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Manitou And The Shamanic Photoshoot

Manitou and the Shamanic Photoshoot

As I worked on writing the copy for new shamanic teleclass Bones, Stones, Feathers and Fur it suddenly dawned on me that I needed a photo to go with it. I reviewed what I had available and nothing quite expressed the focus and intention of healing and connection to the animals and the earth with the assistance of All Our Relations (Stone, Plant and Animal People).

I needed something new.

So I went through the house asking my allies who would like to be in the photo, and gathered together a few representatives. A fascinating piece of driftwood, in which one of the Stone People had taken up residence, represented the Tree People and would form the backdrop.

The shocker came when I asked who—among all my spirit allies in pelt form—wished to appear in the shot. To my great surprise the very shy and retiring male bobcat volunteered. Bobcat came to me many years ago at the insistence of my guide She Walks who strongly urged me to purchase him off the internet. I did not like the energy of the operation nor their very icky slogan, and strongly questioned why we were doing this—I did not want to support them with my dollars. She Walks said Bobcat needed us. I told her that we could not rescue everyone. She insisted that we take in this one, and so I did as asked since she only insists when it is important.

Bobcat arrived very damaged in spirit and made it clear that he did not want to be where students and clients could see him, which was fine. I sent Reiki to the time of his passing (with his permission) and whenever there was ceremonial work I made sure he was invited. He declined to attend until the last few years at A Walk on the Wild Side where he has begun to participate more actively in the work with the people, even allowing others to touch him from time to time.

But for Bobcat to volunteer to appear in the photo shoot was unprecedented. And he would be the foundation for the other allies, they would be placed on top of him. He insisted on being placed belly fur up—a very vulnerable position for anyone. I honored the request and did not think of the implications until after the rest of the shoot unfolded.

I placed the other spiritual allies (bobcat skull, my smudging feather with bison fur, another Stone Person, and elk medicine bag with cave painting bison design) on the garden bench in a carefully balanced way and tried a few test shots. I made some changes to the arrangement, but the lighting was terrible—way too bright—everything was washed out.

Manitou investigates ©2014 Rose De Dan

I pondered a solution and Spirit showed me an umbrella, which I realized would work perfectly if I could prop it up in the lavender plant—which said it would be happy to help. This was definitely getting to be a very shamanic production!

My cat Manitou had been watching all of the proceedings with great interest. He began by making sure that Bobcat was not going to get up and walk around the garden. He slowly stalked forward until he was certain!

It was a hot summer day and the sun was strong. The opened umbrella cast the perfect shadow over the shamanic still life, and to my dismay Manitou stepped up on the garden bench and sat down with an expression of complete contentment. As far as he was concerned I had just supplied him with the perfect shade from the heat of the sun. I fully intended to shoo Manitou away, but for some reason I kept on taking pictures.

Manitou Shade Break Shamanic Photoshoot ©2014 Rose De Dan

Manitou has a very special name which roughly means “spirit essence” in the Native American Algonquin language. It was the closest I could get in meaning to my guides telling me that Manitou was a spirit cat when he first showed up in my back yard, homeless and starving. Over time I have learned that Manitou has a very strong attraction to shamanic energy in particular. He has been in every despacho (literally) since his arrival and loves to sleep tucked up against my mesa.

Suddenly Manitou became more interested in the allies than the shade, and he began to purr and rub his face and chin on top of the piece of driftwood. I kept taking pictures, all the while repeating like a mantra, “Don’t knock it over, don’t knock it over…Manitou, please, don’t knock it over…”

And he didn’t—amazingly the entire still life remained intact. His rubbing slowed, and when I asked him to get down so I could go back to work he left with an air of having successfully completed his task.

It was not until I reviewed all the photos I had taken that I realized that “the work” had actually taken place while Manitou was present—not after he left. Manitou and Bobcat have both experienced trauma, so they understand what is involved when offering healing energy to others. As a physical representative of the animals Manitou had added his blessing to that of Bobcat and the other spirit allies.

Together—with the assistance of All Our Relations—we are strong.


Do you wish you could connect more deeply with animals?

Do you feel sad when you hear stories of animal tragedies, loss of wildlife, climate change?

Do you feel helpless—overwhelmed by how much needs to change?

Bones, Stones, Feathers and Fur is an 8-week shamanic teleclass taught by All Our Relations (Stone, Plant and Animal People) and offered worldwide.

With the assistance of the shamanic allies students will learn how to support their own personal healing while simultaneously supporting the animals and global healing for the Earth. Available worldwide.

Click here for more information or to register.


In private practice since 1996, Rose De Dan, Wild Reiki and Shamanic Healing, is an animal communicator, Reiki Master Teacher, shamanic practitioner, author and artist. As an animal shaman she views her mission as one of building bridges between people and animals through healing sessions, classes, ceremonies and events such as A Walk on the Wild Side: Answering the Call of the Wild.

Her book Tails of a Healer: Animals, Reiki and Shamanism features heartwarming stories about animals and their role in her evolution as an energy worker and shamanic healer.

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