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Power animals have long been an important element of Shamanism, an ancient healing religion. Following the faith’s basic principle that everything is alive and carries a distinct amount of wisdom and power with it wherever it goes, animals play an essential role in a Shaman’s life. The animals are truly believed to be a help and healer to anyone who seeks them out, and are considered to be a major path toward spiritual and emotional success.

Shamanism teaches the belief that everyone has power animals (otherwise known as animal spirits) which live in the soul of each individual, protecting them from harm and illness. This belief is very similar to the guardian angel concept found in many Christian faiths. Power animals are thought to keep negative things away while also bestowing various kinds of knowledge and strength.

Shaman children are believed to have a few power animals with them from birth. Throughout their life, they will have several animals come and go. If power animals leave a soul without being replaced by another, that person will then be open to all sorts of misfortune in life.

Any animal can be considered a power animal, though domesticated creatures are usually left out of the equation since they are already considered to be helping humankind through companionship and other forms of basic service.

Nearly all shamanic cultures believe in Animal Allies or helpers. These creatures have the appearance and many of the characteristics and behaviour patterns of ordinary animals, birds, and fish, but they can communicate with the shaman. Sometimes these animals become protectors and guides for the shaman, both while she/he is journeying in the Otherworlds and in the physical realm.

The Celts believed in individual Animal Allies or helpers, as shown by their legends, but they also had clan animals. Many of the Celtic clan names reflected this. Among the Native Americans these would be called totem animals. The Celtic clans had banners on which were displayed the picture or symbol of their clan animal, as with the banners of the Fianna. Individual devices were painted on shields and sometimes tattooed on the body. This may well be the origin of the heraldic devices that became so popular in later times.

Clan animals, like the individual Animal Allies, choose you; you do not choose them. The ancient shamanic way of finding an Animal Ally was to go on a journey to the Otherworld. There, the shaman watched it carefully; when she/he saw an animal, bird, fish, or other creature three or more times during the journey, the shaman knew she/he had been accepted by that creature. Although a shaman usually has one very important Animal Ally who is a close companion and protector during journeying, it is common to have several others who help with certain kinds of problems.The animal may appear because the shaman needs help with a particular personal problem or trait, an immediate shamanic problem, or some event that will occur in the future. Animal Allies come and go, sometimes without explanation.

Getting To Know Power Animals

Since the world places so many physical and emotional demands upon us over the course of a life, Shamanism has come up with a wide variety of power animals. It helps to get to know a handful of these creatures if you are hoping to learn more about Shamanism.

The jaguar is a power animal that represents fearlessness. The wisdom of this endangered cat species includes the ability to overcome fears of darkness, losing one’s way and moving to a new and unfamiliar place. The jaguar is also known within Shamanism for being a shape-shifter and exhibiting psychic abilities. You may hear the jaguar referred to as the “earth father.” Much like how the lion is the “king of the jungle” in many childhood tales, the jaguar is considered to be supervisor of the earth and ruler over all who live in it.

Jaguar's Wisdom Includes:

Seeing the roads within chaos
Understanding the patterns of chaos
Moving without fear in the darkness
Facilitating soul work
Empowering oneself
Moving in unknown places
Shapeshifter
Psychic sight

Black Jaguar's Wisdom Includes :

Keeper of the circular time continuum
Gatekeeper to the Unknowable
All wisdom listed above for Jaguar

Black Jaguar

The orca, or killer whale, is known for being a “creator of the cosmos.” In Shamanism, whales represent the mechanics of earth’s functionality. In Shamanist myth, whales are able to control rainfall; create stars and planets; and heal the human body with its vocal vibrations. In Shamanism, orcas have long been regarded as guardians of the ocean and protectors of humankind.

Orca's Wisdom Includes:

Creator of the Cosmos
Having the ability to convert raw matter into stars, planets, etc.
Freeing the soul from the physical body
Controlling rainfall on Earth
Using the vibrational energy of song to heal
Assisting humans in finding their soul's song
Soul memory
Seeing the unseen
Teaching the ability to seal soul fissures and energy leaks

Orca Pod

The crow may seem an unlikely power animal candidate. However, the crow is regarded in Shamanist faith as a creature that transports souls out of the dark and into the light. He is also known as a “judge” of sorts, representing all things ethical and fair.

Crow/Rook's Wisdom Includes:

Guardian of the place before existence
Ability to move in space and time
Honoring ancestors
Carrier of souls from darkness into light
Working without fear in darkness
Guidance while working in shadow
Moves freely in the void
Understands all things related to ethics
Shapeshifter

Cawing Crow

MEDICINE CROW

Medicine Crow

Polar bears stand for introspection and solitude. This animal is a peaceful representative of the world’s life and death cycle. Shamans recognize polar bears to be a powerful interpreter of dreams; these bears also possess strength during adversity and a harsh spirit of revenge when unfairly challenged.
While all power animals have unique traits useful for various stages of life, there are two animals especially notable within Shamanism for their unique guidance and capabilities.

Polar Bear's Wisdom Includes:

Ability to navigate along the Earth’s magnetic lines
Introspection
Solitude
Expert swimmer through emotional waters
Finding one way back from the brink
Ability to find sustenance in barren landscapes
Strength in the face of adversity
Communication with Spirit
Dreams
Death and rebirth
Transformation
Creature of dreams, shamans, mystics and visionaries
Defense and revenge

Polar Bear

The horse is noted for its endurance and adventurous spirit – two qualities most human beings desire throughout their life. Horses have represented strength and freedom more consistently throughout written history than any other animal. This totem animal showed up in fantasy fables and ancient folklore long before the advent of Shamanism. Power animal scholars appreciate the horse for its unbreakable spirit, and many Shamans seek out the horse’s ability to remain loyal while taking on great adventures. The significance of the horse power animal becomes more apparent to a Shaman in times of travel, relocation, uncertainty and changing relationships.

Horse/Pony/Mustang's Wisdom Includes:

Power
Stamina
Endurance
Faithfulness
Freedom to run free
Control of the environment
Awareness of power achieved with true cooperation
Interspecies communication
Expanding one’s own potential abilities
Friendship and Cooperation
Travel
Astral travel
Guardian of travelers
Warns of possible danger
Guide to overcoming obstacles

Stallion

Sharing popularity with the horse totem, the owl power animal is also sought out by Shamans. Owls inspire awe in all who see them and, though they are peaceful and graceful creatures, they can fiercely defend themselves when the need arises. Owls also know how to accurately follow their instincts, a trait many people wish to acquire. For this reason, the owl totem is associated with character discernment; quick yet correct decision making skills; and the ability to make the transition from darkness into light.

Owl

Owl's Wisdom Includes:

Stealth
Secrecy
Silent and swift movement
Seeing behind masks
Keen sight
Messenger of secrets and omens
Shape-shifting
Link between the dark, unseen world and the world of light
Comfort with shadow self
Moon magick
Freedom

Owl 2

How to Find Your Power Animal

The healing power of animals is apparent to anyone who has ever had a special pet or watched a touching nature film. However, in Shamanism, your discernment is challenged to go a few steps further as you learn how to find your power animal. No matter what your belief system is, it can be fun to explore the different animal options to discover which one you might be associated with.

Since Shamanism teaches that an individual only has a handful of power animals throughout a lifetime, power animals do not change very often; these animals can then be recognized by whoever wants to get to know them. When it comes to knowing how to find your power animal, Shamans maintain that each animal comes into our lives for a specific purpose. In order for the animal to help us, we must contemplate what purposes a specific animal may fulfill in our lives.

Finding your power animal begins with thinking about a certain creature. Some Shamans find when they meditate upon a certain animal, they feel positive emotions such as comfort or happiness. They then may also make a list of every animal that comes into their head and patiently allow this process to take as long as it needs to – possibly even over the course of several weeks.

After a completed list is formed, they once again pick a handful and meditate on them. They may ask the animals to join them in this meditation, so there is ample time to communicate with each one individually. There is also a certain etiquette involved with talking to power animals, namely remembering to thank them for their time before you say goodbye to each one during your meditation.

Despite all this, Shamanism teaches that power animals actually select you, meaning you can’t pick a bear simply because you like bears. Power animals are not limited to actual, existing species; some mythical creatures can be power animals as well.

More Animals

Wolf, Lynx, Coyote and Rabbit/Hare

Heron, Owl, Cheetah, Lion and Hummingbird

Polar Bear, Tiger, Frog/Tadpole, Lizard and Mole

Deer/Hart, Goose, Butterfly/Caterpillar, Duck,
Alligator/Crocodile and Mantis

Otter, Fox, Swan and Bat

Dolphin/Porpoise, Porcupine, Elephant and Eagle

Horse/Pony/Mustang, Willie Wagtail, Squirrel, Badger, Giraffe

Hawk, Dingo, Pelican and Vulture/Buzzard/Condor

Caribou/Reindeer, Sea Eagle, Hippopotamus and Sheep/Ram/Ewe

Buffalo/Bison, Spider, Opossum and Raccoon

Snake/Serpent, Goat, Damselfly/Dragonfly and Skunk

Turtle/Tortoise, Weasel/Ferret/Mink, Armadillo and Beaver

Zebra, Penguin, Moose, Woodpecker/Sapsucker and Turkey

Llama/Guanaco/Vicuna, Koala, Peacock/Peahen and Rhinoceros

Seal, Antelope, Snow Leopard and Gull

Leopard, Bee, Hyena and Cardinal/Redbird

Black Panther, Baboon, Hedgehog and Jay

Camel/Dromedary, Falcon, Lemur and Grouse

Jackal, Goldfinch, Flamingo and Dove/Pigeon

Mouse/Lemming/Vole, Cow/Bull, Roadrunner and Chickadee

Octopus/Squid, Pig/Sow/Boar, Ant and Wasp/Hornet/Yellow Jacket

Crab, Chicken/Cock/Hen, Warthog and Beetle/Ladybug

Raven, Sloth, Gorilla and Donkey/Ass/Burro

Orangutan, Kangaroo, Panda and Roach

Elk, Manatee/Dugong, Parrot/Macaw and Ostrich

Wolverine, Bluebird and Monkey

Osprey, Cobra, Manta Ray and Grasshopper/Locust/Katydid

Golden Eagle, Meerkat/Suricate, Shark and Robin

Bear, Jellyfish, Anteater and Sparrow

Chameleon, Quail, Walrus and Scorpion

Salmon, Ibis and Rat

Whale, Crane, Wren, Mongoose and Toad

Dog, Cat, Echidna and Kingfisher/Kookaburra

Bobcat, Tarantula, Seahorse and Meadowlark

Wildebeest, Loon/Great Northern Diver, Hornbill and Platypus

Egret, Blackbird, Tasmanian Devil and Oyster

Musk Ox, Flying Fish, Snail/Slug and Finch

Kiwi, Woodchuck/Marmot/Ground Hog, Peccary/Javalina and Piranha

Sea Slug, Mosquito, Red Panda and Mockingbird

Wild Dog, Albatross, Moth, Starling/Mynah

Bee Eater, Bacteria/Protozoa, Hoopoe, Fly/Maggot/Gnat

Eel, Centipede, Nuthatch, Kinkajou

Kite, Titmouse, Swallow and Cricket

Prairie Dog, Thrush, Magpie and Bush Baby

Wombat, Pheasant, Salamander and Worm

Lobster/Crayfish, Chimpanzee, Canary and Stork

Cockatoo/Galah, Virus, Anemone and Junco

Firefly, Anhinga/Cormorant, Goldfish/Koi and Toucan

Parakeet, Muskrat, Dhole/Asian Whistling Dog and Fish

Ocelot, Coral, Nightingale and Tick

Partridge, Shrimp/Krill/Prawn, Stinkbug and Fantail

Oriole, Cuckoo, Chipmunk and Komodo Dragon

Barracuda, Waxwing, Guinea Pig/Hampster and Snipe

Leafy Seadragon, Tapir, Civet and Cassowary

Clouded Leopard, Bass, Carp and Flea

Caracal/Desert Lynx/Red Lynx, Nighthawk, Waxbill and Cuttlefish

Aye-Aye, Puffin, Whydah/Widow Bird and Conch

Resplendent Quetzal, Lungfish and Clam/Mussel

Mandrill, Termite, Sandpiper/Peep and Sand Dollar

Binturong/Bearcat, Leech, Fruit Fly,
Shrike/Butcher Bird and Gallinule/Moorhen/'Alae 'Ula'

Gazelle, Flycatcher, Emu and Horseshoe Crab

Warbler, Booby, Mayfly/Shadfly and Secretary Bird

Clown Fish/Anemone Fish, Minnow, Pine Siskin
and Beta/Betta/Siamese Fighting Fish

Angelfish, Lionfish, Grackle and Marlin/Kajiki

Serval, Lorikeet, Frigatebird and Perch

Sea Turtle, Flicker, Hermit Crab and Kingbird

Pufferfish/Blowfish/Porcupine Fish, Caracara, Spoonbill and Starfish

Anole, Kudu/Nyala/Eland, Golden Lion Tamarin and Sponge

Walking Stick, Vervet Monkey, Rhinoceros Beetle and Dung Beetle

Oryx/Gemsbok, Sea Snake, Nautilus and Patas Monkey

Springbok, Soft-shell Turtle, Sea Fan and Waterbuck