Shapeshifting is the ability to transform oneself from human to animal form. Throughout history, shamans have been able to enter into a trance state and transmogrify themselves in this way. They induce trance by chanting, drumming, dancing, rapid breathing, and sleep deprivation. In some cases, especially in the Amazon River basin, psychotropic drugs are used to help reach the desired state. Often the shamans dress themselves with animal pelts, feathers, or antlers to help with the process. Figurines that depict shapeshifters in action have been found in the Balzi Rossi caves in northwestern Italy. They are believed to date back 25,000 years.1 Apuleius (second century CE), the Roman writer and satirist, was charged with using magic to secure the affections of a wealthy widow whom he married. His Metamorphoses, better known as The Golden Ass, includes a fictional account of a witch who shapeshifts into a crow. After burning incense, saying a magic spell, and rubbing her body with oil, wings and a beak appear. The witch then makes a number of crowlike calls and flies out the window. A witness to this occurrence tried to do the same thing, but uses the wrong oil and turns into an ass. In Europe, people believed that witches had the ability to shapeshift into their "familiar," an animal that helped and protected the witch. These were usually toads, hares, magpies, ravens, cats, dogs, foxes, or goats. In 1627, Richard Bernard wrote in his Guide to Grand Jurymen that witches "have ordinarily a familiar, or spirit, in the shape of a man, woman, boy, dog, cat, foal, fowl, hare, rat, toad, etc. And to these spirits they give names." The Inuit people of Canada believe that in the past humans and animals lived together and were able to freely shapeshift into each other. In Guatemala and Honduras, the indigenous people had a totem animal known as nagual. According to a sixteenth-century Spanish writer, people were able to shapeshift into their nagual animal. If they were injured while in animal form, the same wound would appear in their human body. If the nagual was killed, the person who had shapeshifted into it would also die. Nagual animals were usually deer, dogs, eagles, lions, and tigers. A popular legend says that during the first battles against the Spanish, the naguals of the chiefs were serpents. The highest chief s nagual was a huge green bird. Pedro de Alvarado, the Spanish general, killed this bird with his lance. As the bird died, so did the chief.

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The information at our website comes from many open sources. Dream animals can represent different aspects of the dreamer and even predict the future. So at our website you can find all information about animals in your dreams.

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