Has your heart begun palpitating at the thought of the approaching holiday season? Are visions of to-do lists already dancing in your head?
Simplifying our celebrations doesn't mean taking the anticipation, joy and beauty out of the season but, rather, shortening the list of things we have to do, to make more room for the things we want to do. Though it may have once been meaningful to bestow extravagant gifts, many of us now have so much stuff that we don't get as excited about it as we used to.
Counter holiday frenzy by talking with family and friends to determine how to observe the holidays, deciding on favorite foods, rituals, activities and gifts. Consider what would you like more of - music, walks in the woods, peace and quiet, pleasing aromas, special foods, love and appreciation, laughter, reading by the fire, prayer, being of service?
Some people are able to find their wilder, truer and more spontaneous natures through linking - either actually or symbolically - with animals.
From the wisdom of the owl to the cleverness of the fox to the grace of the antelope, Native American tribes and other aboriginal peoples have long known that animals embody qualities and talents that can help humans better understand themselves and the spirit world. (The Nez Perce believed that "every animal knows more than we do.")
Many cultures have chosen to revere these animals as "totems." To select an animal as your totem , it's best to find one that piques your curiosity, one whose path you tend to cross or one that appears frequently in your dreams or meditations.
Choosing an animal that frightens you is a way to explore your fears or shadow. Many people are drawn to a pet or other domesticated animal as their first totem, eventually moving up to wild or " power" animals.
Working with your totem means honoring it and malting an opening in your life for its wisdom. You can do this by discovering as much as you can about its qualities, by purchasing (or making) a figurine or "fetish " to represent it, and by learning to mimic and incorporate its essence. Using your imagination to find ways to deeply connect with your totem animal will aid you in drawing upon its powers.
Image: My Red Velvet Cape Deer
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