Leave It To Beaver Medicine


Beavers are ingenious builders, constructing huge dams that can change the course of entire rivers and creating new tributaries that bring water to nature areas that are in need of nourishment. Beaver is a primary aspect of keeping our ecosystems in checks and balances. Her association with water makes Beaver an analogy for our ability to build our own dreams to come true. Beaver tells us to build on them as if the dream is already real. Change the course of how things flow in our lives by bringing organization and structure in meeting goals, and thus coaxing our dreams into physical reality.

Beaver represents hard work. The dams that Beaver builds are sometimes eight feet tall and span across entire bodies of water. This kind of accomplishment doesn't happen overnight, nor does it happen by just wishing it to completion. Beaver’s message is, “you must commit to and work diligently towards your goal, otherwise it will not come to fruition.” But within the hard work, Beaver still finds balance in her life and is flexible with how the course runs. Beaver does not ignore spending time with family and commits to building friendships as well. Despite Beaver’s high motivation toward goal-keeping, she knows when to have fun and when to rest.

When we pay attention to Beaver's behavior and characteristics, we can compare or associate those features to our own behavior. By doing so, we can match up, mimic, or employ beaver qualities in our own lives with a goal to stimulate natural and lasting solutions for ourselves. For example, if we are "stuck" in our lives, a little meditation on Beaver Medicine may show us how to "chew" through the barrier on our path. Working with animal meanings and animal totems also helps us move into a natural cycle of life, which is always an excellent guide to finding solutions.

Tanya Vallianos, MA, LPC, ATR, NCC, EMDR III, EAP II is a psychotherapist in private practice in Fort Collins, CO. She can be reached at www.innersunhealingarts.com or 970-420-9504.

True Blessings

Yes, it’s true. Our beautiful, sentient equine friends know how to connect with the Universe at Soul level much more readily than us humans. Why? They know how to be in the moment and appreciate and surrender to whatever is occurring right then and there, The world “just IS” to them. For us – it’s not so easy.

We have these large frontal lobes that think a lot. And we tend not to be very connected to our bodies, which tell us what is going on at the sensory/emotional/intuitive/nervous system level. This is where horses mostly hang out. And they’re really good at it. They can show us how to be more deeply connected by being more mindful, by being more in the present moment and surrendering to what “Is.”

If you want to experience more connection at a Soul level, incorporating gratitude into your everyday life will help you open your heart and have relationship with your true essence – that of Love. In each moment when you are present with the idea of being blessed that you have food to eat, a home to live in, that your family loves you, express thanks to the Universe for all that you have, however big or small.

After all, you are the Universe experiencing itself, so any experience can help you reach higher levels of consciousness. Even if you experience something negative, still you can try to remain thankful. Valuable lessons are often disguised as tough teachers. These too are gifts to be treasured despite the challenges.

-Tanya Vallianos

Tanya Vallianos, MA, LPC, ATR, NCC, EMDR III, EAP II is a psychotherapist in private practice in Fort Collins, CO. She can be reached at www.innersunhealingarts.com or 970-420-9504.

A Valentine’s Message: Eagle and The Reminder of The Awakened Heart

Eagles, a symbol of enduring strength, freedom and love. Photo: Anne Whitehurst

Eagles, a symbol of enduring strength, freedom and love. Photo: Anne Whitehurst

Here, in Colorado, we are blessed every year with the appearance of Bald Eagle couples nesting. They can be found commonly amongst the many lakes and reservoirs that dot the high plains. There are volunteers that spend time tracking and counting individuals; there are photography clubs that gather to capture their beauty at rest and in flight; and there is an Eagle Festival to honor Bald Eagles’ magnificence in the nature of all creatures.

Yet, there was a time, not so long ago, that seeing a Bald Eagle in Colorado may have been a rare occurrence. In the early 1970’s there were fewer than 450 nesting pairs of Bald Eagles in the lower 48 United States, and fewer than 10 in the entire state of Colorado. But with conservation efforts, the banning of harmful pesticides such as DDT and an Endangered Species designation, the Bald Eagle has made a brilliant recovery at around 143,000 nationwide today. It’s odd that our country’s honored mascot has had such a struggle to survive. Hence, Eagle as guide, can be seen as a reflection of our own struggles and our ability to survive through the cycles of life.

What a gift to be able to connect yearly with this beautiful being who has so much to teach us. When looking for Bald Eagle, it can be found in the environs of old growth cottonwoods, along creeks, lakes and stream ways, and along borders or buffers around those zones. Eagle lays its eggs in February, after a courting session that usually revolves, synchronistically enough, around the week of Valentines’ Day. Both male and female eagles incubate the eggs and share the duties of raising their young.

Bald Eagle traits can be viewed symbolically to assist humans toward being more successful and wise within their own lives. For instance, in Native American lore, Eagle (Thunderbird) Totem is viewed as the chief over all the winged creatures. Eagle conveys the powers and messages of the Spirit; it is human's connection to Spirit as it has the power and strength to fly higher than any other bird. Eagle is also grounded to Earth, connecting to the land, building nests, hunting, and forming and raising families year after year. Eagle shows us how to live in balance between the realms of Spirit and Earth. Bald Eagle brings the message of life renewed since it is associated with the east winds - the direction of spring, dawn and rebirth.

If you have been going through some challenges, Eagle medicine not only signals a new beginning, it also creates the stamina and resilience to endure any difficulties along the way. If Eagle has appeared, it bestows freedom and courage to look ahead, to give up a limited perspective, to release self from comfortable, familiar thought patterns, and fly into a larger world of unknown realms, and to do all of this with love. Summon Eagle when you are about to embark on a challenge, a life change or transition, or a creative endeavor. Ask Eagle to give you the gift of clear vision and the strength with which you can see the truth, and to be patient with yourself and the outcome.

Eagle shows you how to look above so you are able to touch Grandfather Sun with your heart, to accept the Shadow as much as the Light, and to be grounded and in harmony with Grandmother Earth. Eagle Wise Guide gives you the permission to be free to reach the heights of joy that your heart sings for. Eagle shows you that you not only can survive – you can thrive. And you can rise above, to love.

And so with Valentine’s Day upon us, I give you Eagle’s message and it’s connection to one's loving nature, the rebirthing of Self, taking flight to higher consciousness and the magic of the Divine Awakened Heart.

-Tanya Vallianos

Tanya Vallianos, MA, LPC, ATR, NCC, EMDR III, EAP II is a psychotherapist in private practice in Fort Collins, CO. She can be reached at www.innersunhealingarts.com or 970-420-9504.


Animal Wise Guides: Modern Day Support For Challenging Times

For thousands of years cultures all over the world have been working with animal spirit guides and benefiting from their wisdom. This practice has mostly resided within the context of Shamanism, in which the practitioner reaches deeper states of consciousness in order to channel spiritually-based, healing influences in the service of another person or people. Yet, this practice still survives today, not only in Indigenous cultures, but also within the Modern Shamanism movement that is gaining ground throughout the world. This is especially true within Western society, which has become less connected to Nature since the arrival of the Industrial Age. As humans come to the realization that our beautiful Earth is in crisis and we are expressing more of a desire to be closer and connected to Nature and Spirituality, these old and wise ways of guidance and healing are starting to be recognized as having real value.

In the Shamanic world, everything is alive and connected. The Spirit of the Creator is in all things, therefore there is inherent virtue, power and wisdom that is all around us and within us at all times. Each thing on Earth and within the Universe has its own particular appearance, traits and other distinguishing qualities.  Everything then, is available to show us deeper information about ourselves as we can draw certain lessons from these traits and qualities from everything in the universe, whether object or being.  

Spirit Animals (Power and Totem animals are often used interchangeably.) represent a person's interconnection to all life, their qualities of character and their power, their inner self. Many humans have developed strong attractions and relationships to physical animals, but are unaware that there is a whole spirit animal realm that is open to having deep connections with us. These spirit guides come in all shapes, sizes, characteristics and frequencies, bringing something special to each encounter. The animal spirit you meet today is usually a reflection of your deepest Self and also represents qualities in which you need to fully embody in this world, but that have often remained hidden or obscured. Guides often show up when there are current challenges or a life situation that needs attention and support showing us the way on our sacred journey.

Usually we have one or more prominent animal spirit guides (Life Animal Guide) throughout our lives showing up when we need them most. We are also blessed to have many animal spirits that show up as Helper Guides that come and go, depending on what we are of need of on our life-path in the moment. Guides are called forth by our emotions, so that they may help us at the deepest levels of our being.

It’s important to understand that we do not choose our Spirit Animal Guides. They choose us. They decide to whom they will reveal themselves to and make their friend.  For instance, you may have always been attracted to Eagle for it’s majesty, representation of freedom, power and beauty, and truly believe that it is a wonderful Guide for you. Yet in reality, this is not how Great Spirit works.

Each Animal has its own Medicine that is unique to that specific creature and is chosen by The Creator for your specific growth, learning, and healing. Spirit cannot be chosen like the color of your new car.  A spirit guide must be harmonious with the person. Discovering whom your Animal Guides are is a process of paying attention to the physical animals and signs along with the other-dimensional presences and signs that show up around you.  It is a process of developing your inner knowledge and spiritual understanding.  

Also we can not be assigned a Spirit Guide by another person, regardless of who that person maybe, no more than another person can say how or when Great Spirit will be known to you.  

Both domesticated and free animals offer an immense heritage of myth, folklore and symbolism. As we learn about our animals, it is important to know their symbolic meaning as a point of reference and comparison. Give time to the study of their characteristics, habitat and position in the eco-system, especially in the area in which you reside.  Learn about its habitat, life cycles, what it eats, physical characteristics, special skills and traits, social and mating habits.  Go to places where your animal guide can be found in real life. Study it in nature. Gaining insight into the nature of your animal guide will help you to better understand its messages, particularly the metaphor within everything it represents to you. Meditate on this knowledge and discover its power and medicine.

After you learn various ways to work with the medicine of your Animal Spirit Guide, the medicine becomes a gateway to connecting with other spirit guides found within its domain and yours. Your Animal Spirit Guide (and those spirits who choose to reveal themselves in the form of a physical animal) will teach you how to align with other spirit guides and beings.

Communication with your Spirit Guide requires reverent respect and knowledge of the ways of the animal guide. You can find ways to honor your Spirit Guide in order to develop a relationship with it. The more importance you give to your spirit guide the more it will respond to you. Again, this can only be done through actual time, learning about each animal and prioritizing your connection. Most Animal Spirit Guides do not immediately acknowledge themselves to humans, as they are careful of your intention and knowledge. A Spirit Guide is sensitive to moods, current events, and a person’s path in life. They must first trust you and learn your personality, life situation, and needs. You must learn to trust them and understand their personality, characteristics, and needs, as you would with any new friend. It is a reciprocal relationship. It takes time, patience, support, commitment, and practice.

-Tanya Vallianos

Tanya Vallianos, MA, LPC, ATR, NCC, EMDR III, EAP II is a psychotherapist in private practice. She offers Journeying experiences to connect clients to their Animal Wise Guides and other Nature-Inspired practices in Fort Collins, CO. 970-420-9504