Komorowski, A. (2021). The power animal experience and its potential benefits: A phenomenological study [Unpublished Master’s thesis]. Alef Trust & Middlesex University.

This research aims to explore the lived experience of the power animal (PA) during a shamanic journey of experienced occidental non-shamans with sonic driving (drumming), as taught by the foundation for shamanic studies (FSS) and to explore what might be the benefits of this experience. The experience of the PA has been understudied, however it is the most common experience in shamanism. The literature has not sufficiently addressed the benefits of the experience of the PA and has focused more on other aspect of core-shamanism or shamanism as a whole. This study aimed to fill this literature gap. Using a transcendental phenomenological approach, six participants were interviewed and asked about the nature of the experience of the PA, how they integrated it in their life and how they benefited from it. The interviews were recorded, transcribed and coded in order to do a thematic analysis. Themes were used to create textural and structural descriptions for each participant. Those descriptions were then combined to find the essence of the experience. It seems that experiencing the PA can bring a wide array of benefits. Participants received healing, emotional support, positive change in behaviours, a deeper meaning of life, a stronger connection to nature, guidance, well-being, help for making choices, teachings, and enhanced relation to people. This is exploratory research and further research is needed to explore this experience especially in relation to the benefits and how those benefits could have a more powerful impact in therapeutic contexts to support integration of the experience of the PA.

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