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"To experience the tremendous value of working with animal spirit guides, you don't need to be a shaman, have any interest in shamanism, or be associated with an indigenous culture... Instead, consider these wonderful beings as spiritual allies that want to reach out to each and every one of us who are open to their guidance and, when called with sincere intent, will respond." - From the book
What does it mean when you see a frog on your doorstep in the morning, your sister calls you in the afternoon gushing about the cute little frog statue she got at a yard sale, and your child brings home a drawing of a frog that she made in pre-school? According to shamanic practitioner Steven Farmer, the animal spirit Frog may be trying to get your attention to deliver an important message!
Following on the heels of Power Animals, a fine introductory book with guided meditation CD, and the Power Animal Oracle Cards, Animal Spirit Guides: An Easy-to-Use Handbook for Identifying and Understanding Your Power Animals and Animal Spirit Helpers provides meanings and messages from over 200 creatures.
At Dr. Farmer's workshops, many participants would come up to him asking for insight about a particular animal, some that were unfamiliar to him. He decided to create an accessible guide for those seeking answers about repeated animal visitations, the meaning of animal totems/power animals, and which animal to call upon for specific situations and concerns. Thus, the 455-page Animal Spirit Guides book was birthed.
For each mammal, reptile, insect, fowl, or fish, Dr. Farmer offers three distinct methods for accessing animal wisdom, providing examples and possible meanings for each one:
* What it means when an animal makes a striking appearance or keeps popping up throughout a short time span
* When to call upon a particular animal and what its energy provides
* Personality correlations to an animal that happens to be your Power Animal
For example, Blue Jay visits me every once in awhile (quite insistently!), and happens to be one of my Power Animals. Under the Blue Jay entry, there are five explanations for what a visitation from this colorful bird may mean. In addition, there are four situations given for when a person may seek to call upon Blue Jay medicine, as well as four personality traits describing the individual that counts this bird among their Power Animals.
A black and white photo accompanies each animal entry, so you know exactly which animal is which (for those not commonly known or recognized). A written version of Dr. Farmer's guided meditation that's on the Power Animals CD is also included in this book.
Here are but a few of the animals featured in Animal Spirit Guides:
* Praying Mantis
* Tasmanian Devil
Dr. Farmer also explains the four ways to receive messages from Spirit Guides (Visual, Auditory, Kinesthetic, and Cognitive), and how to interpret and understand these messages once they're recognized. The last part of the book is a topical list of various situations for looking up animals to invoke. For example, if you're seeking aid for mental agility and dexterity, you may call upon Ferret, Ocelot, Octopus, Opossum, Rabbit, Roadrunner or Snake. If you desire to overcome procrastination, you'd call upon Ant, Beaver, Bee, Cougar, or Manatee.
For those of you familiar with Ted Andrew's book Animal Speak, you may wonder how Dr. Farmer's book differs from that classic. Well, Andrews is incredibly thorough and scholarly in Animal Speak--providing description of animal coloring, habitat, habits, and traits--as well as relevant lore. He describes shamanistic practices such as animal rites and shape shifting--in addition to the wisdom, and interpretation, of animal spirit messages.
Animal Spirit Guides, on the other hand, doesn't give specific (or ponderous) animal information, instead providing a handy, practical guide that anyone can use. The animals are listed alphabetically, as are the conditions to invoke a particular spirit.
There *are* overlaps between these books. For example, all of the qualities that Dr. Farmer lists for Blue Jay as a Power Animal can be found in Animal Speak (although Dr. Farmer's version is more like Cliff Notes). However, other descriptions are original to Animal Spirit Guides, so Dr. Farmer's book is by no means a rip-off of Animal Speak.
If you'd like an easy-to-use book for looking up the messages from the animal spirit realm, Animal Spirit Guides is an *excellent* resource. No matter what your spiritual path, if you believe that the animals convey messages from Spirit to humanity, then you'll benefit from this book. I've found it amazingly insightful, especially as a divination tool. Just this evening, I was doing a Tarot reading for a client and I heard "Badger" right before I dealt the cards. I picked up Animal Spirit Guides off my desk and, wouldn't you know it, the message from Badger was *exactly* the issue displayed on the first Tarot card! And, you, too, can use this book as an oracle, just by saying a prayer and turning at random to a particular animal entry.