Totems and Guides

The Experiential Learning Process of Animal Spirit Medicine

I do not offer as many resources, links and references when it comes to working with animal spirits as I have in the previous modules. There is a reason for this. No one can discern for you what a message or warning means from an encounter with an animal.

We can look at what websites and books say about what each animal traditionally represents, but we have a responsibility as shaman to connect in with the energy of each encounter, being authentic and present in the moment.

This is your work to do, not only for this week, but for a lifetime. You can look up the meanings and symbols of animals all day long, but how do you think that information came to be in these books and websites?

The individuals who create the websites with spiritual meanings and teachings of animals had to quiet their minds, meditate and be intuitive to receive the information from the animal spirits.

Of course, not all these websites are valid, some are just fun entertainment. I do notice, however, that if you feel which site to choose when you look up a certain animal, searching the internet can bring just the right message for you at the right time, like pulling a wisdom card.

There is absolutely no difference between you and the people who have put out information about the spiritual nature of animals. They have just been brave enough to share the wisdom they have received and SO CAN YOU. Dragonflies represent spiritual growth and transformation. Dragonfly Spirit might show up for you when you are ready to spread your wings and fly!

What is a totem?

A natural object or animal that is believed to have spiritual significance.

Totems are spirit guides, who assist us during different parts of our journey. These animals might help us for a short time with a specific life lesson or they might become a friend of life. Totems come and go, which is different from your power animal. Your power animal a part of your own true essence and is always with you.

When I am working with clients, it is typical for their animal spirit to show up and "meet" me during the healing session. Sometimes, this animal becomes so deeply connected to me, I could recognize the person quicker by their spirit animal than by their physical countenance.

In regard to the cultural associations and conditioning we have around animals, sometimes a client may resist the messages from their animal spirit because of cultural indoctrinations.

I have a client who has Raven/Crow as spirit guides and totems. The energy of raven and crow is so strong all around this person. It's such a powerful, beautiful energy to witness. When I gave him the information about his feathered spirit guide friends, he did not take it lightly due to the negative associations with crows in his Welsh background. Crows are a bad omen, harbingers of bad news in Welsh culture.

Thankfully he was able to accept the more majestic version of Raven energy. This brilliant client has begun to connect with his true essence, little by little.

Regardless of what we may think or feel about a person's spirit animals, I see them clearly. I see the medicine and wisdom they bring to our life, whether we know it or not. Our animals stay by our side, circle around us, love us and guide us through every single part of our lives. If you connect with the power animal or animal totems of someone else, keep in mind that those we serve may not understand what we see, sense and feel. It is up to us to deliver this information in a kind, gentle and respectful manner.

Unlikely animals can show up to assist us in very unexpected ways. When I started doing spirit animal journeys years ago, I started seeing a yellow snake ascending, continually moving upwards in my meditations. I am not particularly fond of snakes, so the comfort and trust of these spiritual encounters came as a surprise. I talked with some of my mentors about the meaning of the messages from the yellow snake.

The yellow snake represented feminine power, Goddess power and Kundalini energy for me. You can imagine my surprise years later when I got to meet the yellow snake from my shamanic journeys in person. This picture was taken in Tulum, Mexico where some shaman friends who helped me connect deeper with this animal spirit ally.

I would have never dreamed that snake medicine would become a part of my shield. The loving, maternal and powerfully protective energy of Burmese Python now sits atop my shaman shield. My shield is an enhancement layer of my energy field and we will cover how to make your own shield later on in the course.

Just when you least expect it, an animal spirit will come into your life and surprise you with blessings. Stay open to the medicine from all animals, even the ones you resist or fear. The animals we fear or resist have just as many lessons to teach us, maybe even more than the ones we love.

Feathers and Bones-Gifts from Spirit.pdf
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