Driving in to work in the morning, I pass through the salt marsh at sunrise. The water is glassy and still, reflecting the green Spartina grass. Pelicans occasionally swoop down, scooping up fish, stirring up ripples on the glassy surface. It's peaceful and beautiful and a little bit magical. And every time I see those pelicans, I think of my grandpa.
Many, many people in my life have animal totems, whether they recognize them or not. My mom loves moose and alligators. She loves them so much that people have given her tons of moose and alligator things - artwork, tchotchkes, clothes, magnets, household items - all moose or alligator themes. Why moose and alligator? They are personifications of large parts of her life. My mom is Canadian. Even though she's lived in the US for most of her adult life, she will always be Canadian through and through. Hockey, french fries and gravy, and, of course, moose.
When she was 17, my mom moved to Florida with two of her friends (wonder where I got my adventurous spirit from?). She lived in Florida for years. She loved Florida. She still does. She became and adult in Florida. She met my dad, got married, had me (well, she had me in Canada, but she went back to Florida when my dad got back from his deployment). I suspect that her years in Florida were the big adventure of her life.
Whether she knows it or not, her Totems are Moose and Alligators.
|My mom has 2 of these in her house.|
Every member of my family has stubbed
a toes on it many times.
Now, in his adulthood, MacGyver's totem is clearly the squirrel. MacGyver loves squirrels, and he relates to their boundless, eccentric energy. MacGyver is fast friends with the squirrels that live in our back yard. His favorite is Montey:
|This is Montey chilling on the wall next to our driveway.|
NotDonna's Totem is elephants.
And my Totem? Well, there have been many. I've mentioned before that when I was growing up, there was a painting of owls that hung next to the back door (which was the main entrance) of our house. It was always like those owls were watching over us. That same painting has watched over the doors to every home MacGyver and I have moved to. My favorite Winnie the Pooh character was the Owl. I revere wisdom, which owls are said to represent. Owls will always be one of my Totems.
|The Owls that gaurd our home.|
Flintsone also loves owls. His mobile is owls, and those owls were his very first friends. He used to coo and gurgle at them all the time. He would get sad when the mobile wasn't on. Now, he lights up every time he sees the owl calander hanging in our kitchen. He waves at it, he giggles at it. I wouldn't call owls his real Totem, but they're certainly a good start.
When I was in 2nd grade, I decided I was going to be a wildlife biologist. Over the next year or two, this became more specific as I became obsessively interested in Australia. I decided I wanted to study marsupials, especially Koalas. Koalas became my Totem as a kid. I had tons of stuffed koalas, posters, books and books and books, puzzles, etc. I still sleep with a very sad bedraggled looking stuffed koala (and another that MacGyver gave me to try to "replace" my childhood koala).
As an adult, I've lost interest in koalas. They don't carry much depth for me. But I've had many Totems. Tropical lizards in keeping with my mom's alligators. Black widow spiders - we used to have an infestation of them when I was in my late teens and they always interested me far more than they scared me. And I was more than a little amused by the whole killing their mates thing. Others have come and gone. Owls have been constant.
For well more than 10 years, one of my major, if not my main, Totems has been the Praying Mantis. I love insects. I always have. I specialized in Entomology at Purdue (1 class away from earning a minor). Praying Mantis appeals not only based on the fact that females are known to eat the male's head during copulation (which has interestingly been shown to happen predominantly in captivity - another appealing metaphor in my life), but also because of the air of spirituality, the sleek grace (not that I have an ounce of grace, personally), the patient pursuit of goals. And mantids are beautiful. For years I have toyed with the idea of getting a praying mantis tattoo.
Lately, though, a new Totem has appeared in my life. A new symbol that I find holds deep meaning for me. From the moment MacGvyer gave me a necklace with this symbol on it, I knew it had a place in my life. It felt right around my neck, and, honestly I've been drawn to it all along I just didn't really realize it. As I grow - physically, emotionally, and spiritually - I feel pulled to this image. As I discover my place in the wheel, I find myself part of the symbol.
My new Totem is not an animal.
It is the Tree of Life.
|This is very similar to the pandent MacGyver |
got me, though mine is bronze.
I am not letting go of owls or praying mantids or ants. All of these creatures can be found in the tree. But I have a new Totem. The Tree of Life.
|This is made of recycled Haitian Steel. We have two of them in our house.|
Both came from The Rainforest Site store.