The Shaman's Hearth is the internet's home of shamanic practices and discussions. .

 

Recommended Reading

 

Spirit Guides, Animal Guides and Power Animals

 in a shamanic context

To the initiated, these subjects can be less than clear, to the novice, they are fraught with misconceptions and myths.  Many times, I hear a person describe a veritable menagerie of animal guides and an army of spirit guides, kind of like on Facebook!  It is not about numbers, it is about connections.  Ego driven pretenders and foul practitioners will boast about their 'companions'.  Most shaman rarely even discusses their form unless required by circumstance, and almost NEVER by name!

Power Animals - Let's start with the Power Animal concept.  In your journey, you may be in a specific state of mind, questing into a specific arena etc. which resonates strongly with a specific animal/s spirit.  For instance, during soul retrievals, I often have the assistance of a dingo, wedge tail eagle or fox when searching for a client's soul piece.  Whilst the concepts might sound 'out there', what animal could you think of better suited to finding that which is hidden (those who know dingoes and foxes will be nodding by now, they can get in anywhere and find anything!).

Power animals may come for a single journey, or stay for a while, but almost always cycle in and out of a practitioner's life as required.  They often fulfil a natural function or task whilst aiding that journey's intent-full purpose.

Power animals almost always are found in the lower world of energy.

Animal Guides are much longer term guests and companions, rather than transitory assistants.  Animal guides are animal spirits with whom you resonate well, and who resonate with you and your intent and purpose.  Animal guides require acknowledgement through singing / dancing to remain happy and helpful.  I have an animal guide which is a [thought to be extinct] creature of Australia.  Every now and then, I journey for this spirit and walk through the bush, seeing with the eyes, hearing with the ears of this animal guide.  Animal guides will teach through the heart, contrasting a human's reason with the animal's instinct.

In almost every function during a journey, it is my animal guides that accompany and protect my journey.  They help my comprehension and understanding of the landscape to which I am exposed.  In many cases one animal guide may not get along with another and only show up when the other is absent or in times of clear need. 

Animal guides are found the lower and middle worlds (typically) and have little bother in exploring the upper world also.

Spirit Guides - I don't think I've heard of a concept so thoroughly perverted by 'Nuevo-lore'.  Some folks seem to try to collect spirit guides like Facebook friends, and they will be about as much use too!

A spirit guide is a companion spirit, one who is experienced in the shamanic realms and is a teacher, protector and companion.  It is rare for one practitioner to have many, and the name of the guide is never revealed outside of the personal relationship,.. ever!  It is up to the guide to reveal their name to another.

Journeys into the upper world will present many spirits for consultation, not all of whom are motivated by the shaman's best interests, or their patients'. Once a spirit guide has selected a shaman, and their intent and trustworthiness have been affirmed, a marriage of sorts occurs.  The shaman must prove themselves worthy of such a spirit, not being dominated by it, not being scared of it, not being disrespectful of it.  The spirit guide then becomes familiar to that practitioner, essentially joined, even if not always present.

Spirit Guides are often passed shaman (not only of earth) and their techniques and information must be accepted with discernment.  Once a strong and reliable spirit guide has been found, they will help teach, discern and protect a shaman for as long as the relationship remains bound by respect and free of foul practice.

Foul spirit guides are also out there,.. and they are seductive, often offering thoughts of power, prestige, sex and money in exchange for compromise of ideals.  Practitioners working beyond their calling are most vulnerable to these foul entities and the price demanded in the exchange always ends up deeply harming the foul practitioner if not killing them.  The motivations of these tricksters and deceivers is always selfish, always egotistical and always falsely presented.

One of the worst examples of a failed dispossession I've heard of involved a practitioner who made a bargain with such an entity, thinking it was a shortcut to being a powerful shaman. (He failed to realise that there is no such thing, only a strong shaman who understands that all power is illusory.) 

The story, as related to me, involved the practitioner becoming sicker, weaker and more pain filled daily, finally seeking the help of a shaman.  The dispossession was unsuccessful as the entity had a bargain which the practitioner who was unwilling to let go of his perceive personal benefit, holding himself in the grip of that entity.  The end result, the fellow went mad and died about six months after the failed ceremony which he, himself, called an end to.

The upshot of this all - it is a big wide world out there with predators and prey, benevolent and malignant intents, and many shades in between; and it is the same in the non-physical too!  Remain on guard, cautious and circumspect until you know the entity well enough to make a judgement call (just like in the physical again!).

Once you have found (or been found by) a reliable guide, they will help you discern the motives of others.  It is advised that if you're doing unsupervised journeys and have found a potential ally in the form of a guide, have them 'checked out' by a trusted shaman before accepting them outright.  If they are of true motivation, they will understand totally, if not, they will object, cajole, threaten and avoid another strong guide - a sure sign of a foul entity.

 

 

 

 

 

Craig Berry - 1996 - 2010, All rights reserved - reproduction without written permission prohibited.