The incense has been spread, the lights dim, everyone lies down to the sound of a dream beating and spirits awakening within. This scene could once likely be found thousands of years ago in mankind’s earliest civilizations and it was found once again during an October class at the Roudenbush Community Center.
Local shaman Brad Hudson recently introduced a class at the Roudenbush to the art of finding one’s “power animal,” a spiritual practice he says dates back millennia through various societies across the planet.
According to Hudson, the meditative process requires one to journey from the conscious “middle world” to a “lower world” where caring animal guides can be found dispensing advice to anyone seeking it.
Hudson advised students to “envision a path” to that lower world, and eventually it would take over one’s thoughts. However, he also noted that some more left-brained people might need to push themselves a little harder.
Gina Odryina was one of those left-brained people, although she eventually was able to commune with her power animal and enjoyed the experience.
“It was interesting because I tend to be a little left brained as he talked about,” said Odryina. “So getting to the lower world and letting my ego step aside and letting it happen is always a little hard for me, but it was very fun.”
Odryina came into the class with a clear mind and no expectations to bias her judgments, but Meg Coughlin came into the class with positive expectations and left with a sparkling review for Hudson’s teaching methods.
“I just think the way he did the course immediately got you into participating rather than just learning or being lectured to,” she said. “It engaged me for sure.”
At well over 6 feet, Hudson towered over most of his students on this night but is still also known by his shamanic name “Little Frog,” a name bequeathed to him by a power animal of his own.
He understands that the journey to this lower world can be difficult for many at first, but believes it’s a journey worth taking.
“I’m asking people to stretch their imaginations at first to get to these worlds and when they get there and meet their power animal who gives advice on their life and other things happening in their life,” said Hudson. “Once they find that it’s an incredible life changing experience.”
Hudson will return to the Roudenbush in the next few weeks for a more advanced class helping students discover an “upper world” that holds what he says are helpful guiding human spirits as well as another class where he says more experienced students can enter each other’s visions.