Symbols - What does heaven look like
I have a number of entries in the symbol section for specific animals and their symbolism, the table below provides examples. The list is not complete, if the animal you have seen is not in this table it may well still be in the symbol section.
The Bird section gives an overview of all bird symbolism, this section gives an overview of all animal symbolism.
Anyone having a visionary experience – a dream, vision or hallucination or out of body experience may experience one of three things:
- He may see an animal
- He may ride an animal
- He may become an animal
If he sees an animal, he may be seeing another shaman, or the animal may be symbolic of something the person feels or needs or perceives at the time.
But, if the person rides the animal or becomes the animal, he or she has effectively assumed the role of an animal in order to achieve ‘ecstatic experience’. There is thus a link here with both body image distortion and shape shifting both of which can occur during an out of body experience.
In this latter case the animal is a means of transport.
Ynglinga Saga – translated by E Monsoon and A H Smith
His body lay as though he were asleep or dead, and then he became a bird or a beast, a fish or a dragon, and went in an instant to far off lands
When the person becomes the animal , there may also be an aspect of Personality match that goes on in selection of the form of transport, in that the transport one sees may match the way you perceive yourself. This observation is not universally true, but it does seem to be quite a useful pointer.
Many visions and out of body experiences incorporate the symbolism of a hybrid animal, a person who is half human, for example half wolf or half deer. This hybridisation occurs when the person becomes the animal, but the symbolism of the half and half animal human is used by the composer to show the dual nature of the person.
Perhaps the best known hybrids are centaurs, Fauns and satyrs. Centaurs are half horse and half human, whilst satyrs are half goat and half human. These apparently mythological beasts could well have been shamans in their visionary out of body animal form.
Spiritual groups of souls in most hunter gatherer communities are called totems. Thus a ‘totem group’ is the sum of all the souls in that team [clan or group] together with their accumulated knowledge. Souls can be living or departed souls – ancestors or otherwise.
The group does not necessarily have to be related by kinship. A totem group can be simply a group of like minded people [or creatures!] that share a common challenge. Clearly one of the obvious ways in which souls can be grouped is by their totem animal – the animal they feel they are or with whom they spiritually associate.
Totem groups are still a very prominent feature of North American Indian society, Australian aboriginal society, African society and South American Indian society. It was also a very important part of the belief system of prehistoric European hunter gatherer groups. Many totem groups in indigenous societies are named after an animal or a plant, fish, bird etc.
Outside spiritual experience, but still relevant to the process of establishing who you are, a person may have an animal that he or she associates with because its attributes are the attributes they would like or already have. This can then spill over into the idea of the Totem group. As more people also associate with that animal, a clan group forms with the name of the animal they feel a kinship towards. In this way, a Bear clan would include all bear people but also bears themselves. In a society like the Hopi Indians each totem clan might hold land allotments in the name of the clan. The principal Hopi clans include the Eagle clan, spider clan, snake clan and coyote clan for example. The totem animal is seen as a helper and protector and is usually revered.
Some of the observations which pertain to becoming an animal can appear quite negative, even frightening, but this search for the animal side of you is an important part of the process to Know yourself.
The need to 'know who you are' seems to be one of the primary early purposes of dreams and visionary experiences. First understand yourself, who you are and where you came from and why you are as you are. Then with this information you can fulfill your destiny – whatever form this takes – and from there greater spiritual access may be given. It is part of the spiritual path.
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- Chagall - Circus
- Charles Fort - Unusual archaeological artefacts
- Claudio Naranjo: The Early Days' Ibogaine Experiments
- Crowley - 07 The Chariot
- Custance, John - Wisdom, Madness and Folly - The atavistic tendencies of mania
- David Lewis-Williams - Cave paintings and animals
- Demonic creatures rapidly running over me in an overwhelming stampede
- Fell about in a catatonic state
- Fort, Charles - The Book of the Damned - Falls of inscribed stones
- Hans Peter Duerr - Tungus shaman
- I became a fox in a meadow
- I just see random half-human people sitting by my bed
- ICU - Rats, cats and scorpions
- Keightley, Thomas - Djins
- Lyall Watson - On African totem groups
- Masters and Houston - Becoming animals
- Michaux, Henri - Miserable Miracle Mescaline - Hybrid animals
- Mircea Eliade - On animals and birds
- Mushrooms and cannabis effects
- Paul Devereux - Num and shape shifting
- Paul Devereux - Totemism
- Pinchbeck, Daniel - DPT effects
- Proverbs 9
- Reid, Christopher - A fruitful line of research might be good manners In animals
- Rimbaud, Arthur - Reality - always too troublesome for my exalted character
- Rops, Felicien – La Legende du sexes
- Shaikh Muhammad Karim Khan Kirmani - Irshad al-‘awamm - Landscapes of the mind
- She became a jaguar
- Tennyson, Alfred Lord - In Memoriam A H H - I trust I have not wasted breath
- The Marriage of Philology and Mercury - The Strains of a Cithara attract Hyperborean Swans
- TIHKAL - Alexander Shulgin - Peganum harmala seeds
- Villoldo, Dr Alberto - Animals as symbols
- Yeats, W B - The Wind among the Reeds - Do you not hear me calling, white deer with no horns