by Trotsky


Bear is the totem of strength and wisdom. He knows when to avoid conflict, but is powerful and dangerous when he choses to fight. He also knows the ways to catch fish, and teaches this to his followers.


Boar is the totem of stubborn defence and long lasting stamina. Even when wounded he can continue to fight, and he never becomes exhausted. He also knows how to dig edible roots from the ground, and teaches this to his followers.


Cougar is stealthy and fast, and catches his enemies unawares. He is the master of the quiet ambush and the swift-flying arrow. He also knows how to kill large animals, and teaches this to his followers.


Eagles is the most magical totem of all, for he can soar high above the land, even above the lesser birds, and see all spread out before him. He knows all that there is to know, and can even reach into the spirit world. He regards few people as impressive enough to permit them to follow him.

Mountain Goat

Mountain Goat lives in inaccesible regions, and avoids his enemies that way. He is nimble and quick, yet also knows how to fight fiercly when the need arises. He knows where to find food even in the most barren of places, and teaches this to his followers.


Stag is the totem of virility and strength, who nobly protects his children and ensures their safety. He also knows all the best herbs, and teaches his followers how to find and use them.


Wolf is the totem of cooperation, of fighting and hunting in packs. He is cunning, and can often outmanoeuvre his prey in order to catch a meal to feed his whole family. He also teaches his followers how to hunt in this manner.


Fox is never worshipped, but he is a powerful spirit none the less. He can never be trusted, and always works for his own benefit. He delights in playing tricks on both humans and spirits, and then running away before they can catch him. Many myths explain how he is the cause of the world being less perfect now than it once was.

Source: Kath 2

The Shaman Speaks

Where did the world come from?

At first Grandfather Sky and Grandmother Earth were separated by the waters. Grandmother Earth raised herself up on a great root which she had grown, and eventually pushed part of herself up above the ocean, creating the dry land. Once this had happened, Grandfather Sky could impregnate her, so she could bring forth many children. First came the mountains and the sand, and next the trees and herbs, which soon covered her body. Finally she gave birth to the first animals, who populated the world with their own children.

Where did I come from?

One day a number of animals were caught in a terrible snowstorm and sheltered inside a cave. Among them was Fox, who offered to show the others a new magic which would keep out the cold and throw back the darkness. He called this magic 'fire', but swore that he could not teach it unless he was able to borrow some of the magic from each of the other animals. At first the animals were reluctant, but Fox was very persuasive, and in the end each of them gave up their own special magic, knowing that since they outnumbered him, they could always take it back if he didn't fulfill the promise. So they gave up some of their claws, and sharp teeth, and horns and waited for Fox to show them how to make fire. But as he did so, he sang a special song and soon all the animals were hypnotised by the dancing flames, and unable to move. Then Fox snuck among them, and stole even more of their magic, such as their fur pelts and hooves, and then ran off, laughing, into the night.

When the fire finally burnt down, the animals all awoke, furless, hornless, tuskless, clawless and hoofless. They are your ancestors, the first humans. That is why we lack the natural gifts of animals, and also why we can make fire, and they cannot.

Why am I here?

You are here as part of the bounty of the Earth. It is your task to help the fellow members of your band, by providing them with food and protection and any other skills you may have. In this way, the band is made stronger and everyone's lives are made better.

What happens after we die? [1]

If you act well and prove yourself worthy by helping your band, then your totem spirit will know you for a deserving man, and will take your soul to the Otherworld when you die. There all the beasts live in harmony, for Fox has been banished and cannot cause trouble there any more.Then you will no longer have to struggle as you do in this life. If you act badly, or prove yourself unworthy in some other way, then your spirit may be trapped in this world, and become a piteous ghost without form or substance. Beware such ghosts; only a shaman is strong enough to deal with them.

Who do we worship?

All people are descended from animals. The particular animal from which you descend is your totem, and teaches you the right skills to survive and prosper. In return we agree not to kill or harm the totem animal, and agree to do certain other things which may please it. The totem's soul lives in you, and you have an instinctive understanding of that animal; so, of course, it is wrong to worship a totem which belongs to another band. When bands descended from two different totems meet, they must perform the special ritual so everyone will know that they will not fight each other.

What can you tell me about magic?

Certain people are gifted with the power to see the invisible spirits which lie about us, and to see the world for what it really is. You can tell these people because of their strange habits and their crazy ways of acting, or because they have been marked by the spirits in some way. When they come into their full power, and can speak directly with the spirits, they leave the band and travel alone wherever their totem guides them. The greatest of the spirits is Eagle, and sometimes he offers to teach his magics to the most skilled of the shamans, although they are not descended from him, for he was too wise to be taken in by Fox's tricks and so has no human children.

What of the other gods? What can you tell me about... [2]


Larani is the name that the lowlanders use for the Horse totem. She lets her two-legged followers ride her four-legged children, and they are forever trying to destroy or enslave those who follow of other totems. She is an evil being, wanting to stamp and crush beneath her hooves everything which she cannot understand, and everyone who is different from her. Alone among totems, only she is wicked enough that her followers should be killed whenever the chance presents itself.


Peoni is the lowlander name for the Ox totem. She is stupid and placid, but has great strength when he she choses to use it. She teaches her followers how to plough the earth, but they cannot understand that those descended from other animals should follow their own way, and not hers.


The followers of Raven recently came among the Chelni, and tricked them into following their totem. Raven takes delight in feeding from the bodies of the dead, so his followers kill as many as they can to make the spirit happier. However, because the Chelni do not have the skill to fight in the highlands, we need not worry about them or their new and foreign totem.


Ilvir is a strange being, and while some say he is the Snake totem, others say he is nothing of the kind, but instead has a form all of his own. I think the latter must be the case, for his many children are neither human nor animal, but are mysterious and deadly creatures which it is best to avoid. He cares nothing for those human fools who try to follow him.

Cothlynn [3]

These people speak with the spirits of the air, and have forgotten their ancient totem animals. As a result they are not a strong people, although their healing magics are said to be good. But without their animal sides, they are not whole and cannot be a threat to us.

Saraen [4]

This is another name for the Raven totem, who the wicked Pagaelin shamans follow as our greatest shamans follow Eagle. Some say that a new, darker totem has recently come amongst the Pagaelin, and that they have abandoned their true animal souls in favour of the evil gifts which it brings.

[1] No information is given on this topic in the published material. This is purely my own opinion.

[2] Not all gods are listed here. The Kath have little, if any, knowledge of, or contact with the religions of Siem, Save K'nor, Halea, Agrik, Naveh or Morgath. They meet Halean merchants along the Salt Route, of course, but they don't necessarily know or care who they worship.

[3] The deity of the Taelda.

[4] The deity of the Pagaelin.

To the Kath Shamans page

This document was created 28th June 1998 by Jamie 'Trotsky' Revell. Comments are welcome.