* * Note: I’m pretty sure I’ve mentioned elsewhere that I err on the side of caution and use “Spirit Guardian” or something close instead of using “totem” (that term is specifically tied into certain Native American / First Nation cultures). I typically don’t write about these Beings – however you want to refer to them – so I may not be perfect in not using totem.
How I use Spirit Guardian – the representative spirit of a particular species who acts as a guardian, overseer, “Phone” answer-er, ambassador, etc. for the living members of the species. I honestly don’t know exactly where they reside, but it’s some sort of spiritual / astral / not-here realm, so I’m prone to assuming that other information about spirits and communicating with them (for example) can apply here.
My first exposure to Spirit Guardians was through Silver Ravenwolf in a section of one of her books about tapping into my personal power through interacting with them (I think that was the gist). I obviously wasn’t intrigued enough to continue looking into this at that time, and I kind of didn’t quite click with some of the dictionary styled information I found for the few times I considered interacting with Someone.
I also felt rather overwhelmed by some people talking about having multiple Serious Alliances with Spirit Guardians due to being spirit-workers, shamans, etc. I was new enough that I didn’t want to jump into such serious, committed, taboo heavy relationships with so many spirits. I’ve also found out along the way that I’m not wired for spirit-work in that capital W sense, and I didn’t really see a reason for Spirit Guardians to want to interact if I wasn’t going to do spirit-work.
At some point in the past few years, I wound up on Lupa’s blog and her talk of interacting with plant and fungi Spirit Guardians and bioregional / ecosystemic approaches have percolated. With various People advocating an environmentally friendly lifestyle and nature focused things, I’ve circled around to Spirit Guardians as potential Vanic allies in conservation efforts (not limited to that, though).
Having not jumped into a lot of the Wiccan / Neopagan books on this topic, I don’t think I’ll have to unlearn as much. I’ve also returned at different points to Lupa’s Totemism 201 masterpost (series isn’t complete, as far as I know):
~ Totems Are Not Pokémon
~ Why Totem Dictionaries May Be Hazardous To Your Spiritual Growth
~ Why Species Are Important
~ It’s Not Just About The Animals
~ It’s Not Just About Us, Either
~ Why Going Outside Is Important