RE: An Intro to Totems, Animal Spirits, Tulpas & Daemons
Interesting post. I'd also like to add a bit from my own belief system, as it differs from this one, which is most commonly seen in more western cultures. This is specifically for totems and spirit guides though, I've little experience with tulpas.
In my belief system, totems are archetypes. My understanding of them is more psychological than anything, though there are some belief systems which see an actual spirit as an emblem even though they do not communicate with it directly. They are often used to represent person(s), family groups, or places. A clear example would be america having the totem of eagle to represent itself. Or russia having the bear. China, the dragon. A totem is a representation of an animal (or plant, fungi, etc, they're not all animals!) This is also why I dislike many books out there on animal totems and meanings and things, as a totem is supposed to be based on the personal views of the one utilizing it.
Some traits of a totem could be seen similarly by many people, but others aren't. For example, one person might see a hyena as a bloodthirsty and cruel scavenger, and see it as a totem represented with such traits, and another would see them as protective of their clan, and intelligent hunters with a knack for problem solving. Those two people see two different things and thus would draw power in two different ways. When people just read meanings from books, they are applying -someone else's- idea of that totem. It can be helpful as a guide but ultimately hinders a persons ability to form a true connection with the totem.
Likewise, in my belief system, spirit guides are -not- the same thing as a totem. I know that this can be really difficult for people to understand me on, like ones from western cultures, and especially people who have not actually been dragged between worlds through a death/dismemberment type event. I loathe to use the generic umbrella term here, shaman, but that seems to be the one people most understand so I'll stomach it for now.
Spirits are often sapient beings and can communicate, albeit in strange and unusual ways. There are spirits of plants and animals and stuff yes, and there are spirits of inanimate objects, emotions, and even abstract concepts. Some of them one could wonder if they're truly sapient, or just the pure spiritual embodiment of a force (my experience has shown some level of awareness in these beings but it's hard to say). And they can communicate. Not often with words but with flashes of images, emotions, colors, waveforms. One I interacted with spanned my entire field of view looking akin to the skin of an octopus. It seemed to communicate in changing colors and undulations in its form.
This is also why in many animistic cultures, communication with spirits required the help of someone bridging the worlds (shamans), vs totems being able to be utilized by anyone. We wouldn't need shamans if they were the same thing.
I just wanted to present this here as an alternative belief systems view, to have a wider perspective on the subject than just a singular groups belief. I'm not trying to say that anyone else's understanding is wrong, and my intention here is not to step on anyones toes. I also understand that different words and phrases have different meanings in different languages and cultures. For some people, the misunderstanding simply comes down to verbiage.
Fire tempers steel. Chaos tempers will.
(This post was last modified: 2022-09-29 16:54 by Bagera.)