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Shape Shifting: An Introduction

Shape Shifting: An Introduction

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Published by sithlady
A brief overview of the fascinating phenomenon known as "shapshifting", an integral part of many aboriginal cultures, past and present, of our world.
A brief overview of the fascinating phenomenon known as "shapshifting", an integral part of many aboriginal cultures, past and present, of our world.

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Published by: sithlady on Aug 19, 2009
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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11/04/2011

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© 2009 by Sithlady
 
 
 
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[Note: The world is made up of people who“know” that Shapeshifting is a fact and thosewho “know” it is not, so for ease of discussion,an assumption is made here that Shapeshifting 
is
  possible and, while difficult, also do-able.]
Shapeshifters (known by various names) have been part of the ancient way since time imme-morial.It is often believed that most modern day Shape-shifters (especially those who find it “easy” incomparison; the word ‘easy’ definitely beingrelative) have also been Shapeshifters in times past. Indeed, those who are even interested inthe phenomenon and who do not find it strange,creepy, frightening, or disgusting (the idea of “turning into an animal” as they put it, due tomisunderstanding or misinterpretation is off- putting to some people) most likely have beenShapeshifters in at least one past lifetime.It is difficult if not impossible to describe anexact process. Not only does it vary betweenindividuals depending on one’s belief constructsand cultural influences, it is also an integral partof what makes up the part of the unique “me”, asin “this is part of me”, but here’s an admittedlyover-simplified shot at it …
 S 
 KINWALKERS 
 
When people think of Shapeshifting what oftencomes to mind is the infamous Skinwalker, nowmade even more notorious thanks to some rather  bad movies loosely based on the theme. TheDené (Navajo) nation call them
 ynaldlooshi
 — “he who trots along here and there on allfours”—their word for a certain type of “super-witches” who are inevitably evil. Not beingDené I cannot speak with authority on their par-ticular brand of Skinwalkers, however, to themand other societies this is
not 
 
a mere legend butis very real and very dangerous. Even though itis a subject not openly discussed, especially withstrangers, hair-raising accounts of encounterswith Skinwalkers have been documented by re-liable, credible people such as police officers.Shapeshifters appear in native cultures through-out the world (in Europe—among the Norse andthe Celts in particular—and also in the Ameri-cas, Africa, Asia) and survive to this day. En-counters with them, however, are not limited tonative people nor must you be an aboriginal per-son to become a Shapeshifter, although if youexplore your past lives you will likely find oneor more where you were of at least one of thesecultures.Because some Shapeshifters can be totally evil,however, does it necessarily follow that
all 
are?Does it not come down to choice; where eachindividual makes a conscious decision abouthow to use his/her power, whatever that power may be?
1
The power to Shapeshift does notautomatically mean the Shapeshifter is either good or evil. It is a skill that can be learned if one is willing to commit to years of arduousstudy and practice (often extremely frustrating).They can go either way. In most cases, it is usedfor good: for healing, for exploration, and some-times to foil an enemy. Accounts of the preda-tions of Skinwalkers in the Four Corners area of the
USA
(and other places) by credible peoplecreate the not unfounded assumption that suchnasty characters exist, nevertheless, to categorize
all 
Shapeshifters in this manner is missing the point.Some Shapeshifters or Skinwalkers were Norse —the
berserkers,
a word meaning “bear shirt”,were a form of Shapeshifters or lycanthropes— and the Celts have also passed down a traditionof Shapeshifting. It is worldwide and so perva-sive in the history of so many nations and peo- ples that, upon even a little research, it seemsobvious that there’s something more to Shape-shifting than crazy “werewolf tales”.
1
 
Many believe that most Shapeshifters and allSkinwalkers (yes, many do differentiate between thetwo) are males; possibly because they are oftenlumped into the catch-all category of “medicinemen”. This is untrue. Although it would seem themajority are male, it is not exclusive; females alsoShapeshift and there are many “medicine women”.
 
 
2
 H 
OW IS 
 S 
 HAPESHIFTING 
 D
ONE 
?
 
One must shift awareness or consciousness inorder to allow part of or all of the soul to leavethe body. Learning to go into a trance state isnecessary. Many use the rhythm of drums and/or rattles to accomplish this. Others use music of various types which helps them raise and focustheir energy.Accompaniment is not required, however. Thereare no rules engraved in stone; as in so manyother things, one needs to feel free to experimentand find what works for them. For those whouse drumming or rattling, the slow repetitiverhythm shifts the rhythm of the individual so heor she can journey. Just as a soothing song canhelp someone achieve calm, the rhythm of adrum or other music puts you into the right state.
The journey is achieved by the person’s intent 
.You
intend 
to leave your body as an animal anddo so.Someone said, “try to describe walking and it isdifficult to put into words how you get your legsto move.” The same is true with Shapeshifting;it’s hard to describe the exact process as if read-ing from a list of operating instructions becauseit can and does vary somewhat from one indi-vidual to another.
 K 
 INDS OF 
 S 
 HAPESHIFTING 
 There are two types of Shapeshifting:1)
 
Astral2)
 
PhysicalThe astral is the most widespread. Most Shape-shifters ply their art solely on the astral; veryfew, even highly advanced and gifted shamans,claim to be physical Shapeshifters. Apparently,even if you find you are one of those rare peoplewho will learn to physically shapeshift, the ma- jority of your journeys, perhaps for a lifetime,will be on the astral.If you were a Shapeshifter in at least one pastlife it will likely come somewhat easier for youthis time around, but it is a universally difficultundertaking and not “fun”. It is daunting, hardwork, entirely serious, and can be terrifying to a beginner. (It’s reminiscent of a scene in one of the Star Wars movies where neophyte LukeSkywalker says, “I am not afraid.” Jedi Master Yoda sets him straight forthwith: “You will be,”he says,
“you will be.”)
 Much of the literature emphasizes the need towork with an experienced person and/or a“guardian”.Remember that Shapeshifting, although univer-sal, is uncommon and not something that everysingle human can accomplish.The following is the verbatim Wikipedia entryon Norse Skinwalkers:In Norse folklore, a skin-walker is a personwho can travel in the shape of an animal andlearn secrets, or take on certain characteristicsof an animal. The person is then said to bewearing that animal's hide. The most well-known example of the latter is the warrior whotakes on the strength and stamina of a bear,called "bear shirt" or 
ber sarkur 
, the origins of the word berserker; similarly, there were wolf- based warriors, called
ulfhe
ð
nar 
or "wolf-coats". They were said, aside from the battle-rage the animal spirit granted, to have the abil-ity to send out their soul in the form of their animal, in a practice called
hamfarir 
or "shape- journey".According to Mythology, the Norse heroSigmund and his son Sinfiolti became Skin-walkers for a short time, discovering twomagic wolf skins that turned them into wolveswhen they put them on. When they becameovercome by their animal instincts and beganfighting over meat, Sigmund almost killed hisson and so they decided to burn the skins.The use of an animal shape for other purposeswas considered unholy, and people accused of having such abilities were frequently cast outor summarily executed. Females so chargedgot off more lightly.

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