The first animal – a totem


Mwanza Flat Headed AgamaThis blue and red lizard, the Mwanza Flat Headed Agama, was our first animal sighting on Safari in Africa. On reviewing my pictures I am suddenly struck at the possible symbolic appropriateness for this creature to be totemic for me.

It’s cool blue bottom portion sports a flaming red head and upper torso. To me this speaks of the harmonic combination of strong emotional surges supported by a grounded, stable yet fluid body. I am familiar with the experience of having hot tears well up in me from strong responsiveness to the landscape or circumstance, but I know how to completely relax and surrender to let them circulate freely in my system without needing to emote outwardly. This lizard’s coloring evokes that for me.

In the picture it is elevated on a rock, but overlooking poop of prey. An observant perspective, not in denial. Not overly elevated, not the highest rock in the landscape. Still reflective for me.

Lizard as totem represents subtle perception. Lizards are keenly sensitive, sensing vibrations through the ground, detecting the slightest movements with their eyes, and with surprisingly acute hearing. It can remain still for long periods, absorbing its surroundings. In the book Animal-Speak, it says “This indicates that your intuition and psychic perceptions are either already active or about to be activated more strongly. Pay attention.” Lizards are associated with the dreamtime as well. It can feign sleep while basking attentively in the sun. I can identify with that.

In the middle of the night on August 24 I awakened to a surge of energy coursing through my body, one of those sudden floods of chemical response that happen when something shocking happens. There was nothing in my dream to source this; it was completely non-sequiter. This feeling is not unfamiliar to me; it has happened periodically all my life. I went back to sleep and it reoccurred a couple hours later. When I got up in the morning I started researching online (yes, there was wifi available at our lodge in the middle of nowhere!) to see if maybe an earthquake had happened. I saw that there had been 6-ers in Chile, and wondered if perhaps I had felt these pulses across the planet. I also saw an article saying that there had been some strong sun flares and that there was a heads up for earthquake activity. It was later that day, at around 2:30 in the afternoon, that I heard that an hour before a strong earthquake had shaken the San Francisco bay area, not far away from my home.

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