Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Opening Ourselves to The Animals of The World...

"If you talk to the animals
they will talk with you
and you will know each other.
If you do not talk to them,
you will not know them, 
And what you do not know 
you will fear.
What one fears one destroys.
~Chief Dan George

It is essential to study Nature and Animal Totems to understand the spirit's manifestation in our natural life. A totem is a natural object, being or animal whose energy we tend to feel a close association to during our lifetime.  We can learn more about ourselves and the world that is unseen by studying and learning about animal/nature totems.  These totems have qualities and characteristics of those behaviors and activities of animals and other natural expressions. We begin to pay attention to and acknowledge a nature totem by honoring the essence that is hidden behind it.  We then use it to understand our own life's purpose better.  So, basically, nature totems are symbolic of specific types of energy that we align with in our lives.  This is especially true with the animal totem.  The characteristics of the animal totems will reveal a lot about our own hidden powers and abilities. When we study the totem, and then learn to merge with it, we can then call upon its energy whenever we feel we need it.

Land animals have represented the emotionals side of life, which reflects the qualities of life that must be overcome and controlled.  They tend to be symbols of power related to the unseen world that we learn to bring to reality.  Birds are often symbols of the soul.  Flying reflects our ability to rise to new awarenes, connecting heaven and earth.  As totems, they stimulate flights of hope and inspiration.  Aquatic life as a totem symbolizes the creative element of life.  It reflects guidance and to expressions of intuition and creative imagination. They are reflective of the feminine side of our essence.  
Spiritual beings and how they assist us in our physical world have been a part of all major religions.  The Greeks spoke to their many gods through oracles.  Africans had rituals and myths with movement and dance based on that of animals. The Native Americans imitated animals in ritual and dance to link them to the spirit world.  There is a common belief that spiritual guides often use animals or the animal's imagery to communicate a purpose to people.

Spiritual beings, or beings in spiritual form, can take on many forms, such as; ghosts, angels, saints, or ancestors or relatives that have passed. They help to give us strength as well as to protect us.  They use energy to heal, inspire, and even help us to grow.  One of the most common forms that our spirit guides take on are in the form of animals.  And as I talked about before, totems are natural objects or animals whose energy we feel associated with in our lives on earth. 

The reason I am talking about this is that I have been faced in the last 5 years head on with several of my own animal totems. Before that, I did not know they even existed or what they were. And when I spoke of it with others, they did not know what I was talking about.  Lately, I have learned what they are and why they have appeared at different points in my life.  I have also discovered that others are noticing them too, while others are open to learning about them more.

Start out with a very broad question--do you know your animal totems?

When you examine the animals you have been interested in and the times in your life that your interest was piqued, this is the beginning of the process of discovering your animal totem.

Do you have an animal that has always fascinated you?  It seems that we are drawn to what has the most to teach us.

At the zoo, is there an animal that you always want to see first?  This was especially important when you were a child.  Children are more open by nature, and therefore can more easily be aware of what animal is most important to them.

Are there animals that we frequently encounter in the nature or in the wild?  These animals have something important to teach us even if it is only about survival.
What animal are you most interested in now?  Our interests do change over time. We will have one or two lifetime animal totems that are for a lifetime.  Others become important to us only during times that we need teaching.

Is there an animal that frightens you the most?  Often, this is the one we must learn to come to terms with.  This is when it becomes our power totem.  These totems that we fear, when we can finally confront them without fear,they become our shadow totem. 

How about an animal that has bitten or attacked you?  Has that ever happened to you?  In this case, if you survive, it is a test to see if you have the ability to handle the power of the spirit totem.

Do you dream of animals or dreams of animals that have never left your memory?  It is very important if the dream or the animal is recurring. This is often true in children's dreams--they are very specific animal spirits.

*Every animal has a spirit.
*The spirit may be its own or an image of another being to communicate a specific message to people.
*Every animal has its own specialty--medicine, magic, or power--to help you develop in your own life.
*Lifelong power animals are usually wild and not domestic animals ( with some exceptions). Even the exceptions are a link to the true power animal. For example: a domesticated cat is a link to a wild panther or leopard.  If you start with the domesticated form first, it will allow you to someday be able to handle and work more effectively with the true power form.
*Remember that the animal will choose you. You will be much more successful with the animal that comes to you.
*You have to develop a working relationship with your totem. Respect and trust them so they can respect and trust you. Like any relationship, this will take time, patience and much practice.
*Honor them by hanging pictures of them, drawing pictures of them, reading and learning about them, buying figurines and statues, and purchasing small tokens and images of your totem and giving them as gifts to those you care about. You can donate to a wildlife organization, or dancing and using the movement of the animal to keep the animal alive. Using your imagination is a wonderful link to your totem.
*Once you learn to work with the power of your totem, you are able to call upon any animal that you need for the strength that you are in need of.  Through your power totem, you align and shapeshift the energies of the other animals; you can connect with and draw upon whatever energy you need--speed, strength, etc.
*The key is to stay connected to at least one animal totem. You have the ability then to connect to as many as you may need. They may come to you daily--a different one per day, during changes in your life, during struggles, but the rule is that there is no limit to the totems you can work with.
*It is possible for more than one person to have the same totem at the same time.  A common animal totem is the wolf.  The energies and the spirit that the wolf reflects will be manifested differently and uniquely in each person because each person is different and unique.  The role that the totem plays for each person will be specific to the individual.

Here is an exercise to help you meet your power animal totem:

1.) First, you need to find a place to relax with no outside distractions.
2.) Close your eyes and imagine yourself entering a cave or a tree ( your choice). You could try it both ways and see which way feels better.
3.) Now after you have been in the dark cave or the tree for sometime, you will imagine yourself leaving.  Now see yourself entering a meadow.
4.) You will stay there a while and just experience the peacefulness and quietness of nature.  Listen to everything around you.
5.) You should see the animal totem/spirit enter the space that you are in now.
6.) Allow the animals around you to speak to you.  Listen to the movement of nature and the sounds that surround you.  What do you see--the form, the color,etc.?  It will all give you a message about its power.  You could even hear its thoughts in your mind.  Let the animal totem/spirit show you or tell you how it has helped you in the past and how it will help you in the future.
7.) Make sure to thank your power totem for making itself known to you, and ask it to please give some tangible evidence in the next couple of weeks for confirmation that it is your animal totem.  You will know because you will see it on the T.V., in figurines at the store, on pictures, and it may even appear in your dreams.
8.) Now you may step back to the cave or tree and go through to its other entrance point.  You may now exit.
9.) You may now take four or five deep cleansing breaths and make sure that you are grounded and connected.
10.) Now it is time to learn everything you can about your power totem.  Research and study the totem and its power. Meditate and contemplate on its power and how it applies to you and your life.

Thanks to Ted Andrews and his book, Animal Speak The Spiritual & Magical Powers of Creatures Great & Small.  As I go over this important information about animal totems/spirits, I will be using information from his book. I will only be quoting every once in a while. I have already read the book, and I remember it almost word for word because it was so helpful to me and for me. Obviously, when I number or bullet point things, those are taken from his book, but not directly. I really hope this helps you on your spiritual quest to understand yourself more. It really helped me a lot!  Thank you, Ted Andrews for all your wonderful words. I found the bood so inspiring. I love how he brought in, not just Native Americans, but Africans and Greeks, and many other cultures and ethnicities and religions. It is a wonderful book!

My power totem is the leopard/panther. I started out with the ordinary house cat. I always feared cats, so I had to face my fears. This one cat followed me everywhere and would even try to turn our doorknob from the outside. It would jump into my car and ride with me to the grocery store, etc., and lastly would leave me presents at my doorstep (dead chipmunks and squirrels). As I said, I always feared cats, never liked them, and was always a dog person. I always wore leopard clothing and purses and shoes. I loved leopard decor and such. Yet, I still feared them none the less. I always wanted to go to the big cat house at the zoo. I would dream about wild cats. I would even think that I saw leopards or panthers in public places in the corner of my eye, when in reality, you know they damn well could not be there.  And still, I would turn my head quickly to see.  Tomorrow, I'll go into what my power totem means to me....stay tuned...


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