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New Paths to Animal Totems: Three Alternative Approaches to Creating Your Own Totemism [Paperback]


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Book Description

Dec 8 2012
Invigorate your animal totem work by incorporating your unique life experience and your personal mythology. In "New Paths to Animal Totems", author Lupa provides a new approach to totemism that broadens the foundations, theories, and practices beyond the typical pseudo-Native-American animal totem book. Exploring three different models of totem work - correspondences, archetypal, and bioregional - you will make your relationships with your totems stronger and more personalized. Whether you are new to totemic work or are looking for some novel spiritual direction, Lupa addresses questions about what totems are, why they aren't restricted to one's geographical location, and how to practise totem traditions with cultural sensitivity. With hands-on rituals and meditations, connect to your animal totems in a way that brings you strength, renewal, and wisdom.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 312 pages
  • Publisher: Llewellyn Publications (Dec 8 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0738733377
  • ISBN-13: 978-0738733371
  • Product Dimensions: 20.1 x 13 x 2.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 318 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #697,896 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

About the Author

Lupa is a neoshaman, artist and sustainability geek. She has been working with animal magic in various forms since the 1990s and has developed a self-created and spirit-directed neoshamanic path. She possesses a Master's degree in counselling psychology with an emphasis on ecopsychology. Visit her online at

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 5.0 out of 5 stars  6 reviews
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Recommended! Jan. 11 2013
By Laurel MacLeod - Published on
This is one of the best Pagan/Neo-Pagan books I've read in a long time. Actually, it's one of the best non-fiction I've read in a long time, period.

It's intelligent, rational, easy to read while being in-depth, and has a wonderful conversational quality to it that makes it feel like you're listening to the author talk instead of reading from the page.

In terms of content, this is one of the first books containing "how to" info that didn't a) bore me, and b) intimidate me away from trying it. At the end of the book, instead of feeling that trying to find my totem is just too much time and work, I've been motivated into feeling like it's something that is doable and within my reach.

I'd recommend this book to anyone. :)
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Key that Opens Many Doors Sept. 8 2013
By Shepen - Published on
I bought this book on a whim because the cover intrigued me and I'd heard good things about the author. It was one of the best book purchases I made all year. New Paths put names and context to totemic concepts I've been working with for over 15 years, such as Skin Spirits, or the spirits inherent in animal hides and bones. It has guided meditations that have worked better for me than the ones on other totem/Pagan books I've read. They very simple and intuitive. I got great results from them.

The section on cultural appropriation was also a welcome sight; making Neopagans feel confident in our own cultural heritage instead of seeing it as inferior to (highly romanticized) indigenous ones. We do have our own culture, and that's OK, we can work it in new directions instead of borrowing all the time from traditions we don't understand, and people who may not like their traditions being pillaged. That was a breath of fresh air.

There are many suggestions on how to tailor totemic traditions for yourself. I am partial to the bioregional method, which is getting to know the environment you live in, and the spirits within it. I follow a Kemetic (Ancient Egyptian) path but I live in the Midwestern U.S. and a spirituality based on the climate, flora and fauna I experience on a daily basis was something I felt was missing from my life. this fills that void nicely and it feels natural to me.

Other suggestions include looking for family totems in your own family if you are not indigenous - say your name is Taube or Wolf, those are animal names, and can be worked with totemically.

I liked this book so much I got Lupa's DIY Totemism and plan to get more. it's a must read for anyone interested in Totem animals.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars New Paths to Animal Totems July 24 2013
By Rebecca L. Elson - Published on
This review originally appeared on The Magical Buffet website on 7/24/13.

Animal totems are something I was interested in but never really explored. I always sort of felt that you needed to be a big nature lover to work with animal totems and if you know me, you know that me and nature do not get along. I'm allergic to just about everything that grows and every animal. All fur, feathers, dander, down, all of it. However, Lupa's new book "New Paths to Animal Totems: Three Alternative Approaches to Creating Your Totemism" really opened my eyes.

Lupa explains how you don't have to be tied to the Native American model that so many books and websites tend to favor. She offers three alternative models to discerning your totems: correspondences, bioregional, and archetypal. In correspondences Lupa discusses discovering your totem/totems using the directions, the Chinese or Western Zodiac, the Tarot and more. Bioregionalism is finding your totems not from within arbitrary boundaries such as state lines but instead from a place defined by natural phenomena such as waterways and geographic formations. Last is archetypal which is more psychological than other options. It matches our internal impulses and instincts to what we know of nonhuman animals, creating a personalized map of both the internal self and the world we inhabit. Lupa offers exercises, meditations, and examples for all of these so the seeker has a companion working with them along their path. She also discusses the option of combining these totemic paths.

Additionally, Lupa discusses ways to interact with, honor, and assist your totem animal. There's a guided meditation for helping find your totem animal. My favorite extra is a list of animal nonprofits.

"New Paths to Animal Totems" is a great book for anyone looking for a new perspective, or for someone new like me. I thought that someone housebound like myself couldn't have a relationship with a totem animal, but Lupa's writing opened my eyes. Ideally yes, being out in nature is great. However many people have totem animals that aren't found in nature where they live, so being outside doesn't effect the relationship one way or the other. That's a pretty big leap from one book. Just think what "New Paths to Animals" might teach you.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars THE starter book for Animal Totemism June 20 2013
By SeekingTree - Published on
I have been studying animal totems rather intimately for about ten years now and along the way I've read every title on the topic that I could get my hands on. The unfortunate thing about the many titles out there as that they're often repetitive animal totem dictionaries, which are also nice, but they lack any real explanation on how to begin or develop your practice with animal totems. Or they do the exact opposite and try to force you into a poorly researched or misrepresented template for your spiritual journey.

This book however is nothing like the others that I've read. It presents multiple templates, which can be used simultaneously OR separately, and a wide variety of ideas and explains the why's and how's of each. She presents many important questions and helps to dispel a lot of the common myths that there are on the subject (which she does in her other books as well, which I find to be a refreshing change in my literature). Her opinion is embedded in the books but she also presents differing opinions in a way that doesn't dismiss anyone's particular belief or system. It's informative while also being inclusive and malleable.

I teach classes on Animal Totemism and have for almost half a decade now and since this book came out, it is always my number one recommendation for readers to add to their library. It's a great read, easy to understand, and gives you a lot to work with, without being chock full of rigid rituals and exercises that offer little to the average reader. You're able to make everything within the book your own, and I think that's how the author intended it. This is spirituality after all, where you're walking your own path, not somebody else's.

I recommend this book to anyone interested on the subject, particularly as a beginner's book. It's perfect for the job.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fantastic, thorough introduction! Oct. 5 2013
By Ziixxxitria - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition
This is a very thorough guide to beginning to think about animal totems. It provides a variety of starting points in a way that allows for a range of views on what a totem actually is (be it a living spirit, or a tool for introspection). For much of it, Lupa asks a lot of questions to guide the reader in their own discoveries -- which I feel is much more important for this type of thinking than simply handing out answers that might not suit everyone.

I have read it completely through once, but I plan to re-read it again more slowly while trying out a lot of the meditations and other exercises she suggests. I highly recommend this book to anyone else looking for a good introduction to animal totemism.

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