Today I have a treat for all of you: a guest post by Morgan, who writes about animism and spirit work at Love by the Moon. And I’m posting on her blog about journeying with plant spirits. Hope you enjoy both posts!
During a dinner one night not so far back, the discussion turned to spirit work. My companion, who had been working with a particular goddess, asked about the merging of spirit. She had brought this question earlier (if I recall correctly) to a person prominent in community but had not found what she was looking for exactly. “Has this happened to you?” or something to that was brought about. Yes … yes it had.
I have since pondered that conversation quite a bit. It’s not something that I think either of us had ever been “taught”. Does it just not happen to many? Are we just one of the odd few? Or is it just something, even among those who practice as such, just don’t discuss openly? Maybe. I can see where it might sound a bit nutters. However, obviously it’s part and parcel with some practices. Maybe it is just one of those things most people cannot word well and so they just don’t.
I had recently had this happen one evening while blooding those on my new altar, some old and some new. My experience was a bit different, but then I mainly work with my animals more so than deity. Before that dinner, I had only shared the story with Cin and Walking Bear, so maybe I am guilty of this non-speaking as well. I have had in journey work where I’ve been “filled” with one of my guides, for lack of a better term … like a gentle merging. I was there but I was more. This most recent experience was different.
I was blooding and calling those who I have been/would be working with, occasionally receiving impressions and sometimes whole thoughts. I was moving about my work per usual … then I picked up old lady crow’s skull. I was cradling it in my hands, calling and doing my usual process when I physically felt her forced into me … that’s the best way I could describe it to my friend. I believe she said she felt a tingling at the start and further things that are not mine to share, but for me it was a definite physical forced feeling of pressure. I distinctly felt the crow’s eye where my eye should have been along with the physical filling sensation, and I saw differently.
Part of me was still very much there, I could still feel normal parts of me, but I felt definite parts not me, all sort of crowded in together. I was not journeying, I had not even used the ointment, just my usual fetiche calling work. This was the story that came to my mind when I was asked to write on what to expect when journeying with animal spirits. I imagine others have had similar experience when working with such, in or out of journey.
Journey work is all about exploration, knowledge, and a call … at least it is for me. If I don’t actively journey for a time, the spirits will come to me and usually with increasing insistence. I often wonder if it is the same for others who walk this walk. Usually there is something to be found, something they want to show me. I have but to put in my part of the work.
Many start journey with asking a traditional gatekeeper to let them pass through, to open that gate–the gate to other is how I think of it. My gatekeeper is a brown hare … always a brown hare.
The hare and the white rabbit have been with me since the beginning, the hare at the gate and the rabbit to travel by my side. The rabbit is my constant comfort and helps me to judge the situation. When he is nervous, I know to tread carefully, and when he is calm I know everything is okay. I have one particular who only shows when something is off. I don’t see this one often but when I do, I know it’s time to go. This is my particular association.
Sometimes there are those who move in and out of my journey work, there to bring something to me in that snapshot of time. Sometimes they appear and whisper thoughts or images in my mind’s eye–things I need to pass on or lessons I need to work out. I’ve found that while certainly classic characteristics of the animal often ring true, for me it’s more important how I view them. I think it’s important not to get tied up in the “should” and pay more attention to what they bring to mind for you, whether it be a thought, a feeling, or an image. They came to you during your journey, not someone else’s.
And the being taken over? Well, I think for me crow was trying to impress upon me that this was of great importance, a simple hey, pay attention–I’m taking you with me and you will need to share these qualities I can lend you to get you there..