The shapeshifters of today, can either be a dark witch or a noble healer. The dark witch, manifests his or her skill by the dark arts and by enticing the animalistic qualities or the spiritual significance of the darkness and the silent and ominous shadows. The shaman that has animal totems as assistants, calls upon their gifts and insight, invoking their compassionate and healing qualities to help humankind. The two are polar opposites of each other, so consequently for every curse there is a cure.
My personal view of shapeshifters is that they carry on the traits of their animal totems but they usually don’t turn into them. There are exceptions of course but they are not so much shapeshifting in its normal sense but more morphing due to black magic that alters the physical form. In order to have this happen, possession would have to take place and the obvious sign of this is selling of ones soul in order to gain unusual abilities that are not usually associated with humans.
There are numerous photos and many stories told of shamans who wear the skin of their animal totem. In many cases this allows for the various strengths of the animal to come forth and assist with the desired outcome of specific ceremonies or prayer. There are those who wear the skin of their animal totem for darker reasons, this is usually done for a negative impression, left for those who oppose their way of life. Bottom line, it’s a in your face, don’t mess with me message. A good rule of thumb, is to never pick up a hitch hiker on known roads where dark shapeshifters are known to reside and to keep your eyes ahead on the road when you drive by. Eye to eye contact is where the subliminal messages start to happen and where the emotions start to waver for unknown reasons.
The differences between shapeshifters and skinwalkers, even though the obvious assumption is that they are very similar, can be confusing. A shapeshifter is more like a sorcerer of old, connecting with the elements and nature, procuring a friendship and alliance. The question arises, regarding who a shapeshifter chooses to align themselves with. The answer makes clear the difference between a shapeshifter and skinwalker because one will become a puppet master and the other, the puppet being controlled or the creature born from elemental traits that are not human related.
Another question that arises, is what is the difference between a dark witch and a shapeshifter? This is a good question and one that I have actually asked various friends in the know about. No one seems to really know what the difference is but I think I might have an idea that I will share with you.
A dark witch has an agenda that is usually in the dark realm of possession and ritual so they tend to live in an environment they perpetuate over and over again through out their lives. Endless curses and spells cast onto people, eventually take a toll on a witch’s sanity, leading them into a weird type of lunacy that eventually causes their own demise. Darkness begets darkness thus resulting in a its own karmic debt. Dark witches do work with the elements but I have always found in most cases that a dark witch has an ego a mile long and they are not willing to share the lime light. This means they ultimately use others as a means to gain power and control for themselves. Eventually, the shadows become a jail sentence with the dark witch confined and wallowing within their own curses and spells.
A shapeshifter has a broader scope and understanding of the elements and how to use them to their benefit. They usually invoke the help of the elements understanding their relationship with nature. From research and interviews, I have found that it’s not uncommon for some Native American families have both, light and dark relations as apart of their family dynamics. The homebody itself can become a very intense fight for the light and dark quandary, opposing each other. Interestingly enough, the light and dark aspects of life are opposite sides of the same coin. Most Native American families understand the characteristics of both sides and because of this; shapeshifting and witchcraft have very different uses and incentives depending on which side of the coin is being used. As each side opposes each other other, they create a dichotomy that embellishes the details of each individual practitioner.
I’ve been thinking back to my Taos years and I think the closest I came to a dark shapeshifter was when I rented a round house with a friend of mine close by where my grandmother used to live. We drove by the house thinking it would make a great practice and dance studio besides a great meditation space. It was hidden from a dirt road by trees and brush so it was very secluded. As we were to find out quickly, the round house had a dark and haunted energy to it in the daytime, almost taking on an ominous and foreboding atmosphere as the encroaching evening slowly crept up on us. The woman who owned the house had a huge alter against a wall in the center room which was used as a kitchen and dining room combination. Dead birds with needles in them and other small creatures were apart of her alter. Her instructions were made very clear to us in a note that she left, stating that we could not touch her alter or move anything from its place.
When I rented the house with my friend, I had no idea the alter was going to be there but my friend did, unfortunately she didn’t feel the need to tell me about it because she thought it was cool. I had a problem with it from the get go and I made my feelings known. The alter itself, took a really bizarre house to begin with, right into another Friday the 13th movie sequel. I had the worst feeling in the pit of my stomach about the house but unfortunately my friend didn’t. Our so called landlady had decided to leave a day ahead of schedule without telling us. Keys, detailed notes and silence greeted us as we stood in the middle room back to back. The reality of the situation finally hit when the noises started to get louder. My friend looked scared and I was terrified!
Our first and only night at the house was dealing with constant banging and creaking from the roof and side of the walls. The top floor was where the beds were, so we decided it was best to stay up there together, incase anything happened. We put two twin beds on one side of the room and decided it was best to leave all our clothes and belongings in our bags for fear that if something happened, we could leave quickly without missing a beat.
Eventually sleep finally came for both of us but only after enduring rattling and banging noises from all around the house which was enough to make a person go insane. Unfortunately our reprieve was short lived because out of the blue and without warning, a bird began to loudly squawk inside a pipe that led from the outside to a cast-iron stove by the wall, across from us. It almost seemed like it was trying to go through the pipe in order to get into the room where we were at. We both sat up, awakened by the horrible noise it was making and put our hands to our ears. Then, as quickly as it had come… everything went still and the noise was totally gone. It was as if we had woken up right in the middle of a nightmare. Strangely as we were sitting up in our beds, we could smell the odor of soggy dirt and yet we couldn’t tell from which direction it was coming from. It was like the smell of a dark and dingy cave that had a fungusy smell to it along with the dank air. It stayed with us the rest of the night so I put my sleeping bag over my head hoping morning would come quickly so I wouldn’t have to breath in the damp air for too much longer.
Sunrise was a joyous relief and as soon as we could see daylight peering over the mountain, we were up and ready to get the heck out of there. It was still quite dark outside but once we could hear the birds singing, we knew we had survived the night. We walked down the steps to the kitchen area and immediately stopped in our tracks. We saw that several of the birds on the alter had been moved from their original positions from the night before. To appease the landlady, we decided to put most of them back in their original positions. For some odd reason that I still can’t figure out to this day, I looked behind me and saw a beautiful bird with a yellow crest on it, laying on its side in a an old fashioned glass cabinet. It had a needle through its heart and for some strange reason unbeknownst to me, I knew that the bird’s spirit was kept hostage in the house. Against my friend’s advice, I took the bird outside and took the needle out of its chest and laid it down by a tree so it could be back with its natural surroundings. When I walked back into the house, it felt like I was immediately surrounded by a deafening sound of birds shrieking in my head. I suddenly realized that each and every bird that was kept on that alter was stuck in that house, its spirit trapped by the landlady. I wanted to free all the birds but my friend argued that I would implicate her with me if I did. I knew at that point that the landlady was definitely a dark practitioner and yet I wasn’t sure if she was a dark witch or dark shapeshifter, but I also felt a responsibility to the birds. I decided that I would come back in a few days and free all the birds myself, never telling my friend what I was going to do.
I had to muster up all my bravado three days later when I drove back to the house. Even though it was a beautiful day, I was petrified of the house. As I drove up to the house,the most horrific feeling washed over me. I had to sit in my truck and try to get ahold of myself. I finally got out of my truck and walked up to the front door. I heard noises inside, yet I knew nobody was home. I unlocked the front door and the door creaked open slowly. It was at that very moment, that I knew the landlady knew what I was going to do. I could feel she was waiting for me, wanting me to walk into the house. I told no one I was going over there so it would have been days if not weeks before anyone would know where I was. I heard a growl from inside that sounded really close to the door so I grabbed the doorknob and closed the door; locking it quickly and I high tailed it out of there. I drove away like a bat out of hell and didn’t go back … at least not alone. Interestingly, my friend never went back to the house … period after the first night. She told me she was afraid of the house and left me her key along with dealing with the landlady when she came back. I hated the fact that the birds were held captive in that house but on my own, it was too dangerous to do anything. I couldn’t get help because as strange as it sounded, people didn’t believe me.
The landlady ended up coming back a month sooner then planned and I once more, headed back to her house, keys in hand and a resolute attitude to free the birds. She was a young woman with brown hair and a slight build. I could tell from the moment our eyes made contact that she knew; I knew what she was doing. The only thing she said to me was that I had no right to take her bird outside. She said it was sacred and dear to her and that it wasn’t my place to decide what was best for it. I told her it was inhumane to do what she had done to the bird in the first place, and that I knew I did the right thing. We stood squaring off at each other for a few seconds. I stood my ground inside a dark shapeshifter’s house and she for a few minutes thought she had the upper hand. My upper hand came walking in the door; a good friend visiting from out of town, named Phil. He was a Cajun from Louisiana and a body builder who worked at a state penitentiary in Houston plus he knew a lot about witches and dark magic. She looked at him with a surprised look on her face. I walked toward the door where he was standing and turned around to look at her. She seemed really old at that moment and very agitated by Phil’s presence. I told her that eventually nature would be knocking at her door and when that day came, pay back would be a bitch. We walked away and at that very moment, it seemed like all the birds around us in the trees started talking at the same time, I thought they were all saying, way to go!
Then out of the corner of my eye, I saw an unusually big, black dog. He looked ferocious and I knew at that moment, we had just seconds to run back to the truck!