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What is Totem?

Tradition Totem Beliefs (As found on Wikipedia): A totem is traditionally a symbol that represents a family or a tribe. It never really was intended to be a symbol for an individual person, but instead a group of people. Typically the Totem would be the Ancestor of this group of people (the ancestor being represented by an animal or other type of natural object) and would be accompanied by some kind of story.

In modern times, the idea of the Totem has kind of been hijacked. But being as open minded as I can, I tried to embrace the idea that these modern practices aren't very old and haven't gone back for centuries, and is instead it is something that some one made up and decided to start doing one day. This kind of takes the magic out of the whole thing, but being an atheist, it was actually easier to fit into my life-style this way. With it being kind of something people where making up as they went along; I decided to create the Totemic Tradition for Atheists. I know this sounds absurd but go with me on this. First let me explain why I felt the need to do this at all.

Growing up as a kid on the farm; I was really into book learn'n despite my families dedication to the Bible and all it's answers. I had a very strict diet of zoological encyclopedias, I still had a lot of my encyclopedias, still! This was my natural calling in life (keep in mind I am now an Architectural Librarian, but the passion is still there) and I virtually became an animal encyclopedia, and feel that I still kinda am. :3 I'm no jeenius, but I do still have that strong passion for animals.

There, you see? This proves I'm crazy. I'm not saying I'm special, or that I'm the only person in the world that loves animals or that I know more about animals that any one. No, I'm just trying to give some perspective on my passion. So, now that we have established my history of animal fascination and my current "not having imaginary friends" religious stand point, I can then push through to explain why an Atheist can have a totem and maybe not be completely crazy. (Or what ever, I don't really care.) ;D

Dreams... are a window into your mind. Symbolism is a form of communication between you and your subconscious that is conveyed in your dreams. If you are having trouble, and have a weird dream, you are probably trying to tell your self something. The most straight forward dream I ever had was this:

"I'm driving home from work, it's a short drive because work is only two or three back roads away. I'm at the stop light and it turns green; there is a car in front of me. It's dark out and I become really impatient, I just want to get home, so I start to drive over the car and as my car get's on top of the car in front of me, I realize how crazy this is, and that I don't need to go to such extreme measures just to get home. So I slowly roll back off of the car and proceed to patiently roll behind it on the two lane road. As I patiently drive, bright neon lights begin to flash in the rear window of he car in front of me and it says very clearly, "Be. Here. For. Rea.son."

Of course, I tell my Hansel this, and he starts to laugh and say, "Your dream said, 'Be here for reason.' in bright neon lights? How clear can any message be?" Which I agree! It was a legitimate dream I had that gave me a very clear and straight forward message! I need to stop being to impatient about things and be here for reason. So I did so, and my quality of life shot through the roof, so I do think there is some merit to listening to your dreams, because sometimes you need to remind your self on these important things that you forget; which is where epiphanies come from as well. So this is where Totemic Dreaming comes in.

I would recommend attempting Totemic Dreaming for anyone who wants to figure out their Totem, as apposed to just picking one; but keep in mind that you CAN just pick one, it's not going to destroy any natural balance or anything. I opted to dream, and this was my Totem Dream:

"I am driving around with some friends when suddenly I get dropped off in a parking lot and a blue fog begins to roll over everything and covers everything up, until everything is, of course, blue fog. Suddenly out of the fog, right in front of my, saunters a Grey Wolf. I'm not afraid of the Wolf because I had studied them in depth and know what wonder family creatures they are. It turns and leads me into the fog, and from all around me emerge more Grey Wolf, laying together, sitting, mingling; I am now standing in the middle of their pack. I look to the right of me, and there is a wintered tree, no leaves, black bark, short in stature, and on the branch sits a beautiful snowy owl; and my dream ends."

It had taken about 2 to 3 nights of loosely "meditating" to get this dream, but it was very clear and I remember everything exactly how it was. I know this because I wrote it down right after I woke up, (I had pen and paper at the ready.) It was still very clear in my mind with how excited I was that it actually worked! It did require the fact that I actually believed it would work, and as most of us understand, "magic" or "religious" experiences doesn't happen unless you believe, and then you in turn create the result. It was easier for me to believe this would happen, because like a good little atheist I had done my research on brain activity of people in R.E.M., and also personal experience of creating dreams through what was going on in regular life. Like... dreaming about work, or what ever; this really is no different.

So how did I create my Totem dream, and why does this make my Totem sincerely real? Well... let me eplain it like this; before I went to sleep every night, I said a little mantra, "Animals of the world, come to me, reveal to me my Totem Animal." Then I would think about all the animals marching towards me, Lions, Bats, Weasels Lemurs, Red Pandas, Caracals, Civet Cats... a lot of mammals. I would repeat this to my self until I ultimately fell asleep, and after a few nights, I had my blue fog, wolfy owly dream. Just to get this straight, I want everyone to understand that I do not thank that the spirits of the animal kingdom came to me and actually revealed to me, my Totem figured; I do think that my mind thought, "Okay, she's been asking for some kind of mystical Totem dream... so let's conjure something." And so it was conjured. I also happen to believe, in my humble little opinion, that the subconscious does have the capacity to create symbolism with in a conjured totemic dream; in other words, it specifically chose the Grey Wolf and the Snowy Owl, because they harbor a large amount of significance to my personality. This, in turn, makes them perfect totem animals, which is why I used the dream method over just picking random animals. In implicating my dream to pick the animals for me, my mind was able to sort out, Grey wolf; which embodies my perspective on family and social activity, and Snowy Owl; which embodies my general personality and love of eating Lemmings. :D

I am aware that being atheist and having personal totem animals don't mix %100, but I first and foremost do not believe that non-sense can be true fact. On the other hand (as a large number of atheists grown in indifference) I cannot help but embody Snowy Owl as a crazy kooky, animal loving crazy lady. (I got crazy in there twice, right?) After all, if you've lived your life loving animals and wanting to be close to them, so bad, it hurt in side; you gotta give your self a little slack and simply let loose and accept the fact that you're just going to have to be a little crazy in order to find satisfaction. :3

1 comment:

  1. Symbols, per se, can be motivational totems, even if they are obtuse and ambiguous to our comprehension at the time.