Wednesday, 20 January 2010

What is your power animal?

One of the most fabulous things about shamanism is finding your own power animal. When you ‘journey’ into the other worlds you can meet guides who can offer help, advice, healing. In the ‘lower’ world these tend to be animals or birds and occasionally (though less commonly) reptiles or insects.
When people read Walker they often assume that the animal guides (Comer, Goss, Adante, Herniman etc) are akin to the daemons in the Philip Pullman books. They’re actually quite different. Animal guides are quite autonomous – although they may have an affinity with us, they are not part of us. Also, they don’t always stay with us forever. You can lose an animal through neglect or simply because times have changed and it’s time for a new energy to come into your work.
When I first learned about shamanism, I took a beginner’s course with The Sacred Trust. One of the first things we did was a journey to find our power animal. I had been looking forward to this more than anything. I was pretty convinced I knew what my animal would be – a big black panther, full of power and with thick soft fur.
But it wasn’t to be. When my creature came to find me it turned out to be a slim swift snake. My power creature wasn’t big but she was darn scary and the first thing she did was to bite me. Rather like Goss chews up Hunter and spits him out. I soon learned to love my snake (forgive me if I don’t share her name – it’s between the two of us) and spent a lot of time talking and listening, and dancing – yes spirit animals love you to dance and play with them. She also helped me navigate around the lower world and assisted me with healing.
Over the years, I have met many other power animals and certain allies will help me with certain tasks.

• What kind of power animal do you think you might have?
• Which animals do you like most? What are the qualities you like in them? Could you cultivate those qualities in yourself?
• Which animals do you fear? Do you know why? What qualities do THEY have? Do you think these are qualities that maybe you avoid in some way in your life?
• Do you ever dream of animals? Which ones and what are they doing? If an animal chases you in a dream, it’s usually trying to show you something or to change you in some way. Instead of running, try turning round and seeing what it wants.

Note: Just recently I have been gifted a new power animal and he is totally beautiful. :)


  1. I'd so love my power animal to be a lynx... but I'm terribly afraid it's a dormouse, or some other hibernating creature that only gets up one day a year.

  2. Fascinating topic. No idea what my power animal would be. The only animals I seem to dream about are my family's pets. Interesting to note the two I dream about most frequently are two of the first cats we had when I was little. Both died years ago.

    Is it too cliche to admire the loyalty of dogs? ;-)

  3. I first found my power animal when training in Sedona and underdstanding what qualities that power animal brings to you can be very illuminating. For instance does your animal like exercise and what sort of food does it eat? You may find you are similar. Animal Speak by Ted Andrews is a really good guide. And it is always wise to journey with your power animal

  4. RC - no, not remotely cliched to admire the loyalty of dogs...
    Colleen: thank you so much. I'll have to check out Animal Speak. And yes, yes, yes, always journey with your power animal.

  5. Jane, as I read, learn, and admire your wonderful blog, I wanted to comment that I can't think of a better power animal than a serpent. They play an important role in my book and were, at one time, revered for many reasons. One of the things was how they shed their skin and "renewed" themselves. I think this was something people admired and envied. They are fearsome and demand respect. And they've been around forever. Lucky, lucky Jane!

  6. I once did a meditation to find out what power animal I might be. I was hoping for a noble lion or a rather sexy panther, but the animal that materialised in the clearing before me was a little white duck.

    I've always enjoyed looking at the pointed little upturned ends of ducks, legs paddling gently, top half submerged looking for food.

    Speaks volumes about me, if I'm honest. Much more appropriate than a lion or a panther.

    Ali xxx

  7. Can't believe I just happened across this blog today ... My first novel had everything to do with animal totems, and I learned a bit about them from a friend of mine who knows a lot about that kind of stuff. My third novel is crying out for more of that. But my new characters are nothing like the first bunch, so I have to start my research from scratch. *sigh*

  8. When I was younger I felt a need to 'connect' more with nature. But I wasn't sure what to do or how to go about it. I lived in a big city at the time.
    I went to the wildest place I could find, a park near the edge of town which bordered onto farmland. I found a hidden place and sat under a tree and closed my eyes. I sat there for a while (feeling a little silly) and tried to open myself up to whatever would come. I asked in my head for a sign of some sort, some help to know if I was doing this right?
    When I opened my eyes there was a fox in the field in front of me, he had spotted me sitting there and was staring right at me. We stayed that way for a few minutes, looking each other in the eye, and then he dropped his head and slowly walked off. I have never forgotton it!
    It began a life long feeling in me of connection to the land and its creatures, which I now share with others (I now work on a nature reserve)
    I dont think he is my 'power animal', but he was an animal with a power over my life.

  9. I think my power animal may be a cat of some type, I have 5 of my own and I am convinced a ghost cat lives here too. If I could chose which power animal, it would be a Bengal Tiger or a Snow Leopard. I am curious to know what it might really be though. I frequently dream of animals - cats mainly - occasionally bears and hares.

    Loving Walker by the way - half way through now :-)

  10. Hi Jane,
    I'm very pleased to see that your book is out there, but I wonder if it is possible to buy digital editions that aren't for kindle? I've got a Sony reader and would need an epub format for that.