by Michael Hoefler

Each of us have Spirit guides who assist us in our life experience. These beings are unlimited. They come forward when we ask them to assist. If we are not working with them, they will not force themselves upon us. Spirit Guides is a term that encompasses many beings with different, though similar, functions.

Most of us are familiar with Spirit guides called guides and/or guardian angels. Medicine animals also are Spirit guides. They offer both protection and guidance to us. Our discussion will center primarily on these beings.

When we call upon the power of an animal - the medicine of the animal spirit—we are asking to be drawn into complete harmony with the strength of that animal’s essence. Gaining understanding from animal spirits is a healing process—a process enabling us to complete the lessons that we set out to deal with in this lifetime. The medicine of an animal spirit can bring personal power, strength and understanding enabling our healing of mind, body and spirit.

For example, someone having Dog as a power animal usually serves others or humanity in some way often with great loyalty. This may not necessarily mean that the person has acknowledged these gifts and is using them to the fullest. It can mean that Dog is there to bring that person to an understanding of the talents that need to be developed.

Often medicine animals are called power animals, totem animals or animal spirits. In the context of our discussion, they will be considered one and the same and interchangeable. A totem, for example, can be any natural object, animal or being to whose phenomena or energy you feel closely associated with during your life. We will focus on spirit totems in the guise of animals.

Each person has 9 power or totem animals that represent the medicine they carry in this life experience. There is one for each of the 7 directions surrounding our physical body: East, South, West, North, Above, Below and Within as well as one on our right and left sides.

When we discover our animals totems, study them and then learn to merge with them, we enable ourselves to call forth their energy whenever we need to. When we honor our power animals, we honor the essence that lies behind it—be it an actual force or a specific spirit being who uses the image and form of the animal to communicate with us.

My wife Jane and I have a penchant for Raven. When we travel we often find Ravens perched alongside the road or flying overhead. Sometimes they actually fly ahead of us showing the path to take. One time 2 Raven feathers appeared out of thin air—manifested for us: one beside the table for Jane and one beside my chair for me. The ground was bare before the feathers appeared and there were no Ravens in the immediate area. When the feather appeared for me, I was working with a client. She was a little unnerved when our eyes spied the feather almost immediately after it’s appearance. Raven is a totem for manifestation. It can be a powerful force in our lives.

One morning in May ’97 after I had finished some work expanding the energetic around my legs, I heard a Raven calling outside. I walked out to the patio to meditate. No sooner did I get settled than the Raven lit in the massive oak tree about 20 feet from my chair. We had a great discussion. He talked and I listened—for about 10 minutes! While my ears heard "Grok, grok, grok", my heart, mind and spirit captured the essence of his message.

Some of the basics of medicine animals include the following:

Each animal has a powerful spirit irregardless of size or our perception of them.. For example, mouse, bat or dragonfly.

The spirit of the animal may be its own, or that of a being who uses the animal image to communicate messages of the world to humans. My discussion with Raven may be an example.

Every animal has its own talents and strengths. A study of these talents and strengths will reveal the kind of medicine, magic and power it can assist us to develop in our lives.

A medicine animal will choose the person rather than we choosing it. This originates with us choosing the lessons that we will work on during this life before we incarnate. The medicine spirits that will assist us during this sojourn come forward when our lessons are chosen. Most of our animal spirits are lifelong partners with us although some of them change as particular challenges come up.

In 1995 Mountain Lion (Cougar) came in as one of my medicine animal. Cougar can be a difficult power totem to have because it places us in a position to be blamed for things going wrong or for taking charge when others cannot. Since I was developing my own workshops at that time, I felt some reluctance to move forward because of this. However, when I grew to the point that this was no longer a concern, cougar left.

Develop a relationship with your medicine animal. Trust is not an over night thing. It takes time and effort—and respect.

Honor your totem for its medicine to be effective in your life. Hang pictures and draw pictures of them. Read and learn as much as possible about them.

There are several ways to find or to sense your medicine animals. If you are a dowser, you might dowse your totems from a list of possible animals. I use a pendulum for this. A rod will also work. Some people can hand dowse effectively and hand dowsing pictures works well.

My wife Jane has given us a print of a colored pencil drawing of a Mountain Lion (Cougar) to assist our discussion. Look at this drawing and sense the energy of the Cougar. Feel how it relates to you. Cougar medicine involves lessons on the use of power in leadership. It is the ability to lead without insisting that others follow you. How does this feel to you? Are you concerned about being blamed for things going wrong or for always taking charge when others cannot. Does this bring up particular emotions? What do you think about when you see this animal? Have you been interested in this animal for some time? If this animal appears to you, it’s time to stand on your convictions and lead yourself where your heart takes you.

These are some of the questions to ask when we look at how an animal totem could relate to our lives.

Most of the time we find 1 or 2 of our power animals are stronger or more significant in our lives than the others. They reflect the lessons we are faced with and overall the general kinetics or movement of our life at one particular moment. Find the strongest one. Sense how it relates to you now. Then do the same for the 2nd.


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