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This is yet another animal totem dictionary--do we really need another? Still, this one's pretty good, for all that.

Her methods for finding totems and working with them are very much influenced by core shamanism; however, her material also includes a lot of environmental and animal-rights-based practices. She drops hints about ways to be kinder to animals, such as buying free range meat instead of factory-farmed. I did disagree with her suggestion of feeding physical representatives of wild totems--feeding wildlife only ends up badly for the wildlife in the end, as it teaches them to not fear humans, and makes them dependent on us. Some can even be dangerous, especially if you live in an area where black bears are moving into the suburbs. In short, to keep the critters safe, don't feed them! Still, overall, I really like her tone of environmental responsibility.

Her totem definitions are quite obviously her own interpretations of animal behavior--which is a good thing. Each author should offer their own thoughts, not just parrot the words of others. In addition, she doesn't claim that she's teaching anything ancient and genuine; she's honest about her sources.

She has a GREAT variety of animals in her dictionary--there are the usual, like Bear and Wolf and Coyote, but she also includes Armadillo, Kookaburra, Platypus and Meerkat, among others.

My only real complaint, I guess, is that it's just another totem dictionary. There's nothing really new here. And it's not something I'd give to a rank beginner, just because she doesn't go into as much detail with the introductory material as, say, Ted Andrews or other authors. Still, I'd recommend it for those who like having a variety of other peoples' views of what different totems mean and what they have learned, and as a dictionary, it's excellent.

(Note: This book should not be confused with Jessica Dawn Palmer's "Animal Wisdom: The Definitive Guide to the Myths, Folklore and Medicine Power of Animals", which is a bigger animal totem dictionary published by Thorsons in 2001).

 

~review by Lupa

Susie Green

CICO Books, 2005

144 pp., price unknown

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