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
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
animal has a powerful spirit irregardless of size or our
perception of them.. For example, mouse, bat or dragonfly.
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
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.
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.
a relationship with your medicine animal. Trust is not an
over night thing. It takes time and effort—and respect.
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.
Click on the names that are unlined
and go to the page with the pictures.