Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

Power Animals by Steven D. Farmer

Power Animals

by Steven D. Farmer

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations
411279,442 (3.7)None



Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

Power Animals by Steven D. Farmer is one of many in a long line of generic books dedicated to briefly discussing what power animals are, and then using the rest of the book to discuss animal totems in a way that has already been rehashed by plastic shamans like Jamie Sams, and Jamie Sams derivatives like Scott Alexander King. It does have the benefit of being better written, and well produced. On an aside, it bothers me when authors feel the need to stick a Ph.D. on the end of their name, especially if the book actually has nothing to do with the Ph.D (which in this case is in psychology, not power animals).

It starts well enough, with an introduction into what power animals are, and the fact that power animals in some shape or form have been found in almost all cultures. He takes the time to say that a person should only focus on working with one animal at a time, something which I agree with, as it fosters concentration and observation and allows us to miss details we probably wouldn't if we were too busy trying to make our 'collection' of power animals complete. He also reminds us to approach our animal guides with gratitude, affection and honour, which is a positive step in a world where some seem to think of animals as expendable 'lesson givers' that require no honour or gratitude.

As the book progresses past its introductions, it becomes obvious that he is derivative of Jamie Sams, particularly in the section regarding animal meanings and messages. Associating the words that Jamie Sams came up with for animals that she also described in her books, for example: Bear - Introspection, Mountain Lion - Leadership, Deer - Gentleness, Hummingbird - Joy, Otter - Inner Feminine. Whether or not I agree with these qualities, I do not agree with the practice of being so willing to re-appropriate the work of an author who is herself problematic, and probably not the most grounded or trustworthy source of power animal information in the printed world. Other authors are quite similar, Scott Alexander King - and Australian author - is also derivative of the work of Jamie Sams.

That said, at least Steven Farmer takes the time to observe new meanings and qualities for animals that Jamie Sams has previously covered, associating Dragonfly with light for example and then connecting it to other winged wights I thought was an innovative interpretation, and one that definitely works for me. Once more, there is no mention of the dragonfly's brutal carnivorous habits (which always seems to be missed), just as no one seems to mention that hummingbird has a frantic life trying to find food, and doesn't get much time to express 'joy' in its life and surroundings.

There are small things in this book which are also restrictive, or seem very absolute. On page 3 Farmer states that 'if your power animal is Bear, it's not just any particular bear, but an animal spirit guide that's representative of entire species of bears.' I disagree, I think it's very easy to have Spectacled Bear in your life instead of Grizzly Bear, because the two teach different things. You might then also have general 'Bear' in your life, but a lot of the time I feel that this ignores the valuable lessons of specific species. As many people who work with animals will tell you, a galah has a different personality to a lorikeet has a different personality to a budgerigah. But they're all parrots.

On page 7 the author states: 'your animal spirit finds great joy in working with you and experiencing ordinary reality through your physical senses.' I disagree with the latter, since I feel that animal spirits can experience ordinary reality with or without me, as they are quite omnipresent.

His perception of the three realms, or otherworlds, seems a little dangerous to the newcomer. He indicates that the underworld is not 'hell' in the Judeo-Christian sense, but he also calls it a 'magical and wondrous place' without actually cautioning against demons and other malicious spirits which most Indigenous people won't hesitate to tell you are out there in the otherworlds. He also states that you must see your animal four times in order for it to be your power animal, and that in his meditation, it will 'come back with you' in the palm of your hand.

I know Ovatne, my spirit helper (Orca) would rather knock me off, than shrink to fit in my hand. I believe it's a matter of belief, but if you honestly believe Wolf needs to shrink and fit in the palm of your hand in order to 'come back with you', there might be some problems.

This book includes a CD of guided meditations and blank tracks. The guided meditations, and blank tracks which include drumming and rattling, are actually quite good. For beginners, it's a good place to start (aside from the amazing shrinking power animal), and for more advanced workers, there are still the blank tracks and the later guided meditations.

The illustrations are okay, though the baby joey on the kangaroo picture looks dead - which is a bit disturbing. The book is well-produced, on glossy paper with an easy-to-read font and layout. This matters with any book, and helps with a smoother reading process.

For the meanings of the animals (which includes how to bring the animal into your life, what it means as a totem, and what it means as a guide), the quality is superior I feel to the work of Jamie Sams and Scott Alexander King, but probably not as good as the work of Ted Andrews. I found his descriptions of the animals I am close to, to be quite accurate, which suggests that despite the problems that will always present in commercialised books on totems, he has taken the time and the effort to commune with these animals sensitively. It is just a shame that in the midst of that, there is the echo of Jamie Sams in the background. It would be a stronger book without it. ( )
  Ravenari | Oct 9, 2006 |
no reviews | add a review
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
First words
Last words
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Publisher series
Original language

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English


Book description
Haiku summary

No descriptions found.

No library descriptions found.

Quick Links

Swap Ebooks Audio
54 wanted2 pay

Popular covers


Average: (3.7)
3 2
3.5 1
4 1
5 1

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.


Help/FAQs | About | Privacy/Terms | Blog | Store | Contact | LibraryThing.com | APIs | WikiThing | Common Knowledge | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | 106,004,584 books! | Top bar: Always visible