Interested in developing a deeper relationship with totems? This book is a top-to-bottom holistic examination of connecting with and embracing totems in your spiritual practice as part of becoming a citizen in the community of Nature.
Lupa is a thorough and careful writer who never misses a beat or a step when she describes methods. Each section of the book includes notes on personal and shared experiences, exercises for the reader, and questions to consider on the journey to integrating totems. The book begins with a conversation about re-connecting or connecting more deeply with one’s entire environment, whether one lives in a city, a suburb, or in a rural or remote region. There’s more to connect to than you might suspect – the author presents tips on viewing the environment with an adjusted perspective to see what’s really there. The following chapter discusses bio-regionalism – the specific eco-system in which one resides, and ways to research and learn more about the natural features and creatures of your region.
In Chapter 3, Lupa introduces the Totems. The range of potential totems is more extensive and broad than you might expect! The list begins with animal totems and extends to plant, fungus, lichen, and land totems. Land totems can include the spirits that are connected to a special location, and/or the spirits connected to minerals, metals, and stones. It’s a unique perspective on what’s out there to connect with! Chapter 4 presents the notion of a Totemic Ecosystem, which offers a greatly expanded connection based on the relationship of a totem with its general environment and the symbiosis that occurs between animals, plants and the land. One totem may lead to another until an entire totemic community is discovered.
The author provides information on how to connect with totemic spirits in many ways. There are outlines for rituals and conducting conversations with these entities. Chapter 6 reviews methods for being involved with totems in everyday life. This includes daily rituals, giving back to totems, and bringing the wisdom of totems into everyday existence. End matter includes a recommended reading list, non-profit organizations, research tips, and a description of guided meditation for those who may be unfamiliar with that method; glossary, bibliography, and an index.
Lupa is a wonderful writer because she’s always thorough and clear about her topics without ever lapsing into boring didactic prose. I recommend this book because the author keeps a healthy blend of spirituality, lifestyle, science, and the potential for discovery in constant balance. She doesn’t tell you WHAT to think but instead explains HOW to think about this topic – a valuable distinction! Readers will want to ingest the book slowly to provide adequate time for pondering thoughts and ideas offered by the author. The book is well-formatted and carefully edited. Happy totem seeking!
~review by Elizabeth Hazel
Llewellyn Worldwide, 2016
269 pages, $16.99 paperback; Kindle $10.99