I don’t know much about shape-shifting but i always liked this passage from a tarot deck about shapeshifters:
How to Shapeshift
The underlying concept of the Shapeshifter Tarot is to help bridge the gulf between people, animals, and nature. The cards in this deck act as merging tools, to help access the many different animal energies (some of them magical), together with the elemental qualities of air, fire, water, and earth in nature. By using this deck, you can access the knowledge of the eagle, an oak tree, or the ocean; wisdom that is inherently yours and resides within your very being.
As an avenue to connect with your inner nature, shapeshifting is akin to meditation–a meditation on the relationship between humankind and nature, in particular animals. The shamanic art of shapeshifting is based on the idea of assuming of a certain creature’s characteristics, traits, and talents for a limited time and for a particular purpose, with a shapeshifter being able to change shape either at will or under special circumstances.
Humans, animals, and plants are known to shift shape. The facility with which this can be done depends on the degree of energy or quality of life the creature possesses. It is more difficult for plants and least difficult for human beings to shapeshift because of the dynamics involved. Plants are stationary, while animals (the human animal included) are mobile, and it follows that animals are more apt in moving and directing energy. It is our innate nature and state of being.
Chinese Taoists propose that there are two methods for shapeshifting. One is to strengthen or improve your vital essence by the study of the metaphysics and nature. One is by sharing the vital essence of others and this can be accomplished through meditation, channeling, dancing, singing, chanting, ritual, and making love–in any situation where people merge together as One and build energy.
The Toltec shamans shapeshift and gather energy by pulling the power from the universe, for instance, from dead stars. Through a complex set of physical movements, breath, and intention, the Toltec shaman gathers and collects energy to be used towards specific purposes.
Like the Toltec shaman, the Celtic shaman knows that nothing ever truly dies; it merely changes form. Everything is continuously reborn by shifting shape, and the elemental components are constantly recycling. For example, if I were to give you a glass of water and asked you to destroy the water, it is impossible. If you pour the water out, it becomes part of whatever you poured it out into or onto. If you allow the water to evaporate, it later becomes rain. If you drink it, the water becomes part of your body as well as waste which is recycled into the Earth. In other words, nothing can be destroyed (ever-beginning, never-ending). Everything merely shifts shape. This strongly suggests shapeshifting is a natural state of existence.
To shapeshift into another person, animal, or elemental energy is to be privy to the secrets of a state of being where you are able to feel the inexplicable and mysterious. This is a state of being where human reason and logic do not necessarily apply. By setting aside the natural laws, like gravity, you can merge or meld into the body of any animal, plant, rock, body of water, anything you choose, experiencing an entirely different world–the world of instinct.
As you abandon the structures and forces that hold you to the Earth, time and space become very fluid and soft. This creates a gateway to Oneness, a threshold of awareness where your perspective alters and changes permanently. Once you move through that threshold, you are transformed. It is a metamorphosis. The fluidity of reality becomes “normal” and you realize you are not a fixed human being on this planet, but a multidimensional being with the potential of experiencing an infinite number of lifetimes, worlds, and shapes. One important thing to remember in practicing shapeshifting is nothing in fact is what it seems to be, especially matter, time, and space.
On a very basic level, shapeshifting allows for a richer and fuller perspective of life and experience. As a way to gather information and build magical skill, shapeshifting connects you with your creative ability and your spiritual center, regardless of your religious, philosophical, or cultural preferences.
The key to learning how to shapeshift is merging. Merging is sometimes called “the thirteenth factor,” where there is no division between body, mind, and spirit. Everything becomes Oneness, and All Knowledge and Wisdom are readily accessible in this place of being, depending upon your intention and desire. Merging is the mystic state, where you become one with all things. This occurs naturally when you are in the middle of a beautiful forest, and suddenly you feel you become a part of every tree, leave, stone, bird, the sky, and so forth. Merging also happens naturally when you fall in love. You meld and merge with your partner. Another example is when your child is born and you first make eye contact. These just a few examples of merging that may help you to better understand the process and experience.
Two main components of the merging process are breath and intention. First, your intention needs to be specific, simple, and directed. Focus on this intention before, during, and after merging. Second, paying close attention to how you use your breath makes the shapeshifting process much easier. For instance, if you are having difficulty merging and moving into the shape you have chosen to shift into, use deep breathing (breathing in to the count of three, holding your breath for three counts, and then exhaling for three counts). Do this at least ten times, and you will find merging becomes almost automatic.
When you merge with an animal, you enter the energetic being of the animal, stepping into cat-ness or wolf-ness, and so on. It’s as if you enter the domain of essence, becoming the animal, almost like becoming a mirror to the animal. Each animal is an aspect of yourself: your eyes are eagle, your legs are the horse, your nose is the wolf, your heart is the lion, and your ears are the fox.
When you incarnate into the physical, you take form and become flesh, embodied and defined. Definition gives temporary form and shape as a human being. Shapeshifting allows you to briefly step out of that form, energetically, and see things from a different perspective, from the eyes of the eagle or the cat. In shapeshifting you transform, inwardly. Interesting, from several accounts worldwide, certain shamans also have the power to shapeshift outwardly. When you shapeshift, you move out of “ordinary” reality into multidimensional awareness, realizing you can be here and there at the same time. It is a strange feeling at first, until you accustom yourself to the perspective. With practice, you can eventually learn to be in several places (worlds) at once.
To begin shapeshifting, first choose the animal you want to shapeshift with. If you choose, for instance, to shapeshift into a cat, you would first spend a great deal of time studying “cat-ness;” their habits, nature, patterns, every aspect of cats that reflects “cat-ness.” It helps to have access to a living cat on a regular basis. Pets make great “familiars” for shapeshifters. You become very familiar with the “cat-ness” of your own cat, and thus can shift into its shape more readily. Direct contact facilitates shapeshifting, and until you actually touch or be in close proximity to the animal, it is more difficult to clearly and completely shift. There is something to the concept of “getting a feel for things.”
You may wonder as to the reasons or usefulness of shapeshifting into a cat. In many ways, shifting shape can be of particular practical use in social and professional situations where you feel uncomfortable, nervous, or uneasy. Simply slow your breath down, focus on your intention, and merge with the energy of the cat, with cat-ness. By doing so, you integrate the cat’s ability to deal with the uncomfortable situation, and you are tuned into both states of being at once (human and cat). After all, what would a cat do in similar circumstances.
At first, some individuals have a problem doing shapeshifting because they don’t believe they can transform into a wolf or cat or whatever. They have been taught this is just not possible. It is crucial to remember that belief is not a major factor in the shapeshifting process. In other words, it doesn’t matter if you believe you can shapeshift or not. Let go, and merely pretend you can shift into the animal of your choice. See yourself as pure energy and light, and then project this light into the animal you are working with. Allow the animal’s energy to move into you also, like a force field that moves both ways, back and forth.
Pretending and having fun with the shapeshifting process, almost always has an immediate positive impact on the results because suddenly you enter a receptive and conducive state of mind for shifting form. When you do find yourself actually shapeshifting, experientially and energetically, you will know right away because your view of reality shifts. It’s as if the texture of the sky, the quality of the light, and the very taste of the air are infinitesimally changed. Everything changes slightly each and every time you shapeshift.
Keep in mind that you, and you alone, through personal choice and free will, conceive and create the experiences and patterns in your life. Through merging and by using your breath and intention, you can easily practice the art of shapeshifting. You don’t need years of training or months of study. You only need a true and strong desire and willingness to participate in this ancient shamanic art. Remember whatever you put out into the universe will come back to you, so it is advisable to use shapeshifting for positive purposes.
The ultimate potential for shapeshifting is to bring humankind closer to nature and animals, so that we begin to understand we do not stand apart from nature but are part of it. With every animal that becomes extinct, we loose a part of ourselves. On a very literal and basic level, when we kill the animals, we are killing a part of ourselves. The importance of saving species and habitats is crucial to our very existence because they are extensions of our basic being-ness–the richness and diversity of living systems.
Shapeshifting is a way to move past the destructive illusion of separation between humankind and nature, and to understand our symbiotic relationship with all living things. We live in a community of existence of beings and things. We are members in the same commonality, energetically connected together in Oneness. Honoring and exploring this inherent connection, through shapeshifting and other shamanic processes, are tangible ways to create a more positive Earthly reality for all of the inhabitants and children of the Great Mother.“
Hope it helps
Much love <3