I mean no disrespect to shamanistic cultures and traditions, nor to those whose spirituality embraces spirit/totem creatures. There is a tradition of women shaman/medicine women among Native North Americans.


My spirit animal, a red squirrel, whispered in a dream, “shaman.”

Not the career choice I had planned, but to go against one’s totem animal was dangerous ground.

So I meditated, drifted, explored my inner soul. The one open to the world, and the ones of mine alone.

As I let my mind wander, I heard my great-grandmother with her usual sarcasm:  “There is a problem, if you haven’t noticed.”

Coming from a conservative-minded culture, I needed to find a very modern, open-minded shaman who believed in equality of the sexes.

Trend-setter. Shattering pre-conceived notions. Breaking the gender barrier. This was not going to be easy.

“Thanks,” I thought. “You have implanted this idea and now it will not leave.” Response, just laughter. Spirit animals can be annoying.

After discreetly asking around, I learned there was a “retired” shaman of my tradition teaching at the local community college. I made an appointment, and before hand slipped into his class.

He seemed small against the size of the lecture hall, but his voice boomed and carried to the very back. He was lecturing about religions and spirituality. To not to dismiss what you haven’t seen, felt, or conversed with. I was caught up in his stories, images on the screen behind him. He spoke of ritual cleansing, of healing the mind and the body.

As the class filed out, the teacher, taking two steps at a time called my name, “I’ve been waiting for you.”

“Yes, I have an appointment with you during office hours.”

“No,” he said, panting a bit. “I’ve been waiting for you since before you were born.”

I looked at him strangely. Perhaps his “retirement” as a shaman was forced by his village.

“No, not creepy!,” he said, noticing the look in my eyes, though I kept my face looking stoic. “While I was training, a raven came to me several times. He had something to convince me of. Too wild and incomprehensible, I put it in the part of the mind that once trapped, doesn’t get back out again.”

“And it did?” wondering if this whole adventure was simply a trickster joke.

He gently touched my shoulder. “The raven said when it is time for you to know, your mind, spirit and soul will come alive.”

He smiled, “The raven dropped by last night to say our adventure was beginning. Remember, raven always knows.”

I looked confused. Still smiling, he said “Sorry – you are destined to be a sha(wo)man, and I was picked to teach you.”

Written for Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie, Fairy Tale Prompt May 8.


14 thoughts on “dreams

  1. Bastet May 17, 2015 / 2:09 am

    Nice Phylor … always wise to listen to one’s totem animal ;-)


    • phylor May 17, 2015 / 9:27 am

      I don’t have an “official” totem animal conceived in a ritual. When I was writing this, a muskrat popped into my head. Perhaps that would be my totem animal?
      I think the idea of being spiritually linked to a part of nature that is there to guide you, and protect you is wonderful,


      • Bastet May 18, 2015 / 12:45 am

        A wonderful concept at any rate … haiku poets usually try to find their pen name from nature … but it’s more of a description of a person rather than a guiding spirit. Who knows maybe that muskrat was trying to tell you something though. ;-)


        • phylor May 18, 2015 / 12:52 am

          I like muskrats — I’ll have to think just what he was trying to tell me!


          • phylor May 18, 2015 / 12:54 am

            Oh, and ps — l love how haiku poets choose their pen names — that’s a wonderful practice.


            • phylor May 19, 2015 / 1:57 pm

              I am beginning to think my spirit animal is a crow — maybe even a fish crow. Either that or I was in a remake of the Birds! :-D


              • Bastet May 21, 2015 / 12:50 am

                Yipes … that could be scary!


                • phylor May 21, 2015 / 1:13 am

                  A bit less scary than a raven


                  • Bastet May 21, 2015 / 1:35 am

                    Uhm … aren’t they the same bird?


  2. mj6969 May 12, 2015 / 10:08 pm

    Well written – and certainly setting the tone for —- MORE! MORE! :D

    Actually, it does bode for more – but, as one wishes and deems necessary to give voice to the characters brewing about ;)


  3. phylor May 10, 2015 / 6:54 am

    Thank you.
    Perhaps there will be more. Characters I’ve “created” have a habit of showing up again, even years later.


  4. Suzanne May 10, 2015 / 3:37 am

    I like this story a lot. It reads like the beginning of a novel. I’d love to read more.


    • phylor May 17, 2015 / 9:28 am

      There may be a prompt that reprises them, or I may just write sans prompt. Glad you liked the story!

      Liked by 1 person

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