Hallo, special viewers, and welcome to Animal World: Our Co-Inhabitants. Today we present the concluding episode in our two-part interview with American author, retired psychotherapist, spiritual teacher, and shaman Dr. Steven Farmer. A shaman uses wide range of practices to communicate with the world beyond physical appearances.

Author of the bestselling books “Earth Magic,” and “Sacred Ceremony,” Dr. Farmer also hosts a weekly radio program called Earth Magic Radio. As we learned yesterday, he has studied animal guides extensively and says if we are in tune with them, their messages can help us overcome the challenges in our lives. Can a particular animal also guide a group or community of people? Dr. Farmer’s answer uses the example of his friend Jeremy, a member of an indigenous group in Australia.

I want to explain a couple terms, how I view them; totem animal and power animal. Totem animal’s probably the one that people more commonly refer to.

I've got to tell you the technical definition in my world. And totem is one of two things. Totem is typically a spirit animal that's shared by a community, a tribe, a clan, a family. The Kuku Yalanji tribe that Jeremy is part of in Australia, the men share a totem. And that's a totem animal, and that’s the Cassowary.

And then he's got his personal totem, which is, this is public so I'm not giving away any secrets, a Long-necked turtle. So, totem means one of two things typically in my world. One is that it is shared by a clan or community. The second is representation of a spirit animal, whether it's a power animal or a totem animal. This is a representation of one of my power animals, a wolf. A soapstone carving, just a reminder, sits by my computer.

And I've got others. This is actually a graphite raven, beautiful piece, and this was gifted to me. Clients will occasionally gift me things. And you can't see it but, there's a condor up there. So the condor itself could be considered a totem. So it's not just the physical being, it’s also the spirit of, not just that Long-necked turtle, but the entire species of Long-necked turtle. And in some ways, the entire species of turtle, because there're a few different subcategories. A power animal, it comes from shamanism, and it is typically that the shaman herself or himself carries or has a relationship with anywhere from one to maybe four or even five power animals. But not 20 or 30.

And those are consistent animal spirit guides. For instance, snake. It must have come to me, I think about 20 years ago. And then within about three years of that, wolf showed up. And then owl showed up again about four years later, not just showed up but, through my work, identified himself as a power animal. Raven came in loud and clear about four or five years ago, and has become the main power animal that I work with, I refer to, I listen to, I ask questions of, et cetera.

Do we each have a specific animal guide and if so, how do we identify the animal? Here are Dr. Farmer’s thoughts.

Everybody is born with an animal spirit guide that you can call a totem animal or power animal. However, we don't have the training or in our very mixed culture, parents just don't have the way to teach a child that this is a real, special spirit guide to them. So what happens? They leave. Now later, as an adult, we come into this consciousness about spirit animals. They can come back to us, or we can find them, or they'll be knocking on the door. Metaphorically, they’ll be knocking on the door a lot to try to get our attention, showing up again and again and again in consciousness or in physical reality to remind us that they're back.

Dr. Farmer has spent a great deal of time with indigenous peoples, who have taught him many lessons, including the following teaching from the Lakota people of North America.

In the Lakotas, sometimes called the Sioux, there's a statement that's made, going into a sweat lodge and then leaving the sweat lodge, "mitákuye oyasin."

And what that means is "all my relations." It’s an acknowledgement that we are related to every other being on this planet, that everything is a "people," the animal people, the plant people, the stone people, the tree people, that we truly are related to that. There is no separation. But we haven’t really been raised with that, typically. We’re still in that sort of divisive manner to think that we are superior somehow. So I believe that the animals have compassion for us and in return we can offer that compassion to the animals.

So what can we do to be more in harmony with the Earth?

Get outside. Go sit by a tree. I've had a tree spirit heal my sore back. I wrote about it in “Earth Magic,” the book. Take your socks and shoes off, go out and just stand. A great way to get over jet lag is to spend a half an hour outdoors, and put your bare feet in the Earth. You can get over jet lag in a half hour.

Get outside, pray. I don’t care who you pray to. And I think it’s a great time for people to join together collectively in prayer. If as many of us can maintain this intention that we’re going to, as much as possible, keep ourselves in gratitude, to get out of reaction into response, to offer service to the world in some way, I think that it helps the evolution process along that much more effectively. And get outside. That’s the main thing, get outdoors, Nature Deficit Disorder.

Our children are suffering from it. Instead they spend (their time) in front of two-dimensional screens, computers and TV. Turn the TVs off. We make it special around our house. One night a week, there’s movie night. The other times, there's no TV. They get to play on the computer maybe 10 minutes at the most a day. Instead, go outside, learn to enjoy the mysteries and the magic of the natural world.

Along with many other experts, Dr. Farmer believes that planet Earth is currently going through a period of evolution, and that if we want to survive, we need to change our ways.

I think that we’re going to go through some rough times, to be quite frank about it. It's no secret. But again, I think the responsibility is ours to be able to negotiate through these rough times. The species will continue. I don’t know exactly how that’s going to manifest. The evidence has already been showing up.

People have been telling us about it for 25 years now, where there's this adaptability that we human beings have that's just astounding; solar panels, recycling goods, learning about food, and our food sources. For instance, vegetarianism as a way to reduce the killing and the slaughter of the animals, which is done in such a cruel way. The consciousness is already evolving. I think it's an exciting time. I don’t feel afraid of what’s coming.

A talented musician who writes both the music and lyrics for his unique songs, Dr. Farmer concluded the interview by performing some of his compositions. He played the first on the didgeridoo.

This didgeridoo or the instrument itself is a one-note instrument with a lot of overtones. It's also an ancient, ancient Australian aboriginal instrument used by a lot of the various communities in Australia. And it’s really about the breath. You’ll hear this: I’ll be taking in breath, at the same time expelling it, sometimes (it’s) called circular breathing. There’re also a lot of different stories about it. One of the stories is that the world was sung into existence through the didgeridoo.

This next song is about a goddess in Hawaii.

Pele is the goddess of the mountain, the goddess of fire. Kilauea is the active volcano considered where Pele lives. And I used to live there off and on for a period of time. And I was inspired to write this song that was to the goddess Pele, as well as Mother Earth and also the goddess of the sea, Namaka o Kaha'i.

Mother of creation Such a beautiful world before my eyes.
Across the meadow You can hear her cry Can you hear her cry?
They say love and kindness, Will always win in the end
The world is but an illusion, Be like a tree in the wind,
Like a tree in the wind, Like a tree in the wind.
Lady of the waters, Purify my soul and set me free,
Clearing the way so I can be Who I came here to be,
I came here to be, I came here to be.

In conclusion, Dr. Farmer has this parting message.

So I suppose if I were to die tomorrow, and I had one message to say, and it brings emotion to me, is just try to be kinder. And I don’t mean just to other humans. Try to be kinder to the animals, try to be kinder to the plants. Try to be kinder to the mother, Earth Mother. Make it a point. Make it a standard. And that would be I think very congruent with the Dalai Lama’s message. He said something like, "It’s always possible to be kind." Make that your choice.

Many thanks, Dr. Steven Farmer, for sharing your insights about the vital role of animals in our lives and the interconnectedness of all beings. Your work is helping to create a more kind and loving world. May you always be united with the animals.

For more information on Dr. Steven Farmer including how to listen to his radio show, please visit www.DrStevenFarmer.com
“Earth Magic” and Dr. Farmer’s other books and publications are available at the same website

Thank you for joining us today on Animal World: Our Co-Inhabitants. May all beings on Earth enjoy long lives in peaceful harmony.