MAKING AND USING A TOTEMIC EFFIGY RATTLEPart 1 - October 22, 10am-5pm
Divining a Totemic Animal Guide [OPTIONAL].
Cost: $60 members/$66 nonmembers.
Spend a day in the woods at La Terre Bioregional Center in council and in nature divining a totemic animal guide appropriate to you right now. Plus, choosing, working, and finishing–in an appropriate manner–the sacramental handle to be affixed to the effigy rattle.
* This event is a prelude to the "Making an Effigy Rattle" series Parts 2 & 3. For the best immersive experience, please register for the entire series. You may register for Parts 2 & 3 here: https://hancockarts.org/event-4955973
* A simple yet YUMMY vegetarian lunch is included!
Part 1 will be at La Terre Bioregional Center, 22591 Rue La Terre, Kiln, MS 39556.
“O most honored Greening Force; You who roots in the Sun; You who lights up, in shining serenity, within a wheel that earthly excellence fails to comprehend" [Hildegard].
Hildegard’s “Greening Force,” courses through nature within the lush green moistness of soul and fertile earth: “You who roots in the Sun.” That healing greening force is ubiquitous; it can be felt, fostered, enkindled, through a soulfully sustaining connection to nature. Alchemists–and Carl Jung too–spoke of the idea of a Unus Mundus, a “one-world” primordial and unified reality out of which the cosmos arises. If the cosmos is so unified, at least in a spiritual sense, and I’m in it, then I literally am Earth (not just on it). Sit with this truth to feel it. Further, if I am Earth herself, what, then, is my role within her dynamism, my part in all of this and how can I come to know it? How can I be expected to play my part if I don’t know what it is?
This kind of questioning led me into nature to map out myriad pathways to unify and integrate my own microcosmic mind, body, and soul with the macrocosmic mind, body, and soul of nature. Why? For the sake of harmony that heals, indeed makes, my own soul. Only through grounded relationships with human and natural worlds might such harmony occur and out of this resonance a feeling of being part of the “flow” of nature arises, of being blessed somehow, a fortunate son–no matter what happens. Within that communion blessing comes the palpable, healing, Greening Force, “You who roots in the Sun.”
This program is meant to be part of a journey of connection, of communion with nature, with a place similar to the one a person frequents and lives. I am offering the opportunity to seek out and find a totemic animal guide through a series of threshold imagery and meditations that can bring soul and spirit into communion by bringing the drying, lifting air of spirit into communion with the moistening, greening, waters of an experiencing soul in a way that re-activates and re-vitalizes. It’s meant to be a step towards moving into conversation with trees and flowers, with wind and mountains, with rivers and meadows–and city park squirrels and birds.
Why do this? First, to “divine” healing information for daily life, facilitated by a totem animal guide. Such divining arises out of one’s relationship to place and its constituent beings. Nature is communicating with me all the time, telling me how to be in this place, with these people and beasts and trees, under the constraining influences of this time. Consciousness and my entire way of seeing and being is for mediating with place, for harmonizing my way with the way of place and time. Having a totemic animal guide can help with that mediation.
Secondly, nature totems manifest specific archetypal energies that are not unlike my own. I can access these energy patterns by calling on them, invoking them, sharing in them through focused ritual and mimesis. Because these totemic energies are like my own, I can call upon the totem to help me emphasize and focus specific energy patterns–even if they are not my strengths–when I need them. Take Mars-energy, for example. I might need “Mars-
specific energy patterns” (the energy of assertion, agency, a call to action) in my life right now to take advantage of a fleeting opportunity by bringing all my gifts to bear–to make something happen. Calling on an archetype is not forcing it into activation. It’s more like Heraclitus’ idea that “character is fate.” To wit: I already possess Mars energy; it may not be my strength, but I have it and can bring what I do have to the fore; I can emphasize it. An animal guide can help with this because she is an icon of that energy pattern. She shares in it, embodies it. When we watch a wolverine or a cat, we see the Mars-energy pattern being acted out, made manifest in nature.
Finally, a totemic guide can help one reconcile [i.e., bring into harmony]. When acting as a psychopomp (a soul-guide), a totemic animal guide can help reconcile one’s inner reality with what’s going on outside. When acting as a muse, a totemic animal guide can help a person create art as it awakens the thinking mind to art’s wellspring: the experiencing soul. When acting as a daimon (a life-coach), a spirit animal guide can help you become more fully you.
Instructor is James Inabinet, PhD
Ecologist. Eco-Philosopher. Education Consultant. Weaver [since 1986]; MA in Earth Literacy , St. Mary of the Woods College; PhD in Philosophy and Religion with a concentration in Philosophy, Cosmology, Consciousness , California Institute of Integral Studies.
My focus of research and work begins with ecology, especially explorations into the dynamics of the nature-human relationship, especially as it pertains to the psycho-spiritual link between human and nature–and what that means. It is through that link, I believe, that humans might finally recognize nature as the ultimate “locus of flourishing.” Beyond mere survival, the birthright of all living beings is to flourish; the question is how? My research includes seeking pathways to universal flourishing, how humans might live better on earth, as integral and functional parts of an ecosystem, as partners with neighboring animals, plants, other humans, and the place itself.
My other focus pertains to “nature as muse,” including direct explorations into the intersection between nature immersion and art creation. Part and parcel of this research is the development of specific techniques to aid artists with deep engagement with nature in order to access feelings/insights uncovered in the process. From this, nature-inspired works of art may arise. Nature is also a source of inspiration, which begins with communion, not just with nature itself but nature as it is “coming into being.” Such communion is a viable pathway to wholeness, healing, and inspired and translational art, especially the ultimate art form: the art of becoming fully human.