I’m a bad influence.

The other day, my friend Tonya dropped by with a cheesecake and said she could only stay for a few minutes. She had promised her friends she would join them at a peace rally and bring dessert.

Stinkbug

Instead, she sat on the deck with me and my husband for a couple of hours, eating cheesecake for dinner and sipping wine while we watched the birds along the river.

Birds we saw included a bald eagle, a blue heron, a woodpecker, cormorants and mergansers, swallows, and finches. We talked about the abundance and she noted how sharp our eyesight had become since living in the wilderness.

Did I mention she’s a shaman?

No?

Well, I forget these things since our friendship is based on other areas of interest. She’s a nice, warm person who travels from one place to the next, spreading joy and patching people. Me, I’m a selfish hermit who enjoys relaxing by the river, reading books from my enormous library, and watching my big screen TV.

Then she told us (thanks to her miraculous iPhone and Google search bar) about totems and how they connect to the animals we most often see. My husband really wanted the Bald Eagle to be his totem, but we’re confident he is the Blue Heron. Well, so says Therapeutic Reiki:

“Its head is folded back in a flat S-shaped loop, reflecting the innate wisdom of being able to maneuver through life and control its life circumstances. It reflects a need for those with this totem to follow their own innate wisdom and path of self-determination. You know what is best for you and should follow it, rather than the prompting of others.”

Tonya said her totem is the hummingbird, with these traits: energy, vitality, joy, renewal, sincerity, healing, peace, infinity, playfulness, loyalty, and affection.

“What animal is always near you?” she asked me.

“You mean, besides my dog? Well, there are the cats …”

My husband interjected. “Stink Bugs!”

And it’s true. It seems that everywhere I go, there are Stink Bugs (Pentatomidae Pentatoma Rufipes) squaring off, staring me down, marching around defiantly. They are in my office, in my living room, and in my bedroom. They even swoop at me when I’m sitting on the deck, buzzing as they wing by.

Tonya read some of the characteristics of the Stink Bug Totem, and I was sorry to say I can relate.

According to “Shamanism: Working with Animal Spirits,” the Stink Bug’s wisdom includes:

  • Use of odor as protection
  • Exchange of life energy
  • Camouflage
  • Use of exterior shell as protection

Yep, I’ve been known to ignore deodorant. I certainly hide from the world, using my work as a writer to camouflage the fact I am a hermit. My lovely home is on a dead-end road, with the river on one side, a mountain looming on the other, and a state forest surrounding it. I’d definitely consider that a protective exterior shell.

Over the years I’ve become accustomed to having a Stink Bug as a totem, but that doesn’t stop me from repelling them with essential oils and soapy water, and tossing them outside when they sneak in.

The website for Spirit Walk Ministry, states:

“The Stink Bug can show the connections between seemingly separate unrelated events with heightened intuition. Pay attention to your instincts about people and situations. Increased sensitivity to what is hidden and reading between the lines occurs with Stink Bug medicine and it teaches the balance of concealment and surfacing. The Stink Bug will guide in the proper use and balance of the positive and negative attributes of what is psychically sensed as well as what is physically sensed in your surroundings. Stink Bug medicine shows how to transform and shed what is no longer needed. There are five separate stages as insights are gained and growth is achieved. Stink Bug’s lessons span a period of about a month when new ideals and thoughts are fully developed.”

I think the Spirit Walk Ministry got some of its data from the Animal Totems: Dictionary of Insects, which says the following about the Stink Bug:

Stink Bug aids with clarifying dreams, visions and insights. She can show the connections between seemingly separate unrelated events with heightened intuition. Pay attention to your instincts about people, situations and circumstances. She can demonstrate the order in which things are done, designating each level in the process of metamorphosis. Increased sensitivity to what is hidden and reading between the lines occurs with Stink Bug medicine. She can be a sharp communicator getting to the point. Are you being direct? She helps protect and shield energy and emotions when needed. She teaches the balance of concealment and surfacing. Are you stepping forward at work, school, community or relationships? Are you overloaded and need to step back? Odors have both attractant and repellent qualities. Stink Bug will guide in the proper use and balance of the positive and negative attributes of what is psychically sensed as well as what is physically sensed in your surroundings. Stink Bug medicine shows how to transform and shed what is no longer needed. The first 12 to 14 days will show which direction you should be going. There are five separate stages as insights are gained and growth is achieved. Stink Bug’s lessons span a period of about a month when new ideals and thoughts are fully developed.

My friend pointed out that I am intuitive and often call “BS!” on people. I am a communication expert and even teach it sometimes at a local college.

But I don’t wanna be a Stink Bug! Why can’t I have a pretty animal for my totem? Just because she’s a shaman, she shouldn’t be able to saddle me with a totem, right?

Can’t I be a Blue Heron, too?

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I Don’t Wanna Be a Stink Bug by Robin Van Auken is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
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