We express ourselves symbolically using language, image, music, and movement just to name a few.
This is how we convey our ideas and beliefs and create understanding with others. For example, imagine the red octagon shape of a stop sign. We all have a shared agreement about what this symbol means – stop!
A symbol can also convey essence, something that can not be understood necessarily by the mind, rather in your senses. All great works of art move and transport us into an imaginal landscape where we feel enchanted by the spirit of the painting, story, or song. We are taken over by an essence, an experience, that transforms our sense of the world and our place in it.
The phrase “power objects” has been used to describe transpersonal, often medicinal, symbols or objects originating from every culture in the world.
Indigenous cultures especially view the world as ensouled. The inanimate objects of our Western world are considered “animate” with consciousness and intelligence. Shamans are considered “spirit lawyers” – praying, feeding (giving the spirit what is pleasing to it), and mending these relationships between humans and the more than human worlds. Quantum physicists say that when we activate these relationships, we become “correlated” and can communicate “non-locally” across the energy field that is made up of all living matter – you, the trees, and the object in your hand.
You might find a raven feather and hold it in your hand while meditating on the raven as your power animal, because it symbolizes a quality or strength that you desire to possess. When you do so, your parasympathetic nervous system responds. It’s just like when your mouth waters as you think about eating a lemon. Researchers tell us that our beliefs (what we imagine to be true – like the power of the raven feather) directly affect our biology and ultimately our health. Restorative and nurturing thoughts calm the mind, relax the body, and promote good health.
Perhaps you wear a piece of jewelry from your grandmother that symbolizes the love and vitality that relationship brought to you. Running your fingertips across its shape, recalling a memory of her loving presence puts your body in the relaxation response. More emotional resource and “peace of mind” is available to you as a result. You are more able to meet whatever life throws at you.
If you have a spiritual practice, you may incorporate prayer beads, flags, a mat, or other spiritually charged objects to deepen your practice. All of these objects are imbued with spiritual intelligence that guides and informs your efforts.
When an object or symbol has been passed down from generation to generation, meaning it is coming from a long historical lineage, its power is amplified. Power objects like this can be especially meaningful whether coming from a tribal elder in your village to serve the people or that special garment worn by every woman in your ancestral matrilineal line on your wedding day.
Power objects are here to stay. Why not have one for yourself?
What attitude or quality is missing from your life that can assist you in living? What symbol encapsulates it? Experiment with these two questions and find the power object that is calling to you.