Calling Your Animal


There are different names for this exercise in different cultures. It is a way
for a person to get in touch with their animal aspects through dance. Keep in
mind that a Guardian Spirit can appear in animal or human form.

Undertake this exercise in a quiet, half darkened room which is free from
furniture that can hamper your movements. It is helpful if you have the use of
one or two rattles, but these are not necessary.

There are two parts to this exercise, 1- The Starting Dance, and 2- Dancing your
animal. In both dances, you loudly shake a rattle in each hand and dance in time
to the rattle. In all dancing, you keep your eyes half closed. This allows you
to cut down on the light and at the same time enables you to know where you are
in the room.

The Starting Dance
Standing still and erect, face east and shake one rattle very rapidly four
times. This is the signal that you are starting, ending or making an important
transition in serious shamanistic work. Think of the rising Sun and the power it
brings to all living things.

Still standing in place, start shaking one rattle at a steady pace of about 50
beats per second. Do this for about half a minute in each cardinal direction
while thinking of the element or power animals of that direction. For example,
you can think of an Eagle in the East, a Lion in the South, a Serpent or Dolphin
in the West, and a Bull in the North. Move clockwise.

Return to the East and shake the rattle above your head at the same rate for
about half a minute. Think of the sun, moon, starts and the entire universe
above. Now shake the rattle towards the ground and think of the earth, our home
and the gifts she gives to us.

Still facing the East, begin shaking both rattles at the same rate and dancing
along with the beat as if you were jogging in place. In this starting dance, you
are giving proof of your sincerity to the power animals wherever they may be, by
making a sacrifice to them of your own energy in the form of dance. Dancing is a
form of praying and evoking the sympathy of the Guardian Spirit.

Stop dancing and stand still. Shake one rattle four times to signal that you are
about to make an important transition.

Start shaking your tattles loudly, but in a slow tempo of about 60 beats per
minute. Start dancing around the room in time to the rattle. Move slowly and in
a free form. Try to pick up the feeling of some kind of mammal, bird, fish,
reptile or a combination of these. Once you feel the sense of something,
concentrate on it and slowly move your body in accordance with the creature. Be
open to the experience and emotion of the creature.

Don’t hesitate to make noises or cries. By keeping your eyes half closed, you
might be able to see the non-ordinary environment in which the animal is living.
You may even be able to see the animal. Do this for about 5 minutes. Without
pausing, shift to a higher state of rattle shaking and movement. Do this for
about 4 minutes. Another shift to a still faster pace of rattle and body
movements. Do this for about 4 minutes.

Stop dancing and mentally welcome the animal into your body. To do this, shake
the rattle four times and draw it and the animal towards your solar plexes.

Face the East and shake the rattle four times, while standing still. This is the
signal that your work has ended.

Once you have successfully gained your power animal, make it content enough to
say with you. This is done through exercising your animal through dancing and
singing songs of the animal.

Guardian animals usually only stay with a person for a few years, and then
depart. So in the course of a life long shamanistic practice, a person will have
a number of animals.