Tag Archives: Totem

Listening in my Garden

Since my favorite spot in nature is literally my own backyard, I try to get out there as much as possible. My totems are the way that I am arranging the plants to create food and habitat. I have seen a couple of snakes and three different families of bees. My berry and ceanothus plants in full bloom are just humming. I try to get out in the morning before all of the natural world is wide awake and busy working. I have abandoned my gloves so that I may feel the dirt directly on my fingertips and really grab onto those tiny roots of unwanted specimens. It’s funny how when one invader is eradicated space is created for another to breed unfettered. I think I like who is showing up now, creating nice carpets on bare ground. Also, it’s fun to see how some of the experiments are becoming established. A vision from one’s mind’s eye a couple of years ago is now actually becoming real. I am taking pictures of the changes I see taking place but I am afraid that they aren’t really capturing the vividness of the moment.

Being a good listener this past week was great motivation to work and study on my self-expression. I managed to work on a piece that I have found daunting. I keep at it and so now I am able to see that I will finish it. Yeah!

I hope you have a wonderful and enlightening week, full of quiet conversation with your totems and allies.

Second Moon

Connecting with All Our Relations is to recognize their Sacred Fire of Love. It is the flame of Spirit within each living being. One of the tasks I ask my students to do is gather a Totem that is a symbolic representation of one of their Relations. This may seem easy to do but it is no small feat to have a Totem speak to you in a way that you are certain that it is meant to come home with you. You must exhibit discerning listening which is a disciplined practice.

One of the ways to foster this practice is to sit in meditation outside for a set length of time. I ask my students to sit for a minimum of 30 minutes. During this time it is important to have a very high level of awareness and attention to everything that is going on around you. When I was first asked to engage in this discipline, one of my own teachers asked me afterward to describe the wind–from whence it came, how it shifted and when, what did it feel like, etc. I felt like such a dunce because the level of detail that was required of me was so far beyond anything that I had anticipated.

Actually, when I think about it, I was a dunce back then.  We allow our awareness of the other reality to be held on such a superficial level. There are many voices speaking to us if we would only allow ourselves to sit quietly and listen.

Artwork: Honoring All Our Relations

For the end of the fourth moon cycle I present “Honoring All Our Relations”, the fourth piece from the Steppingstone Series of my Heritage Mandala.

About 90,000 years ago, we humans “saw” our interconnectedness with all of life. We began to create ritual and representations of animals who gave of themselves so that we could have life. This “Give-Away” is a sacred blessing.

The headdress and totem is part of a sacred dance for Antelope,one of the principle sources of food in Central Africa those many years ago. Soon our ancestors would follow the heard to find new environs requiring adaptation.