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~Life Paths~
Animal Totems & Earth Medicine

Shadow Totem


Wolfs Moon

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What darkness dwells in the mind of Man
As leaden clouds drift across the midnight moon,
Hasten the journey toward dark despair
Inflicted by an Unseen hand

Within the heart of the Ancient Forest
Stand the Guardians of the Veil
Shadowy secrets in liquid silence kept
To the whispering of the soulís misery

Yet for He who dares to gaze Within
To the center of the Night,
Under Illuminationís reverent favor
The dawning of consciousness unfurls

Then as clouds slip away
Spectral figures dispersing for distant haunts,
Luna casts her silver light
And the Truth stands beneath her gaze

As are the shadows now beheld
And the Caster of their form,
Not joined in harmony . . .
For are they not born of the Same?

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Journeying beside us on our walk around the Sacred Hoop, the Animal Spirits (Totems) are our constant companions and allies.  As we have discovered through examining the preceding Roles (from Power through Messenger), each of these Totems are with us to teach us their Wisdom and instruct us in their powerful and unique Medicine.  With each of these Totems, there is also a specific goal, lesson or area of our Earthwalk that the Animal Spirits govern, yet of all the Totems, the role that is perhaps the most challenging and uncomfortable for we of the two-legged to face, is that of the Shadow Totem.

The Shadow Totem is that Animal Spirit that embodies our alternate Self, or our Personality Center.  When the Shadow is not integrated, it is the repository of our fears, frustrations, temptations, impulsive/compulsive reactions and our anger and unresolved pain.  Perhaps because our modern society has denied the existence of the Shadow Self, or conversely has  exerted an over abundance of effort in nurturing it, we have also learned to fear this extension of our inner Self.

By first recognizing that within each of us dwells a ~Shadow,~ a reflection of the Personality Center that exists at the core of the Subconscious Mind, we begin to acknowledge the wisdom and gifts that this Totem brings to us, and thereby take a step  closer toward the process of integration.

The Shadow prowls the corridors of our Unconscious mind, yet it is not  the id itself, as the id is primarily the root of both our Psychic Energy, and the amalgamation of our instinctual drives and needs which the conscious mind represses.  While the Shadow is in part our repressed instinctual needs, it is also the very heart of the un-intigrated Personality Center.  Thus, while the Shadow Self operates mostly in unconscious reflex, it is not based upon instinctual desires alone, but is a sum total of many parts including fear, anger, repressed drives and needs, past pain that has not yet been healed, resolved and integrated, as well as our early childhood conditioning.

As the Shadow Totem walks, flies or swims beside us, we may come to understand, and ultimately integrate, the darker reflection of our Personality. By understanding the Contrary Medicine that this Animal Spirit brings to us and absorbing the Lessons and Wisdom he/she has to impart, we transmute the Medicine from something to be feared or repressed, to an integrated and cohesive Center.

When the pain of past traumas have been embraced, healed and resolved, then we may look upon our Shadow Totem in a new light, understanding that all along, he/she is merely a reflection cast from our own unresolved issues, lessons and pain.  With understanding, healing and integration, the Shadow is no longer a separate and dark entity that relentlessly pursues us, and we come to see that where our footsteps fall, no fractured Shadow is cast, for there is only the light of the Integrated Self.

Determining the Shadow Totem
Integrating His/Her Medicine

One may determine their Shadow Totem through a variety of methods, yet one of the "easiest" methods is to think of that animal which is the most frightening to us.  For some, this may be a spider, others a lion, yet others still a wolf or a snake.  Yet this is not always a "fool proof" barometer for discovering the Shadow Totem, and it is wise in any event to spend some time going ~Within~ and getting acquainted with this Animal Spirit.

To discover the Shadow Totem that journeys beside you and to uncover the Wisdom that he/she has to teach, an invitation (spoken out loud) to reveal him/herself during your dreams or while meditating, will often elicit a vivid encounter.

Once the Shadow Totem has been revealed, it is important to embrace that Animal Spirit for the Wisdom and Medicine they bring to you on this Earthwalk. Begin with a ~prayer~ of thanks for their Role alongside you, and affirm to yourself that it is your Intent to acknowledge in conscious awareness the Lessons that he/she has brought to you.

The next phase of embracing the Shadow Totem may be both the most painful and the most intensive, yet the Growth that will arise from this process will be the ultimate reward.

As this can be a very painful and/or arduous process, some may benefit from guided counseling and healing.  This can be sought through either  traditional psychotherapy, or non conventional methods such as past life recall, esoteric astrology or intuitive counseling.

Whatever approach is undertaken, it is important to remember that the integration of the Shadow is a phase in which the psyche, body and soul may be vulnerable to outside influences.  Therefore, it is imperative that a counselor be found in which trust is implicitly had, and that the counselor is experienced and highly  capable.  If you do not feel comfortable with the either the method and approach, or the trust factor of a current therapist/counselor, then you will need to find one with whom you can have complete confidence.  Remember, this is your well-being you are looking after, and you have the right to make any changes or choices that you feel are necessary for the integration process to be successful.

During this time, the soul and psyche are especially vulnerable to "psychic attacks" from both non-integrated individuals, and/or from lower level energies that exist on either the Physical or Ethereal (Spiritual) planes.

To prevent such attacks, it is crucial that the aura (the energy field which extends beyond the confines of the physical body), is whole and intact.  If there are any rips or breeches in this field, such attacks may deliver an especially powerful blow.

Successful psychic attacks can result in everything from physical illness to bouts of depression, listlessness and futility which may then become an overwhelming drain that distracts the Conscious mind from resolving and integrating the Shadow.  One of the best defenses against these blows is to surround the Self with a White Light.  Envision the entire body encapsulated in a shield of pure energy, seeing it stream down from above to cover every inch of both the physical body, and the aura.

Chakra work is also crucial for maintaining a healthy aura and some informative and practical information on chakras can be found by visiting Mermaid`s Esoteric Site by clicking here.

Once this process has begun, the Shadow may temporarily become stronger, resisting the integrative process, or the pain may become so intense that there will be the urge to discontinue therapy.  It is therefore crucial to surround oneself with positive and reinforcing influences and to reduce external stress by whatever extent and means possible or reasonable.

Of course, it is possible to acknowledge and integrate our Shadow ourselves, yet often a qualified individual (in some instances even friends and family members) who can operate from impartiality and detachment, can provide that neutral voice of reasoning, encouragement and reinforcement when we might otherwise be blind to our own issues/lessons.

By looking at the keywords associated with that Animal Spirit that is your Shadow Totem, one may begin to understand the lessons and challenges unique to that particular Totem.  This, coupled with acknowledging our fears and examining our motives when there is a conflict Within, will assist us as we learn to walk in peace and integration with our Shadow.

For additional insight into the ~Shadow,~ my {{{beloved wolfsister`s}}} esoteric site is highly recommended and she includes a guided visualization to further assist in getting to know the Shadow so one can begin the process of integration.  To visit those wonderful pages, simply click the graphic below to:

Dance with your Shadow

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To return to the Roles of the Totems, please click here.

Gray Wolf Animal Totems

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        This page last updated September 30, 2000   Copyright © 2000 - 2001
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