The Need For Totems and Shamans
These two objects have a history with me. The green stone was given to me in 1994 by a gentle bear of a man who was my therapist at that time. I was to hold the rock when life was overwhelming so that the rock could take me back into the moments of safety in his office. The rock has travelled with me and hopefully will continue to stay with me reminding me of the gentle, bearded giant of a man who had unconditional positive regard for me as a man.
The second object is a chalice of sorts that I made in 1998 at a workshop. The chalice is a container that is meant to hold what I called the “Source of Life.” Another man was responsible for this, the man who lead the workshop on a cool and windy May weekend. Little did I know at that time that I would meet this man again fourteen years later, a meeting between analyst and analysand. Again, I feel that I am in a safe place, a place where I am again held in unconditional positive regard as a man.
Today, these two symbolic objects are like totems for me, and when I use the word totems, I mean it as symbols of relatedness as though kin – father and brother figures. As totems, these objects carry a spiritual dimension in which the notion of shaman is attached to the objects. For me, these two men take their place in my life story as guides through the inner worlds, the spiritual worlds – true shamans in a modern world.