with the Animal Totems
Once one is familiar with their Primary Totem Animals (Power, Theme & Mission), the next step in absorbing the Wisdom & Lessons that they are beside us to teach, is to merge our intent and will with the Totems.
Following are the initial three steps in this phase of the process, crucial links in building the connection between we of the Two Legged, and our Animal Allies.
Please keep in mind that these are only the preliminary stages of the integration process, as merging with the Totems is a life-long process and one not to be "forced" or rushed.
Through studying Nature and Animals (both first-hand through wildlife encounters and learning more about individual creature beings), we gain clearer insight into our inter-connectedness with All Things, as well as better understanding their unique Medicine and Role along the Web of Life.
clarified that, the following three steps may assist in the beginning of
a profound and beautiful journey.
(Observe everything as you Walk)
1. Welcome & Acknowledgment
Much of Earth Medicine is based upon recognition and respect . . . recognition that we are All Related to All Things (Mitakuye Oyasin), and respect for the Great Mystery & the Mother Earth and for all that which ~They~ create, nurture and provide.
Respect and reverence are shown to the Animal Spirits in many ways, the first of which is through acknowledging their wisdom and medicine, and then welcoming them into our Sacred Space.
Calling the Animal Totem by their ~Medicine Name~ is not only a way of calling upon the power (medicine) of that spirit ally, it is a sign to them of our deep respect. Yet for those who do not know the Medicine Names of the Animal Spirits, acknowledging them out loud with their commonly "recognized" name is acceptable, so long as reverence and respect are an integral part of the "ceremony." Also, the Medicine Name of each Animal Totem will differ from tribe to tribe, hence the importance of keeping respect in ones heart while calling upon the spirit ally.
An example of this would be for one with Wolf as a Primary Totem. In the language of the Sioux People, the Medicine Name for Wolf is ~Sunkmanitu Tanka~ (pronounced Shoonkh-man-i-too Tahn-Kah), while in the Ute language, the Medicine Name is ~Sinapu.~ Yet for one who is not familiar with these names, addressing the Totem as ~Wolf~ (so long as the name is said with reverence) will ultimately still demonstrate proper respect.
After the Totem Animals have been called by name, welcome them into your Sacred Space. Give thanks to them for their Wisdom, and for the Role they fulfill beside you on this current Earthwalk.
2. Wotawe (Totem Stone).
The next step in the process of merging with oneís Animal Totems, is to obtain a Totem Stone or other image of that Animal Spirit. This can be an image that is either carved (from wood or stone), or one that is drawn (a painting, photo or sketch). The third alternative is obtain a Fetish, which is made from biological material from that Animal (as in a bone, tooth, claw, hide, etc.,). With this alternative however, keep in mind that if that Animal is on the Endangered Species list, it is illegal to have such a material. An example of this would be an Eagle feather as eagleís are currently on the endangered species list and therefore, only enrolled members of Native American Indian or First Nation Indian tribes may possess the feather, for spiritual or ceremonial purposes.
3. Dream Time Encounter.
This method is the final of the initial three steps and involves an encounter with the Animal Totem in either the Dream Time, during meditation, or while conducting a visualization.
For a Dream Time encounter, prior to going to sleep, program yourself by asking that Animal Spirit out-loud to reveal him/her Self to you during the night. It is important in all of these instances to keep an open mind and heart so that you do not enter into the experience with preconceived notions or expectations. Allow the Animals to reveal themselves to you.
Upon coming back from your Dream Time meeting, make notes as to the experience in as much detail as possible, keeping a log of all such encounters. The same holds true if the encounter is had during meditation or happens fluidly, without conscious eliciting.
The third alternative is to create an audio tape of the following visualization, spoken into a tape recorder in your voice, and conducted at a time when all is quiet and there are no other energies "awake" in the house to disturb you. The best time for this seems to be either late night (eleven to one a.m.), or early morning (3:00 to 5:00 a.m.).
following instructions that are typed in brackets (), are to be taken as
instructions to follow during recording of the tape, and not to be spoken
outl-oud or recorded on the tape itself.
Visualization for Connecting with Animal Totems
(Speak in a calm, reassuring voice)
Close your eyes and visualize a white light streaming down from above you, encompassing you in a cone of White Light. This is a protective Source that will keep you safe and protected at all times. Only your Guides, Angels, Animal Totems and Beings of Higher Intent who wish to protect, guide or instruct you, will be allowed any contact or interaction with you at all.
(Spoken in a gentle, relaxed voice, speaking clearly and slowly)
Now begin to feel your body relax, each muscle relaxing, tension slipping effortlessly away.
Breathe deeply, and with each breath in, feel your body relax more and more.
With each exhale, you feel the tension slipping away.
I will begin counting from one to five, and with each number that you hear, you will drift deeper and deeper into a state of complete relaxation. When I reach five, you will be in a deep, meditative state in which the images will come easily and effortlessly to you.
One, going deeper and deeper, feeling your body relax.
Two, deeper still, feeling the muscles in your body relax.
Three, as you go deeper into a state of relaxation, your heart, mind and soul are open to the positive experience of encountering your Totem Animal.
Four, deeper and deeper, getting closer now.
You are in a state of deep relaxation, safe and protected by the White Light and can awaken at any moment if needed, yet you are comfortable, peaceful and so relaxed.
Envision yourself now, getting up from where you are and walking to your back door. You open the back door and as you look outside, the scene is not the usual familiar one. Instead, you have been transported through time and space to a magical place, another plane or dimensional experience.
All around you is a lush and rich rain forest, abundant with trees, ferns, and flora of all kinds.
As you step away from the familiar surrounding of your home and walk into this garden paradise, you can feel the warmth of the Sun enveloping you in golden light, can smell the scent of pine and intoxicating flowers in bloom.
through the forest now, you marvel at how the sunlight streams through
the canopy above the forest floor, creating ribbons of dancing light and
speckling the surrounding flora.
following depends upon whether one has a Totem that walks, flies or swims.
Choose the appropriate story line and tape only that story line onto audio
tape. For land animals such as Wolf, Bear, etc., record the following
instructions. Instructions for meeting Ocean/Water Totems or Air
Totems will be further outlined below.)
(Earth Dwelling Animal Spirits)
As you walk through this forest, you suddenly hear the crackling of twigs and crunching of undergrowth that signals the approach of an Animal.
You stop and await the emergence of the Source of that sound, and as you peer into the depths of this magical forest, you see a (here you insert the name of your Animal Totem, e.g. Wolf/Sinapu) appear between two trees. He/She stands gazing at you with inquisitive, intense eyes, and you feel a familiarity, a rush of warmth and joy.
Taking one step forward, you send out a welcome to (again insert the name of the Animal Totem e.g. Sinapu Tanka), love and respect going forth from you to envelop this wise Creature Being.
Now, (insert Animal Totem name) takes a couple of steps closer to you. You then take another step or two toward him/her, and in this manner, you alternate steps until you are within an armís reach of this beautiful Animal Spirit.
Next, (insert Totem name) walks right up to you, and may greet you with perhaps a lick of the tongue, a brushing up against your body with His/Her own, or by some other form of acknowledgment and greeting. You respond by stroking the Animal Totemís hide with gentle, loving caresses.
Now, you kneel down before (insert Animal Totem name) and embrace him/her. A miraculous thing happens . . . you feel the energy, the Medicine of this splendid Creature Being merge with your own, not just encasing you in love and energy, but melding and blending with you until you see that they are no longer a separate entity from you, for the two separate forms have become ONE.
up the recording of the tape at the section below marked "Continuing the
Visualization." The Ocean and Air sections below are for those whose
Totems are of the Water or Air.)
(Air Borne Animal Totems)
As you walk deeper into this lush forest, you see the line of the Standing People (trees) where the edge of the forest is. With a sense of excitement, you continue forward until you emerge from the forest to stand in a peaceful meadow.
Tall, green grass waves gently in the breeze and the warmth of the Sun washes over you.
You hold your face up to welcome the touch of the sun`s rays, when you hear the call of a (insert the name of the Animal Totem here, e.g. Eagle/Wanbli) pierces the sky and your heart resonates in joy.
Flying directly over your head in a wide circle, (insert Totem name), He/She lands on your outstretched arm, or perhaps a shoulder, and as you look into the wise eyes of this magnificent Winged One, you welcome Him/Her, and give thanks.
(insert Animal Totem name) feathers with gentle
hands, you feel His/Her energy melding with you, filling you. Then
you notice you are not two separate Beings, you are now merged, you are
up the recording of the tape at the section below marked "Continuing the
Visualization." The Ocean section below is for those whose Totems
are of the Water.)
(Animal Totems of the Water)
As you walk deeper into this lush forest, you see the line of the Standing People (trees) where the edge of the forest is. With a sense of excitement, you continue forward until you emerge from the forest to stand on a pristine, beautiful beach (or if it is a Lake/River dwelling Water Totem, e.g. Salmon, then substitute bank of a lake and/or riverbed in visualization for beach and/or ocean.)
Feeling a pull to wade into the water`s depths, you walk into the ocean until the water is waist high, yet there is no fear as Grandmother Ocean holds you upright in Her firm, yet loving embrace.
Suddenly, you feel the brush of something against your leg, yet again, you have no fear as you recognize this Spirit Energy, it is (insert Animal Totem name here, e.g. Dolphin/Hogan Wakan).
As you feel this splendid Spirit Animal greet you, you kneel now in the water and His/Her head emerges, the intelligent and loving eyes meeting with your own. You touch them lovingly with a gentle hand, and a miraculous thing happens . . . you feel your separate energies combining, swirling together in an intricate and beautiful dance until you are no longer two separate energies/forms, your are ONE.
(Continuing the Visualization.)
Feeling an overwhelming peace and joy, you begin the journey back to your home, and upon entering your dwelling, you approach the nearest mirror and gaze into it. There, in the reflection gazing back at you, you see that your face has altered slightly so that the (insert Totem name) Within is also apparent, His/Her features overlaid over your own. Now you know that you have blended and melded with this Animal Totem, once more offering respect and thanks for their joining with you.
I will begin counting you back from five to one, and on the count of one you will awaken, refreshed and revitalized, in closer connection to that Spirit Ally with whom you have merged during this visualization process.
Five, feeling peace and joy sing in your soul
Four, content in the knowledge that the Animal Totem has merged his/her purpose, wisdom and intent with your own, and you with His/Hers.
Three, thankful for the opportunity to share this Earthwalk with this beautiful Animal Spirit.
Two, feeling your body gradually shift and begin coming to consciousness.
One, completely aware and present in the moment
be patient with both yourself and the Animal Totems, for establishing the
connection takes both time and dedication, though the experiences and joy
that are had along the way,
are richly rewarding and exhilarating.
Walk in Beauty