I am definitely a cat person. Do not get me wrong, I do like dogs. They make great pets; they are loyal, fun and a great excuse to get out of the house into the outdoors, for a good old walk.
However, I am still a cat person. They are, in my eyes, the ultimate symbol of independence. Of course, the domesticated feline is (arguably) dependent on us for food, but otherwise they come and go as they please.
As power animals, dogs and cats could be considered at polar ends of each other, yet they both provide positive qualities, and even similarities, that we can draw from. In Shamanic terms, the use of power animals, as an emotional “medicine”, has been used since the dawn of humanity, with early hunters emerging themselves into the psyche of the animals they stalked.
Although times have changed, the basic practice of utilising the ancient shamanic traditions still exist today; albeit they are open to personal interpretation and are presented in a modern-day fashion. In fact, the term “Power Animal” is a relatively new phrase, which has only been coined in the last 30 years or so.
It is believed that by taking on the traits of a particular animal you can enhance your life, your goals, your issues and strengthen your personal competences. For example: If you need a confidence boost or to de-stress, you can meditated on a particular animal that resonates with you and the feelings you want to invoke.
So, with that very brief synopsis on the use of power animals in shamanic “medicine”, it is time to venture back to the shamanic world of our most favoured pets and how they can help you in your life.
The Cat Power Animal
Cats have been highly regarded throughout history. They are our guardians, protectors and our direct link to the mysteries of the afterlife; warning and fending off unwanted visitors to this earthly dimension. Although they are independent in character, cats have been labelled as our “familiars”, historically more associated with witches and witchcraft. That said, a cat will allow you to look after them, only if they are willing, and will not be dominated.
As a power animal, the energies and strengths the cat provides are the ability to see through our fears, become more independent and protect ourselves from overbearing personalities. The cats’ vision also allows us to access the unknown, such as the spirit world, with renewed confidence. If you currently look after a cat, take the time to watch them closely. You will notice their gaze is fixed on something or their eyes dart around the room, at what appears to be nothing. However, they are in fact seeing into other dimensions and perhaps one day, if you pay enough attention to your cat, they may reveal their visions to you. Focusing your meditation on your feline friend or sitting quietly, stroking your cat will dissipate the stress in your life, as the cats energy – which is directionally opposite to us humans – will dispel, absorb and neutralise our negativity energy.
If your life-long power animal is a cat, you will be drawn to the alternative magic and mysteries of the universe. You do not run with the masses, and you prefer to hold your own council and opinions. If boredom sets in you quickly slope off to find something more interesting to do. You may even be more of a “night owl”, revelling in the peace, quiet and solitude which, in turn, lifts your spirits and energy levels. When new opportunities arise in your life, you will be able to assess the situation with an organised, clear head.
The cat is a holistic being, assisting both your body and mind to be flexible yet fearless, confident yet trustworthy. The balanced medicinal properties of the cat guides you spiritually, connecting you to your higher self. This allows you to discover your wants and needs and “shape-shift” accordingly.
The Dog Power Animal
Just like the cat, the dog power animal guards and protects. However, the dog is also our loyal and loving friend. The dog is here to serve to ensure we are kept from harm; by utilising their heightened senses to detect danger. As a power animal, the dog lends the traits of steadfastness, love, respect and friendship. As the dog assumes the role as a servant of man he fully understands our failings, with unconditional compassion.
If you are drawn to the dog as your power animal, you take on his sensitivities with an optimistic outlook and without calculated intentions, thus you rarely act in a selfish manner. Love and forgiveness are the main lessons presented by the dog, along with the ability to tune in to any physical changes or occurrences on earth. You hold within you the gift of compassion, making you a natural protector, healer and emotional comforter – which you extend openly to strangers as well as family members and friends. You enjoy being looked after emotionally but you are not concerned with acts of material generosity, therefore kindness is worth far more to you than any expensive gift.
The downside is that some people may use and abuse your giving nature and it is important to reflect your loyalty back to your inner self. Remember, you will help others more by respecting yourself first and foremost, as they will value your gift as a friend with even greater esteem.
However, there is a flip side. The fact that you are drawn to the dog may mean you are the complete opposite of its energy. Therefore, it has come into your life to teach you some much-needed lessons on how you can better equip yourself in this life. If you feel you are lacking in the emotional medicine of the dog, maybe it is time for you to meditate on this power animal. Find him within you, and translate his energy into your life. You may just find a happier, more content you will emerge.
Don’t think about it.
Pick the first one that pops in to your head.
No cheating now!……………….
Think of an animal.
Write it down.
I watched a documentary last week on the Maya civilisation. I have loved anything to do with the ancient Central and Southern Americas since I was a child. The mystery, their way of life, their knowledge; which, like the Egyptians, seemed far beyond their years.
The programme centred on the search for the remains of the first Maya King. I found myself internally shouting at the TV, telling the archaeologists to dig under the monument. And lo an behold they found his remains deep under the very foundations of the pyramid.
Why did I feel so strongly? Well, when I used to sit in a clairvoyant development circle, I used to go on wild epic adventures, during the guided meditation. After the meditation our teacher would go round the room and ask everyone where they went and what they experienced. She eventually turn to me. She would take a long deep breath in, let out a long sigh and say, ”And where did you go this evening Andrea?”
Well, I literally went everywhere! Across continents, visiting different cultures, feeling different sensations and learn a thing or two. And there are a few journeys that really stick in my mind. In one such journey I was with a Persian lady, who I believed was one of my helpers at the time. She took me on a whistle-stop ride across North Africa, the Middle East and Turkey, on a beautiful Arabian stallion. She showed me an array of holistic health practices. The most significant visit was to a herbalist in Turkey. I was taught how to mix herbs, lotions and potions, combining them to enhance the healing properties.
OK, I have slightly veered off topic so I will get back to the Maya.
During one such meditation I found myself laid out, on a “stretcher”. I felt as if I had been sacrificed but I was not sure, perhaps I had just been ill? If I had met a sacrificial end I was not treated as the bog standard “lamb to the slaughter”, I had been tended to. I wore a clean long tunic and my long dark hair was neatly brushed. It did not resemble the whole head cutting off, chuck down the steps thing depicted in - the simply superb – Apocalypto. I was being buried. With honour and respect. I witnessed “my self” looking up the steps, to an open slab stone doorway, as my body was gently carried down to the bottom of a room, which was dug out of the earth.
When I came back from the meditation I felt weird, which was pretty normal to be honest, as it could take some time for me to fully come to. But this time it was different. It was as if I had seen an actual event in my past. It was a cross between a de ja vu and a “that soo didn’t just happen, did it?” moment.
Anyhoo, along with the Maya and pretty much the entire Americas, there has been one particular animal that I have been drawn to all my life. I even wanted one as a pet when I was little, and ever since I watched a specific episode of Top Gear I wanted an XJS – the special edition with gold-plated engine…………..
Apologies to those outside the EU for the car “clue”. But for the benefit of my Euro neighbours: No. It is not a panda!
It’s a Jaguar.
So, what is the significance? Well, in shamanic terms, animals give us strength. We all have specific animals connected to us, or animals we need to focus on in order to draw on their energies. They are known as Power Animals.
For the purpose of this exercise I am going to surmise the purpose of the Jaguar and very briefly conclude with my thoughts on how, or if, he relates to my life in any way.
The main strengths drawn from the Jaguar Power Animal is keeping a clear head and moving forward during times of chaos, dealing with and steering away from chaos. It gives courage when going into the unknown – whether it be new places, ideas, beliefs and thinking. The Jaguar works on psychic vision and focuses a great deal of energy on the soul and empowering the soul. In addition, the black Jaguar is the custodian of the continuation of time and the world of the unknown.
The gifts from the Jaguar Power Animal is courage and will. He asks us to go deep within to find the real spirit inside, to both question and let go of fears, thus healing longstanding emotional attachments. He will disclose the secrets behind human existence and how all goals can be realised, through sheer grit and determination. Clair/psychic abilities can also develop when using the Jaguar. And it is very important to trust thoughts, visions and instinct.
People who hold the Jaguar power have a regard for language, but their words have a tendency to be misunderstood by more sensitive souls, who may take things out of context. Therefore Jaguar people like their own company, feeling at ease when alone with their thoughts and they generally stick to people with similar personalities. Jaguar people tend to follow their own dreams, knowing the importance of creating their own reality by themselves.
My thoughts? A huge proportion of the symbolism of the Jaguar Power Animal rings true to me and I feel very comfortable with the holistic grass-roots aspiration and spiritual philosophy of the Jaguar.
So, now it’s over to you.
What was your animal? How do you feel about the animal? Is it a longstanding affinity? Was it a complete suprise?…………Do you already know your Power Animal and how does it make you feel?
Do you ever watch people interacting with each other?
It is fascinating, insightful, and sometimes amusing.
Individuals speaking out who find themselves glancing at their peers to check for acceptance, for confirmation, for pleased nods or for approving vibes. The alpha male or the dominant female returning the gaze, knowing that they hold the power. Do we see them as born leaders or bullies?
I find it difficult, when I see how relationships are between others, to interject my opinion, in order to help the domineered – so I just stay schtum. Maybe I do not say anything for fear of upsetting them, and in turn becoming the over-powering energy myself. Maybe it is none of my business, and it is the way things are; the order of the world we live in.
You can love and care for people but they are on their own personal journey. They have their own wants, feelings, needs, emotions, anxieties and lessons to be learned. Releasing responsibility for others does not mean that you wash your hands of them; it means you are there to support them, if they request your help, but you relinquish your duty as their defender, always fighting their corner.
Perhaps that is one big cop-out, perhaps I am putting this down “on paper” to work out my thoughts or justify my emotions? However, if you think about it, if you become an emotional crutch for someone will it ever stop? Will they ever take a stand and just say “No!” Will they ever wise up to the patterns, the ever-increasing cycle with the same situation or event happening over and over again?
Yes, I feel others vibes. I know when people are miffed without them saying a word, I know when someone is upset even when they convey an outwardly happy demeanour, I know when someone feels belittled by others, I know when someone should be saying what they think or feel but are uncomfortable. Nevertheless, it is ultimately their choice to change or remain in their state of underling.
It can be relatively easy to analyse others but difficult to objectively analyse yourself; how you react to other people, the words you use, the energy you project, the telltale signs that you are uncomfortable or overruled by their presence.
I am mostly introvert, which means I analyse most of my thoughts and feelings internally, as opposed to verbal extrovert. I publicly “speak” some of my thoughts through my writing. I am not sure whether it is through embarrassment or a confidence thing, or perhaps I feel those who do not share my views will persecute me. And If I where to strike up an “alternative” conversation would they really a) Deem my ramblings as nonsense, b) Think I am barking mad, or c) Raise their eyebrows and thus ignite me into flames and I would be condemned for eternity? Maybe not.
Where am I going with this? Oh, yes!
I know many people who also use writing as their own personal release. Some use it to escape the thoughts and feeling of those around them – be it close family or acquaintances, so they can truly be themselves for once. The fact that many connect to others in this way is/can be a great sigh of relief, it may even give them the push to physically speak their thoughts and feel emotionally safe and confident to do so.
Even if you are not a blogger, an author, or a columnist; just by writing down your thoughts, perhaps in a journal or on an adhoc basis, can quantify exactly how you feel about the world around you. It can give you the confidence to be you, it can help you understand yourself fully and understand your thought processes. It can also help you understand people, what they do, how they react – even what they are thinking. Writing also helps you to become a better person, a more knowledgeable person as you search for other similar people and information that resonates with you.
I have to say that I am a complete Word Press junkie. I will be in the kitchen washing up and mentally composing an article in my head! But you do not need to be a complete obsessive like me. Write 20 words or 2000 words. Write your thoughts in a poem or song. Write an open letter to yourself or someone else. Write a daily diary or a simple daily muse. Just write what you feel, when you feel like it. You will be surprised how quickly you evolve. You will feel better, feel empowered, feel more confident and feel motivated by life itself.
I now understand why I picked the Wolf. I have no prior knowledge of Shamanic beliefs but I found this Shamanic interpretation, which seems a relevant and fitting end:
The Wolf helps us find the deepest levels of self, of inner knowing and intuition. Native Americans see wolves as teachers or pathfinders. Although the wolf is a symbol of the night, which can seem scary, it is also the time of dreams, where we discover valuable things about ourselves. This is a lonely path as to truly come to understand yourself; you must be alone, undeterred by the beliefs, judgements and views of others.
The wolf teaches us to learn about our inner self and discover our inner power and strength. However, to achieve this, we must take risks and face our deepest fears and the Wolf requires sincerity. It may seem demanding, but the return is great; a spirit helper that is always there to help, giving us extraordinary powers of endurance. Learn to listen to the voice within yourself, which in silence is as clear as the sound of the wolf howling in the night.