Living Life As The Witch – Everyday Totemism

Witchy Comments=

 Everyday Totemism

Does everyone have a totem animal that stays with them their entire life? Some say yes, others say no. Regardless, totemism isn’t just about those “primary” totems. The same person may have all kinds of different relationships and interactions with animal totems, and they don’t all have to last a lifetime.

That has been my experience since I began working with animal totems in my spirituality since the 1990’s. Rather than following what other people told me to do to connect with totems. I found my own path through that forest via a lot of trial and error. I quickly discovered was that there was no set number of totems a person could or should have and not every totem stuck around for a long time.

As I met and worked with more and more totem animals. I created an easy organizational system to help me describe some of these totemic relationships:

*Primary totems are what most people think of when they talk about animal totems. These are your “life” totems, the ones who are around for the long haul, as it were.

*Secondary totems are ones that come into your life on their own volition to help you through a stage of your life or a particular time period. Once their intent has been fulfilled, they generally leave your life, though some do make visits later on.. But even then, they aren’t as consistently present as primary totems.

*Tertiary totems are totems that you approach to ask for help with something specific or simply to find out more about them. If you want elp with a single ritual or untangling a problem in your life, you can find out what totem or totems may be best able to help you, and then approach them for that help.

Any totem animal can be primary, secondary or tertiary totem. It all depends on the nature of its relationship with that person. The particular totem itself isn’t crucial — what matters is the intensity and duration of the connection between the totem and person.

While not everyone may have a primary totem, just about anyone can ask totems for help with more short-term goals, even if you’ve never worked with totems before.

Reference:

Excerpt from:
Everyday Totemism
By Lupa
Llewellyn’s 2013

Magical Almanac

Advertisements

Animals as Spirit Guides

Animals as Spirit Guides

 

(excerpted from Animal Spirit Guides by Dr. Steven  Farmer)

Those spirits that are in animal form that teach us, guide us, empower us,  and help us heal are called animal spirit guides or spirit  animals. In shamanic and indigenous cultures they’re usually called  totem animals or power animals. Often these terms are used  interchangeably, although there are subtle differences in meaning.

The term totem animal has two meanings. First, a totem animal is  typically one that is shared by a family, clan, or group. In indigenous  cultures, the family you were born into all have a totem animal in common. In  modern societies, various groups also have communal totems, such as sports teams  or clubs that identify with a totem animal. A second meaning of totem animal is  a representational object of a particular animal, like a small tortoise, owl,  raccoon, or hawk figurines. We often give our children totem animals, like teddy  bears or bunny rabbits to give them comfort.

The term power animal has its origins in shamanism. This is a  specialized animal spirit guide the shaman or shamanic practitioner acquires  early in their initiation into their practice. Their power animal travels with  them whenever they go on a shamanic journey, which is an altered state of  awareness in which the practitioner sends his soul or consciousness into  non-ordinary reality—another term for the spirit world—to receive teachings,  guidance, and healings. You can, however, have a relationship with a power  animal even if you’re not a shaman or shamanic practitioner. They may come to  you in meditations, visions, dreams, or shamanic journeys. It’s a highly  personal and specialized relationship with an animal spirit guide, one where the  personality and characteristics of the particular power animal that you have  attracted to you are reflective of your own personality and characteristics.

Although every creature on the planet can be an animal spirit guide, in some  traditions domesticated animals can’t be power animals because they’ve lost much  of their wildness and are removed from the natural world. Likewise, some  traditions believe that insects are to be excluded from being power animals  because of their size and nature. I have, however, included both domesticated  animals and some insects such as butterfly and dragonfly my book, and even two  mythological animals, dragon and unicorn, to account for those who have enough  of a special relationship with them to call them power animals.

However to experience the tremendous value of working with animal spirit  guides you don’t need to be a shaman, have any interest in shamanism, nor be  associated with an indigenous culture. For most purposes you don’t even need to  be concerned as to whether an animal spirit guide is a totem or power animal.  Instead, consider these wonderful beings as spiritual allies that want to reach  out to each and everyone one of us who are open to their guidance and, when  called with sincere intent, will respond.

One of the great advantages of working with animal spirit guides is that the  actual animal is physically and symbolically present in so many ways throughout  every society and culture on earth. Because of their abundant representations in  third-dimensional reality, they’re continually in our consciousness. Depending  on how and in what way they show up in the material world, whether in the flesh  or as a symbol, their appearance can be  a representative of the spirit of  that animal. When an animal shows up in an uncommon way or repetitively as  spirit guide, that animal isn’t just the single animal, but is representing the  entire species. The hummingbird that flits about and then hovers for several  seconds directly in front of you isn’t just a hummingbird but is carrying with  her the essence of all hummingbirds, and is therefore Hummingbird with  a capital “H.” That’s also why when we speak of an animal spirit guide, we leave  out the “a” or “an” as a way of recognizing and honoring that spirit animal. The  hawk that visited me wasn’t only a hawk, but in those instances was representing  the essence of all hawks, and was therefore Hawk.

Not only do these spirit animals help us in many ways, but another positive  effect is that you’ll deepen your appreciation for the magic and mystery of all  animals, whether they are of the air, water, or the land. Every being on this  beautiful and majestic planet has its place in the web of life, and as we  develop our consciousness and awareness of the unique quality of animal spirit  guides, we enhance our relationships with all of our animal brothers and  sisters.

 

Power Animals: Connecting with Your Animal Spirit Guide

Power Animals:  Connecting with Your Animal Spirit  Guide

 

What Are Power Animals? Power animals are spirit guides  in animal form, valuable allies who can help you navigate through life’s  challenges and transitions. Perceptive and trustworthy oracles, you can turn to  them for advice and counsel on any questions or concerns. They’re exceptional  teachers who’ll help you learn about both the spirit world and the natural  world. Working with them on a regular basis will enhance your personal life and  expand your spiritual capacities immensely.

Power animals can appear in meditations, visions, dreams, shamanic journeys,  or on the earth in their physical form. They can be mammals, birds, or reptiles.  Even so-called mythical animals such as unicorns or dragons can be power  animals, although they have no physical representations in the material world.  Since a spirit animal’s power is drawn from their instinctual and wild nature,  it’s uncommon, however, for purely domesticated animals such as pets to be power  animals.

The source of power for your animal spirit guide is not just a single animal,  but the entire species. For instance, if your power animal is Bear, it’s not  just any particular bear, but an animal spirit guide that’s representative of  the entire species of bears.

Another positive effect of working with your power animal is that you’ll  develop a greater appreciation for that species, and likely extend that care and  respect to the entire animal kingdom. If Dolphin is your power animal, for  example, your love and appreciation will likely go out to all creatures of the  sea and naturally expand to include those of the land and the air. Your power  animal will also teach you to use this power compassionately and in service, to  heal and empower yourself and others.

Spirit Guides and Power Animals

The term, Spirit Guides, also called guardian spirits or helping spirits,  describes any spiritual being that helps us in a positive way. They protect us,  guide us, and provide encouragement and inspiration. We may have any number of  spirit guides throughout our life, whether or not we’re consciously aware of  them. Some have been with us since childhood, while others have appeared at  various periods in our life, perhaps to help us through a difficult transition.  Spirit guides can be religious figures, angels, ascended masters, ancestors,  faeries, or, for our purposes, animal spirits.

Animal spirit guides, familiar to indigenous and shamanic cultures, are  called either power animals or totem animals. Typically these terms are used  interchangeably, although there are some subtle differences in meaning. Totem  animal is the more widely used term, and this concept is universal to all  cultures. Indigenous cultures typically have a tribal totem, another one for the  “clan,” and another for the family you were born into. Contemporary cultures  also have totem animals, such as ones for clubs or societies like Lions Club or  the Loyal Order of Moose. Sports teams often carry animal totem names, such as  the Chicago Bears or the Philadelphia Eagles. Even Christianity has the totems  of the lamb and the fish.

Parents often give their child a special protective totem animal, such as a  teddy bear, telling the child that it will protect them. The child believes  this, and by their belief in the animal they hold in their hands they’re  unwittingly calling in the spirit of that animal and its associated powers. The  bear becomes a personal totem, or power animal, for the child, and this animal  spirit guide may remain with them into their adult lives.

Power animals, rather than being associated with a family or a group, are  specific and personal for each individual. Like totem animals, they are guardian  spirits that empower us in our everyday lives. They also protect and guide us as  we explore non-ordinary reality-the realm where spirits reside, just across the  veil of our usual and ordinary perceptions.

 

Finding a Familiar on the Astral Plane

Finding a Familiar on the Astral Plane

Begin your meditation the usual way. Cross the bridge and drop the  stones into the stream. This time, when you travel into the astral plane, be  sure to remember why you are there. Keep your eyes open for creatures. The  animal you encounter will most likely be a worldly animal. One will approach  you. You will not have to seek it out. You may be discouraged when you find that  the animal that approaches you may not be your favorite. It could be any  creature: a cat, fox, rabbit, bird, owl, horse, turtle or even an insect. Do not  turn the animal down, even if you feel disappointed. A specific animal will have  a specific lesson to teach you. When you have learned all you can from the  animal, it will leave you. These spirit guides may remain with you for years or  longer. Remember always to listen to what they have to say and explore  thoroughly what they have to show you. Some of the more common animals seen are:

Wolf – knowledge and companionship

Owl – wisdom, silence, solitude

Turtle – patience, humility

Hawk – watchfulness

Horse – nobility and fidelity

Cat – cleanliness

Bear – strength and play

Fox – cunning, thinking through actions

Dolphin/Whale – love, compassion

Rabbit – nature and wariness

A Sincere Note Of Gratitude From All At The WOTC


It is late at night and I have been reading the comments in the back. Also the comments that have been sent to our personal email address. I want you to know that I appreciate all the well wishes and blessings you have sent my way. I know now how I have made such a recovery with all your prayers and healings vibration you have sent to me. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

It is something, we get up every morning, come to the office and sit down at our computers. We stare at a blank screen then we start our daily work. You know it never dawns on you that you are reaching thousands of individuals all around the world each day. You never stop to think about what an effect we are having on those individuals with our words and message that we deliver each day. I know, personally, it is still hard for me to imagine that we are touching hearts and souls all around the world. In every corner of the planet, our words are reaching ears that would not be able to hear about our Religion. Some have to read our site in secret, they do not have the privilege that we take for granted in the States. In other regions, people are still stoned for even being though of as a possible witch. But still those individuals take the chance to read our site and hear our message. I am truly inspire by your courage and especially your commitment  to the Goddess. When I read your messages, it makes me realize that what we do each day is serving a purpose. A purpose greater than we could ever imagine. Thank you for the inspiration you give us each day. Thank you for being our readers, our followers and most of all our family.

I would also like to take a moment to thank the recent individuals that have made generous donations to us. I know I mentioned one this morning and I checked recently and we have received another new donor. I would like acknowledge both of them at this time for their generosity, love and support, kooltrainer and Altar L. Thank you both for your donations which will go toward our animal refuge. This time of the year is a very busy time of year for us at the refuge. I know with my illness things have been quite complicated to say the least. I am the one that generally goes and picks up the injured animals out in the field. They tell me around here, I could charm a rattlesnake. It is a gift I have always took for granted or one I never stopped to think about. I love animals. That is one of the reasons we got involved in starting a refuge. There was a community need for it. And as always, we see a need, we answer it. I know people think of animals in the wild as being just that, wild. Not capable of ever coming close to a human and never letting a human come close to them. But you have to actually look deep into any animals’ eyes and see their true essence. You have to feel the soul, yes animals have souls. They also have personalities, feelings and when they are hurt they want our help. The animals can feel my intentions the moment I get out of the truck. A wild coyote with his foot in a trap, angry and snarling at the hunter that found him, will calm down as I start to approach. Fear, I use to have some when I was little but not now. I see animals in a different light. I know they are all the Goddess’ creatures and they need me as much as I need them. I need their acceptance. I want to become their friend and help them. I want to help them recover and as sad as it has been when it comes time to release them, return them to the wild. There are times I admit I get to attached to an animal. I don’t want them to leave but I know their place is not with me but at home in nature. Animals are such beautiful creatures. Most of them in the wild have been misunderstood for so long. Now we have come to realize that some of our most valuable assets on this planet have been almost been wiped off the face of it. I know in our area, we have two huge game reserves. The government has stocked it with lynx, wolves, bears, bobcats, and some cougars. It is the hopes that these animals will repopulate their once known habitats. But even though the government is involved in restocking it doesn’t stop ignorant hunters from shooting, injuring or hurting one of these majestic creatures. The government restocked the animals but made no provision for their care if it was needed. This is where I figured we should come in and we did. I would say we care for about 25 to 30 injured animals a month. That is not to mention the babies we pick up along the way. It is our hopes to expand our operations. In fact, it is my dream to do just that.

With the help of supporters like kooltrainer and Altar L, we will continue to be able to care for the animals that come through our doors. With the help of all our followers and friends, we will be able to continue to spread the truth about our Religion throughout the world. Our movement will continue to grow and grow till one day our dream is finally realize. Witchcraft…back in the mainstream of today’s Religion. Won’t that be a glorious day, indeed. As one great Lady that I truly admire once said, “It takes a village…” This Lady was Hilary Clinton and she was referring to children. But I am referring to us, our movement and our Religion. We need your donations, love, support, prayers, anything that you wish to do, is greatly appreciated. It takes all of us to make progress happen. It takes all of us to see that our work continues not only with the animals but in spreading the word of the Goddess.

For the Goddess is the reason we are here to begin with. With those words, I will again say thank you and good night, dear friends and family.

Her humble servant and yours,

Lady Of The Abyss

More Thank You Comments

The Morality of Sacrifice

by Efun Moyiwa

This article can also be found on Efun Moyiwa’s World Wide Web page, OrishaNet (http://www.seanet.com/~efunmoyiwa/welcome.html).

Animal sacrifice is just a small part of the much larger definition of ebó (sacrifice or offering) in the Santería religion. There are many categories of ebó. There are offerings such as addimú, which can include candles, fruits, candy or any number of items or actions that may be appreciated by the deities or orishas in the religion. In divination, the orishas may ask for a favorite fruit or dish, or they may call for the person to heed advice given. At times, they may ask that a person give up drinking or other practices that are unwise for that individual. They may request a person to wear certain jewelry, receive initiations or any number of other things. Or they may request an animal, usually a chicken or a dove, so the orisha will come to that person’s aid. As a rule, animal sacrifice is called for only in major situations such as sickness or serious misfortune. Animals are also offered when a new priest is consecrated in service of her or his orisha during the birthing process of initiation. In every birth, there is blood.

In our modern society, we have become separated from the concept of death. Even our dead are embalmed and made up to appear living. When we purchase meat to eat or leather to wear, it is preprocessed to remove the shopper from the fact that a life was taken in order that another may live. Meat is wrapped in plastic with a little paper towel to soak up any blood that might remind the buyer of the fact of the animal’s death. The buyer is also kept unaware of the circumstances surrounding the poor animal’s life and, of course, its death. When animals are killed in the slaughterhouse, there is little respect or regard for that animal, the only matter of importance being that the animals are killed cheaply and in great quantity to supply an ever-growing market. In other words, these animals too are sacrificed, though the only deity revered here is greed. We should also take into account that the poultry industry alone kills more animals in one day than Santería has sacrificed worldwide in the last several hundred years!

On the other hand, when an animal is sacrificed in La Regla Lucumí it is first and foremost done with respect: respect for the orisha being offered this life and respect for the little bird whose life is taken in order that we may live better. The animal must be well-cared-for, because it is the property of the orisha. In fact, sometimes the orisha will state that the animal must not die but live with the person, and the orisha expects that animal to be well-cared-for and pampered as theirs.

At the beginning of the sacrifice, when the animal is brought forward, there is a song and action that we perform in acknowledgment that one day our lives will be taken suddenly in much the same way as the animal’s. In this way, our religion differs little from the beliefs of the Native Americans. Here there is a respect for all life, and a respect for the death that must come to all, including ourselves.

Afterwards, if the animal wasn’t used to cleanse a person of illness or misfortune, it is eaten by all the participants. If, on the other hand, it was used for a cleansing, the animal is taken to the place requested by the orisha to complete the offering. These animals cannot be eaten, as we would be eating the sickness or misfortune that was removed from that person.

Whether the ebó is a simple apple or a little chicken, it should always be offered with both hands and an open heart.

DO YOU KNOW YOUR ANIMAL TOTEMS?

DO YOU KNOW YOUR ANIMAL TOTEMS?
The following is from Animal Speak by Ted Andrews

Begin the process of discovering your animal totems by examining the animals you have been most interested in & the times of your life that interest was piqued. Use the following questions to help determine which animals are probably totems to you in your life.

1. Which animal or bird has always fascinated you? (We are drawn to that which most resonates with us. Those animals which fascinate us have something to teach us.)

2. When you visit the zoo, which animal do you wish to visit the most or first?(esp. children)

3. What animal(s) do you see most frequently when you are out in nature? Have you had encounters with animals in the wild? (The animals we encounter, in their city environments or in the wild, have significance for us. We can learn from them, even if only about survival within that environment.)

4. Of all the animals in the world, which are you most interested in now? (Our interests in animals change. Yes, we usually have one or two that are lifetime, power animals, but others become prominent when there is something importance or specific to teach us.)

5. What animal most frightens you? (That which we fear the most is often
something we must learn to come to terms with. When we do that, it then becomes a power. Some shamans believe that fears will take the shape of animals, and only when we confront them without fear do their powers/medicine work for us instead of against us. Such an animal become a shadow totem.)

6. Have you ever been bitten or attacked by an animal? (Historically, if a
shaman survived an attack, it was believed that the animal was the shaman’s
spirit totem and the attack was the totem’s way of testing the shaman’s ability to handle the power.)

7. Do you have dreams with animals in them or are there animal dreams you have never forgotten? (This is especially important if the dreams are recurring or if at least the animal image in the dream is a recurring one. Children often dream of animals, & attention should be given to these animals. They will often reflect specific spirit totems of the child.)

Your Animal Spirit for August 1st is The Cardinal

Your Animal Spirit for Today
August 1, 2011

your daily animal spirit for today

Cardinal

Wake up! Cardinal is chirping at you—bringing a message of personal power. Stop shrinking from your destiny. Stop pretending that you are less than. If you are unsure of your path, ask Cardinal to fly with you—it’s certain he will help you focus, gain clarity, formulate a plan, become self-assured, and step out into the world with the confidence befitting a person of your power.

Your Animal Spirit for April 26 is The Cardinal

our Animal Spirit for Today
April 26, 2011 
 

your daily animal spirit for today

Cardinal

Wake up! Cardinal is chirping at you—bringing a message of personal power. Stop shrinking from your destiny. Stop pretending that you are less than. If you are unsure of your path, ask Cardinal to fly with you—it’s certain he will help you focus, gain clarity, formulate a plan, become self-assured, and step out into the world with the confidence befitting a person of your power.