollinger edition.
ISBN 0-691-01779-4 pbk 0-691-09827-1 hdbk
To the best of our knowledge the present book is the first to cover the entire
phenomenon of shamanism and at the same time to situate it in the general history of
religions. To say this is to imply its liability to imperfection and approximation and
the risks that it takes. Today the student has at his disposition a considerable quantity
of documents for the various shamanisms- Siberian, North American, South
American, Indonesian, Oceanian, and so on. Then too, a number of works, important
in their several ways have broken ground for the ethnological, sociological, and
psychological study of shamanism (or rather, of a particular type of shamanism). But
with a few notable exceptions-we refer especially to the studies of Altaic shamanism
by Holmberg (Harva)-the immense shamanic bibliography has neglected to interpret
this extremely complex phenomenon in the framework of the history of religion. It is
as a historian of religions that we, in our turn, have attempted to approach,
understand, and present shamanism. Far be it from us to think of belittling the
admirable studies undertaken from the viewpoints of psychology, sociology, or
ethnology; we consider them indispensable to understanding the various aspects of
shamanism. But we believe that there is room for another approach-that which we
have sought to implement in the following pages.
The writer who approaches shamanism as a psychologist will be led to regard it as
primarily the manifestation of a psyche in crisis or even in retrogression; he will not
fail to compare it with certain aberrant psychic behavior patterns or to class it among
mental diseases of the hysteroid or epileptoid type.
We shall explain why we consider it unacceptable to assimilate shamanism to any
kind of mental disease. But one point remains (and it is an important one), to which
the psychologist will always be justified in drawing attention: like any other religious
vocation, the shamanic vocation is manifested by a crisis, a temporary derangement of
the future shaman's spiritual equilibrium. All the observations and analysis that have
been made on this point are particularly valuable. They show us, in actual process as
it were, the repercussions, within the psyche, of what we have called the "dialectic of
hierophanies"-the radical separation between profane and sacred and the resulting
splitting of the world. To say this is to indicate all the importance that we attribute to
such studies in religious psychology.
The sociologist, for his part, is concerned with the social function of the shaman, the
priest, the magician. He will study prestige originating from magical powers, its role
in the structure of society, the relations between religious and political leaders and so
on. A sociological analysis of the myths of the First Shaman will elicit revealing
indications concerning the exceptional position of the earliest shamans in certain
archaic societies. The sociology of shamanism remains to be written, and it will be
among the most important chapters in general sociology of religion. The historian of
religions must take all these studies and their conclusions into account. Added to the
psychological conditions brought out by the psychologist, the social conditions, in the
broadest sense of the term, reinforce the element of human and historical
concreteness in the documents that he is called upon to handle.
The concreteness will be accented by the studies of the ethnologist. It will be the task
of ethnological monographs to situate the shaman in his cultural milieu. There is
danger of misunderstanding the true personality of a Chukchee shaman, for example,
if one reads of his exploits without knowing anything about the life and traditions of
the Chukchee. Again, it will be for the ethnologist to make exhaustive studies of the
shaman's costume and drum, to describe the séances, to record texts and melodies,
and so on. By undertaking to establish the "history" of one or another constituent
element of shaman-ism (the drum, for example, or the use of narcotics during
séances), the ethnologist-joined when circumstances demand it, by a corporatist and
historian-will succeed in showing the circulation of the particular motif in time and
space; so far as possible, he will define its center of expansion and the stages and the
chronology of its dissemination. In short, the ethnologist will also become a
"historian," whether or not he adopts the Graebner-Schmidt-Koppers method of
cultural cycles. In any case, in addition to an admirable purely descriptive
ethnographical literature, there are now available numerous works of historical
ethnology: in the overwhelming "gray mass" of cultural data stemming from the so-
called "a historical" peoples, we now begin to see certain lines of force appearing; we
begin to distinguish "history" where we were in the habit of finding only
"Naturvolker," "primitives," or "savages."
It is unnecessary to dwell here on the great services that historical ethnology has
already rendered to the history of religions. But we do not believe that it can take the
place of the history of religions. The latter's mission is to integrate the results of
ethnology, psychology, and sociology. Yet in doing so, it will not renounce its own
method of investigation or the viewpoint that specifically defines it. Cultural
ethnology may have demonstrated the relation of shamanism to certain cultural
cycles, for example, or the dissemination of one or another shamanic complex; yet its
object is not to reveal the deeper meaning of all these religious phenomena, to
illuminate their symbolism, and to place them in the general history of religions. In
the last analysis, it is for the historian of religions to synthesize all the studies of
particular aspects of shamanism and to present a comprehensive view which shall be
at once a morphology and a history of this complex religious phenomena.
Chapter One, General considerations. Recruiting Methods. Shamanism and Mystical
Since the beginning of the century, ethnologists have fallen into the habit of using
the terms, "shaman," "medicine man," "sorcerer," and "magician" interchangeably to
designate certain individuals possessing magico-religious powers and found in all
"primitive" societies. By extension, the same terminology has been applied in
studying the religious history of "civilized" peoples, and there have been discussions,
for example, of an Indian, an Iranian, a Germanic, a Chinese, and even a Babylonian
"shamanism" with reference to the "primitive" elements attested in the corresponding
religions. For many reasons this confusion can only militate against any
understanding of the shamanic phenomenon. If the word "shaman" is taken to mean
any magician, sorcerer, medicine man, or ecstatic found throughout the history of
religions and religious ethnology, we arrive at a notion at once extremely complex
and extremely vague; it seems, furthermore, to serve no purpose, for we already have
the terms "magician" or "sorcerer" to express notions as unlike and as ill-defined as
"primitive magic" or "primitive mysticism."
We consider it advantageous to restrict the use of the words "shaman" and "shaman-
ism" precisely to avoid misunderstandings and to cast a clearer light on the history of
"magic" and "sorcery." For of course, the shaman is also a magician and medicine man;
he is believed to cure, like all doctors, and to perform miracles of the fakir type, like
all magicians, whether primitive or modern. But beyond this, he is a psycho pomp,
and he may also be priest, mystic and power. In the dim, "confusionistic" mass of the
religious life of archaic societies considered as a whole, shamanism-taken in its strict
and exact sense-already shows a structure of its own and implies a "history" that there
is every reason to clarify.
Shamanism in the strict sense is pre-eminently a religious phenomenon of Siberia and
Central Asia. The word comes to us, through the Russian, from the Tungusic saman.
In the other languages of Central and North Asia the corresponding terms are Yakut
ojuna (oyuna), Mongolian buga, boga (buge, bu) and udagan (cf. also Buryat udayan,
Yukut udoyan: "shamaness"), Turko-Tartar kam (Altaic kam, gam, Mongolian kami,
etc.) It has been sought to explain the Tungusic term by the Pali samana, and we shall
return to this possible etymology (which is part of the great problem of Indian
influences on Siberian religions) in the last chapter of this book.
Throughout the immense area comprising Central and North Asia, the magico-
religious life of society centers on the shaman. This, of course, does not mean that he
is the one and only manipulator of the sacred, nor that religious activity is
completely usurped by him. InInInIn many tribes the sacrificing priest coexists with the
shaman, not to mention the fact that every head of a family is also the head of the
domestic cult. Nevertheless the shaman remains the dominating figure; for through
the whole region in which the ecstatic experience is considered the religious
experience par excellence, the shaman, and he alone, is the great master of ecstasy. A
first definition of this complex phenomenon, and perhaps the least hazardous, will be:
shamanism = technique of ecstasy.
Yet one observation must be made at the outset: the presence of a shamanistic
complex in one region or another does not necessarily mean that the magico-religious
life of the corresponding people is crystallized around shamanism. This can occur (as,
for example, in certain parts of Indonesia), but it is not the most usual state of affairs.
Generally shamanism coexists with other forms of magic and religion.
It is here that we see all the advantage of implying the term "shamanism" in its strict
and proper sense. For, if we take the trouble to differentiate the shaman from other
magicians and medicine men of primitive societies, the identification of shamanic
complexes in one or another region immediately acquires definite significance. Magic
and magicians are to be found more or less all over the world, where as shamanism
exhibits a particular magical specialty, on which we shall dwell at length: "master
over fire," "magical flight," and so on. By virtue of this fact, though the shaman is,
among other things, a magician, not every magician can properly be termed a
shaman. The same distinction must be applied in regard to shamanic healing; ever
medicine man is a healer, but the shaman employs a method that is his and his alone.
As for the shamanic techniques of ecstasy, they do not exhaust all the varieties of
ecstatic experience documented in the history of religions and religious ethnology.
Hence any ecstatic cannot be considered a shaman; the shaman specializes in a trance
during which his should is believed to leave his body and ascend to the sky or
descend to the underworld.
A similar distinction is also necessary to define the shaman's relation to "spirits." All
through the primitive and modern worlds we find individuals who profess to
maintain relations with "spirits," whether they are "possessed" by them or control
them. Several volumes would be needed for an adequate study of all the problems
that arise in connection with the mere idea of "spirits" and of their possible relations
with human beings; for a "spirit" can equally well be the should of a dead person, a
"nature spirit," a mythical animal, and so on. But the study of shamanism does not
require going into all this; we need only define the shaman's relation to his helping
spirits. It will easily be seen wherein a shaman differs from a "possessed" person, for
example; the shaman controls his "spirits," in the sense that he, a human being, is able
to communicate with the dead, "demons," and "nature spirits," without thereby
becoming their instrument. To be sure, shamans are sometimes found to be
"possessed," but these are exceptional cases for which there is a particular explanation.
These few preliminary observations already indicate the course that we propose to
follow in order to reach an adequate understanding of shamanism. In view of the fact
that this magico-religious phenomenon has had its most complete manifestation in
North and Central Asia, we shall take the shaman of these regions as our typical
example. We are not unaware, and we shall endeavor to show, that Central and North
Asian shamanism, at least in its present form, is not a primordial phenomenon that
has a long "history." But this Central Asian and Siberian shamanism has the advantage
of presenting a structure in which elements that exist independently elsewhere in the
world-i.e., special relations with "spirits," ecstatic capacities permitting of magical
flight, ascents to the sky, descents to the underworld, mastery over fire, etc.-are here
already found integrated with a particular ideology and validating specific techniques.
"Even a man who's pure of heart
and says his prayers by night
May become a wolf when the wolfsbane blooms
and the Autumn Moon is bright."
- Curt Siodmak
Modern film makers and writers have done much to make the werewolf a pitiable
creature. A man trapped by his own baser desires, unable to control the change or the
urges that come upon him when the Moon shows Her full form each month. But deep
in our hazy past there was a time when the 'werwulf,' (spirit-wolf or man-wolf) was
honored among our ancestors. The Wolf and those able to take her shape were
worshiped as Goddesses and heroes.
Belief in shape shifters was found throughout the range of the wolf's former habitats:
from Europe and Asia as far east as India and China and throughout North America.
What ties the legend if the werewolf together in all of these places is the fact that the
wolf was the largest predator indigenous to those regions. The violence and
aggression of were-beasts make this seem on the surface to be a hunting and warfare
legend. True, it is this, but also much more.
Prehistoric peoples learned the ways of the hunt from the animals around them, and
they learned the concept of time from watching the phases of the Moon. The Moon
phases also concurred with the female menstrual cycles and so hunting, sex and time
became totally enmeshed. The Full Moon was also the time in which the women of
the tribe bled, in effect, canceling all sexual activity. The men's minds turned to the
Hunt, knowing that sexual activity would resume after they had brought enough
meat home to supplement the diet of grains and berries the women provided.
It is this circular reasoning that created the association of a female deity concerned
with hunting, and in many cultures She was a Wolf. Apollo Lycaeus (Wolfish Apollo)
was mated to Artemis as the "divine Wolf-bitch." The Sabine Goddess Feronia was
"Mother of Wolves." Perhaps the most well-known of all was Diana, Mistress of the
Hunt. Gaulish Diana under her totemic name Lupa, "She Wolf," was Mother of wild
animals. Young men learned magic and shape shifting from Her and She guided and
protected them (provided, of course, that they never set foot inside a Christian
Church.) Her follower's shape shifting ability followed the Moon phases and the
Moon was another form of the Goddess.
Shape shifting abilities usually lay within the realm of one person in the tribe, the
shaman. It was reasoned that at the moment of death, the animals that the hunters
killed and/or emulated took themselves to the spiritual "other-world." For the
shamans to 'speak' to these animals, so that they could intervene on behalf of the
humans, the shamans themselves must lose their own bodies and take on the aspects
of the animals. And so the first shape shifters were born.
Down through the years the werewolf was known in almost every culture. The title
of the shaman who held high position in the life of the Slavs was 'volkhvi.' Variants
are the German Volk, 'people' and the Russian Vrach, 'physician.' This indicates that
the werewolves were people, shamanic healers in wolf masks.
It wasn't until Christianity came on the scene that the werewolf became the demonic
creature that he is today. Christ was known as the Lamb of God and the enemy of the
lamb is of course the wolf. The shift toward the imagery of the Lamb of Christ led in
natural sequence to the wolf as satanic. The werewolf whose first meaning in biblical
translations meant 'outlaw,' devolved from that into 'ravening wolf,' as in Matthew
7:15: "Beware of false prophets which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly
they are ravening wolves." Werewolves were captured and tortured by the
Inquisition alongside accused Witches.
And so the werewolf descended throughout the centuries; from deity to demi-god,
from shaman to satanic. The noble wolf, whose only crime was to howl at the Moon
and teach awkward humans to hunt was demonized by those who would rather be
led by a lamb than a true king or queen of beasts.
Shamanism exists in tribal cultures around the world and has done so for centuries.
Yet, in reading most anthropological texts on Shamanism, there is little, if any
reference made to shamanism in Europe. However Shamanism has existed among the
peoples of Europe not only in ancient times, but also through the present day. During
the Middle Ages, the Old Ways largely disappeared from public view because of
persecution. Yet they were not eradicated but took a more underground existence.
Today, there are some of us of European ancestry that are bringing Shamanic ways
rooted in pre-Christian Europe back into the light.
Wiccan Shamanism is a term I began using several years ago in an attempt to describe
my own path of magick and spirituality in relation to the other forms of Shamanism
on the Planet. Wiccan Shamanism draws on the Old but it is not simply an attempt
reconstruction and revival of the Old Ways of tribal Europe. Wiccan Shamanism
blends both the Old and the New to suit the modern times in which we live.
Although emphasis is on European symbology and traditions Wiccan Shamanism is
multi-cultural, incorporating ways of other healers and magick workers from many
places and eras.
What follows is a glimpse into Wiccan Shamanism as I know it and practice it. While
Jim, Dennis, and others who help with various aspects of **circlescirclescirclescircles work may share
many of these concepts, I speak here only for myself - for at the heart of this spiritual
approach is the idea that each person must seek their own connection with the
Divine, within their own Self, rather than having me or anyone else do this for them.
This is not a path of a leader with followers, but a path where each becomes their
I call to the Powers of the Four Quarters- to Earth in the North which is the Realm of
the Physical Body and Material Plane, to Air in the East which is the Realm of
Thoughts and Intellect, to Fire in the South which is the Realm of Will Power and
Action, and Water in the West which is the Realm of Emotions and Intuition. My
Medicine Wheel is the Magick Circle which connects the Four Quarters. The sacred
places I frequent include a high rock, a crystal clear spring fed pool in a hidden valley
and a circle of stones in a grove of Oak and Birch on a mound.
I am a channel between Planet Earth beneath my feet and the Heavens above my
head. I become the World tree when I Shamanize, linking the transforming Dark of
the Underworld with the Awakening Light of the Upperworld.
I am the Crystal Light that is at the Center of the Circle and is the fifth Element
Spirit. I seek always to act out of MY own Inner Self which is at the enter of MY
being, for my Inner Self in the Balance of all the Elements, of my Female and Male
sides, of my Lunar and Solar natures of my intellect and intuition my Inner Self is my
doorway into the realm where All is One.
I see the Circle of Life from the Center. I watch the Seasons change as the Wheel of
the Year turns and I celebrate the 8 Sabbats. I connect with the dance of Night and
Day, of Fair and Stormy Weathers, of the Waxing and Waning Moon. I see the cycle
of Birth, Growth, Maturity, Death, and Rebirth in all of Nature. I examine the cycles
of my own life and of the lives of those who seek healing aid from me.
I am the traveler between the World of Daily Life and the Otherworld which is the
land of Dreams, visions and Spirits. I am a Consciousness Explorer. The Otherworld is
as real and as important to me as the Day-to-Day World. I bridge the Worlds rather
than seeking to dwell solely in one or the other. I journey into the Otherworld for a
reason - to bring back healing and knowledge to apply to Daily Life, helping others,
myself and the Planet.
I see the Divine in all things. My friends and allies include not only humans but also
plants, animals, rocks, winds, waters, fire, stars, and other life forms. I commune with
the Source some call "God" as both Mother Goddess and Father God, for both aspects
are necessary for the Unity.
The main focus of my Shamanic work is Healing. I was called to this path as a young
child in dreams and Out-of-Body experiences, but I didn't begin my work until my
adult years when I started Healing myself. To do this I journeyed alone into the Pit of
my Shadow Self and came face-to-face with my problems and hang-ups; my doubts,
fears, disillusionments, rejections, angers and hurts; with all mymymymy false self images.
Words can not begin to express the misery, the utter despair the powerlessness I felt
during this time. Yet coming apart was essential; it enabled me to break through the
barriers which I had formed and let others form in my psyche that had kept me from
being one with my True Self. In the deepest Darkness, I felt the Light of my own
Inner Self beginning to shine through. I focused on the Light and slowly emerged
from the Pit, stronger and more integrated than ever before and with the power to
heal others as well as myself. As a result of this transformation process, my life's work
became clear. I now help others from their own pits of negativity and become whole
Yet my work also extends to more than Humankind; it involves bringing Healing to
the Planet as a whole. In my communing with the Land, I have heard the cries of the
Earth mother, sorrowing over the self-centered, greedy, intolerant, and destructive
behaviors of many of Her human children, who are polluting the soiled, waters, and
air; who are playing power games with nuclear fire; and who are polluting the
spiritual atmosphere of the entire world with their narrow mindedness and hate. I am
deeply concerned about survival - not of the Planer Herself for all the humans in the
world can not destroy Her even with all their weapons; She is too strong and
powerful for that to happen. What I am concerned about is the survival of the human
race. - will we annihilate ourselves and many of the life forms around us, or will we
wake up in time to see the larger picture, find and implement creative solutions to the
worlds problems, and enter a New Age of expanded consciousness?
The Balance of Life can be restored on Planet Earth; Harmony can be restored
between humankind and other life forms; Love consciousness can increase and be
prevalent on the Earth. I, along with numerous other healers and ministers from a
variety of spiritual traditions around the world today have responded to the upset of
Mother Earth by dedicating our lives to this Planetary Healing Work, each in our
own way. It is this Great Work that underlies all the healing and other things I do. It
is the Heart of Wiccan Shamanism.