It is not a typical totem. It is not a fertility statue, or a pole carved with the likeness of different animal spirits.
That being said, a totem in the truest sense is an item or object that is venerated, one that has close ties to an individual, clan, or family. It is often something with close ties to nature.
This is my totem, a decrepit old tamarac. To me it represents the duality of life and nature.
The tamarac is an evergreen at first glance, but by autumn, its needles drift from green to orange and sprinkle to the ground in a soft, slippery blanket - like those of deciduous trees.
This particular totem is both strong and proud, yet frail and spindly. It climbs tall and slender into the heavens, an earthen mast that scratches at the clouds.
I once built a palace in the midst of a tangle of tamaracs. There were six of them and they supported the dreams and adventures of my childhood.
The tamarac is an ideal representation of our own duality. It is strength and weakness, lightness and darkness. It is pride and frailty, life and death, fiery hot summers and icy cold winters.
This duality is the key to many belief systems. It represents heaven and hell, yin and yang.
The tamarac is duality. It is also the cycle of life, from sprouting cone to toppling timber. It represents the cycling of seasons - from lime green spring, to deep green summer, to mottled orange autumn, and the eventual stark, cold grey of winter.
This is my totem, an emblem of all we are, all we have been, and all we might become.
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