Contemplating god/the gods is an excellent practice. It structures our perception of our narrower lives in a useful way. Even if your highest principle is an abstract notion, it serves the same purpose.
The insights gained from temporary empathic union with a therian were adapted to help the shaman understand animal behaviour as well as geological and atmospheric behaviour from an “animal” point of view. But this practice would also leave the shaman with an awakened awareness of inherited traits, predatory instincts, animalistic overdrive reflexes, augmented sensory acuity, like sometimes occurs even today. But with actual understanding, control and stability, the traits once awakened persisted. This is why the shaman of a tribe was often viewed as having “supernatural” strength. They displayed an ability to use their bodies that seemed to have nothing to do with the actual condition of those bodies, like the modern PCP addict who takes six shots to the chest and shows no sign of pain or even slowing down.
Was it their bodies or their minds that they were using? The separation is perhaps not easy to make, and our elder ancestors really didn’t.
In extreme circumstances, you even have berserking. Our word stems from the Norse, but the same spells of “going wild” occur in all cultures that practice communion with therian entities. The hunters of a tribe often found that their efforts to scare off a predator would fail, and although they were shouting at the top of their lungs and using every measure of violent body language they could, they couldn’t dissuade the animal.
Are there also extreme calm therians? Ah, there are yes, usually reptilians, and reptilian totems are universally associated with healing. But yes, when the shaman came to confront the belligerent animal, they would do the same thing the hunters did, bark, growl and roar, but their own voices had a quality that would phase the animal, an extra power or impact, and the animal would flee. This is why they were thought to be able to communicate with animals.
Now in extreme cases, through long association with the entities behind their practices, there would occur an externalization of a portion of the shamans being, perhaps manifesting in dreams and “strange coincidence”, but at other times actually connecting the shaman to an animal “twin.” The animal would be witnessed by all the members of the tribe or village, would be responsive to the shaman, and would show unusual qualities of awareness and understanding, “spooky” human like behaviour. Even in those cultures that later rejected the legitimacy of this phenomenon, they would come to recognize that it still happens.
Daniel in the lion’s den comes to mind – lions communicate with the other lions so to speak. Good example, and thus when a wolf near the village began showing unusual cunning, and an unusual preference for preying on humans, they would conclude that there was a “werewolf” in the village. Werewolf was the same thing as witch to the villagers.
An example in the positive would be the jaguar warriors of Peru. Their communities as well as the practices of their people involved things that lead to this connection on a larger scale. Every “predator” member of their communities would become linked to the jaguars of the land they lived in. They avoided run-ins with them easily, not so for outsiders though, who found the jaguars around those communities more than willing to attack foreign humans.
For an example in post-historic record, the Buddhist sect that had taken to raising Siamese cats. They did so as a temple defence and it worked through the connection between the monks and the temple dwelling cats. The monks were never harassed, but unless you were in the company of a monk the Siamese cats would turn on you. They were of course bigger, as they had not been selectively bred as the more current cats have been to make them suitable “pets.” The monks arrived at the insight that let them develop this relationship with the cats through their intuition. During their meditations they would have visions of “intelligent cats”, and would intuit what was necessary to live peacefully with them through those contacts.
Therians are the callers in the wild and they call to all species. They are also the keepers of the law of the jungle. Their implicate or elemental behaviour has the explicate impact of ecological shift, biome wide behavioural change.
“The Web of Life.” Yes, the web of life has spiders. Those are the therians. Therians are not evil, nor are they lacking in compassion, but they are “inhuman.”
Before the plague, they killed all the cats. Some 70 million people died. Yes. It was a foolish move. Therians don’t practice genocide. That is human foolishness. The elementals are the “elders” in the elemental tribe, eldest of the elemental beings.
Though therians do not engage in genocide, the elementals themselves will from time to time engage in larger scale “cleansing.” Tsunamis, wildfires, tornadoes and quakes, volcanic eruptions. The purpose is not actually extinguishing life, but they do stir to balance deep metaphysical imbalances. This is not the domain of their therian children, who are second cousins to the elementals proper.
Hurricanes are energy-balancers. Yes, as the ancients have always done this and do need to continue doing so. Human hubris will be ignored, even resisted.
Your thoughts are welcome. Be well friends.