|What is a Shaman?
The shaman in tribal cultures is the person who sees into the sacred world. The shaman brings their sacred visions of ancient spirits and power animals out as ritual. By this ritual process, most similar to prayer, imagery, and art, the shaman heals themselves, others, and the earth. By having visions of healing, and doing sacred ritual, the shaman makes the visions come true. The shaman manifests reality in the outer world, from the visionary world.
|A Walk in the Woods|
|What is a spirit animal?
A spirit animal or power animal is the spiritual energy of the animal on earth. The spirit animal is greater than the actual animal because it embodies the essence of that animal. It is the animal. It is not a human form of the animal or a human dressed as an animal, it is the animal spirit itself. For example with a spirit bear, it is the voice of all the bears that have ever lived. It is the shamanic bear. It is the bear that can see itself and speak. A spirit animal appears to the shaman as a vision. It is the voice of the wild, the voice of nature, the voice of the earth. This animal informs the shaman of the earth energy it holds. It gives the shaman power and protection. It is a helper that assists the shaman on the journey inward. No shaman would attempt an inner journey without the help of a power animal. The power animal conveys to the shaman and their people an energy they need to heal. See my pages below on Animal Totems for more about spirit animals. My spirit animals are the CONDOR and the WOLF.
|What is a medicine wheel?
A medicine wheel is an ancient way of creating a sacred space. In a medicine wheel, each direction has an animal that lives there and stands for one type of energy. For example, in my medicine wheel the East has the loon and stands for change, the South has the bear and stands for grounding, the West has the raven and stands for healing power and the North has the wolf and stands for passion. Each person calls in their own animals that hold or represent for them each energy and each direction. The medicine wheel can be populated by many of the animals that live on the earth. You can personalize it any way you would like, adding tokens from your travels, special rocks, feathers, shells...anything.
The medicine wheel is built by placing a small object that stands for the animal or energy in each direction around a circle. The circle can be as small as a hand or as large as the earth. The object can be an animal bone, a feather, an antler, a seashell or a special stone. It is always something deeply meaningful to you, something you have found or been given as a gift. In the process, a center is also created and another special object can be put there. Through this process, you create a sacred space that becomes a mini vortex of power. It is used to create intention. Balance is created by the equal presence of all four energies acting at once.
By creating the medicine wheel, you make a physical manifestation of earth's energies. It is a sacred altar which evokes the powers of the earth. Like an altar, it brings your prayers in harmony with the energies of the earth. By actually making something real in physical space you act and create. The energy and prayer to heal is embodied and seen and can be touched.
A medicine wheel is simply a way of making sacred space more real and more visible. Ancient peoples believed that the medicine wheel in itself had great power and helped create change and healing. Medicine wheel are circles that were made all over the world. They come from the most ancient cultures and persist to the present. They were found throughout history in every culture. Seek out a place to build your very own...and enjoy it.
Where are medicine wheels built?
Medicine wheel were always in sacred sites. The sites were often at the intersection of rivers, on mountaintops, in the center of plains between mountain and rivers. People could get there via the rivers. The waterways lead you to them. They were often on the high places, a point to look at the distant landscape. In any case, the places were deeply sacred. You can feel the energy. You can seek out your very own place, a place all your own where you can go to howl and be alone with your inner thoughts. Enjoy your journey.
|Who are the ancient spirits?
The ancient spirits are the embodiment of the ancient peoples of the earth. Ancient spirits speak in the collective voices of ancient peoples. They are the spirit guides, the inner voices of the earth. Ancient spirits are archetypal visions given form. They appear to the shaman in visions to give them messages from the earth. They come you with the intention to communicate with you. They come to you to help you heal. Initially you see them from far away. They will make themselves known to you. When it is clear that you invite them, their voices become clearer. Ancient spirits need to have a relationship cultivated to stay visible. They bring you back into forest. They lure you deeper into nature. You may feel them calling out to you at the most unexpected times. They cry out to you to follow them...for me, the wolf howls grow louder within me and I know when it is time to seek deeper, to enrich my life with unforeseen new knowledge once again.
|A Walk in the Woods
You may have guessed, this is not an ordinary "walk" in the woods. My "walk" refers to the spiritual path each of us takes on our journey in life. This page explains a little bit about the vision quest, what a shaman is, who the ancient spirits are, and how to build a medicine wheel and create your own sacred place. I am not claiming any type of worship or religion, just my own spirituality, and the way that I connect in nature and bring it into the other aspects of my life. Hopefully if you are willing to learn, many life-enriching delights are out there waiting for you!
What is a vision quest?
A vision quest is a quest for the visions in anyone's life that will heal them and make them whole. In Native American cultures, young people were sent into nature to listen to the voices of the living earth. The elders taught them to do this, to find their path in life and to find their power animal helpers. The person on the vision quest spent days in caves, on mountaintops, on rivers, in the desert, waiting, and inviting the voices to come to them. When they heard the voices and saw their vision, they would return to their people and know who they were and what they were to do. You should seek your own space alone, without distractions of society. :)
It is the clearing way of the obstacles to true seeing: that we are everything and nothing, that we are a mystery within a greater mystery. Receptivity and prayer allow for the grace of this profound seeing of truth. Our world today does not foster this openness' and receptivity. In fact, many of us become so buried beneath strategies of survival and layers of stress we are not available to true listening or seeing. Your quest may bring you an animal totem, or a different message from the spirit world. It is in the little moments of your journey that teaching
comes. It is in the shape of a cloud, the falling of a leaf, the sounds of nature, the stars at night, watching a squirrel gather food, knowing you will always be provided for. Pay attention and open your mind. Watch..learn...patience.
Now go...and discover!!
|Two Medicine Wheels|
All graphics and photos and writings used within Wildcondor.com have been collected from sites offering free graphics, created by myself, or were given to me by friends or family. If you find your art that you personally created, please e-mail me for credit or removal.My desire is to give credit where credit is due. Thank you.
|Deer Graphics from BuckMaester|