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 Tidbits

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Animal Power

Native Americans believe that each animal carries its own special energies and gifts, and that each 
animal has a gift to give each of us. Do you know what animals are guiding you on your individual 
journey? Are you aware of the gifts they are offering you?

Imaginary Guides

You can think of your Animal Totems as imaginary guides on your life journey. You might also 
think of them as Power Animals because each one imparts a special energy, or power, to your life.

By observing how each animal lived, found mates, located food and protected itself, Native 
Americans were able to define the animal's particular strengths and weaknesses. For example,
bears hibernated during the winter, so it was said that they possessed the magic of dreams. 
They were also formidable foes, so Bear Energy was also about physical power and strength.

It's fascinating to note that different cultures (not just Native Americans) came up with 
similar interpretations for all individual animals.

Spiritual Energies

Native Americans as well as other cultures used Shamans to help them connect with the Earth 
around them, and with the power of the animals. Using dreams and visions, these Shamen would 
connect with the "manitou" of the animals. The manitou of an animal is its primal spiritual 
energy- wolfness, deerness,foxness...etc.

It was believed that every human being had a particular manitou (or several) which they were 
especially attuned to. These were their personal animal totems.

They discovered their totems through vision quests, although sometimes the totem made themselves 
known in other ways. For example, if you were attacked by a wild animal, it was believed that 
that particular animal totem had chosen you itself.

Physical and Spiritual Qualities

Each animal that exists has several qualities, both physical and spiritual. The qualities
in your personal Animal Totems are qualities that you might connect with, feel a deep 
affinity towards, or simply need more of in your life.

Here are some brief descriptions of the qualities of a few animals. Read carefully. One 
of them just might be one of your Animal Totems.

Skunk: Self-confidence, self-esteem, self-respect, creative energy, paying attention to 
intuition and inner knowings

Alligator: Power to survive, keeper of ancient wisdom,clairvoyance

Cat: Magic, mystery, curiosity, independence, healing,unpredictability, inner balance, moving 
through fears

Frog: Seeing in all directions, physical and emotional cleansing, metamorphosis, 
creative power

Shark: Peace, solitude, emotional transformation, power of protection

Your Animal Totems instruct and protect you throughout your life’s journey. When you 
discover an animal that speaks strongly to you, an animal you feel you must draw more 
deeply into your life, try surrounding yourself with images of this animal. This will 
let the animal know it is welcome in your space.

Finding Your Animal Totems

One way to “meet” one of your Animal Totems is to do a guided visualization. Create Sacred 
Space by using music, a candle,incense, or a smudge stick. Sit quietly and very slowly 
scan your body, paying particular attention to each of the seven chakras. Then choose 
one chakra to return to find and focus your attention there. Ask the animal who resides 
there to make its nature known to you. Wait. Listen. Watch.

Remember to be patient. Don’t give up. You might not “see” anything the first time you do this.

Sometimes your Animal Totem is nearby, just out of your sight,watching you to see if you’re 
serious about connecting with it. Continue to do this guided visualization until one of your
animals makes itself known to you.

During your meditation, when you do “meet” one of your Animal Totems, look it in the eye 
and remember to greet it with affection and curiosity. Ask it how it’s feeling today. 
Ask it its name.

Remember that this encounter is totally in your imagination;therefore it is in your control. 
There is nothing to fear.

At some point, move from your body into the body of the animal.Look at yourself from the 
eyes of this sacred animal and notice what you see. After a while, return to your own body
 and continue your conversation with it.

Ask your Animal Guide the following questions, so that you can learn more about its 
meaning for you and its place on your journey:

Who are you?
What do you have to give me?
What do you want from me?
How will I remember what you have taught me?

Be sure to give it ample time to respond, and expect to be surprised!

You might be pleasantly or unpleasantly surprised by an animal that makes itself known to 
you. Try to accept the animal who wants to be with you rather than forcing a different 
one to be there.

Trust the process- My Summer of Skunks

It is generally believed that an Animal Totem chooses you, and not vice versa. The 
animals you love just might be your totems but then again, they might not! The animals 
which come to you when you are open and accepting are the ones you need to work with. 
They will have the strengths and weaknesses that you already posses, and they will 
have lessons for you to learn.

A few years ago, I was continually seeing skunks in our front yard, even in broad 
daylight. This is highly unusual skunk behavior, I assure you! A few times I also 
glimpsed a white skunk with a black stripe!

Later, I learned that skunks are really about self-respect, self-esteem, and inner 
protection through intuition. And I was seeing them at a season of my life when I 
felt completely powerless and unprotected regarding some difficult family situations 
which directly affected my self-respect and self-esteem.

Coincidence? I think not! I haven’t seen them brazenly walk across my front yard 
since that summer several years ago. I believe that Skunk had a message for me 
that year, and I believe that if I need him again, he will be there.

Honor Your Animal Guides with SoulCollage®

SoulCollage® is a personal growth tool that is a mystical magical blend of intuitive art 
and imaginative play. It was created by Seena Frost in 1989 as she worked with clients 
in her therapy practice in California.

One of the suits in the SoulCollage® deck is Companions, where you can create unique 
collaged cards to honor your special animal guides. Making a card like this, and working
with it within the Soul Collage® process is an excellent way to honor these special 
animal energies, and to get to know your animal totems in a creative, imaginative way.

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