working with animal allies
Intrinsic to paths of nature-based spirituality are animal allies. Allies give aid: they bring information, perspective, assistance, and revelation. They summon certain qualities from the seeker, providing perspective to something that is vital to being in right relationship with yourself and the world. Each has its own particular strength and medicine.
Allies can help you through specific stages of life, particularly times of change or transition. They provide important insights and offer their medicine to empower deep transformational work. The form an ally takes may surprise you at first, but as you engage deeply you will see what is being reflected by its presence.
Practice the following visualization technique to connect with an animal ally that is offering aid to you at this time. Keep an open mind and if necessary ask the skeptical part of your mind to wait at the door for this experience. Know that even when we ‘make something up’ in visualization journey exercises, what we are encountering are parts of our subconscious and deeper knowing, and there is no ‘wrong’ way to go about this!
Sit or lie down comfortably, taking several deep breaths to settle into your body and go within. In your mind’s eye, visualize taking a journey to a beautiful place in nature, which can be a real place you’ve been or any natural setting that calls to you. In this place, visualize yourself meeting a guide who will lead you to the animal ally that has something to share with you at this time. The guide may be a trusted person or other supportive ally that you’ve worked with previously, such as a guardian angel, spiritual figure, or representation of your Higher Self. As you greet your guide, follow them on the path where they are leading you to meet your new ally. This may be through new physical terrain, or may be quite familiar to you. Take in the quality of your surroundings, which is the habitat of this new ally for you. Get acquainted with their environment and pay attention to what you observe here. Now, open your heart to meeting your new ally as they come forward to introduce themselves to you. Ask them, ‘are you my ally?’ and you will find there will be an indication of affirmation if it is so. Spend some time with your new ally, perhaps make an offering of gratitude whether it be a flower, a song, a smile, a hug. Take in any information or lesson the ally wishes to offer. When it feels the time is complete, thank your ally and make a commitment to stay connected.
After your visualization journey is complete, write notes of your impressions. You may now also want to do some research on this animal, its habitat, way of life, mode of interaction, and anything else that calls to you. You may wish to avoid reading others’ interpretations of the ‘meaning’ of this animal as an ally, as while there may be generalities to certain animals, the meaning can be deeply personal and doesn’t always agree between sources. If so inclined, make an offering on your altar to your new ally or some other way of acknowledging your connection and gratitude.