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Calling the Beasts/Dancing My Animal

I'm still working through The Way of the Shaman. This is not a Journey post per se, so it's not on my shamanism filter, but let me know if you'd like to be added for further journey write-ups.

I've skipped the 'ask a rock' exercise for now, though I'll have to try it at some point. But today, the husband took the kiddos shopping with him, so I had the house to myself. It wasn't a dimly-lit room, but I'm pretty decent with getting in a meditative state, so I decided to try dancing my power animal. The exercise in the book says that it could be any power animal you've had before, so I went into it not tied to the idea of dancing my Wolf. I was curious as to what might come up.

This is not an activity I do often, though Harner suggests doing it weekly. I 'run my Wolf' when I do my journeys, which is something he loves to do with me, but I never actually physically do this in real life. I have an awesome rattle made by my friend & previous journey-buddy, lessthan90sheep, so I used this for the dance.

I started out lightly dance-jogging to the rattle, waiting to see which animal would come to me. Once again, it was Bear! In my last Journey, my Wolf totem morphed into a bear while I morphed into a deer (buck/stag). Josh has also been dreaming of polar bears specifically since then. So we've been checking out the symbolism of Bear quite often lately.

I'm not sure if Bear is so present lately because I've rededicated myself to my spiritual practice (and he has a lot of symbolism with awakening the un/subconscious powers), if it's because I've had to go 'Momma Bear' about certain things in my life lately, or maybe some combination of both – or something that hasn't even occurred to me. It was nice to have this warm, heavy, solid presence engulf me. I haven't done a lot of work with Bear, so I quite like getting so close & personal with him (her?). Besides the un/subconscious thing, I got a real sense of sturdiness and protection with Bear.

Looking at my Animal Speak book, with its 'dictionary of animal totems', here are some things that jump out/resonate as I read:

Keynote: Awakening the Power of the Unconscious
Cycle of Power: Spring & Summer


  • Stories abound of individuals turned into bears, bears into humans, and bears as gods.


  • The bear has lunar symbology as well, giving it ties to the subconscious and unconscious mind.


  • For many, the bear and the wolf are the last true symbols of the primal, natural world...


  • [Teaches] how to go within to find the resources necessary for survival.


  • If bear has shown up in your life, ask yourself some important questions. Is your judgment off? How about those around you? Are you not recognizing what is beneficial in your life? Are you not seeing the core of good deep within all situations? Are you being too critical of yourself or others? Are you wearing rose-colored glasses? Bear medicine can teach you to go deep within so that you can make your choices and decisions from a position of power.


  • [Tied to trees – represents knowledge; links Heaven & Earth; symbol of fertility. Make our marks on it.]


  • Important not to hide away & try to hibernate year-round.




A lot of this really applies to some of the things I've been doing. We've been working at the respect issues around the house, and I'm trying hard not to be critical of others. I've been overwhelmed a lot lately and have taken to hibernating, but it's often at the expense of summer activities that need to be done. I've been going within and really listening to what both my body & spirit needs right now. I just need to work more on bringing it out.

It was a very interesting experience, and I think that doing the write-up/musing over it has possibly helped even more than the dancing itself. I'll definitely make regular time to try this and see how it proceeds.