What is an Animal Totem?

The phrase “animal totem” literally means a symbolic representation of your animal guide; such as a crest, a totem pole, an emblem, a small figurine, or anything else that depicts your animal guide. A totem could be symbolic for a whole tribe, clan or family – or just an individual. However, the phrase “animal totem” also means “animal guide”, receiving spiritual assistance from an animal.

Shamans throughout the world have relied on the guidance and wisdom of spirit animals for thousands of years. Totems have been used in shamanistic practice as far back as human history stretches, it is one of the oldest forms of magick in the world. Hunters would paint the form of their prey on walls during ceremonies to bless the coming hunt with good fortune, and to acknowledge, bless and thank the spirit of the animal, as well as even ask for its assistance from the spiritual world. Many ancient tribes revered certain animals for their particular characteristics. Animals are embroiled deeply in all the ancient religions, and were often deified.

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Paganism is a very broad umbrella term encompassing many different belief systems from Shamanism, African Witchcraft, Druidism, Odinism (the Norse traditions), Goddess Spirituality, Wicca (including various branches/traditions such as Alexandrian, Gardnerian, Dianic & Correllian) and Eclectic Paganism (which, as the name implies, is a “bit of this and a bit of that”). What these belief systems share in common, for the most part, is:
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Karma Releasing – Doreen Virtue

This gave me a new perception on karma:

Karma Releasing – By Doreen Virtue

Karma is a long-held belief system that says that everything we do is a “cause” of “effects” that we later experience. The belief in karma is one way of looking at the Universal law of cause and effect, but it is not the only way. Cause and effect is an un-transmutable law, but this law does not hold that we should be “punished” or “blocked” because of our past experiences. On the contrary, the Law of Cause and Effect is a law of love, and it seeks to release us from our past.

For one thing, the idea of “past” is based on a belief in linear time. We know that time is actually simultaneous, not linear. In other words, everything you have ever experienced and will ever experience is happening now, right at this moment. That is because there is no other moment but now. Humans on Earth created the belief in past, present, and future time as a way of measuring their growth and accomplishments. However, the spiritual truth is that we all are already as accomplished as we could ever want to be. We’re already home, perfect in all ways, since we are in union with Creator. The only “path” or “goal”, if any, is to realise that we’ve already got everything we desire. As soon as we realise this fact, we experience it.

Let’s put it another way, because it’s very important that this concept be explained in clear and simple terms: There are several realities co-existing right now. A good analogy is to think f these realities as several movies that are each in a VCR on top of your television set. You can choose to watch any movie you like. You don’t need permission from any-one else; you are the authority figure here. One move is a really beautiful masterpiece, a magnificent film that inspires and empowers you. Another movie is a low-budget, mediocre film. Still another movie is a “comedy of errors”, in which the characters get in and out of one jam after another. Then there’s the tragedy, which is filled with heavy drama, heartaches, and problems of every imaginable type.

All of these movies co-exist simultaneously, each waiting to be played and experienced right now. Which movie will you play and experience? You decide based upon the thoughts that you choose to think It’s important for all of us to understand that we truly do choose our thoughts, and therefore, choose the movie – or type of life – that we experience. Everyone is equally qualified to choose and experience every movie. You don’t have to earn your right to experience the beautiful, harmonious move. A powerfully peaceful and meaningful life is your birthright. Although going through pain and obstacles is one way to achieve spiritual growth, it’s not the only way. You truly can achieve enlightenment with a peaceful life, because you are already enlightened right now.

If you are experiencing lack, limitation, or pain of any kind, it simply means that somewhere within you, you are choosing thoughts of fear. Sometimes we’re not even aware of these thoughts, or we believe that we have no control over them – as if the thoughts choose us! With practice, you can become aware of what type of thought is in your mind each moment. Whenever you feel pain of any kind, you’ll now that you have held a fearful thought. As you progress on the spiritual path, you’ll develop less tolerance for pain, until you reach a point of having a “zero tolerance for pain policy”. At that point, you’ll no longer hold fearful thoughts, and you’ll instantly recognize and release any fearful thoughts that you may mistakenly choose on occasion. You can work with the angels in releasing the fearful thoughts and their effects. After all, the angels are always with you and always ready to help you. Just think, Angels, please help me! And they will intervene and heal.

Every loving thought and every fearful thought has an effect. Loving thoughts come from your true self. Fearful thoughts come from your false self, or ego.

Effects stay connected to their causes. Whenever you choose a fearful thought, it stays tethered to your ego-self, like a hot air balloon. Therefore, painful experiences stay connected to you – one after another, in a seemingly endless pattern and cycle – as long as you hang on to the cause or the ego’s fearful thoughts. However, if you release the cause, it’s effect flies away along with it.

The beautiful bottom line of all of this is that all of the fearful thoughts that you have had, or that others may have had about you, can be released. Their painful effecs can be released along with them!

In a Course in Miracles, it says, “Acknowledge but that you have been mistaken, and all effects of your mistakes will disappear.” What the Course is saying is that we can “collapse time” by returning our thoughts to truth – the basis of true reality. Nothing real can be threatened; nothing unreal exists. Herein lies the peace of God.

This is very different from shirking responsibility for your actions; and it is also very different from the religious concept of “atoning for sins”. Releasing karma simply means releasing false ideas, which are causing painful effects. After all, mistakes don’t require punishment, they simply require correction. All of us have made mistakes – some of us have made mistakes that we may consider practically “unforgivable”. Yet, God sees right past those mistakes and instead sees our created perfection. We are powerful beings, but we’re not powerful enough to undo the perfection that came with us being made in the image and likeness of our Creator. Nothing you could have ever said, thought, or done could have ever changed how perfectly wonderful you truly are and always will be.

In some of the afterlife astral planes, there is a belief that if you make mistakes in a lifetime – such as being cruel to another person – that you must reincarnate with some physical or emotional problems to “atone” for those mistakes. When you incarnate from this framework of thinking, you elect to have a lifetime of punishing pain and problems. However, you can escape from this mistake in thinking any time you choose.

The angels will help you release the effects of mistakes in thinking made in this lifetime or any lifetime. And it doesn’t matter whether you believe in reincarnation or not.

(Excerpt from “Healing with the Angels”; Hay House, Inc; 1999)