Totem Talk

Working With The Animal Totems


It was Sunday afternoon and I was sitting out front of a local flea market talking with a dear old friend Kyle and his wife April. When to everyone’s surprise a sparrow, which are usually very skittish and would rarely let someone get close to them. This one instead weaved its way through the other people standing nearby and flew right over and landed on my left shoulder. It did somewhat startle me at first, however I have a rescue cockatiel at home and he will fly and land on my shoulder so I’m somewhat accustomed to it. The sparrow sat there for what felt like a long time, and then as he flew away someone said it messed into my pocket. Well to my surprise when I got home took off my shirt looked to see how bad he had messed up my shirt, once again I was surprised to find no mess but instead there was a seed. So apparently that little sparrow was nurturing me instead!

There are many schools of thought on this type of occurrence. Some would say that it is a sign or omen of things to come; while others say it is a symbol of how closely you are walking in tune with nature and the Creators intention for how we are to follow his teachings. I am sure there are other beliefs as well, but those two are the more predominant beliefs. I have been since that sparrow’s visit pondering the meaning of the visit. Five days later I had gone to pick up my roommate from work, I had arrived early so I parked and was sitting there reading a book when I hear a bird singing, I looked to my left and there on the roof of the car beside me sat a goldfinch. That goldfinch sat there staring straight at me and singing to me for more than ten minutes until the driver of that car came to leave, and the goldfinch flew away. Later that evening I started thinking about that goldfinch, and I remembered the fact that it was about a year had past since I had found myself in possession of a wooden box of feathers (some hawk, and some eagle) also in the box was a fetish containing the lady’s umbilical cord, and on the front of the fetish was sewn a goldfinch! This wooden box I had purchased at a garage sale the young man said he knew very little about the contents, saying it was his mothers and she had taken the box with her wherever she went. The box was locked and he did not have the key so I paid five dollars for it sight unseen. I knew these things to be sacred so at the earliest chance I took them to a powwow where I met up with my dear friends Arvel Bird and Kimberly Kelly his wife, we blessed it with sage and then took it and turned it over to a medicine man that was at the powwow, for him to take and put it to rest properly.
During the whole series of events I thought it could not get any weirder. However, much to my surprise I was sitting at a picnic table in the court yard at my apartment complex and this Blue Jay swooped down and landed on the other end of the table. Now that is certainly strange enough but while the Jay sat there two squirrels playfully chasing each other back and forth across the yard until they saw the Jay! The squirrels ran across the yard and up onto the table joining the Blue Jay and me. The squirrels and Jay sat there squawking back and forth as if to be talking to each other passing the day with a few pleasantries. That lasted about five minutes until when a neighbor came walking towards us on her way to her apartment. The squirrels took off up a nearby tree and the Jay flew off and just over the neighbors head.

So I am thinking that there may be several different schools of thought as to why I am suddenly being visited by these birds. The first would be that I am in tuned with nature and the birds sense this and so they are attracted to me. The second thought would be attached to the box of feathers and the goldfinch fetish that the spirit of the birds the feathers came from, were speaking to me through these birds! Apparently they are pleased that they had been put to rest in the proper way. A third way of seeing this whole series of occurrences is indeed tied to the box of feathers and the goldfinch fetish of the old woman’s umbilical cord. I feel this to be the most likely meaning behind this series of events. I since the second visit I have had numerous dreams. Dreams where I see a small older lady with long grey hair and a pleasant smile dressed in a floor length gown of solid gold! She is standing at the top of a hill the sun shining brightly behind her creating a halo effect making it hard to see the lady in much detail, her hair shining silver in the golden suns light. Within seconds she starts to fade away, as she does, I realize that all around her were goldfinches. As she disappears in the sunlight the goldfinches in mass fly straight at me, I start to raise my hand to prevent them from striking me. As I raised my hands the birds split and fly around me and I feel the warmth of the setting sun.

So in conclusion it has been over a week since the latest event, so I think I can finally assess the events. I feel the chain of events certainly did have to do with the box of feathers and the old lady’s goldfinch fetish! Some Native Americans believe the deceased person’s body is to be complete to be able to cross over into the afterlife. So the old lady’s spirit needed reunifying, to rest in peace finally! The visits with the birds were a thank you from her spirit.

Thank you for reading my humble interpretation of these events!
Douglas Spirit Bear Neely / 06-25-2011

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Comment by Douglas (Spirit Bear) Neely on June 30, 2011 at 3:43pm

Terri, thank you for your most welcome addition of the photos as well as your input! I am forever learning how to use this thing they call a computer and the internet!! LOL!! If I have any new encounters I will be sure to post it and keep everyone updated!


Many Blessings to All on this the Fourth of July weekend!!


Comment by Terri Benning on June 30, 2011 at 9:44am

PS. The first photo is one that's called a "fractal" sparrow pic ... the guy who does them is an awesome photographer and artist. You can check out his fractal animal pix collection at: 

I love the "otherworldly" quality this art form lends to the animal images, making them look more like the  "spirit messengers" that they are indeed! Enjoy! :-)

Comment by Terri Benning on June 30, 2011 at 9:39am

Thank YOU Doug for sharing your most wonderous experiences with us! I think you're right about the totems animals always being with us ... it simply a matter of where we may choose to place our focus at any particular moment in time. And, when they choose to connect with us, it's hard NOT to notice their presence when they fly right up and land on your shoulder! What a brave little sparrow you attracted to yourself in this spiritual encounter! And dropping a SEED in your pocket? What an amazing way to get your attention, unequivocally! That was just TOO precious for words!

And the part about the goldfinch was so powerful as well ... what a deep sense of validation and spiritual communication and "communion" your experience encompassed! A VERY moving story to read ... I can only imagine how YOU must feel having lived it, and not merely written about it. :-)


As with all good stories, they do deserve a bit of illustration ... so here are a few photos to go along with your most amazing experience and story-telling. Have a great week Douglas ... Best blessings to you, Terri 

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