Totem Talk

Working With The Animal Totems

Rory Viale
  • Female
  • Westfield, MA
  • United States
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Please tell us a little bit about yourself
I am a college freshman at Unity College in Maine, studying Wildlife Biology and Art & Environment. I am a wildlife artist, wildlife photographer, musician, and junior zookeeper. Nature is fascinating to me, and it heavily inspires my artwork. I have a great attachment to my Native American ancestry, and am always searching to learn more and connect myself to the beauty that is its spirituality.
What brings you to this website?
Based on my interest in my Native American ancestry and culture, I am working on my AP Studio Art concentration that includes 12 unified pieces under a theme based on the 12 moons/animal totems of the medicine wheel. The pieces, in watercolor and ink medium, are carefully being planned to be as culturally accurate as possible, and requires a lot of research. I'd like to enjoy this site not only for the research purposes but for my own personal fluency with totems and connecting myself more to and understanding the dynamics.
Do you have a special animal totem that has come to you?
I have recently had my first clear introduction to a personal animal totem in a dream.I was in the darkest forest imaginable at night, the shadows very stark on the ground. I saw a Raven, my birth totem, peeking from around a corner of some sort. When it turned the corner to approach me after I acknowledged its presence, the Raven had appeared as a Black Wolf, dark as the night surrounding and as the Raven it had taken the image of before. He approached in a trot, his head low, his eyes yellow and intent. I knew not what to think, but knew to observe. The Wolf then curled up next to me on the ground and began to sleep, very peacefully. I didn't feel fear, but felt a companionship, the sort of companionship and comfort that my research has taught me to interpret as gaining a totem. Ever since that dream, I have felt his presence every night. I have since encountered it in the waking world, during a sweat lodge with the Micmac tribe, as well as protecting me in another dream and breathing behind me when I woke up. I have learned to interpret my Black Wolf totem as a protector and reassuring companion, appearing to tell me to relax and feel comfortable in a social or physical situation, and to tell me where I belong whether it be with people or in a geographical place.
Ever since arriving at college, I have identified the Lynx as another totem, more one that intensely defines my character. Ever since Lynx started appearing to me, I have learned to remain quiet sometimes in social situations, and to become extremely observational. I notice, may even know, secrets or aspects about people that they don't know themselves. I have also learned that I am a bit nosy, and that if I am to learn the lesson of the Lynx, I cannot share secrets of someone with others.
What are some of your favorite Animal Totems books and resources?
Animal-Speak by Ted Andrews
Totems: The Transformative Power of Your Personal Animal Totem by Brad Steiger
What are some of your favorite Shamanic Journeying CD's, Musicians, and Music?
Medicine Woman

Rory Viale's Blog

My Experience with the Micmac Tribe and the Black Wolf

Recently I went on a five-day expedition to the northernmost part of Maine for a Unity College freshman initiation to meet the Aroostook Band of Micmacs. Over the course of these five days that I camped on the grounds, I visited the tribe's museum, decorated a sacred ground, canoed with the Micmac youth, talked to and weaved baskets with elders, attended a tribal council, and danced and sung with native drummers. However, my last day was most influential to me. I…


Posted on August 12, 2015 at 9:00am

Welcome to the site and to our new Totem Talk community! This site was created to provide a place for those who both love Arvel Bird's awesome music, as well as for those who may have an interest in learning more about their own personal animal totems, to gather, to learn and to meet new people and make new friends. To read the rest of this welcome message, and to learn how to use the site features, please click on the link provided below: Thank you, and best blessings to you!

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