Spiritual Development

Page 25

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By CinnamonMoon

It is common for students of any tradition to experience fear of what they are getting into. What
will interaction with one’s Totems be like? What will I do when I tap into the Source Energy of
Creator? What happens when you touch an elemental force? What’s it like? How do I control it?
Suddenly our mind is swimming with questions we can’t answer for ourselves and the fears of
the unknown “out there” and “within us” begin to build. We allow those fears to take hold
because we don’t know what else to do and before we know it we create quite the roadblock for
ourselves. Since this is common, and in talking with a friend the other day regarding something
along these lines, I’ve felt an article brewing itself. I hope it helps some of you in your own processing.

When fear begins to rise up within us there are many different symptoms that we don’t always
recognize at first so that we can name our false evidence that appears to be so real. It rather
sneaks up on us as other symptomatic feelings we do name, symptoms like: disliking the feeling
of an energy. We don’t see it as fear, we see it as dislike. We may feel threatened by the intense
power of a Spirit Helper or Totem, and that threat is seen as distasteful or overpowering and we
see it as a rejection rather than a fear. Sometimes we do recognize our own fears as fear of the
Power itself (whatever its source); of the Medicine we have within us (due to lack of knowledge
to control it); fear that we might misuse our abilities or knowledge leading to non-use; and so
fear weakens our progress.

To overcome the fear we must turn it into a strength by recognizing we need to adjust our
thinking and perspectives so we can embrace our lessons. In doing so we find we can work
through matters and step out of our comfort zone to understand through these experiences how to
control our use of knowledge, energy, and power. We have to hunt the knowledge in this sense,
and in that establish our ethics. Basically all energy and power that comes from the spiritual
knowledge we hold is neutral, it is activated by our use or intentions, and so it is we who
determine whether it’s utilized in positive or negative ways. But what about the intentions of
others and how their Medicine or Power or Knowledge are being used or presented to us…how
do we know their intentions are good?

It seems to be the answer to that comes from learning to trust our own sensory perceptions, but to
do that we have to learn to separate our fears from what we’re really picking up on. Let me give
some examples of how these experiences can present themselves and through those perhaps
you’ll recognize some experiences of your own and how you reacted to them. Experience is
really one of our greatest teachers isn’t it? Let’s say you’re being exposed to a new Totem, a Big
Cat (You can imagine any one of them that you like). It’s in the nature of the Big Cats (any cat
for that matter) to be curious about approaching someone they don’t know, so they are going to
size us up. In doing so they approach often quietly, lurking in the shadows, just out of sight
though we may catch a glimpse of movement now and then, they are stalking us and we can feel
it. That unseen presence can give rise to discomforting feelings, we can’t see what it is, can’t
locate where it is, but it’s there all the same, those eyes are on us and we know it deep inside. We
feel the stalking, and fears begin to rise up telling us something or someone is hunting us. Oh no,
now what do we do? It doesn’t feel safe in this new territory we’ve begun to explore and it’s
unfamiliar ground so now we have more fears coming into play.

Unrecognized mirroring is beginning to take place, because this new Totem directly reflects our
own traits back to us. The Power and Medicine of this animal resides within us as well and
triggers (through it’s very presence) a sense of that power. Our spirit recognizes it and tries to
name it. The conscious mind is aware it’s there but is confused at first and we run from the
Power…and essentially we run from ourselves as we end up chasing our own tail. We can’t get
away from “it” because “it” is part of who we are. Now our Totem that is introducing itself
knows this, that’s why it stalks us, it waits to present itself fully until we settle our fears. It’s
going to approach us very cautiously, revealing itself a little at a time so we can accept it. But
being fearful we see that quiet stalking approach as something negative (our perception rather
than the intent of the Totem) rather than positive.

In other instances our Totems may be learning to approach the human they are to serve and may
make mistakes of their own, or have a bolder presence about them where they simply show
themselves boldly. I have a friend who was being introduced to Bear, he appeared before her as
an adult, standing up on his hind legs and looking her in the eye. She was terrified and ran away.
The next time he appeared he came to her as cub she could accept. She was doing journeywork
to connect with him and in her journey they stood outside a tavern, she saw the cub and decided
to go into the tavern and order a drink. Sitting at the bar, the Bear Cub followed her in the door
and got up on the stool next to her, shifted back to the adult image, smiled and offered to buy her
a drink. She thought that so funny that she burst out laughing, the Bear laughed with her, and the
laughter shattered the fear. They’ve been fast friends ever since.

Whatever the manner of approach and however strange it may seem, there is often a sense of
danger attached to our initiating to the Totems. We see them as physical creatures in spiritual
form and we attribute that physical nature, the wild primal aspects, to them. What we feel
through the stalking is that hunted sensation and in reality we are the Hunter, hunting our own
energy potential in getting to know who our Totems are and what they are there to teach us. In
Recognizing who they are another new fear begins to arise. If this is part of our nature (again still
locked into the primal image of what these creatures can do to us as predatory animals), then
what is the potential threat from them and what is our potential threat to others? Will we misuse
or abuse that Power? If we fear we will it can lead to non-use until we learn to use it properly.
We have to assimilate how it fits into our nature, find where we can recognize it, and learn to use
it through finding our center of balance. It’s a long way from the introduction to that point of
understanding though.

If we succumb to the misuse and corrupt path with the negative or contrary side of the Medicine
we then enter into lessons that bring on hard and harsh experiences. Through fear we enter into
denial or refusal to accept the Power before we can truly understand it or experience it through
the instruction these creature-teachers offer us. It feels like a powerful threat then and we may
tend to run away. The fight or flight syndrome kicks in and we see these predatory spirits as
greater than ourselves so we tend to flee rather than fight. We feel the need to guard against it
when just the opposite is true, what we really need to do is get to know them.

If we apply impulsive use of Power it leads to trouble and lessons in temperance. Once the
Power is understood it is used less and less. We come to see that we only call upon it when it’s
needed and we don’t show off with it. Power does not have intent, it is the build up of energy
without a will of its own. It follows our will as we direct it; in other words, born of love or hate,
as the impetus of these intentions are two sides of the same coin…both balanced in the extremes
of their nature, as strongly as we love we mirror our capacity to hate and so balance is called for.
If you do not learn to balance your nature and control your Power (just as you control yourself in
daily life) it will use you. If you know how to delve into Self and know your Self you know how
to apply control of Power and use it properly.

Who you are and who you strive to be determines Power use for benefit of others or the contrary
powerlust and abuse to control others. If you’re by nature a good person you have no need to fear
the use of your abilities and the energies you “run” through yourself. Only the need to
understand them is required so you can learn to control that flow. The same self-control that you
always use will be applied in spiritual pathwork too. If you respect yourself you’ll respect others.
If you walk your talk and wield your abilities with honor you will have nothing to fear. Ignore
that and the backlash will surely come. So we have to understand the contrary side of our
Medicine or the Medicine of the Totems we work with, the energy we summon, to avoid the
misuse. It comes from experience, and initially cautious observation is called for.

Fear blocks us from embracing the lessons with conscious awareness and forces us to learn by
experience which is often the hard way. Let’s say this new Big Cat Totem comes to you and you
have that hunted feeling. They are stalking you in the sense of wanting to see if you spot them.
(What level is your awareness on?) They are drawing sensations of this ability out of you. It’s
there, in your nature already, and they are helping to bring it to the surface. Unrecognized, you
feel fear, threat, and begin to stalk the danger. You start to look for what’s moving in the
shadows and start to stalk your Self. Experience here leads you through the fear to see you were
in essence stalking that aspect of yourself and learning the Power anyway. While you may have
been blindly learning this lesson there comes a point of recognition: “Ah-ha! I’ve been chasing
my own tail! I’ve been afraid of myself, not my Totem!”

You see, we all have a Shadow side to our nature, we know we can do some negative things,
things we need to keep under control. Perhaps we’ve done things that we are now ashamed of,
feel we acted impulsively, things we feel guilty for, things we have vowed to ourselves to never
do again. In this sense there is often an encapsulation or imprisonment of that aspect of our
nature. We keep it on a very tight leash, take control of our Self, so we don’t unleash that power.
We’ve experienced something relative to the contrary aspect of one of our totemic aspects. We
fear our own Shadow. In that aversion to recognize and confront it, the Shadow side becomes
part of our lesson and somehow tied to that experience as we pass through it. It’s better to be
willing to enter the lesson than to be dragged (like the prey of a predatory animal) kicking and
screaming into it but we all do that from time to time.

Comfort zones are another area that often blocks us. We fear facing the unknown inside us or
outside that comfort zone so we stay where we’re comfortable, where we feel we’re in control.
The trouble is we can’t grow beyond that ‘zone’ all we can accomplish there is the same things
we’ve done up until that point. Basically, if we continue to stay there, doing the same old things
we’re going to get the same old results. If we want to grow and expand ourselves beyond that we
have to step out of the box we’ve kept ourselves in. It’s sort of like being a potted plant and
getting rootbound. You need to expand beyond that known territory and let yourself explore new ground.

Knowing the Shadow within yourself allows you to keep it in manageable restraint as you learn
self-control. Because you choose not to allow it to control you it cannot take control. The new
Power manifesting through recognition when a new Totem appears (or when we learn any new
method of weaving energy) teaches us the way to gain control. We always learn on the level of
Self first….we are our own practice arena and the greatest battles we fight are going to be with
our Self. If we master our Self we master our Power. If we master our Power the fear of it vanishes.

As I’ve stated, the Power that our Medicine or Totems bring to bear in our lessons is already
within us. They reflect it, they teach us to use it (contrary and positive use which both serve
purposes at different times), they teach us to see it within ourselves in the first place. We so often
take this aspect of our nature for granted as it is there to begin with…it’s part of who we are so
much so that we don’t define it as a trait, it just ‘is’ and we tend to overlook it as a significant
aspect of our strength. So when the lessons arrive we have to see the connection for ourselves.
It’s time to learn to use that ability. Whether that lesson comes from the intense forces of Nature
or a Totem with a deadly predatory creature-teacher, we must learn constraint and the extremes
of the Power can be very intimidating at first.

But! A car can be a deadly predator too can’t it? Yet we learn to drive with that in mind---using
its power wisely as needed and control is achieved that we may apply our skill respectfully. We
keep the power of the car under control until there is need to increase its use, until there’s a need
to give it more gas. Medicine, the elemental forces of Nature, the Totems and the Powers they
bring to us in support of our development and filling our needs as well as the needs of others, the
mighty Source Energy that is available to all of us…these are no different than the cars we drive
or need to learn to drive.

I was recently discussing Power with a friend and that brought out this article as I’ve mentioned.
In our conversation I used myself as an example saying: “What I *can* do with my ability would
allow me to abuse or intrude with my Power, sure. But will I? Not without a darned good reason
and it would be called for only in regards to self-protection from someone meaning me harm—
survival. Otherwise it would be used to observe and get to know someone for who they are, not
to interfere. Knowing me as a person, you can know how I use my Power. I know the
repercussions of misuse—I’ve seen plenty of that over the years, and I can tell you I want no part
of such behavior. Knowing what I’m capable of in my Shadow nature allows me to control my
Power—not fear it. I will not unleash it carelessly, nor will I use it carelessly. It seems the more
you learn the less you use it because you are only willing to call upon it when the need is great.
You’ll try everything else first. It’s used as a last resort or in case of emergency.” I should add I
would use it to protect those close to me who are in need and incapable of helping themselves. If
there is time in the given situation to teach them to protect themselves with their own ability I
would opt for that instead.

Many of our totems will contain primal energy—aggressive and assertive—instinctual—survival
of the fittest. But…tempered with higher conscious awareness and spiritual understanding the
cardinal law of the universe says the primal nature will be tamed. There’s nothing to fear then.
This is true for the forces of Nature we encounter with the elements, the Spirits of Place at
different locations, our Spirit Helpers in any form they may take, our Guides, Source Energy in
all it’s guises. So do not fear the Power or the Energy or the Totems or Spirits, honor them,
honor yourself, move forward observing with sensible caution until you understand more, but
don’t fear it. Learn about it instead.

Libraries are on this row
INDEX Page 1
(Divination & Dreams, Guides & Spirit Helpers)
INDEX Page 2
INDEX Page 3
(Main Section, Medicine Wheel, Native Languages & Nations, Symbology)
INDEX Page 4
(Myth & Lore)
INDEX Page 5
(Sacred Feminine & Masculine, Stones & Minerals)
INDEX Page 6
(Spiritual Development)
INDEX Page 7
(Totem Animals)
INDEX Page 8
(Tools & Crafts. Copyrights)

Cinnamon Moon
Text: © Copyright: Cinnamon Moon & River WildFire Moon (Founders.) 2000-date
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