Living Life As The Witch – Everyday Totemism

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 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

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.

 

Birth Totems – The Red Hawk (Mar. 21 – Apr. 19)

The Red Hawk

March 21 – April 19
Moon: Budding Trees Moon
Season: The Awakening Time
Wind: East Winds
Direction: North-East
Element: Fire
Elemental Clan: Hawk Clan
Plant: Dandelion
Mineral: Opal
Polarity With: Falcon
Color: Yellow/Green
Musical Vibration: C Sharp
Personality: Active.
Spiritual Energy: Feminine energies
Emotions: Quickly aroused
Positive Traits: Pioneering spirit
Negative Traits: Impatient, selfish and often times egotistical.
Compatibilities: Salmon and Owls
Conscious Desire: To lead, manage head the adventure.
Subconscious Desire: Learning through experience.
Spiritual Path: Expanding the individual through discernment
Strengths: Persistence and patience with others
Weakness: Conceit and intolerance.

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.)