spirit guides

Book Review – Pagan Portals: Animal Magic – Working with Animal Spirit Guides by Rachel Patterson

April, 2019

Book Review
Pagan Portals: Animal Magic
Working with Animal Spirit Guides
by Rachel Patterson

Rachel Patterson is a witch, wife, mother, and author. She is high
priestess of the Kitchen Witch Coven and an elder at the Kitchen Witch
School of Natural Witchcraft. She combines hedge witchery, religious
witchcraft, kitchen witchery, and folk magick into her own version of the

Her main animal guide is the boar. Other animals have chosen to be her
guides as well; magpie, pigeon, seagull, frog, and others that pop up on
occasion. Each has it’s own reason and brings it’s own strengths and

She encourages us to trust our intuition in all aspects of life, including
our magick, that there is no ‘right’ way of doing things. She flat out
states that what works for her might not work for you or me.

There seems to be interchangeability between the many words used; totem,
power animal, medicine, and ally to just name a few. Their use depends on
the tradition, pathway or personal preference. Personally, I use either
spirit or guide.

Our ancestors had a deeper stronger connection to nature in all it’s forms.
They understood the animal world in ways that we are just starting to
relearn. That understanding included being able to learn from the other
creatures around them. With that understanding came understanding on a
spiritual level besides the physical.

Each creature has things that they can teach us, qualities that we can
adapt and adopt ourselves. Many of our sayings are animal related; busy as
a bee, quiet as a mouse, loose as a goose, what’s good for the goose is
good for the gander. Animal guides can teach us wisdom, guide us away from
danger, and act as power sources for our magickal endeavors.

We often have dreams or visions of animals. For instance, I used to dream
about lions protecting the wheelchair ramps of a school that I used to go
to. They were there to help me until I was ready to face whatever it was
that I was afraid of, deeply, at that time. So lions represent strength,
courage, and loyalty to me.

This book has lots of great information. The author describes her own
version of a medicine wheel meditation that is designed to help you meet
some of your various animal guides. There’s information about the
elemental, various astrological, deity, etc. connections. This book is
great for learning about spirit guides, animals and otherwise. It gave me
lots of good information and confirmed many things that I had already
learned previously on my own. I do highly recommend this book for those
interested in spirit animal guides and how to contact and work with them.

Pagan Portals – Animal Magic: Working With Spirit Animal Guides on Amazon


September, 2011

Spirit guides

I love birds. Every morning, weather permitting, I sit on my great grandmother’s glider on our deck. I have a need to breathe the air and hear the stirrings of the birds as their day and mine begins. On days I can not be outside, I sit in front of my open bedroom window. The wrens and chickadees as well as the humming birds are used to my presence and enjoy the bird feeders and bird bath while I sip my coffee.

This past year was extremely difficult as I had a great disappointment with a potential job which followed with three months of caregiving for my elderly mother and ultimetly her death. I was unable to have the peaceful start to each day and as time went on, I felt further and further disconnected from my center. While the whirlwind of events took over I did my best to create a quiet place to retreat to for, literally, moments at a time. I had great support from my daughter who moved with me to her grandmother’s, but also my husband who held down the fort at home.

This brings me back to birds. I felt very connected to the lessons of the birds at our home. Domestic tranquility and peace represented by mourning doves, wrens, blue birds, gold finches as well as owls and hawks. Nestled in the woods on a river, our area is filled with all manner of birds. My mother’s home, on the other hand, is located in the metropolitan area of a big city. So, as I was driving in the area, I became aware of hawks. Not just one or two, but many. I would be on a highway, and a red tailed hawk would be on top of a power pole. There would be hawks low to the ground on tree branches outside her house. I would hear them in the early morning hours. In the parking lot of the grocery store I would spot a hawk or two circling above.

This brought me such comfort. These feathered guardians were watching over head and nearby as I walked a very difficult path. I found a book by Steven D. Farmer, Ph.D on Animal Spirit Guides and read that when hawk shows up it is a reminder to stop focusing on the minute details and get a larger perspective on life. Accept what is happening around me and seek the highest good.  How perfect! Not easy at the time, but I had many reminders over head in the air and in the old oak trees.

We on the pagan path are blessed with our sanctuary being everywhere present. Air, water, fire and earth. We are never far from the elements of life and spirit. Though I could not set up an altar or meditate during this time, I only needed to look outside to sister hawk perched in a beautiful oak tree. While washing my hands feeling the cleansing of water removing that which no longer blessed me. Pumice stones nestled around plant whispered fire and it’s purifing flame and a cut glass crystal bowl holding flowers grounded me with earth. I can not wear a pentacle at this time in the “Bible Belt” but I walk the talk as they say and find I am never apart from my holy places.

Thank you, sister hawk, for your guidence and reassuring presence as I mid-wifed my mother from this life to her next.