Suzanne: Part I is our intro, Part II is the channeling and callers.
SM: Good morning and welcome to another edition of Heavenly Blessings with Linda Dillon, the channel for the Council of Love and author of “The Great Awakening,” and myself Suzanne Maresca, sitting in for Graham Dewyea.
Today we’ll be talking about totem animals, a subject close to my heart and one that I’m surprised to discover that even seasoned light workers may not be aware of.
Our guest to discuss this fascinating topic is Chief Sitting Bull, who I’m very excited to be able to speak with. Sitting Bull is a wonderful resource for this kind of information.
Cross-culturally those who live closest to the earth enjoy a special relationship and understanding with our animal family and I’m looking forward to hearing the perspective of one who lived it.
Until a few days ago I never would have dreamed of having a conversation with Sitting Bull. I haven’t had any detailed memories come into my awareness about past lives yet, but my heart knows that I’ve had many in North America as a tribal member. When those feelings come up, along with them comes an energy of loss, as though those days were filled with wonder, grace and beauty and I want that feeling again. It’s a memory of living in true community and I think that’s what we’re rapidly moving into again.
Good morning, Linda!
LD: Good morning, Suzi, and what a wonderful introduction. Yes, this is a little bit of a change of pace or direction for us after finishing our series on the Divine Qualities. And the Chiefs are back. So it will be very interesting to have an updated conversation with Sitting Bull and see what the Council of Elders has to share with us about their wisdom and their insights. Not only just into both our animal spirit friends and our actual animal friends, but in terms of even a broader perspective of what’s going on.
I wanted to share what I think is a funny story about how I came to be working with the Native American chiefs. You and I have never really talked about our backgrounds or how we have sort of arrived where we are.
But in the two minutes we had before the show we started talking about how so many light workers and love-holders probably have started their spiritual journey, particularly if they’re North and South American, by turning towards the shamanic journey. By either training or beginning to look at and gain a sense of sustenance and beginning to understand the richness of the Native American tradition and what it had to offer us spiritually. And beginning to quench that thirst for “oh my gosh there has to be more.”
SM: Yes, and the discovery that who we are is innately connected to Gaia and pretty much everything on the planet.
LD: In 2006 we had a Council of Love gathering. And that’s what’s happening in Joshua Tree in September and they have always had a theme. That year it was the tenth anniversary of our annual gathering so it was a big deal and the theme that the Council came up with was honoring Gaia, honoring Earth.
And so it was all about Gaia and Earth and the elements, the animals, the medicine wheel, within and without, and that was great. So we started prepping. In the summer months before the gathering, I started to feel, one by one, the Native American chiefs arriving. I worked with Sitting Bull, Chief Joseph, Cochise, Geronimo and Red Cloud. A powerful group.
I know I live an odd life and it’s not unusual to have our star brothers and sisters or an archangel in the bedroom, but I had never had the chiefs show up in quite this way.
So, I’m lying in bed and I’m wide awake and and Sitting Bull was standing there, among others; and you know when you’re lying in bed and the person that you’re in bed with also is wide awake but you’re not saying a word to each other; and all of a sudden Isaac said to me very quietly and calmly, “Where’s John Wayne when you really need him.”
And for months, it just continued. It started with the chiefs, and then the bedroom was full; all Native American male spirits, but then the women started coming as well. Sacajawea was there, and the house was full, literally, for months.
And over time there have been times when the chiefs have come back to visit. And they always surprise us. The dogs bark because they can see the spirits in the room.
A couple of days ago Isaac looked at me and said “they’re back, aren’t they.” And the house is has been full again for the past couple of days, and Sitting Bull – who I just love and admire so much – has been present.
So we’re talking about totems today because I think this is a great way to start talking about guides, and I think it’s one of the places where we can learn where there’s tangible touchable assistance available to us. I would never pretend that I am anywhere near an expert on this because I am definitely a student of this tradition – but it’s just nice to have a chance to talk with you and with our listeners about this whole area.
SM: I agree. I think it was a brilliant idea to do a show like this. And one thing that occurs to me is that is very helpful for people who are not quite so comfortable stepping into their own power that we can borrow from our allies, because every animal has a specialty.
And it’s a really good introduction, or maybe we can call it a gateway, for people to accept that this is also part of us. We love our animals and are more than willing to express our appreciation for the magnificence that they are. The thing is, we really are all one and that includes the animals with us. So we have access to those things; it’s just part of the energetic grid that we can plug into.
LD: And it’s really easy to plug into. And like you say, it gives us the reminder that we really are all part of the One and so just as we have animal totems, there are flowers and different plants that we’ve always been drawn to that are there to help us also and they help us in different ways at different times.
Totems are not necessarily physical animals. We call them our spirit guides or spirit animals very often when we’re referring to them. And each of us has nine of these totems, these animal spirit friends, who are with us, whether we know it or not. It’s like whether you know your guides or not. They’re still there.
And so these animals travel with us through lifetime after lifetime. And they follow the Native American tradition of the medicine wheel – north, south, east and west; and each of those has different qualities that we can talk about with our friends who are listening in today. Then there’s above and below and within. And there are ways to figure out and discern that.
And then there are those who are most close to us who walk with us on our right-hand side and our left-hand side. So we have this group of totems that are helping us with different aspects of our life. So when you put it in the framework of the medicine wheel, it really helps because each area within the wheel also teaches you about different qualities of who you are.
I know, because you and I had our prior conversation that you had studied and followed the shamanic path, probably far more than I have, although I should say the only teachers I’ve ever had were Wallace Black Elk and Lynn Andrews. Lynn’s book got me started. If you want to start on this path, that is where you should go.
SM: Those are great books. I actually still have them on my shelf. In my understanding, and I knew that we were going to have a slightly different understanding, so this could speak to the levels of engagement; on the energetic level of engagement all things are the same. But then we have the literal, the symbolic, the mythic and the energetic.
On the energetic level cross-culturally, shamanic practices are all the same but there are different traditions. So In my understanding the different allies that we have can be with us through many lifetimes; some can come and go.
Maybe there’s been a day where a bumblebee is really an ally for that day. So we have a medicine ally, medicine being power; a visionary ally, a journey ally, a life guardian; there are so many different aspects of the way that each of these teachers and guides really help us and play a part in our lives. And sometimes they show up like signs in nature.
When an animal keeps showing up, then it’s for you to know that they’re talking to you. They’re drawing your attention to something. Especially if they show up three times. If you see a hawk three times in a day, or a hawk three times in a vision, that’s a special message.
LD: It’s good that we’re coming from slightly different perspectives. I love it. Each of us has these animals and certainly if I had grown up in India I wouldn’t be having the same, well maybe I would… because one of my totems is actually elephants. I’ve been attracted to elephants all my life. But the animals might be slightly different depending on where you’re living, where you’ve chosen to be born. And you therefore have the experience of that realm of the animal kingdom.
SM: So someone from North America could easily have an African lion as a totem. But something you spoke about earlier that I wanted to add something about, it doesn’t necessarily have to be a physical animal. My daughter has a huge water dragon for an ally. So, I haven’t seen any of those in this lifetime, but I know they’re around.
LD: Yes, they are definitely around.
SM: So it can be a mythical creature. The mythical animals are just as real as the other ones; we have just been unable to see them.
LD: Yes, I have talked to people who have had, for example, unicorns as one of their totems. Unicorns haven’t been around in a very long time. Although even as I’m saying that, I’m hearing that they’re coming back. Won’t that be nice.
It’s to open your heart and open your mind to what is possible. And to accept the help and really the love and support of what your totems are offering you. Regardless of what tradition, each animal has hundred of qualities, but at any give time, maybe one day it’s the bees that are talking to you. That’s part of the discernment, where they’re talking to you about the honey and getting the sweetness of life from the nectar of life, or are they talking about you feeling stung. And those are very wide interpretations, which only you can answer.
SM: As in nature, there are all manner of things. When you see a sign in nature, what were you thinking about at the time that the animal showed up?
LD: Yes, and to accept the little ones as well, like you’re saying. The bees, the hummingbird which is joy, the ants, the mice, the squirrels; when I’ve talked about this subject in classes, everyone is always thrilled if they’ve got a bear or a buffalo or a mountain lion; but it’s not a pecking order. Because each and every animal has this integral part to play in that tapestry of the planet.
SM: you can look at a mouse and ask them to help you focus on details. There’s all kinds of things they can help us with on many levels. It doesn’t have to be a big ferocious creature. But if we need ferocity on a certain day, then right on! Another wonderful thing that animals can help us with is perspective.
If we are having an especially emotional experience, and we want to try to lift up out of the emotions, we can make a point to connect perceptually with perhaps a snake. Snakes do not have limbic systems, there’s no emotion involved. They go belly-to-belly with Pacha Momma, the Earth, so if you want to separate yourself from emotion it’s good to put yourself in the perceptual state of a serpent. Then you can change your perspective on any given situation.
For example, if you need to have perspective from an altitude, you can ask to merge with the eagle, hawk or condor – one of the high flyers. It could even be the turkey vulture who does the cleansing of the Earth.
Depending on what you need, you can call in that perspective; step into it and merge, and when I say “merge” people might ask “well how can I do that”. But it’s all imaginal work. Our imagination is far more powerful than we give it credit for in most cases.
LD: It’s imagination but it’s also recognizing that in nature all this wonderful diversity of what’s been placed on Gaia, or chosen to be with us, particularly with us at this time, that each being has a role to play. And it’s funny because sometimes when I’m channeling in individual sessions, people’s guides will say “you know I hate being underemployed; you never call on me for anything.”
And there’s all this help and assistance that’s available. And I think it’s true that we’ve become, aside from our domesticated animals, so distant from the animal kingdom that we tend to forget that they are out there and available and their spirits are strong and helpful.
SM: It’s interesting because I was having a conversation with a friend the other day. I’ll usually ask about totem animals when someone’s having a problem in their life; and sometimes I’ll ask if there’s an animal that they’re particularly connected with. I’m surprised by the initial comment of “no, not really”.
This particular friend was talking about how he goes to feed the pigeons all the time and how much he appreciates them; and I said “well, there you have it. There are aspects of the pigeons or the doves that you really love and appreciate. There’s a connection there and you should recognize that and the things about doves that will be helpful for you in your current situation.” Everything happens on purpose, especially right now.
LD: Yes. There is no coincidence.
SM: It doesn’t have to be a physical sign in nature, because some of our animals we will never see. If I saw an otter in the brook that runs across my property, I would be in incredible joy. But there are no otters in this brook. So it could be in the form of dreams. We can love all animals, but perhaps otter or dolphin in particular – Woman medicine and joy and playfulness. You can recognize the connection without seeing the physical animal.
LD: It’s funny you’ve chosen otter because otter is one of my totems. When I lived in Niagara, I lived on a wetlands with Lake Ontario in front and a river behind me. The otters would come and they would play and they really taught me so much. I’m taking myself far too seriously.
Well, why don’t we do a little meditation and get into some discussion with our listeners because I think there are lots of questions today. (( at minute mark 25:30 ))