There are indigenous medicine traditions which all cultures have in common and which we can benefit by including in our lives. Of these traditions, my favorite is power animals.
Power animals are unconditionally loving and enlightened spirit guides who come in animal form to strengthen us at the level of our instincts, emotions and physical health.
Power animals are one of the simplest and most effective tools that I use in my healing practice.
Your spirit guides will present their self in the animal form which brings the qualities most helpful for your situation. Some of the ones that I use most often for people are the Mother Guerilla who is nurturing, protective, strong, playful, and encourages independence in her little ones. Any of the members of the lion pride may be useful, including the alpha male who is supremely self-confident and whose authority is unquestioned, the alpha lioness who is the huntress, provider and mother and the young lions who are growing into their power and rightful place in the pride. All lions are top of the food chain and definitely not victims! They are extremely helpful for people who need courage, self-confidence and personal focus and direction. The wolf pack has a wonderful social order and is good for people who were raised without proper boundaries and social training to help them learn those things and find their place within a group. The mother grizzly bear teaches her cubs to be alert, to discern friends from foes and defend against predatory males. The osprey teaches us to see things clearly from above and to know the right moment to act quickly and concisely. These are just a few of the gifts of these particular animals. Studying the lives and habits of a certain animal can give you an idea of the gifts which they bring on an even deeper level.
Sandra Ingerman, a student of Michael Harner who developed a system which he called Core Shamanism that focuses on the medicine traditions which are common to all cultures wrote a book about power animals in which she includes a simple, alternative technique for finding the power animal you need. I’d like to share my interpretation of that with you. Be aware that you may have more than one power animal, depending on what obstacles you are overcoming and what aspects of self need empowering and healing. This is not the same thing as a totem animal, which to my understanding is more like a life guide, working with you on your personal destiny and goals. A power animal is a specific medicine to address a particular weakness and may be with you all your life or for only a brief time as needed.
To find your power animal in this way you will take a spiritual journey beginning with a memory of a real place where you have walked on a path of some sort. This path may be through the woods, on a beach or sidewalk or road, but something which leads you in a direction like a path. The path will be only a doorway into the journey, which will then begin to flow like a dream toward a meeting with your power animal through terrain which may no longer be from memory, but something new.
1) It will help to have a drum playing a steady, even rhythm to orient yourself toward your journey. Here is a link to a website that offers a free MP3 download of shamanic drumming, which you could use, or just listen to it and find the type of rhythm which can be used. http://www.shamanismcanada.com/drumming.html.
2) Breathing into your Inner Wisdom, deep within your heart and belly, relax your mind and center within that place of your truth. From there choose a place to begin your journey which is a path on which you have walked physically in this life.
3) Begin with a prayer to the unconditionally loving source of life to be with you on your journey to bring to you a power animal which will help you with your current needs. Ask for only that which is unconditionally loving and appropriate to come to you in this way.
4) Imagine yourself beginning your journey on that path. The rhythm of the drum will help you to both surrender into the journey and to have an orientation in the physical world to which you can return when you are done.
5) On your journey whenever you see or sense an animal, ask if it is your power animal, it will make itself known to you. Any animal which returns 3 times is generally assumed to be the right one, but you may just know without that repetition as well.
6) When you have found your animal, invite it into yourself and imagine that you are the animal, experiencing through all of your senses what it is like to be that animal, how it feeds, lives, its social life and gifts. This trains your unconscious to claim the strengths that the animal represents. Do this once a day for a month and then as often as needed.
7) Watch a video of the animal, find out everything you can about its life and behaviors. This will help you discover what gifts it brings to you.
You can also invite the power animal directly into your body or aura in the area where you feel a weakness of body or emotion. When you do this, give it some food in that area. This will help to anchor it there and empower it to assist you.