Osiyo nigada, hello everyone! I've seen a few threads over shapshifting that have gotten little if any results. I may or may not do another thread like this, depending on your feedback and if I feel there is a need. I'll take you on a little ride through some shaman beliefs of shapeshifting and I will also include an exercise. Well, here goes!
In the early evolution of humanity, before we were so solidly locked within the physical form, we could probably mold our shapes. When the body was less dense, we may have indeed been able to metamorphose into another shape. Today we must use the faculty of imagination.
Shapeshifting is natural to all of humanity. It involves more than just transforming oneself into a beast. Every day, on some level, we shift our energies to meet the daily trials, responsiblilities, and obligations of life. We learn early on in our lives when to smile, when to be serious, how to appear apologetic, or how to express a wide variety of personas according to need.
Shapeshifting is not just transforming into a beast, as often described in ancient myths and tales. Most of the tales of shapeshifting were either symbolic or reflected a time in human evolution when we were not so grounded in the physical. Shapeshifting is a matter of controlling and shifting your own energies to fit the needs of the moment--being able to draw upon those qualities and energies necessary.
Anyone who can discipline himself or herself to achieve a goal is a shapeshifter. If you can adapt to change, pleasant or otherwise, you are a shapeshifter. If you can turn a foul mood into a pleasant one, then you are a shapeshifter. If you can adjust your behaviors to relate to a wide variety of people and life conditions, then you are a shapeshifter.
It is this kind of shapeshifting that we can all develop to a higdegree. We can learn to adjust our energies to that which is similar to a particular animal totem and manifest it beneficially within our life. When we can do this, then we begin to realize that there truely is a magic to the world.
Today, most magick takes place within the mind at a different level of perception. It doesn't make it any less real or useful in our outer lives. When we can accept that, then we are on the way to becoming a true magician. With practice you can strengthen the imaginative faculty and learn to conciously control and shapeshift it along any lines you desire. And when we change the imaginings, we change the world. We can learn to shapeshift the imagination so that for all intents and purposes, we become the shape.
Above is one of Ted Andrews' beliefs. I also share this belief.
Dance Ritual Exercise:
To shapeshift, merely build the image of the animal during meditation. See it fully in front of you and absorb it into your body through the solar plexus region. Take its full essence into you.
Now, start with your feet or hands and feel them begin to change. Imagine and feel the claws, paws, or talons forming. Where there was skin, imagine fur or feathers forming. Allow the change to come slowly and to move up the body. The last part to change should be your head, this helps you maintain control.
As you transform, visualize a door forming for you, a door that has the image of the animal you are becoming engraved on it. This is a door to the inner world. It is easier to maintain the form on the inner levels than outer, so visualive the door opening and you going through it as the animal. Initially, you will be imagining all that you wish to experience as the animal. Eventually, the experience will become alive. It will take on the quality of a very vivid dream. You wont just be observing yourself doing this, you will be experiencing it.
On the other side of the door, you may wish to explore the environment of the animal. You may use the animal for to travel on the inner levels to outer destinations--visiting people, the past, the future. You are the animal.
After a time, imagine yourself coming back through the door, and it closing solidly behind you. Slowly begin to change back to normal. Do not rush the transformation. Imagine the animal coming out of you, just as you absorbed it, release it. Then, let the animal slowly dissipate until it is unformed energy surrounding you in the center of your circle. Slowly open your eyes and stand. Perform several of the animal moves as a way of honoring and thanking the spirit of the animal, and then begin to slowly counterclockwise spiral out of the perimeter of the circle. Visualize the energy dissipating as you do. Ground yourself.
As a warning, this exercise should not be used too often. If you cannot concentrate or your personality changes, stop the exercise immediatly. Those who have never meditated should work to control their energies before jumping into shapeshifting.