The Way of the Shaman - Study Guide Chapter 4, Power Animals Summary & Analysis

Michael Harner
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The link between a shaman and animals is a basic tenet of shamanism. Most traditions tell of the mythical past in which animals and humans could talk. Creation myths involve explanations of how species differentiated until only shamans could regularly communicate with animals, and then only in the SSC. For the Australian aborigines, the "dreamtime" embodies a parallel mythological past and present-day ordinary reality that can be accessed by dreams and visions. These myths refer to an animal group rather than an individual animal. In signifying "Coyote" or "Raven" instead of a coyote or a raven, the myths indicate that the shaman's connection with the guardian spirit is with the entire species rather than through a representative individual of that species. The guardian animal aids the shaman in particular ways through special talents associated with that species.

Some variation exists among...

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