Ancestor and Animal Allies
This is part 4 of my series on Magic 101, you can read parts one, two and three here.
Last week we talked about common misconceptions around spirit allies, this week we are going to discuss the two easiest groups of allies to begin working with: Ancestors and Animals.
The easiest and most accessible group of allies to begin working with are your ancestors. By ancestors I mean anyone who was in a human body at some point. They may be related to you by blood, or they may be “cultural ancestors” people from history that you have a strong love for or affinity with. Ancestors are the most accessible group because they know what it is to be human, and they usually have a vested interest in seeing humans thrive. To begin working with ancestors sometimes all you have to do is start honoring them.
In Mexican and Latin American culture the traditional time to honor your ancestors is Day of the Dead, or the time just following Halloween. This holiday also has links back to Celtic traditions, as it was thought that the end of October was the time when the ‘veil’ separating our world from the realm of the ancestors was thinnest. You don’t have to wait until November to honor your ancestors. Leave out an offering of food, put pictures of them up, thank them for making your life possible. And no, you don’t have to honor any relationships with ancestors that may have been difficult for you when they were alive, but doing so, may greatly help you heal family trauma.
Ancestors allies can be helpful for:
- dealing with current family situations
- healing from family trauma
- erasing patterns of dysfunction from your family lines
- healing the DNA of your family line
- healing cultural wounds like homophobia, racism and misogyny
I personally believe that after death all humans go through a “karmic” reckoning of sorts, therefore most ancestors who may have had problematic politics or practices during their lives, will have learned the lessons necessary to have released those patterns and learned from their mistakes. I say most, because it is always a good idea to be cautious when working with a spirit that you haven’t known before. In the last article I brought up the need to only work with those ‘who love us beyond all reason’ this is a great filter for weeding out the not so helpful influences.
It is also possible to work with ancestors of other cultures, if you feel strongly that you are invited to, and you approach it with an attitude of respect. Relationships with spirit allies should always be more about giving than getting. Honoring the ancestors who lived on the land before you, especially in colonized countries like the US, is never wrong if you approach it with humility and respect. I always follow this rule of thumb when working with ancestors from other cultures: I owe tremendous gratitude to those who walked this land before me, I accept and am grateful for the gifts given to me by ancestors who are not mine by blood, but I recognize that that in no way gives me any access or rights to the living people of that same culture. To assume so would just be arrogant and sketchy.
Animal allies are maybe the second most accessible group to find your allies within, this is because they are also red blooded creatures. Many cultures have different traditions and meaning behind the significance of different animals and it is important to respect the ways of other cultures, but we each can have a personal relationship with animal allies. When we work with the spirit of the animal, we treat all individual animals as a representative of that spirit. So for instance, if crow is one of my allies, all crows that I see, are living representative of the spirit of crow.
You can find a lot of books out there that give the ‘meanings’ or powers behind certain animal allies, and while it can be fun to read what others have to say about what an animal represents, ultimately it is unique to you and your relationship with them. So don’t be bound by what a book says if you have a strong intuition about the gifts that an animal ally is offering.
Animal allies can be most helpful in the following ways:
- teaching you a quality associated with the species like courage, patience, joy
- teaching you a specific psychic skill, like seeing in the dark,
- helping you make connections to the land you live on
- as ambassadors to other spirit allies
- as protection
To begin working with animal allies, first just notice what kinds of animals are around you. Birds, rodents, domesticated animals, even fish and bugs can be allies. Often I think we have this idea that our animal allies have to be top of the food chain, or animals from the African Sahara, but really we are surrounded by animals all the time. Who is around you? when do they show up? What does it mean for you? When you are ready to work with an animal as a ally, you also take on a responsibility to speak up for their rights on this planet.
Working with Allies
People get information from allies in many different ways, and it important to remember that your way of working with them is going to be unique to you. Sometimes they show up as symbols. For a point of time in my life I kept finding heart shaped rocks where ever I went. It was my allies sending me a message. I’ve also had a profound experience with owls at the top of a mountain at dusk. These examples are unmistakable and concrete, but messages can also come in more subtle forms. A friend of mine would get a physical sensation of being pulled to the left, whenever a certain ally of hers was around. Other people get a certain smell that comes around when their allies are present.
To begin a relationship with an ally, I would first use the filter I suggested above by creating sacred space in whatever way you like: I cast a circle. Then call in your allies and make sure you are calling in only those who ‘love you beyond all reason’. Then ask to be given an image, a name or a sensation to associate with this ally. Trust what comes to you, you really can’t get this wrong. Then begin forming a relationship with this ally. You may want to build them an altar, you may wish to leave offerings. Use your intuition to guide you. You can ask them to give you dreams, or you can ask them specific questions with Tarot of a pendulum. Really the sky is the limit if you keep in mind that it is always more about giving than getting.
Let us know how it goes by leaving a comment below.