Power Animal Retrieval

In tribal peoples, they knew that just as the flesh of the animal invigorated the body, so the spirit of an animal was needed to energise the weak or sick spirit.
Therefore, while hunters went in search of prey in ordinary reality, shamans hunted for an animal of power in the spirit world to bring it back to those in need.

To us moderns, hunting seems like something violent, but in shamanic cultures it is not exactly like that – the prey, e.g. gazelles, are donated by the spirit of the Gazelle, whose help has been sought earlier in the dance and the Shamanic Journey. Thus the prey in a certain sense offer themselves to the hunters. Similarly, the shaman in his hunt seeks an animal spirit that offers itself to restore power to the sick person. This will then forge as deep a relationship as possible with the power animal, even to the point of identification – just as hunters disguise themselves and imitate the movements of their prey and by eating its flesh assimilate it by partly acquiring its nature.

The power animal has no physical body, so the person does not eat its flesh, but assimilates it when the shaman blows it into his chest and head. First, however, it must be ‘caught’.

Boscimani a caccia con archi e lance in una pittura parietale di una caverna in Africa.

If the person is weak or falls ill easily or has no resilience, it means that his power animal has left him. The shaman will then descend into the lower world to hunt for an animal that will give the person power and energy.
He will search, if possible, for his animal double, the animal that the person had since childhood and that has now departed.
To find it, the shaman must establish a relationship of attunement with the client, spend the day with him, eat together. There should be no other people with them, except those who will participate in the ritual, especially the drummer (who may be an assistant to the shaman or a friend of the client). A small group of three or four people, but sometimes it can be all the members of a drum circle, a whole shamanic community.

At the end of the day, in a dimly lit room, illuminated only by a candle, the shaman will have the client lie down on a carpet or an animal skin which, as in other healing rituals, will become the centre of the world.

This place will be consecrated with spirit-pleasing herbal fumes (e.g. wild sage) diffused in the 6 directions of space (East, South, West, North, Sky and Earth). This will serve to invoke the help of the spirits of the directions.
Then the shaman will dance around the client shaking the rattle and singing a power chant to attract their helping spirits, especially their power animal. The dance, increasingly swirling and stomping loudly on the ground, also serves to circulate energy between the shaman and the client (who also remains relaxed and relaxed) and establish a stronger connection with him. The drummer beats the drum in unison with the shaman’s rattle.
The rhythm of the rattle, singing and dancing alters the consciousness of the shaman who begins to see his spirit helpers in the half-light.

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