One of the wonders of being a witch is knowing you have power within to accomplish all ye will, Truly nothing is impossible. However we must belive this.
I have always been fascinating wiht the ability to shapeshift, I have honestly only experienced it a few times both in meditsation and in dreams..
I went back to my Bos and found this:.........
I did have help with a friend in finding info and reseaching for this at one time.
Thank you MysticWolf....
Spiritual shapehifting is a powerful tool for change in conciousness. It should be used with caution, and care. Most people, when they think of shapeshifting, think of people sprouting hair under a full moon and running rampant over some poor hapless town, devouring anything in its path. Shapeshifting in shamanic practices all over the world refers to assuming, or aspecting, elements of the animal invloved - this may be a manner of movement, speaking or vocalizing, mentality or any number of magickal abilities. In true fashion, over time humanity has begun to define shapeshifting as a physical thing only, being unable to concieve or believe in something they cannot actually see. Shapeshifting does not always have to occur in the physical plane, though, and 99.9% of the time doesn't. Anyone who can meditate well or travel astrally can shapeshift, with a little practice.
The theory behind much of magick is mind over matter, and this is true for shifting as well. The method that I describe here hinges on the ability to meditate deeply, and astrally project. I don't recommend any form of astral shifting work to be undertaken by anyone who is not an experienced astral traveller or accompanied by one. However, this isn't to say you can't learn. I simply recommend that you first learn the realms of the spirit before trying to alter yourself.
To get ready to attempt a shift, I suggest you work in a circle, or someplace you feel comfortable or safe. If you want, light a few candles and some incense, play your favorite music softly, have something you really like with you. Just be very relaxed and comfortable in your workspace. If you're uncomfortable, it's not going to work. If you have any spirit animals, or spirit helpers, talk to them.
Spirit helpers, totems and familiars are great for helping first-time spirit or astral shifters, as they can help guide you into a form that's right for you. Maybe they have a preferred other-form that you could use. (As one of my totems is Raven, I frequently use that form.) Anyway, get yourself set up and comfortable.
Get well grounded; send that root of power down into the earth a good piece. If you're not well grounded, sometimes you can get curious overlapping of what you see as a spirit, and what you see as a human, and it is very disorienting, not to mention disturbing. Center yourself well, keeping your power in a nice ball, and focus all of your power into a fine point. The best example I can give is that of a flashlight....the more focused the source of light is, the sharper and more precise the larger circle of light it gives off is going to be. If you stay well focused, then getting out of your body is going to be that much easier. Use whatever power is most familiar with you: Earth Power is the most readily available, but you can use a node of natural power, take some from a holy place, or use your own.
For those embarking on a spirit shift, once you have centered and grounded well, begin to deepen your meditational state. Feel yourself lose the rest of the world, and meditate on the Spirit Animal you are trying to shift into. If it is a totem or other familiar Spirit Animal, meditate on the aspects of the animal you may admire, or desire. Meditate on being of the same species as your totem.
If you wish to shift into a slightly more unfamilar form, I suggest you treat this the same as working with an unfamiliar God or Goddess. Do some research, get to know their habitat and physiology and their temperament, and then meditate a few times with the Spirit Animal in question; this will prevent the spirit from being angered at you borrowing its form or imitating its Children. Ask your spirit guide or totem to help you for the first couple of times you shift, because what you are really doing is "aspecting" that animal - mentally and spiritually taking on aspects of that creature's body language, mentality, senses, and ability. You may have the sense of having your Self merge with the spirit of that animal - that's normal. You may also feel that you have other "parts" - ears, tails, paws, snouts, etc. that aren't yours, but are. That's also normal - we call those phantom limbs. Your guides or totems will generally help you learn how to "be" in that shifted state - you may notice vision or hearing or olifactory changes, desires that seem odd to a human but perfectly normal to an animal, or the need to be somewhere outside.
This is classic shapeshifting in a shamanic sense.
If you are embarking on an Astral shift, after grounding and centering deepen your meditational state and use whatever method you prefer to achieve the state of vibration where you can leave your body. When you feel focused and kind of floaty, in that sort of waking-sleep state, leave your body. This is exactly the same as if you were just astrally travelling normally - you could at this point go anywhere on the astral plane. If you are unfamiliar with astral travelling, please go here.
When you are outside of your body, there will be a fine cord that connects you to your body. This is the same as any other astral experience - DO NOT SEVER IT. It is the only thing that keeps your soul and your body together. It will stretch and grow along with you for however far you decide to go, but if you sever it your body will be left without a soul, and a body without a soul eventually dies unless hooked up to all sorts of hideous machinery. It lacks a purpose and a will to live, and you'll be left wandering the earth without the means to the Underworlds, save by the good grace of the Goddess. This is why I say that you should have some experience in out-of-body magicks; it makes it less dangerous.
Once you find yourself on the Astral Plane, I suggest you either go to your sanctuary, a safe place you have created for yourself, or a safe place of another's whom you trust that you have permission to use. It's the same as the protective place you have around your body on the physical plane - just a good precaution.
When most of us start astral travel, we always keep a semi-true mortal form - we are our Self as it is in pure energy. But it's extremely malleable - if you can focus your will and intent, you'll look like whatever you think you look like. The trick to shifting is to think of yourself as something else. Use your Mind's Eye to shape the most accurate, detailed image of whatever you wish to be. Let the power that flows through you flow into it, filling it and charging it. As you do so, imagine yourself taking that form, feeling your hands become paws or wingtips, feeling your feet change, your face. When you don't feel anything else changing, or you've completely filled the image with power and it can't hold anymore, you should be the image you've created.
To reverse the shift when you're done, take the image and "undraw" it, removing all the power from it first. Once the image is undone, you will be a thoughtform, a mass of energy that is your Self, but hasn't been given a specific form. Think of your Self again, your natural form for the Astral, and let that become your Mind's eye image again. Fill it with power, and gradually unfocus the power's projection. You should return to your body, if that's what you're aiming for. To simply undo the shift just remove the power and undo the image, then redo it to be whatever your next form needs be if you're still remaining a spirit-form. You will always be in the same form on the Physical plane, no matter what form you have taken on the Astral. Some people will find that their trueform on the Astral isn't humanoid at all - life's full of surprises. ;)
The Morrighan is the great shapeshifter. She can shapeshift into a crow, raven, wolf, hawk. Although Her favorite is the crow and raven and at times a black or silver colored wolf. I found this article and thought it be of interest and perfect for here.
Shapeshifting in Celtic Myth
Kenneth R. White
The themeby of shapeshifting is found in Celtic myth regardless of the specific country one invesigates. Thoughout my studies of Celtic lore I have found that there were very specific reasons or circumstances for shapeshifting. These reasons fall into at least four different categories, they are punishment, survival, protection or as a means to facilitate rebirth. Sometimes a story will fall into more than one of these categories, such as the Welsh story of Llew Llaw Gyffes.
Shapeshifting for Survival and Rebirth
In the Welsh story of Taliesin, who as Gwion Bach, transforms himself into various animal shapes to escape the wrath of the goddess Ceridwen. Gwion transforms himself into a hare, a fish, a bird and finally a grain of wheat. Ceridwen in an attempt to catch him also transforms herself. She becomes a greyhound, an otter, a falcon and a hen. It is as a hen that she finally catches Gwion, who is at this stage a grain of wheat, she swallows Gwion and by so doing becomes pregnant and eventually gives birth to Taliesin.
The story of Taliesin has many similarities with the Irish story of Tuan mac Cairill. Tuan is the great-granson of Partholon who was the leader of one of the five invading races of Ireland. Tuan is the lone survivor of this race and lives out many lives on the island as a stag, a boar, a hawk and finally as a salmon. It is as a salmon that he is caught by a fisherman and served to the wife of Cairill. The lady becomes pregnant and gives birth to Tuan. The similarity of these two myths strikes home when we understand that both Tuan and Taliesin had full memories of their previous lives as humans. In both cases, their second lives as a human were both brought about by a woman eating them and becoming pregnant. This theme too echoes throughout Celtic myth.
There is a common misconception concerning these two myths which I wish to clarify. One may think that these two stories relate to reincarnation. That is not accurate, in both instances the main characters maintain their identities in every form. John and Caitlin Matthews have provided us with some insight into the Celtic view of stories of this type. They quote Cormac's Glossary which gives an definition of transmigration, which in the Gaelic is tuirgin. "a birth that passes from every nature into another... a transitory birth which has traversed all nature from Adam and goes through every wonderful time down to the world's doom." The Matthews' go on to explain that these "transitory births" often traverse the realms of animals while the subjects retain their original memories and intelligence. But not only do they retain their original memories, they also retain the knowledge and experiences of their lives as animals. Therefore, it could be said that the act of transformation granted them knowledge they wouldn't otherwise be able to attain.
Sometimes, the shapeshifter undergoes the change in order to survive some great disaster. And this sometimes goes hand in hand with the rebirth senario, but not always.
We can look at the story of Llew for an example of transformation following a personal disaster. After Blodeuwedd and her lover attempt to kill Llew, he is transformed into the shape of an eagle. Gwydion find him perched on a tree, decomposing flesh falling from him, which is eaten by a sow. Gwydion then uses his Druidic wand to transform Llew back to his human shape. As a punishment for her treacherous ways, Gwydion transforms Blodeuwedd into an owl.
There are many more instances of rebirth and survival in the manner described above. In fact, Celtic myth is full of them, but I haven't the space to address them all. The Celts believed that everything was possessed of a spirit and great care was taken by Celtic women not to partake of certain foods or plants for the fear of becoming pregnant.
Transformation as Punishment
As with Blodeuwedd's transformation into an owl, a person could be transformed to inflict some sort of punishment for transgressions, real or percieved. Ossian's mother was one such person. She was transformed into the shape of a deer by the Druid Fer Doirche. In this story, she is turned into a doe while pregnant with him. He is born of her while she is in deer form and retained throughout life a patch of "fawn's hair" on his forehead where she licked him. Ossian becomes a member of the Fianna and later comes face to face with his mother while out hunting. She is able to show him her true form and thus prevent Ossian from shooting her. Ossian then warns to to flee, for the Fianna would not show her the same mercy.
The children of Lir were transformed into the shapes of swans by their step mother Aoife because she was jealous of Lir's love for them. The children were doomed to remain in this shape for many years until finally they resumed thier human shapes and died old and tired.
The Welsh story of Math ap Mathonwy we find another example of transformation used as a punishment. Gwydion and his brother Gilfaethwy create problems for Math when they start a war with Pryderi, King of Annwn. This war is all to draw Math away from his royal foot holder Goewin. Gwydion kills Pryderi and Gilfaethwy rapes Goewin. Math in a rage over these transgressions changes Gilfaethwy and Gwydion into deer. Gwydion a stag and Gilfaethwy a doe. In these bodies they are forced to live as mates until death at which time they are again transformed, this time Gwydion becomes a sow and Gilfaethwy a boar. Again, they live life as mates and produce many off spring. After the "incarnation" as pigs they live again as wolves. Gwydion the he-wolf and Gilfaethwy as the she-wolf.
Shapeshifting for Protection
The father of Lugh, Cian mac Cainte encounters his sons enemies. Since Cian was outnumbered he strikes himself with his wand and changes himself into a boar. One of Lugh's enemies, Brian mac Tuirenn, derides his brothers for not being able to distinguish a real boar from a druidical boar. Thus, he strikes his brothers with his wand, changing them into hounds. In this shape they pursue Cian and mortally wound him. Cian then resumes his human shape before he dies. This form of transformation for protection didn't work, but there are other examples.
There is in Highland Scotland folklore a specific spell used to affect the transformation of an individual. This type of spell is known as fith-fath (fee-faw) and as most Celtic spells was chanted verse. The folklore behind the fith-fath states that it was employed to bring about invisibility by transforming the subject into a different form. Alexander Carmichael informs us that the fith-fath was applied to circumstances where a person needed to walk unseen, which was usually done in the shape of an animal, or when one wished to transform one object into another. Hunters would use this spell when hunting, as it afforded them the luxury of hiding from their prey, and hiding the slain prey from any who would steal it. One can imagine a hunter chanting the fith-fath and taking on the shape of a deer, how better to approach their quary unseen and unsuspected.
Carmichael has provided us with a translated fith-fath spell meant to ensure that the person whom it was chanted over would become invisible to all the animals and beings recited in the verse.
A magic cloud I put on thee, From dog, from cat, From cow, from horse, From man, from woman, From young man, from maiden, And from little child. Till I again return.
The "magic cloud" could easily be a invocation of the powers of the god Manannan, who being the god of the sea had control over the mists and fogs. These mists and fogs were controlled by the god with his magic cloak or mantle. This same mantle was shaken between Fionn and his Fae lover, so that they would forget each other. So, what the chanter of this verse is asking is that the subject be covered by the cloak of Manannan. This same spell could be used to transform the subject into an animal or some other object.
The Matthew's find a correlation between the fith-fath and the spell known as the lorica in Irish lore. They translate the words fith-fath as "deer's aspect" and give a similar translation for the Irish feth-faidha. The feth-faidha is another name for the chant known as "St. Patrick's Breastplate." The breastplate was used by the Irish saint to confuse the soldiers of King Loegaire, thus changing Patrick and his attendants into deer. The breastplate runs thus:
I arise today Through the strength of heaven, Light of sun, Radiance of moon, Splendour of fire, Speed of lightening, Swiftness of wind, Depth of sea, Stability of earth, Firmness of rock.
As I stated above the people who were transformed were able to gain some knowledge from living as animals. Through this experience they were able to better appreciate nature and gained a closer affinity for nature. So we see several instances from Celtic myth where transformation was used as a means of survival or of protection. Taliesin and Tuan both used transformation as a means of survival and to bring about their eventual rebirth. Hunters and even the Irish Saints used transformation to protect themselves or cause them to become "invisible."
John Matthews presents a theory which states that some transformations were necessary for an exchange of knowledge between otherworld beings and a seeker or shaman. These transformations required the seeker to confront a threshold guardian or to become that guardian themselves. In a later essay I will address this theory in greater detail.
The Encyclopedia of Celtic Wisdom by Caitlin and John Matthews
The Celtic Tradition by Caitlin Matthews
Fire in the Head by Tom Cowan
The Magic arts in Celtic Britian by Lewis Spence
An introduction to Celtic Mythology by David Bellingham
The Druids by P.B. Ellis
The Druids-Magicians of the West by Ward Rutherford