Please understand, though, that vision quest is not the only method by which one can discover their spirit guides. Sometimes there is a special animal that one has an affinity for which might also be a guide, without realizing it. And sometimes we meet our guides in our dreams. While I offer one technique work with, there are many avenues with which to work. So find what works best for you and what makes you the most comfortable and work with it. ^_^
Seeking Spirit Guides: Vision Quest
There are a number of techniques for vision quest, which is basically seeking out your spirit guides. But I'm going to offer a simple and easy technique to do this. It is a meditative visualization. And the key to letting it happen is to let go of your own control of the vision and to just let it happen while relaxing into it.
Vision Quest Visualization
Lay down and close your eyes. Relax and breath. Visualize some sort of hole into the ground, such as a cave or a rabbit hole (like that in the tale of Alice in Wonderland). Go into it. Allow yourself to walk or fall, depending on what you choose, until it opens up into a wooded area.
Step out into the wooded area, taking note of sounds, smells, colors, textures and everything around you. Come to a clearing in the woods, where at its center, there is a stone chair. Sit in it and wait patiently.
What you are waiting for is your guide to come to you and acknowledge you within the vision. It could take the form of an animal, a person, or even an inanimate object. And there might be other things that come along in the vision, which walk on by you without acknowledging you in any way. This is no reason to give up. So be patient.
From here each vision tends to become personalized so I leave the rest to you.....
Animal Totems/Spirit Guides
There are many forms of spirit guides, from angels to ancestors to animals. What we are going to focus on here is the animals. This is because animals play a large part in our lives. They help us discover and understand aspects of ourselves better, from the past, present and even from the future. They aid in self awareness and creativity. And they are powerful teachers. So to realize what animal medicine you carry, is to recognize a part of who you are ~ possibly a part that was invisible up till that moment. So lets look at the different types of animal guides there are, and some of their meanings.
At the end of this discussion you will find links to more information on the numerous topics covered in this blog.
So the first type of animal guides come from the Native American Zodiac, which are birth totems:
- Red Hawk, corresponds to Aries energy, dynamic and striving towards the future;
- Beaver, corresponds to Taurus energy, sensual and aesthetic;
- Deer, corresponds to Gemini energy, attentive and cautious;
- Woodpecker, corresponds to Cancer energy, domestic and caring;
- Sturgeon, corresponds to Leo energy, powerful and desirable;
- Brown Bear, corresponds to Virgo energy, planning and strict;
- Raven, corresponds to Libra energy, balanced and fair;
- Snake, corresponds to Scorpio energy, devoted and erotic;
- Elk, corresponds to Sagittarius energy, spiritual and searching;
- Snow Goose, corresponds to Capricorn energy, tenacious and persistent;
- Otter, corresponds to Aquarius energy, clever and communicative;
- Puma, corresponds to Pisces energy, hidden and otherworldly.
The second type of animal spirit guide is the messenger. All animals, including birth guides and other types, carry a message with them. Its buried in their form, their general behavior, their coloring, and everything else that has to do with them. But messengers are generally animals that come into our lives during a particular period of time, crisis, event, or while making a decision, in order to help guide our choices and actions.
So when you are in crisis or seeking guidance from above, and you ask for help and/or answers, sometimes those answers can come in the form of an animal. But the event seems to insignificant, to random, or to haphazard to truly be noteworthy enough to pay attention to. And the person asking, is left feeling like they went unheard and unanswered, when it was they that bypassed the answer offered because it wasn't obvious enough for them.
As an example, I will offer you this. When I was 16, I was out in the backyard smoking. Now I know all the stuff about children smoking, but that's not really the point of this story. As I sat there a bird landed in front of a window and then quickly took flight again around to the back of the house. A few minutes later my mother was looking out that same window at me....and yes, she was mad. But within that story there was also a message. And as silly as it sounds, it was as though the bird was warning me I was about to get into trouble if I didn't move. And guess what? I did.
So look, listen, and be aware when you ask for guidance, because answers can come from any direction, if your willing to open yourself up to them. The answers will be there regardless, though. So pay attention. ^_^
Now the third type of animal spirit guide is the lifer, or the life long animal companion ~ which serves as a teacher, a guide, a protector, a friend, and support. Any animal, from insect to mythological creatures can be a guide, and I could detail all of them I could find here, but that would take up more space than I wish this blog to. So what I will do is introduce you to mine, and show you how they relate to me. And then offer you some websites to help you find the meaning of your own guides.
My guides are the black bear, the tiger, the spider, the red ant, the snake, the vulture, the red tailed hawk, the raven, the bobcat, the deer, the rabbit, the groundhog, the dragon, the white wolf, and a number of others that escape me at the moment. I will only list the meanings of a few key totems, since there are so many. And then I will show you how they are all interwoven to paint a picture of who I am.
Bear Medicine: Bears in general teach us to slow down and reserve our energies. Bear medicine also has to do with awakening from within. Bear teaches us that life's answers are no further than your own subconscious. There is no need to look outside of yourself when bear is nearby. Bears are also climbers and can teach us how to reach new heights. Bears love honey and teach us to appreciate the sweetness life offers.Now as to the meaning of all of these seemingly random animals in relation to me. Bear means power, introspection, and healing. The Spider means seeing beyond illusion within the web of life and changes within life. The Raven, like the Hawk or the Eagle, is a messenger of Spirit and carries a message of mystery, magic, and empathy. The Tiger means power, passion, and sensuality. And the Deer means gentleness, caring, and kindness.
Spider Medicine: Spider is the weaver connecting the knowledge of the past with the possibilities of the future. Notice that the shape of the body loosely resembles the sign for infinity.
Also notice that the center of the web is always small (you), and the web ever expanding (your possibilities).
Spider cautions us not to get locked into the illusion that has made you what you think you are. Our behavior, and our belief systems, and our view of ourselves is locked into an illusion of who we truly are that was created for us by others; usually starting as a small child. As we grow, our life becomes a reflection of those illusions, and those of us who do not follow that pattern are "rebels" or "black sheep" or other terms that imply non-conformity.
We are locked into that illusion because it has become our "comfort zone", and it is our fears of the unknown and untested which keep us in that zone. It is far easier to live in the hell we know, than to stick our mental and emotional toes out into the world and chance discovering that there is another way which may be better for us.
Spider is telling us that the possibilities for each of us is only limited by our own view of ourselves. Notice that the web constantly grows, outward, still connected to that small center space. It is always reaching, always expanding, never satisfied with the status quo. When something of value get caught in the web, it is taken back to that small center and utilized; never wasted. It may be stored for later use, but it is never wasted.
The next time you come upon spider weaving its web, stop to really look. Notice the beauty and symmetry and balance; the careful and intricate design. Spider is telling you to have the courage to reach out and create your own tomorrows; to break out of the illusion that has you locked in a time-step, and discover who and what you truly are.
Raven Medicine: "Those who carry Raven Medicine also carry a heavy responsibility to Spirit. Raven is the messenger of magic from the great void where all knowledge waits for us. He is also the symbol of changes in consciousness, of levels of awareness and of perception. He carries the mark of the shape-shifter. He is the carrier of healing energy from distances.
Those of you who have asked for messages of light and healing and prayer . . . have asked for raven medicine.
What all of this means to us in the modern-day world is that raven medicine gives you the ability to get inside another's head and heart, and to understand them from the inside out, so to speak. You can "become" that other person because of the depth of your understanding of them, and it is not necessary to be in their physical presence for that to happen.
Spiritual healers and counselors who are skilled in their abilities are using raven power for they have a depth of understanding and empathy not shared by all. Because of this power, they have the ability to actually alter another's perception and behavior. They are able to work real magic in bringing peace, healing and understanding to others.
Here is the heavy responsibility, and the dangers, in raven medicine. As with all things, these powers can be used for dark purposes. It enables the carrier to manipulate and coerce others into doing their will to the detriment of the other.
This medicine can be used for selfish and self-serving purposes for the ego and greed of the carrier. Because of the power of the levels in understanding others, a practitioner of the black arts can use raven for destructive purposes.
If you carry raven medicine, you must always use it in the light for the highest and best interests of others. You must use it for the good and well being of others, and never for your own selfish motives even though you may be tempted when times are bad. Raven medicine demands that you walk in the light in all things. That's heavy with responsibility for your own thoughts and deeds.
Work your magic in the light -- you are Raven.
Tiger Medicine: This powerful big cat represents power and sensuality.
The tiger, a solitary, silent hunter who stalks, rather than chases its prey, represents our quest for the silent peace of the soul. It symbolizes removing all distractions from the mind and being purely focused on the present moment.
This silence does not mean an absence of sensation. Sensuous Tiger reminds us that in the quieting of the mind, we become more deeply aware of both our own unique vibrations and their source in universal energy. In experiencing our energetic flow, we can discern where we are blocked and use vibrational healing tools to release blockages.
Deer Medicine: gentleness, caring and kindness ~ Deer blend very well with their environment but are very sensitive to every sound or movement. Often twins, even triplets, are born in the spring. Does and bucks live in separate groups until the mating season. The white-tailed deer are moderately gregarious, and family members forage food together along with other family groups, giving the appearance of a large herd. People with Deer Medicine are often described as being swift and alert. They are intuitive, often appearing to have well developed, even extrasensory perceptions. Sometimes their thoughts seem to race ahead, and they appear not to be listening. Deer's medicine includes gentleness in word, thought and touch, ability to listen, grace and appreciation for the beauty of balance, understanding of what's necessary for survival, power of gratitude and giving, ability to sacrifice for the higher good, connection to the woodland spirits, alternative paths to a goal. The gentleness of Deer is the heart-space of the Great Spirit which embodies His love for us all. Deer teaches us to find the gentleness of spirit that heals all wounds, to stop pushing to get others to change and to love and accept them as they are. The only true balance to power is love and compassion.
What all of this means, when put together, is that there is a journey of awakening and awareness happening. And it is a journey of self discovery and strength. It is about finding my own power and my own place in the world. It could get alot more detailed than that, but that is its most basic meaning. Each is a piece of a puzzle and the puzzle is me. Just as each guide, that is yours, is a piece to your puzzle. The more guides you acknowledge and get to know, the more you learn about yourself.
So here is where I offer you links to websites about animal guides and what not. I hope this helps you on your journey. And I wish you the brightest of blessings. ^_^
Vision Quest & Shamanic Journeying
A Vision Quest Overview (pdf format)
About Shamanic Journeying
The Path of the Feather: A shamanic journey, medicine wheels and spirit animals
Native American Zodiac
Animal Totems/Spirit Guides Medicine
***A tip for animal spirit guide searches online. When you search, take the animal's name and add it to keywords such as "_____ medicine" or "______ animal guide" or "_____ animal totem".***