Friday, April 30, 2010

Totem Animals

While some might not find the discussion of totem animals paranormal in nature, I tend to disagree (obviously).  I find that anything of a deep spiritual nature can relate to the paranormal.  After all, paranormal means literally: Beyond the range of normal experience or scientific explanation.  Plus totem animal books are in the same section of the library as the ghost books, so there you go. 

So what is a totem animal?  Merriam-Webster's dictionary defines it as: 1 a : an object (as an animal or plant) serving as the emblem of a family or clan and often as a reminder of its ancestry; also : a usually carved or painted representation of such an object b : a family or clan identified by a common totemic object  2 : one that serves as an emblem or revered symbol. 

Totems can also be symbols for an individual's personal or spiritual identity.  Most people have more than one totem animal that teaches, guides and sometimes protects them.  Most totems remain with you throughout your life, though, a major life change could cause your totems to change in order to adapt to new circumstances.  Sometimes people also have special helpers/protectors that show up for a limited amount of time in order to help you through challenges you must face.  Check out Discover Your Animal Totems to find out what totems you may have.  You can also look at what is going on around to see if there are any animals/insects/reptiles/amphibians that might be trying to send you a message.  That's how I discovered I probably have a totem animal trying to get my attention.

I spend a great deal of time outdoors.  I love wildlife, and I am familiar with behavior patterns of native species.  So when I noticed I was seeing more red-tailed hawks, I thought it was odd, but more or less figured it meant there was a larger population of rabbits, mice and other small animals on the hawk's menu.  It's simple ecology.  But then I noticed I wasn't just seeing hawks flying around or sitting on top of telephone poles or trees, I was seeing them hunt and grab their prey.  While not a typical thing to see on any day, and not something you typically witness time after time, I still figured it was due to higher animal populations.  I blew it off, though I did think it was weird.  I can imagine that my poor totem animal was getting a bit miffed that I wasn't paying attention, or that I wasn't thinking all these hawks were a big deal.  That's when they started getting my attention.

One afternoon I was sitting on my back patio reading a book.  I don't live in the county, though there are open fields and woods within view- past the condos and apartments that surround my house.  So while I was reading, I felt like someone was staring at me.  I turned to look, and sitting on my chain link fence was a red-tailed hawk.  Startled, I jumped and said some form of "Holy Crap!" and watched the hawk look at me once more and take off.  Now I was paying attention.  There was no reason for a hawk to be hanging around my back yard.  There were no bird feeders there at the time, nothing to draw a hawk in as far as food goes.  I have had several such sightings in the past year. 

Recently, things stepped up a bit.  As I was driving down Route 15 at 70-some MPH, a hawk came out of nowhere, swooped down in front of the car and flew off.  It happened in seconds and was the strangest thing.  A few weeks later, I was sitting in traffic when a hawk suddenly dropped from the sky and landed on the side of the road.  There wasn't any prey there, and the hawk simply stood looking at me before flying off.  The most recent interaction occurred while I was spending a weekend away.  While leaving my room, I saw movement out of the corner of my eye.  A hawk flew from the woods, dropped down to my eye level and flew so close in front of me that I could feel the air movement.  If I had reached out I would have hit it.  Once it flew past, it soared up and out of sight. 

So now I am paying attention to totems.  Obviously the universe is trying to tell me something.  Either way, researching is interesting and if nothing else I have at least educated myself on a topic I knew next to nothing about.

What are your totems?  Are you dreaming about an animal?  Do you feel a deep connection with an animal?  Noticing some crazy animal behavior that is screaming for you to pay attention?

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Pareidolia- Are Those Faces in Those Orbs?

What is it you ask? Pareidolia (also referred to as matrixing) is a psychological phenomena where a vague random stimulus is perceived as significant.  Examples of this would be seeing images in clouds, the man in the moon, Jesus on your grilled cheese, faces in orb photographs or figures in the shadows of trees.  And it doesn't always happen with just photos and objects- ever listen to a record backwards and worry Paul was dead?  We hear phrases and words in random sounds as well.

This phenomena has happened to the best of us.  We take a photo in a haunted location and when we look at it we see it's filled with "faces".  I have received many photos where people claim there are faces and figures in them, and I can't see it no matter how hard I look.  My personal favorites are photos taken in a heavily wooded area where people see faces and figures.  As hard as I try, I can never quite see what others are so excited about- even after they've outlined the area/figure for me. 

So what do you do?  First, orb photos are not very solid proof of paranormal activity.  There are too many things occuring naturally that can produce false positive orb photos (dust, rain, snow, pollen, bugs, reflections, etc.).  So while you might think that you've taken a great shot of 100 little faces in orbs, more than likely you've gotten a photo of a lot of dust and "see" the faces because that's what your brain does with random things- looks for patterns.  Second, take a look at the photo, are the faces/figures part of the landscape and objects around them (like trees or tree shadows) or are they stand alone objects and separate?  Obviously something that is separate from the objects in the photo deserves a better look. 

Ever listen to an EVP that sounds like "blah, blah, blah-blah-blah, blah-blah" and someone else immediately declares that it's saying "What you talkin 'bout Willis?" From that point on, you won't be able to hear anything else in that EVP.  Honestly, unless you have a clear Class A EVP, chances are there is no way to determine what is being said other than to distinguish the number of syllables.  This is why, unless I have a clear EVP, I never offer insight on what it might be saying.

So next tim eyou're looking through your photos, take a minute to really look and think about what you are seeing before declaring great-great uncle Seamus is smiling at you from the tree trunk.