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Totem/Shadow Work

Mandala
loopofabobcat.jpg
Loop of Bobcat, Oil Pastel, 2008

 
Shadow Animal Dreamwork
 
Do you have animal dreams or better yet, recurring animals that haunt your dreams?  Animal dreams can be powerful symbols, messengers from the Divine.  Understanding them can help you access tools for unlocking your path in life.  They can also reveal our shadow side; that part of us which is hidden to our conscious selves.  For example someone who has suffered abuse might have dreams of powerful tigers or lions; these amazing, strong, independent and wild animals represent that which has been torn or lost from the dreamer.  These traits must be accessed and incorporated in order to heal.

We all have differing opinions and experiences with animals.  For example, many fear bats while others respect and welcome them.  An animal dream can have several meanings.  Your own personal experience or opinion is just the tip of the iceberg.  Generations before viewed, worshipped, adored, feared, ate, and hunted these animals and the charged energy attached to their personas still exist deep within our unconscious.  Shamans used animals as their guides into the spiritual world; indeed shamanism is the oldest form of religion.  Finding your animal totem and what it means personally to you can be very helpful in healing and taking back your power to find happiness in life.

Shadow Work: Working with your shadow is a term which describes becoming aware of the dark side of ourselves.  This does not mean that it is bad, but something we reject and fear. Our Shadow side must be recognized as something both "other" or different from what we want to be and something that is needed to become whole.  Most often, when Shadows appear to us in dreams, they hold the key to our repressed memories, which enable us to uncover unwanted habits and allow us to heal.   For example a shadow will come to us most often as someone of the same sex in dreams.  He/She will be our old childhood friend or co-worker who is completely opposite from us; they are incompetent, loud, rude, obnoxious, sexual or docile.  The traits they carry which we reject as bad or "other" (not of us) are actually traits which we fear or need within ourselves; they can also be traits which we show outwardly to our family and friends but are not aware of it. Traits which hurt our relationships and ourselves.  This can also be called Projection: when we project onto others what we deny as part of ourselves.  (For example accusing your spouse/partner of not being more supportive when in fact it's you who needs to show more support.  Or, wondering why he/she doesn't love you more when in fact you don't love yourself enough or give yourself more worth.)   I am not by any means saying that if you dream of a bankrobber or rapist that this is something you need to do to become whole! Rather, someone who dreams of a rapist should look at how they treat the opposite sex...abusing power over anyone, something we may not be aware of, can come out in dreams of this sort.  They can also reveal past abuses that we may be repressing.