spirit allies



Faeries by Jan Engels-Smith

“Faeries, come take me out of this dull world, For I would ride with you upon the wind….”

W.B. Yeats, The Land of Heart’s Desire

Our world is diverse, not only with the obvious diversities among humans such as race, socio-economic status, religion, language, and cultures, but also in the diversity in the unseen worlds. Several years ago the spirits told me that we see less than 1% of our surroundings, and quantum physics posits that our perceptions of energy are even smaller and that we are aware of less than .001% of our surroundings. In other words, we are blind to most of the context in which we live. There are dimensions and realities that we share on the earth that are as developed and comprehensive as our own natural world and there are diverse “other” beings that live among us.

One of these mysterious worlds is the faery realm, the hidden folk, or people of the Shea (pronounced Fay). In the early 1990’s I saw a documentary on Iceland and the residents of this country who hold beliefs in the faery realm. The documentary included interviews with the president of Iceland, teachers, road workers, city planners, and country folk. The Icelandic culture is steeped in their beliefs in faeries and their respect in sharing the land with this mostly invisible culture.

Before housing developments, highways, roads, malls or other structures are built on open land, survey crews take note of where faery villages are located and either move them or go around them so as not to disrupt or destroy the faery habitat. The documentary did not go into an in-depth explanation of how the villages are identified; however, it was implied that the Icelandic culture knows how to do this. I was intrigued with the documentary and how this culture taught about the faeries in school, featured them in newspaper articles, and had a widespread acceptance of the faerie kingdom. The president himself stated that of course he believed in faeries.

During my many years as a shamanic practitioner and teacher, the faeries have been instrumental in my work and my play. Making the decision to open the door of the truth to this realm, I have then allowed there to be interaction. “I’ll believe it when I see it” is a statement of limitation and contributes to the perception of blindness to the greater mysteries of existence. We make a choice of how open we will be to possibilities and one of those choices is to decide “I’ll see it when I believe it.” New realities emerge in direct proportion to our willingness to imagine and to dream—our access to the places of alternate realities. The spirits have often said that if a person just suspends their disbelief that new realities can present.

Faeries can be found anywhere. They are not limited to pristine natural environments, although these locations are often full of faery activity. If you are a city dweller you can find faeries in parks, in your yard, or in other natural settings and you can invite them to present. Classically, faery rings, which are circles of stones, can be constructed with the intent that you would like to interact and the rings invite this realm into your life.

My first induction into this world of faeries was the result of a dying tree in my yard. The nursery that I used came out to diagnose the blight I saw on the tree and I was told that the tree had a virus that would not only cause the tree to die but would spread throughout my yard, killing many plants. It was recommended that I destroy the tree, dig up a majority of my yard, and dispose the effected soil. This was devastating news to me as my gardens are my pride and joy. I don’t even have grass in my front yard but have landscaped it with gorgeous flowers and trees.

I remembered a story that my friend Tom Cowan had told. Tom is a renowned Celtic shaman and I have taken several classes from him. Celtic shamanism has many traditions steeped in faery lore.   Tom told a story that involved a tree he was trying to save from dying (Elm’s Disease I believe) and how he had invoked the faery realm to help. Remembering this story gave me the incentive to try something similar. I decided to create a faery ring around the tree with a circle of stones. I then journeyed to the faery realm and asked the faeries to help. In exchange, I committed to make daily offerings to them, which included singing to them. The faeries use the essence of energies to keep their world strong and vital. Since the faery realm is based on music, joy, and beauty, the essence of these things can be used as vital life force. The faeries always require an exchange for services much like we do in the human realm. With this in mind I hung tiny wind chimes in the tree and adorned it with other special decorations. Faeries love beauty and cleanliness and shiny things so it is always good practice to pay attention to the circle and maintain it in good ways.

At LightSong School of 21st Century Shamanism and Energy Medicine we have a number of songs that are designated “faery songs.” We often sing them with the intent to send powerful life force to this realm. It was these songs that I sang each day to my personal faery ring. I never treated the tree with harsh chemicals to kill the virus nor did I try to cut out the black bark that was a result of the virus. Almost the entire lower half of the tree was discolored and black. Yet soon, a new growth appeared not at the top of the tree but around the base. This new growth started to encase the weakened areas of the tree. It was obvious that the tree was being “helped” for the growth was out of the norm of tree growing patterns. For years I would show people the miraculous change in the tree and tell the story of the faery doctoring that the tree received. Now almost twenty years later there is no evidence of the damage to the tree and the story needs to be taken on faith. I realized this when Tom was visiting last spring and I wanted to show him the results of his teaching that summoned the faeries that we both admire and love. I still keep the sacred stones and regularly tend the faery ring. The faeries have become a major ally for me entrusted with my most precious prayers and concerns.

I have many great stories of faery interaction including one involving a friend of mine. Robin was on a trip to Scotland with Tom Cowan and the intent of the trip was to travel to famous Celtic sites and conduct ceremonies. One of these sites is a faery glen that is famous for faery interaction. Robin attended more for the sake of his wife Colleen, who was studying shamanism, and he had only a minor interest in the topic of faeries. Robin reluctantly decided to participate in the designated activity and he took his rattle out into the glen. He was immediately altered and felt a strong directive coming from somewhere. He was told to “clean up the glen.” He could feel a pull from an invisible force and hear a distinct voice directing him to go to certain places. The necessary cleanup was not obvious to others that visited the glen. Even though the faeries claim to like shiny things they don’t like metal and they don’t like a mess. Robin was directed to dig with his hands into the dirt where he would find metal scrap—objects buried in the landscape invisible to public view yet unacceptably invasive in the faery realm. Sometimes Robin would hear a comment such as, this is scaring our children or this is in our way or this is ugly. He was asked to remove the intrusive objects. He even had to dig with his fingernails into a tree to pull out a nail. His fingers bled with the effort. All in all he found 19 items, which he still has to this day. He brought them home as mementos of a magical time in the glen. From Tom’s perspective, Robin appeared to move in a trance-like fashion. Tom also saw shimmering lights in front of Robin, directing his path. Tom commented that he was fascinated when he first observed him but he had no idea what had happened to Robin or why he was behaving in such a strange way. Since that trip in 1999, Robin has had an intimate relationship with the faery realm and many magical things have happened to him and for him especially in the area of his business and prosperity. The exchange seems to be one that keeps on giving.

Shamanically speaking the faeries live in the middle world, which is the same world that we live in. They have many of the same cultural structures in place as we do, such as nurseries for the children, schools, hospitals and villages. They live in groups. They have social gatherings and conferences. Their mission is to keep the earth beautiful. They are bound to their original instructions forfeiting free will to maintain their mission. They are not all knowing like many spiritual allies are; however, they are magical, directly influence the human realm and can make things happen for us that many other spirits cannot. If you are interested in building a relationship with them, build a faery ring, sing to them, make offerings to them, and watch what happens.

Note the faery playing a flute in the photo I included. The photo was taken by my daughter of a plant in my yard.

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Power Animal Retrieval

Power Animal Retrieval By Jan Engels-Smith

“Until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened.”

Anatole France

Power Animal Retrieval By Jan Engels-Smith


In the Christian faith, people often speak of guardian angels as beings that are available to provide special assistance in the time of need. In the blending of faiths that I practice, I too believe in guardian angels, but in shamanism there is the belief that we are born with a power animal that serves as an ally throughout our lives, although we may not always be aware of this formidable supporter. As we grow into adulthood in the West, it is likely that we are not familiar with the concept of a power animal but these beings are always available if we decide to seek them out and call on them for support.

Children, in their divine innocence, are assigned a power animal at birth and this spiritual helper intervenes to buffer the child from the notorious bumps and bruises that each child is so subject to. Children’s resilience and adaptability is enabled by these divine spirits that keep them safe until they mature. We often lose contact with these divine spiritual beings as we grow up and unfortunately put away “childish things.” Our loss of imagination and dismissal of “magic” as a force in our lives causes us to sever our connections to the spiritual world and to our power animal. Power animal loss affects us in many of the same ways as soul loss, as they are closely connected. In shamanic practice, the restoration of lost parts of the soul is aided by the retrieval of one’s power animal and this spiritual helper sustains us in difficult situations.

The signs of power animal loss and/or soul loss may include:

  • Chronic fatigue, depression, misfortune, faulty or failed relationships, emotional problems or suicide tendencies;
  • The inability to overcome some emotional trauma from the past such as the death of a loved one, divorce, or distress in childhood;
  • Addictions to alcohol, drugs, gambling, or other debilitating dependencies;
  • Repetitive or major illnesses or a problem with recovery;
  • Shame, guilt, or a feeling of unworthiness;
  • A feeling of powerlessness.

In difficult situations, when we are in our greatest need, the absence of our power animal exposes us to greater danger and the opportunity to heal is lessened without this divine intervention. Fortunately, as we seek to recover from trauma, possibly by seeking out a soul retrieval from a shamanic practitioner, the retrieval of our power animal can help us to fully mend and this spiritual helper can remain with us to sustain our recovery. Our power animal does not cease to exist when he has left us because of our ceasing to believe in him; he has simply bided his time awaiting our decision to seek him out and bring him back to help us.

You may think of your power animal as having traveled from you (although it might be more accurate to understand that you have traveled far from him) or you might consider that he has been sleeping for many years. In either scenario, you have been exposed to debilitating and harmful conditions and have suffered the consequences of facing your suffering alone. If you have entered in a quest for personal enlightenment, healing, and reconnection to the universe, then you would be well served to retrieve your power animal and accept his willingness to aid and abet you in the restoration of your wellbeing, regaining your own personal power, and thriving in your spiritual development.

I would make one distinction in reference to power animals. If you engage with shamanic healing, you may be aware of the shaman calling on a diverse range of power animals to effect healing and to restore wellness in an individual. These power animals are allies of the shaman and assist the shaman both in healing sessions as well as everyday life. The power animals incorporated in shamanic practices often are assisting with tasks that you are involved with. These power animals can come and go without power loss to the individual. These are not the power animals to which I am referring when I speak of your retrieval of your personal power animal. Your unique connection to the spiritual world is shaped by your individual divinity and your power animal is specific to your birth, life, and person. In your life you may not have a full awareness of your power animal because you have created a distance between him and you, but you possess the capacity to recover this important ally in your life and the ability to reconnect and draw on his strength. Your personal power animal is important because he is specific to you and, once retrieved, can be one of your strongest allies.

The varieties of power animals that I access provide different support in different circumstances. You might have one power animal that you call on when you are feeling fear in a frightening experience. A powerful tiger might cause you to feel safer because of the fearlessness of your ally. In another circumstance, you might seek out a power animal that you identify with as providing peace and comfort when you are in need of gentle solace and a relief from tension. When I was writing my first book I asked for a power animal to come forth in the writing process.  A raccoon appeared.  I inquired from the raccoon what were his gifts that he could offer me during my writing.  He informed me that it was his dexterity with his hands.  He would help me with typing.

People often confuse power animals with totem animals. With totem animals there is a recognition of a particular animal that most characterizes a person’s own natures or their desired natures. I have a friend who is funny and playful in his everyday habits and he identifies readily with the coyote, which often reflects those same behaviors. An adventurous individual might find that his totem is an eagle that soars to great heights. An individual seeking confidence might discover that his totem is the brave lion. Again, totem and power animals are different.  Our power animal does not necessarily represent parts of our persona.  We do not invent our power animals; we discover them or they discover us. To find out their purpose in our lives it is best to ask the animal.  Many people will turn to books such as Animal Speaks by Ted Andrews or the Medicine Cards by Jamie Sands to find out why an animal came into their lives.  Turning to resources such as these can be helpful in understanding the basic qualities of the animal but your best source of information about its appearance as your “power animal” will always come from the animal itself.

There is no better or lesser power animal. The great elephant is not superior to the small prairie dog or even the earthworm. In the great design of the universe, each living being plays a significant role in existence and is equally valued. There is no hierarchy in the spirit world, which is where these allies exist. The earthworm, the honeybee, and the songbird are essential and make invaluable contributions to the continuing functioning of the universe. As you seek out the restoration of your power animal, stay open to all possibilities and you might be surprised by your discovery of this divine ally.

Journeying is of course the foremost method used to discover power animals. For those that are not familiar with journeying here is a process you might follow.

  • Find a quiet place beyond outside attractions. This may be indoors but a peaceful outdoor environment is also conducive to communing with the spirits.
  • Relax in a meditative mode. Breathe deeply to begin and then gently and rhythmically. As Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote, “Let us be silent, that we may hear the whispers of the gods.”
  • Empty your mind of any preconceived images and open yourself to discovery.
  • Ask the spirits to assist you.
  • Allow various animals to approach you as they occur to you in your thoughts or imagination.
  • Speak to them and ask questions as needed.
  • Listen carefully. Remember that our spiritual allies do not always communicate in words but often connect to our different senses and our intuitive receptors.
  • Consider the feeling that the animal engenders in your physical, emotional, and spiritual being.
  • Do not force a decision but accept the responses that your inner self provides.
  • If you do not succeed in the restoration of your power animal on your first effort, do not despair. Your power animal will come when you and he are ready.
  • Thank the spirits when you conclude whether successful or not.

*You may choose to be assisted in this effort with a trained shamanic practitioner.

Spiritual allies are part of the universe’s great plan. All things are connected and exist for the mutual benefit of all. When life presents challenges, it is not because the universe is indifferent to us, but that we have lost our connection with the strength that exists in the unity of all things. Power animals are spiritual beings that reestablish our connections and offer to guide and advise us. They stand with us in adversity and strengthen our sense of self-worth and empower us to act wisely and with confidence. Your power animal will be there when you need him. Rediscover, restore, and use him.

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Invocation and Intention in Shamanism and Energy Medicine

The Use of Invocation and Intention in Shamanism and Energy Medicine

Invocation and Intention in Shamanism and Energy Medicine



The reason for an invocation is to inform yourself and the spirit world, to a lesser extent, that you are beginning a process of connecting with them. Intentionally you are invoking particular compassionate helping spirits to assist you in making this connection. Be very clear about whom you are calling in to your experience always intending the spirits to be compassionate and healing. Set boundaries to prevent lower frequency vibrations from emerging and focus on beseeching your protecting spirits. I solicit deities from many different traditions and cultures such as Egyptian goddesses, Hindu protectors and the Archangels. I tend to be very eclectic in my spirit approach and do not adhere to a particular cultural form. For me energy medicine is universal and unlimited by rigid practices. I request the spirits to enter my space as well as my person and I only let in energies as great as self or greater; so, I am automatically protected from lower frequency or negative energies by stating that intention. Whenever I am involved in ceremony, or when I am performing healing ceremonies, I always call in protecting spirits. Be responsible for yourself in any ceremony or any time that you create contact with other realms, call in your own protecting spirits and your own allies. Always take care of yourself. Stating a clear intention will create safety. Trust the process.

At the end of the invocation I declare an intention for the purpose of the invocation. This practice is based on the fact that energy follows intention. I believe that intention forms an experience. If you could develop a habit of declaring an intention when you get in the car, when you go to the grocery store, or when you pick up the phone, you will be amazed at how this deliberate act will alter the situation in a positive way. Consciously create through intention instead of leaving outcome to randomness. Intention generates an energy and that energy creates an outcome. In a shamanic journey be very clear about what you are asking of the spirits. The clarity of your intention will influence your entire journey and how clear the response from the spirits will be. You can use clear intentions in every aspect of your life and actively create the results that you desire. Experiment with this information. Intend that you have a good experience when you are driving your car, intend to be on time, intend to enjoy the company of a stranger, or intend contentment in your work. You will be amazed how circumstances will alter to manifest your intention. These truths we learn in studying shamanism and energy medicine, however it may be something that you expand upon and apply to your everyday life.

Remember you are a creative energy being. Energy is always in motion and you are always broadcasting something from your person. The intentions that emanate from you and that are declared in these invocations will put frequencies of energy in motion and influence all that you come in contact with.

An example of an Invocation:


In this moment in time, let me lift my vibration above the density of the earth to the area of purity. Of pure light, pure truth, pure beauty, pure love, pure wholeness. . . .

I send a strong voice and I stand in gratitude, awe, appreciation and give thanks in advance for those divine beings that have come. I ask to lift my vibrations above the densities of the earth. Those densities being the things that weigh me down—doubt, fears, disbelief, problems, wounds, heartaches, body aches. The things that can pull me down out of the divine and make me feel like I am less than. I ask to lift myself above these things into places of purity—of pure light and of pure love, of pure truth and of pure beauty, of pure healing and pure wholeness, and of the pure feeling of this divine connection with spirit.  I call forth and invite the divine to be present. Opening the blessing fields allowing the universal life force energy to flow down into this room, into me, and into the space between the space, so that everything is connected. I invite Mother-Father-God, I invite the Great Mystery, I invite the power of Reiki, bringing in the sacred symbols and having them activated in the room. I invite the Angels, the Archangels, the Guardian Angels, the Light Beings, the healing Angels. And I give great thanks for the diligence you have had with the human race. And I ask you to come in strongly, to intervene in ways I do not even know I need help. You offer a divine message that I am open to. I invite the elements air, water, fire, earth, and sacred space. I have reverence, for it is you that have given all life, form and matter—without you here I would not exist. I invite the protecting spirits to stand guard at the four corners of the room and all around me only allowing in energies as great as self or greater.  I invite the teachers, animal allies and any of the other allies and light beings waiting to make this connection with me. I am excited to connect with you. I invite the spirits of the room, the land. I give thanks in advance for the great healings that will take place while I interact with you and the connections that will take place and the transformation and change that will be the result. I thank you for your beautiful response to this request. I invite all those compassionate healing spirits that are unnamed and unknown that are here to guide me, the teachers that want me to learn these ways. They have tapped me on the shoulder, the ancestors that have gone before me, and the descendants that will go after me. And I ask the ascendeddescendants of the New Earth to teach me how to be, because it is the choices and decisions I make today that will determine who is created in the future, and how it will be. So I ask the ascended descendants of the New Earth to come here. They are coming from a world of light, of love, of peace. And I call my True Self, an unwounded and unwoundable version of me. And with all of this, I set my intention. My intention is … (this is filled in with the intention of the journey, or the intention of the day, etc.) That I feel connected and loved. That community is established between the worlds and that there is sharing of the heart and opening of the heart, the language of the heart is spoken. And so we stand together believing and loving. I thank you Great Spirit, thank you Blessed Ones. Ahomitakuye oyasin.


This example is available for you to use. The example includes references to personal spirits that I work with—you can put in your own. I want to draw attention to the statement I include in every invocation. I have used these words since 1993, and I still bask in teachings from the spirits pertaining to them. I am referring to:

In this moment in time, let me lift my vibration above the density of the earth to the area of purity. Of pure light, pure truth, pure beauty, pure love, pure wholeness. . . .

The spirits have been explaining to me that in order to move into the place of the higher vibrations, we have to energetically move out of the thoughts that weigh us down, the densities —the words, the negativity, the hardship, the worries, all those vibrations that weigh on us all. With this invocation the vibrations elevate into higher levels eliminating the heavy, dense, lower frequency energies weighing on you. I was using the statement before I really understood its significance.

In my invocation, I am of course calling to my spiritual allies; I am voicing who I want present—my spiritual teachers, guides, enlightened ones, light beings, Reiki masters, symbols, archangels. Sometimes I name them, and sometimes I do not. You can invoke anybody that you like to work with—particular saints or Tibetan deities or other spiritual helpers. I frequently address the ancestors and the descendants. The descendants are the people who will live after us. They do not have to be your direct descendants, just the ones that come after us. We can call the descendants here, just like we can call the ancestors here. Just because they have not been born yet, does not mean they cannot energetically appear. In shamanism we do not view time as linear; all dimensions are happening simultaneously. I like to call the descendants that are living in peace and harmony, The New Earth. Because those are the conditions I want to consciously create. Always call in any protection you desire.

The word I end my invocation with, mitakuye oyasin, is a Lakota phrase that means, “All my relations.” It is loosely translated: We are related to everything. We are related to the trees, the earth, the dirt, the ants, the air and each other. The use of the phrase acknowledges that we are all related. We are all sisters and brothers. There is no difference in us in that way. We are all breathing the same air; we are all on the earth.  She is our home.

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Spirit Allies

Spirit Allies by Jan Engels-Smith

Spirit Allies


Who and what are the spirits? We live our lives often aware of “presences” that do not have normal concrete form and cannot be defined with material specificity. They may enter our consciousness through emotional reactions to events or in the simplest moments of our existence. They are non-rational in the sense that they defy normal physical definition but they are real in that they are present in our lives and affect our feelings and ultimately our actions. A spiritual life is a life inhabited by spirits and the degree to which we can benefit from these beings is directly related to the openness that we have to the possibility of their support. If you have ever felt, at one time or another in your life, that you have had some sort of interaction with the spirit realm or that you have drawn support from an other-worldly life force, you have connected to an important facet of the mystical universe. Beyond this awareness, the next stage of your spiritual development is to learn how to cultivate relationships with these spiritual allies and how to draw on their friendship and power to create a lasting bond that will provide you with newfound strength and joy.

Across all cultures there is a common belief in spiritual help in the form of an intervention from the non-physical realm to the physical realm. This intercession transcends, changes, and heals existing conditions and is accessible to all who are willing to engage openly with the spirit world and are receptive to creating lasting and beneficial relationships. In shamanism, we work with the non-physical beings, spirits, and your helpful allies to alter conditions that cannot be changed by limited thinking but that require recognition of non-rational sources that exist in the spirit world in many different forms. There are infinite beings in the unseen world—as numerous as the stars in the universe and as boundless as the cosmos.

In shamanism we enter into vast unseen worlds and it is important that we make sure that we are working with our helping, compassionate spiritual allies because they are essential to providing the support we need to traverse these mysterious realms.

From Phil CrazyBull a Lakota medicine man I learned that each person is born with 405 helping spirits or allies. You are born with them and they remain with you throughout your life. Their main function is to be of service to you and to aid you in your human experience. We might not consider 405 to be a literal number, but it suggests a vast quantity and abundance of help that is available to you at any given moment. You may choose to use this help throughout your life—or not. We may go through life thinking we have to manage ourselves by ourselves, that we are alone in our struggles with difficult situations, and that we do not have any support, but that is not the case. You have help available to you in great profusion but you may not be fully aware of its presence. Spirits are here to assist you with any type of condition or situation that you want to present to them. There is no good or bad question or valuable or non-valuable circumstance. The spirits are non-judgmental and respond to whatever need you have. Their help in life can be magical, miraculous, profound, guiding, transformative, informative and fun. You can use your spirit helpers for minor things or to gain insight and direction for the major decisions of your life. You can heal yourself and your loved ones with the assistance of your spirit allies.

Understand that shamanism, on one level, represents simply the development of life skills. I believe that in our Western culture, we have moved away from the life skills that were a part of our indigenous beginnings. In an indigenous culture, principles of spiritual connections were taught to the children from birth and throughout their lives. An awareness of our descent from and connection to the spirit world was coupled to the understanding that we are here having a physical experience in a life that extended far before our earthly birth and far beyond the ending of this brief physical existence. We are all first and foremost a spirit or an energy system experiencing a momentary presence in this physical body which is but a part of a longer chain of existence. This condition connected us with surety to the greater spiritual realm and thus afforded us with the link to the spirits, which would provide our much-needed support system. What the limited thinking of our modern culture has taken away, we can restore by reconnecting to our spiritual significance and becoming what we were intended to be.

I asked the spirits once, “What do we look like to you?” They showed me—and there was no body, there was just forms of light, sound and color, all images of energy. We are literally broadcast towers of spiritual energy. The spirits see us as an energy system, which is our true form, which is our spirit form. Our energy system, essence, spirit or soul is the part of us that lives on, and it is the part of us that allows us to communicate with other spirits because this form of us and that of the spirits are the same—one spirit communicating with another spirit. It is ordinary, it is natural, and it is normal. Our understanding and awareness of our natural being was lost or intentionally eliminated in our upbringing.

So, where do we find the spirits? They are everywhere. They are next to you now. The bridge people have to traverse in shamanic practice is the passage from believing only what can be perceived with the physical senses to acquiring an awareness of a spiritual world that can be accessed by an acceptance of greater possibilities. Personal experience will aid you as you navigate this bridge to the side that says, YES, it is real. As you participate in spiritual exercises and expansive thinking, events and phenomena will start happening in your life to demonstrate to you that non-ordinary reality is undoubtedly real. Your own personal journey through this work will help bring clarification and realization. I have confidence in the process because I have seen remarkable transformations in many people’s lives that have come as a result of their spiritual efforts.

Quantum physics states that we “see visually” less than .01% of what truly exists, but you can open your heart to the vastness that surrounds you and use different senses to perceive a far greater scope of reality. Just the intention of expanding your heart to that possibility will manifest new insights and unfold the universe that is hidden from our ordinary perception. If you begin with the intention to “prove it,” you have created a very small window through which the spirits may work. With an attitude of needing proof before trying to understand, you will always be trying to discount what you encounter and the need for proof will hinder your discovery. Non-rational reality can only be accessed if you unlock your mind to possibilities. The spirits will provide the proof through the experiences that you have in the journey. Miraculous things will happen but you might miss their importance if your mindset resists this alternative reality. Allow yourself to see with the eyes of the heart and the proof you need will come in the experience itself.

When we work with the spirits, we begin to engage with the larger picture of reality and we would have difficulty understanding this new world were it not for our spirit helpers. I asked the spirits once why we worked with them. They said, “You may know where you are going and may even be able to see the path, but we travel above the tree line and we can see where the path goes.” We use different spirit allies to accomplish different things. The goal of this work is to learn how to dialogue and interact with them in a friendly and comfortable way. With their assistance you can get guidance, be informed, and make decisions. You can ask anything you want of the spirits and get information that will serve your purposes if you do so with the right attitude and honor the spirits as they deserve. They can direct you to places, decisions, and outcomes that you might not have access to by yourself. With the assistance of the spirits, you can journey to the future and influence your prospects and you can journey to the past and alter your present. There is nothing outside the realm of possibility when you journey.

The spirits also adhere to a universal law. Human beings have free will, or what is referred to as sacred choice. We are not puppets of the universe; in fact, we are quite the opposite. You are a creator of the universe. If you do not choose to employ or activate your spirit connection, it does not happen; it is not forced upon you. As William Jennings Bryan wrote so many years ago: “Destiny is no matter of chance. It is a matter of choice. It is not a thing to be waited for, it is a thing to be achieved.”

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Spiritual Messages from Animals

How to Receive Spiritual Messages from Animals by Jan Engels Smith

Are you receiving spiritual messages from animals?

The following is a question about how to receive spiritual messages from animals. If you have similar spiritual questions or experiences join LightSong’s Talking Stick Phone Forum each month. The Talking Stick is available to anyone who wishes to access it in the spirit of the ancient tribal council where we all share our thoughts, support each other and recognize our common humanity.


A huge bald eagle suddenly stopped me on the highway today. A large bald eagle traveled next to my car then landed on the road up ahead in my lane. The eagle stood on the road looking at me while I came to a complete stop about 10 feet from where he stood. There were no other cars, it was just me and the eagle. Then the bird turned and flew off. I am still in awe about this interaction. How do I receive the message this eagle was bringing to me? Are there books that offer guidance? -Adeah W., Iowa


We are born with hundreds of helping allies. Many of them animals, birds, reptiles, etc. When an animal/bird makes specific attempts to catch your attention there is reason, usually a message of some type.

Depending on how much you want this message will determine how much you pursue to understand the experience. To me books like Animal Speaks by Ted Andrews or Animal Cards by Jamie Sands are more about animal totems than animal helping allies. The author provides you a pat answer of the “personality/or totem” of that particular animal. It really has nothing to do with a personal message such as this and can get in the way of your clarity.

I always suggest to my students that they ask the animal first and then look it up in a book so the book doesn’t influence through suggestion in their journey.

The way to get a personal message is multi-layered:
•    You can learn to journey for yourself; going into a specific altered stated to speak with spirit allies.
•    You can ask a shaman to journey for you.
•    You can ask internally and wait for an impression to arise. Impression does not mean visual, it could be an impression of a thought.

Each method is good to use, of course learning to journey for yourself opens up the magically doors of telecommunicating with the spirit realm. I believe that nature is talking to us 24/7 telepathically. A few will ever listen with spirit ears/heart.

When an animal specifically offers a personal interaction such as your eagle did I would say yes, I am listening and pursue. Usually there is a HUGE message that has the potential to take you down a new road of understanding your life.


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Who Are the Spirits and Allies in Your Life?

Who Are the Spirits and Allies in Your Life? by Jan Engels-Smith

Who are the Spirits and Allies in your life?

Have you ever felt, at one time or another in your life, that you have had some sort of interaction with the spirit realm or something that is unseen? Ever wonder who they were?

Cross-culturally there is a common belief in spiritual help that can be witnessed as an intervention from a non-physical realm into the physical realm, which transcends, changes, or heals. What we are working with in shamanism are the non-physical beings, your helping allies. We are working with the Spirits and spirits can take many different forms. There are absolutely millions of them. It is like looking out at the stars and seeing all the stars that exist.

When we are working with the spirits, we want to make sure we are working with our helping, compassionate allies.

When you are learning the basics of shamanic journey, make sure that all of your journeys to the spirits will be in places that there are only helping spirits. The Lakota people I have learned from say that each person is born with 405 helping spirits and allies. They are here with you; you are born with them, and their main function is to be of service to you and your human experience. It is not necessarily a literal number, but it is a number of vast quantities, great abundance. It implies that you have a tremendous amount of help available to you at any given moment. You may choose to use this help throughout your life, or not.

Yet, we go through life thinking we have to do it all by ourselves, we are alone and we don’t have any support. But that is not true. You are just not seeing the help that is around you.

They are here to help you with any type of thing you want to present to them. There is no good question or bad question, or valuable question or non-valuable question. Their help in life can be magical, miraculous, profound, guiding, transformative, informative and fun. You can use your spirit helpers for minor things or gain insight and direction for the major decisions of your life. You can heal yourself and your loved ones. You can learn to direct energy in such a way that you can change the past and look into the future. The non-physical doesn’t follow the same physical laws that you have been taught. There are no limits to this realm except those from your own perspective.

Shamanism is based on working with non-ordinary reality spirits. And, to me, most of shamanism represents life skills. And we have gotten very, very far away from that in our culture.

In LightSong’s Level 1:Basic Shamanic Journey class, everyone attending is an adult and this is probably the first class that they have had learning about spirits in non-ordinary reality, yet these beings, if you look at an indigenous culture, would be taught to the children as soon as they were born.

The idea is that we came from the spirit world and we are here having a physical experience. But you, me, we are all first and foremost and primarily a spirit. We are broadcasting energy. I asked the spirits once, what do we look like to you? I mean, we are always trying to journey to you, what do we look like? And they showed me and there was no body. There was no body there, there was just this form of light and sound and color and various ways that that appeared.

They are seeing us in our radiance, which is our true form, which is our spirit form.

It is the part of us that lives on, and it’s the part of us that allows us to communicate to other spirits because it is just like communicating with the person next to you. Your spirit is communicating with that other spirit. It is ordinary, it is natural, it’s normal. The only one that said, well, that’s odd is the Western culture. It got lost in our training and our upbringing.

Click here for more information about Level 1 class.

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