Letting Go of the Past
I’ve claimed whale as my totem animal for as long as I can remember. I spent a good portion of my childhood yearning for the sea, making plans to work with sea life and live near the ocean as soon as I grew up. I felt like I belonged there. I felt at home by the sea. I know the ocean is a healing place for almost everyone, but my feeling of belonging was stronger than a momentary feeling of comfort. Most people eventually feel homesick after a vacation, no matter how lovely the location. There are places I love to visit multiple times, but I could never imagine living in any of them forever. The ocean was not one of them. Although I had a slight preference for the American west coast, any costal location felt equally inviting as home.
Then I grew up. I’ve lived just about everywhere except by the sea. And as time passed, my desire for it lessened. The feeling of homesickness for a home I never had (by the sea) began to feel like a memory that wasn’t my own. I remember yearning for it. I remember it being home in a weird deja-vu kind of way. Eventually, after having experienced this same deja-vu homesickness feeling for a couple different times and places, I began to consider that maybe these were past life memories. But while my past-life memories of other places were very specific in time and place, my ocean home was not so specific. Perhaps my past life by the sea was as a migratory animal living ~in~ it rather than by it. Who knows. Maybe this is all madness and none of it means anything.
What I do know is that after I married, I desired nothing more than to return to my home of this lifetime in Montana. I contemplate the possibility of owning a vacation home by the sea, but Montana is where I want my forever home. When I visit Montana on holidays, I feel like I am home in realtime, not in a deja vu kind of way. All this while, however, I’ve continued to claim whale as my totem.
About a year ago, another animal spirit came into my life. I didn’t pay it much mind at first. I have a bad habit of ignoring messenger totems. But this one has been persistent for almost a year. I finally decided to pay attention. Is it just a message? Is it a new animal guide? I am aware that messenger animals tend to show up in real life wheres guides and totems show up in meditations and dreams. But since I wasn’t doing journey-type meditations, there was no opportunity to meet a guide in that way. I decided to change that. My first attempts at journeying were quite lovely, but I didn’t meet any spirit guides. Then I attempted to journey using shamanistic drumming tracks from youtube. With the addition of the drumming, my journey visualizations became much more detailed. I finally saw spirit animals. The first time, I was very disoriented. I saw owl, but the encounter was weird. It seemed like Owl was trying to get something from me but I was too guarded to open myself to him/her. I also saw unicorn in an abstract form – an outline like a drawing, with a black interior.
Usually, when I go on journey meditations, my starting point is the opening of a dense thicket of greenery leading to a beautiful meadow. On my most recent journey, however, the meadow transformed into a costal landscape. It was overcast and hinted at an oncoming storm. I wasn’t afraid. On the contrary, I was really excited. I thought whale was finally going to show itself to me and claim me once again. I walked towards the sea, I started to descend into the underworld via the sea, but something told me to turn back, that this wasn’t the right direction for me. I looked around for an alternative, confused about why I was on the coast if I wasn’t supposed to go to the sea. I saw a tree near by and entered at a hole near its base. I discovered the most beautiful place in the underworld and I saw unicorn again. But the most significant moment was when I shape-shifted into a bird. I did not expect this, but it was an amazing experience. I could see my wings only, but I could sense that I was Owl.
I suppose this experience was the sea telling me farewell. It is time for me to shed my past life and become who I am supposed to be in my current life. It was an amazingly powerful experience, but a sad one. Farewells are always sad. But I am happy to have finally embraced my new life totem. I suppose unicorn will be my journey guide, but I wish it would show to me in a more realistic form.