Mini Vision Quest – A Daily Practice for Modern Life

In many earth-centered spiritual traditions, a young person is expected at some point to young woman in natural settinggo off alone into the wilderness. There, he fasts and prays until he is given a dream or vision. Often, it is a Power Animal that delivers the message he is meant to receive. This he brings back to the shaman, who helps him interpret his experience. The Vision Quest is an important rite of passage that initiates the young person into adulthood.

In our society, the Vision Quest is a bit of an alien concept.  But it’s one we would do well to adopt.  I think the most beautiful and powerful thing about it is that in choosing to undergo such a spiritual quest, the mind (ego) must consciously relinquish control.

You hear a lot about “vision” in success circles. However, you rarely hear people talking about being led
by spirit in this context. Usually it’s used as a synonym for strategic planning.

When your vision consists solely of strategy and planning, it becomes a mind game. If you’re sharp, it can lead to powerful results. But rarely will they be results that lead to the highest good for all involved. Thought is powerful, but it is localized. Relying on thought, or mind, alone may work well in the short term, but if you want to be sustainable and successful in the long run you’ve got to let Spirit lead the way. And that means getting your ego to support the process by stepping aside so you can open to the flow and guidance that comes through.

I’ve come to understand that vision questing is possible for us modern folk, too, even if we never get the chance to spend four days alone in the wilderness. In fact, it’s not only possible, it may  well be an essential practice to take up if we are to regain our collective sanity.

Here is my recipe:

Spend time alone, daily if you can, unplugged, with no urgent agenda, and connected somehow to the natural world. This can mean sitting in your yard watching ants, taking unstructured walks outside, or even taking a bath. (Water is a natural element.) Whatever you choose to do, let this be a time of opening your awareness to your environment and your physical experience. You will probably experience mind chatter, but keep bringing your awareness back to your senses.

In time (this may take hours, days, months, or years, but however long it takes is right for you), you will find that you suddenly will begin receiving flashes of insight or ‘downloads’ of wisdom.  Perhaps you’ll start tuning into messages from your power animals or guides. Or you’ll start receiving vivid and meaningful dreams. Or, you may simply start noticing  that you just “know” things. This is Spirit speaking to you. (You’ll know it’s Spirit speaking and not something else, because it feels safe, true and right.)

This type of “mini” vision questing is not as dramatic as the traditional way, but it can still make a profound impact on your life. Try it!

Have you ever done a full blown vision quest? Do you engage in “mini vision questing?” Please share your experiences below! 

Did you enjoy this post? Christie

If you did, you will enjoy my newsletter, too. I share positive affirmations, uplifting artwork, and spiritual insights for awakening souls. You will also get a free guided meditation to help you meet your Spirit Animal! Just go to the "Cool Stuff" tab in the menu up top and click on "Newsletter" to subscribe.

Finding Your Life’s Purpose with Power Animals

Digital illustration girl and waspThere comes a time for everyone (whether in this lifetime or another one) when you suddenly wake up and think “Why am I here? What is my purpose in life?” 

This is a valid question. So don’t get upset with me when I say that the word “purpose” is a bit misleading.

After all, what is the “purpose” of a star? Or a cloud? Or a toad? They simply are. And that is wonderful. As Joseph Campbell said, “The purpose of life is life.”

“Purpose” is really a concept of the ego. But that’s OK. The ego has been getting a bad rap lately. Like it or not, we are ego beings. In fact, it is what sets us apart from most other life forms. And it is a sign of a mature (or at least maturing) ego to ask its purpose.

Perhaps a better way to put the question would be “How can I best support the highest good?” But “purpose” works. Regardless of the term you use, the important thing is that the ego finally realize that it is a supporting actor, not the lead.

“Finding your life’s purpose…”

…is really just a matter of uncovering your inner natural self and expressing it fully. In other words, you don’t have to find your purpose. You already have one. You were born with it. It’s just a matter of tuning into it and clearing out the blocks surrounding it.

My 16 year old daughter came home the other day with a new word. (I love teenagers.) The word is “CHILLAX.” She explained that it is a combination of “chill out” and “relax.”

Awesome.

But when I mentioned the word at a healers’ conference I attended recently, the workshop leader immediately saw an alternate meaning:

“CHILL” plus “AX.” As in axing out the dead wood.

I like it.

And that’s really what we need to do when we’re seeking our “purpose.” On the one hand, chill out, relax, and open to your inner guidance. And on the other hand, axe out whatever stands in your way.

Howling Wolf and Moon What do Power Animals have to do with it?

There are many ways to “chillax” into your Life’s Purpose. But I’ve always found working with Power Animals to be a great way to get into it. Why? Because…

  • They’re easy to relate to.
  • They resonate well with the physical body, which helps you stay grounded – very important for spiritual work.
  • They are excellent at showing direction and pointing the way (once you learn to interpret their messages).
  • Animals are all about ACTION, which is the third step you need to take after relaxing and clearing your blocks.

Working with Power Animals has helped me find my husband (and stay with him through ups and downs that might have destroyed another marriage), overcome depression, and find a career path that is rewarding on so many levels.

It can help you, too. If you’d like to know more, do sign up for my newsletter. I’ll send you totem animal meanings as well as other spiritual guidance, and keep you informed of upcoming workshops and events that will help you find your Life’s Purpose!

Did you enjoy this post? Christie

If you did, you will enjoy my newsletter, too. I share positive affirmations, uplifting artwork, and spiritual insights for awakening souls. You will also get a free guided meditation to help you meet your Spirit Animal! Just go to the "Cool Stuff" tab in the menu up top and click on "Newsletter" to subscribe.

Is the Octopus your totem animal?

octopusO, what an oddity is the Octopus!

With its eight tentacled legs and its funky looking face, it looks more like something out of Star Wars than an Earthly animal.

In fact, there’s something magical about the Octopus. If you find Octopuses occupying your dreams or imagination, you may find that you are in for some magical or mystical experiences!

For one, the Octopus inhabits the depths of the ocean. Therefore it may point to things happening under the surface – in your emotions and/or subconscious.

The Octopus is a master shapeshifter. Its body is nearly as fluid as its watery home; octopi are mollusks (like clams or snails) but most have no hard parts, aside from a hard “beak” they use to feed on shellfish and other prey. They are capable of changing the color and texture of their skin to match their surroundings – or to make themselves stand out. The color changes can happen instantly and are thought to also sometimes reflect the Octopus’s mood and emotions.

One species, the Mimic Octopus, actually alters its shape to impersonate other species – at least 15 of them, including the Flounder, Sea Snake, and poisonous Lionfish.

Shapeshifting is not the only trick the Octopus keeps up its eight sleeves. When startled, it shoots out a cloud of ink as it zooms away. This creates a “smokescreen” behind it, which confuses its enemies and allows it to safely escape from predators.

OK, and here’s something even more bizarre: Octopuses may be able to see with their skin! Researchers have found gene sequences in octopus skin that are usually only found in ocular centers. Speaking of ocular, Octopuses have well-developed eyes and are supposed to have excellent vision. They are also quite intelligent and able to plan and solve problems.

Octopus as a totem animal can indicate:

  • Adaptability
  • Magic and mystery
  • Shapeshifting
  • Highly developed vision
  • Psychic ability
  • Deep emotions
  • Connection between mental and emotional faculties
  • Protecting self using intelligence, slyness, or other means other than brute force

 

photo credit: Pulpo via photopin (license)

Did you enjoy this post? Christie

If you did, you will enjoy my newsletter, too. I share positive affirmations, uplifting artwork, and spiritual insights for awakening souls. You will also get a free guided meditation to help you meet your Spirit Animal! Just go to the "Cool Stuff" tab in the menu up top and click on "Newsletter" to subscribe.

Power Animals: What does Nighthawk symbolize?

Nighthawk paintingAre you familiar with Nighthawks? If not, you probably have seen them flying overhead on summer evenings, but most likely mistook them for Bats.

Nighthawks are not hawks at all but  night-flying, insect-eating birds related to the Whippoorwill.

The Nighthawk is a wonderful power animal for many reasons, but today I’m just going to focus on one of them. If you look at a Nighthawk with its beak shut you might think it had a very small mouth, since its bill is indeed tiny. But when it opens its mouth… wow! That sucker is HUGE!

The Nighthawk feeds with ease simply by swooping through the air and opening its wide, wide mouth to scoop up insects. What a wonderful symbol of abundance!

Nighthawk teaches us that abundance results from two mindsets: taking action, and opening oneself to receiving the goods. Nice! 🙂

(This article is a sort of sneak preview. I will be sharing a LOT more about Nighthawk symbolism in an upcoming article for The Essence of Spirit, Mind, Body. If you’re not familiar with this interactive magazine, check it out – it’s awesome. You can get it on the Apple app store here.)

Did you enjoy this post? Christie

If you did, you will enjoy my newsletter, too. I share positive affirmations, uplifting artwork, and spiritual insights for awakening souls. You will also get a free guided meditation to help you meet your Spirit Animal! Just go to the "Cool Stuff" tab in the menu up top and click on "Newsletter" to subscribe.

Mouse Power Animal Meanings

mouseWe humans seem to have a love-hate relationship with mice.

On the one hand, you have to admit they’re cute little critters with their big eyes and round ears. Then there are our beloved fictional mice such as  Mickey Mouse, Mighty Mouse, and Speedy Gonzales.

On the other hand, if you’ve ever had mice invade your home you probably agree that they are quick to wear out their welcome. (My car is a testament to that right now. We recently brought it back up from central Illinois, where it was parked outside our rural former home. Mice had made their way into the ventilation system and now we are blessed with their unique perfume whenever the vents are on. 🙁  Ick.)

Whatever your personal experiences of mice, you have to admit that despite its minute size, Mouse is a powerful totem animal.

Mouse represents the power of persistence, determination, bravery, and success against the odds. If you have a big task in front of you, Mouse can help you tackle it by showing you that even tiny efforts add up to big results when you persevere and keep taking those baby steps. (One fall I found one of my ski boots virtually full of popcorn after we had had a mouse in the house. It must have taken that little guy several dozen trips from the pantry to the attic to fill that thing up.)

Mouse is also a wonderful symbol for the “little guy.” Mice make their greatest impact when there are many of them. One mouse in your house probably won’t make too much difference, but where there are whole families of them you better believe they’ll impact your life. So if you ever find yourself in a David and Goliath situation (such as fighting corporate injustice), think of Mouse and rally yourself some support! Lots of Little Guys together can make big impact.

Finally, Mouse speaks to us of fertility and creative genius.  Rabbits have nothing on mice when it comes to rapid reproduction. Did you know that mice have a gestation period of only 21 days? And that a mother mouse gives birth to as many as 14 young per litter, with an average of 6-8? Females become sexually mature at just 6 weeks, and they happily breed through all seasons of the year.

So, if Mouse is your totem and you don’t want kids, be sure to take proper precautions! 🙂 The good news is that in humans the same energy is closely linked with creativity. (Fertility and creativity are both associated with the Sacral chakra.) So Mouse coming into your life may herald a period of creative abundance for you.

 

photo credit: Got you! via photopin (license)

Did you enjoy this post? Christie

If you did, you will enjoy my newsletter, too. I share positive affirmations, uplifting artwork, and spiritual insights for awakening souls. You will also get a free guided meditation to help you meet your Spirit Animal! Just go to the "Cool Stuff" tab in the menu up top and click on "Newsletter" to subscribe.