The shamanic journey is filled with mystery and despite its ancient history, is little understood in Western culture. The journey is one of the most effective ways to make contact with the spirits. The altered state of consciousness in a non-ordinary reality achieved in a journey allows you to transcend the limitations of the rational world with which we are so familiar. The shamanic journey is common to all cultures and the nature of the journey is remarkably similar in cultures widely separated by era and geography. In the spirit world, both time and place are illusionary constrains only to 3D reality and the lessons the other worlds provide are universally true. The similarities in journey practices in widely diverse cultures demonstrate this.
We have much to learn about the spiritual realm. The journey provides a format for gathering information concerning your own intention and also for listening openly for what the spirits may want to express to you. I have found the shamanic journey to be one of the most profound ways of connecting with the spirits and one of the richest sources of understanding and awareness.
Working with power animals or guardian spirits is a basic part of the shamanic journey. Shamans or medicine people, those that were the healers of the tribe, believed that their powers came from the animals, the plants, the stones, the elements, or the stars. Communing with these life forms was natural and necessary. These life forms held the secrets of the universe and these secrets could be accessed through the shamanic journey.
In non-ordinary reality, it is common to find healing remedies and to move energy in and out of the body during the shamanic journey. This healing or alteration of one’s being includes extraction of negative energy and soul retrieval. The journey involves travel to other worlds or realities to obtain information. When venturing into these other realities, it is usually done with the protection and guidance of your power animal.
There is usually one power animal that you are born with that should stay with you always. This is your main power animal and, if it should leave you, you would feel a loss of personal power. Its absence can be felt energetically. A power animal is extremely important to your well being and health. The effects of power animal loss and soul loss are very similar. In both cases, people will display symptoms of chronic problems such as; colds, flus, viruses, chronic depression, chronic misfortune, chronic emotional problems, chronic dysfunctional relationships, and lack of confidence, fear, vulnerability, and low self esteem. Power animal retrievals can have a profound healing for the person reconnecting with his/her spiritual ally.
Receiving a power animal in a shamanic journey is a gift from the spirit world. These animals are assigned to individuals; the individual does not choose the animal. They are usually wild, not domesticated, animals. And they are magical—tigers can fly, elephants can swim, and anything is possible. There is no hierarchal system. An eagle isn’t better than a mouse. They are just different and bring different energy to the individual.
Every animal has its own talents and gifts that it is offering to its human counterpart. A study of its talents will reveal the kind of medicine, magic, and power it can help you develop within your own life. Sometimes certain power animals emerge for particular periods of your life. You may need the playful energy of the otter, or the dutiful work ethics of the beaver to get you through a certain situation. These power animals come and go but even if the relationship is short the impact from this profound relationship will remain a lifetime.
Building a relationship with your power animal is a necessity; it takes time and energy. I spend many journeys just being with my power animals. With each journey a trust is developed, insights are gained, and a relationship is built. I suggest that you buy pictures or little figurines of your power animal and display them some place in your home. This honors them and reminds you of their presence in your life. I have found that power animals love to be honored and that they are much more available to you if you develop this practice of consciously honoring them. As this intimate relationship with your power animal grows, you will eventually realize that they are real, in the literal sense, and the protection that they provide you is also real.
I have known of animals actually appearing in Ordinary Reality when its human was in danger. A client of mine was at home late at night and a burglar tried to enter her house. She instantly asked her panther to protect her. Hiding in her hall closet, she heard the loud, aggressive growl of a huge cat emanating outside the house by the door where the burglar was trying to get in. In moments, she heard the burglar scream and run off. She called the police. After their arrival and their usual questions, she went outside with them. One of the policemen pointed out that her very dusty and dirty car had huge paw prints that started from the hood and went to the trunk. Stunned, she realized that her panther spirit guide had chased the burglar away and left its tracks on her car to prove it! Power animals are the greatest protectors in the spirit world.
I believe that learning how to journey and identifying your power animal will help restore your own personal power and health. Even though shamanism is ancient, its healing qualities remain effective during this modern age. It is through the rediscovery of these ancient ways that many people are experiencing feelings of wholeness, connection and empowerment. If we apply the teachings of shamanism to contemporary life, the results can be beneficial to the individual and to the world community in which we live.