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Animal Totems

A coyote in Yosemite National Park, California...

A coyote in Yosemite National Park, California, USA. Suomi: Kojootti Yosemiten kansallispuistossa Kaliforniassa (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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I have a very strong belief that animal totems not only exist but help teach us and guide us as we go through life. Maybe it’s because I grew up in the country or maybe it’s because of my Cherokee heritage. It doesn’t really matter how I came to believe these things. I know that I do and I know that animals do teach me quite a bit. When I was young, I would spend vast amounts of time in the woods alone. I would sit quietly and still and watch what the animals were doing. I would learn from them by watching their movements, behaviors and patterns. I would watch them play and fight. I had some contact with animals that no one else has that I know personally. For example, when I was around 10 years old, I came face to face with a mountain lion. I had an instinctual feeling that she was guarding babies. She was crouched in ready to spring mode. We locked eyes and I felt a curiosity from her. She did not spring on and maul me, obviously. Then when I was 11 years old, I was bitten on the leg by a copperhead snake. I wasn’t watching where I was going and the snake bit my leg. Momma rushed me to the hospital after sucking the poison out herself. You can’t even see the scar any more. When I was in my 20s and on a sport dive, I came face to face with a tiger shark. I’m not sure which one of us was more afraid. We both went in opposite directions. Those are just a few examples of the experiences I’ve had with animals. I have always felt a kinship with the animal totems in my world. Two mornings ago, I was opening the curtains on the back windows of my bedroom and standing about 5 feet from the house and moving closer was a very large coyote. His nose was in the air and he was smelling the feral cats that live outside of my house. It was dawn and he was in full hunt mode. I threw open the window and yelled, “Go Coyote….GO!”. I scared him and he stopped dead and stared at me. I yelled at him again to go and he ran almost to the wood line behind the house. I yelled one more time and he disappeared into the woods. He was very big. I was very shaken. I do not like predators hunting the cats. I also do not like predators of that size being that close to my house. I know there are coyotes close to the house most of the time. I can hear them calling to each other through the woods. Knowing they are out there and seeing them 5 feet from the house are two completely different things. After I had some time to process seeing that coyote that close, I started to think about what coyotes as animal totems mean to me. I was thinking how that applies to my life now and what wisdom I can glean from that encounter. The lessons that they teach us are as follows:

  • Understanding that all things are sacred–yet nothing is sacred
  • Teaching that only when all masks have fallen will we connect with the Source
  • Intelligence
  • Singing humans into being
  • Childhood trust in truth
  • Teaching us how to rear our young
  • Brings rain
  • Ability to laugh at one’s own mistakes
  • Placing the North Star
  • Shape-shifting
  • Teaching balance between risk and safety
  • Illumination
  • Stealth

I am still processing what the main lesson was for me. I have an idea. I may share when I know for sure. Do you see the same animal around you all the time? Do you have encounters with animals that you normally would not encounter? Have you considered that you may be coming into contact with animal totems to teach you?

About the Author

My name is Elizabeth Glass. I enjoy sharing my life experiences, my spiritual experiences and just writing in general. I have been writing…


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Liminal and Liminoid

English: Rock concert at The Hexagon The band ...

Rock concert at The Hexagon The band are Jethro Tull, performing an acoustic number. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Expert from my blog… read more here

Browsing through my library, I recently found some interesting material on the idea of liminality. You’d think I’d know all about this concept; it’s right up my alley. But as things go, I’ve only made note of it until now.

Some quick research on Wiki produced these two links. I highly recommend them to anyone interested in religion and the related idea of numinosity. Of particular interest is the distinction anthropologist Victor Turner makes between the liminal and the liminoid. The one is structured and expected by society, and more like work (e.g. going to Church); the other is free and playful (e.g. going to a rock concert). But both apparently have similar effects. They transport you somewhere out of the ordinary.

This second link is an interview with Talal Asad. I was pleasantly surprised to discover his views on postmodernism and religion. I’ve been thinking about this for a long time. And it’s always great to find an “established” thinker who’s saying things that you’ve already thought about. It gives you a sense of reinforcement and encouragement. After all, a single innovative thinker is often ignored or marginalized (as has been my experience). More than one, however, and people begin to take notice.

Apart from my personal story, I really believe that humanity would benefit from using all of the intellectual tools we have at our disposal… especially with regard to religion and society.

—MC


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“To Tirzah” by William Blake

Originally posted on Stuff Jeff Reads:

ToTirzah

Whate’er is Born of Mortal Birth
Must be consumed with the Earth
To rise from Generation free:
Then what have I to do with thee?

The Sexes sprung from Shame & Pride,
Blow’d in the morn, in evening died;
But Mercy chang’d Death into Sleep;
The Sexes rose to work & weep.

Thou, Mother of my Mortal part,
With cruelty didst mould my Heart,
And with false self-deceiving tears
Didst bind my Nostrils, Eyes, & Ears:

Didst close my Tongue in senseless clay,
And me to Mortal Life betray.
The Death of Jesus set me free:
Then what have I to do with thee?

In order to fully grasp this poem, there are a couple religious references which should be explained. First, the name Tirzah “is derived from The Song of Solomon vi.4, and signifies physical beauty, that is, sex.” (Geoffrey Keynes) Also, the words on the robe of the…

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Spiritual Marriage Part II

Originally posted on New Heaven on Earth!:

Jesus christ(coptic)

“We are members of Christ’s body…The two shall become one flesh. This mystery is a profound one” Ephesians 5:31-32

Spiritual marriage is a profound mystery. It is higher and deeper than physical marriage and makes it possible for a truly intimate, long-lasting, satisfying marriage. It is the Passion that leads to a passionate marriage. It is a mystery whose time has come to be revealed. “Now to him who is able to strengthen you according to the gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery which was kept secret for long ages, but is now disclosed and through the prophetic writings is made known to all nations, according to the command of the eternal God to bring about the obedience of faith–to the only wise God be glory for evermore through Jesus Christ!” (Romans 16:25-27).

The mystery of the “two shall become one flesh”…

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Spiritual Marriage

Originally posted on New Heaven on Earth!:

A Ketubah in Aramaic, a Jewish marriage-contra... Image via Wikipedia

What is spiritual marriage? I believe it is helpful to begin by defining marriage itself. According to Merriam Webster dictionary marriage is “a) the state of being united to a person of the opposite sex…in a consensual and contractual relationship recognized by law, b) the institution whereby individuals are joined in marriage, and c) an intimate or close union. (The photo to the right is a Ketubah in Aramaic, a Jewish marriage contract that outlines the duties of each partner)
The definition of marriage has been in the news concerning whether homosexual marriage should be made lawful. There is much more to marriage than meets the eye and controversy takes focus away from the Truth of holy matrimony and the deeper, spiritual meaning that is only discerned by communion with the Spirit of God.

Marriage, according to the Dictionary of Symbols by Chevalier & Gheerbrant, is the…

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William James and the trivialization of religious experience

The Appearance of the Holy Spirit before Saint...

The Appearance of the Holy Spirit before Saint Teresa of Ávila, Peter Paul Rubens (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The reason so many people trivialize religious experience (i.e. mysticism) is because, well, they’re just not “there.” By way of analogy, when the majority of people believed the earth was flat, suggesting it might be round could invoke ridicule.

Likewise, those experiencing the numinous tend to be careful, even shrewd. As Jesus told us, it’s not wise to cast your pearls before swine. But before we artificially elevate all alleged mystics to the realm of sainthood, we’d do well to remember that mysticism is tricky and prone to error.

So, in a sense, the scoffers are not entirely wrong. There are some nuts out there. And some mystics might need to tweak their worldview a bit. Like most things in life, this subject area is not a simple one. — MC

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Thoughts on Inter-dimensional Intelligences (Part 1)

Originally posted on Shamagaia:

telepathy500a

A lot of people have been connecting with me in recent weeks seeking clarity on the nature of inter-dimensional intelligences, so this seemed like a good time to whip together a little insight on some of the ones that I have encountered.

It’s hard to put experiences with inter-dimensional intelligences into words. Referring to something like Jungian archetypes is a start, but it only seems to get us so far. In this sense we at least have a paradigm from our side of the veil to relate to such things, because some inter-dimensional intelligences can reflect elements of our psychic condition, but there are others that seem to express a definite independent sense of being and motivation. So if we decide to relate to such intelligences as an extension of our own conciousness reflected in a higher dimensional source that’s fine, because we can at least start to contend with…

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