When I was a child, I used to like to play pretend. You remember this game, right? You would pick an animal, a character, or a roll and then pretend to be them. My favorites were creatures like squirrels, otters, wolves, dinosaurs, and mermaids.
As I grew up and stopped playing children’s games, I lost a bit of that wonder that you get from becoming a different creature. What I didn’t know as a child was that I was practicing an elementary form of shapeshifting. That is, allowing the spirit of the creature you are challenging to join with you and you take on aspects of that creature.
This is different from spending time with a spirit animal during a journey session. If you have any experience with shape shifting, than you know that when you choose to merge with an animal energy, you bring certain aspects of that animal into your physical and emotional being. For example, if you wish to bring better sight for seeing in the dark, you might call upon the energy of an owl. If you want to be more playful, you might call upon the otter to help you loosen up.
You don’t need to pick animals, you can choose things like dragons, unicorns, and griffins. Keep in mind that what you want to get out of these creatures will depend on what you perceive their energies to be. If you associate dragons with danger, then you will bring that energy into your being but if you perceive dragons to be beings of infinite wisdom, then that’s the energy you will bring into yourself.
You don’t have to be a master of shamanic arts in order to bring small aspects of shapeshifting into your everyday life. All you need to do is go back to your practice of sympathetic magic. Set your intention and then bring physical objects to help you pull out the energy you want to bring into yourself.
Here’s a few ways you can do this:
- Find a piece of jewellery that represents the spirit you want to hone the energies of
- Wear an outfit that reminds you of the spirit you want to embody
- Keep a picture, statute, or some object that represents the spirit on your altar
- Do a ritual where you can evoke the spirit or invoke the spirit into you
You can use any spiritual being you feel a connection with. This can be an animal, a god or goddess, a mythical creature, or an archetype. Sometimes, I like to take on energies from fictional characters that I like to embody. If you are wanting adventure, you might want to call upon Bilbo Baggins or Jack Sparrow or if you want to take on a strong, independent women, you might want to take on Scarlett O’Hara or Elizabeth Bennet.
I will get more into what invoking rituals in the future and the benefits to them. I have touched upon it in the past with my evoking vs. invoking article but this is a subject that needs a deeper level of discussion. You might say that shape shifting is an introduction to invoking.