SHAMANISM & Five Elemental Qualities
Power animals most often come to us in dreams, meditations, initiations, and visions. You can have more than one power animal. Your power animal at a given time can change depending on your life path at that time. Power animals are often attracted by one's emotional needs of the person - viewed as protectors who help overcome fears and empower us.
The concept of a Power Animal is universal to all cultures. Tribal cultures will recognize a Totem for the tribe, one for the clan one belongs to, and one for the family that one is born into
Power Animals are usually a reflection of your deepest self and also represent qualities which you need in this world, but which are often hidden or obscured. A mistake that people often make is to be dissatisfied when they find that their Power Animal is some non-ferocious animal like a mouse. We tend to think that a mouse is not very powerful - that it is meek and afraid. What they forget is that spirits are not limited to physical reality and that size is irrelevant. Your Power Animal may be a tiny mouse, but in times of need this mouse can and will change its size and deportment to that which is appropriate to the occasion.
Working with your Power Animal
Prepare to meet your power animal - as you did in the first lesson.
You can try this while at your computer - or in a place you meditate.
Out in nature might give the best results!
Relax your mind and body.
Now close your eyes and take two long deep breaths - breathing slowly in through your nose - holding the breath as is comfortable for you - and breathing out slowly through your mouth!
Connect with your power animal as your third eye begins to open and shows you images . . .
If you can see the animal in movement - follow the animal to see where it takes you and what messages it wishes you to learn.
If you are having trouble following the animal - first visualize the animal - then see it moving away - perhaps through time and space - perhaps on the Earth plane . . .
Once you have connected with the animal - mentally tell the animal that you wish it to take you on a spirit journey so you can learn more about your soul journey at this time.
It will take you on a journey . . .
Make notes about your journey when you return.
While the causes of disease are considered to lie in the realm of the spiritual, being affected by malicious spirits or Witchcraft, spiritual methods as well as what we would consider physical methods are used to heal. The shaman often will enter the body of their patient to find the spirit making the patient sick, and heal by removing the infectious spirit by the patient.
However, many shamans have expert knowledge of the plant life in their area, and an herbal regimen is often prescribed as treatment. In many places, the shamans claim to learn from the plants directly, only being able to determine the effects of a plant and use it to heal after meeting the spirit of the plant and getting permission.
Power Plants http://www.iol.ie/~taeger/bardotea/bardotea.html
Psychedelic Mushrooms Alluded to euphemistically as "holy children" by Mazatec shamans such as Maria Sabina
San Pedro Named thus (St. Peter) by Andean natives because he's the guardian of Gates of Heaven
Ayahuasca Quechua for "Vine of the Dead"
Shamans often observe special diets or fasts and taboos particular to their vocation. Sometimes these have physical purposes beyond effecting a change in brain state or taboo; for example, the diet followed by shamans and apprentices when drinking Ayahuasca includes eating foods rich in serotonin as well as avoiding foods rich in tyramine, which could cause a hypertensive crisis if ingested with an MAOI such as Ayahuasca.
Our present unenlightened state is based on a fundamental state of ignorance, a fundamental discursive consciousness, 'kun shi nam she'. It is the fundamental consciousness which is distorted and confused. There is, however, a possibility of experiencing the true nature of mind, and when that pure awareness is present, we no longer have 'kun shi nam she' but 'kun shi yeshe' (wisdom consciousness). That change of a single syllable from 'nam' to 'ye', makes a tremendous difference, because now we are referring to fundamental Primordial Awareness rather than fundamental ignorance.
In both cases we are talking about mind, which essentially embodies what in our physical universe we term the five elements. The potential for these elements exists in the mind and always has - it is not something created at some particular time.
In its inherent nature, mind always has the five elemental qualities, and it is from this potential that the experiences of the after-death state arise.
When we speak of mind, we speak of something that is not a thing in itself. In its most fundamental sense, mind is not something we can limit. We cannot say it has a particular shape, size or location, color or form, or any other limiting characteristic.
The element we call space, which in our perceptual situation also has no limiting characteristics, is this very emptiness of mind; this is the elemental quality of space in the mind.
But mind is not simply empty; it has the illuminating potential to perceive anything whatsoever.
This unlimited ability of mind to perceive is its illuminating nature, and corresponds to the element of fire.
This mind, essentially empty and illuminating, gives rise to all experiences which, whether samsara or Nirvana, is rooted in mind just as plants are rooted in soil.
This function of the mind as the origin of all experience corresponds to the elemental quality of earth.
Another aspect of the mind is its dynamic quality. Mind is never still: no single experience in it lasts, but quickly passes to another. Whether one is undergoing an emotional reaction, an experience of pleasure or pain, or a sensory perception such as seeing or hearing, the contents of the mind are always in a state of flux.
This continual activity of mind is the elemental quality of wind (air).
Mind with these four elemental qualities has always been so and always will be.
This very continuity, and the fact that mind adapts it to different situations, corresponds to the element of water.
Just as water sustains its continuity and adapts itself to every contour as it flows, the mind too is fluent, continuous, and adaptable.
The origin or basis of all experiences is mind, characterized by the five elemental qualities. Our particular situation at the moment is that of physical waking existence, in which we experience what is termed the body of 'Completely Ripened Karma' ('nam min ji lü'). The meaning here is that completely ripened karmic tendencies have given rise to this seemingly solid, concrete projection of mind that is our physical body.
The connection between the body we now experience and the mind which produced it is as follows.
The solid elements of our body, such as flesh and bone, represent the element of earth, just as the "solidity" of mind - its function as the basis and origin of all experience - reflects the element of earth.
Similarly, the bodily fluids such as blood, saliva, urine, lymph and so forth, represent the element of water.
The biological warmth of the body is the element of fire, while the element of space is represented by the orifices of the body, and by the spatial separation of the organs, which, instead of forming a homogeneous mass, are distinct and separate from each other.
Finally, there is the element of wind (air) which is connected with the breath, and maintains the organism by way of the respiratory process.
In short, it is from mind, which embodies the five elemental qualities that the physical body develops. The physical body itself is imbued with these qualities, and it is because of this mind/body complex that we perceive the outside world - which in turn is composed of the five elemental qualities of earth, water, fire, wind (air), and space.