When I was 20 years old during a very low period of my life, I was on the couch when I suddenly had the acute sensation that there was a big black jaguar sitting next to me, except that he was invisible! “Oh great, now I’m really going to be put in the straight jacket,” I thought, believing at the time that I might possibly be losing my mind! But still, there it was.
I couldn’t exactly see it, but I just knew he was there. I decided I would attempt to feel it. I put my hand down and simply felt the couch. Trusting my intuition I did it again more slowly and sure enough, there on his soft silky back was an energy shift. “Cooooool,” I thought, “but, man, I better keep this to myself!” Twenty years later at shaman school, I discovered most people there had some variation of a big cat who was with them always. I also found out my jaguar was a ‘she’ and called Athena, but that’s another story…
About the same time that Athena showed up, I also saw a white owl sitting outside on the olive tree. It was Christmas, the Angel on top of the tree reflected the white Owl right next to it on the other side of the glass. I got chills down the left side of my body and all the hairs on my left arm stood up on end and I just knew it was my Uncle Jim. He had died the year before.
These were my first experiences of power animals, energetically and in the flesh. Later I would learn that each of us has different power animals that move through life with us, protecting us, or informing us on the energetic level.
Animals that we actually encounter also have a message for us. I know my power animals because they consistently appear for me energetically and in person. Owls have continued to come to me and it is no surprise as they symbolize traveling between the worlds and navigating through any darkness. They represent clarity, prophetic inklings, wisdom and strong intuitive thoughts. Every time without fail when I have been in Ayahuasca ceremony psychedelic owls have flown into my visions, and often at that point in the jungle, I would hear them hoo-hooing out in the darkness.
The Peruvian shamanic archetypes are the serpent who represents the underworld, or the u-hupacha and letting go of the past while walking with beauty on the earth. The puma represents the middle world, the kaypacha and is there for protection. The condor symbolizes the upper world, the hanaqpacha and speaks of our higher spiritual vision. I resonate with these since becoming initiated in the shamanic tradition and being a mesa carrier (a personal altar).
The puma or jaguar already was with me. During my shamanic spiritual awakening, I was told by shamans that the Condor had claimed me as his own when I was 10 years old in the Temple of the Condor at Machu Picchu, feeling “something” on me, which at the time kind of freaked me out. I had always had a respectful fascination for snakes, often encountering them in nature but never thinking anything of it!
I have a variety of power animals and I definitely pay attention to any who happen to cross my path. After having strayed from my healing path for a while, I saw a hedgehog in the road, they are all about reminding us to be strong and true to ourselves and have a deep connection with the Pachamama (Mother Earth).
In my Facebook Group, someone posted a photo of a Polar Bear by “accident” but the message was perfect, reminding them how strong and full of courage they are even in the face of adversity.
Gecko’s are the Hawaiian Family Protector God and I am always so pleased to be greeted by one hanging out on the wall when I arrive anywhere. Freaked out by spiders? They are all about the feminine, creativity, and writing! So feel inspired to weave your own story and connect to your animal totems for Universal messages.