My Shark Totem

Lesley Rochat swimming with backtips
I have always had a deep love for Nature and animals of all kinds. As a child I would spend hours tracking ants, patiently observing tiny fish in rock pools, which I mastered the art of catching with my little hands, and I always had a pet. They were a colourful collection of animal souls: a rat, four precious dogs, an adopted gentle old horse, Mrs Hen, some slimy snails, my tiny chameleon, Freddy and even a cockroach. My pets were just a few of the many I grew up with since each of my beautiful seven sisters, and my brother also had pets of their own. Menageries of wonderful animals filled my youth and fond memories of watching litters of kitten and puppies being born are as fresh as if it happened yesterday.

Now, still surrounded by darling pets, there is one animal that dominates my life, the shark. I’ve always said, “I didn’t choose sharks, they chose me”. But this is only partly true. When my dear friend, Michael Copley, an extremely talented musician, poet and spiritual teacher, sadly recently deceased, introduced me to the concept of animal totems, I realized the deeper meaning of why I had chosen to give up everything and dedicate my life to shark conservation, why they are my animal totem.

Lesley Rochat swimming with blacktips
For some the concept of animal totems might seem ‘far-out’ but in my opinion the only far-out thing is the big mess we’ve made of our world because we have forgotten what our ancestors knew: everything is connected. They respected that, we don’t. Many clans and tribes worldwide understood their connection to Nature and all of life and revered many animal spirits, including sharks. If we take the time to observe animals, like they did, we begin to realize how much animals can teach us, including what qualities and behaviors we should emulate somewhere in our daily lives. Animal wisdom emits the fundamental truths of the Universal Consciousness; some call it God, our umbilical cord connected to all Truth, which most of us in our fast-forward lives are disconnected from. But if we are willing to learn and understand the language of animals, open ourselves up to ‘meeting’ our animal totem, they will speak to our hearts and help guide us along our soul journey.

Lesley Rochat with blacktip sharks
Though other animal spirits make appearances throughout our lives at specific times to help us with certain lessons of life, it is believed that each of us come into this world accompanied by a specific animal spirit. They represent our strong, inner spiritual nature, and reflect our innate core traits. They are our closest personal spirit guides who help us to discover the truth of who we really are, why we are here and how we can become better people and live better lives. They are faithful, with us till we die.

I believe this because I believe in Nature and in animals. I also know animals have been speaking to us forever, and we just haven’t been listening. I know this not only because of my many special experiences with animals, but because I have done an animal communication course with Amelia Kinkade, a good friend and incredibly gifted animal communicator. She taught me that if you quiet your mind and open your soul, you will hear them, literally. (Amelia will be in South Africa this month giving courses and I highly recommend anyone who loves animals to join her, go here.)

Lesley Rochat fimling blacktip sharks
In a similar way I ‘listen’ to my shark totem and what it tries to teach me. It profoundly represents some of my personal qualities, like my loner spirit, my acute sense of smell and sound, my choice to swim in the depths of life rather than the shallows, my extremely driven personality, which is constantly on the move. I have also learnt that the shark totem offers the power of protection to those that resonate with it, which can be called upon. It teaches me how to swim the currents of my busy life, to trust my gut-feelings and intuition, and to exercise fearlessness as I move forward in my efforts to help save them.

Imagine if everyone became aware of their animal totem, started listening to what the animals are trying to tell us. Besides people living more consciously, surely there would be less senseless slaughter, less unspeakable pain and cruelty inflicted upon them by humanities ignorance and arrogance? Less species becoming extinct? An awakening amongst the masses is my wish for them, and for us.

“What is man without the beasts? If all the beasts were gone, man would die from a great loneliness of the spirit. For whatever happens to the beasts, soon happens to man. All things are connected.” Chief Seattle, 1854

Watch my space!

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  1. TerryTerry02-03-2011

    Very interesting and well written, Lesley. You are right when you say that we have become disconnected from nature as we see ourselves as superior to the animal world . Connecting with animal spirits and finding your animal totem opens up channels of communication that are being rapidly forgotten about in our internet driven social networked lives. Reconnecting with nature might just be what's needed if we are planning to act together to save our blue planet.

  2. Anton BoshofAnton Boshof02-04-2011

    Hello Lesley. I've been reading your blogs for a long time and this one goes down as one of my favorite. Thank you for your wisdom, passion for what you stand for and your talent and creativity you use to reach the people. Your message is pertinent and i really hope it will influence people who read it and who have never given the animals much thought other than by way of the steak or other animal flesh on their plate. Our forefathers knew so well what we need to remember like you say. I also believe animals hold many secrets that they are willing to share if we allow them to. iKeep up the inspiring work you do. Anton B

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