This past weekend my son Billy, my mom and I took a field trip to Winterhorse Park Icelandic Horse Farm in Eagle, Wisconsin which is in the beautiful Kettle Moraine area. Stephanie Astrin, a customer at my former shop, eco batik, was very kind to introduce us to her Icelandic Horse, Spuni. Many of the horses at Winterhorse Park are show horses and Spuni is a trail horse. All of the horses there were incredibly sweet natured and truly beautiful. And yes, all 50 horses at the farm are Icelandic horses. Even the dogs are Icelandic!
In a recent totem reading for my soul sister, Kelly Kolla, we discovered that horse is Kelly's totem animal of the east, her path of illumination. I can't say that I have been around many horses so before I set out to draw one I wanted to spend some time with them and get some good photographs to work from. Stay tuned for more on Kelly's totem.
Here are some of my favorite shots.
In a recent animal totem reading for Jordan, a personal trainer, we discovered that the fierce and fearless badger is his within animal. Everyone's totem is comprised of nine animals. One for each direction, east, south, west, north, above, below and within, as well as Mother Earth and Father Sky. Our within animal is the guardian of our personal sacred space. This animal teaches us how to align with our joy and life's purpose. It is our constant and loyal companion. I'm not sure what Jordan was thinking when badger showed up in his totem, but I immediately knew it was perfect!
Badger had it's fifteen minutes of fame recently in the viral “Honey Badger” You Tube video that amusingly demonstrates the aggressive and badass nature of badger. It's muscular, powerful body along with it's loose thick skin make it a difficult target for potential predators. When badger sees something it wants it goes for it without fear and with unshakable determination. There have been several times in life where I have made big decisions that required unwavering confidence. There was no place for uncertainty or doubt. It felt like I was putting all my poker chips on the table and was telling the universe – I'm in, let's do this!! There was no looking back. That is part of badger medicine. Badger is bold and self determined.
All that badassness aside......I like to imagine the softer side of badger. I see badger digging, digging, digging into the earth where they create chambers for storage called “earths”. Badger teaches us to get beneath the surface of things and dig deep to the heart of the matter. Are there more truths to be unearthed? Where can you dig deeper?
I also imagine badger burrowed in the cool ground with the earthy smell of the roots from the lush trees and plants above. Roots are used in many traditional remedies and assist badger in being aggressive healers. That is why Badger is the perfect within animal for Jordan who is looking to take his personal training knowledge and apply it to neurology and physical therapy. As he is applying to schools, I encourage Jordan to utilize his badger medicine and persist in his healing vocation. It will serve him and his clients well as badger medicine people don't give up.
One of my favorite things about badger is its mighty jaw that links it to self expression, words and storytelling. Badger is the keeper of stories. I envision wise badger with a children's book wearing a pair of spectacles, telling the wee forest creatures myths and fables by the fire. Stories are powerful. The stories we believe about ourselves are how we attract everything into our experience and how we present ourselves to the world. What story are you telling about yourself? Have you ever heard yourself tell a story and something about it no longer resonated? Is your story tired and old? Perhaps it is time to tell a new story. An awesome story! Turn the page, write a new chapter or a even sequel! Express your highest self through the stories you tell.
Although Badger is not in my personal totem, it has burrowed it's way into my experience lately, encouraging me to be aggressive with my creative projects. Between badger and the spiders that are literally following me around the house (spiders indicate its time to create) I know that my animal guides are telling me to get drawing and writing!
My favorite medium, batik, has taken a back seat the past two years as I have been focused on my greeting card card business, Urban Bird Designs, and having a baby. As any writer or artist knows, getting started is often the hardest part of creating. With the badger's persistence I broke the ice, fired up the beeswax and burrowed into the earth in my basement studio to create my first batik in over two years. Badger's kick-in-the-pants is just what I needed.
This batik honors the great badger and the confidence we all posses to be self-reliant in unearthing our truths, healing and telling the highest stories about ourselves. Fierce and fearless badger is on your side.
Get down. Most of us don't spend much time underground. Maybe in our basements or underground parking but that's about it. Perhaps you can try to imagine what it feels like to be underground. The smell of the dirt, the cool temperature, the silence, the feel of the air around your face. Imagining this reminds me of what it felt like when I was a kid and we built elaborate snow forts and caves. If you can actually visit a cave that would be ideal! On recent trips to the beach I have been digging big holes in the sand and then sticking my head in them! There is a very different quality to the space beneath the earth. This exercise is grounding and will assist in meditation.
Retire a story. Notice next time you hear yourself tell some old story or anecdote that feels flat and stale. Then don't tell it anymore. Tell a new one or don't say anything.
MEET TINK:Tink is an American Badger at the Milwaukee County Zoo. She comes right out of her hole, looks around at her visitors then plunges back into her hole. She is quite friendly and super cute as you can see.
I would love to help you discover the nine animals in your personal totem. Learn more here!
Ever since fate assigned us to the same homeroom in 8th grade, Jen and I have had a special connection. Thirty-some years later, after spending many years in different states on the West Coast, we once again find ourselves living in our hometown of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. As mature adults we take care of our loved ones, cultivate creativity through our work, meditate, juice and do yoga, but that wasn't always the case. Our young adult days during the late eighties involved some shenannigans on occasion, including one of our favorites.
When we were just out of high school and without many real world responsibilities, we spent many lazy days in our pajamas in Jen's living room watching Spinal Tap, When Harry Met Sally and MTV. Around 3:00 p.m. after a hard day of doing nothing, we would shed our jammies and get dressed up like business ladies. We would put on blouses and skirts and lady shoes and do our make-up and hair. I think we even put tennis shoes in our bags to look like we took walks during our breaks! This is heeeelarious because there was nothing business-lady-like about us. Once transformed, we would break out of our northern Milwaukee suburb and head downtown for happy hour, rehashing our busy workday events at the bar and letting guys buy us margaritas.
Today, Jen works as a merchandiser, lead stylist and visionary in the fashion industry, so she attends and works many of the special events in town. Looking back, it makes perfect sense that Racoon has been assisting Jen with the craft of illusion her whole life and that her dance with disguise uncovered in her animal totem may have started during those early dress-up years. Jen's Facebook feed is filled with group selfies of Jen watching a Packers game with friends, wearing the perfect Packers gear and looking like a number-one fan. Or you will find her sporting leather pants and jacket with hair extensions and a headband, hanging out with the Harley Davidson crowd; or with an up-do, bejeweled and clad in a formal gown, looking elegant at a fancy fund-raiser.
Recently a favorite look was a cozy sweater, Scandinavian hat and skis, complete with the hot cocoa! This look could easily morph into an Aspen-ski-lodge-with-celebrities look. Whatever the occasion, Jen shows up ready to play the part, wearing whatever Racoon mask is required for her transformation.
Racoon is famous for a bandit-style mask over its eyes, which furthers its reputation as a rapscallion. But there is more to that mask. Masks are used in rituals and sacred ceremonies for protection, celebration and storytelling. The magic of mask wearing can open doorways into other worlds and dimensions. Jen combines the mystery of Racoon with the playfulness and childlike qualities of Monkey, also in her totem, making her a master of illusion. If fortune finds you playing with Jen, you will no doubt sense her magic.
Animal totems comprise nine directions: East, West, North, South, Above, Below, Within, Mother Earth and Father Sky. The positions of each animal in your totem carry significance. Jen's Racoon is in the Within position, the direction that informs your integrity, personal truth, soul's joy and sacred spaces. Your you-ness!
While your Within animal is at your side always and in all ways, other totem animals may come forth with qualities that benefit you at certain times. Mountain Lion is one of those animals for Jen. Mountain Lion (a.k.a Cougar or Puma) teaches us leadership and personal power. They are fiercly strong and powerful hunters that can leap over 40 feet! Mountain Lion people have the ability to take action quickly and with authority. Mountain Lion has pounced into Jen's experience at this time to illuminate her place of power. Her hard work, expertise and mastery of her craft have earned her this leadership position. Mountain Lion is in her Father Sky direction which is her male side, her warrior, her protector. Moving forward, Jen can act with authority and kindness knowing that Mountain Lion is on her side.
Your animal guides belong to you for the entirety of your life, never changing. Yet it can take a lifetime to unfold the mysteries and magic that lie within your personal totem. We have only discussed a small fraction of what I covered in Jen's personalized session. If you are interested in learning how to discover your totem animals, please see the animal reading page on my website.
Thank you, Jen, for letting me write about you! I love you!
The world is on your side,
I have always considered Carrie Ure my spiritual mentor. We met when I lived in Portland, Oregon I'm guessing around eight years ago. It is always challenging to describe what Carrie does because she does so much and she does it so well! We have brainstormed many times about how to "brand" her services. In fact the first time we talked was about designing her business card. Carrie's strength is using her intuition to help guide others. Lots of people are good at doing this. What sets Carrie apart is how many ways she gets her guidance and her phenomenal ability to bring it into 3-D, into the earth plane. She is grounded and offers practical ways to implement the next steps of your journey. Carrie's animal totem is like a map of these strengths.
Animal totems are made up of nine directions, east, west, north, south, above, below, within, Mother Earth and Father Sky. Where each animal lands in your totem means something. It gets involved which is why I like to have about an hour and a half to do a reading. Starting from the east seems like a good place to start but for Carrie I feel like starting from the heavens, the void, the unknown, the blackness of the crow makes sense. To me the crow and raven being black have direct access to source information. They are able to pull creativity, from the void. It is then up to Carrie to listen to the caw of the crow to bring this information into her experience. Carrie's also has access to her intuition through bear which landed in her above direction which governs the dreamtime. Imagine what your dreams would be like if you were hibernating for three months!
Once Carrie has intuited all of this juicy source energy. She has the assistance of her moose and antelope antlers which act like antenaeas pulling that information in. It then lands in these two very large, grounded mass of four-leggeds that are what keep Carrie grounded and asist her in taking practical actions.
Carrie's totem has reveled her extra special super power.......sniff sniff! She has some ofactory heavy hitters on her side! Shark can smell one part blood to every one million part water. A wolf has 100 times greater sense of smell than a human. Opossums do not have good eye sight or hearing and mainly rely on their sense of smell. Antelope also have acute hearing and bears are the best smelling mammal of them all! Carrie shared with me how she uses her sense of smell as one of her intuitive tools. This ability is called clairaugustus, clair-olfactory or clairalience. Now that we have confirmed this ability with Carrie's totem my guess is that it will become even more of a super power for her.
One thing that I have valued about Carrie is how she kicks my butt! She is not afraid to tell me something I don't want to hear but we both know is in my best interest to examine. This comes from her owl. Owl = truth. I mean don't you feel like owls are looking right into your soul? Like they know something you don't? They are the bull-shit detectors of the animal kingdom and Carrie is not afraid to use hers! That is what makes her such a great guide.
I have scratched the surface of what Carrie's totem reveals. It can take a lifetime to reveal all of the gifts your animal guides offer. The nine animals in your totem are with you for the enitrity of your life. Different animals will present thier gifts at just the right time. Others are more prominately at your side everyday. I would love to help you discover what animals are on your side. Please see the animal readings page on my web site to learn more.
Learn more about Carrie and her super power services at her Modern Mystic blog.
The world is on your side.
Some of you may remember several years ago I would focus on an animal for the week, draw it and write about the unique attributes of that animal. I would emphasize different aspects of the animal and how we could use those qualities to help us navigate situations and our realtionships. I pay attention to the animals I encounter through dreams, at the zoo, or in my backyard and encourage everyone to pay attention to animals that come into your experience. I will be releasing the original/updated animal blog postings with new ones coming soon!
The AMERICAN BUFFALO or BISON is a magnificent and bountiful animal. I think we all relate the BUFFALO to the sacred connection it has to Native American Plains Indians. A BISON hunt and kill provided them with an astounding amount of meat and by-products. A BISON BULL weighing 2000 lbs would yield 800 lbs of meat. 800 lbs!! Much of it could be dried for jerky and other parts of the bison provided numerous uses. Horns were used as cups and rattles. The hides were tanned and used for moccasins, bedding, pouches, drums and much more. The intestines, hair, marrow and blood were all used as well. No part of the BISON was wasted.
BISON indicates a time to evaluate the bounty in your life. Through prayer, taking right action and gratitude we create our lives. Taking your abundance for granted is the fastest way to thwart it.
Ask yourself - Have I been doing the work necessary to achieve my rewards? Have I expressed gratitude for my current prosperity? Am I about to reap the rewards of my hard work and manifesting? Do I believe I am worthy of prosperity?
The bison is calling attention to the abundance we have and the abundance we are all entitled to. There is plenty for us all. What a beautiful animal and sentiment for this bountiful time of year.