Finding a Helping Spirit is usually the first shamanic journey taught in any Drumming Group.* Many people gravitate towards an Animal Spirit at first, to help them navigate the Otherworlds (although some meet deities or faires first). Different instructions are given in order to figure out who or what your Helping Spirit is, but here are a few tips that have helped me (phrased as if you were looking for your Animal Helper):
- Asking the Spirits for the Animal Spirit most needed for your own healing at this time, to help you reach the next stage of your spiritual evolution (sometimes this is the Power Animal, sometimes it's not).
- Looking for an animal that shows up at least 4 times in a Journey.
- Seeing an animal in a Journey, and then seeing it on TV, in news articles, pictures on Facebook, etc.
- Researching a beloved deity's Animal Spirit (like Freya and her cats, as well as all her Hawks) and then Journeying to that Spirit for assistance.
- Picking up an Animal Spirits dictionary (such as this one by Steven Farmer, PhD) and flipping to a page randomly.
- Hearing others' stories about their Animal Spirits, finding one you like, and then "choosing" it as your Animal Spirit to work with.
Number 6 is fun, because it puts the power in your hands. Almost all of the Spirits I've worked with and developed relationships, I've had to choose to work with them and find out about them. I know that the stereotype is "The Spirit chooses you!" but they find it incredibly flattering when one seeks them out!