Shapeshifters are people with animal medicine, people who can connect with and use their animal powers. Those with access to this magical power can shift mentally, astrally, or even physically into their power animal or totem. Rosalyn Greene's ability to shift, both mentally and astrally, combined with her extensive study of the secret shapeshifting folklore, has resulted in this fascinating examination of all aspects and forms of shifting.
In The Magic of Shapeshifting, Rosalyn Greene guides us through the levels of reality that lie outside our physical world and into the infinite universe that exists both within and beyond the limited boundaries of our senses. We read about opening to our inner animal selfnormally dwelling within the subconsciousand letting it pervade more of our conscious waking mind. Detailed explanations and exercises teach shifters about their animal side, the animal spirit guide, and how we can become shifters. She shows us how to distinguish powerful visions, anxiety attacks, and imagination from real shifting, as well as how to recognize the warning signs of an imminent shift. Since there can be dangers and risks on both the mundane and psychic levels when we pursue the path of a shifter, many of the potential dangers associated with specific practices are carefully outlined.
Shapeshifting links us with both the fundamental power of animals and with the higher self, our true being, the soul. We learn to release selflimiting ideas of our true nature and expand into a clear, conscious connection with the divine, eternal soul, whose reality is beyond whatever mind (or even body) we happen to possess at the moment.
Shapeshifting is a spiritual journey, a very tough one, but very rewarding. It has a purpose and reality far beyond simply using shifter abilities for earthly benefits. It can lead us through the unseen veil that seems to separate us from our Selves.
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About the Author
Rosalyn Greene is a highly gifted psychic whose shapeshifting experiences began at a very early age. Since there are few books available on this subject, she has written The Magic of Shapeshifting to share her experiences and thereby provide guidance, support and deeper understanding to those interested in this fascinating area of psychic transformation.
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The Magic of Shapeshifting
By ROSALYN GREEN
Samuel Weiser, Inc.Copyright © 2000 Rosalyn Greene
All rights reserved.
Beginning the Shapeshifter's Journey
Did werewolves ever exist? If so, were they anything like what we "know" about them from the main source of the modern werewolf stereotype: movies and novels? The answer, I believe, is "yes" to the first question, and "not exactly, but sort of" to the second.
Consider these events: In the recent past, a young anthropologist named Carlos Castaneda agreed to become apprenticed to an American Indian shaman. In the course of his apprenticeship, he experienced many "impossible" things, including transforming into a crow. And, according to many of the locals to whom he talked, the "diablero," or were-animal, still exists among the Hispanic and Indian populations of the American Southwest. Carlos Castaneda wrote a number of books about his experiences with shamanic magic, and became quite famous among New Agers. How many others have experienced transformations like Castaneda's? How many similar events have occurred about which no books were written? Judging from the similarity of Carlos' account to the shapeshifting folklore of the region, I would say that quite a few people may have had similar experiences.
Consider another example: A young man had constant vivid, realistic dreams of being a wolf, and of turning into a wolf. In these dreams, he was always himself, but his mind was entirely the mind of a wolf. All his life, he constantly felt as if he were somehow a werewolf, but he did not identify at all with the type of werewolf depicted in movies and novels. Later in life, he happened to go to a ritual meditation held by Native Americans. During the meditation, he felt himself change into a wolf, even though he was awake, and, for the first time, he experienced a mixture of human and wolf mentality while "transformed." After the meditation, one of the Indians said he had seen him turn into a wolf. Others said he had remained human the whole time, but turned into a wolf in their visions. Some also saw his wolf spirit guide, and described the guide in detail, completely accurately. Is this young man a werewolf?
A young woman I know was meowing soon after her birth. Later in life, she found she had a very special relationship with cats. She developed the ability to project her consciousness into animals. She could see what they saw, feel what they felt, and could even sometimes move their bodies as if they were her own. This all occurred without her ousting the original resident mind, which was in there with her and also seeing, feeling, and walking. She could even find out secrets this way, seeing places only cats could get into. Was this young woman a werecat? In more superstitious times, she would certainly have been considered one.
Another young woman had all the typical signs of being a "shifter" her whole life. As a girl, she started having mental shifts. Later in life, she began having very vivid, realistic experiences of running as a wolf at night, and her clothes were often muddy in the morning. She considered this as dreaming, combined with sleepwalking. One night, during one of these experiences, a dog she knew ran with her and kept bothering her. She growled at him, but he wouldn't leave. She bit him hard on a front foot, and he yelped and limped away. The next morning, the dog had a front paw split open to the bone and was very afraid of her, but had never been afraid before. Is she a werewolf?
A man I knew, who is a shifter, once felt lonely for some friends who lived far away. He had a vision of going there as a wolf, and trying to play with them. His friends later reported that, at the same time as his vision, a ghostly wolf with glowing eyes had appeared in their apartment and scared them to death by trying to "get" them. Both agreed on all particulars of this visit. In his wolf mind, the man had been puzzled by their fear and kept trying to play with them.
In another relatively modern account, the famous occultist Dion Fortune had some skirmishes with another woman occultist who was a rather unsavory character. Once, this woman sent a ghostly form resembling a giant house cat. Another time, Dion herself was under psychic attack while in a trance, and awoke with many cat scratches on her body. On questioning, she found that this woman was well-known for these scratch marks. If this woman had lived in the Middle Ages, would she have been called a werecat?
These are all modern examples of the phenomenon of shifting. I chose more modern examples, including some that have happened to friends, partly because I wanted to show that these things do still happen. They have not all died out, as some believe. And the older legends, even some that aren't that old, are extremely numerous, existing in every culture and every era (see figure 1, page 4). We know that "30,000 cases of lycanthropy were reported to secular and church officials between 1520 and 1630" in Europe. Thirty thousand in just about a century! And 1520 is after many of the educated people in Europe decided that shapeshifters didn't exist. In even earlier times, especially before 1000, missionaries and clergy found it nearly impossible to get people to give up beliefs in shapeshifting. In 970, Baianus, a prince of Bulgaria, was said to be able to turn himself into both a wolf and a bird. He was said to transform frequently in public, in front of all the people, who were amazed at his transformations.
Figure 1. Distribution of werewolf and shapeshifting folklore in Europe. This map shows where werewolf and shapeshifting lore are most common. Note the "werewolf belt" along Eastern Europe, from Greece in the south to Scandinavia in the north. This belt includes the land of the Neuri and the famous Carpathian mountains, known in former times as Transylvania. Some other features of interest are the haunted werewolf cave of Ben MacDhui, and the Fontana del Nobiet near Cimapiasole in Italy, which is reputed to be a lycanthropic stream. (Map is approximate only.)
This just scratches the surface of the tradition in Europe, where, historically, shapeshifting folklore has been least common. By reading books about werewolves, which mostly concentrate on the later famous French trials of individual werewolves, many people are led to believe that shapeshifters were rare, solitary, and unusual cases. On the contrary, hordes of shapeshifters are reported in much of the folklore.
Take, for instance, the time when hundreds of werewolves overran Constantinople. This happened in the year 1542, when Constantinople was a major city. It was reported that packs of werewolves roamed the streets and alleys of the city. Things got so bad that Süleyman II, with his Janizaries, hunted many down, killing at least 150 of them. Can you imagine that? Hundreds of werewolves, roaming about a large, major city, in front of countless witnesses, after educated people declared they didn't exist!
And this is not the only case of numerous witnesses reporting large masses of shapeshifters. The Neuri were a nomadic people living in the area that is now Poland and Lithuania who were reported to be hereditary shapeshifters and sorcerers. Whole clans of the Irish were also supposed to be hereditary shapeshifters.
Consider the legend of the leaping wall. This wall was the last remaining portion of an old castle that stood between Lithuania, Livonia, and Courland. It was said that thousands of shapeshifters used to come together at a certain time each year to celebrate at this old castle. They held contests such as leaping over this wall. It was also said that many of these werewolves were rich nobles.
From old-time Prussia, Livonia, and Lithuania come reports of packs of werewolves that gathered each Christmas in many villages, breaking into people's beer cellars and having drunken celebrations. This may sound ridiculous, but there were far too many people seriously reporting it, and even complaining to the authorities for something to be done, for it to be simply a "tall tale" or a children's fairy tale. Modern werewolf books that discuss these cases attribute these events to gangs of thugs in werewolf costumes, but the people who made these claims certainly believed otherwise—especially since the werewolves were said to be in full wolf form when they did this, indistinguishable from natural wolves except by their behavior of breaking into beer cellars and getting drunk. It is hard to believe that ordinary wolves would do this, let alone on a particular holiday and never at any other time. It is also hard to imagine that anyone could create "real wolf" (not "wolfman") costumes that could fool people into thinking they were normal wolves.
These cases are just a small sampling of the enormous body of shapeshifting folklore out there, a fair amount of which is substantiated by multiple witnesses, with impeccable reputations. Moreover, there are similarities across different cultures that couldn't have influenced each other's legends. Shapeshifters certainly existed in former times, and still do, albeit weakened and in much smaller numbers.
There is even a fairly significant belief in shapeshifters today. Beliefs in shapeshifters are not just found among superstitious hunter-gatherers. "Walton Brooks McDaniel found that many people of modern Italy believe lycanthropy can be induced by a full moon, witchcraft, or a birth at precisely midnight on particular holy days, including Christmas." Nor are the only witnesses of shapeshifting superstitious and uneducated people. On the contrary, many of the witnesses in the last centuries were respected, truthful, down-to-earth people, which is why people took them so seriously when they claimed they saw shapeshifting. Even in this century, educated people have claimed to witness physical shapeshifting, as in the case of Dr. Gerald Kirkland, a government medical officer who saw two were-jackal transformations while stationed in Zimbabwe on March 23, 1933. In the USA, people are still reporting sightings, and still believe in shapeshifters.
I will discuss some of the basic facts of esoteric study first, so that the rest of the book will make more sense. For those of you who are already familiar with the study of esoteric phenomena, I will present my particular perspective and the terminology that I will be using, for perspective and terminology can vary widely from one student of esoteric study to another. Where, you may ask, did I get my information? It's all well and good for me to say that I have detailed information on modern-day shapeshifters, but I don't expect anyone to believe me unless I show them how to prove to themselves that many people who follow such beliefs actually exist. The answer to this question can be found in the epilogue.
The Paranormal and Supernatural
The paranormal comprises those things that science does not explain, such as the powers of the psychic, the telepath, and the telekinetic. It also comprises sightings of ghosts, monsters, angels, spirits, the "fairy" folk, poltergeists, and other quasi-physical beings. It is the entire collection of things that are beyond the natural—thus the word "supernatural." The paranormal is in operation when the normal rules of this world seem to be superseded by the rules of some other type of reality.
Esoteric students believe that they know what these other realities are like and how they operate. The basic teachings about the paranormal have arisen again and again, in basically the same form, in every culture. They appear to have very little connection to either culture or religion. The basic facts of the paranormal are notions arrived at by studying the most basic of phenomena. Because the basic facts are true (that is, founded in basic phenomena), the cultural beliefs and interpretations of observers have little to do with how the phenomena happen. For example, ghosts have had similar characteristics through all time and cultures, even though many cultures have different doctrines about why people become ghosts, or how theology relates to ghosts. The interpretations may be different, but the reported phenomena are always astonishingly similar.
Paranormal teachings say that the physical world is only one of many worlds. Most of these worlds, such as the "fairy realm," have very little to do with our world. Two of these "worlds," however, have a lot to do with our world, albeit in subtle ways most of the time. These are called the astral plane and the etheric plane. Our physical universe is called the physical plane. These realities, including our own, are visualized as planes, one atop another. This is not truly how they are, of course. In the physical direction of up, there is nothing but sky and the endless expanses of outer space. Yet the planes operate almost as if they were stacked like this, and they have been traditionally visualized this way. Our physical plane is on the bottom. Just on top of it is the etheric plane. The etheric plane consists of "matter" that is like a shadow of physical matter. Etheric matter is not physical, yet it is not as "refined" as astral matter. There is something of the physical about it. The etheric plane "overlaps" with this plane. Many physical "objects" of this plane, especially living things, have a counterpart in etheric matter, a counterpart that looks much like a carbon copy of the physical object. The etheric plane is the entire "universe" of these etheric objects, plus etheric objects that do not correspond directly to things in this plane, as well as other "stray" etheric matter. Etheric matter is of a much "finer" substance than physical matter. It almost never breaks. If put under some sort of stress, it deforms and then reforms. Stray etheric matter tends to flow and stretch and form itself as if it were living water or living clay. Etheric matter has an almost infinite ability, at least in comparison with physical matter, to condense or diffuse. Unlike physical matter, etheric matter can also occupy the same three-dimensional space as other etheric matter.
The astral plane is visualized as the plane directly on top of the etheric plane. It also corresponds to the physical plane in many ways, particularly in that many objects, especially living beings, have astral counterparts. However, the astral plane has many more objects and "stray" astral matter that directly corresponds to nothing in this plane. The astral plane also has a bewildering array of "spirits" and "entities" that are native to it—many more than exist in the etheric plane. Moreover, the astral plane has one characteristic that the etheric plane does not: there seem to be entire regions of the astral plane that do not share the same three-dimensional space as our physical plane. They are regions unto themselves. Astral matter is of a much "finer" consistency than etheric matter. The astral plane resembles a great sea of astral substance, with its own features and cycles, slowly changing all the time.
There is one more plane that bears mention here, though it generally has little to do with supernatural phenomena directly. This is called the mental plane, found directly on top of the astral plane. This plane does not share the same three-dimensional reality as our physical plane at all. Indeed, direction and distance and dimension are largely meaningless in the mental plane. It, in fact, contains very few "objects" that correspond to anything in the physical world. Living things do have an aspect of themselves on this plane, but it is a high, lofty aspect, often (at least in non-saints) seeming to have little in common with the ego and the normal waking self and its desires. Yet this is the one part of us that is eternal—our soul, our true self. In modern New Age terminology, this is the "higher self," above the astral and etheric bodies, even above the world of the mind and ideas, which are, after all, very much a product of our species and culture, not of our true self. Many believe that there are more planes above the mental plane, but very little is known or even guessed about them.
One of the most basic and universal teachings about the supernatural is that living things, particularly human beings, are comprised of more than the merely physical. Even the modern forms of Christianity have preserved a garbled part of this teaching in their teachings that humans have a soul and spirit. Esoteric study teaches us that we live, simultaneously, on at least four different planes of existence. For the most part, we only perceive the physical plane and our physical body that is resident on it. But we also have an etheric body, an astral body, and a pure form on the socalled "mental" plane of existence. The etheric and astral bodies, and their interactions with the etheric plane and the astral plane, have much to do with certain forms of paranormal phenomena.
The etheric body looks almost exactly like our physical body. It overlaps the physical body and normally occupies exactly the same threedimensional space. Thus, it is difficult for even psychics to see. There are two conditions, however, under which psychics, and sometimes even ordinary people, can see the etheric body. When people lose an arm or a leg, they do not lose that same part of their etheric body. People who have lost a physical leg still have both etheric legs. More often than not, the etheric leg still sends sensations, still feels as if it were there, even itches or develops pains! Because this etheric part is not shrouded by any physical part, those who are psychic enough might see it.
Excerpted from The Magic of Shapeshifting by ROSALYN GREEN. Copyright © 2000 Rosalyn Greene. Excerpted by permission of Samuel Weiser, Inc..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
Chapter 1 Beginning the Shapeshifter's Journey
Chapter 2 Mental Shifting
Chapter 3 Familiars and Spirit Guides
Chapter 4 Bilocation Shifting
Chapter 5 Physical Shifting
Chapter 6 About Shifters
Chapter 7 How to Become a Shifter
About the Author
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I would like to point out that this book has some practicle techniques for shapeshifting, and some good information, but there was alot of shoddy lore as well as some prejudice towards whites and men, as well as contradictory statements and demographics. For an example, she said that there are few to no werewolves that inhabit England, but shows that there are some that inhabit Germany and many that inhabit Scandinavia. This is disproven because the linquistics surrounding the very word werewolf is essentially Anglo Saxon, ie English (OE:werewulf=man-wolf). The general racial stock in England is primarily made up of those of german and norse descent. Many Anglo Saxon Kings had the ability to shift into wolves (the elder pagan god worshipped by the old Anglo Saxon kings was Woden, and the wolf is sacred to Woden). Beowulf, a great Anglo Saxon hero was able to tap into berserker powers and tear the limbs off of dragons. I should also point out that the writer had a tendency to pigeon hole shifters into catagories, something that is actually quite impossible to do. Asatruar (Teutonic Pagans)lycanthopes do not really subscribe to many of the lables/teachings in this book. The writer also made a distinction between 'hereditary shifters' and 'artificial shifters'. While there is some merit to this distinction (because in Asatru beleifs ancestral knowledge gets passed down through the bloodline), I should point out that even 'hereditary shifters' would have been 'artificial shifters' in previous lives at some point. She also made racist and sexist statements like:there are very few whites that are hereditary shifters and that most shifters are woman. I have seen no logical evidence for this, or anything that grants shapeshifting ability with any sort of racial or sexual connotations. If this book was more objective in its comparitive studies I would have given it more stars.
I cannot begin to explain the problems with this book. As a therianthrope who has been with the community for about 4 years, and a studying pagan for 2, I do not consider myself to be ¿ by ANY means ¿ an expert. However, I can form a bulleted list of incorrect statements Greene has made within this book.-Black animals (as well as animals with red eyes) are `evil¿ and should not be used as familiars. The issue here ought to be obvious. If I may note my own anecdotal information, my first animal `guide¿(of sorts) was a black German shepherd/Labrador; she was not, by any definition, ¿evil¿.-One should look to the furry community for information about `shifters¿.While this could be a matter of opinion, it should be noted that `furries¿ (people who draw or are interested in anthropomorphic art) do not at any point claim that their connection to animals is spiritual. Some therians are furries, and vice versa (like myself), however, drawing a connection is like saying that the gay community is a good place to get information about therians, since some therians are gay.-Physical shifters are common. They are down-to-earth, mature people. Physical shifting is no stranger than many other beliefs.People who claim to be able to `p-shift¿ are few and far between (thankfully), and are generally loud, obnoxious, young people who have a problem not being `special¿ enough. Remember, as another therian said once, `that¿s short-bus special. You don¿t want to be that kind of special¿.-Most therians go through a `fox stage¿, in which their `shifting type¿ is fox.Fox therians would certainly object to this one, as would most other therians. The idea behind therianthropy is that it is a part of ourselves that remains constant- that is, no less constant than a `human self¿. We change and mature, but our species do not change. -Most therians belong to a `real life¿ `pack¿. While I¿m sure that some therians do belong to packs (and it¿s something I¿d love to be involved with myself), the reality is that therians are fairly few and far between. In addition, many are young, since that is the generation that¿s on the internet most commonly. This makes it difficult-to-impossible to organize and maintain a family-type group.As a side-note, not all therians are social people ¿ or social animals, for that matter. Many have no interest in meeting and `grouping up¿ with other therians.-Foxes are immature and playful, and wolves are more mature and serious.Not only is this a very anthropomorphic statement, it also shows Greene¿s ignorance about her OWN theriotype. Wolves (like other animals, including humans) each have their own personality. However, being that wolves are very social animals, it¿s not all that uncommon for them to have very playful, social personalities. Foxes, on the other hand, are generally thought to be mostly `loners¿, although they have been discovered to be more social than once thought, in recent years. Still, it stands that each fox has hir own personality. -Werewolf legends are true and refer to therians who had not lost the ability to p-shift.Since they are legends, it is possible for them to be based on fact, (seizures, diabetes, etc, observed and misunderstood) but ¿ just like now ¿ physical shifting is scientifically impossible.Also, therianthropy as we know it today started in 1992, on alt.horror.werewolves. While it is likely that therians existed in some form before 1992, they were (most likely) never in any organized groups with any set definitions. -There is a large offline group running parallel to the online `therianthropy¿ called `shifters¿. Of course, there is no way of saying for certain that such a group does not exist. Nevertheless, this `group¿ developed in such a profoundly similar way to therianthropy that it leads one to be a bit suspicious. -You can become a therian.It is generally agreed in the community that ¿ with the exception of walk-ins ¿ you cannot become a therian. You are or you¿re not. This is not always c
A book that should be taken with not only a grain of salt but with a bucket load of salt. This book does have some interesting information and view-points on the nature of real-life `shifters¿ (or therianthropes as they more commonly called), but much of it is surrounded by incorrect, inaccurate, unreliable, and misleading information. She does not site her sources and facts very well or at all through out the book. While some of the takes of shifting is quite interesting and in some ways eye-opening, other subjects and information given is quite incorrect from my experiences as a therianthrope myself. Two of the mostly blindingly obvious inaccuracies for someone who knows about therianthropy with this book is when she states that being a 'fox shifter' is only a ¿phase¿ and that they will later ¿mature¿ into another species; and the authors statement that all therians have totem animals that are the same species as their animal within. All in all, taken with a lot of caution and some beforehand knowledge on therianthropy, this book can be an somewhat interesting read for some. Be warry though.
Other reviewers have already pointed out that this book is full of misinformation, and that many of Ms. Greene's statements are not documented or backed up by research. I found that not only was the work comprised of many opinions and needless anthropomorphizing, some of it is outright dangerous.At one point she states that a shifter can't be killed in their animal form because bullets are on a different vibrational plane. She further suggests using wolf's bane (aconite), foxglove, and the supposedly mythical moonflower. Her description of moonflower is clearly the datura plant which is not at all mythical and is very poisonous. Wolf's bane will also kill you, and you shouldn't take foxglove unless your physician has prescribed digitalis. I'm afraid someone will take these suggestions seriously despite her warnings that they "may" be dangerous and that they will wind up dead.Anyone new to shapeshifting would do better to skip this book and look for the work of Lupa or Ted Andrews.
Not recommended! This book has just enough information in it to avoid being a complete waste of time but much of it is misinterpreted through the author's own biases or downright dangerous. The author had a good opportunity to explore a fascinating subject and failed utterly at doing so.Scholarship is poor; the book lists a bibliography but seldom contains footnotes. The few footnotes listed largely refer to one outdated publication. Her attempt to include in her writings "all werebeasts" is a complete failure. Most of the materials either refer to werewolves or make contemptuous and uneducated assumptions about other types of animal totems.Organization of material is poor and the book needed serious editing before going into publications. Large sections of chapters repeat information already given nearly verbatim and at least two chapters are repeats of information given in earlier chapters.Much of the information is downright dangerous. The author discourages any sort of therapy to deal with emotional problems and takes a hostile attitude toward anyone with psychiatric or physical problems, declaring them inferior and therefore unable to assimilate any of the information. At one point, she seems to be implying that a shapeshifter can avoid being shot simply because the bullet and the shapeshifter are not on the same plane. The last section of the book is most dangerous, as she recommends the use of several herbs known to be poisonous even if handled correctly. These are herbs which many experienced magic users will not touch and which experienced herbologists and holistic healers avoid. She also fails to identify what is obviously a description of the datura family of plants. A layperson could easily find the true information regarding the 'fabled' moonflower.
I had the bad fortune of reading this book. Not only is 'The Magic of Shapeshifting' impractical in most ways, or just downright mythological and false, the parts that should be taken seriously were outright plagerized from some of the more well-known therianthropy websites on the 'net. The fact that Ms. Green has the gall to tell ANYONE, therian (were), otherkin, or otherwise how to live his or her life, therianthropy, or say anything as widely encompassing as therianthropy is definate and to her own word is just...disgusting. She shines a bad light on the therian community. Don't let this stupidity fool you, or affect your impressions on 'weres'.
As the subculture of people who call themselves "vampires" has been around for a while, I suppose it was only a matter of time until the werewolf people started forming similar groups. As far as I can tell, "The Magic of Shapeshifting" is the only book about the werewolf subculture. You get to hear all the juicy details about "werewolf" packs, what "werewolves" do, and all the New Age fluff that these people use to explain themselves. Contrary to what you might think, they don't sit around planning to turn their neighbors into lunch, they are more likely to practice their howls, dress up in furry costumes to chase each other around the woods, and give generously to all charities that help animals. Also, not all of them are werewolves. There are plenty of foxes, housecats, and even oddities like kangaroos. Overall, it is an entertaining look at a subculture most of us have never heard of before.