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.In the morning waking up to terrible sunlight .
[ All diffuse like skin abuse ]
Writer's Block: A charming defense 
19th-Nov-2010 09:54 am
If you could conjure an animal spirit protector, which animal would you choose, and why?

Though these writing prompts are notorious for convoluting complex subjects into over-simplified questions, sometimes, I can't help but respond to them. Like this one for example. I have 4 of what they refer to as "animal spirit protectors" except in my world, I call them totem animals. And this question fails to address the fact that A) most people that have these totem animals do not *conjure* them, rather, they're an internal manifestation of our inner needs and desires. They're nothing more than a symbolic representation of various traits or qualities we need or want to possess.

The other thing they fail to address is the fact that you don't just pull these totem animals out of your ass at will. They're summoned from one's subconcious; a mental representation of concepts too vast or too complicated for us to deal with directly, so our mind creates these totem animals as a way to approach a difficult subject gradually.

I did not choose any of the animals that come to me. They came because they were needed, filling in the empty gaps, shedding light on darkened corners of my subconcious where things in my life were eating away at me. These animals are nothing more than my brain's way of helping me work through my problems in a way that is less psychologically damaging than confronting the problem head on, at face value.

But for the sake of the question at hand: I have 4. Fen, the lynx was first, and he taught me the magic of secrets. The power you can hold, simply by collecting information. He taught me to listen and to learn. He taught me patience and fortitude. Second was Romulus, the adolescent bull elephant, who taught me about memory and wisdom. He is symbolic of my transition from adolescence to adulthood. His lessons were about standing on my own and standing for myself in a strange and hostile world.

More recently, the last two came to me at the same time, Lark the wolf and Ursa the fearsome mother bear. Lark is my lesson in courage. He is my way of dealing with my social phobia. He is there to teach me to be ferocious when the need arises and to be courageous in the face of adversity. His lessons are about survival and longevity. About not being afraid to take what I need. Ursa is a protector. She stands in front of me when my courage fails me. She is my mental protection: the force that stands between me and the things in the world that might otherwise do serious harm. She teaches me about fearless conviction, about eviscerating the evil in my life so that my soft, vulnerable core (my cub, since this metaphor takes the shape of a bear) can grow and thrive.

I didn't choose them. They chose me. So, while I think the wording of this question is silly, because it assumes this phenomenon is a game or a fantasy, I think the core of the question is very important. One must look for meaning in the visits of totem animals. They might be imaginary, but that does not diminish their meaning. They're there for a reason, but it is your job, as the subconscious summoner of their existence, to search for the purpose of their presence.

Got out of going to the Carbon Pricing Conference. I'm still a little sad that I can't go, but eh. At least I'm not stuck in a situation that would be seriously financially inadvisable to me. I have more to talk about, but I have to go to Chem. More if I remember later.
English bulldog
19th-Nov-2010 04:43 pm (UTC)
Agreed, you cannot just choose your totem animals...ridiculous. I've got the whale, or shall I say the whale has got me? I've been dreaming about whales since I was maybe 6 or so. I find myself at the ocean looking for them (in my dreams) at least once a week. Sometimes they appear, and sometimes not. And then I have the occasional WOW, what's that whale doing here. They've meant different things to me thru my life.

I get the snake alot, it could simply be because I'm terrified of snakes...it's the chicken or the egg scenario. It could mean I'm a sexual deviant and I miss having a penis around:)

I will give this snake thing some more thinky...I went to gradeschool with this kid named Dean Ridgeway. I have dreamt about him for ever and have no particular attatchment or friendship with him at all. It got so I was using his last name for passwords and shit cause it was such a thing. Cut to 30 yrs later and I am desperately trying to dream of the Winchesters and I have this dream and my besty says 'Dean's here' and I'm all yeah and it's that guy and I'm all that's NOT MY DEAN! and I wake up like 'lightbulb'...Is it possible that I recogonized the name Dean as important 30 yrs ago and have held onto it until it really was? Yes, that's right I twistedly believe that my love of Dean Winchester is strong enough to cut thru space time continuim :O If only I was kidding, I am that fucked up!
Dean Winchester is my destiny.
19th-Nov-2010 04:45 pm (UTC)
self- you got alittle off topic there! Dean took over my brain, sorry.
19th-Nov-2010 07:19 pm (UTC)
No no. It's perfectly okay. And any time you feel like Rhapsodizing about your love of Dean, I would love to hear it and counter with my love of Sam. :D :D :D

It's funny that you should mention the whale, as I used to have an extremely close friend who also felt a close symbiosis with whales, so I know a little about their intended symbolism, but keep in mind that every interpretation relies heavily upon a personal aspect. The true meaning is what you take out of it.

As far as I remember, however, whales are symbolically closely associated with creativity. If you look at the physical aspects of the whale, you can discern a little more about the people that associate with them. They tend to go through life with a layer of insulation around them - like the blubber to protect the whale from arctic temperatures, this insulation is a protective buffer to keep one's inner creative core safe. Whales also spend a significant time deep under the surface, and this tends to be a trait manifested in whale totem people - sinking deep into contemplation when seeking vital nutrition (possible spiritual nutrition, if you want to think of it like that) but retaining their link to their terrestrial ancestor through frequent trips to the surface to breathe.

Another important consideration of the whale is their song - which is something ancient and not very well understood, even today, but it is clearly a method of communication that cannot be deciphered. Whale people often have a keep perception of unspoken communications. They may be good at picking up "vibes" and "auras" or peculiarly adept at reading body language, or maybe just have a strong affinity for musical input in their lives. Urgh. That's all I can remember from my crash course in animal totems. Obviously, personal meaning is extremely important in your interpretations, but those are some things you might think about when contemplating the significance of whales in relation to you.

Snakes are.... incredibly complex symbols. They can symbolize anything from transition to intuition. They can be symbols of perception - snakes look at the world much differently than we do and they're ancient animals that are incredible versatile and adaptable. They can represent aggression and danger (pay attention to the KIND of snake, that can help you narrow it down) or they can represent a metamorphosis (shedding skin, shedding old traits, bad habits).

Feel free to tell me if I'm entirely off base. I enjoy seeing how much I can discern about a person judging from totem animals alone. Sometimes it's a direct hit and other times, not so much. XDD

Also, maybe Dean is your totem animal. It's entirely possible to have a totem that is not an animal, persay. Look for whatever underlying quality it is that keeps bringing your mind back to the same places. Subconscious hinting is not just hokey pokey. There is a lot buried in our minds that we don't know how to cognitively handle. It's our brain's method of bringing something vital to our attention.
19th-Nov-2010 05:56 pm (UTC)
This is really beautiful and interesting to read.

I feel like if I had spirit animals, they would all be different species of birds, whose species were relevant and symbolic to whatever area they were symbolizing. I love all creatures, obviously, but I don't genuinely identify with any other animal the way I feel with birds. I am so strongly connected to avians, to the point where I feel like if I believed in past lives, I would be 100% sure that I had been a bird in the past, because my personality is so incredibly accurate to many bird's personalities, and because I truly feel kinship with them.

But yeah, I really can't imagine any other creature taking the kind of place in my spiritual life.
19th-Nov-2010 07:31 pm (UTC)
I can definitely see your totem animal being a bird. It would fit nicely. You are a free spirit and your mind soars to heights most people can never attain.

But surprisingly, most totem animals do not manifest themselves because we feel an affinity to them. I am, decidedly a dog person and I very closely associate with them in my habits and mannerisms, but none of my totem animals are a dog. Sure, lark is a wolf, but the two are very different symbols. Don't close yourself off to the possibility of other animals revealing themselves to you, because you'll create a mental bias for yourself.

The point of the exercise, when engaging in work with totem animals (you can definitely attempt to contact them on your own, it's just not something that you can snap your fingers and instantly bring into existence.) is like a quest. You have to seek the answers and WANT to know the truth and be open to any possibility that presents itself.

I've done a little work with a lady who is a Spiritual counselor and I spent about two weeks with her learning about totem animals, so I'm pretty familiar with various techniques regarding getting in touch with them. It isn't something that's just going to pop into your life randomly through no effort of your own. That may happen later once you've opened the door to that part of your mind, but there is a mental mindset you have to familiarize yourself with in order to access your connections. If you're interested in learning a bit more, I can type up the meditation exercise I learned that helps facilitate the initial interaction between a person and their totems.
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