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Sacred Animals

Messenger of the Creator

A power animal (or Guardian Spirit) is one that has made itself known in dreams or visionquest at least four times, each time in a significant way. They are also ‘helping allies’ that assist during times of transition, growth, war, healing. Part of a person’s individual medicine bundle should contain something from the natural world that represents the powerful spirit guides. From time to time they should be honoured with a feast and a special ceremony.

In Native stories frequent references were given to a time when animals were humans, gifted with the power of speech and other human attributes. The People believed that animals had souls which were immortal and they were reborn after death. Animals were considered the equals of humans in general intelligence, and surpassed humans in the particulars for which the animal in question was especially noted. For example, Eagles fly the highest of all living beings, and to have eyesight that can see into the soul. The Haudenosaunee call Eagle, ‘Principle Messenger of the Creator’.

It was the Haudenosaunee teachings that first explained that Eagle was the Principle Messenger of Creator. Since then, it is now a universally accepted principle. Eagle flies the closest to Creator and, therefore, can see the past, present and future at a glance. She sees the flow of change. She alerts us to the changes so that we can respond appropriately. Eagle is the great illuminator and soars above us all, sometimes out of sight to us, but never out of its own sight. Eagle sees and hears all and sits in the east on the Medicine Wheel with the direction of leadership and courage.

In other words, Eagle is connected both to the spirit of Great Mystery and to the Earth and does both with ease. Eagle, therefore, is a powerful symbol of courage; that is why its feathers are such powerful tools for healing, and why there are special ceremonies for Eagle feathers. Eagle teaches us that it is okay to combine wisdom and courage — it is okay to be wise enough to know that a change needs to be made in one’s life and then finding the courage to execute the change. It is okay to gather our courage, for the universe presents us with opportunities to soar above the mundane levels of life; the test is the power to recognize opportunities. Do not, in other words, be afraid of the unknown.

Embracing wisdom and courage means to fly above life’s difficulties and smell the tobacco from the sacred pipes!
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