A column by Bles Carmona
For the week of Sept. 23-29, 2015
Once upon a sacred animal totem class
The setting: Angel Light Books in Berkeley one Saturday afternoon. The topic: sacred animal totems. The instructor: Ms. Evelyn Mazza, email@example.com. When we speak about animal totems, we also need to speak about the shaman. A shaman is a healer who traverses the spiritual path in an elevated state of consciousness. The shaman can cure people, drive away evil spirits, and generally perform spiritual or “priest-like” functions for the community to which she/he belongs.
Ms. Evelyn comes from a Filipino family whose maternal lineage has the gift of being able to do “readings.” She started having prophetic dreams when she was about 8-10 years old, but she was too busy leading her life that she really didn’t pay these dreams any mind. Later on, already in the USA, she took her Bachelor’s degree and graduate courses in Family Counseling, and the changes in her life led her to the spiritual path. Here is how the Angel Light Metaphysical School website describes her: “Evelyn is an advocate for spiritual development, earth magic, and higher consciousness. As a practicing psychic medium, psychometry reader, healer, angel card reader, she conducts classes every 3rd Saturday of the month at Angel Light Bookstore. She offers mini psychic/past life readings on the 1st Saturday of the month as well as private phone and house readings. Evelyn teaches the Fairy Magic Class, Animal Totem Class, and the Mediumship Course.”
Sacred animal totems, the topic of the class, are part of an approach called Earth-Centered Spirituality. Usually associated with Native American spiritual practices, these animals are our spirit guides, flanking us from the “nine” directions, which are: North, South, East, West, above, below, right, left, and center. Here are a couple of Navajo prayers that the class started with while the room was being smudged with sage:
“I honor the East, Spirit of Swan, power of honesty.
I honor the South, Spirit of Cougar, power of service.
I honor the West, Spirit of Michael, power of courage.
I honor the North, Spirit of Deer, power of compassion.”
(Cowan, T. “Shamanism as a Spiritual Practice for Daily Life,” 1996)
“Beauty behind me, with it I wander
Beauty below me, with it I wander
Beauty above me, with it I wander
Beauty all around me, with it I wander
In old age traveling, with it I wander
I am on the beautiful trail, with it I wander.”
(Holtzin, R.K. “Beauty Lost: Glen Canyon Before Lake Powell,” 2015)
Animal spirit guides are with us in our unique shamanic journey, representing patterns of energy within us, our talents, and potentials. By knowing our power animals, their qualities flow more positively within our energy fields. Ms. Evelyn asked me about the animal I feel an affinity with, so I said “dog,” and she said that loyalty and intelligence is important to me, as well as a sense of playfulness. During the guided meditation, for which I had to relax, take deep breaths, and be still, Ms. Evelyn asked me what I saw.
Bles: I see the color brown.
Evelyn: Brown… that’s very grounding. Do you see any animal wanting to communicate with you?
Bles: I see a “maya” (a sparrow)…
Evelyn: And what is the maya’s message to you?
Bles: It wants me to be lighthearted.
Evelyn: Yes, it wants you to soar. To be free. What else do you see?
Bles: I see a brown bear.
Ms. Evelyn said that the brown bear stands for groundedness, strength against adversity, and being in touch with the cycles of the Earth and of nature. In my mind I was remembering an intriguing novel about bear-worship I once read called “Shardik” by Richard Adams, author of my other favorite novel, “Watership Down” which in turn is about hares. I didn’t know that turtles are also emblematic of groundedness and slowing down one’s pace in life, or that snakes are powerfully connected to the life force and primal energy. When I think of snakes, I am imagining the green snake in the fictional novel “Marie Laveau” by Francine Prose, the book that started me on the road to metaphysics when I read it at 13 years old. All of these thoughts and memories were evoked during the guided meditation and now as I write this afterwards. Being a firm believer that everything is connected and that there are meaningful coincidences, I think that my spirit animals are urging me to re-establish my connection to the Source so that the mundane complexities of life do not overwhelm me or make me afraid. Like Ms. Evelyn advised me, “You just need to prioritize.”
Ms. Evelyn Mazza has raised readings to an art form. She does the following: Aura, Spirit Guide, House, and Past Life Readings. Next up is her “Psychic Development for Beginners” class, a three-Friday class (Sept. 25, Oct. 2, and Oct. 9) to be held from 7-9 PM at Angel Light Books. In this class you will learn basic grounding, shielding, and protection techniques. There will be guided meditations to connect with your spirit guides. You will also begin to develop your clairvoyant (clear-seeing), clairaudient (clear-hearing), clairsentient (clear-feeling), and claircognizant (clear-knowing) skills. You will also exchange readings with each other. If any of these is striking a resonant chord in you, you can email Ms. Evelyn Mazza at firstname.lastname@example.org for inquiries about this upcoming Psychic Development for Beginners class.
But for now, because of the class, I know what my sacred animal totems are. I will be the woman who runs with the dog, lumbers with the bear, and soars with the sparrow.
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