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kaytracy
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Inner circle
Central California
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I would appreciate any input on the following.

I have listed it as a story. Consider the words in quotes to be the script if you will.
The working should be familiar, and I have created this prop to allow me to provide no less than six divinations as desired.

Input please.

Totem Animal Divination

It was such that while I was traveling in the American Southwest, I came upon a woman who was eating lunch at the same small café I had stopped in.

She walked directly up to my table and sat herself down without even a hello! I started to say something, when she held up a hand and spoke first…

“My mentor for part of my spiritual life, Yellow Feather by name, taught me many things. Some say we get to choose our own Totem, and some say the Totem chooses us. I think it is a combination myself. Yellow feather taught me that a totem will change sometimes, as it is needed in your life also, so it is good to listen to the stories they tell you!”

She took up a leather bag from her side and pulled a wooden board, and some rumpled bits of paper from it.

“We will use these small pictures to represent the Totem animals that might be of help.”

She pulled out a small bag of some plant and started to light the whole mess in a nearby ashtray. “Before we begin, I will speak with the spirits and see if they will give us any guidance as to what Animal may be of help to you on your journey.”

She spread the little bits of paper out, and I could see they were of simple pictures of animals, with some writing on them. Gathering them up she tossed them into the bag and grabbed my hand in hers.

“Grandmother, guide me now,” she intoned, as she closed her eyes and reached into the bag with her free hand. I coughed gently as the smoke drifted into my face where I sat. I felt very self conscious in this small town.

“We all must take steps to gain knowledge,” she said, as she pulled a card form the bag without looking and slipped it underneath the wooden board. “The six sacred directions for us are those of the four mountains, and the above world and below.”

She now took my hand and directed my finger along a small trail of what looked like little footprints on the board. “ From here, we must now choose how many moons the path will lead you.” She looked at me waiting, and I numbly answered, “Umm, six?”

"I count off the steps traveling away from the sun, as you must look back to see where you have been,” she counted along with my finger as the pointer. “And now count all those steps forward to see what Totem will aid your future!” she now reversed the direction of my finger’s travel and counted those six first steps, and the six moons I added.

“Mmmmmmm,” she hummed softly, “I see the Mouse will be your helper for a while.” I looked at the image my finger rested upon, it was sort of mouse like. I raised an eyebrow at her. “You are not sure of the mouse? A powerful totem even if he is small.”

She lifted a square from the front of the wood piece, and there, on the little bit of rumpled paper, was the little image of the mouse. She gestured for me to take it. I noticed a smile on her face, as she gathered her things back into her bag and left me reading the words on the little paper bit.

“Remember to listen,” she said as she stepped through the door.

Thanks.

Kay
Kay and Tory
www.Bizarremagick.com
CardC
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San Miguel de Allende, Mexico
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GREAT story line. Have you preformed this? I'm intrested in the reactions of this.
be happy
kaytracy
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Central California
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I just worked out the prop workings today and am getting the bag made tonight. The board and the center "counting" board is done. I should have the first couple reactions this weekend. I guess it will be my work in progress for the Beyond Bizarre weekend in October!
Kay and Tory
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CardC
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Awesome. Maybe PM when I've preformed it. I love the story.
be happy
Clifford the Red
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Great story Kay! I love the theme.

I don't understand how you came to choose "six", there didn't seem any direction given. Also I didn't understand how the board looks, just can't visualize it. The stepping away from the sun and then going forward. I couldn't follow how that works. Is this the clockface force? Sorry, sometimes I am innately visual!

So there is a little door in the board that you open to see what you placed underneath?

Is the woman part of the presentation? Those items are not in quotes. It might be worth considering if not, as it provides a good motivation and hook for the effect. "Eating lunch in New Mexico was one of the strangest experiences of my life."

Also I would suggest a greater description of each totem, combining the meanings of the totem with a cold reading so they go away EXCITED they chose a mouse. Smile
"The universe is full of magical things, waiting for our wits to grow sharper." Eden Philpotts
Caleb Strange
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Kay,

Very nice as is. Many thanks for sharing. You've also prompted a couple of ideas:

1) A purely mental choice of totem - maybe some guided imagery to a quiet, natural place, and the audience member is encouraged to meet her/his totem animal in that sacred place, and you are able to discern/predict what that animal is. (I can think of a couple of methods that may be worth exploring.)

2) It strikes me that, using the thinking detailed in a certain Banachek book, there might be more of a l*****d c****e of named totem animals than one would first imagine.

3) Luke Jermay has an effect where an object appears in his hands that matches a audience member's dream - I have a very similar routine called 'Synchronicity'. Both could be adapted to the guided imagery suggestion above. Someone 'meets' their totem, and then it appears out of nowhere in their hands.

4) Finally, you mentioned the idea of one's totem animal changing as one travels through life. Apart from being a great premise for a story - an object changes subtly, or otherwise, to correspond with the events in a described life - totem animal cards could also be used as the basis of a reading. Qualities would be found in each of the chosen animals that represented a certain time or aspect of the client's life. Done respectfully, perhaps in a natural setting, I can see this being quite popular.

Regards,

Caleb Strange.
-- QCiC --
Jonathan Townsend
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Ossining, NY
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One of the story elements in His Dark Materials, by Phillip Pullman was the presence of totem animals as part of everyday life. He used the term 'daemons' for these creatures.

What if the magician could see other people's totems?
...to all the coins I've dropped here
kaytracy
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Central California
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Thanks all, good stuff for me to think on and go through.

Yes, Cliff, it is the Q force, starting on the inside of the circle. (I think it was the idea form Ed Solomon on Dragonskull-Please tell me if I got the reference right!), the six to start is for the six sacred directions in a number of southwest shaman traditions, N, S E W and above, below.

I was trying not to confuse with too many words, so the "choice" of six was a random based on 1-12, or even 13. If you go with the number of MOONS in a year, that gives a 7-19 count for the force, keeping it within the working for the total.

Instead of CW/CCW as directions, I think that holding the hand of the querant, and moving as you explain, first we return in time (CCW start direction), then move them "forward" or CW to the force animal. I always found hesitation on folks in the counting (not enough folks play board games anymore) and the direction of travel. I wanted a way to eliminate that confusion and halt in the presentation.

This is another one of my craft store trips and finding a wooden frame with a cutout in the center leaving a wide margin (about 3inches). I have been somewhat fascinated with the Q force, but wanted to be able to have the results and so the force, under MY control for more than one selection. With what I have set up at this time, I can "force" up to six different selections, though more than three at a given setting/table or in view fo similar folks, would give it away for certain.

Again, I was trying not to get too wordy in the description, but, yes, I see I did leave out a few bits! Each of the papers shown, or given out, has the more detailed information on each animal used.

Thanks, Caleb, for the insight. It was last year in Arizona that I bought a bunch of the little stone animals, and said, there MUST be something to be done with these. That and the desire to be able to adjust the clockface force, so it would give a different selection as desired. It is also my intent to use it in a divination manner, with the positive aspects re-inforced.

My friend Yellow Feather does exist, and he is a Souix Lakota Shaman; he really did tell me that your guides can and will change according to your need, so <shrug> it works if someone thinks they should be the cougar, or the bear (prejudicial Americans)!

For the crafty ones, a bit of sculpey or clay could be introduced at the start, and with the hands in the bag obtaining the appropriate form for placement and later revelation, one could provide the appearance of modeling the animal as the smoke/trance is occurring.

Note, as a non-smoker, I opt to use a bit of sage in a tray, but a smoker might get out a bit of rolling paper and some sweet grass to really make a go of it, and blow the smoke over the person to "cleanse and purify" before the start.

Oh, yes, the mouse, industrious, and attention to details, a real go-getter!

Thanks, Jonathan, for adding another book to my list of things to watch for and buy! ;}
Kay and Tory
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Clifford the Red
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As always this is great stuff guys! I always learn something grand in these threads. Smile
"The universe is full of magical things, waiting for our wits to grow sharper." Eden Philpotts
Tspall
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Lumberton, NC
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This is a great presentation, Kay! Thanks for sharing it. I'd be curious to hear of any reactions to this when it's performed.

You can also find pewter animals at certain bead and jewelery catalogs. These could go well with the effect too. http://www.firemountaingems.com
Tony
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RBerteig
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Kay, I hope you do perform this for the Beyond Bizarre group... it would probably go over well at the Ball for such a receptive (but non-magician) audience.

I like the notion of using a Q force close-up and interactive rather than "open loop" as a TV play-along. I also like the idea of finding a use for those little stone fetishes that are so obviously magical. From mail-order bead suppliers like Fire Mountain Gems, they are only a few $ per pound, so you can easily afford to make the chosen totem a gift...

Incidentally, I wish I could make it to the Vegas Bizarre gathering this year, but as with The Red, my plans have all gone awry and I won't be able to get away from the mundane that weekend.
Ross Berteig
Wizards in my Parlor
Nyama Possessor
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Kay, truly an awsome routine, thanx for sharing! You were right about the force credit, Ed Solomon used it in his effect "Day Of The Gods" on DragonSkull. Couple of suggestions:

1. How bout the spectator choosing his/her own totem from a certain type of bag (if you know what I mean) as a prediction in the beginning, instead of you (the magi) removing it from the bag yourself. This would further the "intuition' of it all, a spectator randomly? chooses their destined totem twice! A sign that it must have been meant to be! etc. etc.

2. I don't mean to interrup the Native American theme (as I feel there are not enough of this kind) but what about also making a "Drudaic" themed routine as well, using the Druid Animal Oracle? (link below) The Druids, like the Native Americans, revered animals as sacred guides, guardians and protectors. The cards in the "Animal Oracle" are very beautiful & come with a book on traditional lore & interpretations for each animal in the 33 card set. You could also make up some runes (for the bag) with "carved in" animals on them corresponding to the cards, for the prediction in the beginning! Let me know how it is coming along!

-- Krossbearer

The Druid Animal Oracle
http://www.wiccanway.com/wwtar019.html
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kaytracy
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Central California
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Krossbearer, Thanks
Oh my I was thinking of themes form so many different cultures, it was hard to pick just one. I found the animal totems rather easy to tool onto the leather. I could set it up where the spectator selects the item themself, and the choice is "confirmed", that might actually make life a bit easier!

Ross that is my plan, I will send you guys one when I get it refined and you can play with it and let me know what you think!

I am pleased to say that I have now set up the "board" as it were to allow for the choice of ANY of the 9 possible selections. Of course that would mean a tiny bit of pre-set up work instead of instant ready to go with the method you suggest, but then hey! That is what I love about this place, I get to consider ways of refining the process! The index group will just have to be elsewhere and the selection introduced each time! (Thanks for that thought, the in bag index was tough to make! I am usign leather after all!)

I guess I would ask, has anyone ever seen a variable Q force method before? That was my original goal, and I am pleased to have been able to acheive it!
Kay and Tory
www.Bizarremagick.com
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