Kami, Crows, Coyotes…Oh My!

I enjoy being outdoors.  Not really just outdoors – but REALLY outdoors.  Like waaaaay out there.  For the past few years, during the breaks between classes, I’ve had the chance to take a vacation out into various locations.  I’ve had the chance to see Carlsbad Caverns, White Sands, and the Sacramento mountains in New Mexico; the Gulf Coast region down in Galveston; and the Rocky Mountains in Colorado and Wyoming.  Each holds its own measure of majestic beauty and awe – as did the traveling to get to each of these
locations.  In two weeks, I will travel again into the Rocky mountains – this time into Montana and the Glacier National Park, by way of Nebraska and South Dakota for short day-long jaunts.  In each location, I plan to stop for a while – and take in the spirit of the Land itself.  I do this at nearly every place that I visit, and I’ve had people look at me funny.  I’ve also had other people nod in agreement.  Regardless, its a deap-seated part of my own spirituality – that there are Kami in every location, including within the cities of concrete and steel that we (mankind) have built.

Nature is everywhere.  Concrete, steel, rock, dirt, grass, mud, sea, river, lake…all of it is Imagenatural in my eyes.  Sure, we (mankind, again) utilize some of the materials in a way that is harmful — not just to the land and the first inhabitants, but also to ourselves.  That’s a point of stewardship — and slightly off-course for what I am writing about here (what else is new with my writing?  LOL).

In the Shinto belief, the Kami are spirits or natural forces in the world around us.  Manitou is a similar concept in Native American culture (Algonquian is the source of the word).  Regardless of what word you wish to place into being – I prefer Kami, simply because it is easier to remember in my mind – I have experienced, and continue to experience these spirits within my personal practice.  Sure, I’ve been called “crazy” for my belief — I don’t worry about the labels that other people place on me.  Its difficult to provide words for a description, other than a feeling of something/someone whispering in your ear in a language you don’t/can’t understand (again, I’m not worried about the labels people place on me).

When I do my meditations, I typically bring some kind of offering for the Kami of the area.  Typically, I bring some water – and provide the offering to a nearby bush or tree.  Generally, I see the Kami as residing in and amongst us – not being destructive or invasive, but trying to get a point across that we can live and coexist together (and easily).

I do work with my own totem animal as well.  Or I should say animals.  For some reason, I’ve managed to get strong connections with both the Crow and the Coyote.  Really weird
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combination, but generally the two don’t cross often.  Lately, the Crow has been the Email system of my mind – bringing and sending messages through my dreams.  To be completely honest, I used to scoff at the idea of totem animals.  Until about six years ago – when I started seeing crows nearly everywhere I went.  Along with the obligatory Grackle (Texas seems to be the home-base for these birds), I’ve grown accustomed to seeing these birds in my backyard tree…or at the bird-bath in the backyard…or perched in the stone circle I have built around a statue of Kokopelli (also in the backyard).  Surprisingly, at least to me, they poop on everyone else’s cars….  🙂  During the trip to Montana…I’m hoping to catch a glimpse of a Coyote (though we do have a pack that live here in the county)…

…some folks call me strange for these thoughts….I don’t worry about that.  I have more than enough positive things going on in my life to not worry about whatever negativity someone else is trying to transmit to others like an STD….

3 thoughts on “Kami, Crows, Coyotes…Oh My!

  1. I do so enjoy posts like this. I too find myself more deeply interconnected with the divine when I am way outdoors. The farther from civilization and deeper into nature the better for me. But it’s not always easy to get that far out and like you said, nature is everywhere, even in the heart of a great big metropolitan area like the one we live in. I enjoy a small park that is near our home with a duck pond. My son, Kyle, and I go down there sometimes to feed the ducks and turtles, walk around and take in the soothing energy of nature. I know what you mean about using terms that stick in your mind better. I speak of Karma a lot rather than the Rule Of Three or other such similar concepts because, one, in my experience I don’t necessarily see the energy returning “threefold” but it most certainly does return and of course, Karma is so much easier to say and almost anyone you are talking to knows exactly what it is and what it means so there is no need to stop and explain it. I like the term Kami you use, I generally refer to the same spirits of the land as “Nature Spirits” because that is what we called them when I was learning along the path of ADF Druidry. Same idea, just another name for it. I enjoy exploring and finding these universal truths that all cultures, from any place on earth has discovered and described in their own way. To me, it helps build bridges and bonds us together as a human family regardless of origin.

    Some folks lean heavily to the reconstruction side of things and want to only do what their own ancestors did in exactly the way they did it or as closely as possible. But of course that doesn’t work for me because, A. we live in a modern world that is nothing like the world our ancestors lived in thousands of years ago so we need to adapt to it just as they would have if faced with a new environment. B. If someone has a good idea and it works, why not use it? I often tell the folks who say things like, you can’t use (such and such) in a Celtic ritual because it’s origins are in the middle east or wherever. Well, if you really feel that way, stop using screws because they were invented in China. Stop using Algebra (okay, bad example maybe because a lot of people would love to do just that, ha ha) because it came from Arabs. The thing is, a good idea is a good idea no matter who comes up with it and if our ancestors were truly wise (as I believe they were) if they were confronted with it and saw the value in it they most certainly would have incorporated it into their lives.

    Just a few random drippings from the ol’ brainpan. 😉

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  2. Thanks Troy! Yeah, its kind of tough to get into the way, way outside of the outdoors…say that five times fast…LOL Like you noted though, its just a matter of finding reverence for Nature no matter where you are or what you’re doing.

    Like you, I’m not into the reconstructionist part of the Pagan movement. I figure if it works for me – what does it matter if it does or doesn’t follow what the people in the Past did? After all, they were merely doing the same things we are doing today — making do with what’s available right now, and adapting it to the current times and what actually works for them. Its one of the reasons I don’t have ritual robes or tools — I have no need for either of them. If the Gods are willing to hear me while wearing a Clash concert t-shirt or a three-piece suit (which I don’t own a single one – but you get the point)…was it because of the way I was dressed that they actually paid attention? If so, perhaps we need to get a Michelin rating system for Pagan circles…

    Or as Doc Holliday says in my favorite movie: “There’s no such thing as a ‘normal’ life, Wyatt. There’s just life. Go out and live it.” 🙂

    –T

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