It could be said that humans have never really had it easy.
It could even be said that we’ve made it considerably more difficult for ourselves while also making the challenges more obscure.
The perils of saber tooth tigers, starvation, and strange diseases seemingly bestowed by the Gods are more visceral, and ultimately command more of our attention, but these days we are exposed to nutritional risks, wireless radiation, psychological brainwashing, existential risk… and we still get to keep tornadoes, climate risk, and sun burns.
That entire mess we created and called “civilization” is for another conversation. The fact I’m interested in is the plethora of risk, distraction, and general chaos that each and every one of us must wade through.
I can’t say that there’s a fix for this.
I suspect it’s an essential factor in the whole experience of duality. But what I’ve noticed is an increasingly common inability to track what we value most.
Stay healthy. Be productive. Speak kindly.
Maintain healthy boundaries and standards.
Keep attention on the crucial action steps.
Take your supplements. Wash your car.
Change the oil. pay the bills. Speak kindly.
Be clear with your words. Get curious.
We’ve all got something we’re tracking because it means something to us. It signifies the evolution towards better, or holds the key to advancing our career. It’s the golden ticket to better relationships, or it might literally save our lives if we do it consistently.
And all of that chaos, distraction, and mess? Rolls right in to take our focus away. Makes the things we want seem too far to grasp. Pulls our baseline down so that even the smallest things are difficult.
Now I’ll begin with a disclaimer that you don’t need them. And if your intention is simple, so can be the Totem. Right tool for the job, always. So I won’t convince you that you have to go all out. Or that you even need my help or service. Set that notion aside for a second and consider an idea:
What I want you to consider is what you are doing for yourself to maximize your attention? Focus? Power? Intention? Commitment?
Humans didn’t start working with mythography and totemic icons because it was fun. It didn’t begin as, nor do the pros use it only for, artistic outlet.
They were swimming in shit and needed something real.
They needed something that when the world pressed in via plagues, fires, bankruptcy, or the eternal damning of their souls, could bring the full swing of their own power to bear on what mattered most. Something that could snap their attention onto something great.
Catholic Rosary? Totemic.
Jewish Star? Totemic.
Family motto? Totemic.
Coat of Arms? Totemic.
Notice that these are not for the high wizards. They’re not being bogarted by the elite. Sure, the folks that put in the most hours tend towards more intricate and elaborate mythography and totemic design. Why? Because to hold more complexity you create more complex objects.
But for the most part, totemic theory moves through human society at all levels.
It might be the ring you inherited from your grandfather,
Or that pen you use to write rough drafts of big novels.
It might be the pendant you wear to remember Integrity,
Or a calligraphy painting above your desk to keep you calm.
These are the tools of the masters.
This is the art of those who want more;
More from themselves, and more from the world.
These are anchors for ideas and values that matter most,
bringing them into the physical world we live in.
As the world presses in, you get to stand your ground or go with the flow.
You get to choose what is worth it and what isn’t. You get the opportunity to rise up to challenges and create in the world despite any of it. And to do so you’ll need access to the right tools.
Totemic work isn’t about giving you something you don’t already have inside of you. It’s about giving you a direct reminder and access point into the power you carry with you every day. It’s the bridge between the ethereal notions and the physical manifestations.
It can be a stone or a word,
A drawing or a painting,
A clever phrase,
Or a piece of jewelry.
These days, the walls press in pretty hard.
Brain fog, fatigue, distraction, cell phone screens, bills, emotional stress, long work days, endless pages of journal notes… plenty of opportunity to lose your way.
Totemic work is simply the reminder you need to stay on the path and find your way:
Onward, and upward.