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Dr. Steven Farmer: Listening to Our Animal Spirit Guides      
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Hallo, enlightened viewers, and welcome to Animal World: Our Co-Inhabitants. Have you ever wondered why a raccoon unexpectedly crosses your path? Or why a crow suddenly lands on your balcony?

On today’s program, we present the first in a two-part interview with American author, retired psychotherapist, spiritual teacher, and shaman Dr. Steven Farmer, who will discuss such questions and provide answers based on his years of experience with animals. Author of the bestselling books “Earth Magic,” and “Sacred Ceremony,” Dr. Farmer also hosts a weekly radio program called Earth Magic Radio. The term “shamanism” includes a wide range of practices used to communicate with the world beyond physical appearances. How did Dr. Farmer become interested in shamanism?

I spent many years as a psychotherapist, and I would say an unusual psychotherapist, knowing quite a few of my colleagues, and I really began to be curious about spirituality and how that fit into psychotherapy. And then about 20 years ago, I was introduced to shamanism. I’d sampled different spiritual paths, different religions, throughout my life and I’d always been curious about them in many ways and really was trying to, like I think many people do, find the right path.

And I did a two-day course on core shamanism and I went, “This is home.” “This is where I belong.” And I do believe it’s in my DNA somehow, an ancestral connection. And so, for a period of time I was very careful and ethical about how I would employ that in my practice in psychotherapy, but certainly some of the principles of shamanism kind of seeped into the work that I would do with people, and I had a very, very successful practice.

It was through his study of shamanism that Dr. Farmer came to believe that it is essential to re-connect with animal guides and Mother Earth. He writes about this his book, “Earth Magic.”

“Earth Magic,” it’s the name of my latest book. It has become more of an umbrella for the work that I do. So, “Earth Magic” really is the idea that the world is magical. I remember a book years ago called, “The Re-Enchantment of the World,” by Bruno Bettelheim. I love that title, and in a sense that’s what we’re talking about. Enchantment is from “chanson,” a French word which means “to sing.” So one version would be to really “sing the world” or to listen to the song the world has to sing to us. And that re-enchantment is part of the magic.

According to Dr. Farmer, animals are here to help us in life. The elephant, with his imposing power and strength, reminds us that we can overcome all obstacles. The swan’s message is that we’re beautiful just as we are. If we think our life is too serious, we can call on the spirit of the dolphin to develop playfulness or better communication skills. And the hummingbird is here to cheer us up and bring us joy.

I have a little hummingbird that comes into the backyard. I heard her name is Heather, so I call her Heather the hummingbird. And she comes and floats around one of the trees, it’s just starting to blossom here in the late fall, early winter. And I swear the last couple of days, she’d be sitting on that branch and I’d be just looking at her, and we’d be in communion. And to me, that’s magic. Or stories I’ve heard, speaking of hummingbirds, where hummingbirds will come, and flutter right in front of your face.

So it’s to reawaken that deep, relatively unconscious memory of our relationship with the natural world. It’s more the experience of the magic, that we are just part of the web of life here on the Earth, this big hunk of rock that’s floating through space in this vast universe, and we have the privilege of actually existing on this planet at this time. So, let’s wake up, and just really enjoy the beauty and the majesty of this planet as we go through these Earth changes that are occurring.

Animals may come to us to deliver specific messages, but we must closely observe the circumstances to understand what they’re telling us.

When I see an animal here, especially in an unusual way or through repetition, there’s some significance that we can go into about that. And it doesn’t have to be the physical animal. Like here in Laguna Beach (California), we do not see a lot of bears around here. But the bear spirit can show himself through symbols. You have a dream about a bear, and you wake up and you go, “Wow, that’s pretty weird.” And then all day long you’re thinking about that dream. And then you go to the supermarket, you hear somebody talking about bears. You turn on the TV and there’s a show on bears. There’s something pretty significant happening at that point.

For many years Dr. Farmer’s “power animals,” the raven, the wolf, the snake and the owl, have been assisting him in his work.

Raven’s a magician, and it’s perfectly in alignment with what we were talking about earlier about Earth Magic. There’re a lot of different creation stories where the Raven is the one responsible for bringing from the darkness into the light, that which is created and what we see before us in the physical world. So he’s very creative, a great manifester, which is true about me too. With the help of my spirit guides I’m very, very good at manifesting.

Another one is Wolf. Wolf’s spirit has been with me quite a few years. Wolf is a great teacher and is an astounding protector. I’ve asked Wolf to be here with us today just to keep us all safe and protected. I like having him around because he can provide a bubble of protection if you will, a psychic protection. He’s also a teacher, incredibly loyal, dedicated.

Third one is Snake, Snake Spirit, who’s been with me the longest. The other one is the Owl. Owl has been with me quite a while too. Owl was a more primary power animal when I was a psychotherapist. One of the gifts of Owl is to see into the shadows, to be able to see what other people don’t see, to be able to see those shadows in myself that I may or may not be aware of. And that was the gift of Owl.

Turtle is yet another animal who has transformed Dr. Farmer’s life.

Turtle has just been showing up a lot lately. And, I mean amazingly so. Now I refer back to an earlier book that was published about seven, eight years ago, the “Power Animals” book. And in there, Turtle gave me a message to convey. And I’ve got to tell you exactly how he said it. And this is how he sounded in my inner voice. I would sit at the computer and wait for the message. And I said, “Turtle Spirit, give me the message.” What message do you want me to convey to others through this work? And I took a breath and here’s what I heard, exactly like this: “Slow down, you’ve got all the time in the world.”

The next day we went to an animal sanctuary. It is on the Big Island in Hawaii, the Big Island of Hawaii near Kona. And guess what was there? Land turtles or tortoises. We went down to go swimming and of course it’s not unusual, in itself, but there were some sea turtles there.

And Turtle showed up the other day. I was sitting at the breakfast table and my stepdaughter Serena, eight years old says, “Steven, I’ve got some new earrings.” I said, “Oh, great! What are they? Show them to me.” Guess what they were? Turtles. I mean, again and again and again Turtle has showed up. When I feel myself speeding up too much, I’ll hear, “Slow down. It’s okay. You’ll get there, Tortoise and the Hare.”

And I swear I get everything done that I need to get done. In fact, if anything, I think I’ve been more productive since Turtle has been inhabiting my consciousness. When an animal shows up in an unusual way or repeatedly or both, that animal is another expression of God or Spirit or Great Spirit, Source, whatever you want to call that force. God’s okay with me, God and Spirit I use interchangeably.

Hummingbird grand central sends you a hummingbird and then suddenly you get a smile on your face and you cheer up. How could you not smile with that little being that’s doing this at 120 beats per second. I believe sincerely that Spirit is wanting to help us human beings. You know, we need it. We need it right now.

Also a talented musician, Dr. Farmer both composes and sings songs as another powerful way to convey his message of peace. He now performs one of his songs, “Breathe Again,” co-written by Martin Jordan.

I hold my fist tight and my teeth are sinking into my skin.
My eyes are aching, and I’m feeling forsaken, don’t want to let it in.
There’s nowhere to run and nowhere to hide.
You can always conquer you can never divide,
Every moment you’re young, you can never grow old.
Please take me back to the truth of my soul,
So I can breathe again. I wanna breathe again.
Everything changes, nothing is written in stone.
You never have to go it alone.
I hold out my hands for all to see.
I shout to the heavens please set me free,
So I can breathe again. I wanna breathe again.

Does everyone on Earth have an animal spirit guide? What’s the best way to become one with nature? To find out the answers to these and other questions, please join us again tomorrow on Animal World: Our Co-Inhabitants for the concluding part of our fascinating interview with Dr. Steven Farmer.

For more information on Dr. Steven Farmer including how to listen to his radio show, please visit www.DrStevenFarmer.com
“Earth Magic” and Dr. Farmer’s other books and publications are available at the same website

Thank you for watching today’s program. May we forever respect, protect and love our animal friends.
Hallo, special viewers, and welcome to Animal World: Our Co-Inhabitants. Today we present the concluding episode in our two-part interview with American author, retired psychotherapist, spiritual teacher, and shaman Dr. Steven Farmer. A shaman uses wide range of practices to communicate with the world beyond physical appearances.

Author of the bestselling books “Earth Magic,” and “Sacred Ceremony,” Dr. Farmer also hosts a weekly radio program called Earth Magic Radio. As we learned yesterday, he has studied animal guides extensively and says if we are in tune with them, their messages can help us overcome the challenges in our lives. Can a particular animal also guide a group or community of people? Dr. Farmer’s answer uses the example of his friend Jeremy, a member of an indigenous group in Australia.

I want to explain a couple terms, how I view them; totem animal and power animal. Totem animal’s probably the one that people more commonly refer to.

I've got to tell you the technical definition in my world. And totem is one of two things. Totem is typically a spirit animal that's shared by a community, a tribe, a clan, a family. The Kuku Yalanji tribe that Jeremy is part of in Australia, the men share a totem. And that's a totem animal, and that’s the Cassowary.

And then he's got his personal totem, which is, this is public so I'm not giving away any secrets, a Long-necked turtle. So, totem means one of two things typically in my world. One is that it is shared by a clan or community. The second is representation of a spirit animal, whether it's a power animal or a totem animal. This is a representation of one of my power animals, a wolf. A soapstone carving, just a reminder, sits by my computer.

And I've got others. This is actually a graphite raven, beautiful piece, and this was gifted to me. Clients will occasionally gift me things. And you can't see it but, there's a condor up there. So the condor itself could be considered a totem. So it's not just the physical being, it’s also the spirit of, not just that Long-necked turtle, but the entire species of Long-necked turtle. And in some ways, the entire species of turtle, because there're a few different subcategories. A power animal, it comes from shamanism, and it is typically that the shaman herself or himself carries or has a relationship with anywhere from one to maybe four or even five power animals. But not 20 or 30.

And those are consistent animal spirit guides. For instance, snake. It must have come to me, I think about 20 years ago. And then within about three years of that, wolf showed up. And then owl showed up again about four years later, not just showed up but, through my work, identified himself as a power animal. Raven came in loud and clear about four or five years ago, and has become the main power animal that I work with, I refer to, I listen to, I ask questions of, et cetera.

Do we each have a specific animal guide and if so, how do we identify the animal? Here are Dr. Farmer’s thoughts.

Everybody is born with an animal spirit guide that you can call a totem animal or power animal. However, we don't have the training or in our very mixed culture, parents just don't have the way to teach a child that this is a real, special spirit guide to them. So what happens? They leave. Now later, as an adult, we come into this consciousness about spirit animals. They can come back to us, or we can find them, or they'll be knocking on the door. Metaphorically, they’ll be knocking on the door a lot to try to get our attention, showing up again and again and again in consciousness or in physical reality to remind us that they're back.

Dr. Farmer has spent a great deal of time with indigenous peoples, who have taught him many lessons, including the following teaching from the Lakota people of North America.

In the Lakotas, sometimes called the Sioux, there's a statement that's made, going into a sweat lodge and then leaving the sweat lodge, "mitákuye oyasin."

And what that means is "all my relations." It’s an acknowledgement that we are related to every other being on this planet, that everything is a "people," the animal people, the plant people, the stone people, the tree people, that we truly are related to that. There is no separation. But we haven’t really been raised with that, typically. We’re still in that sort of divisive manner to think that we are superior somehow. So I believe that the animals have compassion for us and in return we can offer that compassion to the animals.

So what can we do to be more in harmony with the Earth?

Get outside. Go sit by a tree. I've had a tree spirit heal my sore back. I wrote about it in “Earth Magic,” the book. Take your socks and shoes off, go out and just stand. A great way to get over jet lag is to spend a half an hour outdoors, and put your bare feet in the Earth. You can get over jet lag in a half hour.

Get outside, pray. I don’t care who you pray to. And I think it’s a great time for people to join together collectively in prayer. If as many of us can maintain this intention that we’re going to, as much as possible, keep ourselves in gratitude, to get out of reaction into response, to offer service to the world in some way, I think that it helps the evolution process along that much more effectively. And get outside. That’s the main thing, get outdoors, Nature Deficit Disorder.

Our children are suffering from it. Instead they spend (their time) in front of two-dimensional screens, computers and TV. Turn the TVs off. We make it special around our house. One night a week, there’s movie night. The other times, there's no TV. They get to play on the computer maybe 10 minutes at the most a day. Instead, go outside, learn to enjoy the mysteries and the magic of the natural world.

Along with many other experts, Dr. Farmer believes that planet Earth is currently going through a period of evolution, and that if we want to survive, we need to change our ways.

I think that we’re going to go through some rough times, to be quite frank about it. It's no secret. But again, I think the responsibility is ours to be able to negotiate through these rough times. The species will continue. I don’t know exactly how that’s going to manifest. The evidence has already been showing up.

People have been telling us about it for 25 years now, where there's this adaptability that we human beings have that's just astounding; solar panels, recycling goods, learning about food, and our food sources. For instance, vegetarianism as a way to reduce the killing and the slaughter of the animals, which is done in such a cruel way. The consciousness is already evolving. I think it's an exciting time. I don’t feel afraid of what’s coming.

A talented musician who writes both the music and lyrics for his unique songs, Dr. Farmer concluded the interview by performing some of his compositions. He played the first on the didgeridoo.

This didgeridoo or the instrument itself is a one-note instrument with a lot of overtones. It's also an ancient, ancient Australian aboriginal instrument used by a lot of the various communities in Australia. And it’s really about the breath. You’ll hear this: I’ll be taking in breath, at the same time expelling it, sometimes (it’s) called circular breathing. There’re also a lot of different stories about it. One of the stories is that the world was sung into existence through the didgeridoo.

This next song is about a goddess in Hawaii.

Pele is the goddess of the mountain, the goddess of fire. Kilauea is the active volcano considered where Pele lives. And I used to live there off and on for a period of time. And I was inspired to write this song that was to the goddess Pele, as well as Mother Earth and also the goddess of the sea, Namaka o Kaha'i.

Mother of creation Such a beautiful world before my eyes.
Across the meadow You can hear her cry Can you hear her cry?
They say love and kindness, Will always win in the end
The world is but an illusion, Be like a tree in the wind,
Like a tree in the wind, Like a tree in the wind.
Lady of the waters, Purify my soul and set me free,
Clearing the way so I can be Who I came here to be,
I came here to be, I came here to be.

In conclusion, Dr. Farmer has this parting message.

So I suppose if I were to die tomorrow, and I had one message to say, and it brings emotion to me, is just try to be kinder. And I don’t mean just to other humans. Try to be kinder to the animals, try to be kinder to the plants. Try to be kinder to the mother, Earth Mother. Make it a point. Make it a standard. And that would be I think very congruent with the Dalai Lama’s message. He said something like, "It’s always possible to be kind." Make that your choice.

Many thanks, Dr. Steven Farmer, for sharing your insights about the vital role of animals in our lives and the interconnectedness of all beings. Your work is helping to create a more kind and loving world. May you always be united with the animals.

For more information on Dr. Steven Farmer including how to listen to his radio show, please visit www.DrStevenFarmer.com
“Earth Magic” and Dr. Farmer’s other books and publications are available at the same website

Thank you for joining us today on Animal World: Our Co-Inhabitants. May all beings on Earth enjoy long lives in peaceful harmony.

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