What Is Totem Therapy?

I lay down on her couch, and we began the hypnosis. But when I descended into a memory from a past life, we identified the animal connected with my Root…

I had set up a temporary partnership with a close friend and we were in the initial stages of choreographing a two-day seminar. She wanted to contribute an exercise that she referred to as “Totem Therapy.” I did not have a clue what she was talking about. She tried to explain it to me but eventually said, “Why don’t you drive up, and let me show you?” A few days later, I made the trip.

We proceeded with the hypnosis. Her intention was to pass me through the Chakras, beginning with the Root, and identifying each of the Totem animals. We never got past the Root Chakra! I immediately went into a past life memory, which began with my identification of the animal connected to my Root – a Mandrill Baboon. Here is what I experienced.

The time period was the 1700s. I was a Bushman boy, somewhere in South Africa. I was 12 years old. The day was one of challenge and celebration. I was sent out at dawn, this was a “coming of age” ritual. All I carried with me was a bow and arrow. The object was to return by sunset with game, specifically a baboon. Then the celebration would begin. The entire village would honor me and my family, as I joined the ranks of adult males, providers. I recall leaving my village that morning with determination and pride. The entire village was already preparing the celebration, and it was for me, only me.

My next impression was looking into the eyes of a baboon. The bow was up, the arrow pulled back. I had a clear shot. Yet there was something in the eyes. I did not want to kill him. For some reason, I could not kill. I spared him. I spent the entire day walking aimlessly, stunned with my own behavior – halfheartedly searching out another target. At sunset I returned to my village. Everyone that saw me literally turned their back to me. Even my own family showed me their backs. I now had no place, no role in the community. I was invisible. I remained with my people for one or two days but nothing changed. Finally, in despair, I left. The only other impression I received was that I lived as a scavenger outcast for the next two years and was eventually killed and eaten by a lion.

At this point my friend said, “Ok, now we will move on to the next Chakra.” I immediately told her to take me out of the trance. I told her I was done. She complied and asked me, “Well, what do you think?” I said, “I don’t know what to think.” I sat down at her kitchen table and she poured me a cup of coffee. She said that she would be right back and went to the bathroom. When she returned I was sobbing uncontrollably. I never really explored the rest of my Totem. I do connect with the wolf, in fact my last name translates directly to “Son of Wolf,” I have been told that the Bear is in me also. I just know that the baboon energy is strong in me. In some way even defines me. There are no judgments. It just is. Needless to say, I have a very healthy respect for the Totem. It is a very deep and ancient wisdom.

Tell us about your chakra experiences here.

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