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Animal Totems

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Animal Totems

I had an epiphany about animal totems yesterday. This is part of an ongoing internal contemplation over many years.

The first totem is the toad. Had a couple of bean bag toads/frogs when I was a baby/toddler. One was blue and red. The other was green with red thread. Still have the green one as a keepsake. Toads! Was always finding them and had a lot of toad/frog themed items growing up. Was told I rocked myself to sleep, curled up like a toad ready to hop, rocking back and forth till I fell asleep. I do remember that. Outgrew that. Still like to rock in a chair. Later was even rescuing plenty of my green friends in the spring after they ended up in the swimming pool. Problem is they couldn't get out. Had to carefully remove them with a net; rinse them off and release the near a ditch at the back of the property. Even where I live today, I hear them every spring croaking away.  No more pool, so they get trapped in and ingress egress window. More rescues. Not always successful. One unfortunate frog I came across got caught in the middle of an ant colony war.  He wasn't alone. Also claimed a couple of crickets.  

The second totem during my childhood was a land snail. They are one cool animals. I had found one one day and placed it in a terrarium. Seemed to prefer lettuce and orange rinds. Also had water available. Like to place the lettuce against the sides and watch it eat. You could hear it crunching while eating. When it was far enough through the leaf you could also see the rasp-like tongue tearing away at the lead and the piece going down the 'throat'. Love to look at the eye stalks moving about. Picked them up gently by the shell and also liked to handle them; slimy or not, didn't matter. Had three of them over several years. The last one laid eggs that hatched. Had to scramble to cover the 'too large' vents in the enclosure with finer mesh. Released them at the edge of the woods as there were too many of them. I also has quite of few themed items. Still have a carved piece of bone shaped like a snail.

The third totem, the epiphany, is the praying mantis. Never realized how often they have been around. Always as long as I can remember. Never scared of them. Quite the opposite. Enjoyed handling them and very much at ease. Put you hand in front. Prod a little to the rear. Would walk onto my hand which when raised up. Would cause it to walk to the tip of my hand.  Admire it a little then let it walk off my hand to a bush nearby. Had one land on my shoulder once. Rolling forward. This year I saw a lot of juvenile ones.  Found a adult on the front door. Picked it up and moved it to a bush. I don't want to see it crushed in the jamb.

Funny how a little research make the connection.

1. Stillness and patience.
2. Slow contemplation before decisive action. More patience.
3. Rest and re-energize. More patience.

* Contemplation is a two way street. It incorporates the past to realizes the present and guide you actions to your goal. Seeing what happens or may happen before choosing and executing your next action. Focused meditation on the true facts and influence at work can help to walk you through it. Gets better with practice. Sometimes you think an hour has past, but only a minute or two has.

This one is a subtle surprise as I almost feel a kinship with the spirit of the praying mantis. Similar ways of interacting with the world around us.

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