reply posted on 13-6-2011 @ 02:15 PM by apacheman
Pretty strange to me, some of them, but interesting.
As a Chiricahua Apache, taught by my grandmother and mother, I can say that the concepts expressed here aren't quite what I was taught, what I have
experienced, and what I hold in my life.
I have many different relationships with some of the many clans who share the earth with us.
I've maintained a non-aggression pact with the rattlesnake clan since my teens. I won't kill them, harm them, eat them or wear them, and they won't
bite me or those under my protection, and will leave my ...place of presence...when asked. I made this pact by first making my pledge part of
my spirit, making it true within me, that took time. Then I walked in the wild places where they lived and opened my spirit to them, not shielding it
as I would normally. I would speak my pledge and conditions, not that they understood the words, but speaking the words shaped the appearance of my
spirit to them in a manner they could understand. It took many months of doing this and proving by behavior that it was true and no trap before they
accepted my offer and terms. I knew this by feeling their acceptance when they opened their spirits to me as I had been doing mine for them. We
maintain the pact to this day and have friendly relations whenever we meet. In the context of your discussion, I don't consider them totems or power
animals, just friends.
The hawks feel an obligation towards me as well as friendship, ever since I nursed one back to health I found injured in some woods I passed through
on my way to school. Each day I shared my lunch with it and brought water. When it fully healed, it showed me that it could catch again and took a
farewell ceremonial bite of what I'd brought. Then flew off after thanking me and pledging gratitude. It said hello and shared news with me for
sometime after, til we moved away. To this day the hawks are friendly towards me, and will carry warnings or calls for help if I need them to.
The ant clans and I are at eternal war: they know the penalty for trespass is death. Mostly the war is in stalemate.
I know and share thoughts with most of the critters who live around me and constantly threaten the rabbits with my blowgun if they get too carried
away in my gardens, but for the most part they listen and we can coexist. The gophers are another story entirely: they have no self-control at all,
greedy little monsters all of them. I have a few gopher snakes who help control them. Recently a very pretty one about 3.5' long created an uproar in
my back yard going after the birds, agitating the hell out of them. I went and talked to her and she somewhat reluctantly gave up on having birds for
dinner and went back to gopher hunting.
To me what you guys are talking about would be a particular animal who chooses to ally with me, not a generic idea of an animal.
From my point of view the world is filled with people, and they are people whether they walk, crawl, fly, swim, or stand still. All that lives
is conscious and self-aware. If you take the trouble to notice and drop the arrogant conceit that humans alone think, feel, plan, and dream it is
obvious. I was taught to respect and acknowledge them all, and to manage my relations with them as carefully as I manage my human ones.
I hope this helps the discussion and understanding.