The term: Animal Imagery or the Animal Work,as used in this website refers to the popular name given to a specific process of active Imagination called The Personal Totem Pole Process©, a means of Deep Imagery developed by
Dr Eligio Stephen Gallegos.
The Personal Totem Pole of personal imagery engages us in knowing our innermost selves.
Imagery, long valued by artists, creative thinkers and indigenous people of many lands as a vital way to understand and relate to the world, fell into disfavor as people came to rely only on what they could experience through their five senses and through objective, analytical reasoning. In recent years, however, this trend has begun to reverse, and there is growing interest in this little known, yet ancient, method of self-transformation.
The Personal Totem Pole Process© is a unique blend of the theory of active imagination which was developed by Dr. C. G. Jung, the Eastern theoretical orientation which understands the human being as a system of interrelated energies or chakras, and the Native American practice of speaking to and learning from the animals.
In this process a person is guided using deep imagery to encounter an animal in each chakra or energy center. The condition of the chakra is reflected by the particular animal and its circumstances. In some cases an animal is seen to be caged or injured which indicates that the energy is not as free or as healthy as it should be. In others the strength and stability of the chakra is evident. When all the chakra animals have been reached they are brought into a council in which they work toward each others growth an health. In doing so they typically raise issues which the person has not adequately faced, but is now supported and even coached in doing so. As the person faces the issues the animals grow. And as the animals grow and come to be more supportive of each other the individual feels a growing harmony and centredness in his or her own life. The inner support of the chakra animals comes to be deeply appreciated and richly felt. The work is deeply healing and transformative as the animals know how to guide us with precision through the sequence of experiences that lead back to our own original wholeness.
Use of this process with clients has shown that it effectively and efficiently brings about the resolution of longstanding conflicts and leads to a newfound maturity. It also bypasses the typical defensiveness and resistance on the part of the client and avoids problems with transference, since the therapist assumes the position of a guide who promotes the relationship between the Inner and the Outer processes.
The value of this process for someone who has already done much growing is that it clearly indicates the strengths of the persons component energies and the relationships between them, and provides guidelines for further work.