Each month we invite an esteemed special guest from the holistic world to opine and share their thoughts and feelings on their process, soul work, spirit, animal guides, channeling, meditation, and their ethos
We welcome you to share in this self-reflection with us, in the hope you'll gain all the goodness that comes through insight, centeredness, peace, and a greater sense of connectedness with source energy
COLLEEN MCCANN - Energy Stylist
ANIMAL ICON'S 101
My magical connection with animals started during my past-life working as an NYC fashion stylist. I started noticing snake-y symbolism slithering towards me during a time in my life that I was going through major personal transformation-like going to Shaman School, learning about crystal healing, getting Reiki attuned, seeing spirits & having premonition dreams. At a photo shoot I was surrounded by vintage enamel snake bangles from the 70's, cobra t-shirt graphics & python prints. A 'subway personality' tried to put his pet boa constrictor on my shoulders in exchange for $5 on the L-train. At a gallery opening the artwork I was attracted to was inspired by Wadjet, the Egyptian snake goddess. My inside voice was screaming, “what's up with all this snake stuff around me… this isn't just the latest trend!' 'Snake medicine' handed me a personal invite to shed the layers of my life that were no longer serving me and I was hearing it in the loudest way possible...from everyone and everything in my environment. And change did come-I left the fashion industry, moved to California and founded Style Rituals.
After being in the wellness world for 15 years I have learned that the spirit of the snake crosses my path when major transformation is on the horizon. My business is built on snake vibes as I assist in aligning the energetic and visual bodies of people going through personally transformative moments. I learned that the universe asks me to lean into new experiences that invite a 're-style' and then I share all the tools, techniques & rituals that have helped me with my clients, students and mentees in a palatable and fun way. We are in a time of great change on our planet in both our internal and external worlds. All of us are being asked to shed the metaphorical skin which no longer serves us whether it's a job, relationship, belief system, lifestyle or all of the above. I thought it would be timely and nourishing to offer some tips on how we can all get educated & empowered to have our own creature connection by embracing one of my favorite Animal Icons: The Serpent.
WHERE DOES ANIMAL HONORING COME FROM?
Firstly, I believe anyone can connect with an animal's energy. Animals have been honored as omens, emblems & teachers in every culture & belief system since man has inhabited earth. The oldest known artifact of ‘animal honoring’ comes via a 44,000 year old cave painting in France. Depending on what tradition you come from they may be addressed as animal guides, animal oracles, animal essences, spirit animals, power animals or animal helpers. In the Norse & Celtic Shamanic lineages, where my ancestry originates, people have been addressing them as 𝘧𝘺𝘭𝘨𝘫𝘶𝘳 or 𝘢𝘪𝘯𝘮𝘩í 𝘣𝘪𝘰𝘵á𝘪𝘭𝘭𝘦 since 3BC. Animal Icons can be seen in every faith practice, belief system and modality and is such a beautiful thread that sews us together as an inclusive global people. Historically snakes represent fertility, creativity, life force energy & their skin shedding symbolically connects with rebirth, transformation, immortality and healing. The Nagas of India, half human & half viper serpent-spirits, brings aid to women on a fertility journey. The Hopi Snake Clan believe that water-snakes protect the tribe on their hikes and hunts. And in Celtic symbolism serpents are viewed as a multifaceted symbol that represents the idea of the creation process.
HOW DO I CONNECT WITH MY ANIMAL ICON?
If a particular animal keeps popping up in your life perhaps this “animal medicine” is trying to send a message your way.
Take a moment to reflect on how the shamanic, indigenous, or ancient information translates into your life as a symbol or a message. Be open to what the animal represents & be ready to engage when it extends the invitation. Engage with your animal by noticing what mental, emotional, spiritual & physical characteristics are surfacing for you currently that are being reflected through the animal.
There are many ways to engage with the animal's symbolic energy by honoring its presence. Build an altar to welcome its energetic presence. Wear a Star Animal Sundays Charm. Get physical by visiting a wolf sanctuary, walking through an aviary, hanging at the dog park, or meet me at my newly launched energetic etiquette academy, Charm'd School™, for the Animal Icon's Class.
MY FUN STYLE RITUALS CRYSTAL MUST HAVES FOR THE SNAKE ICON:
Serpentine 'the makeup wipe'
Septarian Quartz 'the weekly exfoliant'
Mosaic Quartz 'the chemical peel'
Photograph taken by Amy Dickerson for my book, Crystal Rx (Pub: Harper Collins). With great gratitude to Sacred Sexuality Teacher Londin Angel Winters & her temple snakes for posing for a pic and being a huge teacher in letting go.
DEBORAH HANEKAMP a.k.a MAMA MEDICINE - Medicine Reader, Healer, Author
For the past twenty years, I have been working as a Seeress, meaning I see the aura around animate and sometimes inanimate objects. This is a gift I’ve had for as long as I can remember and it is a tool I use in Medicine Readings. Being in the spiritual world for so long has taught me a lot. I’ve met many gifted healers and shamans, and I’ve also met a lot of charlatans and disempowered folks on some pedestal taking the power their followers are so willing to give up. Because of experience, and everything I’ve seen, I ask myself again and again; how can I use my gifts to be a light to myself and others while encouraging anyone who works with me to keep their power and trust themselves? The answer to this, is continuously reminding all who work with me to Be Your Own Healer, so much so that these words are the subtitle to my book Ritual Baths.
Being our own healer doesn’t mean that we can’t reach out for help from time to time, or learn from others, it just means that we can’t look to outside sources to “fix” us. The fact is, we are not broken or blocked, we are just ever-evolving through life’s twists and turns. It’s so beautiful, our mistakes, our flaws, and the moments when we realize we still have so much to learn. These moments are life's way of teaching us.
I tell the folks in my online membership program, Space by Mama Medicine, the number one thing to remember on the path of Being Your Own Healer, is that You Are Nature. Yes Beloved, it’s true. And just like nature you follow the spiral-like rhythm of arising, abiding and fading away. All of life moves with this rhythm; it is what keeps us all connected. Because of this, when folks ask me about what a particular Spirit Animal means, I ask them, “what does it mean to you?” All of existence is within you and you are within all of existence, the animals, the stars, and the plants. To find their meanings and hear their songs look within.
Allowing ourselves space, patience, and room to discover what animals, or any other symbol from spirit for that matter, means to us is powerful medicine and a potent way to be one's own healer. Read others descriptions, enjoy, but know the true meaning of what this animal is showing you is within you.
So I can share with you this bit from my own experience, but please keep whatever resonates with you and set aside anything that doesn’t.
To me animals are of the angelic realm. True angels on earth. They appear when we are in need of guidance, grace, and medicine. If you go back far enough, back to the matriarchal period of your own lineages, you will find that your ancestors knew how to heed the animals' messages. Some of us awakened the ancient memory in our blood and can still remember the old ways. Sometimes life shows up to remind us...
Circa 2007 I was leading a women’s retreat in Thailand. On a full moon’s night I brought the beautiful women down to a remote beach and we entered deep into the Medicine Reading Ceremony. A group of (very) drunken men saw us and began approaching us ready to disturb the work, and just then a pack of wild dogs came out from behind the trees, barked at them, and chased them away. The alpha dog stayed alert beside us for the remainder of the evening while the rest of the pack rested nearby. The women were in awe! When we were done working, the Alpha walked me back to my hut and slept outside the door. When I woke, I planned the big breakfast I would give him, but when I stepped outside he was gone.
Dog, and her relative Wolf, have been guides for me for many years. They remind me of who I am, and where and who I come from. They remind me to sing and follow the moon. Powerful examples of unconditional love, they are great healers of the heart.
Other guides that come through for me are Bees. My name means “busy bee” and whenever we go outside Bees land and kiss my daughter and I.
Dragonfly, Golden Eagle and all the cats big and small help me navigate the dimensions and assist me when I’m facilitating healing.
But enough about me and my stories, what do your animals mean to you? This bath from my book can help...
MEET MY SPIRIT GUIDES BATH
Spirit guides are energies of plants, animals, stars, ancestors, angels, and multidimensional beings who guide and protect us. From my perspective, everyone has spirit guides and sometimes they show up in Medicine Readings with messages for my clients. In the ceremony part of a Medicine Reading, they come through to pour their love, healing, and medicine on my clients. Actually, during the ceremony, I feel like it isn’t even me doing any of the work. I feel like more of a recipient than anything. The client’s guides come through, happily getting the chance to work with them.
When I look at someone’s aura, spirit guides are almost always cobalt blue dots. Depending on where in the aura they are, I can see if it is an ancestor, an angel, an animal, or something else.
One of the superpowers of being your own healer is even without a Medicine Reading, you can meet your spirit guides. This simple kitchen witch Ritual Bath can help.
1 cup salt (any kind)
At least 1 cup fresh or dried rosemary (if dried, make a tub tea)
1/2 cup fresh or dried thyme (if dried, make a tub tea)
Fresh or dried basil (if dried, make a tub tea)
1 cup blackberries and blueberries mixed in with 3 cups milk, 1 tablespoon of honey, and 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
10 drops of lavender essential oil
Moon water (to make, set a cup of clean water on a windowsill during a full moon to catch the light)
- Any non-water-soluble crystals you have (ideally ones you found yourself in nature)
- 1 fresh cucumber, sliced
Add each ingredient to the running water of your bath as an offering to your guides. Light a candle.
Create a smudge using a cinnamon stick by putting it in a nonflammable tray of some kind and igniting it. Waft the smoke around your body using a feather you have found.
Step into the bath and dunk your head underwater.
Place the palms of your hands on the surface of the water.
Close your eyes and go into a meditation.
Go to that special place within yourself where no one else can go.
Invite your spirit guides one at a time to come meet you there.
Introduce yourself to them and ask them questions, like you are meeting a new friend.
Thank them for all they do for you.
Be patient, you guides may come through in the bath or they may come later in your dreams or waking visions.
Take time after the bath or after meeting your guides to journal characteristics about them or things that they told you.
CHLOE GARCIA PONCE — Curandera (Healer)
ALYSON CHARLES — Shaman, Author and Spiritual Teacher