Today, shamanism is a subject that generates a lot of interest. Especially among those who wish to approach life from a more authentic angle. There is not just one form of shamanism, but many of these traditions, scattered worldwide. There are, however, certain significant 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. 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.
The Spirit Animal Oracle deck (from Beyond Words Publishing) was born due to profound 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 witnessed how the animal world was composed of the incredible diversity of talents and energies, developed and refined over thousands of years. I also learned that we could tap into these infinite resources and draw inspiration from them daily. Since that experience, animals have become an inexhaustible source of teachings for me.
As humans, we 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 an animal species' spirit, its very essence, to ask for help and take advantage of its talents. The paintings on the walls of prehistoric caves are probably the oldest illustration of this time. It is assumed that the depiction of animals and hunting scenes was a means of invoking the spirit of the game—and perhaps even communing with it, a level that we have long forgotten.
Still, today, these energies are accessible to us. Seeing the evolution of our current world, it seems more than necessary to reestablish this primordial connection between us and the animal world. Animals are an infinite source of love and inspiration, only if we make an 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.
My Spirit Animal Oracle cards are a tribute to this precious animal world, which, like a mirror, can send us back to our inner world. It can not only inspire and guide us, but it can also support and give us the energy we need for our journeys.
As soon as I started working on this oracle's writing and creating its illustrations, the animal spirits gradually appeared in my dreams and deep meditations. They showed me their energy and taught me how to use their power and benevolence to evolve and heal. This is why I chose to represent them as I saw them in my visions, from a more spiritual than a physical point of view. (I hope I have done them justice!)
These cards can be used for connecting with the archetypes of animals and receive daily guidance on one's concerns. A particular spirit might come up, suggesting an attitude, strategy, or idea that will help you overcome challenges and clarify 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 of them reflects a different facet of your personality and sensibilities. It is advantageous to know your totem animal. Because it can then be possible to study this particular animal species and discover unsuspected talents and abilities within you.
All too often, we see people limiting themselves to a particular species. Especially 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 magnificent spirits. However, the animal you choose doesn'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, each of these creatures is an excellent teacher for anyone who wants to learn from them. For me, the Spider is a mighty spirit whose creativity and artistic expression are significant assets in all my activities.
Ultimately, my advice is not to limit yourself to the most common examples. We are all different from each other with the unique talents of our own. A totem animal is not only something that defines you. But it is also something that can support and inspire you. According to the path, your soul has chosen to live on this Earth.
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!
Frédéric Calendini is a French shaman, author, and entrepreneur. In 2009, after a personal crisis that led him to profound questioning, he met Amazon's shamans. Since then, he has continued to study and work with these ancient traditions. He also offers therapeutic counselling and shamanic healings.
As a former IT manager, he founded Indie Goes Software, an initiative to bring together authors worldwide to share their positive energy and wisdom through a rich collection of mobile applications (www.indie-goes.com).
For more about Frédéric Calendini, visit: www.fredericcalendini.com/.
The Spirit Animal Oracle card deck releases from Beyond Words Publishing on September 29, 2020. The deck was first published as a mobile app with Indie Goes. 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," either on your phone or tablet's app store and try the deck for free.