What are Power Animals and what can they tell us?
I find it fascinating to watch how particular animals suddenly start appearing everywhere in mainstream consumption at a particular time – by everywhere I mean on clothing, cushions, homewares, stationery and so on.
So what makes a certain animal, a power animal, “come into fashion”, as it were, and why does it suddenly become so widely and wildly appealing?
I believe that when the global attention or energy is focused on a particular animal, there’s a much deeper energy at play and that particular energy or medicine is taken up subconsciously by the masses who are attracted to it.
Put quite simply, animals bring messages and medicine to you in different ways. They turn up in your waking or dream life as powerful allies – power animals – helpers, messengers, teachers, healers. Often power animals may appear in confronting or frightening ways, and sometimes they hold up a very interesting (but uncomfortable) mirror to your waking actions and attitudes. But if you turn to face them head on, instead of running from them, and consciously ask what they are here to show you, there is powerful wisdom and medicine to be received from them.
A story in Greek folklore tells that the sender of dreams is also the mother of animals. It is said that she sends dream messages by sewing them up in the fur or skin or an animal or the plumage of a bird or the scales of a fish. She then sends it to the sleeper and if the sleeper fails to get the message, she may take the dream message out of the costume of one animal or bird and sew it up in another, and send it again.
From a shamanic and indigenous point of view, power animals are not merely symbols, but they are actually powerful energetic beings, living energies which need to be recognised and worked with in life. Often an animal will literally hunt you – it will turn up in dreams and/or waking life, and it will continue to turn up until you hear/see/feel its message.
Several years ago, I dreamed I was in a small supermarket and as I walked along one of the aisles I noticed a large black bear following me. Terrified, I started grabbing cans off shelves and throwing them at it to make it go away.
A few months later, after I signed up for my first intense dream course with my wonderful teacher Robert Moss, I discovered that many, if not all, of his students, will start having encounters with bear energy around the time they start working with him.
Bear is one of his power animals, and he has many wonderful stories about the protection and healing they bring, and since diving deeply into this work with him and the dreaming, the bear has become a regular visitor in my dreaming as well.
I realised in hindsight that the bear in the supermarket was not threatening at all, it was merely coming to say hello and introduce itself. So whilst I still wouldn’t feel so great about coming upon on bear in the wild, whenever one appears in my dreaming I welcome her like an old friend and receive the message with gratitude.
I have many other fascinating animal stories, and I’m sure if you start paying attention, you will find that you do as well.
One thing to look at when an animal appears to you is how its behaviour and condition might reflect what is going on in your own body or life – the state of your energy or a situation currently at play. Consider how the animal may be giving you a message or showing you a better pathway for your energy or a course of action.
Consider also that this may actually be an invitation to connect with the spirit animal or the power animal on a deeper level, so that you can work with its energy in an ongoing way.
If you have any animal dreaming stories or encounters that have had a profound effect on you, or questions about these encounters, send them through.