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Q is for Quest

Blogging A to Z In many earth-centered spiritual traditions, a young person is expected at some point to go off alone into the wilderness. There, he fasts and prays until he is given a dream or vision. Often, it is a Power Animal that delivers the message he is meant to receive. This he brings back to the shaman, who helps him interpret his experience. The Vision Quest is an important rite of passage that initiates the young person into adulthood.

In our society, the Vision Quest is a bit of an alien concept.  But it’s one we would do well to adopt.  I think the most beautiful and powerful thing about it is that in choosing to undergo such a spiritual quest, the mind (ego) must consciously relinquish control.

You hear a lot about “vision” in success circles. However, you rarely hear people talking about being ledyoung woman in natural setting
by spirit in this context. Usually it’s used as a synonym for strategic planning.

When your vision consists solely of strategy and planning, it becomes a mind game. If you’re sharp, it can lead to powerful results. But rarely will they be results that lead to the highest good for all involved. Thought is powerful, but it is localized. Relying on thought, or mind, alone may work well in the short term, but if you want to be sustainable and successful in the long run you’ve got to let Spirit lead the way. And that means getting your ego to support the process by stepping aside so you can open to the flow and guidance that comes through.

I’ve come to understand that vision questing is possible for us modern folk, too, even if we never get the chance to spend four days alone in the wilderness. In fact, it’s not only possible, it may  well be an essential practice to take up if we are to regain our collective sanity.

Here is my recipe:

Spend time alone, daily if you can, unplugged, with no urgent agenda, and connected somehow to the natural world. This can mean sitting in your yard watching ants, taking unstructured walks outside, or even taking a bath. (Water is a natural element.) Whatever you choose to do, let this be a time of opening your awareness to your environment and your physical experience. You will probably experience mind chatter, but keep bringing your awareness back to your senses.

In time (this may take hours, days, months, or years, but however long it takes is right for you), you will find that you suddenly will begin receiving flashes of insight or ‘downloads’ of wisdom.  Perhaps you’ll start tuning into messages from your power animals or guides. Or you’ll start receiving vivid and meaningful dreams. Or, you may simply start noticing  that you just “know” things. This is Spirit speaking to you. (You’ll know it’s Spirit speaking and not something else, because it feels safe, true and right.)

This type of vision questing is not as dramatic as the traditional way, but it can still make a profound impact on your life. Try it!

About the Author: Anne Michelsen

Anne Michelsen is an artist/writer/healer whose purpose on the planet is to help people connect with their Power Animals and other Spirit Guides. Follow her via email at http://brightspiritrising.com/follow-me/.

Finding Your Purpose with Power Animals

Digital illustration girl and waspThere comes a time for everyone (whether in this lifetime or another one) when you suddenly wake up and think “Why am I here? What is my purpose in life?” 

This is a valid question. So don’t get upset with me when I say that the word “purpose” is a bit misleading.

After all, what is the “purpose” of a star? Or a cloud? Or a toad? They simply are. And that is wonderful. As Joseph Campbell said, “The purpose of life is life.”

“Purpose” is really a concept of the ego. But that’s OK. The ego has been getting a bad rap lately. Like it or not, we are ego beings. In fact, it is what sets us apart from most other life forms. And it is a sign of a mature (or at least maturing) ego to ask its purpose.

Perhaps a better way to put the question would be “How can I best support the highest good?” But “purpose” works. Regardless of the term you use, the important thing is that the ego finally realize that it is a supporting actor, not the lead.

“Finding your life’s purpose…”

…is really just a matter of uncovering your inner natural self and expressing it fully. In other words, you don’t have to find your purpose. You already have one. You were born with it. It’s just a matter of tuning into it and clearing out the blocks surrounding it.

My 16 year old daughter came home the other day with a new word. (I love teenagers.) The word is “CHILLAX.” She explained that it is a combination of “chill out” and “relax.”

Awesome.

But when I mentioned the word at a healers’ conference I attended recently, the workshop leader immediately saw an alternate meaning:

“CHILL” plus “AX.” As in axing out the dead wood.

I like it.

And that’s really what we need to do when we’re seeking our “purpose.” On the one hand, chill out, relax, and open to your inner guidance. And on the other hand, axe out whatever stands in your way.

Howling Wolf and Moon What do Power Animals have to do with it?

There are many ways to “chillax” into your Life’s Purpose. But I’ve always found working with Power Animals to be a great way to get into it. Why? Because…

  • They’re easy to relate to.
  • They resonate well with the physical body, which helps you stay grounded – very important for spiritual work.
  • They are excellent at showing direction and pointing the way (once you learn to interpret their messages).
  • Animals are all about ACTION, which is the third step you need to take after relaxing and clearing your blocks.

Working with Power Animals has helped me find my husband (and stay with him through ups and downs that might have destroyed another marriage), overcome depression, and find a career path that is rewarding on so many levels.

It can help you, too. Just open yourself to the messages they bring!

 

A to Z April blogging challenge

About the Author: Anne Michelsen

Anne Michelsen is an artist/writer/healer whose purpose on the planet is to help people connect with their Power Animals and other Spirit Guides. Follow her via email at http://brightspiritrising.com/follow-me/.

O is for Octopus

Octopus

O, what an oddity is the Octopus!

With its eight tentacled legs and its funky looking face, it looks more like something out of Star Wars than an Earthly animal.

In fact, there’s something magical about the Octopus. If you find Octopi occupying your dreams or imagination, you may find that you are in for some magical or mystical experiences!

Click here to read more about the Octopus spirit animal.

photo credit: Pulpo via photopin (license)

 

 

A to Z Challenge

About the Author: Anne Michelsen

Anne Michelsen is an artist/writer/healer whose purpose on the planet is to help people connect with their Power Animals and other Spirit Guides. Follow her via email at http://brightspiritrising.com/follow-me/.

Nighthawk Power Animal Meaning

Nighthawk paintingAre you familiar with Nighthawks? If not, you probably have seen them flying overhead on summer evenings, but most likely mistook them for Bats.

Nighthawks are not hawks at all but night-flying, insect-eating birds related to the Whippoorwill.

The Nighthawk is a wonderful power animal for many reasons, but today I’m just going to focus on one of them. If you look at a Nighthawk with its beak shut you might think it had a very small mouth, since its bill is indeed tiny. But when it opens its mouth… wow! That sucker is HUGE!

Blogging from A to Z April Challenge The Nighthawk feeds with ease simply by swooping through the air and opening its wide, wide mouth to scoop up insects. What a wonderful symbol of abundance!

Nighthawk teaches us that abundance results from two mindsets: taking action, and opening oneself to receiving the goods. Nice! :-)

(This article is a sort of sneak preview. I will be sharing a LOT more about Nighthawk symbolism in an upcoming article for The Essence of Spirit, Mind, Body. If you’re not familiar with this interactive magazine, check it out – it’s awesome. You can get it on the Apple app store here.)

About the Author: Anne Michelsen

Anne Michelsen is an artist/writer/healer whose purpose on the planet is to help people connect with their Power Animals and other Spirit Guides. Follow her via email at http://brightspiritrising.com/follow-me/.

Mouse Power Animal Meaning

mouseToday’s power animal is Mouse – and it packs a lot of punch despite its size!

Due to problems with this website I’ll be posting on my other blog until the bugs are resolved.

To read about Mouse Power Animal meaning, please click here.

A to Z blogging challenge

photo credit: Got you! via photopin (license)

 

(And if you were the reader who wanted Magpies, please accept my apologies. They share so many of the same characteristics as Blue Jay, which I really wanted to write about, that I decided to do Mouse instead. I’ll be writing about Magpies in a future post on my blog Bright Spirit Rising.)

About the Author: Anne Michelsen

Anne Michelsen is an artist/writer/healer whose purpose on the planet is to help people connect with their Power Animals and other Spirit Guides. Follow her via email at http://brightspiritrising.com/follow-me/.

When things get buggy: Louse as Power Animal

Ugh. Who would ever want Louse as a Power Animal? louse

Or Tick, or Mosquito, or Bedbug?

Probably no one. But I’m including them just the same. Because the fact is, annoying little things happen in life.

It’s hard not to get upset when they do. But if we let them get under our skin things can get pretty miserable not only for ourselves but for everyone around us.

If creepy crawlies come into your life, they may simply be trying to get you to pay attention to what else is bothering you. Are you letting little annoyances drive you off course? 

Blogging from A to Z April Challenge

About the Author: Anne Michelsen

Anne Michelsen is an artist/writer/healer whose purpose on the planet is to help people connect with their Power Animals and other Spirit Guides. Follow her via email at http://brightspiritrising.com/follow-me/.

Kingsnake: Master of self-defense

Young Prairie King Snake.

One day when we were still living in our old farmhouse in central Illinois I saw a snake in the tall grass in back of the house.

It was large – very large. Must have been at least 4 feet long. The sinuous body was covered with shiny scales arranged in a stunning pattern of brown on tan. I couldn’t see the head but when I took a step closer the end of the tail came in sight. I froze as the tail shook and vibrated, making a rattling sound in the grass. How strange – it wasn’t much of a rattle. I wondered if something had bitten off the end of the tail.

And yes, I was freaked out.

Later I caught sight of it a couple more times and got a good look at the head. Hmm. Not your typical triangular rattler head. But it DID so resemble a rattlesnake…

Intrigued, I looked up Illinois snakes. It soon became clear that we had nothing to fear. This was a Prairie Kingsnake.

There are quite a few species of king snake, and all are beautiful. Many come in vibrant colors and

king snake

This Kingsnake closely resembles the deadly Coral Snake. Just remember: red touching black is a friend of Jack (Kingsnake); red touching yellow will kill a fellow (Coral Snake).

striking patterns. They are non-venemous, and are often kept as pets because they are docile and easy to keep.

However, the Kingsnake is no wuss. In fact, it is one of the few creatures that will routinely eat rattlesnakes. It has immunity to the venom so can swallow them fearlessly.

As a Power Animal, I can’t think of a better symbol for protection and self-defense than the Kingsnake. Like a master martial artist, it seems to have prepared itself for nearly any type of assault, judging by this list of the Kingsnake’s defensive devices (courtesy of desertusa.com):

  • Angry hiss to bluff attacker.
  • Vibrate its tail amidst dry leaves to mimic a rattlesnakes rattle.
  • Roll into ball and play dead.
  • Strike and bite (non-venomous).
  • Discharge a evil-smelling musk to discourage attacker.

And my favorite:

  • Smear fecal matter on enemy.

This guy clearly means business!

Kingsnake teaches us that when we have several defense strategies to fall back on, and are willing to take a no-nonsense attitude, we will usually pass through life unmolested.  

Also, there is great symbolism in the way it eats its rattlesnake prey. The Kingsnake is a constrictor, literally hugging its prey to death. So when toxic energy comes your way, remember the Kingsnake and the power of love to negate it.

Blogging from A to Z Challenge

 

Prairie Kingsnake photo credit: Tsst! via photopin (license)

Scarlet Kingsnake photo credit: Kingsnake via photopin (license)

About the Author: Anne Michelsen

Anne Michelsen is an artist/writer/healer whose purpose on the planet is to help people connect with their Power Animals and other Spirit Guides. Follow her via email at http://brightspiritrising.com/follow-me/.

Blue Jay: Power Animal for the Entrepreneur in You

blue jay

Blue Jay

Welcome to “J” day in the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge! Finding a spirit animal to profile for this letter was easy – J is for “Jay!”

I’m going to write about the Blue Jay because that’s what we have in my neck of the woods (Michigan’s Upper Peninsula). If you live out west you may be more familiar with the Steller’s Jay, which is in the same genus, Cyanocitta. Both share many of the same characteristics and sport beautiful blue coloration. There are other types of jays, too. They are all members of the Corvidae family, which they share with crows, ravens and magpies.

Of all power animals, Blue Jay jumps out at me as being the most in tune with the entrepreneurial spirit. If you have started a business, or are thinking of doing so, this bird can inspire you! Here’s why:

  • Communication. The Jay’s blue color is associated with the Throat chakra – your communication center. Not only that, but Jay has a penetrating voice and is not afraid to use it! Some people may think it is obnoxious, but Jay performs an important service by sounding the alarm against predators. When you start a business, think of Jay. Don’t feel shy about self-promotion. You’re doing the world a service by sharing your gifts! You can’t help anyone if they don’t know you exist. (By the way, Jay’s voice isn’t always raucous. He is a songbird, and makes a beautiful gurgling flutey call in addition to his famous jeer. He is also a master imitator, and will mimic hawks and many other birds. Just like smart businesspeople take ideas from many sources.)
  • Taking action. Jay doesn’t just sound the alarm. He follows up with swift, decisive action, often driving off predators many time his size. Whatever you do
    Steller's Jay

    Steller’s Jay

    in your business, you’ll find that things won’t happen just by talking about them. You’ve got to beat your wings to earn your rewards!

  • Shiny objects. Blue Jays love shiny things and will incorporate bits of foil and other treasures into their nests. It’s common for socially conscious entrepreneurs to feel guilty about enjoying the beautiful and pleasurable things in life.  Blue Jay tells us it’s A-OK.
  • Resourceful and prepared. Like all corvids, Blue Jay is an opportunist, and highly intelligent. Jays eat a wide variety of plant and animal foods (although they have a special fondness for acorns.) Blue Jays have a special pouch in their throat that allows them to carry more food than their beaks can hold. They will also store food in caches to enable them to survive periods of scarcity. If you run your own business, you would do well to emulate Jay and stash away an emergency fund to get you through the rough patches. ;-)
  • Networking and partnerships. Blue jays are highly social. They often mate for life and both parents cooperate to raise the young. Jays will often congregate in large flocks, and they communicate with each other through a wide range of gestures and vocalizations – rather like a bunch of businesspeople at a conference!

A to Z April Challenge Finally, Blue Jay has a connection with higher thought and clarity of vision. And here’s something awesome to consider: its habit of burying extra food is thought to have helped replant our oak forests after the glaciers receded from the last Ice Age. A fitting symbol for the regenerative role the entrepreneur who is truly aligned with her higher purpose plays in society, don’t you think?

 

photo credit: Looking for peanuts via photopin (license)

About the Author: Anne Michelsen

Anne Michelsen is an artist/writer/healer whose purpose on the planet is to help people connect with their Power Animals and other Spirit Guides. Follow her via email at http://brightspiritrising.com/follow-me/.

Seeking your Spirit Animal? Use the 3 “I’s!”

Many people are curious about finding their spirit animal totem or guide. But for many of us, it’s hard to know where to start. After all, it’s not something most of us are taught to do in school.

Like I’ve said in other posts, one could write an entire book on this topic. But since today is “I” day in the A to Z Blogging Challenge, I thought I’d briefly introduce you to three important instruments you can use to intuit your animal guide.

And good news: they won’t cost you a thing! Here they are:

1. Intention

Just setting the intention in your mind that you will open the doors to allowing your power animal to make its way to you is a powerful first step to finding your animal guide. (Notice how I phrase this – don’t think of finding your spirit animal as a hunt. Rather, it’s an invitation – another wonderful word that begins with “I”!)

2. Intuition

Think too hard, and it will elude you. Or, you’ll come up with an animal that your mind (ego) thinks is appropriate. If all you care about is a tattoo that will impress your friends, go right ahead. Otherwise, let go of thoughts and trust your intuition instead.

How do you know it’s intuition? It’s what comes to you when your conscious mind is off guard. When you’re daydreaming or thinking of nothing in particular. When you’re focused on something else. When it comes to you in dreams. Or those sudden flashes of insight, inspiration, or impulses from out of the blue. (Wow, those “I” words just won’t quit, will they?)

 3. Imagination

Did you have an imaginary friend as a child? If you did, what did the adults in your life say about it? Chances are, they told you that it was all in your imagination. That is wasn’t REAL. And maybe even to shut up and stop telling LIES.

Well, if that is what you experienced, then it’s time to pull out one more fantastic “I”  word: IGNORE. Sure, your childhood imaginary friend, as well as totem spirits and all sorts of spiritual phenomena aren’t on the same plane of reality as your iPhone, but that doesn’t make them any less REAL. Your Imagination is your ticket to ride  when it comes to finding your spirit animals, and to exploring your Inner life in general. (As long as it’s driven by your Intuition, not your ego.)

A to Z blogging challenge Used together, the three “I’s” are a powerful trio that can help you discover your personal totem animal, as well as many other spirit guides. Value them, and cultivate them!

About the Author: Anne Michelsen

Anne Michelsen is an artist/writer/healer whose purpose on the planet is to help people connect with their Power Animals and other Spirit Guides. Follow her via email at http://brightspiritrising.com/follow-me/.

What is the spirit meaning of Horse?

wild horses paintingThe Horse is a bit of a contradiction. Besides the Dog, no other animal has been more used (or abused) by humans. Yet Horse has always symbolized the free spirit and the wild frontier.

Truthfully, Horse is both loyal and free-spirited.  If this power animal has entered your life it may point to a need to balance your own needs and desires with your need and desire to be of service to others. (If you ride horses, you will appreciate how important the concept of balance is where these animals are concerned!)

Horse can help you do this if you’re up for the ride. Few other animals can match Horse’s combination of speed, strength and stamina. Horse is a wonderful power animal for forward momentum. Depending on the road you have before you, it can carry you swiftly over the obstacles in your path, or patiently over the long haul. If you move or must deal with change, Horse can help you adapt to and move easily through whatever environment or circumstances you pass through.

Horses are also extremely sensitive and pick up easily on the A to Z blogging challenge feelings and emotions of the people around them. In fact, Equine Assisted Psychotherapy is a new kind of therapy in which horses help people overcome addictions, depression, trauma, and other mental health challenges. It is not uncommon for those with this animal totem to have empathic abilities.

Beauty is, of course, subjective, but with their long flowing tails, tossing manes and elegance of motion, many people find themselves captivated by the beauty of the Horse. There is something highly spiritual about these animals, and about the experience of riding them, that can’t be explained in ordinary words. Perhaps this Arabian proverb says it best:

“The wind of heaven is that which blows between a horse’s ears.”

About the Author: Anne Michelsen

Anne Michelsen is an artist/writer/healer whose purpose on the planet is to help people connect with their Power Animals and other Spirit Guides. Follow her via email at http://brightspiritrising.com/follow-me/.

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