One of the most exciting and enjoyable shamanic practices for me is working with my power animals. Also known as spirit animals, totems, guides, angels, these incredible friends can be the difference between standing in your power as you walk through life or remaining in victim mode.

My first encounter in my adult life with power animals was in my nighttime dreams. I have always been an avid dreamer, but through my initiation into certain suffering, my dreams became more profound and intense each year. The very first animal who came to me in my dreams in adult life was the eagle. What a love affair that has been! I am always chasing after the feathers they are dropping.

I will never forget the dreams that came to me after my daughter was born, in the darkest time of my life when I was suffering with severe postpartum depression.

I am walking into the damp, warm room of a hotel pool. It is evening and there are windows across the entire wall to the outside darkness. There is a palpable energy in the room but no one else is present. As I come closer to the pool, a heavy, giant octopus arm slowly slides out onto the tile and wraps around my body, embracing me. I am both terrified and exhilarated.

Thus began a long string of encounters in my dreams with various ocean creatures, but the octopus most of all would not let me go and came to me night after night with new teachings. I swam with stingrays and whales and sharks and dolphins. These dreams were blissful, and I would miss them when they ended the way you miss a great novel after its final page.

When I began doing shamanic journeying, I was able to intentionally dream and interact with these animals, communicating with them to learn larger lessons about my life. The octopus eventually acknowledged to me his name and his role, along with many other teachings about my soul and purpose.

I then started meeting new animals who would lend their assistance and special talents, and as I ventured into journeying for others I was able to see the significant impact that retrieving and acknowledging one's animal provides. Even further into my work I realized that the octopus would not always be front and center, but that my primary animals could shift based on what I need in the present. 

In my experience, nothing has ever helped me feel safer and more at home than cultivating my relationships with these animals of the soul realm. I never knew an interest in octopus before he came to reclaim me, nor did I ever imagine dragons as friends. It is amazing how we can transform!

Power animal retrieval is one of the most popular things that people come to see me for. Sometimes the animals are a big surprise to people --the octopus was for me--but before the octopus showed up I didn't even know what a power animal was so I didn't have expectations. 

The recent news of a mid western dentist whose sinister hobby is big game hunting has me thinking that we are in need more than ever to connect with animals on a spiritual level.

What or who are your favorite animals? Have you had a power animal retrieval? What is your relationship to your animal now? Have you dreamed of them?