THE COSMOLOGY OF ANIMAL TOTEMS (WHY, WHEN, AND HOW)
A long time ago, humans were created to be caretakers of Mother Earth Gaia,called Gaiamma and Earth Mother. They held all things of creation sacred. The people respected Nature and understood they were only a small part of the whole circle of life. Humans knew each part of creation played a significant role in the contentment and survival of the other. They accepted the divine idea that all things were equal and no animal, including man, held dominion over other parts of creation.
Humankind knew if they attempted to conquer Mother Earth, they would bring great suffering upon themselves. Man knew that Nature was not ‘wild’ and hostile but was a benevolent friend. Then, by a twist of organized religious dogma, many began to think humans are the greatest and most important part of creation and they saw Nature as ‘fallen’ and sinful. Man has attempted to divorce ourselves from Nature to the detriment of all creation.
Native Americans -- and indigenous shaman-based tribes all over the world -- traditionally and historically hold a special knowledge of the land and its inhabitants. Intimate knowledge of the world surrounding the American Indian was possible because of a belief system that considered all things of creation equal and necessary, worthy of respect and honor.
The results of our belief system is tremendously beneficial to the world. We gave the world knowledge of a form of government now enjoyed by people of the United States – democracy. American Indians first domesticated over half of today’s world food resources. A vast majority of the world’s pharmacopoeia (healing medicine) came from American Indian tremendous knowledge of the plant kingdom. Our knowledge of plant medicine, healing stones, healing clay, and animal wisdom is unmatched in among any people in history.
Although there are over five hundred American Indian tribes, speaking more than one-hundred and fifty languages, there exists universal beliefs that transcend ethnic, cultural and geographic boundaries.
Common among those traditional teachings are the basic beliefs that we should:
Use all of what we have;
Give away what we do not need;
Never take more than we need, plus;
Thank Creator for what we have or what we will receive.
Native Americans and shamanic-based cultures all over the world know to respect Nature and kill only what we eat and use every part of the animal. We do not waste life nor disrespect their spirits but honor and thank them for providing us with life and comfort. We ask our spirit guides to lead us to the spirit of the animal we killed for food so that we may pray in thanksgiving to its spirit. We honor their cousins by leaving a gift where the animal fell.
Today, and through time, Native Americans and shamanic-based cultures give special recognition to the power of the animal spirits. We wear their skins and feathers in ceremony and dance. We paint them on our bodies and carry parts of them in our medicine bags. We paint the animals on our homes and wear animal fetishes.
These practices allow us to remain connected to the animal guides so they may teach us their powers and give as lessons of life. These acts remind us that all things in creation are our brothers, sisters, cousins, and more importantly, our teachers and friends. As humans, we too are animal spirits.
Native Americans and shamanic-based cultures view all things in creation as having spiritual energy. All things are connected and worthy of our respect and reverence. Our way is to seek balance and harmony within the complex tapestry of life called the Great Circle of Life. As we move within the circle, we emphasize these truths:
Everything on earth is alive;
Everything on earth has purpose;
Everything on earth is connected;
Everything on earth is to be embraced.
A principal tenant of our belief is that all things are connected and we are related to all things in the circle. All things on Earth Mother and all things in the Universe are capable of being Spirit Guides. Why? Because the Spirit of the Creator is in all things.
Each thing on Earth Mother and each thing in the Universe has its own particular appearance, traits and other distinguishing qualities. In a general way, we can draw certain lessons from these traits and qualities for each object or thing in the universe.
RECEIVING ANIMAL TOTEM MESSAGES
Man has long attempted to reestablish communication with animals while trying to teach apes, dolphins and other animal species sign language and human sounds of speech. Why? Why do they try to make them walk up a mountain backwards? Animals do not possess the physical or mental ability for human speech, so why do they try? If humans are so intelligent, would it not make more sense for humans to learn animal speech?
Thinking in this way, we must realize many animals do not always communicate between themselves and other species through sound. We must remember, animals also communicate by touch, smell, and body movement, as well as sound.
There are two other forms of animal communication. The first is sub-spirit or psychic (mental) telepathy and the second is spirit. American Indians use these two methods as well as the other more physical forms of communication to talk with animal guides.
This presentation focuses on the two latter forms of communication as we suggest the meaning of various animal guides (totems) in human terms. The animal spirit guides presented here are but a small sampling of the hundreds of animal spirit guides that exist in Nature.
Animals have an instinctual awareness of human personality and moods. It is often said that animals can ‘smell’ human fear. To the best of our knowledge, this notion has never been scientifically proven, however anyone who has ever worked with animals extensively knows this axiom to be correct. Animals not only ‘smell’ the single emotion of fear, but can also discern a broad spectrum of human emotions and personalities. How is this possible without direct communication?
It is our opinion that animals do not ‘smell’ human emotions, but instead possess a form of ancient mental telepathy or method of thought transference not understood by modern man. Animals do communicate with man by receiving mental messages and they carry this ability with them in spirit as they die.
Communicating with animal spirit guides is not easy. Animals have a different consciousness and perceive things differently. It is important not to anthropomorphize animals [ascribing human form or attributes to a being or thing not human]. They are sentient beings, but they have a different consciousness from our own. When dealing with animals, therefore, one should never assume that they are exactly the same as a human; nor, conversely, treat them like an inanimate thing..." Thus, some messages from an animal spirit guides may be confusing, if not impossible to understand without considerable practice and patience.
Truly, the intellect of animal is different from that of man. Animals are taught differently and speak in different ways. When intelligence is measured in human terms, the animal does not fair well, but if the test were reversed, humans would fail to measure up to animal standards.
Statements made below about the traits, habits and particular distinguishing qualities of various animals, are in no way intended to give a human definition or meaning to other spiritual entities, objects or things. Messages of this nature can only come to the individual through the Creator.
Some say knowledge of the natural power of animal guides has been lost. This is not so. Many people think animals are not spiritual – having no spirit or soul. Most think animals are less intelligent than humans, savage and without society or conscience. This is not so.
MEETING YOUR ANIMAL GUIDE
After you understand what type of animal guide has come into your life, it is necessary to educate yourself fully as to the nature of the animal. Learn about its habitat, life cycles, what it eats, physical characteristics, special skills and traits, social and mating habits. Go to places where your animal guide can be found in real life. Study it in nature. Gaining insight into the nature of your animal guide will help you to better understand its messages. Meditate on this knowledge and discover its power and medicine.
After you learn various ways to work with the medicine of you animal spirit guide, the medicine becomes a gateway to connecting with other spirit guides found within its domain. Your animal spirit guide (or those spirits who choose to reveal themselves in the form of an animal) will teach you how to align with other spirit guides and beings.
Remember: The spirit guide chooses the person. The person does not choose the spirit guide. A person cannot simply select an animal and begin communication – the results of which are often frustrating and unsuccessful. A spirit guide must be harmonious with the person.
Communication with your spirit guide requires reverent respect and knowledge of the ways of the animal guide. You must find ways to honor your spirit guide. The more importance you give to the spirit guide the more they respond to you. Most spirit guides do not immediately acknowledge themselves to the person as they are leery of your intention and knowledge. A spirit guide is sensitive to moods, current events, and a persons path in life. They must first trust you and learn your needs and wants. You must learn to trust them and understand their needs and wants. It takes time, patience and practice.
PREPARATION AND THE JOURNEY
Sit down in a quiet place alone. Make certain there will be no distractions or interruptions. Draw a circle around you and bless the circle with sage, cedar, sweet grass, tobacco or some other sacred medicine. Begin your journey into the spirit world with prayer and continue with deep meditation.
Get comfortable. Take a deep breath. Inhale, exhale deeply several time. Release your ego, desires and expectations of what may follow. Chase away all shadows of fear and negativity. Begin to dream of some idyllic place like a forest trail, bubbling mountain stream, or flower covered glen. Move about in this world seeing, smelling and feeling everything. After awhile, you will hear something and you will see a creature slowly coming to you.
The creature is friendly and invites your touch. You embrace. This is your animal spirit guide. Spend time talking with your animal guide now.
Be open to any and all types of messages. Do not get trapped by wishing for a certain messages. Clear your mind completely. Open your heart to its love and lessons. When your time is finished, thank all the beings in this special place and your animal guide who has chosen to teach you. Slowly return by the way you came into full consciousness. Open your eyes.
SUGGESTIONS FOR HONORING YOUR TOTEM ANIMAL(S)
Visit the habitat of your spirit guide;
Educate yourself on its life and habits;
Wear jewelry and clothing illustrating your totem;
Spend time in meditation with your friend and guide;
Help protect its home, contribute time and resources;
Decorate your space with pictures and other memorabilia;
Pay attention to the numerous messages of your animal guide;
Give thanks to the Creator and your guide for its assistance;
Understand the message can be negative, neutral, or positive in nature;
Study the element (water, fire, air, earth) most closely associated with your spirit guide.
THE POWER OF ANIMAL SPIRITS
The natural power of animal spirit guides has not been lost. The knowledge and power of animal guides is alive and can be effectively used to improve our lives and all creation. American Indians call the process of connecting with animal guides and other parts of creation as being ‘One with Nature.’
Connecting with your animal guide will make you a better person. You will be healthier physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. You will see the world and all things in it with more clarity and understanding.
Animals are wondrous happy creatures. There is no doubt that animals have beautiful, balanced emotions. They love and defend one another. They feel sorrow and melancholy. Yet, there has never been a war between animal species. They know nothing about greed, envy, and hate.
They have many amazing powers and use those powers only to benefit their kind and not to overcome their opponents. There is a reason why the Creator put all of us together on the same planet. A part of that reason is to learn from one another.
Animals are here to teach humans. They have many powerful lessons to give. They remind us that we are only a small part of creation; that each part of creation has a place; that each creature has its own skill and wisdom.
For the learning process to begin we must develop a relationship with one or more animal guides and this requires time and patience. This does not mean you must be with the animal physically. But instead, will learn about the traits, habits, skills and spirit of the animal from afar. As with any new knowledge, practice is important to hone learning into a useful skill. The rewards will be understanding, love, light energy, skillful knowledge and wisdom.
Moreover, the reward is having a powerful spiritual friend.
Both domesticated and free animals offer an immense heritage of myth, folklore and symbolism. As we learn about animals, it is important to know their symbolic meaning as a point of reference and comparison, however we must keep in mind that symbols are cultural in nature and differ from place to place, from time to time and may not reflect the nature of the animal as you feel it. Give time to the study of their characteristics, habitat and position in the eco-system.
TYPES OF ANIMAL GUIDES
Symbolic of the four sacred directions, four seasons, and the four colors of man, there are four basic types of animal guides.
Whether an animal spirit comes by dreams, signs and symbolic events, or actual events it is important to first determine if the guide is a Messenger Guide (Totem), Shadow Guide, Journey Guide or Life Guide.
The meaning and lessons an animal guide brings will differ according to the type of guide it may be. Learning to differentiate between the four types of totems is critical to knowing how to react and the actions you will take when an animal totem makes itself known to you. All guides are powerful.
A MESSENGER GUIDE quickly comes into your life and then leaves once a message is understood. The time a Message Guide stays in your psychic is relative to you seeing and accepting the message. The message itself can be spiritual in nature, or it can be a warning. The message may deal with a seemingly mundane aspect of your life or it may be a wake-up call for some important action you must make. Sometimes the animal messenger will come during an unusual event and make a powerful statement and others come on the wind as a whisper. A messenger guide can cause you delays or some unforeseen help in your life. They can be both negative and positive in nature for they are totally impartial.
A SHADOW ANIMAL GUIDE is one that invades you with fear, or with a feeling of needing to avoid something. Its purpose it to teach a lesson you have not learned from repeated mistakes because of anger, avarice, greed, insecurity, or other negative thoughts. A Shadow Guide will return again and again bearing strong feelings of fear until its message is acted upon or a change in lifestyle or actions are incorporated into your life. The Shadow Guide is powerful. It can help you to overcome fear by bringing truth and turning fear into a helper animal guide or spirit animal guide. However, if ignored the Shadow Guide can become dangerous and its powers will have a negative affect on your life. The Shadow Guide lives in the spirit world and usually arrives during a time of testing.
A JOURNEY ANIMAL GUIDE appears at the fork in the road of your life. When a decision is made to follow a certain path in life, the Journey Guide is there to serve as a guide along the way. It represents a path that may take months or years to complete. It can be a friendly traveling companion if the path is right. If you become lost along the way, the Journey Guide is there help lead the way back. Unlike a Messenger Guide who comes and leaves quickly, the Journey Guide remains at your side until the current cycle in your life has changed. appears at the fork in the road of your life. When a decision is made to follow a certain path in life, the Journey Guide is there to serve as a guide along the way. It represents a path that may take months or years to complete. It can be a friendly traveling companion if the path is right. If you become lost along the way, the Journey Guide is there help lead the way back. Unlike a Messenger Guide who comes and leaves quickly, the Journey Guide remains at your side until the current cycle in your life has changed.
A LIFE ANIMAL GUIDE is also called a Spirit Guide as it remains a part of you throughout life and reflects your inner-spiritual self. You may have more than one Life Guide and new ones may come during an expected time. Usually a Life Guide does not move away or disappear but remains an integral part of your life, however, there are instances when a particular Life Guide is no longer needed and is replaced with a new one. Its powers are always there for you and serve as a constant reminder of your inner powers and oneness with nature. If for example your Life Guide is Bear, you should be a person who is a solitary dweller, a seeker of knowledge and well grounded. A Life Guide will often call upon other animal guides found within its domain to assist in giving you special messages from time to time.
Crystals that help with astral projection:
Amethyst for Dream Recall: A crown chakra crystal (7th chakra) that brings a connection to higher divinity. This stone is useful for dream recall. It will also promote peaceful sleep and serenity. It deepens meditations and will aid in deepening dreams as well. It will aid in insomnia.
Ametrine for Dream Wisdom: A crown chakra crystal (7th Chakra). Ametrine is a natural blend of Amethyst and Citrine inclusions. Ametrine will aid you in accessing your higher wisdom in the dream realms.
Azurite for Accessing Intuition through Dreams: A third eye chakra crystal (6th Chakra).Azurite heightens psychic awareness and intuition. It will aid you in opening up to the intuitive potentials of your dreams. This is an excellent stone for use with dream work, and is recommended as one of the top stones to choose if you don't already have one picked out.
Clear Quartz for Amplifying Dreams: All seven chakras. Clear quartz is an amplifier. It is especially beneficial for use in dream work to amplify the vividity of your dreams and the recollection of your dreams upon awakening. Clear quartz is easily programmed for any purpose, and can be programmed to work as a dream stone.
Lepidolite for Nightmares and Insomnia: Crown Chakra (7th Chakra). Lepidolite is a calming crystal. It contains the natural substance lithium which has been used by modern science to calm agitated individuals. You can access the calming effects of lithium without resorting to prescription drugs simply by keeping lepidolite in your home or on your body. Lepidolite is useful for people with bad dreams, interrupted sleep patterns,anxiety or insomnia. Often times these three factors will keep a person from having good dream recall. If you frequently experience any of these three factors, consider Lepidolite for your dreamwork.
Moldavite for Transformative Dream Work: All seven chakras. Moldavite is a powerful stone of transformation. If you are wanting to do some serious dreamwork, use moldavite in conjunction with any of the stones listed above. Moldavite can change your life, by working with it in your dreamwork, it will help you to facilitate faster growth in any area you are focused on, whether dream recall, lucid dreaming, or astral travel
Yukia Qwi An Sandara