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  • Finding your totem animal

    I'm not entirely sure if this post belongs here as I don't (as of yet) consider myself a shaman, or even have a set path of my own. But one thing I have always believed in is having an animal spirit/guide, and while Shamanism I'm sure isn't the only path that encompasses this ideology, I figured asking you guys was a good place to start.

    How do I go about finding my spirit animal? Is there some kind of ritual/test I must first go through? If it's a question of what speaks most to me, then without question it would be the large wild cats: Jaguars/lions/cheetahs/leopard/cougars, etc. All my life I've been really drawn to them and feel the energy flowing from them when I make contact. [I was lucky enough to play with tiger cubs once. An emotionally overpowering experience] But how do I narrow it down from there?

    Help on this is appreciated.

  • #2
    Originally posted by ChasingRabbits View Post
    I'm not entirely sure if this post belongs here as I don't (as of yet) consider myself a shaman, or even have a set path of my own. But one thing I have always believed in is having an animal spirit/guide, and while Shamanism I'm sure isn't the only path that encompasses this ideology, I figured asking you guys was a good place to start.

    How do I go about finding my spirit animal? Is there some kind of ritual/test I must first go through? If it's a question of what speaks most to me, then without question it would be the large wild cats: Jaguars/lions/cheetahs/leopard/cougars, etc. All my life I've been really drawn to them and feel the energy flowing from them when I make contact. [I was lucky enough to play with tiger cubs once. An emotionally overpowering experience] But how do I narrow it down from there?

    Help on this is appreciated.
    Generally speaking, you journey.

    Lacking a mentor, a good starting point is books that will give you a few tools, "The way of the shaman" by Michael Harner and "beginning shamanic journeying" by Sandra Ingerman are good starting points

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    • #3
      I've also found the book Follow the Shaman's Call to be very helpful; Mike Williams gives you great exercises for finding the spirit world, and then meeting your power animal.

      Good luck with your journey!

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      • #4
        Thank you both very much
        I'll be sure to look into the books you've mentioned.

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        • #5
          Where in Canada are you? If you are nearby (S. Ont) I know a few people who teach and mentor depending on your interests. There is one near me (near Guelph) who does alot of shamistic inspired sessions. I also run the odd meditation group in the area. If I can direct you to someone I would be glad to. I hope you find what you are looking for.
          "Gypsy gold does not chink and glitter. It gleams in the sun and neighs in the dark."
          — Saying of the Gladdagh Gypsies of Galway


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          • #6
            The guided meditation I use with beginners is located at http://therioshamanism.com/2007/09/2...animal-totems/ --I explain the difference between guided meditation and journeying, and why I don't recommend journeying for beginners, at http://therioshamanism.com/2008/09/1...ed-meditation/
            http://www.thegreenwolf.com (my main website with books, artwork and other goodies)
            http://lupabitch.livejournal.com (I'm quite active on Livejournal)
            http://paganbookreviews.com(book review blog)
            http://therioshamanism.com (my path)
            My Etsy Shop

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            • #7
              I first found mine through meditation and automatic writing.

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              • #8
                Mine came to be directly. Basically I kept seeing my totem at various major turns in my life.

                I believe strongly that they'll find you...But you should help them find you. Make yourself a beacon of love and light for them to follow.
                I'm available for Tarot Readings





                An artist is only an artist on condition that he neglects no aspect of his dual nature. This dualism is the power of being oneself and someone else at one and the same time. - Charles Baudelaire

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                • #9
                  I'm on my way to a metaphysical shop a few towns over today so I'll finally have a chance to check out some of those books you guys have mentioned. [Again, thank you!]


                  Originally posted by Jrdyn View Post
                  Where in Canada are you? If you are nearby (S. Ont) I know a few people who teach and mentor depending on your interests. There is one near me (near Guelph) who does alot of shamistic inspired sessions. I also run the odd meditation group in the area. If I can direct you to someone I would be glad to. I hope you find what you are looking for.
                  I'm from Oshawa. Just on the other side of Toronto, in the GTA.

                  Originally posted by Lupabitch View Post
                  The guided meditation I use with beginners is located at http://therioshamanism.com/2007/09/2...animal-totems/ --I explain the difference between guided meditation and journeying, and why I don't recommend journeying for beginners, at http://therioshamanism.com/2008/09/1...ed-meditation/
                  Thank you for sharing! I've bookmarked those sites and will give them a read when I return.

                  Originally posted by TheWomanMonster View Post
                  I first found mine through meditation and automatic writing.
                  That's awesome, I'm glad for you. Can I ask what your animal is? And what exactly is automatic writing?

                  Originally posted by Amilee View Post
                  Mine came to be directly. Basically I kept seeing my totem at various major turns in my life.

                  I believe strongly that they'll find you...But you should help them find you. Make yourself a beacon of love and light for them to follow.
                  I'll do my best, thank you.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by ChasingRabbits View Post
                    That's awesome, I'm glad for you. Can I ask what your animal is? And what exactly is automatic writing?

                    I actually ended up being one of those people with multiple totems (and still more animals that function as guides for different times in my life).
                    Predominant totems would be Raven, Wolf, Cat, Stag, Dragon and Rabbit.

                    Automatic writing is a form of channelling type divination where you connect to a source outside yourself (or some people feel, to your higher self) in order to receive messages. Really you just write... I do it with my eyes closed or in the dark and often with my left hand instead of my dominant hand.

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                    • #11
                      In a lot of traditional shamanic cultures, the shaman undergoes some form of trial or near death experience. I personally nearly died from hypothermia while on a 3 week long canoe trip in very cold weather.

                      By nearly died, I mean my body temperature got so low, my extremities turned purple, then gray with mottled orange spots, and they stiffened up. I had to be physically removed from a canoe, and dragged into a tent, where I was wrapped up, but blacked out for a long time. I was lucky I had a friend along who is a medic, but he was really shaken up by the whole experience. He said there were periods of time where he couldn't get a pulse, then he'd get a really weak one. Friends who were there said I looked dead; purple lips, rigour mortis, etc. I know I'm lucky to be alive.

                      That being said, I don't think it is necessary for you to go out and nearly die. If you do some meditation on the impermanence of life, and try to imagine the cells of your body being blown away in the wind, you should be able to start this process.

                      It is actually a common practice among Tibetan buddhists to meditate on the moment of death, and all of the ways they could die, so they are ready for when that moment comes. I'm suggesting something similar, but to get your mind used to working between worlds.

                      Also, I find that drums help tremendously, even if it is a recording of someone drumming. They almost seem to force a trance state on you.
                      "I put a capital N on nature and call it my church."

                      -Frank Lloyd Wright

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                      • #12
                        I completly missed that you had replied - If you are still searching, there is aworkshop being led by some friend of mine not far from Hamilton in a few weeks - PM me if you want the details - I have the info in my work e-mail.
                        "Gypsy gold does not chink and glitter. It gleams in the sun and neighs in the dark."
                        — Saying of the Gladdagh Gypsies of Galway


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                        • #13
                          I too am one that have more than one totem. I don't, however, have an animal guide. I have never been able to locate a specific quide. I am enamored of so many animals, and with my totems I can't give you a main one who I would consider a "guide".

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                          • #14
                            You do not have a totem unless you have a clan, as a totem, usually bu not always an animal, represents your clan.

                            so no clan, no totem.
                            It is as simple as that.

                            Now that being said, as for working with an animal spirit as a guide it really depends on what you mean by that. If you simply mean an entity, in the form of animal, that can guide you in your efforts id recommend using the techniques you already know to seek communion of spirits. If instead you mean the animal representation of your own personal medicine that requires finding your inner fire and its expression through the soul/psyche.
                            Tsalagi Nvwoti Didahnvwesgi Ale Didahnesesgi
                            (Cherokee medicine practitioner of left and right hand paths)
                            anikutani.stfu-kthx.net - The Anikutani Tradition

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