Saturday, April 28, 2007

Exploration of Today: Animism

Animal and humans have interacted since we evolved. Many people feel a deep affection for certain types of animals and yet can be repulsed by others. Animism is the belief that all things carry a life energy - all things means ALL THINGS: rock, plants, animals, etc. Animism further separates life energy into separate spheres, each grouping able to communicate & relate to all those within its own shpere. For instance - all plant life would be classed together - so a blade of grass could communicate with a tree or a leaf, etc. Humans - some believe due to the level of cognizance - can learn to communicate with ALL living energies. So, someone could communicate with crystals, plants, animals, what have you. As a physicist I've always viewed things in terms of its life force energy. A human and animals having similar energies - snce humans are essentially an animal. Planets and stars have the highest life force energy, etc. Something that has a similar energy is much easier to communicate with than something of lesser energy. It is easiest to relate to an energy that is great - which is why most witches have an easy time of connecting to the Earth, Moon, Sun and other planets. The planets are litterally pushing their energy at you. Native Americans and Witches alike, believe that all energies are interwoven - nothing exists alone, much like a spider web. Therefore, the
contentment and success of one species is dependant on several others. (We as hyumans couln't survive without animals and plants.) Witches throughout time have used a fetish (an object fashioned of feathers, skins an bones) to honor our annimal bretheren and in an effort to bringe the gap bethween them. It was believed, according to Silver Ravenwolf's Solitary Witch, thatthe fetish put you in sympathy with the animal energy. Sympathy in the occult meant "making a connection" or "using items of like mind".

What is a TOTEM?
Accorcing to Silver Ravenwolf, Animals are always in the brain-wave known as alpha - the psychic state. This is why htey can sense when you are unhappy, can know when you are on your way home, or even see ghosts. Mny tribes in Scotland and Ireland claimed to have been descended from the animals they revered. They carried representations of the favored animal - called a TOTEM ANIMAL.

Totem energy is beleived to help us bridge the gap between the physical and spiritual realms. Many deities have an animal association as well as many of the quarters of the moon also have animal representations.

So when I'm describing what is a TOTEM to new seekers i nthe craft - I tell them it is a conection to an animal group in general. You can change totems - like deities, where you call upon one in specific depending on the desire of your ritual/spell - but many of us have a primary Totem, an animal group that we feel a deep spiritual connection to. One of my first Astral Projections was running with a wolf pack. I could feel the fur along my body, I had an enhanced sense of smell, etc. It was wild.

Using a Totem?
Your Personal Totem: Essentially you can carry a representation of your personal totem on a charm or talisman. At any time you can ground and center and draw on the energy of your personal totem. A personal connection means you do not need a representation to connect - a piece of your sould is already connected to the energy, you just have to draw on that connection. Spirit will show you your personal Totem - you just have to see. But this animal will be as drawn to you as you are to it. I saw representations of bears & wolves everywhere, even in my dreams. For a general totem: When performing a specific ritual / spell in which you would like to draw on the animals energy for more power, bring a representation of that animal to your altar. Touching the representation and focusing will allow you to draw forth the energy through the picture or statue.

What is a Familiar?
When I'm trying to explain the difference between a Totem and a Familiar I often say the totem is a connection to a type of animal - dog, cat, wolf, unicorn, etc. - and a familiar is a connection to 1 animal in specific. For instance, I don't have a strong connection to cats in general, but my cat - Declan - was my familiar for many years. So you could say that a familiar is a specific personality that compliments your own. So, they still have their totem energy (since all living things do) but you can tap into their personal energy to help you peace and energy.

How do you connect and use your familiar?
Setting up a connection with your familiar is probably both more simple than you think and more complicated. Many of us invest a special part of our hearts for our pets. Therefore, we transfer some of our personal energy, our aura if you will, between the pet and yourself. This is why when we are upset petting and cuddling with our chosen pet can have a calming effect - your pet gives you some of their energy to soothe. So, to officially set up a connection with a familiar - Cast the circle, call the quarters and invoke deity. Sitting in the center of the circle, holding your chosen, close your eyes to center and ground. Taking deep even breaths, find the rhythm deep within yourself that is a pool of calm. Hold one palm in your lap. Feel the energy - YOUR energy pulsing in your palm. Your other hand should be on your chosen. Feel the energy pulsing from your pet. Bring your energy hand over to your pet. Visualize transfering a little bit of your energy into your pet with your energy hand, while you also visualize absorbing a tiny bit of your pets energy with your other hand. You are setting up a circuit - you giving energy and receiving energy from your chosen. This is a special moment - so you may want to say a few words. Slowly bring your palms together - palm to palm to seal the energy within yourself. Thank deity, quarters and close circle.

Now each time you are attempting to draw large pools of energy to connect to Spirit or perform a ritual/spell, you need only touch your Familiar to be imbued with a feeling of connection nand peace. NOTE: You cannot force the connection - your pet must willingly share their essence with you or it won't be effective.

List of Animals & Their Associations
Aardvark: Finding hidden things
Alligator: Initiation; power; patience; basic earth energy; retaining money
Apes: Communication; group government
Armadillo: Persoanl protection; Empathy
Badger: Courage; bold self-expression
Barracuda: Self-reliance
Bat: Intuition; initiation; revealing secrets; transition
Bear: Healing; medical diagnosis; strength
Bee: Community; clan; work; industry; organization
Blackbird: Enchantment; between-the-worlds
Black Widow Spider: Weaving a new fate
Boar: Strength; family protection; warrior spirit; leadership
Bobcat: Solitary magick; psychic warning; secrets
Bull: Wealth; creativity; expanding opportunities
Butterfly: Transformation; artistic; dance
Camel: Surviving hard times
Cat: Magick; mystery; independence; psychic warning; grace
Centaur: Healing, shape-shifting; music; divination; teaching
Chameleon: Changing environment; camouflage
Cheetah: Speed; flexibility
Chinese Lion Dog (Fu-Dog): Guardians against evil; home protection
Chipmunk: Finding treasure; working for the future
Cicada: Happiness; joy
Clam: Closing ranks for protection
Cobra: Swift; decisive action
Copperhead: Aggressive healing; psychism
Cougar: Power; agility
Crab: Good luck; protection; success
Cricket: Luck; faith; intuition
Crocodile: Primal strength; creation; patience; Great Mother; Balance
Daddy Long Legs: Invisibility
Deer: Nature; Family
Dog: Guidance; protection; loyalty; friendship
Dingo: Relentlessness
Dolophin: Intelligence; psychism; community; protection
Dragonfly: Dreams, psychism; artistry
Eagle: Intelligence; courage; decision making; carrier of prayers
Earthworm: Rework old projects; Investigation
Elephant: Prosperity; power; strength
Ferret: Stealth; agility; revealing truths
Firefly: Hope; inspiration; beginings; ideas; creativity
Fox: Shapeshifting; trasformation; cunning; diplomacy
Frog: Beginings; abundance; medicine; inner beauty
Gargoyles: Porperty/Home protection; psychism; Block negativity; strength of spirit
Garter Snake: Activity; opportunity
Gecko: Overcoming strife
Goat: Confidence; success
Goose: Protection; parenting; perseverance
Goldfish: Peace; prosperity
Griffin: Protection; spiritual wisdom; enlightenment
Guinea Pig: Group mind
Hawk: Cleansing; nobility; clarity; spirit messengers
Hippopotamus: Transformation; initiation; creative power
Horned Snake: Cure Illness; kundalini energy; wisdom
Horse: The Goddess; traveling realms; rebirth; grace
Hummingbird: Healing; relationship repair
Hyena: Family life; group mind; heightened perception
Impala: Grace
Jackal: Protection from hidden dangers; guidance
Jaguar: Reclaiming power; strength; speed; ability
Kangaroo: forward movement; security
Koala: Serenity; peace; removing sickness
Komodo Dragon: Long life; survival
Lady Bug: Wish fulfillment; luck; protection; prosperity
Lemur: Hearlding ghosts
Leopard: Protection from ghosts; overcoming bad habits; destroying jealousy; intuition
Lion: Courage; strength; loyalty
Lizard: Patience; dreaming
Loon: Creative; fidelity
Lynx: Visionquesting; visionary work; cutting-edge mentality
Mole: Luck
Moth: Sending/receiving messages
Mouse: Attention to detail
Muskrat: Navigating tricky situations
Mussles: Filtering information
Octopus: Creative center; intelligence; power
Otter: Sharing; playfulness; aquatic grace & ability
Owl: Wisdom; heightened perception; discernment; female magicks; messages to/from the dead
Panda: Nourishment; heart of the problem
Panther: Regaining power; protection; finding information; Dark Mother
Phoenix: Transformation; spiritual growth
Pig: Abundance; fertility; intelligence
Polar Bear: Supernatural power; Spirit guides
Praying Mantis: Finding solutions; dreaming; Higher mind
Rabbit: Balance; rebirth; intuition; messages from the dead
Raccoon: Dexterity; glamouries; secrecy
Rainbow Serpent: Magick; rain; life; procreation
Ram: Achievment; success; strength
Rat: Intelligence; socialization; success
Rattlesnake: Transformation; healing; cycle of life
Raven: Healing; initiation; protection; messages; wisdom; balance
Rhinoceros: Ancient wisdom
Salamander: Inspiration; help; creativity; inspiration
Scorpion: Transformation; success; cycle of life; protection; weather
Sea Horse: Honor; coe of conduct; creativity
Seal: Dreaming; collective consciousness; birth; imagination;
Shark: Relentless ferocity; intuition
Siberian Tiger: Creativity; power; passion; unpredictable
Snake: Initiation; wisdom
Sphinx: Initiation; elemental magicks; wisdom; mystery
Spider: Weaving strong magicks; fate; spiral energy
Stag: The God; independence; purification; Forest Protection
Starfish: Working toward desires; regeneration
Stick Bud (Walkingstick): Camouflage; focus
Squirrel: Preparation; frugal; collecting
Swan: Love; beauty; healing; dreaming
Tiger: Strength; power; new adventures; family magicks
Toad: Inner strength; protection
Turkey: Material abundance
Turtle: Faith; patience; rewards; wisdom; creation
Unicorn: Good will; fame; prosperity; success; wisdom
Winged Horse: Aide in adtral travel; fame; eloquence; visiting the dead
Winged Serpent (Buto): Wisdom; protection; teaching; ancient knowledge
Wolf: Family; clan; teaching; protection; intuition; strength
Wolverine: Boldness; ferocity
Zebra: Agility; finding individuality

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