“Don’t give in to your fears. If you do, you won’t be able to talk to your heart.” Paulo Coelho
Psychologist Abraham Maslow presented his concept of a hierarchy of needs in 1943 and it has since become a staple of psychological teachings. He identified five levels of needs, often presented as a pyramid drawing, one level of needs layered on the other. The foundation of the pyramid outlines basic survival needs while the fifth and uppermost level refers to self-actualization needs. The premise is that we must first meet our most basic needs before we can address more advanced needs.
For instance, if we’re striving to meet the basic physiological survival needs such as breathing, food, water, sex, and sleep it’s unlikely that we would be concerned with higher order needs such as achievement, personal growth, or knowledge. The hierarchy in its original form is depicted as five levels. Beginning with the most basic needs, the levels are:
1) Biological and physiological needs, such as mentioned above.
2) Safety needs, such as for security, order, law, stability, and limits.
3) Love/Belonging needs, such as friendship, family, affection.
4) Esteem needs, such as achievement, respect of self and others, status, and responsibility.
5) Self-actualization, including creativity, morality, acceptance, personal growth.
As you can see, feeling safe and secure is the next most immediate concern once our physiological and biological needs are met. Although physical safety is the priority at this level, another aspect of feeling safe and secure that is typically overlooked is what can be called spiritual security. This means that no matter what may be going on in your environment, your body, or your mind, you have a relationship with Spirit that helps you feel safe at all times.
One of the spirit beings that is a supreme protector and guardian is Wolf spirit. As you develop a conscious relationship with Wolf spirit (or any other spirit guide you trust to protect you), you’ll find your internal sense of security deepens so that even in the most challenging of times, you know with certainty that you are cared for.
One evening many years ago I was sitting out on the balcony of the place where I lived. I had my feet up on the railing and thinking and feeling about things, feeling lonely and wanting to stuff myself (and my feelings) with popcorn and ice cream, I called on the one that I refer to as Grandfather, a guide who has been with me for some time. I turned to my right as I was having my pity party, and although I often hear his voice, for one of the few times I clearly saw him sitting a couple of feet away.
“I’m feeling awful lonely, Grandfather,” I shared with him in a whisper. He continued to gaze out at the sky. “Yes, I understand,” he answered as he nodded his head, took a deep breath, exhaled with a sigh and said, “Ah, yes, the lonely walk of the human being on this planet!”
I immediately started weeping! Here was someone who understood me, loved me, watched over me, and showed up for me consistently in my shamanic work. I sensed his movement closer to me, then his face loomed quickly and immediately before me such that I was startled out of my reverie. He said very slowly so that I could clearly understand him, “And . . . you’re . . . never . . . ever . . . really . . . alone!” Whenever I recall this experience, any sense of isolation or loneliness dissipates.
Wolf spirit communicates the seeds of this reality: that someone is always with you. In the guidebook for the Children’s Spirit Animal Cards here is what he has to say, not only to children, but to any of us adults as well:
“Everyone, whether they’re children or adults, sometimes feels scared and unsafe. For instance, if you’re out with your parents and lose track of them even for a short time, you may feel alone and unprotected. It can be scary if someone at school tries to bully you, or when you hear unfamiliar sounds at night. It’s also perfectly normal to be at least a little bit nervous if you’re performing a song for others or acting in a play. Any number of things like these can trigger those feelings where your heart beats a little faster and your breathing quickens. Your body and your mind think you’re in danger even when you’re not.
“A lot of times you can have those feelings even though there really is nothing to be afraid of. No matter what makes you feel that way, call on me and I will help you feel safe. You can even ask me to be with you through the night in your room to help you get a good night’s sleep! And of course, if you’re really scared, always call on one of your parents or a close friend to be with you.”
Like others in the guidebook, there are suggestions for children to follow to further instill this sense of spiritual security as follows:
* Whenever you walk, walk tall and with dignity, making eye contact and smiling with others you come across.
* Write in your journal about one or two experiences where you felt safe and protected even though you also felt scared.
* Get involved in something that helps build your confidence in yourself, such as yoga, martial arts, or a sport of some kind.
* If you’re ever scared, call on God, the angels, or Wolf spirit to protect you.
For parents, especially with younger children, there are suggestions for activities they can do that help their children feel greater safety and protection:
* Teach your child protection techniques such as cloaking themselves with an invisible cloak, surrounding themselves with mirrors that face outward or surrounding themselves with beautiful roses.
* Give your child a comforting totem small enough to carry with them and tell them to use it whenever they feel scared.
* Teach your child their address and phone number and explain if they are ever lost to provide this information to a police officer or other public servant.
* Encourage them to stay clear of going places alone that do not have lots of people or are in enclosed spaces. Use the “buddy” system.
With all that goes on in this world that we hear about it’s challenging at times not only for adults to feel safe, yet even more so for parents to trust that their children are safe. While nothing is ever guaranteed, by instilling and encouraging a sense of safety that includes not only measures to assure the child feels physically secure and cared for but also develops a sense of being protected by Spirit. Wolf is an excellent choice, yet any animal spirit guide to whom your child is attracted can be called on in addition to others that are consistent with your spiritual beliefs.
“There’s no safety outside of God.” Beth Nimmo
Dr. Steven Farmer is the author of the several best-selling products including Children’s Spirit Animal Cards, Earth Magic, Animal Spirit Guides, Power Animals, Earth Magic Oracle Cards, Power Animal Oracle Cards, Messages from Your Animal Spirit Guides Oracle Cards, and Sacred Ceremony. He is a shamanic practitioner, ordained minister, hypnotherapist, former college professor and retired psychotherapist. Steven offers workshops and presentations on a variety of shamanic healing and earth-centered spirituality topics and also offers private shamanic healing and divination sessions. To learn more about his workshops or to contact him, please visit www.EarthMagic.net.