Before I begin to regale you with tales of my sea star named Spartacus, I want to bring note to my favorite aspect of the Throat Chakra: the sense of the Throat Chakra is *hearing*. Take a moment to think about this: throat… listen...ears...voice. It may seem baffling but I find it to be the perfect reminder to listen and communicate through a listening ear instead of a chatty mouth. I am sure you can all relate to being in conversation with someone and you’ve zoned out, missing what the other person has to say, thinking about what you will say or interject next. Not only can you relate to this but I would bet (and I am not a betting woman) that this is the norm for most. Working with your Throat Chakra is the perfect opportunity to take time to listen and realize that there are so many more ways to communicate than through your words (and this is coming from a writer…).

My second favorite aspect of working with the Throat Chakra is that I have a sea star at my throat. You will see I may use the name “starfish” as well when speaking of Spartacus but typically use, “sea star”. This is because starfish are not fish at all, they are echinoderms belonging to the class Asteroidea. I find sea stars to be scientifically fascinating but I promise to limit the scientific terminology here. Spartacus wanted me to set everyone straight on that specific fact.

Although I do, today, find sea stars very fascinating, I did not know a lot about them before beginning this program. On the front of my blue Throat Chakra binder is a photo I love of me as a young girl in jean shorts, a floral short-sleeved top with a paisley vest, thick bangs, and ears and throat adorned with beads and colorful jewelry that do not even pretend to match. If one could get past my stellar outfit, they would see that I have both of my hands extended in front of me as if I were holding a platter but instead of a platter, I have a beautiful red sea star in each hand. This photo was taken at the Monterey Bay Aquarium in California and was not my only encounter with sea stars as a young girl. I was lucky enough to spend many summers exploring tide pools of the Pacific that were home to many echinoderms like sea cucumbers, urchins, and sea stars of many different shades and sizes. While I had previously admired the species, when I began the Inner Animal Magic course, my starfish brought to light the knowledge about them as a species hidden to me as a young girl (see what I did there?).

Of course, Spartacus also shone light on the spiritual significance of sea stars. Before learning about the scientific and spiritual details of a sea star, I was a little “whatever” about having a sea star at my Throat Chakra. As you journey through this program, you will probably have some totems who you instantly LOVE and others that you do not yet know you love, or why you would. For instance, if you are an arachnophobe and have a spider at your Crown Chakra, the idea of having 8 furry legs crawling on your head could make you squeamish (to put it mildly) but after learning about the traits of that creepy crawly critter, you feel safe, enlightened, and honored to have such a friend looking over you. If you are feeling “whatever” or flat out find your spirit animals to be grotesque, just get on Google and I promise it will shift within moments. What I found when my research began was heavenly. I never thought of this seemingly obvious trait but sea stars are a little piece of Heaven on Earth. They connect the stars in the sky with Earth. They have 5 points. The number 5 has many significances but I like to think of: North, South, East, West, and Spirit. This combination reminds me of balance. With a sea star, you do not quite know which leg is right or left or up or down which is why one of their spiritual significances is that of grey areas. This is a great totem to have at your throat because being black and white with your words and communication can be dangerous and misunderstood. The starfish can be a great master of nonduality!

Here’s where this concept of grey areas and nonduality can get complicated for me personally: I am comfortable around many types of people and in many situations. In fact, I studied Sociology and Anthropology in college and sometimes I feel like I view social interactions as a field study. I also studied dance and think I simultaneously view social interactions as a performance (the dichotomy of observer and performer). On top of all this, I have a pattern of seeking the approval of others and wanting to please those around me. I can often sacrifice my own comfortability in a group because I want to make everyone else feel at ease and I have the observation skills to look at the group and see exactly what role I need to play to diffuse a situation/make everyone happy/encourage a selfish goal of having everyone love me. There are a few problems with this pattern:

  1. It is manipulative.

  2. I am trying to control the outcome of the social setting.

  3. This can result in me not honoring my true values or dulling my light to get on everyone else’s “level”.

A large awareness and assignment for me when first working with Spartacus was looking at this question: Who is the true Brennan?

I literally had to retrain myself to have conversations to honor what was within me and to communicate that to others, with love, regardless of the demographic. And I had plenty of practice!

This is almost laughable writing about it now, but at the time, it was uncanny. The first time I worked with Spartacus, exes started coming out of the woodwork. I am not talking 1 or 2, I am talking 4-5 men, in the same WEEK contacted me to either see how I was doing or rehash the past. This was obviously my time of sea star shine with using honest communication skills. I was having long phone conversations, writing pages of emails, and participating in text message dialogues with these lost loves. It was time to speak my truth without trying to control the outcome of the conversations, without trying to keep their love for me intact, and without indulging in something I really wanted to do… which was telling them exactly what they wanted to hear. Do not worry, because if you are someone who also likes to please others, speaking your truth DOES NOT mean displeasing others. In fact, if you are honest, vulnerable, and say what is in your heart, you really cannot displease someone. Even if they appear displeased at first, they are picking up on communication that is whole-hearted, feeling communication coming from other places than your words, and it will resonate with them on some level. In fact, my ego does not want me to point this out, but a lot of the time what I may have thought they wanted to hear was not even actually what they did want to hear! Many times we tailor conversations based on fears of something that has not even occurred yet and the entire conversation is a defense mechanism instead of an expression of all you have to offer.

If you are worried and/or excited by the idea of all of your past loves showing up on your door when you get to your Throat Chakra, I am not making any promises that the same will happen to you. However, I will tell you something I have learned which is when you *truly* do the work at your Heart Chakra, you are healing many past relationships and as you heal, those you are connected to can heal and are energetically going through the process with you. This may mean you pop into their minds after not thinking about you for years and sometimes they may feel inspired to pick up the phone and call you or they may just see you in a dream but know that whatever happens is all related to your healing and growing process. This is why the Throat Chakra can be an uncomfortable part of the totem pole; here, you are forced to be honest with yourself and others.

Another eye-opener for me when working with my Throat Chakra was identifying a pattern of anxiety. I noticed that often times my anxiety was a direct link (like setting off an alarm) to moments of me not speaking my truth. While anxiety and depression can be very scary, they can also be tools to help us identify moments in our lives when we are out of alignment with our greatest potential.  A lesson I am still learning is that the authentic me is far more powerful than the me who tries to control and manipulate and I will never reach my fullest potential until I show who *I am*. Which leads me to a couple other lessons from my sea star:

Is it time to try something different?

Are you following your own star? Are you flaunting your own colors?

As I have mentioned, there are many ways to show who you are that go beyond words and Spartacus and starlight gave me an assignment to do a creative project in a medium I had never used before. I am so glad I was pressed to leave my comfort zone with words and with art because this creative project is one of the favorite art projects I have ever done. My mother joined me and we cleared the big kitchen table and put on Neil Young music. I had bought bundles and bouquets of flowers from Wegmans’ flower shop. We filled different sized bowls with water and also used square plates as our canvases. We then plucked petals off of the flowers and cut stems and leaves and created floating mosaics with flowers and water and then took photographs as the creations would move and shift with fluidity. I do not recall if I noticed it at the time, but this experiment was another lesson in not being able to control the outcome and the lack of control resulting in pure beauty.

Spartacus did not give me his name when I first worked with him, but the second time he gave it to me instantly, without me even asking for the information. I was slightly concerned I was getting mixed messages when I thought of the armor-clad, weapon-yielding, blood-spattered warrior. Again, Google helped me find the meaning in the message/gift. Spartacus started a revolution and spoke for/stood for the slaves who did not feel they were able to stand up for themselves. It was clear as day to me that my sea star was named Spartacus because, if I choose to, I have the ability to start a movement on behalf of those who cannot speak for themselves in a way most people would hear them: endangered and threatened species, the oceans, and the overall natural environment of our planet. Sea stars are a threatened species and one of my greatest passions is to make a measurable difference for the planet and its creatures like the sea stars. I know that my threatened Spartacus will help me with one of my largest goals in life which is to apply a concept of conservation and species protection to a wide range of people. Meaning, you are not going to make a widespread difference on a platform of veganism or by telling others that they are bad if they do not recycle. Here is the grey area again… ethics as they relate to human-animal relationships are some of the most complex of ethical discussions. I recently read a book called, “Some We Love, Some We Hate, Some We Eat” on this topic and the title really sums up the dilemma; there are *many* grey areas, there are many types of people, and no one is *right* or *wrong*.

We eat some of the most intelligent species with hearts almost identical to ours (bacon, anyone?), the Western Black Rhino was just declared extinct, and we have lost over ¼ of our oceans coral reefs in recent years. These are important topics but how do we discuss them without losing people at the first sentence because they feel defensive or disinterested? My goal is to find a middle ground to appeal to a wide range of people on a wide range of issues so that the changes that need to happen to preserve our planet can happen but in a way that appeals to many types of people. Many platforms come from a place of judgement and that is not productive.

It was lovely and synchronistic to be working with Spartacus when I was because it was just as I was making my leap and driving away from Baltimore. Sea stars symbolize freedom because they suction to the sea floor and then they release and float to their next destination. Spartacus helped me pry my suction cups up from Maryland and to say my goodbyes and show my appreciation with love and words. It’s time to try something different and also to regain what had been lost to me. Sea stars teach us to regain what is lost because they have this fun little trick of growing back their limbs!

When you start fresh and try something new, it is important to get your priorities straight and that was one of my assignments from Spartacus. Try this:

  1. Write down the top 10, most important things in your life (think from your heart, not your ego).

  2. Once you have your list, number them/organize them in order of the most important (#1) to the least important (#10).

  3. Next to each item, you can write why that is a priority in your life. For instance, what does this item bring you: adventure, creativity, prosperity, spirituality, feelings of (fill in the blank).

  4. Now that you have your list, notice how often you may put #10 or something that is not even on the list 1st when it comes to delegating your time. Become aware of putting #1 1st and maybe shift your time management to honor your *true* priorities as well as your mission in life which all of your top priorities serve. Even if you priorities do not seem to align with your mission, know that they do because if you are happy and in balance, the rest will follow.

This exercise will also help chameleons like me say “no” so that you can serve yourself instead of putting others feelings in the front line in forfeit of your own well-being.

Once I got my priorities straight and floated out of town, I was able to explore the element of the Throat Chakra: *ether* at iFLY VA Beach. iFLY is an indoor skydiving center and I highly recommend you playing in the ether at iFLY’s wind tunnel if you have the opportunity when working with your Throat Chakra! It was totally freeing.

Spartacus wants me to close with a couple of final thoughts, spoken directly to *you*...

Look for pieces of heaven on earth in your everyday life.

Follow your own star and keep hopeful.

Remember this… you *really* are made of stars!

With love,

b & Spartacus

P.S. If you are working with crystals & gemstones with each chakra, the ones I like to work with at the Throat Chakra are: aquamarine, turquoise, blue calcite, and hemimorphite