Totems: Symbols that Guide the Spirit #amwriting #timetravel

Totems: Symbols that Guide the Spirit #amwriting #timetravel

I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about how to write this blog. Wanting to keep it brief yet still lend appropriate relevance to the idea of Totems as Symbols in our lives. The vastness of the subject will require many more postings.

For now, I will refrain from in-depth technical explanations of philosophical and religious analogies except to explain that the word ‘totem or totemism” comes for the word “ototeman” in the Ojibwe language, which means “brother-sister kin.” Thus, the animal, plant, or other object we select as totem(s), or that selects us, share a brother-sister kinship of spirit. They are known as our spirit guides.

Even people claiming to have no spiritual affiliations often have totems in their lives, though they may call them something else. It might be something as simple as a lucky coin, a flower that recalls special memories (such as a pot of African Violets,) or a type of animal to whom we feel a special connection (especially wild creatures.) Perhaps a certain animal or other item appears repeatedly in your life and becomes the symbol/totem messenger.

Often, we do not understand their relevance or the message their presence brings. The significance may emerge over time to reveal a deeper meaning or may simply remain a thing that brings peacefulness when encountered.

Personally, I have several totems. Their presence and relevance might change based on any number of circumstances. One of my totems is the butterfly. Anyone who knows me well, knows I have an affinity with these creatures. Butterflies are powerful symbols representing life, change, endurance, resurrection or transformation. Some old-world symbolism references considered butterflies spirits of the dead delivering messages to the living.

In my life, they’ve been known to birth in my apartment, land on me while standing still, and in other situations, and even die in mass on the outside wall of my home. That event was transformative in that I moved shortly thereafter. Yes, there was a scientific reason for that event, but no less significantly spooky and one I decided not to ignore.

Their mythological significance in my life is still being revealed to me, but I believe they always carry the transformative message of hope. So, I’m calling on my butterfly totems to aid in the transformation of my current story. Only partially joking!

As I write this blog, I realize I haven’t incorporated a butterfly in any of my stories…yet. That will change in the future, probably in my next series.

Symbolism adds depth, mystery, and always some elemental truth to the story, plot, characters, and foreshadowing of a story. Every writer relies on symbolism, myth, and totems that, when viewed under the story’s structure, reveals something about the characters or the setting. They are the symbol that might bind a group together. As a writer, they speak to you, they speak to your characters, and when really working, they speak to the reader. In each incident, the message will be specific to the observer, and will always reveal a hidden truth. They represent the act of taking something from shadows into light.

I’d love to hear your views on this topic. What are the totems in your life?

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