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All animals are a part of man’s collective subconscious mind and cultural memory. Their imagery and symbolism pervades our ancient myths, scriptures and oral traditions. Cultural legends portray strong linkages between animals, deities and humans. We have been tied to animals for all time.

Many creation myths talk of when the animals were called into existence. The power and invisible vibration of saying the animal’s name coalesced the energies of that spirit into their physical form. When asked of the animals in the valley, the Cree medicine woman answered, “The animal spirits are a part of the earth’s energy. We cannot separate them from the collective life force.”

There is a Lakota Sioux prayer, Mitakuye Oyasin, which translates as “All Our Relations.”  It honors the sacredness and oneness of all forms of life. When repeated as a mantra, it creates an energy of awareness, which strengthens not only the person who prays, but the collective whole of the planet.

The Aboriginal Australians believe they are connected to all species. Their Ancestral Spirits laid down guidelines for them to safeguard the land and all species. They call this responsibility ”taking care.”

For the Northwest tribes, man always occupies the bottom of the carved totem. He alone holds up the animals as their caretaker. He alone is responsible for the condition of the planet upon which all of us live and depend. Man’s lack of “knowingand continual disregard for this earth is shifting the environment, in such a way that the animals and birds are becoming more and more confused.

If you are chosen by a “power animal”, you guard and honor him or her. In showing respect, humility and thankfulness, that animal becomes your teacher, your protector. Each animal offers certain gifts and innate knowledge for us. They have much to teach humanity.  Their wisdom may empower, protect, inspire and heal us. If we listen, we may survive together on this earth.

 

Catherine Eaton Skinner

2006