In this post, I bring you the complete workshop and lecture from the Site (of course, with Hora's permission) as well as some additional, juicy pieces of information.
What Are Power Animals?
The Shamanic View of the World
Shamans believe in two realities; the usual reality (the real, physical, "our") and the unusual reality (the immaterial, energetic and spiritual). We perceive the usual reality when we are awake while we experience the unusual reality in altered states of mind (trans, dreams, etc.).
I assume you understand what is meant by "usual reality", but the unusual reality must seem very...unusual to you. Shamans divide it into three parts: the upper, middle and lower world. This is illustrated by a tree (often resembling the Tree of Life whose branches and roots mirror one another, although any tree is a fitting symbol). In this symbol, the tree top represents the upper world, the tree trunk represents the middle world and the roots the lower world (which will be the focus of this post).
The middle world is the energetic reflection of our ordinary reality in which time flows normally, while the upper and lower worlds exist only in the unusual reality; time and space cease to have meaning, everything is here and now.
What we are interested in is the lower world because it is precisely here that we can find our power animals (although they can travel from one world to another).
Why Not Say "Totem Animal"?
What Is a Shaman?
Exercise - Finding Your Power Animal
- Find a place in the ordinary reality (i.e. the physical world) where you can start the journey in peace (it's best if the terrain is slightly sloped downwards to help with the visualization, there shouldn't be any bumps and you should be comfortable there).
- Lie comfortably, preferably face-down and relax. A good thing to do would be to make yourself warm and to make sure that nothing can interrupt you.
- You should already have the firm intention of finding your power animal (if you already have one, then your goal should be to meet with it again for a certain reason).
- Now is the time to "visualize" a hole in the ground/a cave/tree roots or any place you can go down into (I say "visualization" because this would imply entering one's imagination, while this act is an entrance into a spiritual realm where you perceive spiritual reality). You have to go through this entrance and go down (!!!) deeper and deeper until you reach the lower world (you will know when you have arrived and also, be prepared that the tunnel you go down in will get narrower as you go on and that it will become wide when you arrive in the lower world, but that's normal. Note: there are no rules as to how the lower world should look like because everyone has a different perception and experience of it).
- When you enter the lower world, you should once again clearly state that your intention is to find your power animal. This is when various animals start entering the space you're in from all sides. It is now necessary to recognize your power animal.
- You will see it from at least 3 sides (e.g. from the back, the front and from one side).
- You will see 3 details of the animal (e.g. the nose, tail and eyes).
- It will circle you (i.e. run around you).
- It will run into to you very fast and actually become one with you.
- It will come back the third time if you have chased it off/rejected it two times previously (more on this in the following steps)
- It's a bug.
- It's a fish, reptile or bird which is showing you its teeth.
- Each animal can be sent away if it doesn't meet the requirements above or simply if you don't feel any connection to it. If it returns even after you have sent it away two times, then that's your power animal.
- When you're certain that you've got the right animal, you have to "grab" it (or simply take it in your arms, or grasp a part of it e.g. it's neck or leg) and bring it out into the middle world any way you are able to. (For example, I grabbed my animal around the neck with my arms and practically dragged it out since it's a large wild animal).
- You can return to the middle world by following the same tunnel which you can down by (although there shouldn't be a lot of tunnels around you and your instinct will guide you anyway). Since you're now with your animal, the ascension my now be a bit more difficult and it may last a bit longer, but your return is inevitable.
- When you're back "in the open" (in the middle world), you have to bond with your power animal through your heart chakra, practically breathe it in. This is done by visualizing a white light penetrating both you and your animal; the light interweaves, goes in and out of each body etc. (Of course, this can be done in other ways so feel free to experiment and find an alternate way that's more to your liking if this one doesn't work for you).
- Travel to the lower world as often as possible; spend time with your power animal, learn from it etc.
- Ask it to be with you when you take a walk through nature (as you would any of your friends in the usual reality).
- As it to help you while you are doing a ritual, divining, healing or doing anything of a spiritual nature.
- Keep paintings, figurines and other decorations with depictions of you power animal in your house.
- Keep objects that remind you of it close to you.
- Develop a relationship with an animal of its kind in the usual reality.
- Inform yourself about your power animal's species, it's habits in nature, behavioral patterns, its nutrition etc.
- Dance with it (this may sound strange but I will explain).
Dancing with Your Power AnimalSince Hora is a TranceDance instructor, a form of Neoshamanic rituals and a dancelike way to enter the unusual reality, he made all the participants of the Site dance right after this exercise. We had a few rattles that we played (Hora continued to play his Shamanic drum) and during all this we danced freely (i.e. we let our bodies move the way it feels natural to them). We could sing if we felt like it...basically, the point was moving as comes natural.
So, in short, the dance is done while our power animal is still in us (that is, while we are still connected to it). Hora emphasizes that it would be best to dance as often as possible to strengthen the bond between our animal and us. The only thing you have to take care not to forget is to completely detach yourself from your power animal at the end of the dancing session (you can do this with movements, visualizations etc.).