Your Spirit Animal Helpers (no author given)

Your Spirit Animal Helpers: The Divine Guardians of Your Happiness
No author given
International Rights, Ltd., 1997
190 pages

This rather obscure book was one I found at Powell’s City of Books in Portland. It’s oneof the earlier totem animal dictionaries, and not one I’ve seen much information on. It’s a shame, because it’s actually pretty good for being a 101-level dictionary.

The information in it pretty much covers the basics of neopagan totemism–how to find your totem, how to work with hir, how s/he can help you in everyday life, etc. The author(s) was very creative, and conveys the information in a friendly, approachable tone. The anecdotes and other information are mixed in with some good practical exercises. The dictionary contains 30 animals, most Big Impressive North American Birds and Mammals, though a few smaller critters thrown in as well. In short, it’s a decent introduction to totemism. Additionally, the illustrations by Marc Brinkerhoff are absolutely astounding! This is definitely one of the best-illustrated totem books I’ve ever seen.

I do have a few complaints. The information in the dictionary is rather sparse, and definitely could have used more fleshing out; additionally, the animals are pretty much exclusive to North America. There are also hints of cultural appropriation in there; the author(s) keeps referring to “Native American” this and that, without any real details, though s/he doesn’t go so far as to say “this is genuine Native American totemism!”. Finally, some of the supporting evidence (such as the idea that Beaver is a Masonic totem) could have used citations to back them up; this book lacks citations and a bibliography entirely.

Still, overall, it’s an introduction to totemism that I’ll be hanging onto for workshops. I would recommend supplementing with other books, but there are much worse introductions out there. I’m docking it a few points for the flaws, but other than that, a nice basic book.

Three and seven-eighths pawprints out of five.

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2 Comments

  1. January 8, 2008 at 11:36 pm

    Hi Pagan Book Reviews,
    Thank you for the very nice review of the book ‘Your Spirit Animal Helpers, The Divine Guardians of Your Happiness’. I was a coauthor with a ghost writer for the Spirit Animal Helpers book, but I did add a lot of my own information to the book regarding my personal shamanic experiences. I am a self taught artist and have drawn animals since I could hold a crayon. Besides being an artist I am a metaphysician, Rev. of Spiritual healing, clairvoyant, an animal intuitive and I am involved in other paranormal subjects as well as UFO’s, the nature kingdom, and more.

    I have had many miraculous experiences with dogs, cats, horses, wolves, mice, skunks, birds, fish, lizards, and insects. One of my favorite pictures in the book is the skunk. I enjoyed creating that picture very much even though it was one of the hardest ones to draw with all the hair accurately. Truly, I loved creating all the pictures for the book and psychically projecting energy into the images as I worked.
    I was hoping that people would tune in and ‘feel’ or ‘sense’ the inner spiritual qualities of the animal I was portraying. With your kind and wonderful words, I feel my mission was accomplished. Thank you and blessings to all in the New Year.

  2. lupabitch said,

    January 9, 2008 at 10:12 am

    Marc–thank you for some background info on this book! Your illustrations most certainly added to the book, and I’m glad you were able to share them with readers through this medium. Keep up the creativity 🙂


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