3 Approaches to Finding Your Power Animal
In the shamanic belief every thing is alive and carries with it power and wisdom. Power animals are an essential component of shamanic practice. They are the helping spirit which add to the power of the shaman and are essential for success in any venture undertaken by the shaman.
Shamans believe that everyone has power animals - animal spirits which reside with each individual adding to their power and protecting them from illness, acting similarly to a guardian angel. Each power animal that you have increases your power so that illnesses or negative energy cannot enter your body. The spirit also lends you the wisdom of its kind. A hawk spirit will give you hawk wisdom, and lend you some of the attributes of hawk.
Everyone is thought to have a few of these guardian power animals or it is thought that the individual could not survive childhood. Over the course of her or his life the person may have several. If a power animal leaves and one does not come to take its place the individual is considered, by the shaman, to be disempowered and therefore vulnerable to illness and bad luck.
SparrowHawkHaven talks about how we find our power animals:
Working with a Power Animal is a crucial part of doing one’s shamanic work – in fact, it is the core and the essence of being a shaman. The spiritual guides in their animal form lend their powers to the wizard, healer, witch doctor, allowing him to look into future, cure disease both mental, and physical, cast off demons and perform rituals in their community.
What I want to explore in this post is the area around acquisition of one’s Power Animal. Over the years of shamanic practice I have encountered three major approaches towards that subject:
- ‘shamanic’ method of Michael Harner
- ‘pragmatic westerner’s’ method of Ted Andrews
- ‘magical’ method of Emma Restall Orr
Using what would be considered the Shamanic method, I found my power animal from doing a journey that Sandra Ingerman has in her book, "Shamanic Journeying: A Beginner's Guide." She provides great context and an easy to follow process to find your power animal.
If you want more on Power Animals, Steven Farmer has a great description here and we have alot more Power Animal links, posts, books, and quotes on this page.
Wolf image from Denis From Atlanta on Flickr