Shamanism is now a subject that generates a lot of interest among those who wish to approach life from a more authentic angle. Actually, there is not just one shamanism, but a multitude of traditions, scattered all over the world. There are, however, some common points in these different approaches: in addition to various techniques for connecting to altered states of consciousness, the celebration of Mother Nature is a recurring element in all shamanic rituals. The importance of plant and animal energies is a central point, and it is common to make shamanic journeys to identify our power animals and plants. Once we have met them, we can build a relationship with them, tap into their energies, and learn more about ourselves.

Today I’m excited to announce my “Spirit Animal” oracle deck is available in a beautiful physical edition, published by Beyond Words Publishing. This deck was born as a result of deep shamanic experiences in Peru, working with teacher plants like Ayahuasca. With these experiences, it is common to have powerful visions. During one of these ceremonies, I was shown how the animal world was made up of an incredible diversity of energies and talents, developed and refined over thousands of years. I was also shown that we can tap into these infinite resources, and draw inspiration from them on a daily basis. Since that experience, animals have become an inexhaustible source of teachings for me.

We humans are a multidisciplinary species. We are in a way the “Jack-of-all-trades” of the Earth. Animals, on the other hand, are specialists in their field, having developed to the extreme capacities and savoir faire to ensure their survival.

In shamanism, it is possible to connect to the Spirit of an animal species, its very essence, in order to ask for its help and take advantage of its talents. The cave paintings on the walls of prehistoric caves are probably the oldest illustration of this: it is assumed that the depiction of animals and hunting scenes were a means of invoking the spirit of the game, and perhaps even communing with it on a level that we have long forgotten.

Today, these energies are still accessible to us. Seeing the evolution of our current world, it seems more than ever necessary to re-establish this primordial connection between us and the animal world. Animals are an infinite source of love and inspiration, if we make the effort to explore our relationship with the Earth and all the beings that inhabit it. They are living examples showing us how we could be in tune with our deepest nature.

The “Spirit Animal” oracle cards are a tribute to this precious animal world, which, like a mirror, can send us back to our own inner world. It can not only inspire us, guide us, but also support us and give us the energy we need for our own journey.

As soon as I started working on the writing of this oracle and the creation of its illustrations, the spirits of the animals gradually came to me in dreams and deep meditations. They showed me their energy and told me how to use their power and benevolence to evolve and heal. This is also why I chose to represent them as I saw them in my visions, from a more spiritual than physical point of view. I hope I have done them justice.

You can use these cards to connect with the archetypes of animals and receive daily guidance on the issues you are concerned about. A particular spirit may come up, suggesting an attitude, strategy or idea that will help you overcome your challenges, and gain clarity about your current situation. Animals often use solutions that we too can imitate.

You can also use them to identify one of your totem animals – as it is common to have several, each reflecting a different facet of your personality and sensibilities. It is very useful to know your totem animal, as it is then possible to study this particular animal species, and often discover unsuspected talents and abilities within you.

All too often, we can see people limiting themselves to certain species, when they are looking for the animal that best represents them. In the “Top 5” of totem animals, we find the Wolf, the Bear, the Eagle, the Lion or the Jaguar. They are obviously magnificent spirits, and I wouldn’t argue with that, given my deep connection with the Wolf. But you don’t have to be at the top of the food chain to experience a form of power. Strangely, no one seems to be an Ant, a Spider, or a Skunk. Yet all these creatures are wonderful teachers for anyone who wants to get to know them. For example, the Spider is for me a very powerful spirit, whose creativity and artistic expression are major assets in all my activities.

So my advice is not to limit yourself to the most common examples. We are all different, with unique talents. A totem animal is not only something that defines you, but also something that can support and inspire you according to the path your soul has chosen to live on this Earth. So be bold, and go out into this vast animal world to find the energies that will be most useful to you. Our animal brothers and sisters have so much to share!

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Note: The Spirit Animal Oracle Cards were first published as a mobile app. If, in addition to your hard copy, you want to take your cards wherever you go, you can find this app by searching for “Indie Goes Oracle Cards” on your phone or tablet’s app store, and try the deck for free.