START WORKING WITH YOUR SPIRIT ANIMALS TODAY

Whether it’s a beloved pet, a fluffy social media meme, or even a lowly housefly, animals are reaching out to you constantly to offer their assistance. Aria Mae shares how to work with your spirit animals and start receiving their medicine. Main Image: Mathilde Aubier

 

It’s the third raven you’ve seen this week. Or, your friend mentions otters just moments before you notice a billboard featuring their fuzzy faces …

Are these coincidences, or something more? Serendipitous events are actually the language of animal medicine. Animal totems can come to us in many ways—you simply need to open wide to receive the magic! It’s easy to forget that we, too, are part of the animal kingdom, and that out furry, scaly, and feathered friends are asking to communicate with us all the time!

If you have a specific animal that you feel wants to work with you, read more about how to work with your spirit animal here.

If you’re new to working with spirit animals, here are five ways to start working with their medicine right now  …

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1/Pay attention
You could have an animal dream, vision, shamanic journey, or an encounter in nature … but there are also reminders for us in magazine ads and funny videos posted on Facebook. Yes—spirit animals are responding to technology by being present in virtual spaces!

Notice what element(s) the species is associated with, what the archetypal characteristics of this animal are, both in our culture and in other societies, and what kinds of messages you receive when you tune in to this species. 

When you track your spirit animals moments, you will see the patterns and signs of species reaching out to you.

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2/Ask for Visions
Remember that you can ask your animal animals specific questions too. Seeking guidance for a big decision? Request their assistance!

While riding a bus on one of the most dangerous mountain passes in northern India, I asked my spirit animals for help. Immediately I had a funny vision—in my mind’s eye, I saw a tiger hopping around inside the bus, totally enjoying the harrowing adventure. It reminded me to let go in that moment and to enjoy the ride!

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3/Build Uncommon Altars
There are so many species we don’t think of as “power” animals, and yet they contain huge medicine for our lives—think insects, worms, or other creepy-crawlies, predators we don’t romanticize, like hyenas, and birds we love to hate like starlings and vultures.

Pick something that really bothers you about these creatures, and ask: what are these spirit animals messages for me? Create an altar with images of them, a love poem, and something to represent their favorite foods as an offering.

As you pass your altar daily, feel gratitude for the role this animal plays in their ecosystem, and remember your own importance in nature, too. 

 

Image: Sean Gadoury

4/Cast Spells, in Love
Writing poems is a beautiful way to draw boundaries with spirit animals while also honoring them. I use this often for so-called “pests” like mosquitoes and ticks when I’m out in the woods. If you live near the ocean, you could do this for sharks or jellyfish …

For example: Ticks I love you/But I don’t need you/Find your food another way/Leave me in peace on this glorious day!

The trick is to hold the poem spell in love, not fear. Be grateful for your ability to enter the spirit animals’ homes, as you practice holding boundaries.

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5/Own YOUR Animal Medicine
A beautiful thing about our relationship with other species is realizing we can give our own animal medicine back … We are spirit animals, too! 

What does your unique medicine look like? Do you want to donate your time to a farm sanctuary? Can you organize a fundraiser or give cash to a well-researched wildlife fund? Is it time to adopt a rabbit, rat, or donkey from a shelter?

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And most importantly, have fun with it! Let yourself be in awe of the inchworm that somehow landed on your sandwich. Smile and wink at the ducks in the pond at the park. Surrender to the beauty of the housefly before you open the window to let it outside.

Keep this attitude of joy at the forefront of your journey with animal guides, and you will receive more than you imagined possible … 

Aria Mae is an Ancestral Healer, Priestess, and Spiritual Heart Surgeon. She creates heart-awakening medicinal experiences through her Magical Monday private retreats, three-month AWAKEN program, and group gatherings. Using a medley of family constellation therapy, shadow work, sociology, animal communication, tantra, mindfulness and love, Aria helps others mend what may have been deemed “broken” by life’s trials – forever activating the vibrancy of their heart’s intuitive abilities. 

HOW TO WORK WITH YOUR SPIRIT ANIMAL: A TOTAL GUIDE

Tap into the wisdom of the animal kingdom by learning how to work with your spirit animal, says Wolf SisterArtwork: Erin Petson

 

A spirit animal is a reflection of you, and is there to remind you of your inherent wisdom. They represent archetypal energies, typical traits that are personified by a specific creature. Acting as our allies, teachers, guides and protectors, if a spirit animal is showing up in your life, it has a message for you and wants to work with you.

Think, what are this animal’s strengths and how does it act? This is the message for you.

To work with your spirit animal is to step into the power you need most in any moment. This can help you feel more grounded, give you the confidence for a job interview, make you feel more alluring for a hot date or give you the strength to ask for help when you need it. Above all, it can help you to feel more confident, proactive and supported.

:: WHO IS YOUR SPIRIT ANIMAL? ::

Spirit animals have an energy you will resonate with and feel drawn to, sometimes inexplicably. This doesn’t have to be specific to an animal either, it could also be a deity, super hero or even a celebrity! Yes, you could count Beyonce or Mary Magdalene as your “spirit animal.” There will be something familiar about your animal, and they’re there to teach and guide you in a direction that supports you.

Maybe you already have a strong affinity with a particular spirit animal, but if you don’t feel like have the connection yet here are some tips to help you to activate your connection.

A Vision Quest
In the morning, take some time to meditate and invoke your spirit animal to show itself. Create a presence of awareness throughout the day and look out for signs that could represent your animal. Your spirit animal is likely appear to you in a series of synchronicities, where you may literally see it everywhere—on street art, the internet, magazines, books, posters, gifts you receive from friends, dreams or even a chance encounter with the animal itself.

When your animal wants to be seen, it’ll make sure you notice it so keep your eyes wide open. Journal your encounters as these encounters are all insights into what is being revealed to you. You may come into contact with more than one animal, but the animal you see most often is the most prominent message. Think of the additional animals as the supporting acts.

Meditate
You can connect with your spirit animal through meditation, while a guided shamanic journey will lead you to your animal and hold space for you to communicate more deeply with them. There are guided meditations available online (search: “spirit animal guided meditation”) and workshops that hold space for you to meet your spirit animal. Check event listings for sessions in your area.

Dreamtime
Before you go to sleep, ask your spirit animal to reveal themselves to you in your dream. Your intention could be, ” Spirit animal, who serves my highest and best good, please come to me in my dreams tonight. I am open to your wisdom. Thank you for your protection and guidance. You will be remembered in the morning.”

Repeat this invocation as you fall asleep. Make sure that you have a pen and paper by your bed for when you wake up in the morning, and write down what you remember as soon as you wake up and the memory of the dream is still fresh.

Oracle Cards
One of the quickest ways to connect with your spirit animal is to use an animal oracle deck (we love the Wild Unknown Animal Spirit deck). Connect with the deck and draw a card (or a few cards) to represent what serves you. You can take guidance from the reference book that accompanies the deck but I would also recommend journalling how this card makes you feel, use your intuition to find the meaning. Meditate on the card and see what messages come through to you from the unseen realm.

If you draw an animal that makes you feel uncomfortable, brings up a phobia or a feeling of dislike, this animal can represent your shadow side. This could symbolize something in the animal’s character that you’re avoiding in your life. Take this as an opportunity to tune in to what may need healing in your life. Remember, if this animal is showing up for you, it is there to be seen, and it’s because you are ready. Even if you don’t think you are…

:: HOW TO WORK WITH YOUR SPIRIT ANIMAL ::

Act Like Your Animal
Use the animal’s instinct as a guide for what action you need to take. How does your animal think and act?

Here are a few examples: Stand strong and committed like the bear. Be sensual and independent like the cat. Do some Vinyasa yoga to connect with your flexibility like the snake. Howl at the moon to embody the wolf. Share your wisdom as a teacher like the owl. Seize an opportunity like the magpie.

Check out youtube or some David Attenborough documentaries to study the characteristics of your animal. Have fun with how you embody your animal, no-one else needs to know, and watch to see how people respond to you after you’ve been channeling the ways of your animal.

Dress Like Your Animal
Wear the colors and patterns of your animal to connect with their spirit. This can be a subtle act, for example wearing leopard print underwear to honor your inner wild cat. Let your hair loose to unleash the lion in you. Think of black as the color of mystery and transformation. If your animal is colorful then it’s a sure sign that you need to been seen.

Eat Like Your Animal
Food nourishes us and gives us energy. Animals use food to do this in the purest way, no fad-diets! They forage or hunt for what their body needs and eat specifically to adapt to their environment. Use the dietary habits of your animal as a guide for what will nourish you at the moment. If your animal is a herbivore, try a plant-based diet and see how your body feels. Birds have a very fast metabolism to enable them to stay light so that they can fly, eating little and often. Maybe the message is simply that you take time to slow down to eat.

Meditate With Your Animal
Using a guided meditation, journey to connect with your spirit animal. Ground yourself and when you’ve connected with your animal, visualize the animal’s energy merging with yours. Feel yourself integrating its strength and wisdom. Set the intention to embody the animal’s empowerment for the day ahead. Working with animals is very grounding, so know that your energy will be protected by the animal as it serves you.

Animals are wise and gentle guides. They haven’t forgotten their connection with earth and with us, and they need our help to protect and heal our planet. As always, the healing journey begins with us. This is an invitation to call on your natural superpowers and work with animal instinct to create the change in your life that you’ve been waiting for.

MATERIAL GIRL, MYSTICAL WORLD: LULU BRUD

A.k.a. Lady Lu of The Wolves, Pretty Little Liars actress, storyteller, and interior designer Lulu Brud is the most mystical of material girls. Here’s a peek into her world…Portraits: Taren Maroun

WE’RE STARTING A NEW EVENT SERIES CALLED “STORY MEDICINE.” AS A TELLER OF STORIES YOURSELF, WHAT DO YOU FIND HEALING ABOUT STORYTELLING?
Stories are mirrors, reflectors of humanity that can reveal the great archetypes throughout history. They can awaken a connection to seemingly far away lands, spirits, and forgotten or imagined times. Stories are teachers and invokers. They lend us the words when we have gone silent or inspire empathy where perhaps before there was none.

WHERE DID THE NAME OF YOUR BRAND – “OF THE WOLVES” – COME FROM?
I dated a man a long time ago who gave me this book, Women Who Run With the Wolves. It was as if he had been sent just to give me this important thing, because I never really heard from him again after that! Later that year, for my 25th birthday, my best friend gave me a Wolf Ring that has become a talisman in my life. I joined Instagram the same week I got the ring, and as I was searching for my moniker, the name just sort of came to me. I didn’t go out looking for the wolves, the wolves came looking for me.

AS AN INTERIOR DESIGNER, WHAT MAKES A HOME A SANCTUARY?
We spend a lot of our lives out in the world, sharing space and entangling ourselves with the energy of strangers. It’s important to have a home to return to that feels like a calm and grounded sanctuary of our own making. My personal approach to interior spaces is inspired by natural and warm elements like plants, crystals and wood, different patterns and colors in textiles and tiles, and up-cycled/repurposed pieces. I love bringing inside living, outside, and outside living, inside…in other words, I don’t like such hard defined lines between the inside of one’s home and the wild outdoors.

WE LOVE THE SOUND OF YOUR “PICNICS OF THE WOLVES” GATHERINGS! WHAT INSPIRED THIS IDEA AND WHAT CAN WE EXPECT?
I love gathering with women (and sometimes men too!) over food, drinks and chats doing crafts and/or at lectures. Working with our hands, healing through laughter and shared stories, that’s what it’s about. I’ve done a few of my own gatherings now, and they are organically growing into something really special. There will be several coming up in 2016 – Lindsay Mack of Wild Soul Healing will be in LA in May for a Tarot focused Picnic, and I’m hoping to get a Cob Oven building workshop on the books too, things like that. The sign-ups will be listed on my website as they become available!

ACTORS ARE EMPATHETIC SOULS BY NATURE – HOW DOES ONE KEEP YOUR ENERGY FIELD CLEAN OPERATING IN A CUT-THROAT ENVIRONMENT LIKE HOLLYWOOD?
To be honest, I struggle with it a lot, but Of the Wolves has saved me in many ways. My days are filled with storytelling in many forms, and I go to bed feeling creatively fulfilled at night. I have had the opportunity to work more this year than I ever have before, with a small arc on Pretty Little Liars and an appearance on Ray Donovan, but for now, it’s all quiet again on the acting front.

The ups can be really exciting and thrilling, the downs can be pretty heavy and dark, and rejection is an everyday occurrence. The trick, for me at least, is staying balanced and grounded through it all, keeping my hands busy, telling good stories, and not pausing for too long to dwell on things that are so out of my control. At the end of the day, it’s just a job. It’s hard not to compare my path with that of those around me, but I just can’t do it…their story isn’t my story and my story isn’t theirs.

:: MATERIAL GIRL :: 

My label // Reformation or vintage finds from old closets.

Bordeaux dress, $278, Reformation

My shoes // Black vintage lace up Justin boots (that I’ve had resoled 5 times), PFKaufman Mules, Minnetonka Moccassins.

Mules, $350, PFKaufman

My fragrance // Jiva Apoha 1967 Body Oil or if I’m feeling fancy D. S. & Durga Freetrapper.

Body oil, from $53, Jiva Apoha

My jewels // Alkiemie Wolf Ring, Communion by Joy Eye of the Warrior Ring, my wedding ring with a family crest that my husband and I designed together, and Native American vintage turquoise pieces

Eye of the Warrior Ring, $1985, Communion by Joy

My pampering // A quiet solo night at home with a good playlist, candles, bath time, and a glass of wine.

My home // Rustic + Bohemian + Cabin feels nestled into a hillside on the east-side of LA.

My food // I love cooking any foods with good people and high-vibing ingredients

The Plantpower Way: Whole Food Plant-Based Recipes and Guidance for The Whole Family

:: MYSTICAL WORLD ::

My awakening // Waking up slowly and cuddling my husband and our eight-year-old tea cup poodle. Then lighting candles in our meditation room, burning Juniper Ridge incense, and sipping coffee until I need to face the music and get the day started.

White Sage Incense, $12, Juniper Ridge

My sign // Sun: Scorpio | Rising: Taurus | Moon: Cancer.

My mantra // “I am enough.”

My healer // The colors and the quiet of Momma Earth – deserts, oceans, mountains.

My reading // “Women Who Run with the Wolves” – “The Anthropology of Turquoise” – “Just Kids” – “A Handbook of Native American Herbs”

Just Kids by Patti Smith

My transformation // When I stopped limiting myself to just being a storyteller through acting, and opened myself up to all of the other ways I tell stories – home designing, sharing stories on my blog, making goods, and curating my online shop.

My mission // To awaken and connect people back to one another and their wild sides, and to instill a new paradigm of protectors for the sustainability of this planet.

www.ofthewolves.com

11 WAYS TO MEET YOUR SOULMATE

Ready to meet your soulmate? Then leave your inhibitions at the door, and arm yourself with some of these spiritual ice-breakers, says Gabriela Herstik. Image: Kazel Lim via Behance.net

We’re totally for that cosmic connection you feel between other members of the Numinati. You know, that sweet vibration you get in your heart chakra when you meet someone else who just gets it. Yet the way in which we meet our soul sisters (or brothers) can be pretty funny. Read on and let us know – do any of these soulmate chat up lines sound familiar to you?

“Oh my god, your dogs a Scorpio? Mines a Cancer. Let’s plan a play date.”
It all takes a turn for the better when you astrologically analyze your pets.

“You have a really strong heart chakra. I can feel it.”
That moment two girls in the Trader Joe’s checkout become besties.

“That’s selenite, right? Aww, and you’re wearing it near your heart to raise your consciousness to a higher level.”
How did she know?

“I don’t mean to interrupt, but I’m getting a vibe like I knew you in a past life.”
And you thought it was just another lunchtime wait in line at Sweetgreen.

“Has anyone ever told you what a beautiful energy you have about you?”
No, but I’ve heard that about my aura.

“Did I just hear you say your spirit animal is a raven? Mine’s a crow!”
Welcome to the tribe.

“Girl, is your lucky number 13? Because you’ve killed me and shown me a new way to live…”
Death card pick-up lines are too cute.

“My third eye feels especially open when I look at you.”
I know, I’ve been working on clearing my psychic energy field

“Let me guess – you take your coffee black, iced, and bitter. Like your soul before your last past life regression.”
When your barista just gets you.

“Is the energy of this coffee shop just off to you too?”
Well, now that you mention it…

“You totally look like the kind of chick I need in my coven.”
It’s a summer goth thing, isn’t it.

How did the convo go when you met your last Numi soulmate? Give us some lolz when you share on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter and tag it #shitnuminousgirlssay…

THIS ONE TIME, WHEN I WENT TO SHAMAN SCHOOL…

Tamara, a.k.a. Wolf Sister, shares how she followed her heart from hairdressing to healing…via a visit to shaman school. Images: Burn It All by Karolina Daria Flora.

I would describe myself as empathic and creative, so in a lot of ways it was natural for me to fall into hairdressing when I was 16. It was never my first choice – I had aspirations of being a fashion journalist – but choosing to pursue it turned out to be one of the best decisions I ever made. Fourteen years later, this seemingly humble path has enabled me to fulfil some of my biggest dreams, mainly because one of the beautiful things about hairdressing is that it’s a portable trade. I can cut hair anywhere in the world, meaning I’ve been able to earn a living in the unlikeliest of places.

The last six years in particular, I have truly followed my wanderlust. Like many on a similar path, I travelled to ‘find’ myself, having experienced a strong disconnection with life in my hometown. Despite having a large group of friends, I’d never really felt as if I fully fit in or belonged, as if I was always holding part of myself back. So I went to work in Ibiza for the summer, in search of adventure and hoping to break free from the things I thought were holding me back. I then bought a round the world ticket to the Southern Hemisphere for a winter in Asia and Australia, bringing me back to Ibiza, and chasing the dream of a never-ending summer.

On my travels I met many kindred spirits, and collected experiences and memories like treasure. Island hopping and hitchhiking around Hawaii, sleeping under the stars in Australia, and making friends with liberated souls as we took sanctuary from the dust storms on the Playa at Burning Man. Living like this, I could be who I wanted without any attachment to my past. I was free from old thought processes that had held me back, and I found friends who seemed to be on a similar path, all in search of ‘something more’. My loved ones back home all seemed to want different things in life to me, and I think a lot of my anxieties came from trying to fit in.

But beyond the hedonism, I never felt any closer to finding myself. No matter how far I travelled or how long I stayed away, my shadow self was never far behind, and I realised I was trying to run away from rather than towards my true self. My epiphany came when I was recovering from a break up that had seemed to consume me. The experience led me to turn inward, and I realised that I needed learn to be happy in myself, wherever I was in the world. Home or away.

People would describe me as bubbly and outgoing, but I have actually suffered from anxiety and depression most of my adult life. Until I connected with my spiritual path, that is. When I went to see my doctor about my epiphany (a.k.a break down) it was recommended I go on antidepressants. Of course, this didn’t resonate with me, and so began my mission to heal myself holistically. It began with yoga, and practising meditation regularly, finding tiny glimpses of inner peace that over time became a lasting sense of calm and clarity.

In my meditations, animals kept showing up for me, regularly enough that I began looking up the meanings of these beasts. A Wolf appeared most frequently in my visions, the message being that I was in the process of spiritual development, and developing my self-esteem and inner knowing. The Wolf was there (and still is today) to remind me that I was being protected. I discovered that the animals were my spirit guides, and their messages were so relevant that I couldn’t ignore their calling. So I began using these messages to guide me on my healing path – my first indication that I had an affinity with Shamanism.

The deeper into my spiritual journey I went, I experienced a conflict between my work commitments and my spiritual life. I was eager to learn more about healing, which manifested in a desire to help others with what I was learning, but I also needed to support myself financially. In the end, I decided to take the plunge and booked a two-month sabbatical from the salon I was working in at the time and travel to Bali. Being half Indonesian, it was one pilgrimage that I had always wanted to take. Now it was really happening, and for the right reasons.

I began to research my trip, my main priority to find a way to fully immerse myself in my spiritual development. I looked up retreats, workshops, yoga centres and healers, and emailed different leads to find out what my options were. A few websites caught my eye, but after quite a few unanswered enquiries, the search engines kept drawing me back to a Shaman called White Star. I took this as another sign, and connected with her on email – which resulted in her offering me a place on her apprenticeship programme. I was going to be a Shaman’s apprentice!

I arrived in Bali two months later, and noticed that my energy instantly felt lighter, as if some kind of a shift had already occurred in me. I spent my first few days exploring my new surroundings, acquainting myself with the local customs, and trying to prepare myself for my first meeting with White Star. But how do you prepare to meet a Shaman? And one who is going to teach you her secrets?

When we finally did meet, I was full of excitement and anticipation. I had a preconceived idea that my new teacher would have an air of authority about her but when I met White Star, I was in awe. With all of her power and wisdom she is a humble woman with an unassuming presence. But it was also as if she had an ethereal radiance about her. I remember thinking she was at least 10 years younger than what she said she was – apparently there’s a healer in Bali who specialises in ‘spiritual Botox’, but I also think she’s living proof that living magically keeps you younger.

I had booked 40 hours of one-to-one lessons with White Star that were stretched out over 4 weeks, and I felt so blessed to have the time to immerse myself so deeply in my new education. I had expected to pay up front, but she was trusting and happy for me to pay cash as we went along. Our lessons took place at her home in the jungle, and were filled with practical experiences of Shamanic healing techniques, spiritual development exercises, meditations, wisdom and musings. White Star also taught me how to expand my consciousness using Shamanic journeying to tune into the spirit realms and earth elements.

Most magically of all, the more time I spent with White Star, I found that not only was I learning how to heal others, I was healing myself. I gained new insights into my past, which helped me make sense of what I always thought had been holding me back. I believe you need to learn how to understand your past and its purpose so that you can fully release it, allow you to move forward and heal. I gained a new sense of confidence and purpose, and felt myself surrendered to being my authentic self, releasing my attachment to needing to fit in.

Every day, I would walk past waterfalls on my way to my meetings with White Star, feeling that I needed to pinch myself, to check it wasn’t all a dream. It was as if my soul had found its home, and that all the life choices I’d made (including the ones I thought I regretted) had brought me here. This was real.

In my Bali bubble, it felt so natural be fully conscious in the present moment. All my anxieties dissipated, as I learned to simply go with the flow. Time expanded as I took each moment as it came, learning to really trust my intuition. Synchronicities were a regular occurrence in my Bali life, because I took time to notice them. I felt I was constantly surrounded by magic.

Shamanism teaches us that there is a spiritual component in everything; that everything around us has a spirit, and that everything is connected. Flowers, trees, water, stones, animals, and humans. A Shaman walks the path between the seen and the unseen worlds, using altered states of consciousness to connect to what can’t be seen in our ordinary reality.

When we are disconnected from spirit, we fall out of alignment with our highest good. We experience states of negativity which can lead to anxiety, depression and other emotional and physical symptoms of imbalance. With Spiritual healing and Shamanic medicine, we are able to reconnect with our highest self, or soul, bringing us back into balance. Feeling calmer and happier, life becomes easy again. When we are spiritually aligned, we feel are able live from the heart; detaching from our ego, we are confident to follow our life’s purpose. Feeling empowered, there is no room for fear.

I returned from my Bali trip a little over a year ago, with none of the same ‘homecoming anxieties’ I used to feel, because I brought my Bali bubble home with me. Since then, my Shamanic alter ego Wolf Sister has been born, and I have been building my own healing practice, alongside working as a hairdresser. And the two actually go hand-in-hand.

When I am working with my hairdressing clients, I enable them to feel better about themselves on an external level. I still enjoy my work at the salon, but my true passion is to help people heal on a Soul level, helping them empower themselves. I feel that I’m able to do this more effectively through Spiritual healing than I am by styling hair, but still I infuse my Shamanic teachings into every moment of my ‘everyday’ life. Knowing always that my Bali bubble is there to be tuned into when I need it.

Where has your healing journey taken you? Connect with us and share your story on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

Tamara is an Intuitive healer, Supernatural Potion Maker, Crystal enthusiast and Tarot reader. Find out more at Wolfsister.com

NEED-TO-KNOW: YOUR SPIRIT POWER ANIMAL

Dealing with a situation that had left her feeling vulnerable and alone, when Ruby Warrington met her spirit power animal last year…it got emotional. Here’s how to connect with your own beast of the wild unknown.

Somewhere in the garden of my subconscious, a powerful black stallion is biding his time, waiting for me to call on him. The horse exudes the kind of strength that needs no armor. He’s as high as a house, and his sheer presence makes my body quake. But he’s also calm and loving, and will always, forever and a day, be loyal to me. How do I know? Because the stallion is my spirit power animal, and when I met him it was one of the most moving encounters of my life.

The story begins at a dinner in New York City, thrown by the publicist Kelly Cutrone for her client, fashion designer Raif Adelberg. Kelly’s been a long time supporter of The Numinous, so I knew something mystical was up when she told me I had to meet him. And sure enough, before long we were discussing the fact that Raif’s power animal is the orca, or killer whale.

Of course I was instantly intrigued. How did he know? Did we all have a power animal? How did the whale show up in his life? In response; he was given his animal reading by a friend, a Native American chief, after discussing with his wife (also Native) her butterfly power animal. Yes, we all have access to backup from the animal world. And in his case, Raif feels connected to his animal in many ways.

In a literal sense, “I live on an island (off the coast of Vancouver), where orca actually play in my backyard,” he told me. But the killer whale is also known in the animal kingdom for its steadfast family values. They mate for life and travel in packs, and in Raif’s case; “I feel most secure with the comfort of my family around me.” How cool that he even got a tattoo of a butterfly years before he met his wife.

My subsequent mission to meet my own power animal led me to modern shamanic practitioner Marika Messager, and a deep guided meditation – over Skype – that transported me from a still, Tuesday afternoon in my apartment in NYC to the dank depths of the forest that exists somewhere in the middle of my being where my stallion lives.

I met other animals – a hedgehog, butterflies, even a Unicorn – en route, but only when I found my horse did my skin prickle all over with goose bumps and the tears wet my face. They were tears of relief. I had recently experienced something that had left me feeling quite vulnerable and alone in the world, and the transference of strength, sheer power, from the horse to me, felt like being rebuilt from the inside out.

Before you embark on a journey to meet your own power animal, here’s what you Need To Know:

• To meet your power animal you need be relaxed enough to access your subconscious. This means shifting your brainwaves into a theta state (similar to a meditative state). Shamans use drumming to do this, but hypnosis can invoke this same sense of deep of relaxation.

• In shamanic tradition, it is thought that we have three power animals, from the air, land and sea. Although you may meet many more, depending what’s going on in your life at the time and the kind of healing they can offer you.

• Our animals are there to lend us their wisdom. To fully appreciate the message your power animal has for you, research how the animal lives, mates, socializes, hunts. What lesson is there for you in the animal’s habits? For example, an eagle might appear to remind you to view a difficult situation “from above.”

• Mythical animals – dragons, unicorns – may appear to you too. But all animals are equal; no animal is “better” than any other.

• The first time you meet your animal, first thank him for his presence. After that, you can ask him questions, to which he may reply with a vision, a sensation or a voice in your head. Be aware that his support may appear in any of the ways you usually connect with your intuition.

• Once you have met your animal, or animals, call on them in times of need. For example, the horse symbolizes freedom, so call on him whenever you are feeling restricted by beliefs about your supposed limitations.

• Finally, your animal may continue to appear to you in “waking” life – in iconography, conversations or popular culture – to remind you of his continued presence in your life. Acknowledge him with a wink when he does.

Marika Messager assists, advises and counsels people in all areas of their lives, through a blend of executive, life, career and transition coaching, mentoring and healing. She has developed an interest in indigenous healing practices and particularly the influence of consciousness and the mind on the healing process. In her work, she bridges and blends these techniques to encourage and empower her clients to find the answers they seek within.

www.marikamessager.com