Jesse Wolf Hardin's Earth Magic
Awareness & Animá
For the Animást, the practitioner of Animá, every moment
is a decisive moment– and we treat everything we do and
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
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
•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
•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
•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” <www.cdbaby.com/gaiatribe>. 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 <www.animacenter.org> <firstname.lastname@example.org>.
©Jesse Wolf Hardin 2005-2007 Reproduction in any form is prohibited without express written permission from the author.