Power animals are a spiritual relationship with a helping spirit who shows itself to you in the form of an animal such as a bird, cat or bear. They provide you with power, protection and support.
As you dive into your spiritual journey, whether you are 4 years old, 40 years old or 104 years old, shamanic cultures view a strong relationship with power animals as one key to well-being.
As a child you probably naturally gravitated toward animals. Through stuffed animals, nature shows, costumes, clothes, pets and outdoor hikes it is possible to build an early relationship with nature and animals.
If you have children in your life, there are many creative ways to encourage a strong relationship to animals.
You may take a young child to a toy store and let them pick out a stuffed animal. Don’t be surprised if it is different than what you would pick for them! Encourage a child’s connection to nature and animals but don’t force it. Teach children how to take care of animals and visit wild places where animals live. In this way, you can encourage a life long connection to nature, animals and spirit!
As a teenager, and going through quarter-life in your twenties, you may identify with a school mascot as a power animal.
You are usually able to live more gracefully with power, protection and support. So, as you grow, find ways to stay in touch, reconnect and strengthen your power animal relationships as well as stay open to new ones.
How you connect to your power animals may change over time too. You may travel to Alaska to visit the polar bears, put an image of a polar bear on your phone and keep that polar bear stuffed animal with you in your backpack.
At any point in life, you may connect and re-connect to power animals. Some ways to do this intentionally may be through visualization and other spiritual practices. For example, during meditation you may experience a vision of a power animal.
You may also consider receiving a power animal retrieval, a shamanic method used to connect you to a helping spirit. In the practice of shamanism, this is typically one of the first things you do with a shamanic practitioner. In this way, connecting to a power animal may become a more conscious spiritual relationship providing you with power, protection and support.
When Orcas breathe fills your lungs,
Do you expect uranium lies?
Can you feel the chromosomes
Of your flesh in a frenzy?
Do you dare clean up reality,
Open your heart to iceberg tips,
Invite the Orca, orange and purple, to
Echolocate your beached passions?
Will a trace of injustice
Kill the intellect of Orcas rejoice,
In a celebration of death with or
Without inhaled truths?
Can you move on the back of a killer whale,
Disable your missiles,
Waking, dancing, tasting, breathing
The inherent liberation of life?
Jewelie Alessio (2003)
Typically, you will have at least one primary power animal who is with you throughout life. Then, there may be other power animals that show up in dreams, meditations and journeys that provide you with teachings, inspiration or specific support for a shorter period of time.
A power animal connection isn’t only a one way connection. As much as a power animal helps, you can give back. Often times the giving back is the creativity you push outward that starts from ideas given to you by the power animal.
You may be inspired to create art or to write after a power animal visits you.
A conscious relationship with a power animal means that you are aware of it and participate by giving and receiving. There are many ways to reciprocate and honor your power animal.
For example, you can eat foods your power animal likes, paint a picture of your power animal and visit it in your dreams. You can always ask your power animal how to give back and find ways that resonate for you.
You can also connect to a power animal through shamanic journeying.
Ask a shamanic practitioner to drum for you or use a good shamanic drumming track, set your intention to meet with a power animal and see who shows up. Sometimes an animal will pop into your minds eye and sometimes you will sense their presence.
Give gratitude for a power animal showing up and providing you with power, protection and support. Be curious and see if there is something they’d like to show you. Focus your attention and follow!
Practical Power Animal Support
Below is an example of one person’s experience receiving practical support from their power animal during a time of anxiety.
Last Friday, I was scheduled to give a presentation at a research conference. On the two days prior to my presentation, I had meditated with my Power Animal a couple of times and simply asked for guidance through the presentation. As I was waiting in the audience for my group’s symposium, I was going over my talk in my mind and trying to cope with some anxious thoughts. Then something interesting happened. I felt a strong gust of wind in the room, and the ambient sound was muted for a couple of seconds. My ears rang, and I was not aware of my surroundings. As my awareness gradually returned to the room, I noticed that nobody else seemed to have this experience. And then I had a knowing that whatever happened during my presentation would be fine. I was very grateful to have had this experience! (Josh)
Josh was able to request and receive support from his power animal for his presentation and the anxiety he was feeling.