Shapeshifting refers to the witches’ power to take on the spiritual attributes of another, whether it be animal, plant, spirit or human for personal and spiritual transformation.
The Shapeshifting Experience
The process of intentional shapeshifting requires opening ourselves to the being into which we will transform. This is accomplished through modifying our own appearance, conjuring imagery of the spirit in our imagination, opening ourselves to the spirit through consciousness altering techniques and ultimately merging with the spirit so that we take on their energies.
Shapeshifting can be spontaneous when we are in trance, whether it be through deep meditation or other methods. When this occurs, the spirit has come forward because we need the medicine it brings. We can shapeshift during our journeys in the dreamtime as well.
The Witch As Shapeshifter: Bringer Of Medicine Or Evil Trickster
The witch as shapeshifter is an archetype found across cultures and times. In some of these accounts, the witch is the healer who shifts into different forms and bestows these powers onto those who need healing. In others, the witch is reviled as a deceptive manipulator, only out to dupe the innocent. Most folk tales have an element of truth in them. Such is the case with the stories of witches’ transformation into animals to work their magick and escape capture. The shapeshifting dyad of the legendary witch and familiar is part of the superstitions around witchcraft. The grain of reality in these stories is the witches’ inherent ability to adapt and survive through the power of transformation.
Fear Of Shapeshifting
Those who fear the witches’ powers of transformation told these stories to heighten fear of us. If we were not only cavorting with spirits, but also becoming them (whether they be rabbit, demon or otherwise), then we became even more suspicious. The likely basis of this superstition lies in the traditional healing practices of acquiring the attributes of an animal for healing, power and survival. The wise woman (or otherwise) would shift into the spirit, including those of humans, in order to predict the future, assure success in battle, and to infuse others with the associated spirits.
The imagination is key for practicing shapeshifting. Our witches’ minds are the beautiful portals to the world of spirits. Think of the mind as a vessel of energy within which we create forms. The more complete the form becomes in the mind, the more able we are to blend with the spirit we are shapeshifting into.
Archetypes And Oversouls
Most shapeshifting focuses on transforming into an oversoul of a spirit. When we morph into wolf, we do so by tapping into the archetypal force that is wolf. Using costumes helps to dive into this spirit, as does assuming their actions, sounds and habits. To blend with wolf for shapeshifting, move like one, dress like one, and then summon this oversoul in your imagination. This deepens your access to the archetype of the spirit, aligning us to their energies.
Invoking Spirits For Shapeshifting
Invoking a spirit for shapeshifting is often done through altered consciousness, such as ecstatic rituals, use of botanicals to induce trance, or even breathwork. While we can imagine that we are the spirit in our typical consciousness, it’s necessary to go deeper by altering our consciousness to truly become open to the spirit.
From this point, we can choose to seek their wisdom, healing or power through different techniques. The spirit can communicate with us without becoming absorbed into our own etheric being, we can permit them entrance into this or even allow them to blend into our corporeal bodies. Shapeshifting is but one possibility, so be clear in your communications with the spirit that this is your goal. State what attributes your will acquire and how you will use them. Set limits with the spirit by stating your boundaries.
Prior to beginning any shapeshifting witchcraft, ensure that you banish any harmful energies and engage in protection. Summon spirits that you are comfortable with. Most animals and plants are amenable to lending their spirits to shapeshifting. An excellent exercise for beginners is to practice shapeshifting in a beloved pet or favored animal.
Shapeshifting And Power Animals
The witches’ familiar, whether it is a beloved pet or an animal spirit guide, can be a wonderful spirit for merging with. A power animal can be a familiar, or another guiding spirit, sometimes coming for a short period of time to help with a specific need or a long-term companion who we work with for certain areas.
Shapeshifting into a power animal not only permits us to take on their abilities, but to deepen our connection with them. If elephant is a power animal for you, contemplate the powers of her medicine. She is wise, enduring and matriarchal. Perhaps she has come forward for you because you need these teachings for your own healing, or you may embody these attributes.
More Shapeshifting Witchcraft
Ted Andrews’ classic The Art of Shapeshifting is an excellent deep dive into this practice.
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