Personal Visions, Animal Teachers, Dreams, Spiritual Warrior, Wise Woman
What a difference a week, or even a day can make in our experience. I’m sitting at my desk, looking out the window at sunny skies. Over the last few days, I took time for a personal retreat to sit in silence and reflection.
I had a deeply personal experience that started on the New Moon and continued for three days.
It involved visions within my dream state each night, where I was visited by different animals who attacked or bit me. These were not cuddly, friendly dreams. I woke up in a cold sweat after each visitation, touching parts of my body to see if I really had marks or if it was only in my dream.
In Shamanic culture, we understand that animals are just one of many forces that can come to us with messages about our path. Sometimes they cross our paths in real, physical life. Sometimes they come in a vision or sacred ritual. I can’t speak for others, but in my personal experience, often these animal initiations are quite frightening. I mentioned in the group chat that I hosted last week about the summer I kept waking up at night with bats circling my head - not very relaxing!
Animals are akin to archetypal teachers. Each animal has a specific set of skills they are masters of, and they show up in our lives to highlight an area of learning we are called to take on. For example, wolves have an incredible capacity for self reliance, endurance paired with a piercing intelligence. A visit from a wolf may indicate you have the capacity to grow in any of these areas, or to simply pay more attention to these attributes in your own life.
When animal initiations (or any for that matter) occur, they can be striking. It can feel as though the carpet has been ripped out from your feet. They also take time to digest and integrate. Sometimes months or even years.
I have never before been visited by three animals in succession before. It was a “knock my socks off” kind of experience and it was deeply, deeply uncomfortable. My body and psyche had things to communicate to me that the animal messengers made it impossible to ignore one second longer.
I am very grateful for the messages I received. Yet, my desire was to immediately try to “understand and resolve” the messages and challenges presented by this initiation. Many of us, when we feel discomfort, like to pull up other types of archetypes that live in our psyche such as ‘perfectionist’, ‘judge’, ‘bully’ (we bully ourselves like no one else ever can!), ‘addict’ and countless others that activate and keep us out of our bodies and stuck in our mind loops. I’m no different, and my inner ‘investigator’ and ‘perfectionist’ kicked up a real fuss...wanting to understand and integrate immediately so as to escape my extreme discomfort.
Thankfully, I picked up the phone and checked in with Wise Women in my inner circle, who reminded me to stick with it, allow and respect my discomfort and let my body and spirit continue to guide me instead opting for my personal version of checking out.
This is not easy to do, and it was not lost on me that right now, this is precisely what is being demanded of we humans. We are being faced with a global karmic crisis. Not the Karma of judgment, which I don’t ascribe to, but simply cause and effect. In other words, how the choices we make weave the creation of our reality. In addition to this, our own personal Karma has cornered us. When we are forced to sit quietly in our homes for weeks on end with nowhere left to hide, the weight of our personal choices can hit us like a ton of bricks.
I personally find this intensely interesting and a rare opportunity. I know that many of us are overwhelmed with what is happening in the world and at the same time acutely aware of what is not ‘working’ in our own lives. It is so incredibly uncomfortable. The temptation can be to binge watch movies, food and negative press; to numb ourselves to this trauma we are all living through in real time and invest in one hell of a spiritual bypass.
If you need to spend some time numbing, go ahead. I did. I watched a lot of movies while eating a few bags of delicious popcorn this past month! But I also encourage you to resist the temptation to make this your new normal and to meet your own personal initiation head on.
If not now, when?
“The gift of taking the warrior’s journey is that we no longer fear death or separation or aloneness and we realize that nothing in the universe is outside of us. We emerge from the seven paths in wholeness, and we continue to walk through our physical lives as fully awakened human beings. We come to understand the circular nature of life, transformation, death and rebirth within the spiral that is eternally unfolding”
- Jamie Sams, Dancing the Dream: The Seven Sacred Paths of Initiation
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