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Jesse Wolf Hardin's Earth Magic


Jesse Wolf Hardin



 Gaia Eros


Kindred Spirits



Awareness & Animá

For the Animást, the practitioner of Animá, every moment is a decisive moment– and we treat everything we do and
don’t do as a deliberate decision.  One of the defining traits for an Animást is heightened awareness.  The most amazing of our abilities can only serve us or our purpose well when we are totally aware: aware of the full extent of our abilities as well as any possible limitations, aware of the present situation and context, aware of the conscious intent and magical energies of others.... and aware of the intentional as well as unintended effects and results of our actions.  Wholly aware of every sight, smell, taste, every personal need, gift, ability, emotion, intuition, instinct... and in that way, being wholly rewarded with the depth and delight of life. 

Humans have the most evolved ability to think and reason of any creature on this planet, but we also need to hone a kind of ancient animal awareness housed not only in the mind but in flesh and bone, and in our very genetic makeup.  It was common to our ancient tribal ancestors, and in the primates we evolved from.  You can see it in the alertness of a cat when it is hunting a bird or mouse, just as it once lit the glint in the eye of those saber tooth tigers of the prehistoric age.  This quality is most noticeable in us when we are surprised by a new and dangerous situation, a time when everything around us seems suddenly clear and in focus, when we notice at once every movement and sound and seem able to anticipate what will happen next.  This kind of thing occurs without any commentary or abstract thought going on in our minds, just as when there’s a rustling at our feet we know to jump out of the way without first thinking the word
“snake.”  This is what many call presence, being aware of the vital present moment.  The Animást combines this heightened presence with purposeful action and considered response, in order to help shape events and thus consciously cocreate our world.   Only the totally aware can make the right choices.... and for the Animást every single act, no matter how big or small, is a conscious choice. 

While everyone is born with some capacity for awareness, most will grow up without exercising their inner abilities, or else they’ll actually decide to be less aware in order to get away with less responsibility.  To the contrary, Animásts embrace responsibility and spend their entire lives strengthening their abilities and deepening their awareness through deliberate practice.  When a baby is growing up, it has to practice walking over and over again before finally getting good at it.  The fastest runners are athletes who practice diligently, people who push themselves to do their best and expand their abilities on a daily basis.  It’s no different for those Animásts, practicing their awareness skills every moment they aren’t asleep, for so long as they breathe!   

And the rewards and delights come alive, for those most aware of life. 

Try these simple Animá awareness exercises: 

•Always be aware of which way the sun comes up and sets, even in a strange town or when it is cloudy.  Whether the moon is waning, waxing or full.  The direction that water flows from where you stand and the nearest above ground creek, plus the direction of the wind no matter how lightly it touches your cheek. 

•Nature is the best place to practice awareness, even in a wooded backyard or park... but it is not the only place.  Practice awakeness every moment that you are not asleep, practice when relaxing as well as when working. 

•Attention is a gift we give to ourselves, every time we pay close attention to what’s around us.  When walking down the sidewalk, notice what grass or plants grow to either side.  Notice the designs where the cement has cracked, and the dandelions that poke their heads up through them.  Notice the different sounds of the vehicles coming and going even if you find it unpleasant, and notice and enjoy the diverse songs of the birds even while you’re busy talking. 

•Focus on perceiving the world through one physical sense at a time, in order to increase its strength.  One way to do this is to blindfold yourself, and then try to find a friend just by the sounds he makes, or find an orange placed near you in the grass by sense of smell alone.   Another is to have someone give you bites of food with your eyes closed, then trying to guess what you are eating.  It’s not as easy as you might think! 

•Wherever you are, notice the the locations of edible plants and life sustaining drinking water. Look out for any sources of potential threats– from dangerous traffic to fallen power lines to sullen faces, icy walkways and suspicious places.  Notice every spot where you might be able to hide, and every avenue of escape should the need arise. 

•If you know others who are into developing their powers, you can make a game of challenging each other’s skills.  It’s fun to have one friend walk through a room when no one is expecting a test, while you are busy and distracted by some task, and then another friend interrupts you to ask you what you noticed.  Who just passed through, what were they wearing and what color were their clothes?  What else did they do as they walked by?  Was there anything in their hand?  How did others in the room respond or interact with that person?  Were there any clues as to their intention or purpose? 

•Watch the people around you.  What do their body postures communicate, and do they tell a different story than the person’s facial expressions?  Based on their clothes, hair and posture, what do they want us to think about them, and what do they think about themselves?  Are their energies focused inward uncertainly, or do they project their energies?  If they are projecting their energy and will, what is it that they are trying to effect, direct, change or create?  How aware does each person seem to be of the other, and in what ways are they connecting or relating?  Try to identify the source of fear in the room and in each person, and the source of gifting and love. 

•Practice sensing the presence of resident energies and entities, and the spirit of place.  Once you get attuned to feeling the unseen, it becomes like the game where we close our eyes and someone directs us by saying “warmer, warmer” as we get closer and “colder, colder” as we lose our way.  The closer you get to real power the more significant, tingly and impossible to ignore it feels, and when you pass by or make a turn in the wrong direction the sensation subsides. 

•Notice what is hard, and deliberately get stronger from it.  Notice what takes skill and learn from it.  Notice the benefits of commitments, and consciously commit to the whole and right. 

•Notice what makes you feel comfortable and what makes you uncomfortable.... and remember that comfort can be the bigger disadvantage to a wizard.  Our greatest opportunities for power lie through those doors that most disrupt and discomfort us, by those we’re at first afraid to open. 

•Always notice the effect you have on people, as well as on the environment around you.  What impact does your attitude or example, your attention or neglect, your ideas and acts have on the people you come into contact with, are they better informed or inspired?  How does the way you live directly or indirectly impact Earth’s other life forms, the land, water and air for better or worse?  Constantly shift your perception and actions to best benefit each other and the world. 

•Practice focusing and intensifying your intentions, and then watch what happens.  What did you intend, pray or wish for so hard that it seemed to come true?  Which friends, ideas, conversations, activities, types of entertainment, or personal habits seem to distract your attention and dilute your intentions, lessening or preventing the desired  results? 

•Notice not just what alerts or disturbs, but also that which pleasures or calms. That tastes and smells good.  That makes us feel good.  That stirs the heart and soothes the spirit. 

•At the end of every day, try to remember the details of everything that happened, how things looked, acted and felt, and write the details down in an awareness journal.  Record not only what you noticed, but how you responded.... and what effects or results you inevitably brought about.

Jesse Wolf Hardin is an acclaimed teacher of Animá earth-centered practice, the author of five books including Gaia Eros (New Page 2004), and performs on the GaiaTribe CD “Enchantment” <>.  He and his partners Loba and Kiva offer online Animá correspondence courses, as well as host students and guests at their enchanted canyon and true ancient place of power.  Opportunities include weekend  retreats, personal counsel, shamanic vision quests, resident internships, and special Apprenticeships for the most dedicated.  Annual events include the Wild Womens Gathering, and the Medicine Woman and Shaman Path intensives.  Contact: The Animá Wilderness Learning Center & Women’s Sanctuary, Box 688, Reserve, NM 87830 <> <>.

©Jesse Wolf  Hardin 2005-2007 Reproduction in any form is prohibited without express written permission from the author.