Totem Spotlight: The Intelligent Bird Kind – Part Three

Totem Spotlight: The Intelligent Bird Kind – Part Three

Be sure to read parts One and Two first!

The Intelligent Bird Kind Part Three: The Other Totems

Now let’s look at how the Intelligent Bird kind template applies to more specific totemic roles:  

The Lord Totem

When seated as the Lord totem, the influence of the Intelligent Bird kind will be seen in an individual’s sense of ideal manhood.  This person would understand the ideal man or father to be a creative intellectual, unafraid to speak up, with a good sense of humor.  He would be social, yet reserved around the unknown;  fun and funny, yet disciplined with a solid daily routine. 

Depending on the character of the individual person, the Intelligent Bird kind would also represent their understanding of either assertive or passive energy.  This is the same dualistic energy known as yin and yang or shiva and shakti.  Another way to understand this dualistic energy is as assertive and permissive energy.   

If seated as the assertive energy, the Intelligent Bird kind would represent a connection to energy that is dynamic, creative, yet well rooted. If seated as the permissive energy, the Intelligent Bird kind would represent a connection to energy that is very observational and opinion-oriented rather than action-based.  

The Lady Totem

When seated as the Lady totem, the influence of the Intelligent Bird kind will conversely be seen in an individual’s sense of ideal womanhood.  This person would feel that the ideal woman or mother should be a creative intellectual, unafraid to speak up, with a good sense of humor.  She would be social, yet reserved around the unknown;  fun and funny, yet disciplined with a solid daily routine. 

As with the Lord totem above, depending on the character of the individual person, the Intelligent Bird kind would also represent either their understanding of assertive or passive/permissive energy; whichever of the dualistic energies the person ascribed to the Lord totem, the other would fall to their Lady totem.  

If seated as the assertive energy, the Intelligent Bird kind would represent a connection to energy that is dynamic, creative, yet well rooted. If seated as the permissive energy, the Intelligent Bird kind would represent a connection to energy that is very observational and opinion-oriented rather than action-based.   

The Earth Totem

Because of a bird’s natural Air association, Earth is not an energy we usually connect to any (flighted) bird kind.  However, the Intelligent Bird kind has more connection to the Earth elemental than we’d expect.  Both the Corvid kind and the Parrot kind spend a large percentage of their time either on the ground or perched in a tree.  While they are good flyers, this kind isn’t built for long-distance soaring, and rather they use shorter distance flights to get from point A to point B.  Corvids do a majority of their feeding and foraging on the ground (gathering nuts, feeding off carcasses, etc.) and Parrots forage in the trees and cliffs.  For creatures that have functional wings, they do spend quite a lot of time on their feet.  Therefore, the Intelligent Bird kind has a decent Earth elemental connection— for a bird. 

Now, the Earth totem represents concerns of the body, comfort, and safety.  Therefore, a person with an Intelligent Bird as their Earth totem would find themselves reasonably well grounded (pun intended) in their understanding of their needs those areas.  Nevertheless, this kind’s strong Air connection would color all concerns of Earth with the influences of Air, the realm of the intellect and creativity.  That means this person would blur their understanding of their physical needs with their intellectual needs.  They would need certain intellectual pursuits in their life to feel secure and settled, such as certain books to read, music to listen to, or films to watch to feel comfortable and safe.  However, they would need to watch out for this kind’s predilection toward finding comfort in old familiar habits;  reading a favorite book over again for the hundredth time may feel comfortable and homey, but it does little to stimulate the mind. 

It is also worth noting that Intelligent Birds draw a firm distinction between their nests and their trees (which they tend to keep orderly enough) and the forest floor (which they poop on and indiscriminately litter with food waste).  When seated as the Earth totem, such a bird is likely to influence a person to keep certain well utilized areas of their home organized in a particular way, while all but ignoring cleaning in other areas. 

The Air totem

Having one of the Intelligent Bird kind in Air is a natural fit, due to the kind’s strong Air association we have already talked about.  A person’s mind, their creativity, and general intellect would be sturdy, prominent, and well-developed parts of their personality with this kind seated in Air. 

Now, what was said for the Earth elemental in regard to these birds also applies here, as this kind’s reasonably good connection to Earth goes with it no matter which totem position it holds.  Therefore, with an Intelligent Bird seated as the Air totem, one must keep in mind the grounding influence of Earth on the individual. This is far from a bad thing, but as with everything in life, there are also some inherent weaknesses.  

One such weakness of the Air elemental is its impermanence, its ability to blow aimlessly in one direction or another, and its (usual) inability to cause rapid or dramatic change (save for the odd tornado).  This often leaves Air-heavy individuals full of good ideas but without the discipline or focus to develop those ideas into physical reality.  The grounding influence of Earth is what’s necessary to achieve these things. Therefore, someone with an Intelligent Bird as the Air totem will be very productive with their intellectual endeavors.  They are natural scholars, researchers, teachers, and highly-educated professionals.  

However, they will need to be wary of the kind’s propensity toward habitual behaviors as was discussed with the Earth totem.  An Intelligent Bird kind totem will feel comfortable and content nestled safely in the same old intellectual pursuit— rereading the same books or at least reading on the same subject, listening to the same music or the same artist, etc.  The bearer of such a totem will need to come to terms with this disposition and remember that Intelligent Birds require engaging intellectual stimulation to stay mentally healthy.  

The Fire Totem

The Fire totem is another position that seems to naturally fit the Intelligent Bird kind, or at least the Parrot kind. They can pack an enormous amount of personality and charisma into such a small package.  For an animal that thinks as prey, they nevertheless seem quite unaware of how small they actually are, leaving someone with such a bird in Fire quite likely to be unaware of their own limitations when it comes to their passionate endeavors. 

As before, the strong influence of Air carried by the Intelligent Bird will color any totemic job it holds, and a person with such a totem is likely to have their passionate side “intellectualized,” or influenced by their logical side.  For example, when angered, such a person will tend to fight by debating, by presenting solid rational arguments why the other person is wrong.  They may approach lust and romantic love similarly, and fall in love with a person not from undefinable infatuation but for a laundry-list of logically positive qualities.   Always, when they are passionate about something, they will have intellectual reasons to support that passion. 

However, that is not to suggest this is always a positive trait as it sounds at first take, that this person’s passions are always well reined-in with solid logic.  One must keep in mind the Intelligent Bird’s predilection to bite first and ask questions later, based in their reactionary temperament as both a prey animal and as an animal that gains social status by opportunistic bullying.  It is more than likely that this person would let the Air follow the Fire and not the other way around, meaning that they act from their passionate Fire side first and then intellectually justify the action retroactively.  It’s one thing to lash out in anger, but it’s another to rationalize and justify the action and convince yourself it was appropriate. 

The Water Totem

Out of all the elemental totems, the Intelligent Bird kind naturally have the most difficulty fitting into the role of the Water totem.  In nature, neither Corvids nor Parrots have much of any interaction at all with water; they drink it and occasionally bathe in it, but aside from that they tend to avoid it.  They don’t feed from it, and cannot swim, and if they become too wet they cannot fly and become vulnerable to predators. 

That means that as a totem, the Intelligent Bird is likely to use its influence of Air to attempt to over-ride or over-shadow the influences of Water.  Or, to put it another way, this person will have difficulty connecting to their emotions which are the domain of the Water elemental, and will tend to over-intellectualize their experiences to deny their feelings in the face of “superior” logic. 

This is a situation in which a person bearing such a bird as a Water totem would need to take special care to work with that totem— through meditation, personal reflection, and study— to help it to allow for a more healthy relationship to their emotions. 

The Light Totem

The Light totem is defined as the person’s ideal self. By its nature, it shows us not necessarily what we are, but what we hope to be or wish to be, and teaches by example. If someone has one of the Intelligent Bird kind in this totemic role, they would see an Intelligent Bird person as the ideal way to be. 

Every trait possessed by this kind would be considered valuable and desirable.  Above all else, they would value intellect, but also biting and witty humor, discipline and regimented habits, and all-together a big personality put into a small package. 

The Dark Totem

The Dark totem, meanwhile, is the opposite of the Light, and is defined as everything we are ashamed of or afraid of in ourselves. It also teaches by example. 

Someone with one of the Intelligent Bird kind seated as the Dark totem would feel a person with such qualities is the worst type of person to be.  They would despise the know-it-all, the bully and the tease, and the one who fluffs up their feathers and acts larger than they are.  Perhaps they would be embarrassed by the clown who thinks he’s funny when in reality he’s merely annoying everyone in the room.  Maybe it’s someone who can’t stop talking because they’re convinced their way is the best way and they have a myriad of reasons why— all of which they’re going to tell you about. 

Now, we must remember that our totems— all of them— are all equally valid parts of ourselves. Therefore, this person would likely possess many qualities of the Intelligent Bird kind, but they would be striving (either consciously or unconsciously) to repress them, to outgrow them, or to otherwise not allow them any influence in their everyday lives. 

However, the goal of our Modern Totemist tradition is to come to understand, respect, and eventually love all nine of our totems.  The Dark totem is not to be hated, suppressed, or ignored.  Rather, to find wisdom, the person bearing the Intelligent Bird as the Dark totem should work toward respecting all aspects of their soul as valuable and valid. 

Totem Spotlight: The Intelligent Bird Kind - Part Two

February 24, 2020

Totem Spotlight: The Intelligent Bird Kind - Part Four

February 24, 2020

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