FROM OUR COMMUNITY

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.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 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

RITUAL: 

  • 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)

In ancient times, a seeker, or initiate would come before the Elders to find out which animal spirit belonged to them, most of them were born with their animal allies. This type of guidance was bestowed onto each person born in the tribe, allowing their power animals to represent their medicine. A ceremony to honor and call in your animal guides is a very sacred tradition, people are learning how to journey to connect with their power animals. Not everyone is born into a tribe with such traditions, but I believe every human has the right to understand and call in their power animals to help them through their spiritual unveiling. 
 
Animal totems have a large role in our lives as they are part of our self-discovery, giving us avenues of self-awareness and self-expression, they assist us to understand our past and aid us to see our future. Since ancient times, animals have served our spiritual journey, teaching us about overcoming our fears, stepping into our power. They act as spiritual guardians, connecting us to our ancestry. 
A talisman initiates us into the mysteries of the unknown, a charm to avert evil and bring good fortune producing miraculous effects. A talisman is an object marked with magic signs believed to confer on its bearer supernatural powers or protection. Every religion in history has offered small objects whose purpose is to heal, protect or connect you to a higher source of faith. A totem is a sacred object, a spirit being, or a symbol that represents a lineage based on deities. I think people are opening up to their spiritual calling and are needing sacred objects to help them deepen their faith. As we deepen our connection to Mother Earth, we are aligning ourselves with its sacred language. The animal kingdom offers many insights into that universe, and allows us to find meaning and purpose into our own unveiling. I think talismans and totems have been reawakened during this pandemic, now more than ever people are wanting to call in assistance to help them cope with the instability of our times, helping them ground and connect to a higher truth.   
 
I believe that the animal's medicine relays lessons that apply to the human search for unity with all our relations. Each part of creation has a valid place in the medicine wheel. Allowing people to open the doorway of interconnectedness between Mother Earth and all her creatures. To walk in balance with the understanding of our guides, the animals bring messages of healing to anyone that wants to observe their lessons. When we are calling upon the power of the animal, we are asking for the essence of strength, harmony, creating a sacred alliance. As we gain knowledge from them, we attain a sense of humility and intuitiveness, activating our healing process. The power lies in the wisdom and understanding of each animal's medicine, as we honor them they become our living teachers. In learning to call on the medicine of the animal kingdom we must be in reverence and be willing to accept assistance. It is in these teachings that have brought native people to revere and respect all living things, understanding that we are part of one heart and truth. 

 

ALYSON CHARLES — Shaman, Author and Spiritual Teacher

My deep, reverent and direct connection with the power animal world happened right after my simultaneous divine intervention and spiritual awakening day. My core power animal, the black panther, along with three additional supportive animal guides: the bear, frog and deer, all came forward to assist me with the many dramatic life changes that were happening all at once. In the many years since that time, my relationship with the power animal world has only exponentially strengthened. It has been one of the most exalting, trusting and honoring relationships I’ve ever had. 
They worked with me and saw the integrity, bravery, willingness and sacredness in which I do my work as a shaman. I worked with them and saw the unconditional love, steadfastness and mind-blowing generosity in which they do their work as incredible teachers.
Our respect for one another had become so strong, that they came to me two years ago while I was on a trip to Bali and asked for me to switch the book I had begun writing, to co-creating a modern-day power animals guidebook with them. I live by the calls, so I was whole-heartedly willing to make the big switch, and thankfully my literary agents were too. I’m very excited to say that POWER ANIMALS the book and card deck will both be out in 2021. 
The depth of our shared, loving connection and trust is also present in bold ways when I am a medium for them. I am an intermediary for anyone looking to receive guidance, energetic medicine or messages from the power animal most wanting to come forward to support that person’s life. The communication between myself and the animals happens in real-time, so I can convey and transmit what is wanting to come through to serve their highest, greatest good. 
For those looking to do the voyaging themselves, I’ve also provided countless guided shamanic journeys that allow one to travel to another realm in order to personally meet, interact with and ask questions of their animal guide(s). The power of our work together has been undeniable, and I’ve been very blessed to be able share it for over 10,000 people at the HBO Film Festival, for over 15,000 attendees at POPSUGAR’s female-led Playground Festival, for Oprah Magazine where the journey was named a “top meditation to try,” as well as being named a “full-fledged guide into your psyche” by Forbes and “the next big thing” by Marie Claire.
To be able to understand the infinite miracles that open up, when you open up to the spiritual pathway that calls to you, is one of if not the greatest opportunities for us to behold while incarnated on Earth. I have been fortunate to have my relationship with the power animal world be one of the main guiding forces of me living my most fulfilling life and I am ever-present with my gratitude for them. 
If going deeper with this work calls to you, my online course Spirit School provides 9 different Shamanic journeys guided by me, one of which is a journey to meet your very own power animal guide. I also recommend working with beautiful talisman pieces such as the ones created by Star Animal Sundays, that have the picture of the sacred animal whose essence you are calling to activate more of in your life, or whose embodiment and teachings you are most resonating with. Once the piece is chosen, treat it with honor, meditate with it, wear it near your heart, communicate with it and be open to the positive transformation that happens when you invite the miraculous world of power animals into your life.