Book Review – How to Find Your Spirit Animal: Connect with Your Animal Helper for Guidance, Strength and Healing by David Carson

December 1st, 2017

I was delighted to receive a review copy of this book. David Carson and Jamie Sams co-authored the 1990s classic “Medicine Cards – The Discovery of Power Through the Ways of Animals.” I spent many hours working with that deck, as the animal allies taught me about their gifts and powers and how to awake those in myself.

David Carson’s work in this book, first published in 2011, offers a brief introduction to how 4 different “medicine” traditions work with animal teachers. These overviews are drawn with a broad brush- mentioning a few North American traditions, then moving on to the Sami, the Australian First People, and finally, Mesoamerican cultures. Carson touches on animal myths and practices associated with each of these lineages and ends up with a short section on contemporary shamanism. This travel through cultures is truly an overview and not by any means an in-depth analysis. I believe it is written for those who have heard about shamanism and power animals and who are looking for a way in to see if a deeper relationship is worth further pursuit.

The book then moves in to a chapter on different ways to find and work with animal spirits. Again, this is a survey of different methods, not an in-depth discussion. Carson touches on vision questing, guided visualization, altar building, meditation and dreaming as ways to find a power spirit. I was surprised not to see “Medicine Card” work listed – I always found those cards to provide exactly the animal powers needed to address the questions I brought! He cautions against the trap of working with an animal simply because you like it and are drawn to it. This can be good advice, but is not always true. It’s quite possible that an animal has drawn your attention and affection towards it because it has teachings for you. It is always a good practice to work with a method you trust for finding “truth” and exploring what your relationship with this animal energy holds. Carson offers an excellent practice in relationship building in his advice to offer gratitude and thanks to your power animal when you find each other. As with any relationship, you and your spirit animal have much to offer to each other and can work at finding out how best to be of service and to honor your partnership.

(artwork: My Sovereign Self with my Power Animals by Susan Rossi)

 

Carson touches on healing by asking your helping totem for a song or dance (or both) to use. He recommends working with a medicine wheel to overcome obstacles by consulting animals in the four directions for guidance. And his best advice, walk through your daily life with the awareness that your totem animal is ever present, always with you.

Most of this book contains short chapters on the qualities, gifts and powers of 50 different animals, both real and mythic. He provides information on their habits and associated myths. Again, this is not a detailed discussion, but an overview to give the reader a scent to follow. And these chapters truly are only tastes to set a trail to be followed; each person who has a relationship with Bear energy will discover the many different guises in which that energy may appear! The healing and nurturing mother bear perhaps, or maybe the grandpa bear who teaches the young ones to scamper up trees by chasing them. Or maybe the bear who speaks to dreaming and inner vision. There are no limits to what a helping spirit can teach us, so there is no one way that it always appears to everyone.

There is a short list of reference materials at the end of the book. Carson also provides a partial list of organizations working to benefit animals and suggests that readers inspired by working with their spirit animals may wish to donate time or money – an excellent suggestion that reinforces the importance of gratitude and cooperation in this work. 

This book is not for those who already work with totem animals. But for a beginner, this is a good place to learn how to take your first steps onto this path of relationship with your power animal.

 

For Amazon information, click image below.

 

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About the Author:

 

Susan Rossi is a Practitioner and Teacher of Shamanism. She is a long-time explorer of The Mysteries – the connections between mind, body, spirit and how to live in right relationship to all of the energies streaming through the cosmos. She works with clients as an astrologer, coach, ceremonialist and guide to the wisdom that each of us has the capacity to access. Her focus is on guiding clients to unblock and rediscover their inner wisdom. , exploration of the birth chart, ceremony, legacy writing, hypnotherapy, energetic healing practice and creation of sacred tools are integral pieces of her practice.

Susan trained in Soul Level Astrology with master astrologer Mark Borax. She delights in exploring with individuals the planetary pattern under which their soul choose to incarnate.

Flying to the Heart www.flyingtotheheart.com


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