I’m Ravenari, the host of Wildspeak.com (which has been going strong in some incarnation or another since 1998, when it started as a tiny Geocities website). I was born in 1981 (saves me from going back and editing my age every year, heh), and I live in Western Australia. I’m a queer (pronouns they/them) disabled practical animist with well over 20 years of experience working with animal teachers spiritually.
I have felt compelled to work with animal energies and teachers from a very young age. I guess you could call me a practical animist, or an animist healer who specialists in working with land, animal and plant teachers. I use trance, journeying to the otherworlds and mediating between here and the spiritworld to do a lot of my work. I believe in the sacredness in everything, and then seek to bring that forth in my spiritual artwork. The process involves a light trance state, and has been tuned or honed over quite a few years now. Through that, I am able to bring you the animal information and artwork that I do. I hope you get something out of it, but I’m okay if you don’t.
I’d really like it if you didn’t share the information without crediting me, or linking back (and letting me know is wonderful!), and please don’t take my artwork without asking or crediting me. This is also my livelihood, you see.
I have been everything from a green tea taster, to a supervisor/trainer at Toys ‘R’ Us, to a radio broadcaster, and a librarian in an architecture firm. Right now, I am a professional writer and maintain this website and do my spiritual artwork as a way of furthering my spiritual vocation. I have an incurable genetic neuroendocrine cancer, among many other things, but sometimes life is like that! Life has taken me everywhere, once or twice. I also enjoy bushwalking, researching everything and anything, media studies, being a reclusive, introverted nerd, healing and growing, never letting myself be stagnant. I have so much to learn.
Wildspeak.com was always intended to be an animal teacher / symbolism dictionary, one that generally focused on unusual animals more often than it did the common ones. I saw – especially in 1998 – a gap between really common animal guides like wolf being represented everywhere, and no literature at all on say, Australia’s marsupial mole. I also felt that I might be able to do something about that. And in the process, help people to learn that actually, learning what an animal might mean for them symbolically is something they could do too. Books and websites help, but they aren’t crucial to the process. If you disagree with what you find here, because you have a different relationship the animal, that’s great!
You see, we can all speak the wild language. This website is intended as a small stepping stone on the path to learning it. And I hope it brings you as much spiritual nourishment as it has me.
Acknowledgement of Country:
I acknowledge and celebrate the Indigenous traditional custodians of the land I live on – the Whadjuk Noongar people in the south west of Western Australia, and pay respect to their children and elders, past, present and emerging.
I wish to acknowledge and respect their continuing culture and the contribution they make to the life of this land, its people and this region.
About the Terminology:
You may notice that I’m no longer using terms like ‘totem’ or ‘shaman’ on this website (as much as possible, if you see a stray one let me know and I’ll remove it!) This is because the terms, while widely recognisable in their westernised forms, I feel are culturally appropriative and disrespectul to use. I’m sure many can make persuasive arguments as to why we should be allowed to use them, I have sadly made them myself, but until those arguments are being made from the Indigenous peoples that originated those terms and their meanings, I am deferring to their wisdom. If you are not from Ojibwe or Evenki (or Tungusic) nations, don’t bother trying to change my mind.
I now use these terms instead:
Instead of totem or spirit animal I use: Animal teacher, animal helper, animal symbolism and animal guide. Animal teacher I find to be a more accurate term for what I’m trying to convey on this site anyway.
Instead of shaman and shamanism I use: Practical animist and practical animism, sometimes healing animism. This is an emerging term to indicate animists who believe that all of life has a soul and deserves respect, and the ‘practical’ indicates the tools that we use to interact with those beings, such as otherworld journeying, soul retrieval or depossession, and shapeshifting or communion, among many other techniques.