big_bird.jpgI love Holly’s post about her Chi-Patronus. I love the idea that we have spirit protectors from the natural world. There are two kinds, I think–external and internal. There’s the Native American or shamanic idea of a Power Animal–that we all have a guide who accompanies, heals, or protects us, it’s just a matter of tuning into what they are. My former shrink taught me to “find” my power animal in a very simple, unfancy way (my therapists tend to be a little untraditional). Sit comfortably, legs uncrossed, eyes closed, somewhere quiet. And ask–out loud or in your head–for your animal to reveal itself. Allow your thoughts to be light and easy and see what surfaces.

I’ve gotten different animals over the years, but usually it’s a bear. A giant she-bear who’s got hind legs and knows how to use them to show her full tremendous height and run off the boogeymen–usually “just” my own fears. I often close my eyes and picture her; it helps me calm down and know I’m not alone.

I’ve also had animal visitors when I’ve been medicated for one reason or another–most memorably when I had lymph node biopsy surgery a few years ago. For some reason afterward I was left alone to awaken from general anesthesia. No nurses, no doctor, no family–I was at the back of a long room. I went into a moment of real sadness and terror and confusion. Then I closed my eyes and Hello!–there was Big Bird! He just sat by my side, holding my smaller, scared hand with his giant yellow one. His big feathery gentle presence was tremendously calming–had there been a heart monitor on me I’m certain it would have shown my blood pressure sinking by many beats. He stayed with me until the nurse came.

The other kind of protector seems to be more of an inside-out experience–more like what Holly is talking about. It comes from within us, and is somehow a manifestation of our own essential energy self (sorry if I just crossed the line into total new ageyness, tho I guess if you made it past Big Bird, we’re good). I’m not sure I’ve ever really had a sense of what mine would look like, though I did scrape my brain while reading that part of Potter.

So I’m curious to know what Holly’s curious to know–do you have a sense of what your Patronus looks like? And/or also, do you have a Power Animal or think they’re useful guides or tools on the healing journey? Or do you think the whole thing is cuckoo?

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