Got someone on your Gift List who is open to new ideas and also looking to make changes in their life? One of the most unusual and interesting gifts for them this holiday season, actually any time, might be Sarah (Bamford) Seidelmann’s new book, What the Walrus Knows: An Eccentric’s Field Guide to Working with Beastie Energies.
Sarah Seidelmann, a Board Certified Anatomic and Clinical Pathologist and a Martha Beck trained Coach, invites readers to consider a path that was helpful to her when she began looking for fulfillment in her own life: Notice the animals who show up around you in nature, in your dreams, and in your heart. Which animals catch your attention? What IF their presence is not a coincidence, but a sign to guide you toward the next step in your life?
While such questions are common for those interested in shamanism, it might be less common for you or your friends. Even Seidelmann admits the idea had seemed beyond wacky to her, in the beginning. Before you dismiss this book or ideas, keep in mind that Seidelmann herself asked the above question while she was feeling deeply dissatisfied with her personal and professional life. The answers she received from nature on a regular basis led her out of the darkness and into the light.
On page 164, the author explains, “I’d been living a nature-starved, over-civilized life for a long time. My husband and I are both physicians, and we’re raising four kids. Add all my other interests into the mix, and the result was a constant state of overwhelm.”
As Seidelmann started spending more time in nature, taking more walks and noticing what was happening around her, she began to feel better. So, when she found herself drawn to a taxidermied Walrus in a little shop near her office, the author decided to learn more about Walruses and discovered they offer strength, abundance, gregariousness, deep diving, and even a touch of the psychic. Tapping into that energy, Seidelmann’s life began shifting in powerful ways.
That sent her on a journey of learning about power animals, and is the genesis of this 174 page book that walks you through learning more about using the animals in nature to find the answers on your own spiritual journey. After an introduction, readers are guided to learn about Guest and Core Beasties, then offered tools and exercises before delving into the resources section. At the back of the book, Seidelmann offers up 50 Beastie Manifestos (one page descriptions with key words and phrases) to entice, intrigue and illuminate the reader. The list is not exhaustive, but it is both very intriguing and highly entertaining.
For instance, encounters with a squirrel (an animal you are most likely to encounter on a hike in my neck of the woods) might be telling you (among other things) to relish restlessness, play on purpose, balance with poise, investigate, or hightail it! The manifestos give you a place to start on the journey of using nature as your guide.
This book is beautifully laid out, has enough meat to please even the most serious student of animal wisdom and enough irreverence to make it a lot of fun to curl up with a good cup of tea. That Walrus Seidelmann encountered may have been stuffed, but her take on the subject of Beasties is not the least bit stuffy.
Whether you buy this as a gift for yourself (admit it – this has intrigued you!) or as a fun gift for a questioning friend or family member, be sure to include links to Sarah Seidelmann’s Squirrel Radio – Magic of Animal Totems podcasts. Sarah and fellow Martha Beck coach, Tami McCall, laugh their way through sharing information and stories about animal totems. In addition to possibly learning more about animal totems, listening to the calls might even make reading the book that much more fun!
Have you read What the Walrus Knows?!? Share your comments below!
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FULL DISCLOSURE: I was not paid to write this post and do not receive any benefit from purchases made. The author provided me a courtesy copy of the book since I have expressed interest in nature and power animals (mine is the Tiger). The above post is my personal opinion after reading the book, and readers understand that they must take responsibility for their own interpretation.