As a woman working for the health of The Mater,
I am an animal advocate. It is in my blood. I practice shamanic journeying, dancing (even with cancer and in my wheelchair) and singing. Shamanism is practiced today by people of all religious backgrounds. It was and is an ancient worldwide practice.
* “The word shaman comes from the Evenki and related Tungusic languages such as Manchu”.
Shamanic practice uses “Journeying”, an active, participatory process, making it different from meditation. The first journey you take is to the lower world. You go there to meet your power animal. In all of my research and practice this is the fundamental beginning on which every other shamanic practice will rest. Animal spirits are with us from birth. If you made it to adulthood, congratulations, you have one. Occasionally, people get more than one. The wellbeing of spirit animals is dependent on your relationship and the wellbeing of their counterparts in the physical world. I read and hear too many modern best selling authors and teachers of shamanism wanting us to only “work on our inner landscapes”. I disagree. The first two rules of all spirit animals are THEY MUST EXIST IN THE PHYSICAL and THEY MUST BE WILD. Right now, too many species are under attack and threatened everywhere.
Wolves are a prime example. They are an intelligent species with very complex social structures and phenomenal apex predator skills. They self regulate their own population, eat diseased animals and had **hunted cooperatively with humans on Turtle Island (North and towards South America) for millennia without extinction to any species. During that time wolves remained wild and plentiful. Today, If you have a dog in your family, thank a wolf. Evidence is showing that the wolves were the ones to add us to their packs. We humans became additional members of their family. Right now, for absurd reasons, we are hunting them to extinction.
I spend time learning about any power animals, but wolves hold a near and dear place. I am fascinated with their social structure. The model of alpha, beta and omega are being rethought in some science circles. I still use it because it is well understood amongst us average folk. Ask most people who they are in a wolf pack, you will almost always hear them declare alpha status. (Hmmmmm) While I know that I exhibit some alpha female characteristics like leadership, the ability to relay that leadership to others, fierce protective skills, and taking responsibility for children everywhere as my own, it is not my dominant characteristic. Beta characteristics are my weakest. I neither participate in hunting or engage in challenging other alphas. Nope. I understand omegas. I know many people will cringe at the thought of anyone claiming an omega status. Traditionally they are seen as “scapegoats” and weak. I think that definition is through the murky lens of people who do not understand the full purpose of omegas. We, the omegas in the human/animal species provide space for emotional and idea outlets.
Omegas are known to release tension in their packs. As the youngest of six children, sarcasm and wit were among my many survival skills. Getting my older siblings to laugh, gave me full recognition in my family as more than a baby sister. I was suddenly smart. Many a tense moment can be redirected by a great sassy line. I know funny. I still make them on the fly. It does diffuse difficult situations. I have watched someone move from tears, uncertainty or boredom to laughter through this one skill. It’s not appropriate for every situation. I do try to be judiscious. Overdone, it is annoying. So, as an oft omega, I am a listener as well. I will sit with someone for days without any real breaks until they have worked through any situation. I want all of “my pack” to have a place. To be able to release and/or clarify their situations, emotions and dreams. The times when I absolutely flip from an omega into an alpha is if anyone attempts to attack or use me, or someone I love, whether it be physically, emotionally or spiritually. They need to look elsewhere to attempt manipulation or violence. My stand on that is rock solid.
The surprise trait of the wolf pack is:
*** “It is interesting to note that in packs that have been observed losing their omega, the entire pack has entered into a long period of mourning where the entire pack stops hunting and just lays around looking miserable.”
I have contemplated that profound behavior since I read it over six months ago. We may have it backwards. It may be the omegas that hold the key position in the pack. The individual alphas and betas can change within a pack. When that happens the pack will keep moving on. It’s a death of an omega that stops them. Omegas have been the glue holding the pack together. I suspect they manage those alphas and betas from a perceived lower position. I have done that many times throughout my life. I held and commanded people’s respect. It was because my facts, knowledge and especially my intuition, having taken just once (sometimes twice) to be proven. It made me key to preventing problems and complications. I am certain, no matter the external observations, omega wolves do the same. They give emotional balance. They stop the alphas need to be overpowering and possibly start excessive fighting amongst wolf packs. I don’t think that alphas can drive down violence. It will be the respected omegas. Yes, omegas are known to fight, some do move into beta or alpha status. I’m going to keep my varied status, with my omega leading.
There are probably scores of benefits an omega provides that we misunderstand or simply have yet to record. We misunderstand wolves in general. Let’s be honest, we misunderstand animals. Period. But we sure need to begIn understanding everything about them. Our lives depend on it. From a shamanistic view, if the animals are not in the wild, we have lost our power animals. If we can’t protect them for their intrinsic value, do it for selfish reasons. As one who has omega skills, that glue to life, and who practices shamanism, I can say, it’s not just inner work. We must translate it into external action. Whether you acknowledge it or not, a wild animal has kept you alive. Return the favor.
Blessings to all.
** I am both an ethical and dietary vegan. I do everything I know to never eat or use animal products. I do my best to not use products that endanger their natural environments either. I avoid fruits and vegetables hauled across thousands of miles or exotic locations. We often destroy animals habitats to satisfy the demand for these foods. Sometimes my endeavor becomes impossible. Palm products come to mind. I know through shamanic work that spirit and life resides in animals, stone, plants, water, fire and the earth itself. So, why do I choose the arbitrary line of animals? Because I can. I buy in bulk and store non-gluten grains and legumes. I eat about 50% fresh raw foods. I give thanks and make reparations to those plants daily. Whenever I die, I will be planted in an urn that grows a tree. Exploring the worlds of shamanism has shown how real the life, soul and intelligence is in elements, plants and rocks as well as all animals including humans. All are equal in the circle of life. Still, I must eat. By choosing no animal products, I have caused LESS harm. I fully acknowledge that I have NOT ended all harm.
I know almost all vegans use no animal products that come from animals with a nervous system. I just have a different direct experience and reasons.