Meeting Your Totems - To Enlighten Your Potential
Animal Totems or Power Animals have features from where you can discover some messages, you can also derive some strength. Totem Animals are a guide or a helper and protect you in the spiritual world and in your dreams. They can also help you learn your life lessons. One of the ways to meet your totems is during a shamanic ritual.
As an apprentice in the Art of Dreaming I also learned to see the spirit form of totems as a part of the teachings of totality. The spirits of totems enlighten your potential. For example, they represent a certain cosmic knowledge which gives insight into your gifts and which you can perceive in your energy field even after the ritual. Shaman Vidar taught me about this ritual and you read more about this in the next excerpt from my book The Sorcerer’s Dream
“Are you ready?” he asks as he picks up his drum. I seat myself in a lotus position on the deerskin and Vidar hands me a green cushion to sit on. I look forward to meeting my totems.
Vidar kneels beside me, “Just like the last time, first, direct yourself to the north to see what animal is coming toward you. It is even possible that several totems come toward you from one direction – just wait and see. They introduce themselves to you by turning around and they make a show of it,” he grins. “Then look the totem right in the eye and he will transform into his spirit form.”
I ask him what he means by ‘spirit form.’ “This is so you can see their spirit and perceive it as a creature of light. The spirit touches you gently at the centre of your chest. Try to perceive this assemblage point: a concentration of light from where fine lines radiate into the cosmos. Then you change the totem with your intention back into its fundamental form.” Vidar calls this an exercise in seeing, “it trains your perception. Shamans learn this technique to perceive the energetic field of humans and animals to heal disturbances in the energy field.” Vidar explains that the spirits of totems enlighten your potential. For example, “Except for being your guide to totality, the totems represent a certain cosmic knowledge which gives insight into your gifts and which you can perceive in your energy field even after the ritual.”
He takes a piece of paper, starts to sketch and says, “This is my favorite shape.” The outline of an oval appears. “The human field of energy has an oval shape,” and he adds five dots in the oval from where he draws stripes that extend outside the shape. “Your gifts are concentrations of energy, small cosmic assemblage points connected with all that is living. When you live according to your gifts then you will be very fortunate.”
I hope to live that day. I just quit my job to start an uncertain freelance-existence. It is a dream come true because I have always had the desire for as much freedom as possible in my work, but I am beginning to wonder whether it will truly make me happy.
With rhythmical movements Vidar starts beating the drum, slow at first and then increasingly faster. It relaxes me and takes me to an exotic beach surrounded by jungle and a fox trudges from the jungle to the beach. He has difficulty walking but that does not stop him from turning a devoted round of acquaintance. As we agreed, I briefly look deep into his eyes and to my confusion, he transforms into Sleeping Beauty. The wind gives me a subtle push in the back and does not allow me to dwell on the surprising transformation.
After catching a quick glimpse of a tangle of clotted light threads at the height of Sleeping Beauty’s chest, I welcome two red-blue parrots observing the matter from a branch and believing it to be high time to make their acquaintance. According to the script, they make a fitting pirouette and show their red and blue feathered jacket. Suddenly a black vulture appears in my field of vision. Looking rigid and hurried as though he arrived just in time for the ceremony, he flies directly toward me and he spins around dutifully.
The rhythm of the drum continues to beat at a slower speed, which prompts me to travel to the east where an eagle meets me with the patience of someone who has been confidently waiting eternally for this moment. Vidar reminds me to look the eagle in the eye and then I see a vague masculine figure of white light. The drums lead me further to the south where a hedgehog waddles toward me. I am rather disappointed when I look into his soft dark brown eyes and he transforms into a shapeless masculine figure as well. Precisely as with the other spirits, I concentrate on the assemblage point and see an energy ball of white light near the chest from where fine lines of energy stretch outward.
From the west, I see a tiger running toward me at high speed. He stops in his tracks leaving deep marks in the sand. Then he rolls around exhaustively in the sand just before my feet. As a proficient circus tiger, he swirls around and as I look into his eyes, he transforms into an elf.
“It’s a nice portrait of your gifts,” says Vidar as he starts to explain the images.
“The fox and the vulture possess the knowledge of healing.”
I tell him I noticed the fox limping.
“I think he must be crippled, that’s a powerful medicine. It means he has witnessed a great deal, has been wounded but has turned this life experience into something positive.”
“It’s remarkable that the fox and the tiger change into fairytale figures,” I tell him aloud.
“Animals are surrounded by mythology and are linked to the realm of fantasy. It’s possible that the human shape is the most recognizable to you.” He pauses an instant, gives me a satisfied look and says, “Sleeping Beauty represents your inner beauty.”
Suddenly, I feel very uncomfortable. Help! His words cut through my armor of indifference. I quickly lower my head and look at my notes to hide my bright red cheeks. When most of the red has vanished, I clear my throat and try to regain my composure and ask about the cosmic knowledge of the parrot.
“The parrot is a master in dividing the two realities; they are your helpers to the second reality and guide you to the unknown.” He looks down with a smile on his face.
“What about the eagle?” I ask.
Vidar asks me to describe the eagle. Inconspicuously I wipe a few drops of sweat off my forehead and try to remember. “He had brown white spots and a white breast.”
“Aha, you found the spotted eagle.” Vidar recognizes him immediately as the symbol of his tribe. “It’s also my totem of the eastern wind direction,” he says. That is probably no coincidence.
Vidar announces that I will serve my apprenticeship with the eagle. “He helps you in dreaming, teaches you about healing plants and guides you to assemble sufficient medicine (strength) to undertake splitting reality. You need to be physically strong and healthy for this undertaking.”
My teacher says the eagle is the companion of cosmic energy. “He will bring you in touch with the source of light to teach you there is a second reality. If you call the eagle and ask for it, he will charge your field of energy for dreaming, because on an earthly level you don’t have enough energy.”
I race to the tiger, according to my teacher he is blessed with chameleonic abilities, including an invisible power, and he is a master in qi. He explains, “That’s another translation for energy flow, it’s a power that Indians master.”
“What about the hedgehog?”
“Inviolable.” He adds somberly, “Although they can be stupid too,” and sighing, “If you see how often they get run over…”
Filled with admiration Vidar ascertains, “You have seen only beautiful images. This means you’re a positive person.” I would love to identify myself with the compliment, if only he knew how often I see obstacles in my way. On the other hand, I try to justify, I usually see the positive side of any situation. Even when I ought to know better.
About the Sorcerer’s Dream
The Sorcerer's Dream, A true story of initiation into the Native American sorcerer’s tradition by Alysa Braceau, Dreamshield. The author gives us a glimpse into the very real world of lucid dreaming and astral projection. Her direct experiences with a modern day mystic, Running Deer, takes the work of Castaneda one step further. In The Sorcerer’s Dream, she reveals unique steps to mastering lucid dreaming and traveling to the unknown.
"Dreamshield has an engaging narrative style and tells stories that are engrossing. There is a lack of literature on female sorcerers and this book makes an admirable effort to fill this lacuna. When, at the end, she attains “totality,” the reader will share her exaltation." ~ Stanley Krippner, Ph.D. Alan Watts Profess of Psychology, Saybrook University.
About Alysa Braceau
Alysa Braceau, Dreamshield, lives in the Netherlands (Europe), she is mother of a 7-year old daughter. She studied social legal studies and the passed ten years she is a (freelance) journalist and publisher. Besides that she has a healing practice and gives workshops about the Art of Dreaming.