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Posted: Sep. 8, 2002
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Question of the Week: 46 - 6/18/2001
Predator and Prey - What Beasts Live Within You?
The circle dance between predator and prey in Nature works to keep things in balance. If you follow a shamanic path, what totem/guardian animals do you hang out with? How did you find your totem/guardian animal? What do think the choice of a certain totem animal says about a person? What about yourself? If you are Pagan, but do not follow a shamanic path, what role or lessons can be learned from the predator/prey relationship? Do you use or were you taught about this concept in your spiritual training? If you are 'none of above', then in our best Barbara Walter's voice we would ask you, 'If you were an animal, what animal would you be?" (Just trying to be inclusive here!)
| Reponses: There are 44 responses posted to this question.
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| I'm A Vegan, And A Pacifist, And One Of These Over-sensitive People... ||Jun 17th. at 9:25:57 pm EDT|
|Claire (Chapel Hill, North Carolina US) ||Age: 16 - Email |
I'm a vegan, and a pacifist, and one of these over-sensitive people who refuse to kill small insects. At the same time I have an extremely carnivorus nature. My second thought upon seeing a small, furry critter (right after, hey, cute!) is wow, that could be my lunch. I cannot see large fish without considering hitting them over the head and frying them with basil.
I think this kind of dual nature is instructive - on one hand, I am capable of feeling compassion for all beings, and acting out of that compassion. On the other hand, I have recieved a gift from the thousands of generations of ancestors who didn't have tofu, Luna bars, and friendly local health-food stores. My ancestors have passed down instincts that will allow me to survive on whatever food the Goddess makes availible.
How does this affect my "totem animal?" Well, whatever it may be (I haven't found/accessed it yet), it's omnivorous in the metaphorical sense - it is greatly changable and can subsist on whatever is availible. On a purely shallow, subjective level, I think I'd prefer a furry or scaled totem animal, because... I don't know. Because. The problem is, whenever I imagine what kind of animal I most resemble psychologically, I see a large ape. Which is a bit silly, because that's what I am - a hairless ape.
| I Put Faith On What My Animal Friends In Waking Time *and... ||Jun 17th. at 10:24:08 pm EDT|
|Lynne-Renee (rural, St. Louis area, Missouri US) ||Age: 29 - Email |
I put faith on what my animal friends in waking time *and* in journeying tell me. I'm naturally one of those friends who love but call infrequently. I'm the same way with journeying. Therefore, I get most of my info from the messages given in waking times.
I feel I should be open to whomever approaches me with info. I find that my spiritual allies appear when I need them, in flesh and blood form or in spirit in the physical plane (is that an oxymoron?).
I rely daily on Raven for warnings and guidance in traffic (I commute 2 hours/day). When I see a raven (I see scores each day), I immediately react to what it told me. If I don't, I find I wish that I had...Hawk comes to me when I'm lost/confused/down. She is my cue to look above myself...Currently Rabbit has overrun my life. There's a direct correlation to this week's homepage article...Dragon, Seal, Spider and Deer all visit often. Moth and a bird even my father can't identify pop up in the physical world, too.
As you can see, I'm an equal oppurtunity girl. Perhaps this comes from being raised by this family, knowing generations have done it, why shouldn't we? One can tell time by the sun (without a sundial, just look up!) and one can read the weather by the winds and clouds and other sky factors; watch the animals...
It's not that I'm particularly good or knowledgeable, I just know the answers are there.
| The Ebony Crow! I DonŐt Believe I Ever "found" My Totem Animal... ||Jun 17th. at 10:45:12 pm EDT|
|Callum (Lyons, New York US) ||Age: 16 - Email |
The ebony crow! I donŐt believe I ever "found" my totem animal, which I call an anam cara or "soul friend". Rather, I think we chose each other. Over time I began to feel connected and saw them everywhere. So I naturally started to weave them into my life. After a while as a heard or saw one flying over head, I without thought, quietly nodded or spoke a greeting. As I said, I think we had established a connection. I can recall many times when I was aided, warned or given visions by the crow. One was as I was walking down the road one morning. I saw three crows in the road before me. But they stayed there, not flying away like the normal act of any bird. I reflected, and remembered a friend of mine was flying to another country to meet her fiancee. With this warning, I quickly set a protection ward over her. It turned out that while there, her fiancee became violent, but did no harm to my friend. The crows had warned me of something to happen, so I could resolve it. I believe you can gain much from this type of relationship. For me, the duty of a soul friend is to put your life in perspective, and aid or guide you on your path. The crow to me is not a dirty, garbage picking bird, but a wise, family oriented companion with much to show and teach. If you feel that you have any connection with an animal, look into the relationship more in depth, and you could find a friend for life and even beyond.
| Many People Have Read '7 Habits Of Highly Effective People', But There... ||Jun 17th. at 10:50:00 pm EDT|
|Reflection (Phoenix, Arizona US) ||Age: 28 - Email |
Many people have read '7 Habits of highly effective people', but there are many multiples of 7+ habits in creatures all around us to learn from.
I do not have a fixed totem per se, but study the traits of animals (and people) I admire to see what traits appear in them, and which ones don't.
Once I have an understanding of the animal in its element, I can 'become' that animal for a time to augment my persona in situations perceived as being similar to that environment.
Being a Leo, I identify most closely with the Lion.
(And my personal Goddess is Inanna, who loooves Lions! Kinda nice how that works out, huh?)
All the feline stereotypes apply to my everyday persona: pride, loyalty, love of the sun, laziness, fits of passion and detachment...
at other times, I like to be:
a shark: silent, swift, and calculating
a jackal or hyena: cunning, conniving, sociable
Sometimes there is a bit of a trade off in terms of undesirable/desirable qualities, which becomes especially relevant when in involved in a group endeavor. When I am a shark I tend to grow sullen and uncommunicative quickly, and a bit edgy. For this reason, a shark is not a good animal to be around groups, unless 'the group' is the prey, or one need not interact much with coworkers/companions. (Though the writer must admit he has become a shark expressly to disappear and/or avoid more work, something equally desirable to a Lion, but far less practical)
Even being a Lion is little better for cooperative efforts... we want the glory for ourselves. (I usually do, anyways)
The jackal is the most social of the three, yet possibly the weakest.
Yet ever notice how some work groups tend to resemble jackals? Avoiding conflict and real work, yet delighting in the aftermath of conflict... dinnertime! Yet sometimes work still gets done.
As far as a relationship between predator and prey: Hmmm... It's better to be a predator, methinks, though death finds us all. Perhaps it is best to simply learn what we may, and be what we are with dignity and integrity... be it a shark, tiger, or a rabbit.
I was not taught these ideas by anyone, they have kind of condensed from personal observation and dreams. Of course, your mileage may vary.
| What Beast Would I Be??? Hmmmmmm..... There Are So Many Wonderful Creatures... ||Jun 17th. at 10:59:04 pm EDT|
|shell (saginaw, Michigan US) ||Age: 30 |
What Beast would I be??? Hmmmmmm..... There are so many wonderful creatures I could be that It is hard to choose. Well First off I have a Large Custom Drawn Tatoo of a beautiful LION on my lower back to show my "sign" and the lion definately lives with in me. I definately have many animals inside me. I think deep inside I have a little of everything from the fluttering hummingbird to the majastic lion. I love them all----Except any type of insect.
| I Think To Maintain Balance There Has To Be Predators And Prey... ||Jun 18th. at 12:12:09 am EDT|
|Autumn SilverFerret (Montoursville, Pennsylvania US) ||Age: 22 - Email |
I think to maintain balance there has to be predators and prey and in order to clean up after the predator there has to be scavengers. These groups need to be present for many reasons, population control, to weed out the old, the sick, etc. It's in nature and it may even seem cruel to some, but it's survival. The fox doesn't kill the rabbit out of cruely or bloodlust but simply to survive.
I think if I could be any animal it would be a horse. To me horses are beautiful, majestic and fast. They can get from place to place easier than some animals. In many cultures the horse was used as a way to get around. They often symbolized travel, loyalty and fertility.
Another animal I find striking is the domesticated ferret. They are so joyful and full of energy and life. Nothing gets them down. They are so carefree. They are often silent and can get into small spaces. Also very intelligent and stealthy.
| Hi! I Guess I'm A Beast. I Sit Like Any Good Roman... ||Jun 18th. at 12:25:26 am EDT|
|Tarostar (Toronto, Ontario CA) ||Age: 59 - Email |
Hi! I guess I'm a beast.
I sit like any good Roman and watch tormented xtians squirm. Engaging bible-believers of the rabid fundy type, on talk boards and offer the objective (?) facts of Christian History, from a Pagan perspective, sends them into paroxysms of quivering invective, contempt and insult; THE REAL XTIAN TRINITY!
They think they are discussing religion, when all they do is preach Bible. So, beast that I am, I throw the words and doctrines of the Early Church Theologians in their teeth and the real, dark side of xtianity and its Bible "God" at them.
They feel they are right in blasting Paganism and Witchcraft in a vicious manner, but when the tables are turned, I am somehow, being "unfair".
I like to show up their own ignorance about the very religion they preach at others and their lack of understanding about the history of those "scriptures" they push.
Xtians need to have their opponents at a position of disadvantage to be able to preach and demonstrate xtian superiority. However, when this old beast comes on line, knowing more and teaching xtianity's history and very doctrines to xtians themselves, FROM A PAGAN PERSPECTIVE, they go ballistic.
They are use to willowy "Pagans" and Llewellynsites with their simplistic concepts of Summerland. Comes this practicing occultist, theosophist, Witch, Pagan and Occult Shop Sorcerer, and the fear of the Old Gods blanches their faces.
I love turning the tables on the fundies. I think I'll make a career of it. BB
| If You Follow A Shamanic Path, What Totem/guardian Animals Do You... ||Jun 18th. at 12:49:36 am EDT|
|Calliope (Oakville, Ontario CA) ||Age: 21 - Email |
If you follow a shamanic path, what totem/guardian animals do you hang out with? How did you find your totem/guardian animal?
>>I don't really "follow" a shamanic path, but Native beliefs have indeed influenced me from a young age. My first totem was discovered when I first began studying Wicca, but had always been around. The Butterfly is my creative consort, my constant guide in writing, and a beautiful reminder of the Cycle day to day. She reminds me of change, growth and expression. I don't remember how I found the butterfly to be my totem, She was just always there.
>>My other totem is the Crow. I always felt that Crow was close to me, but never really thought about it. Since moving to a new apartment on an Estate, I have found many Crow feathers on my walk to work in the morning, and find Crows around me often. I have recently felt Hekate calling me, and the Crow is one of Her messengers. So at this point, adding the Crow to my totem is right.
What do think the choice of a certain totem animal says about a person?
>>I think that the totem chooses you, you don't choose the totem. Just as the gods lead you, and the element you work best with comes naturally, so does the totem. I believe the totem animal that is attracted to you says something about your inner self, likely exploring unknown sides of the person.
What about yourself?
>>The Butterfly is a direct representation of my artistic and creative side. As a writer, She shows inspiration. As a Crafter, She helps me think of and complete new projects. The Crow is more subtle, showing the destructive, aggressive side of me. The Crone side of my personality that people may not normally see.
If you were an animal, what animal would you be?
>>I've always said I would be a cat. Cats, mine is an indoor and I am basing all comments on her, get to lay about the house, rule it, have a human at their beck and call, and contort themselves into any position to sleep. That, I would say, is the life.
| My Totem Animal Found Me. When I Was Young I Was Way... ||Jun 18th. at 1:08:09 am EDT|
|Skye (Dawson Creek, British Columbia CA) ||Age: 28 - Email |
My totem animal found me. When I was young I was way too serious and hard, Magpie helped me to be myself and to enjoy life. Mother bear still comes out to run the show when life needs to slow down and get back on track though.
A few other animals *talk* to me on some level and are important in my life even though they are not my totem, but I still learn from them.
| Well, Being A Total Atheist, I Cannot Speak For Animal Totems And... ||Jun 18th. at 3:13:57 am EDT|
|Jason (Boston, Massachusetts US) ||Age: 19 - Email |
Well, being a total atheist, I cannot speak for animal totems and the like. However, I have always identified myself with wolves. This is the loyalty that is displayed within the pack and the honor this implies within the structure. The fact that the pack becomes an extended family, that people are more than simply good friends, they are as important as those who are related by blood propper.
The degree of ferociousness when defending the pack and hunting has always stuck me as true to myself. The playfulness that one sees in a pack at rest has always struck me as the way that I relate to my friends. Lastly, their ability to survive and flurish, being the only other animal besides humans that has ever inhabited five continents, is something that I take pride in. That I never give up, never give in, never let my fellows be taken down.
| Well, I Found My Guardian Animal To Be The Wolf. I Simply... ||Jun 18th. at 6:48:46 am EDT|
|Lara (Bologna, Italy) ||Age: 29 |
Well, I found my guardian animal to be the Wolf. I simply felt it one day and he came into a deep meditation I was having, coming out of the Woods, looking at me but remaining somewhat distance. I've always been a pagan since I was young, although not conscious of following a shamanic path instinctively. Someone told me I was a Thunder Shaman. It may be.
| I Think I Have A Whole Ecosystem Of Animals And Plants Living... ||Jun 18th. at 7:14:47 am EDT|
|Jennifer (San Luis Obispo, California US) ||Age: 23 - Email |
I think I have a whole ecosystem of animals AND plants living inside me, but I'll refrain from listing them all. :)
The Wolf came to me as a guardian and teacher when I was very young, about 3 or 4 I guess, when I was living in an extremely hostile environment. He has always guarded me and watched over my dreams. Cats have always been special to me although I don't know if they are my totem. Maybe it's because I'm a Leo, I don't know, I just always wanted to be a cat! I seem to be able to bond with even the most antisocial of them. Vulture, Hawk, Dragonfly, Mouse, and Raccoon also have special places in my life. Whether it be a warning from Vulture, a wake-up call from Hawk or Dragonfly, Mouse helping me through exams, or Raccoon telling me when I should (or shouldn't) be wearing a mask. They are all there for me, to learn from and love. Other than Wolf, I don't know if they are my totems or not, but I learn from them anyway.
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