Totem Talk

Working With The Animal Totems

Hi everyone, and a hearty HELLO to you too Arvel!

I don't think even Arvel knows yet EXACTLY how it was that I came to discover his music, and what a profound effect it has had on my life. So, this story is for YOU too Arvel. You know part of it, but not the WHOLE story, so there are some things you may be surprised to learn as well through this shared "story-telling" today.

In June of 2009, my 33 year old daughter passed away quite unexpectedly, and needless to say, my whole life was shattered and I was beyond devasted by this tremendous loss. Of course, the first few weeks, there is so much to do and to take care of, that there wasn't a lot of time to "think" about much of anything, except simply taking care of everything that needs to get done in the wake of the death of a loved one.

So, for the first few weeks, needless to say, I was operating in a state of pure shock, which was in fact, rather like sleepwaking through life on automatic pilot. Then, all of the "busy-ness" finally subsided, and all I was left with was this resounding SILENCE and feeling of profound loss, grief and emptiness inside. Of course, I KNOW, and knew then, that "I am ALWAYS here" ... but it sure didn't feel like it during those awful weeks following her pasage from this world into the next. She took good sized chunk of my heart with her when she left this world, that's for sure.

What happened in those next few weeks has truly been a HUGE blessing in my life, because it has given me something to DO with myself beyond mourning the loss of my daughter, which will be with me for the rest of THIS lifetime, no doubt. As a mother, I can get THROUGH it eventually, but I will never get OVER it ... I can learn to live again, however, in a way that has meaning, purpose and value to me, and hopefully, to others that I care about in my life as well.

One of the ways that I chose to cope with my loss during those first terrible weeks and months of mourning was through simply zoning out and watching YouTube videos, which was about all my mind could manage to handle at that point. Thinking was not something that I had much energy left over for at that point, but listening to music and watching my favorite videos went a long way toward helping me get through the long summer days last year following her passing.

In mid July, a YouTube friend named "Klayjar" sent me a new video, and low and behold, it was ARVEL playing "Shuunka Wakan" (Horse) in concert, along with a brief interview with Klayjar following the music clip. Here is the VIDEO that started it all, and has slowly begun to change my life, little by little, day by day, song by song . Many heartfelt thanks to Klayjar for this most timely and impactful "gift" of music from Arvel as well! Were it not for THIS particular video, I may never have discovered his wonderful healing music, or certainly, it would have taken much longer anyway. :=)


Horse has always been a powerful totem for me, as I actually grew up on a horse ranch, so this song struck a cord deep within my heart. I must have watched it a dozen times that first night, I loved the song SO much, and Arvel is just such a fascinating performer, I was simply entranced and completely mesmerized by what I was watching. I also posted it to my ning groups, and began to explore more of his music over on YouTube and on his website.

It didn't take me long to KNOW that I had to own his two Animal Totem CD's, and so I wrote to Kim and purchased my first three CD's , Animal Totem's 1 and 2, and Tribal Music Suite. I was SO impressed by how sweet and accommodating Kimberly was upon our first meeting ... she made made quite a favorable impression on me as well. She just impressed me as a VERY sweet, kind, loving and very patient person through our online exchanges, and she has been a pure pleasure to know and engage with ever since!

But, back to my "animal totem" journey through Arvel's amazing music! I had been dabbling in making some "fan" music videos to go with other songs I liked before my daughter's passing, and making video montages was something I VERY much enjoyed doing. In August, I began to put the images I was seeing in my head when I listened to his music into a video montage projects. I produced one video a week through the month of August, which really helped me to cope with my recent loss, and to begin to heal my heart again. Most of you no doubt already know how healing Arvel's Animal Totem CD's are, but to me they have been like pure magic and a kind of "soul sauve" in my healing journey following the loss of my daughter. They were JUST what the doctor ordered, and I now listen to these two CD's almost every day ... they are so mellow and soothing to the soul to me.

Somewhere along the way, a friend of Arvel's and Kim's sent them one of the videos that I had made during that time frame, and Arvel checked them out on my YouTube channel page and really liked them, apparently, and so came to visit my website. He contacted me directly from there, joined my AW Class Series, and the rest is history. As it turns out, we seem to be on the same page with a deep love of the animals and their unique ability to help us reconnect with the earth, with ourselves and with one another once more. Together, with our we can begin to heal not only ourselves, but our environments and ultimately, our world. There is much work to be done in this way, beginning with our animal totems, and so much GOOD WORK that can ensue through deepening our connection not only to the animal kingdom, which is where it begins, but also to ourselves, to one another and to the earth itself.

I feel that it is no accident that I encountered Arvel's music when I did, and I am very grateful to the Creator and to Klayjar, Arvel and Kim and to all of you as well for the opportunity to create a community in and through which deeper healing may occur for all of us in ways that we may never even suspect at this time. I'm sure Arvel has never had a clue what discovering his music has truly meant to my life, but perhaps, now he will know how deeply he and his music have touched MY life in this past year. His presence and his music has made ALL the difference at a time when I REALLY needed that kind of hope, harmony and healing energy to come into my life.

From the bottom of my heart, thank you Arvel and Kim for all that you do to make this world a better place for the four-leggeds and well as for we two-leggeds.

Best blessings to you both, each and all,

Warmly and very appreciatively, Terri

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Replies to This Discussion

I have no story of loss, only of gain. I first heard Arvel's music at the Colorado Indian Market 3 years ago. Most of what he played was from his One Nation CD, but I purchased an Animal Totems CD, too, and that started my journey. I cannot identify with all the animals, but the music of certain one resonated deeply in my soul. I still enjoy the music today, and each time I listen, I hear something new. Arvel's music has something to offer everyone, regardless of what path they walk in life.
Thank you for your response to my post and to this discussion thread Teresa. I would say that everything has definitely been a GAIN where Arvel and his music are concerned, I couldn't agree with you more. And of course, I think we probably all have some animals that we can relate to better than others. I know I do. It's quite natural in fact. :-) Arvel does a fabulous job of capturing the essence of each of the animal totems in his CD's and just like there are animals I like more than others, so are there also songs that strike a strong cord in me and other's that I enjoy very much, but do not have QUITE the same effect for whatever reason. You may be able to sense which animals you do resonate well with through his songs, and which ones you may not so much. Interesting how it works that way, huh? In that way, it can also be used as a tool to help you tune into those animal totems that DO resonate for you the most. :-) Red-tailed Hawk is a strong totem for me, and when I heard that song, it was the FIRST one that I chose to put to music. :-) And it's still my favorite, along with Dolphin Dream and Shuunka Wakan (Horse). All three of these animal totems are in my 9 directions animal totems too. So, you can learn a lot about which ones might be amongst your own totems through the songs you resonate to the strongest as well. Besides, it's just plain FUN to listen t them all, but it's also nice when a few special songs really speak to your heart and to the core of who we are.

Welcome to you Teresa, and I hope you will enjoy being part of this new community. :-) Arvel may not have a lot of time to spend here with his busy travel and tour schedule, but I know both he and Kim will be popping in from time to time to say HI to everyone! In the mean time, it's a great way to meet and make new friends who share a common interest and love of Arvel's music and of the "native" ways.

Have a great evening,

Love, Terri
Teresa Seggerman said:
I have no story of loss, only of gain. I first heard Arvel's music at the Colorado Indian Market 3 years ago. Most of what he played was from his One Nation CD, but I purchased an Animal Totems CD, too, and that started my journey. I cannot identify with all the animals, but the music of certain one resonated deeply in my soul. I still enjoy the music today, and each time I listen, I hear something new. Arvel's music has something to offer everyone, regardless of what path they walk in life.
I first saw Arvel perform at the Denver Indian Market 5 years ago. Red Tail Hawk was the song I really loved from the start. But have a lot of his CD's, love a lot more now. I will be at the Indian Market again in January 2011. To catch up. Cannot wait.

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