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  • Ember James

Guidance and intuitive reflection

This week's topic in The Great Work is about animal spirits or totems and the runes.

Animal guides

Many different cultures have used animals to guide their work and practices.  The Egyptians had many Gods and Goddesses that had animal heads, representing their animal spirit.  Many people are also familiar with animal spirits and totems found in Native American cultures.  In other pantheons, the Gods and Goddesses often had special relationships with certain animals, like Brigid's cow and Artemis's deer.

The suggestion is to try meditating to discover what your totem or spirit animal would be.  In theory, the spirit animal will present itself three times if it is attached to you.  Also, the spirit animal may present in the real world.  Sometimes the spirit animal will be something found in your physical location, like bears in North America and Lions in Africa.

Once you have discovered your spirit animal(s), you should spend some time getting to know the animal, its habitat, and manner of communication.  Working with our animal guides will help us connect to the ourselves, the earth, and the Divine.


The runes are from the Norse tradition.  They were originally cut from a nut-bearing tree, with each symbol inscribed on the slices. There are 24 runes in the Elder Futhark, the name of the more commonly used runes.

Odin gave the runes to humankind.  He sacrificed his left eye and hung upside down for nine days.  On that ninth day, he was given the knowledge of the runes, which he then provided to humans.  The runes are usually used for divination, to determine what might happen in the future.

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