Spirit Totem for My Birthday

In a recent journey, I was given an image to create as a totem for this emerging cycle in my life (or at least for the next few months of transition from fall into winter).

Sagittarian Vision Mirror Totem

The image shows a Snowy Owl perched atop a blooming Prickly Pear Cactus. Owl is holding a Snake in its beak. Behind Owl, in the night sky can be seen the blue-white star field of the Pleiades. Some of the major stars of the cluster mark the head and the tail of the Rattlesnake (in Owl's mouth). In many Mayan dialects, the word for rattle and Pleiades is the same.

Below the Cactus is a pair of flaming antlers - a shamanic gateway and protective sign. On either side sits a pair of Smoking Mirror hieroglyphs (based upon the Aztec variant of this Meso-American symbol with the vision plume merging from the mouth of the skull). The mirror represents contemplation, the smoking mirror is that of journey and vision quest by the Mirror Lord.

Owl has come to me over the last few months introducing itself as a new companion and power animal to guide and watch over me in this next phase of my life.

Upon receiving this journey image and during creation of the actual digital image, I was struck by the similarities of the central totem (Owl, Snake, Cactus) with that of the Mexican flag (Eagle, Snake, Cactus) - itself originally based upon an Aztec hieroglyphic place sign for their capital city of Tenochtitlan (where Mexico City stands today). Legend has it their leader was informed in a dream by the god of war, Huitzilopochtli, that they were to settle in the place where they would find an eagle on a prickly pear cactus holding a serpent. The place where they saw this sight was quite inhospitable - a swampy area in the center of three lakes - on a small island in the Lake Texcoco. This is where they settled and built the great city of Tenochtitlan with its Pyramids of the Sun and the Moon.

1 comment:

Kara said...

Gorgeous image Mark! Thanks for sharing.