The alienation of sudden death tends to warp the mind of the recently departed. The desire for the life they lost is heartbreaking, maddening even.
I will start by asking, what do you know about totems or shamanism in general?
I know something about shamanism working with animals and nature, and journeying.
Are totems representations of spirits? The physical artifacts are representations, yes. They serve as mental focuses when preparing to meet the spirit they depict, thus the reference to journeying.
It is a very personal practice for the shaman. I think more so than other paths. As personal as any other aspect of their personal experience yes, and it’s true, they don’t really have the filter of dogma between their experience and their practices.
Tonight, we are talking about the totem hunt or search for totems. In the shaman’s world view there is no thought to a transcendent state as modern religionists think of it, no concern about the will of a divine authority, of earning their way into heaven. That sort of thought is completely foreign to shamanism. They are only concerned with life and the living world we all exist in to the point that they don’t really see a separation between life and death. Death was seen as little different from one of their tribal migrations.
Do they still see a point of origin for the spirits they connect with, like a great spirit? Well, the Great Spirit was more of a father than a manufacturer, and thus though the Great Spirit may have been the origin of their people, his role was more like the originator of a family bloodline than the one owning the copyright on all existence. The Great Spirit was more like Great Grandpa. You respect him, but you don’t worship him.
Just as any tribe would respect an elder. Yes, and he wasn’t entirely alone. Whether in the tribal lore he created the spirits or just lived alongside them, there were other beings that had a hand in creating and shaping the world.
There must have been a motherly Great Spirit as well? Indeed, grandfathers and grandmothers both. They referred to the earth itself not as father, but mother. The Great Spirit was also called Father Sky who was said to have four sons, the winds. The shamans medicine wheel was a symbol of the world, at least in a spiritual sense, having four winds, four seasons, and four regions, though this wasn’t a matter of strict dogma as much as just a navigational tool. In fact, the medicine wheel as they called it would also have had three levels, the underworld, the middle world, and the over world, points on what they saw as a great tree.
Your thoughts are welcome. Be well friends.