Excerpts from the book, Animal Spirit Guidesby Chris Luttichau
“Animal spirits act as a “medicine,” which heals the past and brings you the inspiration to move forward on your life path.”
When observing animals carefully, we find that each species has a gift that differentiates it from others. If you want to discover the medicine of a particular animal, study that animal and look for what is distinctive about it. There is always at least one quality or behavioral trait that is unique to each species. For the deer, it is a particular combination of magic, gentleness and alertness. For the hummingbird, it is joy, beauty, and responsibility. Once we begin to realize that each animal brings a lesson, and we are willing to learn from animals, an astonishing school of wisdom opens up to us. In the days when there were no universities or books, when culture was passed down through generations orally, native people learned from nature, which was their source of knowledge. Everything they needed to know could be learned from trees, plants, animals, rivers, the seasons, the Sun, Moon and stars.
There is almost no limit to what we, too, can learn in the same way. Water, for example, teaches us about our emotions. It can be clear, calm, and life-giving, but at other times, the winds of change can create turbulence – waves hit the shore, and every now and then a storm builds, resulting in destruction and even death. Our emotions are similar: sometimes they nurture us, letting us experience joy and love, now and then we can feel sad and angry, and at times jealousy or rage may take over and destroy relationships.
The Magical Mirror
Life is a mirror, and everything around us is here to teach us, if we are willing to look into it. I learned early on my path to recognize that the whole of life is a field of learning, where we discover what we need to know about ourselves and what it is like to be human, existing in the physical dimension. Looking in the Magical Mirror of life, we can see the truth and all the wisdom of the universe. Reality has many different layers, and things are not necessarily what they appear to be. What meets the eye is just the surface of what is, and our journey as human beings involves an eventual unveiling of the teachings that are hidden all around us.
The Mind and the Heart
Illusions are the nature of the world, and the mind tends to accept things for they seem to be on the surface. The rational mind is a brilliant resource that is part of our medicine as human beings, but is just one of our powers. We need to guard against it taking sole charge as it is predisposed to create a maze of random thoughts in which we are easily lost. To see through illusions we must access other faculties, because the mind always seeks to categorize, to name, and to decide that its knowledge is definitive. In this, the mind can be deceptive. It is the heart that helps us look into the Magical Mirror and to understand its teachings. The mind speculates, the heart knows.
In the center of every human being is the heart – the seat of our Sacred Self. This is where we ultimately go to find answers and to make choices in our lives. Your Sacred Self is your ultimate authority. It is the central part, a divine spark, within every one of us. This place needs always to be respected and remembered. If we give away our power to others we do not hone who we truly are or follow our own path. We are all born to learn and to make our own choices as we walk the path of life. To be real, choices need to come from free will. It is essential that we honor our free will if we want to be true to ourselves.
Choice is one of the medicines of the human being. Animals also have choice, but not to the extent that we do. Most animals mate only at certain times of the year, they usually respond to danger with either fight or flight, they live in specific habitats, and eat a certain variety of food. Our multitude of choices sets us apart, but is accompanied by responsibility. Each choice we make has a consequence for which we are responsible.
Every one of us can make the choice to walk a path of self-respect and self-authority. This is our right as human beings.
We are spirits born into substance to learn and grow; we all emerge from the same source and ultimately return there. Separation is an illusion, but it is persistent and convincing one that feeds directly into the nature of the mind and how it interprets reality. This is one of the reasons why animal spirits have so much to offer us and teach us. They are not caught in the illusions of the mind, and they do not have big egos. They perceive from a deep inner place of knowing, from the center of who they are – from the heart. They can show us how to find that place within ourselves. When we arrive there, we become genuine.
The Power Animal
In essence, an animal spirit guide, or power animal, is a guardian spirit. However, as well as being our protector, it has several other roles. As the name implies, a power animal helps us find our inner strength, which comes from knowing who we are and being “centered.”
A power animal helps you to walk a strong path where you manifest your true self and are of good service to others during your life. Power animals warn us of danger, protect us from it, and awaken sleeping powers within us.
To understand your power animal you first need to identify it. We have a wide range of methods to do this. Many native people traditionally went out on a three or four-day vision quest to spend time alone in nature, fasting and praying for the animal to reveal itself.
Finding your power spirit animal using various dreaming methods is another time-tested technique, very powerful because it makes direct contact with the animal spirit. The drum journey is another effective method.
For more on connecting with your power animal, on dreaming and drumming and insights on some common power animals, but the book, Animal Spirit Guidesby Chris Luttichau