Published on April 8, 2013 by Carol
Connecting to the world around us
This article will help to introduce you to the way Native Americans interact spiritually with the earth, and with all the living things that live on earth. They honor the connection between us all whether we walk on two legs or four and offer ways to connect more deeply to the world around you in both an energetic and a spiritual sense.
This article is the first of a series about Native American spirituality.
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The Concept of Animal Medicine
This spiritual approach of finding power animals and spirit animals and animal allies all begins with the belief that they are our relatives, our “relations” and that they have “medicine” to share with us. But this medicine is not the traditional kind that most of us think of when we hear the word.
For Native Americans, “medicine” is anything that connects us more deeply to the divine (or “Great Mystery”) and to life, in general. Healing of our bodymind and our spirit is part of that and so is personal power.
Animal medicine suggests that we have access to this empowerment all the time because of our connection to certain animals that have come to be with us for a lifetime. But it also encourages us to ask for what we need if we do not have it. To borrow from the traits of animals who have what we need.
“When you call upon the power of an animal, you are asking to be drawn into complete harmony with the strength of that creature’s essence. Gaining understanding from these brothers and sisters of the animal kingdom is a healing process, and must be approached with humility and intuitiveness.” –Jamie Sams and David Carson, Medicine Cards
Native American Astrology
In Native American astrology, animals are used to depict the changing seasons and the twelve-month zodiac “signs” representing the medicine wheel.
They also connect different animals, seasons and elements to the four directions on the medicine wheel: North, South, East and West. Using medicine wheel astrology, you can discover your major power animal and your minor ones.
Though there are some Native Americans still using the Aztec agricultural calendar, most now use a 12-month lunar calendar and have aligned it and the medicine wheel with dates used in Western astrology.
“The twelve Moons [they use] correspond to the weather or activities that one would expect to occur during each season. Each astrological sign also corresponds to a tree, a stone and a color.”– Deborah Durbin, Simply Native American Astrology