Results 1 to 10 of 10

Thread: Totems & Animal familiars

  1. #1

    Totems & Animal familiars

    So i’m Reaching out to elders out ther out of curiosity. I know questioning the universe is usually a bad idea, however, for educational purposes here we go! So when I was searching for my totem and familiars I dedicated a lot of time to meditation and study, dream magick, etc. I expect a bird, dog or at least some sort of standard animal like my peers. But I got the Wendigo, and through meditation and study I found that everything online or in literature was wrong. Including running into one while camping down south. That rather than monsters they’re defenders and harsh teachers, that as long as you respect and love the forest they are protecting they have no reason to be aggressive. So this begs the question, this is a spirit/creature. Not an animal as seems to be the norm.
    Why do you think they’re my totem?

  2. #2
    Silver Member monsno_leedra's Avatar
    Reputation
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Posts
    2,649
    Religion
    Shamanic Practitioner & Green / Hedge Witch with Hellenic leanings
    Location
    West Virginia
    Phrase
    Can't never did nothing till it tried!

    Re: Totems & Animal familiars

    I've got to ask which wendigo?

    You have to flesh eating spirit that inhabits the body of man. Not a pleasant creature to be honest as it distorts the host and by native american lore is really screwed up. You have the hairy man creature that can be either a big foot type entity or a forest spirit that is a watcher in the woods type entity. Also a native american creature from lore but again depending upon which area and which particular nation your dealing with can be good, bad or sort of neutral in how it deals with mankind. Then there is another variety that is more remote and limited in lore that some nations recognize as an ancestor type spirit. Lore on that one was real limited but almost a transition between bear and humanity it seemed when I came across it, but still more than an animal but less than man (modern man anyway). But none of them are totems or seen in any such way by the nations in their respective areas. Land spirits yes, totems no. To be respected yes, feared, sometimes, killed, definitely depending upon the type ie the flesheater (killer).

    The flesh eater seemed more prone to the US northwest and Canadian northwest in most of the lore I ran across. But it also seemed to cross somewhat into the US Southwest in some lore with ties to the Skinwalker lore.

    I have a different opinion on Totems & Guides & Power Animals & familiars so I'll bow out of that discussion.
    I'm Only Responsible For What I Say Not For What Or How You Understand!

  3. #3
    Sr. Member
    Reputation
    Join Date
    Aug 2018
    Posts
    176
    Gender
    Female

    Re: Totems & Animal familiars

    Quote Originally Posted by Twin.Wendigo View Post
    So i’m Reaching out to elders out ther out of curiosity. I know questioning the universe is usually a bad idea, however, for educational purposes here we go! So when I was searching for my totem and familiars I dedicated a lot of time to meditation and study, dream magick, etc. I expect a bird, dog or at least some sort of standard animal like my peers. But I got the Wendigo, and through meditation and study I found that everything online or in literature was wrong. Including running into one while camping down south. That rather than monsters they’re defenders and harsh teachers, that as long as you respect and love the forest they are protecting they have no reason to be aggressive. So this begs the question, this is a spirit/creature. Not an animal as seems to be the norm.
    Why do you think they’re my totem?
    I can't say. I don't think anyone here can, because finding one's totem / familiar / guardian spirit / patron / etc. is completely personal. You are drawn to the Wendigo for a certain reason. Do you know why? What is your history with the Wendigo? What is its message to you? What exactly does it do or say to you in your dreams or meditations? What lessons has it for you or what do you want to learn from it?
    These are the sort of questions to ask yourself which you can only answer by spending more time with your totem through meditation or finding other ways to communicate with the Wendigo.

    What do you mean exactly by all literature being wrong about the Wendigo? I'm not very familiar with this creature, but if several sources describe the same behavior there must be at least a certain truth to it.

  4. #4

    Re: Totems & Animal familiars

    It might be more useful to consider descriptions of wendigo as convention of interpretation endemic to Great Lakes culture, rather than literal truth. I offer this in that it represented taboos surrounding excess and environmental exploitation - which were negatively valued by those cultures, then....but the positively valued basis of modern civilization.

    If a person was powerfully drawn to taboo breaking and the highs and lows of the spirit of present culture, wendigo would be a near perfect match. Perhaps not a thing that the originating culture would identify with, but times and people have changed.

    The culture that replaced the natives is nothing less than the human manifestation of wendigo, for better and for worse. Excess and exploitation are a razors edge. Done right, wonderful....done sloppily, there will be blood. The drive to endlessly pursue “more” is the source of a level of happiness and wellbeing never before achieved by humanity - and otoh, it comes at a price, deferred....perhaps, but always due.
    Last edited by Rhythm; 11 Aug 2019 at 20:31.

  5. #5
    sea witch thalassa's Avatar
    Reputation
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Posts
    11,239
    Religion
    relational theophysis and bioregional witchery
    Location
    coastal Georgia
    Phrase
    *a little bad taste is like a nice dash of paprika*

    Re: Totems & Animal familiars

    Are you sure its actually a windigo? If "everything online or in literature was wrong" another option is that its really something else you haven't discovered yet.
    “You have never answered but you did not need to. If I stand at the ocean I can hear you with your thousand voices. Sometimes you shout, hilarious laughter that taunts all questions. Other nights you are silent as death, a mirror in which the stars show themselves. Then I think you want to tell me something, but you never do. Of course I know I have written letters to no-one. But what if I find a trident tomorrow?" ~~Letters to Poseidon, Cees Nooteboom

    “We still carry this primal relationship to the Earth within our consciousness, even if we have long forgotten it. It is a primal recognition of the wonder, beauty, and divine nature of the Earth. It is a felt reverence for all that exists. Once we bring this foundational quality into our consciousness, we will be able to respond to our present man-made crisis from a place of balance, in which our actions will be grounded in an attitude of respect for all of life. This is the nature of real sustainability.”
    ~~Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee

    "We are the offspring of history, and must establish our own paths in this most diverse and interesting of conceivable universes--one indifferent to our suffering, and therefore offering us maximal freedom to thrive, or to fail, in our own chosen way."
    ~~Stephen Jay Gould, Wonderful Life: The Burgess Shale and the Nature of History

    "Humans are not rational creatures. Now, logic and rationality are very helpful tools, but there’s also a place for embracing our subjectivity and thinking symbolically. Sometimes what our so-called higher thinking can’t or won’t see, our older, more primitive intuition will." John Beckett

    Pagan Devotionals, because the wind and the rain is our Bible

  6. #6
    Opinionated Rae'ya's Avatar
    Reputation
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Posts
    2,377
    Gender
    female
    Religion
    Northern Tradition Shaminist Demonolator. Or something along those lines...
    Location
    Adelaide, Australia

    Re: Totems & Animal familiars

    Quote Originally Posted by Twin.Wendigo View Post
    But I got the Wendigo, and through meditation and study I found that everything online or in literature was wrong. Including running into one while camping down south. That rather than monsters they’re defenders and harsh teachers, that as long as you respect and love the forest they are protecting they have no reason to be aggressive. So this begs the question, this is a spirit/creature. Not an animal as seems to be the norm.
    Why do you think they’re my totem?
    I don't know anything about wendigos, so I can't really comment on this particular entity... but 'totems', animal guides, power animals, animal spirits, familiars and fetches are something that I do know about, as are land spirits and forest spirits.

    So... from what the others have described above, I don't believe that a wendigo entity can fulfill the role of primary animal guide, power animal or what most people erroneously call a 'totem'. But that's not to say that you can't form a relationship with a wendigo spirit, or feel a connection to them as a group of spirits. It is completely possible to form a relationship with any entity that you encounter, and for that entity to take on a guidance or teaching role. It is also possible for you to feel a special kind of respect and to look up to a specific entity or group of entities, which can lead us to feel a certain sort of kinship.

    BUT... I am always a bit wary when someone says that all the information they've found is 'wrong'. On one hand, information is not infallible, especially information found on the internet or in neo-pagan books, as there is no regulating body that ensures people share correct information... so it's always possible that a basic search will bring up only misinformation. But it's more likely that people suffer from confirmation bias and disregard the information that doesn't match their experience in favor of the information that does match their experience, even if the latter is tenuous at best. Sometimes we label something as a thing because it was mentioned somewhere... so we search for more information and can't corroborate the original label. So does that mean that the information is wrong, or that the original label was wrong? What I'm getting at is this... how do you know that this entity is a wendigo if all the information you've found doesn't match your experience of it? Perhaps it's not a wendigo at all, but is some other sort of forest spirit (many of which simply don't have names).

    Wights (spirits) in colonised countries are a tricky thing... simply because there are the native wights that have always been on that land, and then there are the introduced wights that colonists bought with them. In some cases the spirits and entities all kept their original names and niches... but in other cases the names got mixed up, or the native wights were supplanted by the introduced ones, or we got confused and started calling our introduced wights by the native names and vice versa, or we got confused and decided that because a wight is in the US rather than Scandinavia, that it can't possibly be a huldrufolk and therefore must be a wendigo. And at the end of the day maybe they are actually the same thing and we just have different names for them because we come from different cultures. The point is that we don't really know... and it might be that they are all the same thing or that they all very different... and we can't guarantee that applying any name to any spirit is technically correct without extensive experience and knowledge of working with different types of spirits in different areas. So you'll notice that animists and bioregionalists and shamanists are tending to drop the specific names and labels and talk about spirits and entities and wights in more generic terms unless we are confident of the specific wight that we are talking about.

    So I want to ask you... why do you think this spirit is a wendigo? Why does it need to carry that name? Why haven't you called it by any of the names of known protective forest spirits that better match the description that you've given? I don't ask these questions to be antagonistic, but to prompt a deeper exploration and understanding of your relationship with this entity.

    Quote Originally Posted by Twin.Wendigo View Post
    So when I was searching for my totem and familiars I dedicated a lot of time to meditation and study, dream magick, etc. I expect a bird, dog or at least some sort of standard animal like my peers. But I got the Wendigo, and through meditation and study I found that everything online or in literature was wrong.
    I would also like to ask you why you have labeled this spirit as your totem? And why you have been searching for your 'totem and familiars'. Totems and familiars are two very, very different things. On top of that, 'totem' is a controversial term that is no longer used by most people who work extensively with animal guides and helper spirits. Helper spirits is a very complex topic and there is A LOT of misinformation out there that has erroneously lumped a whole range of helper spirits together under inappropriate labels like 'totem'. So it's always very difficult for us to know what a person actually means when they say 'totem'. It's highly likely that what you mean by 'totem' is not what I define a totem as, or what MonSno above defines a totem as. So it's hard to enter that conversation without first figuring out what you are actually looking for.

  7. #7
    Newbie
    Reputation
    Join Date
    Apr 2019
    Posts
    11
    Gender
    Male
    Religion
    Don't know yet
    Location
    France

    Re: Totems & Animal familiars

    Stupid question but how are you sure what is your totem animal?

    Well my family name is the name of an animal (a cool one). So i would tend to beleive that this animal is my totem.

  8. #8
    Silver Member monsno_leedra's Avatar
    Reputation
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Posts
    2,649
    Religion
    Shamanic Practitioner & Green / Hedge Witch with Hellenic leanings
    Location
    West Virginia
    Phrase
    Can't never did nothing till it tried!

    Re: Totems & Animal familiars

    Quote Originally Posted by mathieu View Post
    Stupid question but how are you sure what is your totem animal?

    Well my family name is the name of an animal (a cool one). So i would tend to beleive that this animal is my totem.
    Realistically many would say that is not a totem but a Clan, Crest or Herald. It indicates a family group or lineage not a specific association to a particular "Medicine" or "occultic" association. Yes the Clan, Crest or Herald may suggest that at one time, or even currently, the member's of said group, family or lineage was connected in some way to the creature upon that image. Yet how that connection is achieved could be illusive or be due to associations from the groups past.

    For instance Cheyenne Dog Soldiers gained their name associations with the dog through both eating them and as a warrior group in their society. The Wolf Clan in many Native American Nation's gained that association due to it's purpose. Similar to how many Nations also had a Bear Clan within their society. Many European nation's had Tribal Heralds or Crest's that noted both individual's or Clan's themselves. Some had specific animals upon them, attaching them to mythic beings.

    Spiritual wise I was torn apart and put back together by wolves. I was brought before a council of spirits and introduced and danced into the ring in both human form and wolf form. That was just a minor part of things that went on. But that was not to find a totem or what people call a totem now days. I can also a sure you it was pretty painful and left marks on my skin for a few days afterwards. Occurred in the spirit world but left marks in the material world.

    I would ask though what makes you think your "totem" has to be an animal? Granted nearly every book today seem's to have a guided meditation where your guided into a field to find your totem. In my experience it seem's that totem will usually not only be an animal but normally a predator at that. Infrequently have I heard of people getting a prey animal as a totem. Even the predator's they get are large one's seldom the smaller ones. Not just the books either. Go to a retreat or something and it's the same results. That or people are perhaps unwilling or ashamed to say they got an insect or worse a rock or plant. People really hate to hear they may not even have one.

    One time guides or allies, yeah they might have those. Eat the right plant and you might have an guide or ally that takes you on a trip over the rainbow. Sit and watch a dragon fly / damsel fly and again an ally / guide that teaches you about the earth / water / air in a way that blows your mind. But it's not a totem like the books say.

    That doesn't even touch when animals are used as messengers / avatar's of the divinities you are worshiping. Nor the 95 percent of the time that an animal is simply being an animal, the 3 percent of the time it's probably being an animal and your unsure if it is, and the 1.9 percent that maybe it's being something more but your still not sure then finally the .1 percent it actually is being divinely controlled. But a great majority of your reading it is based upon it's traits and meanings and how they are "Understood" and interactions with the world. Reading as an individual creature you are observing and as a species.

    But like Rae'ya said above most of us who identify as some capacity of Shamanic like practitioners really don't use the word much anymore. We have guides and spirit helpers or allies. Some sort term, some long term, each with different purposes and capabilities. Of course that is my opinion so others may disagree.
    I'm Only Responsible For What I Say Not For What Or How You Understand!

  9. #9
    Opinionated Rae'ya's Avatar
    Reputation
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Posts
    2,377
    Gender
    female
    Religion
    Northern Tradition Shaminist Demonolator. Or something along those lines...
    Location
    Adelaide, Australia

    Re: Totems & Animal familiars

    Quote Originally Posted by mathieu View Post
    Stupid question but how are you sure what is your totem animal?

    Well my family name is the name of an animal (a cool one). So i would tend to beleive that this animal is my totem.
    That depends entirely on what you mean by 'totem'. Do you mean the popular neopagan notion of a lifelong animal guide that represents your innermost being and workings as a person? Or the notion of a power animal that assists you with magic or inner workings? Or the notion of a fetch or fylgja that is a part of your soul complex split off and sent into the Otherworlds as your representative? Or the notion of a symbol of your family/clan/heritage that is carried on in your surname or heraldry? Or the notion of an animal guide that may have a lesson for you or can assist you with learning or further understanding a certain concept? Or even the notion of your favourite animal that you've always loved and been drawn to?

    These things are all separate concepts or types of helper spirits that are erroneously labelled as 'totems' by modern neopagans and traditionalists alike. And as MonSno mentions above, it is entirely possible for most of these things to actually be represented by a stone or plant rather than a creature. So in order to properly answer your question, we need to know what you believe a 'totem' is... not because we want to tell you that you are wrong, but because there are so many different things that we see called 'totem' that it's important to make sure we are all on the same page to prevent inadvertently giving incorrect advice.

    Personally, I don't use the word 'totem' anymore. But I work extensively with animal guides, which are spirits that represent the essence of a species and which we can form a relationship with to assist us to learn, understand and appreciate certain concepts (some long term, some short term). Some of these are long term associations that I've had for years and one is a lifelong connection that some would consider a lifelong primary guide or 'totem' (but which I don't necessarily subscribe to). I have a small number of personal inner animal aspects that represent my inner workings and exist within my Innerworlds, but which don't act independently outside of my Innerworlds. I have a number of individual animal spirits and other spirits which act as my household in Thisworld and my spiritual helpers in the Otherworlds. I have individual spirit allies that can provide assistance and shelter in the Otherworlds. And I have a fylgja that I have not advanced far enough to consciously work with or direct yet. I don't have a familiar, but my husband (who doesn't work with animal spirits at all) does. And we have many pets who have absolutely nothing to do with our spiritual practices at all. These spirits variously fit into most modern usages of the terms 'totem', 'power animals', 'spirit animals' and 'animal guides' in some way, but I hesitate to use some of those labels simply because of the lack of clear definition.

  10. #10
    Newbie
    Reputation
    Join Date
    Apr 2019
    Posts
    11
    Gender
    Male
    Religion
    Don't know yet
    Location
    France

    Re: Totems & Animal familiars

    Quote Originally Posted by Rae'ya View Post
    These things are all separate concepts or types of helper spirits that are erroneously labelled as 'totems' by modern neopagans and traditionalists alike. And as MonSno mentions above, it is entirely possible for most of these things to actually be represented by a stone or plant rather than a creature. So in order to properly answer your question, we need to know what you believe a 'totem' is... not because we want to tell you that you are wrong, but because there are so many different things that we see called 'totem' that it's important to make sure we are all on the same page to prevent inadvertently giving incorrect advice.
    For me, a totem was all the things you mentionned in your first part.
    I ignored all thoses diffferences

Similar Threads

  1. Why Kittens Make Terrible Familiars
    By habbalah in forum Catacombs
    Replies: 5
    Last Post: 21 Dec 2014, 15:15
  2. Totems for focusing, channeling, and centering energies
    By theAmbassador in forum Catacombs
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 30 Aug 2012, 08:47
  3. Animal Spirit Guides/Totems
    By wind in forum Pagan Traditions & Discussion
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: 20 Apr 2012, 04:24
  4. Familiars
    By chanti in forum Catacombs
    Replies: 5
    Last Post: 20 Feb 2012, 15:18
  5. Whats going on here? Animal connection/animal signs.
    By forJupiter in forum Catacombs
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 20 Sep 2011, 00:32

Tags for this Thread

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •