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  1. #41
    Senior Member Scott N Denver's Avatar
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    So far it sounds like Amargith and myself, and maybe Kingfisher, are the only ones to give "yes" answers as such to this post. I'll bet there are more who haven't seen this post yet or are just keeping it to themselves. Given the topic that's not surprising. Hee hee, maybe I should go to me engineering job on Monday and tell people that "animal spirits 'talk' to me", between technically-minded folks, naturally suspicious of everything people, conservative people, and traditionally-religiously-minded people, I bet that would go over REAL well. NOT! Anyways,...

    Amargith, I liked your talking about the differences between animal spirit guides, power animals, and totems. I've never really understood the difference there. Did you get that from somewhere, or alternatively is there someplace I could go look to read more of a discussion about those differences?

    Fwiw, I like Native American shamanism and can relate a little bit to its symbology,. but don't feel "connected" to it as a whole, sorts like looking at a different culture that's kinda-similar to yours but not your culture. On the other hand, I strongly identify with the "feel" and "experience" of celtic shamanism but feel little or no connection to its deities and mythology per se. I tend to like Carl Jungs ideas [collective unconscious, archetypes, symbolical interpretation of images, etc].

    Amargith, maybe you've mentioned this before so I apologize if I'm repeating covered ground. Is there a particular religious style(s) or culture that you come from or identify with? I think you mentioned Norse [asatru?] earlier in this thread. Is there a particular deity set that you identify with?

  2. #42
    Senior Member Scott N Denver's Avatar
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    Amargith, or Kingfisher, this may be expanding beyond the point of this thread but perhaps you could talk a little bit about other types of spirits/guides as well?

    I've had friends who were more into this and told me more about it, but this whole topic area is not, ummm, something that I place direct emphasis on. I remember things like healing guide, joy guide, science/medicine guide or something?, I'm sure the list can get very long.

  3. #43
    full of love Kingfisher's Avatar
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    by the way, i am talking about spirit and animal guides in a native american context, becaue that is what i am familiar with, but animal guides are really a cross cultural thing. i mean, everybody responds in some way to animals. spirit and animal guides are just a way of understanding our self and our world by being connected to animals. by learning from animals' wisdom, rather than thinking the answers to everything are entirely human.

    Quote Originally Posted by Fluffywolf View Post
    Fair enough!

    So really it's not about spirits or anything of that sort, but purely about inspiration and how we tap in to that source of inspiration.

    By the way, I'm sure you believe otherwise, I'm just forming an opinion myself. It doesn't strike me as supernatural.
    that's a good way to look at it. i don't think the idea of a literal "spirit" guide is going to work or appeal to everybody. but you can still take inspiration and lessons from animals without it being supernatural or especially spiritual.


    if you don't feel especially connected to any animals that doesn't mean you don't/can't have a spirit guide. spirit guides are not something that everyone gets at a young age, or finds naturally or easily. it sometimes take a long time for a spirit guide to reveal itself.

    the classic way of finding a spirit guide is a vision quest. the basic idea of a vision quest is to go into the wilderness and meditate, to look into your self and to look into your soul, to see and expose every part of your soul. it is essentially a meditation of very intense self-reflection. at some point during your meditation/introspection an animal may appear to you, or you may think about certain animals. a particular animal may stand out. that is an animal guide. it could be a spirit guide, a guide that stays with you for life and teaches you about your self. or it could be another kind of guide. Shadow Guides are somewhat similar to Shadows in the MBTI. they represent opposites, your weaknesses, parts of your self that are hidden to you. Shadow Guides are usually thought of as less comforting, more unsettling.

  4. #44
    full of love Kingfisher's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scott N Denver View Post
    Amargith, or Kingfisher, this may be expanding beyond the point of this thread but perhaps you could talk a little bit about other types of spirits/guides as well?
    sure. there are lots of different kind of guides. some of the main and important guides that i was taught about are the spirit guide, the shadow guide, the medicine guide (or just medicine), and the messenger guide. here is a kind of basic idea of them:


    spirit guides are essentially the "life partner" of animal guides. you establish a relationship with them over your life which changes and grows. it is really more of a friendship than anything else. the othr night i watched 'The Golden Compass' with Maya and her niece. the daemons in that movie are similar in a lot of ways to spirit guides. i haven't read the book, though.


    medicine guides are animal guides who teach you less about your self and more about certain wisdom. they are not as closely tied to you as an individual as spirit guides are. 'medicine' is a native american idea that certain knowledge, wisdom, and attributes are tied to animals, locations, nature, people.
    a classic example of animal "medicine" is the coyote, the "trickster". coyote's medicine is mischeif and chaos. the coyote as a medicine guide is eccentric, unpredictable, sometimes reckless, carefree. coyote medicine is self-centered, always thinking about yourself. but it is also optimistic, the coyote always believes that any situation can turn out good, or to his advantage.

    whereas the bear has very different medicine. while the coyote makes fast descions often with little or no forethought, the bear thinks long and hard and carefully before making any descions or taking action. bear medicine is tied to deep introspection, looking inside yourself and at your self.


    shadow guides i mentioned in my last post. they represent opposites, your weaknesses, parts of your self that are hidden to you. Shadow Guides are usually thought of as less comforting, more unsettling. shadow guides are about exploring the darker side of yourself, going into essentially uncharted and dangerous territory of your self, and being confronted with the dark aspects of your soul.
    haha, here is a pretty classic example of a shadow guide: in Star Wars when Yoda sends Luke into the tree and Luke confronts a 'vision' of Darth Vader, and kills him. that vision of Darth Vader is a classic Shadow Guide.


    messenger guides are guides who appear suddenly with the sole purpose of bringing you a message. they stay until you understand the message, and then dissapear. they are pretty ambiguous, they are not always bringing good messages. and you do not really connect with messngers in the same way. they usually remain somewhat distant from you. but they will present you a message in essentially any way. it might be very obvious or it might be very mysterious or it might be very disturbing.


    you can think of these in less spiritual terms too. when someone in your life brings you a message, good news or bad news or an opportunity, they are somewhat of a messenger guide. etc.

  5. #45
    The High Priestess Amargith's Avatar
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    King, you've got this pretty much covered I see

    From what I remember, totems are more protective spirit guides and will often also be passed on. They are often also for a group of people, such as a tribe, or a family, whereas spirit guides tend to be more individual. Power animals are pretty much archetypes you can learn from, and I think that those are mostly medicine guides as king mentionned before. The terminology gets messed up in the Pagan world as well, so don't sweat it too much.

    I know some stuff from native american culture as they are most prominently used as a source for any animal/shamanic paths. I myself am a tri-trad hedge witch though, if you wanna go throwing terminology around. It's a flashy title that pretty much means I look to my ancestral roots to make my way through my spiritual life. That means I work with Celtic, Germanic and Slavic elements. Most of my knowledge relates to the Germanic/Norse Lore though, as I haven't gotten around yet to the other two, except for the basics. I work with three Goddesses, one of each tradition, and 3 totems, again, one of each tradition. Unfortunately, I also have a Shadow Totem, which..well, I'm still working out on how that fits in there.

    I know about the shamanic practices of the Norse tradition, and the role of animal guides there, though it is very limited compaired to the Native American tradition. It is still very much part of it. The norse fylgia is basically your soul and presents itself as a member of the opposite sex, an animal or a geometric shape. It's part of who you are. Other animals are usually mostly found in shapeshifting practices and journeying though.

    I know that there is a lot of confusion around Celtic shamanism and the jury is still out on whether or not it's a modern thing or in fact part of the old tradition as so much of the Celtic Lore has been lost. Those that do practice Celtic Shamanism do use spirit guides and animal guides, and you might wanna take a look at John Matthews(?) for that, if memory serves.

    I have to admit that I'm not on the up and up of the Slavic tradition concerning this as this is still on my to-do list. But I have no doubt that they too have this element in their lore.
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  6. #46
    half mystic, half skeksis jenocyde's Avatar
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    Although this is incredibly interesting, do you actually believe all three traditions, or are you just paying homage to your ancestry. I mean to say, what if one tradition contradicts the other?

  7. #47
    The High Priestess Amargith's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jenocyde View Post
    Although this is incredibly interesting, do you actually believe all three traditions, or are you just paying homage to your ancestry. I mean to say, what if one tradition contradicts the other?
    Grin, treading lightly, I see. I appreciate it. The three traditions do have their own ways, own traditions, own practices. But they're also very much related as they were formed by cultures that were neighbours and often blood relatives. It *can* get confusing sometimes as to what to adhere to. But, all three traditions go back on almost the same basic structure. As I'm mixed blood, I honor all three. I admit, I'm somewhat eclectic in this and *feel* my way through it. This also means that for instance folkish asatruar ( traditionalists/purists of the norse tradition) would discredit me if they had the chance, as they consider any intermingling of cultures a slap in the face of the Norse gods, and I'd be branded a Fluffbunny (also known as a wannabe).

    Also kinda important to know is that there are different types of pagans. You have those that focus on the religious aspects..priests, if you will. Druids in the Celtic traditions, Gythia in the Norse tradition, you name it. Those purists I'm talking about, are mostly this kind. They rule at studying the lore and keeping track of the history. Sometimes they'll look into magical practices on the side. And there are those that leave the religious crap to figure out to those people, and focus more on the folklore and 'magical' part of the tradition...witches, if you will, also known as Vala/volva in the Norse tradition, and vedma in the Slavic tradition. I'm the latter. I don't really worship the gods nor am I employed in their service. I work with them to carve out my own path. That also means I'm more interested in the ancient practices in those three traditions such as rune knowledge, leechcraft (healing and herbology basically), shamanic trance, otherwordly/folkloric creatures, etc.


    *Feels really naked now* Never thought this would ever come up on this forum, and I'm still waiting for the other shoe to drop but so far I'm kinda enjoying it...
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  8. #48
    Senior Member Scott N Denver's Avatar
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    what is shapeshifting about? I've heard the term...

  9. #49
    The High Priestess Amargith's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scott N Denver View Post
    what is shapeshifting about? I've heard the term...
    Shapeshifting is taking the energy of an animal, a rock, a plant, a tree (but usually an animal), and making it your own. It involves visualization, and a lot of practice. Often it's also done during journeying. It means you transform yourself into an animal which has attributes that you find useful at this particular time. It's one step further than working with guides, basically.
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  10. #50
    Senior Member Scott N Denver's Avatar
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    I remember when I was doing shamanic journeying I'd have people and symbols and imagery and some of it would be Native American, and some of it would be celtic. Man, those celtic women that I saw, let's just say that I would potentially be willing to make babies with them... Note to self, find attractive spiritual, perhaps celtic, woman in real life and make babies with her, someday, down the road, not anytime soon...

    Does that [these spiritual presumably-celtic woman are hot] mean anything in particular? In something like journeying its not really clear how much to me is actual and how much is symbolic. I would imagine that as you get better things become more actual and less symbolic.

    And on the subject of finding someone to make babies with, do most people who practice nature/pagan religions find partners that do so as well, and if not how open are people usually to someone who practices something else, for example me and practicing eastern things?

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