In the shamans model of the world, the search for a totem was not to search for an object or even a symbol one could possess. The search for a totem was the quest to understand where one stood on the medicine wheel. The discovery of totems was a vital first step to giving the shaman the power to heal or strengthen you.
All existence is spirit, and there is nothing that exists that is not a spirit. The sharing of spirit was pretty much the same as the sharing of genetics. So in many cases, you didn’t have just a single totem, you had a set. Having only one totem or having a dominant totem was considered unusual. Besides discovering a totem in dreams, you could discover one in your experiences, and the shaman could see one in your behaviour.
“You must be absolutely honest and true in the depicting of a totem for meaning is attached to every line. You must be most particular about detail and proportion.” Emily Carr (Canadian Artist and Writer, 1871-1945)
“Animal totems, like the tiger, come from the Other Side to protect us while we are away from Home.” Sylvia Browne
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.… Seek More
In the shaman’s world, spirit wasn’t a thing you could possess for yourself. It was something shared like the air we breathe, and the life force we possess is shared with us by everything else in our world. Sort of like a fire, it could grow in strength and brightness or it could be depleted and sickly, but it was never extinguished. Reincarnation in the shaman’s view would just be the sharing of your spirit with your descendants and the world itself. The animals give life and they receive it again later, as does the earth itself. Which is a… Seek More
In the shamans world view, all existence is spirit, and there is nothing that exists that is not a spirit. So the statement that you are what you eat had some meaning even to them. Thus you had to be very careful about eating herbs that you didn’t understand or make peace with, and even drinking water from a place that hadn’t welcomed you was to be avoided. Even bacteria and viruses have spirits? Yes. Recent scientific research seems to be bearing that out as they have discovered that viral infections can change people’s personality even if they haven’t really… Seek More
I will ask you, how many ways are there of doing any single thing in the world? I am talking about focused tasks. There are only so many ways to get a fish, and only so many ways to find your way home, and which of those steps was your strength was explored through your totem. In the unfortunate event of tribal warfare, a brave who had eagle as a totem might have been a sentinel or scout, but they would run the message of impending danger back to the tribe. Where a brave who had bear or wolf as… Seek More
How do you find your place on the shamans medicine wheel? Observation of behaviour and affinities with elements and animals? Yes. I will go there if you are ready friends. Ultimately, you find your place on the medicine wheel because you will yearn for home. You will naturally gravitate to your spiritual origin place. It’s sort of like craving a food. When you get to that place on the medicine wheel, you will feel satisfied, and just like a food craving, for some people the process is more complicated than others. Comfort zone? Power zone. You won’t necessarily feel at ease,… Seek More
I can use a leaf animal totem pool as an example of the totem hunt process. First clear your mind, relax, get into a listening state, and then sit your avatar on the leaf. Animal Vision Quest welcomes you to your vision quest. Animal Vision Quest: whispers: Calm your mind, and concentrate on the pool, and your totem animal will be revealed. Animal Vision Quest: whispers: Unicorn Animal Vision Quest: whispers: Purity, Innocence, Justice, Developing personal power, Affecting weather. Your vision quest is now complete. Now ignore the text, just notice your thoughts and feeling on the unicorn image. And when you are ready, share?… Seek More
Do you see our totems? I do, and I do see badger in one of you, not really wolf. I do see racoon, and crow. I am thinking of taking the pen name of Crow. You are a burrower and forager, defensive but not aggressive and like hidden things. Also enjoy exploiting people’s perceptual blind spots when you feel provoked. I am trying to learn that skill, yes. Badger snarls too much yet? He needs distracting, maybe some noise from crow. As for another, I see the gecko and the dragon fly, and I see the sparrow. I like them.… Seek More
The world shows you how you relate to it if you reflect. This is why the reflecting pool is a good symbol. You may very well not see it while you are going about your ordinary day, thinking in the ordinary way, but when you calm your mind and settle like a still pool of water, the world doesn’t go away and your understanding doesn’t go away either. It actually comes to you. You are more approachable, and if you are willing, the world will show you anything you really need to know. It’s eager to do so. I can… Seek More