In this blog i am sharing my experience of journeying with young people, mostly with Women-becoming.
I start spirit animal work with children at any age…teaching them about
the medicine of each animal , using the teachings and medicine of animals in stories
and ceremonies. For example…I brought Heron medicine to the girl-bloom ceremony I designed for girls age from 9 to 12… This is what my guidance tells me Heron medicine
Feminine spirit, connected to the cyclic ebbing and flowing of the tide and the inner rhythms of the feminine nature.
Represents feminine spirit and the ability to journey with the wisdom held in the ebb and flow of our cycles. Heron is your guide to connect you to the rhythmic flow of your cycles, tides, inner wisdom, inner knowing and feminine needs. Journeying into your emotions to see and feel what is held there. Using heron as your guide to carry you along the rough waters, swift currents and smooth flows of your cycles to navigate your journey to womanhood.
So it is really exciting to teach girls the wisdom of womanhood, connecting to their emotions, understanding life, sense of belonging and much more through the wisdom of the animals …this way of working really reaches the girls..
But in my experience so far, I have not felt to do a spirit animal journey with children below the age of 11…10 is the youngest I have done spirit animal journey with. The reason for this is that usually the children do not need it before this time. Children are still in the dream before this age. It is only as they begin to wake up to the outside world that I feel they need the support of their allies. This is my experience with my own daughters and the girls I have worked with in circle. Before this age I felt, especially for my own daughters that they should be left alone to feel what they feel about spirit etc and that it was not for me to place any of my beliefs/practices on them..
My daughters are unschooled at home…we live in a truck, so are basically living outside, we use something we created as a family called the Native Learning Wheel and they have been brought up in a shamanic home environment..so I felt to just let them be, regarding any deeper teachings.
But since my eldest turned 12 and the other girls I have been working with turned 12 and 13 , I saw a need to offer them deeper teachings if they wanted them.
So I have started the work of journeying with them, and connecting to their spirit animals.
When girls (and boys ) are beginning the process of separating from their family, from their mother, they need to begin to hear the guidance of their spirit allies. Pre- adolescent and adolescents need tools for reconnecting back to themselves, to their own medicine as they begin to encounter the outside adult world. They need in my opinion, tools to navigate their way through the emotions and confusion that can be the teenage years, and shamanism has some wonderful practises for this.
The teenage years are a spiritual quest to find their natural authentic self and sense of purpose or calling. Having your spirit animal with you as you journey along this warrior path is very powerful.
I see in girls that are 11 and up that they are old enough to really understand the depth of connection that they can have with their animal…much younger and the depth of the connection can be lost. They may not be mature enough to hold this power and it can just get forgotten about, or just be like the latest toy thrown in the back of the cupboard…we must not come from a place of spiritual consumerism. Also older children are less likely to project onto the journey…meaning going deep into the journey and meeting the true animal rather that seeing what they want, which is usually their favourite animal!
My eldest daughters experience highlights this.
She loves horses and has always known about spirit animals and desperately wanted her spirit animal to be a horse when she was younger… (maybe she did have one around her in those younger years)
When it came time for her to do her journey and find her guide, she was sure it was going to be a horse…she went deep into the journey and when it was time for her to come back, was a little startled at being back and it took her a while to be fully present. She was shocked as her animal had not been a horse. She had had a very powerful meeting with her animal and felt its presence with her afterwards. Since then she has had some very beautiful close encounters with this animal in this physical reality which has verified the truth of the journey. I am not sure a younger child would have gone that deep.
I had a beautiful circle once with the older girls lodge I run ….. we did a spirit animal journey and two of the girls who had been lying next to each other experienced each other’s animals in their journeys which was verified by much excited sharing afterwards by the girls…they really felt the power of journeying.
There was one time when I was working with my sister to hold a spirit animal circle for 11 yrs and up and most of the girls got their animals, but a couple of them did not see clearly enough and we had to work hard with those girls to help them feel the truth of the journey and to gain clarity on the message and medicine. One girl had been shown that her animal was mythic and was resisting it as she felt her religious family would not approve, so again help was needed to come to a safe, natural feeling about her ally.
However….having said all that, I do understand that a lot of younger children are totally ready for that level of teaching and may already have a natural deep connection with their ally and a journey would just help verify what they already know…children are so wise.
And I understand that where as in traditional tribal cultures this teaching would have been brought around the time of puberty, as part of the rites of passages to help them keep the connection they had as children to spirit, I also understand that modern children are growing up in a very different environment. They are being disconnected from Spirit, Earth and themselves very young by external forces, from programming at some schools, not enough time in nature, screens, computer games and phones. I can see that maybe there is a need to bring these teachings to them earlier, to bring them back to the dream.
It is such a shame that our children are being brought out of the dream so early, and that we even have to think about giving them tools to cope and to reconnect when they are little.
Working with spirit animals and youth in the right way is a beautifully profound way of helping them on their journey to adulthood. Done properly all the difficulties and adventure of the teenage years should propel them to adulthood with a strong sense of their authentic self, inner wisdom and guidance and purpose through understanding their unique divine essence and gifts, their medicine , which the world needs them to share. Having their guides with them and knowing how to listen to them is strong medicine for them.
Walk in beauty
For the Earthmother
Angharad ( Deep Dreaming Woman)