Sneak Peek of upcoming collaboration between myself and Le Animale!

Le Animale and I have been working on a collaboration over the past few months.

She has been sculpting 10 totems amongst all her other works, and then they have flown over to Western Australia where I have painted them in my own style.

Additional, separate illustrations with a more complex style, all featuring landscape elements, will be going on sale to commemorate this project within my own Etsy store.
Each totem will come with a laminated collector’s card, which features a print of the illustration, as well as a paragraph of meaning about the totem, written by myself.

Although not officially launched yet, we are taking pre-orders of the sculptures. I have been so tempted to keep all some of these for myself!

Pre-painting – From left to right (the ones crossed out are the ones already ordered) Gentoo Penguin, Red Kangaroo, Komodo Dragon, Meerkat, Amur Leopard, Dugong, Dodo, Giant Oceanic Manta Ray, Harpy Eagle and Ocelot.

This is a limited edition collaboration that will happen approximately every six months or so. In the interim we shall be working on our own projects, and not offering customs (it’s unfeasible with postage – they are jetsetting totems, created in the N. Hemisphere and painted in the S. Hemisphere!)

Hoping to officially launch in October!

If you have any questions, want to see some of the illustrations or some photos of painted sculptures between now and launch for the purpose of pre-order, feel free to email me at ophelias.diary@gmail.com ๐Ÿ˜€

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Illustrating those that have passed on.

Recently, I’ve been inking a commission of a recently passed, lovely cat. Inking individual beings as opposed to collective totems is a very different process. Generally, in terms of ‘ease’, totem animals are easier than living animal companions are easier than passed animal companions.

Because of my practices within shamanism, it is taboo to contact a passed being companion within 13 days of its passing (unless I was the one who personally ‘pomped for the being), but after that, this taboo lifts, and it becomes okay.

And though it’s never easy, it’s always rewarding and worthwhile (hopefully as much, if not moreso, for the client). There is a profound sense of being honoured by the animal in question, and often, a profound sense of love comes through. Not for me, I am just the messenger – but for the client in question.

I suppose if I wasn’t a spiritual person, I’d be singing that love through in a different way. But because of my shamanic practices, there are trance state and spiritual conversations involved, there are random feelings or colours or textures or even thoughts in a way that is just a different flavour to illustrating totem animals.

I’ve drawn many animal companions over the years and the process fills me with similar emotions each time. Being honoured by both the client and the animal companion and, in some cases, my own guidesย  who help me make contact. The fear/hope that comes from wanting to do my very best and pushing myself hard and hoping clients can see that. The satisfaction of actually putting my pen or brush to the board and seeing life emerge from a static white space.

But I can’t spend too long blogging, I must get back to work. ๐Ÿ™‚

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PS: I can’t believe it’s been over 8 months since I last blogged here. Boy and howdy do I have some exciting news! But that can wait for another post. ๐Ÿ™‚

Blackcap as Totem

This totem has the awesome honour of being a patron of Italian culture and the arts. I mean, in general, it’s an awesome bird – but did you know that something so tiny has inspired a lot of artists? What a wonderful, and overlooked, totem animal.

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BLACKCAP as TOTEM

Blackcap as Totem by Ravenari

REPRESENTING:

Sharing your song with others, possessing a sweet voice, knowing how to persuade others, the pen is mightier than the sword, learning new ways of expressing yourself, respecting religious pathways, enjoying sacred spaces, adapting to significant changes to your environment, being fond of myths and legends, associations with St. Francis, connection to Italian culture and crafts, muse.

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GENERAL DESCRIPTION

The blackcap is a widespread, common passerine warbler found in Europe, western Africa and Europe. They are sexually dimorphic, and have a unique colour pattern for warblers. The male is grey with a distinct black cap, the female has a brown cap. They prefer to forage and hunt in shady woodlands, and nest in groundcover, preferring low shrubs. Their song is pleasant, chattering, with occasional clear notes; isolated blackcap populations can show marked differences in style and complexity of song. The blackcap is more hardy than other warblers, taking berries as well as insects when the weather gets tough. The blackcap is partially migratory, but recently some have been changing their wintering habits due to the availability of human food and gardens and recent environmental changes; the birds that are not migratory have higher survival rates than those that are. In some cultures, the blackcap is consumed as a food and considered a delicacy. Blackcaps have long inspired Italian writers, who knew the bird as La Capinera. They are associated with St. Francis in the opera Saint Francois d’Assise.

Blue Eared Pheasant as Totem

I love writing totem files for the less common animals. I think I may have been the only person to write a totem file about the blue-eared pheasant, but you never know! They seem like awesome birds.

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BLUE EARED PHEASANT as TOTEM

Blue Eared Pheasant as Totem by Ravenari

REPRESENTS

Sibling rivalry, enjoying wild weather, feeling invigorated during cold or snowy weather, mountain wisdom, forest wisdom, having a profound connection to trees and plants, being feisty when pushed, coping well in times of crisis, being the one to depend on when things go wrong, taking advantage of opportunities as they present themselves, rooting around to get to the cause of the problem.

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GENERAL DESCRIPTION

The blue eared pheasant is a large, blue-grey pheasant, with a black grown, red wattles, yellow iris, long white ear coverts and crimson legs. They are among the most common of eared pheasants. They are sexually dimorphic with the male being larger than the female, but are otherwise quite similar. They are found in the mountain forests (Himalayas) of central and northern China, where they do very well in cold and snowy weather, and seem to enjoy inclement weather. Primarily eat berries and vegetable matters, but are opportunistic feeders. They root around by nature, and can destroy smaller plants in the process. They enjoy mud and dust-baths. Blue eared pheasants are hardy. They are monogamous, and reach sexual fertility in their first year. Males will often display a lowered wing to signify size and dominance. Chicks are lively, rambunctious, bold and look like they are smiling. If over-crowded, they will become violent and cannibalistic, killing their siblings. Males will become quite aggressive and attack other species during breeding season.

Brown Honeyeater as Totem

The second installment for today.

These guys have been visitors to my Mum’s gardens for as long as I can remember. I haven’t seen any in my garden yet, but that’s because it’s a new suburb and I’m not sure what the brown honeyeater population is like; I do see other nectar feeders though. They are drab-looking birds, to be certain, but they have lovely personalities, and a lovely call.

These guys are a fantastic totem animal for people who work with balancing the chakras, or who fall out of balance very quickly. Their habits are all about achieving the right balance, and being selective about what energy you allow into your body. Also fantastic for people who are making shields that let certain things in, and not others.

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BROWN HONEYEATER as TOTEM

Brown Honeyeater as Totem by Ravenari

REPRESENTING –

Balance, knowing how to balance your energy, being selective about how you receive and give out your energy, singing your song, possessing the ability to balance the energy of others, the unobtrusive healer, seeking and finding clarity, getting what’s yours, flowers are healing, an affinity with flower essences and flower foods at this time, learning to be happy with blending into your surroundings.

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GENERAL DESCRIPTION

The brown honeyeater is a small, grey-brown bird with a yellow tuft behind the eye, found in western, northern and eastern Australia. It is considered common and widespread, and populations are on the rise in urban environments. Brown honeyeaters live in a variety of different habitats provided they are close to a source of water; these habitats include mangroves, eucalypt woodlands and gardens. The brown honeyeater is mostly active in early morning, and seasonally nomadic within its territory, following the flowering plants and trees. It primarily feeds on nectar and will also take insects; it’s tongue is brush-tipped and specially adapted for mopping up nectar. Brown honeyeaters will also feed in small groups and flocks of mixed honeyeaters.

Brown honeyeaters maintain the same breeding territory each year, and nests are cup-shaped and woven from grass and tree-bark. They are acrobatic, busy and active birds, able to take insects on the wing and hover over nectar-providing flowers. They most prefer to feed in foliage and canopies, but will also feed on the ground. They have a distinct, beautiful, loud, clear song which is considered the best of all the honeyeaters. Some even consider it to be one of the best among Australian birds. They are predated upon by ants, pied currawong and their nests are parasitised by a variety of cuckoos.

European Pine Marten as Totem

Today you get two totems, since I fell behind!

The first:

EUROPEAN PINE MARTEN as TOTEM

European Pine Marten as Totem by Ravenari

REPRESENTING:

Forest and tree wisdom, the ability for trees and forests to be healing places, possessing great wit and cunning, being resourceful and capable of great lateral thinking when necessary, needing to chew something over, protecting your home and yourself, having a great sense of where your boundaries are, swiftness of action and movement, being exploited for what you have and what you do, keeping your body in good condition, general anxiety and fussing over things.

Red-Winged Blackbird as Totem

This was an interesting one. I don’t tend to read more generic totem meanings until after I’ve completed my own; that way I’m not unconsciously taking from anything that I haven’t researched or found myself. When I looked at other meanings however, I noticed that just about everyone who did refer to the red-winged blackbird said that it referred to goddess and feminist energies. This seems totally counter-intuitive, given what I know of the bird and its energy. The closest I came was reading a sense of sisterhood into the energy; but even that was a mild totem meaning, and not its strongest.

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RED WINGED BLACKBIRD as TOTEM

red winged blackbird as totem by Ravenari

REPRESENTING:

Don’t be afraid to let your personality shine through, speak up, talk about what you believe in, communicate, let your love spread to many people, be wary of peer pressure (both receiving and doling out), changing habits and mannerisms amongst groups of people, being an opportunist, wetlands wisdom, group dynamics, the power of large groups of people, being visible, putting yourself out there, the middleworlds, drawing attention to yourself, being a part of a sisterhood.

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ABOUT

The red-winged blackbird is an abundant, well-studied songbird found in North and Central Merica. They are sexually dimorphic, with the males being black, with red and yellow shoulder patches that can be puffed or hidden, and duller, drabber females. The males are often sighted alongside roadsides, on high perches, in wetlands, on telephone wires and on cattails. They are found in open grassy areas, fresh and saltwater marshes (with a preference for those with cattail), wetlands, watercourses and other wet regions. They will also frequent crop fields, feedlots, meadows, prairies, old fields and pastures. Different subspecies vary greatly in size and proportion. Red-winged blackbirds will form huge flocks of several million birds, with other species of blackbird and starling, in order to consume grains and group forage. They are omnivorous and predominantly eat seeds and insects, and will also consume snails, frogs, eggs, carrion and other opportunistically taken animals and vegetation. They are strong, agile flyers.

Red-winged blackbirds are associated with the return of Spring, as migratory populations return early and sing frequently as the season returns. Males are extremely territorial (a quarter of their waking hours during breeding season is devoted to territory defense), and polygynous, having up to 15 female mates in their territory. Males will chase and mob animals much larger than they, including livestock and humans. Predated upon by many other birds, including raptors, owls, corvids and herons, as well as raccoons, mink, foxes and snakes. To prevent predation, red-winged blackbirds will make well-concealed nests over water, group-nest and sound alarm calls. The red-winged blackbird may be the most studied bird.

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You can find the full totem dictionary here, a free resource representing 258 animals.