I love working with my Animal Allies, an important part of my team of Allies which includes life guide(s), spirit messengers, ancestors, crystals, journey guides and so on.
I learn from all the Animal Allies that show up for me… creatures of the land, sea, air, extinct animals, and those of myth and legend. All are powerful. All have medicine for us.
Lynx has been with me for a long time and often guides my journeys into non-ordinary reality. She is a Life Guide for me, what some people might call a Totem Animal. For me, however, that term is more closely aligned with clans and kinship, and the animals of the various Medicine Wheels and zodiacs…. but we can each have our own terminology.
I have other Animal Allies too, and I am often both surprised and intrigued by who shows up in life and in dreams or meditation. Often we get quick doses of wisdom from what many call Animal Messengers: Hummingbird reminding us to be joyful or agile, Spider reminding us to connect with our creativity, Mouse reminding us to look at the small details. Messengers disappear once we have received the Medicine or learned the lesson… although they can reappear when we need to be reminded!
We can also work with the spirits of animals that have passed. Very recently, my childhood cat Ginger showed in a dream with some lovely wisdom and messages. I know many people receive messages for years from their companion animals.
Connect with the wisdom of your Animal Ally
I have participated in many Animal Ally workshops, early on as a participant but most often leading workshops (alone or with co-leaders such as Roz Shakespeare, and Sharron Basanti of The School of Gypsy Arts) so that others can connect with their personal animal allies.
I love that moment of discovery, that moment when people make a connection and start to form a relationship with their Ally.
When first discovering their Allies, many want “powerful” animals such as Horse, Bear, Lion, Whale, Butterfly or Eagle. Or they hope to “choose” an Ally that is somewhat like them… a gentle deer, a busy beaver, a beautiful songbird.
Few want Stink Bug, Mosquito or Rat!
But here’s the thing: we do not choose our Allies. They choose us. We can discover our Life Guide Animal Allies (and other allies) through meditation or through a journey to non-ordinary reality, where we connect with them and are accepted by them.
And, of course, some may know intuitively what their Animal Ally is because of messages they have already received.
Myths about Animal Allies
Myth # 1: One Medicine Only
People often believe there is only one type of Medicine for each Animal Ally species, but their wisdom can differ from others in their species as much as we as humans differ from each other. Although, as Maya Angelou says “We are more alike than we are unalike”.
Each Ally carries different Medicine and has its own personality. And each culture may have different insights into the Ally, based on their history or culture and geography. Spider means one thing to me in my Anglo-Irish culture, but something very different to my husband in his Jamaican culture.
Yes, there may be “general” Medicine from Bear or Lynx or Deer, but it’s important to connect to YOUR specific Bear or Lynx or Deer. Is your Bear male? Female? Young? Well nourished? Ailing? Scarred? Wounded? Mature? Hunting for salmon? Stuck on a lonely ice flow? Polar Bear? Grizzly Bear? Spirit Bear? Yogi Bear? (seriously, that happened in one workshop!)
Myth # 2: Good-Better-Best
I also find it interesting that for many folks — especially when they first start working with Animal Allies — there may be some sort of perceived hierarchy of “good-better-best” Allies in their mind.
But truly, their medicine is equally powerful. We receive the Medicine we need, not the Medicine or Ally that we want or think we need. The power is in how the Medicine can transform our life and our Self, not in how big or small, “good” or “bad” the Ally is.
How we see the Allies may also be a reflection of how we see the world, a powerful indication of shadow work at play.
Animal Allies come to us with Medicine that may be lifelong or may be just for that moment, that crossroad, that experience. And all are equal. Following their Medicine can be life-changing, whether it comes from Elephant or Butterly or Stink Bug.
The Power of the Shadow Animal Ally
There is a very special type of Ally that can also come to us in Animal form: the Shadow Guide. We all have a shadow side, those traits or qualities that we keep out of sight, under the surface of our consciousness, in the dark. The Shadow is often associated with undesirable qualities such as anger, fear, jealousy and other things we don’t like to acknowledge.
But the Shadow can also hold wonderful positive qualities waiting to emerge. By embracing the shadow side of our Self, we can shine light on it and transform/release the negative and allow the positive to bloom.
Raise your awareness for those messages about your Shadow. Do not fear them. Embrace them. They may appear in your dreams, a journey or in real life. I’ve heard some wonderful examples in workshops, such as folks connecting with an Ally in real life but not “getting” the message… and then the Ally getting their attention in a dream by a (painless) bite… the sting of a bee, a spider bite on their heart chakra, a nip from a dog or cat, etc.
When an Animal Ally brings a lesson about our Shadow side to us, it is a powerful opportunity for self-learning and self-development. And in that lovely duality of Yin-Yang, it can carry the Medicine of both Light and Shadow.
Embrace Your Dingo!
I had an experience at a workshop several years ago that both illuminated the “good-better-best” idea of Animal Allies and the power of the Shadow messenger guide.
As we sat in Circle as participants, our workshop leader started with messages for each of us from the Animal Allies she saw around us. This was essentially an icebreaker before we started digging into the main part of the workshop but ended up as a very powerful opportunity for transformation for one participant.
By the way… Seeing Animal Allies is an ability many of us have, including me, and it’s worth exploring as a form of clairvoyance. When I meet new clients, shamans, empaths and intuitives, and lightworkers, I often see the Guides or Allies accompanying them. It can be a great ice-breaker to share messages, with permission, from an Ally folks may not have known they had!
As the workshop leader began to share messages, the woman beside me (who had a very “big” and dominating personality!) leaned toward me and loudly said, “I already know mine will be something very powerful. It must be Bear or Lion. My personal motto is “Hear Me Roar!””
The workshop leader continued to share her insights, eventually coming to the woman beside me and gently said, “Dingo walks with you.”
The woman’s reaction was very strong and totally unexpected. It turned out she was originally from Australia, so was very familiar with that animal. She burst into tears when she heard this.
“I am the Dingo“, she said.
“Nobody understands me and nobody likes me.
I scare everyone.”
It was a stunning heart-felt moment and insight that allowed her to start acknowledging and exploring her shadow side and start being authentic. The surface bravado (Hear Me Roar!) concealed her deeper fears and her lack of connection to others, her fear of being unloved.
“I am the Dingo”. Knowing that helped her to find a new way to connect that didn’t dominate, overpower or instil fear. She could choose Love over Fear. She could love her Self. She didn’t have to “roar”. She could speak quietly and gently from her heart in future, with assertion rather than intimidation. She didn’t have to worry about being judged as “not good enough” as she reclaimed her confidence. She worked with this insight throughout the workshop, dropping her shields to allow others to see her authentic self and describe her fears.
It was a beautiful and inspiring moment to see her transformation begin.
Each Animal Ally has both the Shadow and the Light within their medicine. Dingo too also has very positive wisdom/medicine. For instance, like Coyote it adapts easily to new environments. It is a messenger with Spirit, a survivor, and carries ancient wisdom. This woman truly was powerful but had to learn to stand in her power authentically. Dingo helped her with both her Light and her Shadow.
What Animal Allies do you connect with?
How have they influenced and guided your journey?
Many of the photographs in this post were used with permission of Sue Ratcliffe Photography, an award-winning and gifted wildlife photographer (and yes, my sister), who has photographed animals that inspire her across Canada, America, France, Spain, Portugal, Morocco, Ireland, Tanzania, India, Iceland and likely many other places I haven’t mentioned!
You can follow her work on Facebook at @Sue Ratcliffe Photography and on Red Bubble.
The images of Dingo, Rat Babies, Stink Bug and Mosquito were sourced from Pixabay under a Creative Commons License.