I’m a bad influence.
The other day, my dear friend dropped by with a cheesecake and said she could only stay for a few minutes. She had promised her “peace rally” friends she would join them and bring dessert.
Instead, she sat on the deck with me and my husband for a couple hours, eating cheesecake for dinner and sipping wine while we watched the birds along the river.
Birds we saw included a bald eagle, a blue heron, a woodpecker, cormorants and mergansers, swallows and finches. We talked about the abundance and she noted how sharp our eyesight had become since living in the wilderness.
Did I mention she’s a shaman?
Well, I forget these things since our friendship is based on other areas of interest. She’s a nice, touchy-feely, do-gooder who flits from one place to the next, spreading joy and patching people. Me, I’m a selfish hermit who enjoys relaxing and my big screen TV.
She told us about totems and talked about the animals we most often see. Then she started telling us (thanks to her miraculous 3G iPhone and Google search bar) about totems. My husband really wanted the Bald Eagle to be his totem, but we’re confident his is the Blue Heron. Well, so says Therapeutic Reiki:
Its head is folded back in a flat S-shaped loop, reflecting the innate wisdom of being able to maneuver through life and control its life circumstances. It reflects a need for those with this totem to follow their own innate wisdom and path of self-determination. You know what is best for you and should follow it, rather than the prompting of others.
Her totem is the hummingbird, with these traits: energy, vitality, joy, renewal, sincerity, healing, peace, infinity, playfulness, loyalty and affection.
“What animal is always near you?” she asked me.
“You mean, besides my dog? Well, there’s the cats …”
My husband interjected. “Stink Bugs!”
And it’s true. It seems that everywhere I go, there are Stink Bugs (Pentatomidae Pentatoma Rufipes) squaring off, staring me down, marching around defiantly. They are in my office and in my bedroom. They swoop at me when I’m sitting on the deck.
So she read some of the characteristics of the Stink Bug Totem, and I was sorry to say I can relate.
According to “Shamanism: Working with Animal Spirits,” the Stink Bug’s wisdom includes:
- Use of odor as protection
- Exchange of life energy
- Use of exterior shell as protection
Yep, I’ve been known to forget to use deodorant. Haven’t you heard the urban legend about the aluminum in deodorant causing cancer? I certainly hide from the world, using my work as a writer to camouflage the fact I am a hermit.
The website for Spirit Walk Ministry, states:
The Stink Bug can show the connections between seemingly separate unrelated events with heightened intuition. Pay attention to your instincts about people and situations. Increased sensitivity to what is hidden and reading between the lines occurs with Stink Bug medicine and it teaches the balance of concealment and surfacing. The Stink Bug will guide in the proper use and balance of the positive and negative attributes of what is psychically sensed as well as what is physically sensed in your surroundings. Stink Bug medicine shows how to transform and shed what is no longer needed. There are five separate stages as insights are gained and growth is achieved. Stink Bug’s lessons span a period of about a month when new ideals and thoughts are fully developed.
I think the Spirit Walk Ministry got some of its data from the Animal Totems: Dictionary of Insects, which says the following about the Stink Bug:
Stink Bug aids with clarifying dreams, visions and insights. She can show the connections between seemingly separate unrelated events with heightened intuition. Pay attention to your instincts about people, situations and circumstances. She can demonstrate the order in which things are done, designating each level in the process of metamorphosis. Increased sensitivity to what is hidden and reading between the lines occurs with Stink Bug medicine. She can be a sharp communicator getting to the point. Are you being direct? She helps protect and shield energy and emotions when needed. She teaches the balance of concealment and surfacing. Are you stepping forward at work, school, community or relationships? Are you overloaded and need to step back? Odors have both attractant and repellent qualities. Stink Bug will guide in the proper use and balance of the positive and negative attributes of what is psychically sensed as well as what is physically sensed in your surroundings. Stink Bug medicine shows how to transform and shed what is no longer needed. The first 12 to 14 days will show which direction you should be going. There are five separate stages as insights are gained and growth is achieved. Stink Bug’s lessons span a period of about a month when new ideals and thoughts are fully developed.
My friend pointed out that I am intuitive and often call “bullshit!” on people. I am a communication expert and even teach it sometimes at a local college.
But I don’t wanna be a Stink Bug! Why can’t I have a pretty animal for my totem? Just because she’s a shaman, she shouldn’t be able to saddle me with a totem, right?
Really, despite the fact I can identify with the Stink Bug (according to the shamans, that is), can’t I be a Blue Heron?
I Don’t Wanna Be a Stink Bug by Madeline Sloane is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
Based on a work at http://www.madelinesloane.com.
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Madeline Sloane's books include elements of her passions -- travel, boating, history and archaeology. The characters are generally from idyllic Eaton, a fictitious town in Pennsylvania, although most of her books feature exciting and exotic cities her heroines (and their lovers) visit during the course of their romantic journey. Travel with the women and men of Eaton as they explore the world, and themselves, in the Eaton Romance Series.
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