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Weekly Totem: Weasel
From "Medicine Cards" by Jamie Sams and David Carson:
"The chiefs sent Weasel to the enemy camp to smoke them for power. 'What are the medicines of the enemy?' the chiefs asked Weasel upon its return.
Weasel never failed to give an accurate account of the enemy's numbers, strengths, and weaknesses. It was Weasel who tearfully told the Original People of the coming of the white boat people. "These brothers have strange new medicines," said Weasel. "They will tell us that to live the way we do is wrong. They will confuse us with their talking bark. They have stolen thunder from Sky Father and placed it in their weapons. They have no respect for the animal brothers and sisters, and they make their thunder speak to the animals and kill them. They will make the thunder speak to us also. Their numbers are too many to count, and these white brothers will steal everything from us but our spirits. The great dark shadow of the ravenous bird of death has fallen over the People."
Weasels in Nature
In order to understand a totem, one must study the animal as it is observed in nature.
Focusing on the ermine (short-tailed weasel, stoat), these creatures are native to both Eurasia and North America. Ermine inhabit open woodlands, brushy areas, grasslands, wetlands, and farmlands. They typically eat small mammals, including rabbits, chipmunks, voles, shrews, and mice. For those with this totem, it's a good idea to study the totems of these prey animals. Here, you may find your 'shadow totem', or aspects about yourself you may wish to "devour" or keep hidden.
The winter fur is very dense and silky, but quite closely lying and short, while the summer fur is rougher, shorter and sparse. In summer, the fur is sandy-brown on the back and head and a white below. Ermine moult twice a year. In spring, the moult is slow, starting from the forehead, across the back, toward the belly. In autumn, the moult is quicker, progressing in the reverse direction. The moult, initiated by photoperiod, starts earlier in autumn and later in spring at higher latitudes. In the stoat's northern range, it adopts a completely white coat (save for the black tail-tip) during the winter period. Differences in the winter and summer coats are less apparent in southern forms of the species.In the species' southern range, the coat remains brown, but is denser and sometimes paler than in summer. For those with this totem, you are flexible and able to adapt easily to your environment. You blend in easily, and enjoy the seasons equally.
The ermine does not dig its own burrows, instead using the burrows and nest chambers of the rodents it kills. The skins and underfur of rodent prey are used to line the nest chamber. Ermine also inhabits old and rotting stumps, under tree roots, in heaps of brushwood, haystacks, in bog hummocks, in the cracks of vacant mud buildings, in rock piles, rock clefts, and even in magpie nests. Males and females typically live apart, but close to each other. For those with this totem, marriage may not be suitable to you, nor home ownership.
The weasel is a usually silent animal, but can produce a range of sounds. Kits produce a fine chirping noise. Adults trill excitedly before mating, and indicate submission through quiet trilling, whining, and squealing. When nervous, they hiss, and will intersperse this with sharp barks or shrieks and prolonged screeching when aggressive.
Aggressive behavior in weasels include:
- Noncontact approach, which is sometimes accompanied by a threat display and vocalization from the approached animal.
- Forward thrust, accompanied by a sharp shriek, which is usually done when defending a nest or retreat site.
- Nest occupation, when one appropriates the nesting site of a weaker individual.
- Kleptoparasitism, in which a dominant stoat appropriates the kill of a weaker one, usually after a fight.
- Submissive stoats express their status by avoiding higher-ranking animals, fleeing from them or making whining or squealing sounds.
For those with this totem, be aware of these behaviors and how they affect you and those around you.
Weasel as a Totem
Weasel uncovers the truth not in order to be right or even to be known as the revealer of truth. It is solely performed to facilitate healing and transformation. Living in an illusion blocks one from becoming whole and growing to meet his/her potential.
Weasel sharpens your intellect and enhances your mental and physical agility. A sign of material wealth, prosperity and luxury, the weasel favors quality and shuns cheap imitations.
Although independent by nature, the weasel can be a devoted spouse, and even more so, a parent.
This animal spirit brings blessings of happiness to families and intimate relationships, encouraging the joy of shared experiences, and strengthening deeper connections.
Here is Omnia's Pagan Folklore DVD courtesy of Youtube. Enjoy!
Kallan is a writer, adventurer, bibliophile, and baking enthusiast who loves learning, science, religion, philosophy, geography, anthropology, politics, peppermint, her children and grandchildren, friends and friends who are family, being outdoors, animals, walking, hiking, and the earth.