Wednesday, February 6, 2008

February Shamanism Column



After being downloaded with so much information during the 1-1-1 stargates of January, February offers us some respite and opportunity for integration and personal path work.


For February, students of astrology in the United States do not have a particular power animal associated with the sign of Aquarius, or the Water Bearer. As we have just been downloaded with so much information and are now in the month of the one who teaches us about flow, it is a perfect opportunity to discuss finding our own individual power animals. Since Aquarians are concerned with universal consciousness, let us look at how to use our own power animal’s strengths for the global good.

A power animal is a helping spirit that aids a shaman and acts similar to a guardian angel. It is thought that everyone is born with one or more power animals. Each power animal that you have will increase your resistance to illness and negative energy. The spirit will also give you its knowledge or wisdom in accordance with its special attributes.

It is appropriate to give thanks and honor to your power animals as they have come of their own free will to spend their time and energy assisting and protecting you. Domestic animals are rarely power animals as they are already in service to mankind; it is more likely to have a wild animal as a power animal. Each animal, whether mammal, reptile, insect, or avian, offers unique and special gifts – there is no superior power animal – and a shaman who has a fly for a power animal may be as gifted as one who has a tiger if he or she uses the gifts appropriately.

There are many ways to determine your own power animal, but it is important to pay attention to your own senses and observations. You may ask for your power animal to appear to you in a dream or meditation. You may notice always seeing a certain type of animal when you are walking in nature. Or you may notice the repeated mention of a certain animal on the radio, television, and in reading material. When you have identified an animal that seems to be trying to communicate with you, go into meditation and call upon the spirit of that animal. Ask if he is trying to connect with you. If you have difficulty, you may wish to consult with a shamanic practitioner, but most people are able to identify their own power animal by listening to and trusting their intuition.

Once you have identified your power animal, learn to communicate with him. Find a particular means of honoring your animal spirit guide. Some people prefer to keep the identity of their power animal to themselves in order to protect their spirit and their own source of power.
If you wish to learn more about a particular animal guide, the book Animal Speak by Ted Andrews is a good source of information.

Once you know your power animal, learn to use your strengths offered by your spirit guide in a means of service to your community. Gifts of your power animal should never be used to harm another or to serve vain or selfish purposes.

Guides for February:
The Native American power animal for the month of February is the Otter. Otter’s guidance is to help you to find the courage to act on your inner knowing. Use the gifts of Otter to turn visions into practical realities through struggle and even adversity. Otters are comfortable in the water, whether river or sea, and those with this spirit guide would be comfortable living near water. Otters are playful, curious and trusting. When otter appears for you, it is time to let go of worry and pain and enjoy the flow of life.

The Mayan calendar brings us the energy of Falcon at this time of year. A sacred animal to the Mayans, it was considered that a person born with a Falcon power animal spirit enjoyed exceptionally good luck all of his or her life. Its character is strong and its sense of duty and responsibility are beyond all doubt, with the result that they worry too much about others. They have been born to lead and they hate to be given orders. Falcon too knows how to take advantage of flow to conserve energy on the air currents, making his flight less detectable. They also represent the power of insight and how to attack opportunities in life. Timing is everything for the falcon. Is it time to take chances? Is it time to conserve? Follow the falcon to see with mental and spiritual clarity.

Chinese New Year – Rat year 2008

On February 7, we will encounter a new power animal in the rat on Chinese new year. The Chinese interpretation for those born in Rat years describes people having characteristics of leaders, and of having great charm and charisma. In January, I dismissed the Shamanic interpretation of Rat, and I should have known better. The shamanic meaning is particularly important for us given the current financial situations going on in the world.

Rat carries much symbolism of hoarding, i.e. pack rat, but also of being resourceful and able to survive. While we may be heading into a period of economic uncertainty, know that the Rat teaches us his gifts of being able to change our dependencies to continue to thrive in new or different conditions. Rat learns to use whatever he encounters in plenty to survive for a new season. Rat’s survival is driven by his fear though, fear of never having enough, which leads to overconsumption and waste.

This year will be a year of great learning through those born under Rat of how to overcome our wasteful ways and fear based emotions to learn to survive in a changed world.

While February may be volatile, use the gifts of flow granted by the Otter, Falcon, and even the water bearer, and the gift of right timing of the Falcon, and take the lessons of Rat to overcome wasteful and fear-based attitudes, live in harmony with surroundings, and survive in a simpler world.


To overcome my own dislike of the Rat and learn to live in peace with him for the coming year, I asked Rat to be my spirit guide for this month’s journey. As discussed in last month’s column, I chose one of the new rocks that a friend brought to me, this one from Thailand, to assist me in the journey. The first thing I noticed was the smell of the rock, and everything in rat’s world did have a smell. Rat’s world is very sensual: cold, rough, smooth, sharp, dank, sweet.

Rat then led me through a tunnel, under brush, up a pole, and out onto a wire. Rat is very skillful in traversing a variety of terrains.

Out on the wire, rat turned and asked me what would happen if I let go, and I said of course I’d fall and get hurt. Rat said maybe, but maybe I’d catch onto a tree branch below and hang on; maybe I’d land on something soft and it wouldn’t hurt at all; maybe I’d land in a river and float to another place; maybe I’d grow wings and fly.

Rat then reminded me that he is not the pest; fear is the pest – fear that rat embodies and fear that he inspires in others. What would happen if we let go of the fear?

Thank you Rat for your energy in the coming year.


Valentine’s Day offers us a perfect reminder of the power of love. The whole world needs our love, each person, animal, plant, and the Mother herself. This year, instead of, or perhaps in addition to, making your Valentine’s practice centered on your romantic interest, consider finding someone or something in need of love and sharing your gift. The elderly, children in need, a local animal shelter, even a deteriorated park or lot would benefit from your gift. Make sure to center yourself and not give away so much that you lose yourself in the process. But offer as much as you can, and your gifts will return to you magnified.

If you cannot reach out in that manner, meditate on love for the world, love for all of the Mother’s inhabitants, love for the water and all creatures who depend on the water. There is a wonderful scene in the movie “What the Bleep Do We Know” where an artist takes pictures of the molecular structure of bottled water that has been subjected to different thoughts. Water that has been the focus of “I hate you” is scattered and disorganized, while water that has received “Love” organizes itself into a symmetrical lace-like structure. Remember that on Planet Earth we are all composed of water, and focus your meditation on sending love energy to the water in this month of the Water Bearer.

Dreaming for the world to come