Shamanic Power Animals

Explore the Wisdom of the Animal World

Shamanism teaches us that the intelligence of nature is all around us, waiting for us to reach out with open hearts and listen to its guidance. When we turn our attention to the incredible community of animal life and the teachings they have to share, we open ourselves to a vibrant, interconnected world full of spiritual truths and transformational insights.

Through myth, tradition, science, and story—combined with the power of personal observation—we can see how animals offer profound life lessons every day:

In Shamanic Power Animals: Embracing the Teachings of Our Non-Human Friends, Toltec shaman don José Ruiz takes a deep dive into this rich and vital store of animal wisdom and demonstrates how we can incorporate its lessons into our daily lives.

Learning to Dance with the Natural World…

 

(An excerpt from The Medicine Bag, a new book by bestselling author Don Jose Ruiz)

 

Every spring my father, my brother, Miguel Jr., and I travel to Sedona, Arizona, for an annual event called the Gathering of the Shamans. Just a short distance from the Grand Canyon, the area that is now called northern Arizona is sacred to many Native American tribes, including the Hopi, Yavapai, Havasupai, and Navajo.

If you ever visit, it’s easy to see why. The red rocks of Sedona are a unique combination of beauty and power. Home to many vortexes (energy centers), Sedona has long been a destination for seekers to help accelerate inner exploration, meditation, and healing. The more well-known Grand Canyon stretches on for over 220 miles, having been carved into its breathtaking and dramatic shape by the movement of the Colorado River over the course of millions of years. The canyon leaves thousands of visitors each year speechless with awe in the face of the sweeping dance of earth and sky, and the immeasurable power of water to wear down seemingly immovable stone. Its sheer immensity is at once humbling and inspiring.

While seeing this magnificence of Sedona or the Grand Canyon can stop the thinking mind in its tracks, you don’t need to travel to northern Arizona to experience the beauty and benefits of communing with nature. Nature is all around us—it is the literal air we breathe and water we drink, and we are in no way separate from it. We are nature, and nature is us. To be human is to be a part of all life—complex, evolving, interconnected. To live in a way that reflects the truth that all life is fundamentally connected is to walk the path of the shaman.

Because it is life, the natural world is replete with power that both creates and destroys. Water may arrive in the form of life-giving rain, or terrifying floods. Fire may cook our food and keep us warm through winter, or it may decimate entire forests. A cooling breeze may be welcome on a hot summer day, but tornadoes and hurricanes wreak unimaginable damage every year. And earthquakes shake our strongest buildings, even as we depend on the stable earth beneath our feet every single day. For these reasons and more, nature deserves our gratitude and our respect.

Nature is also a great healer. Even modern science is catching up to this ancient wisdom in measurable ways. The New York Times reported in 2018 that a variety of small studies have suggested that exposure to trees and plants may strengthen the human immune system, and also lower stress hormones and blood pressure. This would be no surprise to the shamans of my family’s tradition, especially my grandmother, who taught us a powerful ceremony to tap into the energy of trees that she often used in her healing work.

She would point out that fallen branches and leaves, which are often considered “trash” in the modern world, are important symbols of the power of nature. They have grown through the power of Mother Earth and Father Sun; they have been caressed by wind and drank deeply of the water. The thinking mind very often takes for granted nature’s unmatched ability to create. Even the most incredible structures or fascinating technology built by humans can never compete in complexity with a single leaf. For this reason, I would like to begin this chapter on nature with a ceremony based on what she taught us.

 

Communing with Nature

Prepare and gather:

To begin, find a quiet place in nature where you can be alone and undisturbed for at least thirty minutes. While the more remote, the better, this can be done in your backyard as well. Collect two or three small branches that have fallen from the trees nearby, ones that have some leaves still on them.

Once you have gathered a few branches with leaves, place them in a small pile in front of you. Take a few moments to reflect on how these branches came to be and what they represent: it all started with a seed, which took root in Mother Earth, was christened by life-giving water, touched by the warmth and light of Father Sun, nurtured by the air, and grew up, extending toward the sky. Think of how important the leaves are in the process; they take in the water, photosynthesize energy from the sun, and pull in carbon dioxide from the air. Now they have fallen to the earth, where they will decompose and help fertilize the soil for new growth to occur. These branches are miracles, representative of the power of life and Mother Nature. These branches are symbols of life and its cycles.

Next, open your container of water and pour a small amount over the branches, including the leaves. Let the water soak in for a few moments, and then say the following mantra:

Let these branches embody this truth:

that all things in nature make their way in cycles,

transforming from one thing into the next,

forever and ever, for always and right now.

I thank them for their gifts, for sharing their energy and power,

and I return them to the earth they came from.

Next, remove some of the leaves and gently rub them up and down a small portion of your arms, inviting the power of nature into your heart. You are now communing with the branches, a symbol for all life, and welcoming their energy into you.

When you have finished rubbing the leaves on your arms, sit quietly for as long as you’d like, absorbing the sights, sounds, and smells of nature as you do so. This is your true home, the cradle for all life.

To close the ceremony, scoop some soil from the ground with your trowel and partially cover the pile of branches with it. In this way you are symbolically returning the branches to the ground. They don’t need to be fully buried, as nature will determine their best course. As you do so, offer a prayer of thanks and gratitude to these branches, and to all the elements of the natural world for making them possible.

You may choose to place a leaf in your medicine bag, and when you are in a big city or a place that seems far removed from the splendor of nature, it will be your connection. Or set it on your altar as a reminder of the awesome power of nature. One day this leaf will dry and crumble, and then you will know it is time to do this ceremony again.

 

 

 

Ready to read more about the healing and transformative power of ritual and ceremony?

The Medicine Bag is available now from the publisher (with free shipping!),
and will be available from all major retailers on February 4, 2020!

To learn more about this book, and to read the foreword, introduction and Chapter One for free click here.

 

 

The Medicine Bag

What are the Secrets to Healthy and Happy Relationships? Find out below...


 

The seven secrets to healthy, happy relationships—commitment, freedom, awareness, healing, joy, communication, and release—can help you at any stage in your intimate partnering, whether you’ve been with someone for many years or are currently single and want to prepare for a partnership. While much of what we have to say will focus on romantic relationships, the truth is that these seven principles can help you create deeper and more meaningful connections in all of your relationships.

The first three secrets— commitment, freedom, and awareness̶̶̶̶—are what we call the foundational secrets.  In our view, these are the bedrock upon which all healthy relationships are built. As you read them, you may notice some areas in your thinking and actions around relationships that need improvement. The good news is that these first three secrets can show you how to repair  faulty foundations, and replace old ideas and beliefs with new and stronger beams of support going forward.

Commitment- This foundational secret is not what most people think. Making a commitment to yourself rather than anyone else is the first step in creating a healthy and happy relationship. Instead of trying to change or mold yourself into who you think others want you to be, commit to finding out who you really are and what you really want. From this place of self knowledge and self love, you can then fully commit to another. The key is in releasing the areas in which you judge yourself or play the victim, and taking full responsibility for your own happiness.

Freedom- As you commit to loving and accepting yourself for who you really are, your next step is to extend this same freedom to your partner, supporting them to be true to themselves. This includes giving up any of the subtle or not so subtle ways you may try and manipulate them into behaving as you think they should. This doesn't mean you won't set boundaries of what you will and will not accept in a relationship, but in allowing your partner the freedom to be their true self, you will instead reveal the deep truth that intimacy thrives when couples feel free to be who they really are.

Awareness- Until you become aware of what is going on inside you, including things like your unconscious beliefs, subterranean fears, and old emotional wounds, they will continue to pop up and create problems in your relationships, making it very difficult to form a deep partnership with another. The good news is that the very act of becoming aware of them lessens their hold on you. Awareness also helps you expand your conscious understanding of your own strengths and weaknesses, likes and dislikes, and your relationship deal breakers. This self-knowledge is crucial in building a strong foundation to your partnership.

The next three secrets— healing, joy, and communication—are the transformative secrets. When you bring the teachings and tools we provide in these chapters into your interactions with others, you can prepare for a future partnership, improve and enhance an existing union, or rebuild the framework of even the most damaged structures, transforming them into a clean, spacious, and sturdy way of being.

Healing-   By the time we reach adulthood, virtually all humans have experienced some type of profound loss, traumatic experience, or deep emotional wound. If we push these experiences deep inside us rather than heal from them, that trapped pain will fester and eventually erupt in the form of an emotional or even physical outburst, often at the expense of our unsuspecting partners. Healing from these past experiences, as well as any unhelpful beliefs they have created, is the first secret to transforming your relationship with others and yourself.

Joy- We’d all like to experience joy in our lives, and this is especially true for our relationships. In fact, the pursuit of joy is often what prompts us to seek a relationship in the first place. This chapter discusses concrete ways to cultivate joy in your romantic relationships, such as creativity, play, and sexual pleasure. Creating joy is often the key to transforming relationships that have grown stagnant, and the regular practice of it will help your relationship feel fresh, new, and vibrant.

Communication- While communication is one of the most useful human gifts, it’s surprising how many of us struggle to communicate in healthy and productive ways when it comes to our intimate relationships. Sure, most of us do well when it comes to things we agree about or that we share in common— but the greater challenge is to converse with each other in the midst of issues or topics that challenge or divide us. Learning how to speak our truth, even when our partners don't like what we have to say, is often the most difficult. The tools in this chapter will help you do exactly that.

The seventh and final secret— release—provides guidance on nourishing your relationship on an ongoing basis. This last secret is where you learn the skills to perform the necessary and sustaining maintenance that will keep the construction of your relationship solid, even in the midst of changing and challenging times.

Release- This secret can seem paradoxical in nature, because it often involves not doing rather than doing.  Our relationships offer us hundreds of little ways to release what we often want to hold on to, such as the need to be right, the need to have the last word, and most importantly, the need for things to stay the same. The truth is that change is a constant in life. Sometimes these changes are trivial, sometimes they are momentous; but couples in happy and healthy relationships embrace the constant of change rather than fight it, while simultaneously honoring the part of each other that stays the same. Release is the key to balance between loving the static and the loving the change.

Ready to dive in and learn more? The Seven Secrets to Healthy, Happy Relationships is available now from all major retailers as well as from our website here. AND, if you order a special multi-book package from our website, you can order The Seven Secrets to Healthy, Happy Relationships for just $10 (including free shipping the US)!

Or click here to read the first two chapters and learn more about the foundational secrets, Commitment and Freedom!

 

Awaken Your Inner Fire

Your Inner Fire is the vital energy within you, the unseen force that gives life to your being. Perhaps because this energy can't be measured in a lab, many people live without any idea of its existence, or the importance of tending to it.

In this groundbreaking book, best-selling author HeatherAsh Amara introduces you to the fundamentals of your Inner Fire, and explains how the four major aspects of your being--the mental, spiritual, emotional, and physical--all interact with this powerful energy.

Amara teaches that when you view these four aspects through the lens of your Inner Fire, you can radically change how you think, feel, and live in the world. In these pages, you'll find practices, meditations, and explorations to put the concepts to work in your life.

By tending to your Inner Fire, you will learn how to:

  • Find your true work in the world, regardless of any job you do or role you play.
  • Use your Inner Fire as your own personal North Star, allowing it to guide you when making important decisions.
  • Move beyond busyness, stress, and overwhelm and live in joyous creation
  • Implement a new daily practice to live in balance no matter what life brings.

Learning how to tend your Inner Fire in a world that is constantly trying to hook your attention is a challenge--but this book invites you to take new perspective on who you are and how you relate to the world.

About the Author:

HeatherAsh Amara is a teacher, guide, and author of numerous books. As the founder of the Toltec Center for Creative Intent (toci.org), she has facilitated hundreds of workshops in the Toltec tradition and taught extensively with don Miguel Ruiz.

Warrior Goddess Wisdom

A Daily Dose of Warrior Goddess Power

HeatherAsh Amara's Warrior Goddess Training has helped thousands of women all over the world harness their divine feminine energy and take control of their lives. In Warrior Goddess Wisdom, Amara has created a package of daily encouragement and insight to help you progress on your own Warrior Goddess path. Each page contains a quote, a reflection, and a daily action or mantra, all of which are designed to guide you back to supporting yourself, finding your inner truth, and deepening your self-love.

"Let this book of daily inspirations be a guide and friend that is always there when you need support. Let it help you peel back the layers of everything that is not you to reveal the core essence of your radiant, powerful, and authentic Warrior Goddess self."

— HeatherAsh Amara

HeatherAsh Amara is the founder of Toci—the Toltec Center of Creative Intent—and the author of a number of books including the 'Warrior Goddess Training' series.

She brings an openhearted, inclusive worldview to her writings and teachings, which are a rich blend of Toltec wisdom, European shamanism, Buddhism, and Native American ceremony.

She lives in Austin, Texas, and travels extensively.

Visit her at www.heatherashamara.com.

The Seven Secrets to Healthy, Happy Relationships

Relationships: An Integral Part of the Human Experience

As humans, most of us yearn for fulfilling relationships. They provide unlimited ways for us to learn, grow, thrive, and have fun!

Yet, as we know, relationships aren’t always a “bed of roses”—especially romantic ones. They don’t make themselves, nor do they continue happily on autopilot once they begin.

In this one-of-a-kind book, bestselling authors don Miguel Ruiz, Jr. and HeatherAsh Amara share their seven secrets to healthy, happy relationships:

  • Commitment
  • Freedom
  • Awareness
  • Healing
  • Joy
  • Communication
  • Release

Understanding and enacting these principles can help you at any stage in your intimate partnering, whether you’ve been with someone for many years or are currently single and want to prepare for a relationship.

The authors make clear that the principles in this book aren’t secrets because they are hidden away, but are more akin to undiscovered focal points that can lead to deeper, more meaningful connections.

Part of the secret, as you will see, is in the art of putting these ideas into practice day after day and year after year.

About the Authors:

don Miguel Ruiz, Jr. is a Nagual, a Toltec Master of Transformation.

He is a direct descendant of the Toltecs of the Eagle Knight lineage and is the son of don Miguel Ruiz, Sr. He is the author of four books.

Visit him at www.miguelruizjr.com.

HeatherAsh Amara is the founder of Toci—the Toltec Center of Creative Intent—and the author of a number of books including the 'Warrior Goddess Training' series.

She brings an openhearted, inclusive worldview to her writings and teachings, which are a rich blend of Toltec wisdom, European shamanism, Buddhism, and Native American ceremony.

She lives in Austin, Texas, and travels extensively.

Visit her at www.heatherashamara.com.

A little book on Big Freedom

Air | Fire | Water | Earth

The four primordial elements not only inform our physical lives, but they are also potent symbols for aspects of our inner selves. When we learn to harness their power correctly, they can lead us toward radical personal transformation, or what best-selling author HeatherAsh Amara refers to as Big Freedom.

Drawing on her extensive background in European and Toltec shamanism, Amara deftly explores each of the four elements and explains how they relate to your inner world:

Packed with exercises and meditations at the end of each chapter, this book offers a clear path to finding your own Big Freedom, one that involves tearing down any inner walls made of fear, judgment, or regret, and building a profound friendship with your truest self.