Ridiculous Animal Totems Deserve Ridiculous Responses Martha Beck,

Martha Beck, http://marthabeck.com/, author of the book “Expecting Adam, A True Story of Birth, Rebirth and Everyday Magic,” is a life and relationships coach, new age practitioner, and mother of a wonderful boy with Down Syndrome.  Today she posted a hillarius newsletter entry on “marginalized and disrespected” animal totems. 


Many people think they have an animal spirit guide, such as the bear, wolf, tiger, snake, deer, even hedgehog or badger.  But have you ever begun a shamanic journey to find your one true totem animal and discovered (perhaps to your horror?) that it was




the roundish flat worm? 


That’s right, Martha Beck’s disenfranchised totem of the day is the round flat worm and I found it ridiculous and funny enough, as much hopefully as she surely intended it to be, to blog it and add a few grubby tidbits of my own.  I’ve put her words in quotes and added my ramblings wherever I found it most inappropriate.  (Please note this is taken from Martha’s newsletter and I am unable to find a direct link to the quotes I cite here.  You can sign up for her newsletter on her website.)




“Lame Animal Totem: The Roundish Flatworm”



“The roundish flatworm is the hypothetical earliest animal ever to have developed bilateral symmetry. Its proper name, “urbilaterian,” is just its way of trying to sound important. Roundish flatworms are profoundly unevolved. They carry the energy of unintentional rudeness, deep insensitivity, and naïve indifference to suffering.”


Really? Or are they just part of the biological evolution of the planet minus anthropomorphic negative connotations?  Methinks thou dost protest too much!  Can you site sources? Please?  Did Darwin ever speak of the deeply insensitive flat worm?


“If the roundish flatworm is your totem, then like your animal, you probably focus most of your time sucking food through muscular mouth parts located directly over your stomach. This is why no one ever asks you out for coffee, or any other activity that might offer you a chance to develop social skills. No worries—you wouldn’t care anyway.”


Come on, quit making fun of how I look.  Just because I look terrifying and have a mouth on my stomach does not mean I lack a conscience.  Weird anatomy doesn’t make one immoral.  Go back to first grade and relearn the bit about we’re all unique and special even if we all don’t look the same, we all want love and acceptance.  I just wanna be loved… nobody likes me guess I’ll go eat worms…oh wait that won’t work. 🙂  Show some tolerance for the stomach-mouth people!  We demand respect, just like our round worm counterparts!


“When the roundish flatworm convulses its way across your path, consider it an invitation to offer only primitive reactions to people around you. Ignore all thought-provoking ideas. Be sexist and politically incorrect. Laugh when people trip. If anyone complains, say, “Hey, I’m bilaterally symmetrical! What more do you want?” The roundish flatworm has been using this line for millions of years, and so far, it’s worked just fine.”


Goes to work and gives it a try: You good for nothing *****************! Oh wait did I make you mad?  But I am bilaterally symmetrical.  Man why didn’t that work on my boss.  Now I got fired. Waaaaaaaahhhhh.


“Periodically in this newsletter and on my FB page, I’ll be sharing the animal totems you wish you knew more about: the marginalized, the disrespected, nay I say, the lame.  You’ll learn the illuminating messages they hold for you. You’re welcome. ~Martha.”


Lame?  That’s totally politically incorrect.  Are you sure you’re not projecting?  Maybe you’re bilaterally symmetrical too.  Wait, you mean I might not be alone?  Yesssss!  Can we be friends?  I won’t care that you also eat through your stomach and will constantly treat me with insensitivity and primitive political incorrectness.  We can act like we’re the ooze on our shoes together!  Please?  Let’s be friends.  I don’t have any friends. Can’t I just worm my way into your life?  Whine, whine… well, in a wormy sort of way.


And I couldn’t resist a little make believe vignette.  What precisely would go through your mind if you learned your totem was the roundish flat worm?  Here’s one possibility.


Dear Universe,

I had a dream last night in which I was given the roundish flat worm totem.  A woman in a long black dress and funny hat, which immediately belied her authority, appeared holding the primitive, rude, and belligerent creature.   Actually, the worm was  too lame to be belligerent:  rather it was noncommittal and sluggish if you ask me.   Anyway, the woman announced that from now on I would identify with the flat worm.  She said this in some foreign language I’d never heard– perhaps Swedish, unless you’re Swedish, in which case the language was probably Turkish.  The pronouncement gave me a creepy crawly — or should I say squidgy– feeling.  Anyway it made me squirm.  I then had a replay of my whole life as if on a movie screen and realized in horror that no one has ever asked me out to coffee or on a date, and I was suddenly ashamed of the way I eat.  I thought everyone ate through their stomach.  Am I the only one? Really, really? No don’t tell me that, don’t, just… don’t!  But wait, if I really had a flat worm totem, I wouldn’t care.  I was so disgusted with myself that I ran to the shrink… I lied, I squidged over to the shrink on my belly.  Wait, that also isn’t how other people get around? Noooooooooo!  Don’t erase my slime trail…er I mean don’t burst my bubble.  Come on, how would you feel if your only merit was being bilaterally symmetrical?  All I could think was… I couldn’t think.  And then I got stepped on.  I’m so glad it was just a dream, but what if this says something about my personality?  I’d better go eat breakfast and take an empathy test, just to be on the safe side.



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