moonvoice: (calm - ovatne)
I'm very pleased to announce that [community profile] the_animist is now a fully imported Dreamwidth community, and will operate out of Dreamwidth from now on.

Feel free to join! :) And feel free to pimp it out if you know people who like animism/shamanism/totemism discussion.
moonvoice: (totem - red kangaroo)
I've been patching the new totem write-ups (description / keywords) on Facebook and Wordpress, but I decided I'd do a round up here at the very end too, and here it is.

This puts the Wildspeak Totem Dictionary up to 258 animals.


New Totems added to the Dictionary

NORTH AMERICAN PORCUPINE - BACK UP
BLACKCAP - POSSESSING A SWEET VOICE
BLUE EARED PHEASANT - ENJOYING WILD WEATHER
BROWN HONEYEATER - BALANCING YOUR ENERGY
EUROPEAN PINE MARTEN - WIT and CUNNING
HORNED (SHORE) LARK - GROUNDED and DREAMING
LEOPARD SHARK - TIDAL CYCLES
LLAMA - UNSTABLE SOCIAL CIRCLES
MARBLED POLECAT - STAND UP FOR YOURSELF
MIKADO PHEASANT - CONCEALMENT
RED-WINGED BLACKBIRD - GROUP DYNAMICS
moonvoice: (totem - magpie lark)
Among other things, I’m an animist with very strong totemist leanings. I suppose a lot of you could say a great big ‘duh’ to that, I run the internet’s most comprehensive totem animal dictionary (certainly in terms of word count). It may – actually – frighteningly be the most comprehensive dictionary even when compared with published works. Not only that, but I illustrate totems. And I aspect with totems. And I invoke totems and...well...you get the idea.

I used to hate basic 101 totem dictionaries. I've written articles and long essay-like responses on pagan forums about the shittiness of totem dictionaries. I own quite a few, but I was always like ‘man, these things don’t teach people the skills they need to engage with totems or to make their own dictionaries,’ and ‘they’re recycling a lot of the same information,’ and ‘cultural appropriation FTL,’ and ‘wait a minute, that’s actually completely inaccurate biological information about that animal. WTF?’

Two of these things really piss me off still; the first regarding cultural appropriation. The second regarding teaching people inaccurate information about animals. That’s poor form on behalf of the writer, but it’s also poor form on behalf of the editor, whose job it is to help qualify research in non-fiction material. It’s just poor form all around. The pagan industry can suffer from a bit of poor form at times, it’s not just totemism that cops it, as many of you know.

Explanations and explorations. )
moonvoice: (calm - baba yaga and the skull)
Decided to reprocess this illustration through Photoshop, with better colour accuracy.
I can think of no better time to do it,
than on a cold day in the middle of Winter.



moonvoice: (t - battlecry of a fangirl squee!)
Oh my goodness it has been SUCH a long time since I've done one of these. Anyway, this essay was a commission for a full essay. I'm still working out how to advertise that I'm offering this, but in the meantime if you're interested, feel free to email me at ophelias.diary@gmail.com - the only thing I ask is that I be allowed to post the full essay up at wildspeak.com and around other sites for the use of others too. Here it is:

American Mink - Complex Thoughts and Philosophies
Neovison vison

Keywords:

Requiring rich environments to thrive, protected safe places, fresh-water wisdom, complexity, being drawn to complex concepts and philosophies, dense study over light skimming, needing seclusion to find nourishment, being desirable for what you produce; not who you are, wanting energy in reserve, willing to go to deep, painful places for wisdom, connections to telepathy and mind-to-mind spiritual contact, using hostility as a weapon, underestimated intelligence, possible clashes with European mink and otter energy.

The full essay, including general description, expansion on keywords, shadow totem aspects and communion are under the cut. )

The rest of the animal totem dictionary is here, representing 247 animals.
moonvoice: (calm - a cheeky white raven)
Taking a break from art and other work-type things just to let people know that I've moved the Wildspeak Articles to my Memories - and they are categorised under keywords for your convenience.

Keywords are things like runes / gods / shamanism / journeying / ethics and responsibility, etcetera. The complete bevy of rune files are there too. Feel free to save anything onto your computer for future use.

I had them all indexed at Livejournal, but when I moved, all the links still pointed to deleted Livejournal addresses and it's only now that I've gotten around to re-indexing. I figured using the Memories function was just streamlined and easier, since each category shows you the post title, a first sentence, tags for the entry, and so on.

For people who have no idea what I'm talking about; for years I had articles on aspects of shamanism, totemism and Vilturj on Wildspeak.com - but I took it down in favour of making wildspeak.com more totem/artwork focused. So, anyway, the articles are now easily accessible again, at any time. :)
moonvoice: (t - go PLANET!)
Quokka – Missing Parts of the Puzzle

keywords and description inside. )

Red-Tailed Hawk – Getting Perspective

keywords and description inside. )

Arctic Hare – Arctic wisdom.

keywords and description inside. )

Siberian Weasel – Patron of the Arts

keywords and description inside. )

These aren't yet coded up onto the rest of the Wildspeak dictionary, but they will be in the next couple of days. Next in the batch is the bornean clouded leopard, harbor seal, siberian tiger and golden pheasant. I haven't been posting these up for a while since I figured that people wouldn't be interesting. But; meh. Tough!
moonvoice: (calm - the wanderer)
Briefly:

Wildspeak.com has been hacked. Not in an obvious way to people looking, but nevertheless it has been. I'm currently talking with my host/provider to see what I can do and how they can help; but the reality is I never had the technical know-how to run a site like Wildspeak.com. Back seven years ago when hacking was less common and malware less sophisticated, this wasn't such a problem, but I'm not evolving with the technology, and that's just the reality.

I am seriously considering shutting everything down and re-opening the totem information page on something like a Wordpress blog, where they have the paid employees to do the heavy lifting when it comes to things like security.

The fact is, I just have no idea what I'm doing. I'm probably a PITA for my host, and I can't afford to pay someone to regularly look after the security of the site and the back-end in regards to coding and so on.

Just to let you know that if Wildspeak.com mysteriously disappears and then mysteriously never comes back, you know why.

ETA: My host got back to me in less than ten minutes and we've been working on it. I've changed some of the permissions, found the root folder that was hacked and deleted it, changed the password, and am keeping an eye on it vigilantly over the next two weeks. Apparently it's pretty common. That said, my old build forum may be contributing to security problems, and it might mean that I have to really look at whether I can keep the forum. BUT; we'll see.
moonvoice: (Default)
For those who regularly visit, you may need to press refresh to see the new build. It's shinier. Simpler. More user-friendly. Hope you like it!

Now I am going to sink into a coma foreeeeever.







Oh! Feel free to pimp the new build around. :) Hey, it's a free totem animal dictionary after all, right?
moonvoice: (Default)
I completely forgot I wrote this, I haven't been cross-posting the articles I'm getting published in Axis Mundi atm, but this one has finished its publication rotation, so...here it is.

Soul healing and the shaman. )
moonvoice: (Default)
Well, it's like I'm punishing myself with HTML at the moment,
or something.

Anyway!

Keywords and brief descriptions are now available for the following 29 totems:


African Elephant
Amazon Milk Frog
American Bison
Asiatic Lion
Barn Owl
Binturong
Blue Jay
Blue Marron
Blue Mockingbird
Dhole
Emerald Moth
Giant Squid
Giraffe
Green Emerald Boa
Ground Parrot
Jackal
Ladybug
marmoset
Meerkat
Mini Lop Rabbit
Muntjac
Nautilus
Sea Otter
Sifaka
Snow Leopard
Spotted Hyena
Unicorn
Winter Wren
Wolverine


Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go crawl off and hibernate in a closet for a while.
moonvoice: (Default)
My Online Animal Totem Dictionary has been updated, and is now representing 157 animals (94 of those having full essays complete with shadow totem information).

The animals that got updated today, only had keywords and descriptions added in their file, but you can now find keywords for the following:

- Bateleur Eagle
- Capybara
- Christmas Beetle
- Horned Parakeet
- Indian Peafowl (Peacock)
- Lesser Flamingo
- Lilac-Breasted Roller
- Olive-Headed Lorikeet
- Pallas's Cat
- Plum-Headed Lorikeet
- Princess Parrot
- Sooty Albatross
- Sumatran Striped Rabbit
- Sunda Flying Lemur (Colugo)
- White-Nosed Coati (Pizote)
- White-Tailed Deer

I rock.
moonvoice: (Default)
(originally posted in the Axis Mundi e-zine.)

Totems for the New Year

So often, totems are treated like accessories, animals that we show off to our like-minded friends, and that’s where the connection tends to end. But totems (of any kind) can have meaningful benefits outside of basic research into an animal’s meanings and behaviour.

Consider aligning yourself to animal totems or guides for the year ahead. What are you wanting to achieve? The messages of our animals friends are more than able to support us on our goals, and suggest new ones to boot.

rest of the article )
moonvoice: (Default)
One of the things that's hard to find in contemporary shamanic practices (especially if you're not a Core shamanist), is a sense of community. Whether that be online, or in person.

Practicing as a shamanist can be a lonely path in general. I mean on the outside looking in, it sounds like a crazy religion. You have a person who talks to spirits and land-wights, who believes in gods and the power of sacred animals, who often works to shepherd dead spirits to their resting places, to heal the soul, to travel to invisible worlds that are more commonly accepted to be fantasy or make-believe, rather than the real places a shaman knows them to be. Being a shamanist often involves not just working with pre-existing spirits and deities, but meeting new ones, and bringing their stories back into the world. It is always about walking a fine line between respecting the past, and being a pioneer at the front of spiritual practice.

And any pioneer, in any walk of life, can be difficult for others to accept.

But I'm not talking about a sense of community outside of shamanism here, I'm talking about a sense of community within shamanism. I have this dream, you see, of being able to sit down with a group of people; either online or off, and discuss the ethics of tricking soul fragments into the body. This example, is just one of the many things I devote a lot of thought to, and wish I had more input on. You see, some of the more ancient shamanic cultures simply tricked, connived or plain trapped soul fragments to force them back into the body. With contemporary psychology - or at least, with my limited understanding of it - being as it is, forcing anything back into the body presents problems. How to reconcile the differences? I'd love to brainstorm with other experienced contemporary shamanists... but... where are they?

I've been a shamanist for about 8-9 years now. I run my website; wildspeak.com, I've been a member of countless forums, both shamanic (including the once excellent, but now very quiet English-speaking Kondor forum) and general pagan. I used to be active in the Western Australian Combined Covens community (where I only ever met one other neo-shamanist, but I'm sure there are others), and I'm not exactly new to the crowd. And I can say that I don't know of any community setting where a group of contemporary non-Core shamanists could talk about the ethical dilemma I raised above. Hey, if you know of any, tell me!

I have people in a one on one setting I can talk to, via email. But no real sense of community with it. Once Google Wave comes out, of course, that will change. Because then email / community will be one and the same, and I'm hoping to see some changes in the way the often-solitary-but-community-driven shaman / shamanist responds to this kind of technology.

The things I'd like to do with groups of contemporary non-Core shamanists is extensive. I'd like to see new or learning shamanists experiment or offer soul retrieval / depossession to other shamans/ists with experience (who require it, by the way, not people who are splitting their soul for 'learning purposes'), so that both can go through the process together, and learn together, and create a bond. I'd like to see ethical discussions about the best soul healing techniques, and like on the old Kondor forum, discussions about the best ways of getting from place to place in the Otherworlds, and the best ways of settling down disgruntled spirits of the dead (which, in the past, has ranged from cupcakes, to tea, to chanting, to talking to them, to bringing touchable, affectionate animal spirits along with you). I'd like a community, or communities that worked to solidify otherworldly UPG, while at the same time; show fearlessness when it comes to bringing new UPG to the table, as is our responsibility as story-tellers and makers.

For now, I'm limited to writing posts like this one, and often resolving these issues by myself. Shamanism is a lonely path, my friends; but it should never be this lonely.
moonvoice: (Default)
I have updated my wildspeak website with about 60 new animal totem files. Everything from maned wolf, to pipistrelle, to velvet worm, to oriental small-clawed otter (and a few mainstreamers like jaguar too). These are keywords only, or keywords and general descriptions; but still, progress!

This brings the total number of animals represented on my website - which is totally free, and costs nothing more than bandwidth - to about 150. Sheesh.

Yet another thing I can gleefully cross off my to-do list. Man, I am so fucking sick of HTML right now. Lol.
moonvoice: (Default)
I have been mentioning this pastel project that I've been working on for some time and I finished it today! Yay! I had so much fun with it.

It will be the cover for the absolutely awesome up-coming book by Immanion Press (under the name Megalithica Books); called Engaging the Spirit World: Shamanism, Totemism and Other Animistic Practices, edited by the awesome [livejournal.com profile] lupabitch. I also have an essay in the anthology as well, woot!

Wandsuna - Engaging





enjoy a larger pic and detail shot under the cut. )
moonvoice: (Default)
Oooshala - The Water Horse

Some of you have been following my wildspeak entries in my journal where I talk about my practices as a contemporary shamanist / animist / totemist / insert-other-ist-here. And so you will have heard of Oooshala, my beautiful, strong, and still-so-young spirit companion.

Oooshala, is a young water horse who is still finding his voice, and mostly helps me in my shamanism to carry things I need for healing myself and others from place to place.

There are many types of mythological water-horse. However, Oooshala is based off a European type (of which - by the way - there are many, like the backahasten and the nokken), where he is a small fey pony with a mane and tail of fire. He lives in the sea to keep his inner flame from burning out of control; but he can emerge from time to time, lighting the path, and protecting those who require protection.





larger, detailed version under the cut )
moonvoice: (Default)
I've often talked about how snail is a part of my life, a trusted guide, a wonderful helper, and so on. So much so, that some of my friends call me 'snaily P.' I have always loved snails, of all kinds; but especially your bog-standard european garden snail, which is a bit of a pest here in Australia. Snail reminds me that for the sake of my health, my wellbeing, my sanity, my ability to execute skilled artwork, I have to slow down and appreciate the small things in life.

I have a cheetah energy in my life, I'm not sure if it is cheetah, but that's what I call her. Cheetah is fast and powerful. When she's resting she's impatient and hungry for success and triumph. She wants to be running and catching the things she desires. She tells me to do it ALL. That if I do it all fast enough, I can attain everything I want. She walks off in a huff when I remind her that cheetahs burn a lot of energy when they sprint, which is why they need clear focus. Ultimately she tells me to be an opportunist, to sprint when I need to sprint. But her energy in the back of my head gets me feeling agitated, stressed, and not appreciating the journey. Going too fast, and working too hard, for my own comfort.

The cheetah and the snail have opposing energies, at least right now. I have gotten sick, more times than I can remember, by listening to cheetah's agitation and impatience. By trying to do it all. I have worked consecutive 10 hour days. I have forgotten to sleep. I have told myself that if I just bury my energy into this one goal (no matter what it is), I'll triumph and then I can rest. The problem is, no one goal is good enough, and I never end up resting.

On the other hand, listening to snail has had me quitting the jobs that helped to make me sick. Has me sitting and looking at the small things in life. And sometimes taking things so slowly that I miss out on opportunities to learn and grow. By looking at the details, I sometimes miss the big picture. Snail can see the leaf in front of it, but it may not see the gardener behind it waiting to throw him over the fence. Cheetah sees the big plains, has to in order to survive. But Cheetah doesn't see any wisdom in knowing the leaves on a tree. The individual flowers on a flowering branch.

One area of my life that I seek to balance, almost constantly, is cheetah's 'let's do it quickly and with high energy,' with snail's 'let's do it slowly and with little energy.' It's 'big picture' vs. 'small picture.' I've been skewed more towards the cheetah almost all my life, and suffered dire consequences. And now the pendulum is swinging back towards snail and eventually, the pendulum will settle and I will know a thing that I bemusedly call 'intermittent balance.' Because the pendulum is never truly still, and because sometimes it's good to shake things up a bit to reveal further wisdoms that lie hidden like pebbles beneath the still lake.

I do need to go through a 'snail phase.' It is always with snail that I do the most of my internal healing. And it is always with cheetah that I achieve the most of my external triumphs and successes; even if I do struggle to recognise them for what they are. Finding balance, so far, has not been an easy thing for me. But it is something I know I'll get from applying a diligent, opportunistic work ethic; with a stable and solid grounding in knowing when to rest.

And see? In my last sentence of that last paragraph, right there is my paradox. For when I apply the principles of attaining balance in this area of my life - through knowing when to seize the achievements and then being able to slow down enough to appreciate them for what they are - I will have already attained it.

Do you have opposing energies in your life? What are they? What directions do they pull you and what sort of 'middle ground' are you looking for? Have you ever experienced totem animals that just didn't get along with each other, or seem to have energies that were in any way compatible? How did you deal with it?

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