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The Nine Special Animal Totems
This is only an overview of this subject.
GET SOME BOOKS!
See main Medicine Wheel Way page for recommendations.
How the Special Animal Totems are Acquired
I think a good opening statement under this heading is
something I read someplace that put it like this:
"You don't pick the animals, THEY pick YOU."
I've read different versions of the explanation as to how
the animals do this. One, is that it's done by communication
through the "common atoms" that all living things carry.
Another explanation, which also applies to how communication
happens between any spirit-form (animal sprits to human spirits,
spiritual beings to living beings, etc.), is that on anything that any
of us touch, we each leave our own, individual "mark," per se. This
"mark" is invisible "energies," that don't go away. This is how many
psychics (the real ones), for example, are able to "connect" with say
a missing person (or their spirit), simply by holding/touching an
object that the missing person had touched. Scientific studies have
been done about these "energy marks" we all leave and how the
electro-magnetic, telepathic communication occurs through it.
There are people now and throughout the ages, who have been
gifted with special powers. People such as Shamans, certain
Medicine Men, Medicine Women, others. These people can actually
see the animal spirits that are around other people. But, from
what I've read and been told about people who have these powers,
believe me, it's not something they volunteered for! It's an
agonizing process for them to accept that they have these powers,
and to learn to live with them. But that's another subject. (Read
some books about it!) Anyway, it isn't all just about "atoms" and
"energies," the animals are "with" us, period, use any explanation
you want! Just accept the fact, and ENJOY it! It's just one of all
of the wonderful things that the Great Spirit provides each of us with!
An animal "chooses" you simply because you NEED the knowledge,
the protection, the power that its Medicine can provide you with.
But you have to do your part and study all aspects of its Medicine.
How the Special Animal Totems are Revealed
In ancient times, the revealing was done basically like this.
There would be a gathering of the Tribal Elders, Medicine Man
or Woman, those with special Powers/Memories for interpretations.
There would be a bundle of assorted animal bones, bone or teeth
fragments, special stones, etc., each serving as a symbol for a
certain animal or animal family. A special ceremony would be
conducted, a part of which was the calling forth of the animal
spirits to reveal themselves to the "Seeker" there wishing to
learn who they were.
The symbols would be scattered on the ground, and the individual
animal spirits would guide and manipulate the symbols so that the
correct interpretations were made by those who knew how to read the
layout of the symbols.
After the Sacred Knowledges of the Medicine Wheel Way were forced
to be secreted away (there are books about when/why that happened),
those who were trained in the knowledges, over time, were dying out.
When it came time for the Knowledges to be revealed/shared,
which was only within the past decade or so, this information, in
great detail, was gathered, put down in writing, and made into books,
as a tool for people to learn about it, and to know how to conduct
their own ceremonies according to the Medicine Wheel Way.
There are a number of books available, each painstakingly composed
under the supervision of trained, Sacred teachers. The one I use,
and recommend, about the Nine Special Animal Totems, is shown on my
main Medicine Wheel Way page. And I quote excerpts from it further
down this page. It comes with some special Medicine Cards and
instructions on how to use them to find out who your special animal
totems are. Thus, these cards serve as the bundle of symbols. And
the book tells many other spiritual uses for the cards besides the
calling/revealing of your nine special animal totems. I, for one,
made a special pouch for my Medicine Cards. And I conducted a
special smudging ceremony to purify and honor them. I treasure
them, I revere them, and I keep them in a special place. My set or
anybody else's set, must never, ever be treated like
some parlor game, or as a form of mere entertainment. They are every
bit as Sacred as those bundles of symbols that were used for the
same purpose long ago. The words that are in the book represent the
words of trained Shamans, Medicine Men and Women, Elders, Teachers,
and deserve only honor, respect, and gratitude
Due to the explanation I outlined above, under the heading of how the
animals are acquired, personally, I have developed a belief that the
spirits of the animals "connect" with the "energies" left through the
touching of the cards by the one asking for the animals to reveal
themselves. But, by all means, do your own research on this.
If you simply are not comfortable with that explanation, you must
find the answers you need. Read books, surf the net for information,
ask questions, visit Indian museums, whatever. That's how ya learn!
And you have an obligation to share, to pass on to others whatever
you learn. There are so MANY of us that have so MUCH to learn!
We must help each other.
Significance of the Nine Totem Animals
The list of significances that follows is taken verbatim from a
page of the book, "Medicine Cards - The Discovery of Power
Through the Ways of Animals," by Jamie Sams and David Carson.
See my Medicine Wheel Way page for ordering information. It's
in the section where my book recommendations are.
I also highly recommend that you have a reasonably good dictionary
close at hand to look up any descriptive words used here or in the
book that are not crystal clear to you in meaning. There
is such depth to the way this book is written.
Bear with me while I go a little off course here to use a
Mark Twain quote,
"The difference between the almost right word and
the right word is the difference between the
lightening bug and the LIGHTENING!
It really won't seem to you like some bothersome, tiresome thing
to do, to look up a few words, once you see how much better you
"get it" on certain things expressed by the great writers of this book.
Also understand that sometimes animals that are not among those of
your special totems, most certainly will bring messages to you
from time-to-time. When any animal presents itself to you in
some way that stands out in your mind, whether in a dream or while
you are awake, study its Medicine. It has a message for you!
The animal in the East guides you to your greatest spiritual
challenges and guards your path to illumination.
The animal in the South protects the child within and reminds
you when to be humble and when to trust, so that innocence will
be balanced in your personality.
The animal in the West leads you to your personal truth and
inner answers. It also shows you the path to your goals.
The North animal gives wise councel and reminds you when to
speak and when to listen. It also reminds you to be grateful
for every blessing every day.
The Above animal teaches you how to honor the Great Star Nation,
and reminds you that you came from the stars and to the stars
you will return. This animal is also the guardian of the
Dreamtime - for your personal access to the other dimensions.
The Below animal teaches you about the inner Earth, and
how to stay grounded and on the path.
The Within animal teaches you how to find your heart's joy and
how to be faithful to your personal truths. It is also the
protector of your sacred space, the place that is yours alone
and is never shared except by invitation.
This animal protects your male side and teaches you that, no
matter where you turn, it will be your Father-protector within.
This animal also carries your courage and warrior spirit.
This animal is the protector of your female side and teaches
you that you must learn to receive abundance as well as to
nurture yourself and others. The left-side animal is also your
teacher about relationships and mothering.
The Right Side animal and the Left Side animal are always with you.
ALL of us carry male AND female essences within us, and the
two related animal spirits are with you at all times.
Not all people, but some people already know who these
animals are, or who at least one of them is. During the revealing
ceremony explained above, special consideration is given concerning
these particular two animal totems. When it is time for animals of
these Directions to be revealed, you may simply state aloud who they
are, should you already, and without a doubt, know which animal
it is for which Direction. It is highly unwise and extremely
disrespectful to proceed with a "ceremonial" revealing if you already
know. If your feelings, truly, are not that strong about it,
then the wise thing to do is to put your trust into the ceremony.
The Animals and Their Medicines
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