Tuesday 14 April 2009

Review: Animal Spirit Guides

Animals can inspire us, provide companionship, help us in our chores or simply be fascinating to watch. And, as shaman from ancient times have known, they can also teach valuable lessons and guide us on our spiritual paths.

A new book by Chris Lüttichau, Animal Spirit Guides: How to Discover Your Power Animal and the Shamanic Path, explains how anyone can find their power animal through dreams and drum journeys. These are traditional rituals of the shaman.

I must admit I had always assumed any shamanic techniques would be tough ordeals - probably involving fasting, endurance, physical pain or taking lots of drugs. Well, it seems they don't have to be.

The first chapter of Animal Spirit Guides explains simple methods of dream induction, allowing you to invite your power animal into your dreams, and recall them afterwards. The second method is a drum journey, which can be done by creating a safe place, concentrating on the rhythm of shamanic drums and then embarking on a visualisation.

The book also explains how to interpret signs from animals. Spirit guides, which can be a different creature from one's personal power animal, might be seen in dreams, visualisations or in the real world, and can bring valuable messages about how to deal with a problem or make a decision.

Each animal has its own traits - from the ant, which teaches community, duty and co-operation, to the whale, which has ancient knowledge. Chris Lüttichau describes more than 60 different creatures and writes about his own personal experiences of encountering them in real life or in visions. These passages give an insight into how the shaman can learn from animals as well as describing each creatures own "medicine" - qualities and teachings.

One of the things I like most about Animal Spirit Guides, however, is that Chris Lüttichau constantly stresses that we can all make our own choices in life. Discovering our power animal and working with it can help us learn more about ourselves, but we are still humans. The animal spirits are there to guide us - not to control us.

I was once at a pagan camp where one of the participants behaved obnoxiously and the organisers asked him to leave. He grumbled that it wasn't fair, because his power animal was responsible for what he had done. It was pointed out that he was still a human being, and responsible for his own actions. If he chose to behave in an anti-social manner, he could only expect that people would choose to exclude him from society.

Animal Spirit Guides is a book that offers guidance to get the balance right between the wild and civilised halves of our natures.

Animal Spirit Guides: How to Discover Your Power Animal and the Shamanic Path, by Chris Luttichau, is published by Cico Books. It is available for £12.99 in hardback.

Animal Spirit Guides: How to Discover Your Power Animal and the Shamanic Path

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

just noe that where there is good, there is bad.
watch out for evil