Wednesday, August 8, 2007


A totemic lifestyle is a primal one. To believe that the spirits of the land and the wind and the waters are speaking to you through your experiences is a primitive belief. Our ancestors knew their place in the world through communion with an animal totem. Many Celtic families believed that the clan was guided by a fetch, the spirit of the tribe, the living representation of the people. And so we know the bear. She guides us where we must go as a people, and as individuals. She stands between us and danger, and appears when times are dire.

Many Ursas have seen her. Obsidian and Lightning Star encountered her at the manhood ritual of Lightning, when he formally took his place among the men of our people. Obsidian told me of it, afterward. His eyes were wide, and his face white. He spoke of a large bear which shadowed them across a field as they walked, and suddenly they found themselves in a different place. It was said by the elders that perhaps Lightning Star would become a great leader of our people one day, and that this was an omen. The oral history is full of tales such as this. Our people are her people, that is all we can know. She shows herself when and how she will.

My totem is the raven. He sits on my shoulder and whispers to me the gossip of the spirit world. This one has moved on, that one is being watched over by the ancestors during a rough time. Raven is a part of me. He is wind through the trees, bringing wisdom and knowledge to me time and again. I have never minded the company.

I often wonder how our oldest ancestors perceived this particular Mystery. They did not have the distraction of television, or ipods, or the drive home from work after a long day. Home was hearth, and mate, food, and storytelling. Did they ever struggle to hear the voice of the animal part of them? Did they ever need to wonder at their place in a modern world? Given that THEY are OUR heritage, do we?

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