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Thread: Totems & Animal familiars

  1. #1

    Totems & Animal familiars

    So i’m Reaching out to elders out ther out of curiosity. I know questioning the universe is usually a bad idea, however, for educational purposes here we go! So when I was searching for my totem and familiars I dedicated a lot of time to meditation and study, dream magick, etc. I expect a bird, dog or at least some sort of standard animal like my peers. But I got the Wendigo, and through meditation and study I found that everything online or in literature was wrong. Including running into one while camping down south. That rather than monsters they’re defenders and harsh teachers, that as long as you respect and love the forest they are protecting they have no reason to be aggressive. So this begs the question, this is a spirit/creature. Not an animal as seems to be the norm.
    Why do you think they’re my totem?

  2. #2
    Silver Member monsno_leedra's Avatar
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    Re: Totems & Animal familiars

    I've got to ask which wendigo?

    You have to flesh eating spirit that inhabits the body of man. Not a pleasant creature to be honest as it distorts the host and by native american lore is really screwed up. You have the hairy man creature that can be either a big foot type entity or a forest spirit that is a watcher in the woods type entity. Also a native american creature from lore but again depending upon which area and which particular nation your dealing with can be good, bad or sort of neutral in how it deals with mankind. Then there is another variety that is more remote and limited in lore that some nations recognize as an ancestor type spirit. Lore on that one was real limited but almost a transition between bear and humanity it seemed when I came across it, but still more than an animal but less than man (modern man anyway). But none of them are totems or seen in any such way by the nations in their respective areas. Land spirits yes, totems no. To be respected yes, feared, sometimes, killed, definitely depending upon the type ie the flesheater (killer).

    The flesh eater seemed more prone to the US northwest and Canadian northwest in most of the lore I ran across. But it also seemed to cross somewhat into the US Southwest in some lore with ties to the Skinwalker lore.

    I have a different opinion on Totems & Guides & Power Animals & familiars so I'll bow out of that discussion.
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    Re: Totems & Animal familiars

    Quote Originally Posted by Twin.Wendigo View Post
    So i’m Reaching out to elders out ther out of curiosity. I know questioning the universe is usually a bad idea, however, for educational purposes here we go! So when I was searching for my totem and familiars I dedicated a lot of time to meditation and study, dream magick, etc. I expect a bird, dog or at least some sort of standard animal like my peers. But I got the Wendigo, and through meditation and study I found that everything online or in literature was wrong. Including running into one while camping down south. That rather than monsters they’re defenders and harsh teachers, that as long as you respect and love the forest they are protecting they have no reason to be aggressive. So this begs the question, this is a spirit/creature. Not an animal as seems to be the norm.
    Why do you think they’re my totem?
    I can't say. I don't think anyone here can, because finding one's totem / familiar / guardian spirit / patron / etc. is completely personal. You are drawn to the Wendigo for a certain reason. Do you know why? What is your history with the Wendigo? What is its message to you? What exactly does it do or say to you in your dreams or meditations? What lessons has it for you or what do you want to learn from it?
    These are the sort of questions to ask yourself which you can only answer by spending more time with your totem through meditation or finding other ways to communicate with the Wendigo.

    What do you mean exactly by all literature being wrong about the Wendigo? I'm not very familiar with this creature, but if several sources describe the same behavior there must be at least a certain truth to it.

  4. #4

    Re: Totems & Animal familiars

    It might be more useful to consider descriptions of wendigo as convention of interpretation endemic to Great Lakes culture, rather than literal truth. I offer this in that it represented taboos surrounding excess and environmental exploitation - which were negatively valued by those cultures, then....but the positively valued basis of modern civilization.

    If a person was powerfully drawn to taboo breaking and the highs and lows of the spirit of present culture, wendigo would be a near perfect match. Perhaps not a thing that the originating culture would identify with, but times and people have changed.

    The culture that replaced the natives is nothing less than the human manifestation of wendigo, for better and for worse. Excess and exploitation are a razors edge. Done right, wonderful....done sloppily, there will be blood. The drive to endlessly pursue “more” is the source of a level of happiness and wellbeing never before achieved by humanity - and otoh, it comes at a price, deferred....perhaps, but always due.
    Last edited by Rhythm; 11 Aug 2019 at 20:31.

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    sea witch thalassa's Avatar
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    Re: Totems & Animal familiars

    Are you sure its actually a windigo? If "everything online or in literature was wrong" another option is that its really something else you haven't discovered yet.
    “You have never answered but you did not need to. If I stand at the ocean I can hear you with your thousand voices. Sometimes you shout, hilarious laughter that taunts all questions. Other nights you are silent as death, a mirror in which the stars show themselves. Then I think you want to tell me something, but you never do. Of course I know I have written letters to no-one. But what if I find a trident tomorrow?" ~~Letters to Poseidon, Cees Nooteboom

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    Opinionated Rae'ya's Avatar
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    Re: Totems & Animal familiars

    Quote Originally Posted by Twin.Wendigo View Post
    But I got the Wendigo, and through meditation and study I found that everything online or in literature was wrong. Including running into one while camping down south. That rather than monsters they’re defenders and harsh teachers, that as long as you respect and love the forest they are protecting they have no reason to be aggressive. So this begs the question, this is a spirit/creature. Not an animal as seems to be the norm.
    Why do you think they’re my totem?
    I don't know anything about wendigos, so I can't really comment on this particular entity... but 'totems', animal guides, power animals, animal spirits, familiars and fetches are something that I do know about, as are land spirits and forest spirits.

    So... from what the others have described above, I don't believe that a wendigo entity can fulfill the role of primary animal guide, power animal or what most people erroneously call a 'totem'. But that's not to say that you can't form a relationship with a wendigo spirit, or feel a connection to them as a group of spirits. It is completely possible to form a relationship with any entity that you encounter, and for that entity to take on a guidance or teaching role. It is also possible for you to feel a special kind of respect and to look up to a specific entity or group of entities, which can lead us to feel a certain sort of kinship.

    BUT... I am always a bit wary when someone says that all the information they've found is 'wrong'. On one hand, information is not infallible, especially information found on the internet or in neo-pagan books, as there is no regulating body that ensures people share correct information... so it's always possible that a basic search will bring up only misinformation. But it's more likely that people suffer from confirmation bias and disregard the information that doesn't match their experience in favor of the information that does match their experience, even if the latter is tenuous at best. Sometimes we label something as a thing because it was mentioned somewhere... so we search for more information and can't corroborate the original label. So does that mean that the information is wrong, or that the original label was wrong? What I'm getting at is this... how do you know that this entity is a wendigo if all the information you've found doesn't match your experience of it? Perhaps it's not a wendigo at all, but is some other sort of forest spirit (many of which simply don't have names).

    Wights (spirits) in colonised countries are a tricky thing... simply because there are the native wights that have always been on that land, and then there are the introduced wights that colonists bought with them. In some cases the spirits and entities all kept their original names and niches... but in other cases the names got mixed up, or the native wights were supplanted by the introduced ones, or we got confused and started calling our introduced wights by the native names and vice versa, or we got confused and decided that because a wight is in the US rather than Scandinavia, that it can't possibly be a huldrufolk and therefore must be a wendigo. And at the end of the day maybe they are actually the same thing and we just have different names for them because we come from different cultures. The point is that we don't really know... and it might be that they are all the same thing or that they all very different... and we can't guarantee that applying any name to any spirit is technically correct without extensive experience and knowledge of working with different types of spirits in different areas. So you'll notice that animists and bioregionalists and shamanists are tending to drop the specific names and labels and talk about spirits and entities and wights in more generic terms unless we are confident of the specific wight that we are talking about.

    So I want to ask you... why do you think this spirit is a wendigo? Why does it need to carry that name? Why haven't you called it by any of the names of known protective forest spirits that better match the description that you've given? I don't ask these questions to be antagonistic, but to prompt a deeper exploration and understanding of your relationship with this entity.

    Quote Originally Posted by Twin.Wendigo View Post
    So when I was searching for my totem and familiars I dedicated a lot of time to meditation and study, dream magick, etc. I expect a bird, dog or at least some sort of standard animal like my peers. But I got the Wendigo, and through meditation and study I found that everything online or in literature was wrong.
    I would also like to ask you why you have labeled this spirit as your totem? And why you have been searching for your 'totem and familiars'. Totems and familiars are two very, very different things. On top of that, 'totem' is a controversial term that is no longer used by most people who work extensively with animal guides and helper spirits. Helper spirits is a very complex topic and there is A LOT of misinformation out there that has erroneously lumped a whole range of helper spirits together under inappropriate labels like 'totem'. So it's always very difficult for us to know what a person actually means when they say 'totem'. It's highly likely that what you mean by 'totem' is not what I define a totem as, or what MonSno above defines a totem as. So it's hard to enter that conversation without first figuring out what you are actually looking for.

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