The Druid sat calmly in her hut and let the spirit of the beast creep slowly into her body. It didn’t hurt as she took one last breath in her human form and inhaled into the incarnation of Crow. Crow had come to her to show her the way to the Otherworld, helping her to learn its medicine. She inhabited feathers and wings, tiny bones and whooshing. She beat her wide ebony limbs and crossed the marshlands in silence. It was time to learn the magic of shapeshifting…
On the first Full Moon of the New Year, I performed my inaugural Shapeshifting Meditation. I’ll admit it: I was skeptical and worried that I wasn’t doing it, “right”. My studies had taught me that each Full Moon of the year is associated with a particular totem beast and it was my job to learn how to inhabit these creatures–so that they could teach me their medicine for future use.
I had never fallen into the consciousness of something else before. But as the Full Moon rose in January of 2014 I shifted my awareness into that of Eagle. When I opened myself to being within the magnificence of this creature I was atop of huge Pine tree on a hillside. The landscape around me was brown and dry within Winter’s grasp. I surveyed the area, looking for something to eat. The hunger I felt was not human hunger–it wasn’t subtle–but a driving force that sharpened my focus. I glanced around me taking in ever detail: the variation in color and height of the dirt and underbrush, any slight movement indicating prey, other birds that were in my periphery, every tree branch, bush and stone. I did not rush. I examined my situation and knew that surveying was the key to my success. My feathers rustled in the wind. The Sun’s rays caused a glint on my beak. I spied a mouse on it’s way across the field below me, took a breath, and drifted off of the tree branch–wings spread wide–amazed at the feeling of the wind tickling the space between the feathers at the tips. As I flew it reminded my human brain of when I went hot air ballooning. Effortless. Held up by the wind–I did not flap, but instead coasted from updraft to downdraft until I was near the ground. The mouse didn’t see me coming and I grasped at it with my sharp talons. Success.
After I returned to my human consciousness I wrote the following notes: “I was cunning and fast and I knew how to survey a situation before making a move. I was fierce and enjoyed the meal I had caught for myself. I knew when to act because I was aware of what was around me. Eagle is all about sheer awareness! Simply amazing.”
The days following this meditation I began to understand that I could grow and gather wisdom within these Shapeshifting exercises. I gained an unparalleled respect for the totem beast I was inhabiting–growing my web of compassion even further. Also, I was able to use my new-found awareness of surveying a situation before going into action. What a difference that made! This trait will become an incredible asset when I am a Chaplain, as it will be part of my job to understand the conditions of each patient. Eagle taught me how to use patience to obtain all of the information needed in order to be successful in endeavors I am undertaking. Without dwelling within this amazing creature in this way, I don’t feel like I would have understood this concept as distinctly, or as quickly.
Shapeshifting is strong medicine, and I still don’t feel like I completely understand the depths of its uses just yet. But, as each Full Moon passes I will learn more and more about the power of this practice, as well as the totem creatures with whose energies I will become intertwined.
Blessings be upon you…whatever shape you take…
Pamela Dawn – The Sacred Circle Shaman