Lupa Greenwolf | Animal Magic, Neo-Paganism, & Connecting With Totems

Show Notes


Join host, Greg Carlwood, of The Higherside Chats podcast as he talks Animal Magic, Neo-Paganism, & Totems with guest, Lupa Greenwolf.

While many of us recognize that the ancient perspective of indigenous cultures spanning throughout history has placed an overwhelming amount of importance on the connection between humans and nature, we can also acknowledge that modern Western society has divorced itself from the natural perspective.
With the intersection of nature and magic in our rear view, our isolation  leading to our justification for cruelty, destruction, and eradication of species worldwide, it appears our stewardship to Mother Earth is on the decline.
Fortunately, the importance of nature, especially in conjunction with consciousness, and the values of indigenous cultures and Pagan communities are experiencing a triumphant return to the forefront on the human psyche under the guidance of people like today’s guest.
A practitioner of animal magic and Neopaganism, Lupa Greenwolf joins The Higherside to help us reforge our relationship with the natural world.
3:00 Lupa kicks things off by walking though the pillars of her magical practice. She details the early days of cutting her teeth on the generic, Wiccan works of Scott Cunningham, her discovery of Chaos magic, and her winding path Neopaganism and Totemic magic. Greenwolf explains how in recent years, after feeling the ritualistic aspects of Paganism pulling her away from her fundamentals, such as time spent consciously connecting to nature, she has returned to the basics and her views as a naturalist pagan no longer encompass a belief in the supernatural. Greg and Lupa also discuss the totem, an archetypal being that embodies all the qualities of a given species, and the recent push from Pagans to scientifically validate their beliefs on consciousness.
13:00 With undeniable similarities among ideas and practices of indigenous cultures and the nonexistent communication among them, it’s easy to see how this respect for animals and nature may be an inherent, and subconscious piece of humanity. And, in our drive to connect and better understand how these nonhuman beings interpret the world, we tend to under estimate their role, anthropomorphize their experience, distort reality, and demystify nature. Greg and Lupa discuss the ways we misinterpret animal behavior, the need to value all species equally, and the reasons we should recognize the importance of each specie in it’s given ecosystem.
24:00 Throughout history, cultures have maintained a coexistent and codependent relationship with nature, and it is only recently that we have begun divorcing ourselves from it. With the vast majority of cultures during the history of our species incorporating animals of some kind in their ritual practice, our innate desire to reconnect with nature has prevailed. Using Paganlike rituals, today’s indigenous cultures continue to reaffirm their connection to nature, while Westerners are left trying to fill the void created by our separation from it. Greg and Lupa discuss the complicated path the Western world must take to avoid appropriating other cultural traditions and reestablish a new and unique worldview that reforges our bond to nature and minimizes our individualistic tendencies.
36:00 After covering guided meditation and other good ways to establish your totem, Greg and Lupa pivot to what comes next. Lupa describes ways to foster the relationship, such as regular interactions in neutral realms, establishing an altar or shrine, and acknowledging them during ritual practices or meditations.
42:00 After covering ‘rituals’ she has applied to her own personal practice such as volunteering and donating to important social causes like local conservation organizations, Lupa provides some personal insights she has gained from her role as a practitioner. She explains how in her attempt to overcome human consciousness and conditioning in her practice, she has gained a universal empathy and interconnectedness to the world around here.

Become a Plus Member at to hear a second hour of all THC episodes. This week’s included:

– shapeshifting/consciousness projection
– Otherkin communities
– animal parts and skins in magical ritual
– animal sacrifice in magic
– skull scrying & the tarot of bones
– connecting with plant spirits vs animals
A few valuable resources from the interview:
Scott Cunningham’s “Wicca: A Guide for the Solitary Practitioner”:
Lon Milo DuQuette’s “Low Magick: It’s All In Your Head… You Just Have No Idea How Big Your Head Is”:
“The Upsetting Truth Behind ‘Cute’ Slow Loris Videos”:
Want more Lupa Greenwolf?
Check out her website:, where you can find all things Lupa Greenwolf.
Want to hear more THC?
Become a plus member and gain access to the additional hour as well as the THC forums at:
If you want to stay connected to The Higherside Chats, join us on social media:
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And be sure to check out The Higherside Clothing:

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45 Responses

  1. I ended up pretty disappointed in this one, which is annoying because I knew this was sort of a “one-off” subject, so I really did a lot of research in trying to get the guest right.

    Kudos to Lupa for being honest, but when I watched her YouTube lectures and read her first book, I felt like I got a much different impression. As she said, that stuff is several years old, but if someone contacts you about wanted to discuss “all things animal magic” it might be nice to let that person know that there’s been a pivot away from some of that early work.

    “I don’t think magic really works for me.” & “I don’t really believe in anything paranormal.” are pretty much direct quotes, and that’s fine, but I can get a lot of people to come on and tell me that.

    Either way, I do think she’s a good, thoughtful, speaker. It’s not value-less of course, but it’s as deep as I had hoped to go. Hope you guys like it regardless!

      1. While I agree with you and Greg, I think this episode worked as a whole to bring us a bit back to the tangible reality. I think this should only strengthen the personal beliefs or make it even more enticing to think about and be amazed when we find weirdnesses and synchronicities the world.


    1. I just got to the part where she said she didn’t believe in magic anymore. -fizzle- So let me get this straight… You set up an interview about magic and she tells you she doesn’t believe in magic anymore… Half way through!? Argh.

      Plants are pretty magic though! Right? They change sunlight into food! Right? -cringe-

    2. I agree Greg and thx for trying. The real thing would scare this nice lady. A Very Materialist Reductionist….Spiritualist? Lol. Its good for a reality check on the selective researcher mind and the lengths they go to hold on to their comfort orbit here. I turned it off actually after 40min or so. I should have read the comments before downloading. It is annoying to hear such foolishness. She’s been jaded by New age indulgent people of faith and drama. She is disenchanted and despiritulized by egoic animal communicators and has not experianced the real thing. Shes a Green wolf alright.

  2. Lol… it’s difficult to find those who go DEEEEEEP. At least, that’s how it’s been for me. But yeah, she should’ve let you know her current thoughts about the subject. That would’ve been the polite thing to do.

    I still enjoyed this, though! I really liked how she was grounded. She seemed more earthy, rather than air and water… but that’s cool. It’s her experience and perspective. I can dig. Even though, I’ll still see the hawk that sticks around my house for a week as a sign from my bigger self. ^_^

    This episode gave me lots to ponder. Thanks so much for what you do, Greg. Your questions are always spot on and intelligent and the way you make a guest feel comfortable to speak their truth, says so much about you. Much love and respect!

  3. Senor Carlwood,
    Great show with a great guest. I took her early comment about non-belief in paranormal in context of the whole. If Jaque Valle would say the same in his unique French acccent, all would be understood, because he had a body of work which laid out what that meant, as does she. Shes also a great presenter.
    Thanks again.
    Fired Marshall

  4. It’s only Magick until you know the tech. Maybe…she has learned the tech is so internal, it has become the all, rather than something that needs a separation from self, with a divisive or categorical line of demarcation ie. This is magic…this is not.


  5. I was turned off by the subject, but decided to check comments to see if I might learn something to overcome my bias against this sort of thing…then I saw the disappointment. No fresh pod for me 🙁 I guess it’s chores with Carolla today.

  6. i was so excited to hear this subject. Im 24 mins in and am about to turn it off. Im not sure why or what is urking me about her…..maybe its that im getting the feeling shes saying we’re unable to grasp the meaning so shes not bothering….so so wierd

  7. Diddnt gel with me at all.. maybe its the ‘neo’ term being used or her contradictions fairly consistently through the discussion.
    I managed 30 mins before i had to turn it off through sheer frustration.
    Isnt a totem a humanisation of an animal archetype?
    I know they cant all be amazing Greg.. thanks anyway you do a great job 99% of the time.

  8. Don’t stress over this Greg. Sometimes, even though the yarn seems awesome, it makes crappy mittens. You always do your very best, and that’s why we love you brother. Peace all ????????????????⭐️

  9. Very underwhelming. I forced myself to listen to most of it and skip around, but found very little constructive takeaway. The guest came across as very flat and dispassionate on the subject… and her explanations of totems felt like something like a grade schooler would provide. “Otters are playful, so sometimes I use them to lighten things up!” Or something like that. To me it was almost surreal how bad she was. Some concrete examples of her practice with totems etc and what it has done, or what she has experienced, would have bare minimum given some context. It doesn’t help that she sounds like a monotone, pedantic teenager with weak rhetoric and no personality in her vocal delivery or expression.

    I’m open to all subjects and frankly, it really comes down to how dynamic the guest is and their delivery. Greg is reliably well-informed and inquisitive, but he can’t save an interview when the guest either doesn’t care or is just lackluster.. This reminded me of a precious few Higherside podcasts from years ago where on occasion I have to skip. Hopefully this is a low point for 2018.

  10. She seems very biased by her own ego-driven views.. It’s evident even her tone of voice.. I’m going to go ahead and say that people attempting to validate or explain their theories using fringe scientific ideas, archaic cosmological views, or even reference to ritual magic – are doing significantly more to illuminate the importance behind these concepts and are moving in the right direction towards making the all-important underlying connections between everything that is.. more so than the CLEARLY biased individual who dismisses these ideas and chalks everything up to ‘it’s all just part of my consciousness’… Just my impression.

    1. Very well said. I never comment on episodes but this one sparked something. The guest dismisses her previous work to advocate a human-as-other, alien-in-the-natural-world, Derrick Jensen, Zerzany dichotomy. She says things like hawk is understanding if you use painted domestic goose feathers to invoke hawk, at the same time as negating any “supernatural” or “magical” experience or anthropomorphisation (word?).
      Regardless, if there were shills for this kinda shit she’d be flying a flag.

  11. For those of you that listen to THC to fall asleep, you’re gonna love this one. I grinded it out, but I got Nothing from it. Greg tried to spice it up, but she wasn’t having it. Oh well, you can’t win them all. Please just NEVER invite her back.

  12. To be fair, super soldiers and dogmen (i was super skeptical at first but have heard enough now to believe not only in the beings buit there’s a govt cover up in Florida that’s happening now that’s kinda nuts, laptops getting erased from outside the vehicles by govt agents and whatnot). are a thing.

  13. I am just ultimately curious as to where the percieved evidence gap exists that informs the personal cosmology of the guest to be one without a fully active and distint spirit world. It is just rare to meet Occultists, particularly Pagan, and Neo-Pagans, that dont have an explicitly distinct view of the spirit world. Hell, I know people who have only been doing basic sigil stuff for a few months, and the Spirits have already decided to drop by for them and present their distinctness. Interesting. Some of her verbage is also presented in a way that seems like deep down, she is still searching for that personally verified spirit world; yet, there is something now that seems to be in the way.

  14. Spoon bending is not good enough. You need to move something with mind without touching it. Over and over till you know the feeling. Then be funny and confident and challenge fools like this guest. Scare them with your crazy shaman like attitude and demeanor and blazing..yet joking eyes. Start with pin wheels of paper or water thats in a cup. Laugh and learn from their stages of denial or assumtions and delusions that they make to continue their perspective or orbit here. 😉

  15. It felt like an eight hour podcast. I almost made it to the end, but skipped the last few minutes to get to the closing monologue. I don’t think anything that Lupa put forward resonated with me and I’m now all out of salt. Oh well, they can’t all be winners Greg!

  16. There are some interesting videos about a lady named Anna Breytenbach who bills herself as an “inter species communicator”. She was on the natural born alchemist podcast.
    I was impressed by her eloquence… and some of the footage of her hanging out with baboons is pretty wild. It might be worth a look for listeners who were frustrated with this episode.

    1. Anna Breytenbach is on a totally different level of understanding animals and nature. Lupa Greenwolf would probably have lots to learn from her. Anna does not confess any cult or religion, she is in total connection with nature and thus doesn’t need any outside decorum. It seems Lupa’s path has gone towards the opposite…

      Here’s one of the cases in which Anna has helped:–zc1KIxk

  17. I agree with some… love the topic but was a little disappointed with the direction of the topic, like you seemed to be, Greg. I was a bit put off by her saying that humans like to make everything about us but then the entire podcast was about her pushing her view of it all… haha. ironic.

  18. Was pretty annoyed that she kept saying that we’re monkeys, as if it’s some sort of fact. Also, talking about things that supposedly happened millions of years ago as if she was there. She’s obviously a hardcore drinker the Scientism koolaid.

  19. Hey guys. I’m usually very respectful and kind towards the views of my fellow man, but this episode was quite gruelling. As a practising magician, with roots in native american spirituality(sorcery), I’d have to say she couldn’t be more misguided in the subject spirits. In a nutshell, the form that spirits show themselves to you, assuming you have a working relationship and the ability to communicate, will be something that resembles their nature and or something that makes you feel comfortable. Example, the Eagle represents that spirit as part of an order that works on a very high realm coming from the east. The buffalo that comes from the south. Thunderbird from the west. Bear from the north. Within that frame work, the spirit that takes on the form of a wolf, reveals his nature of operating as mainly a preditor that runs with a pack. The willow tree may come from an order of earth dieties. With that being said goetia anyone? Also it takes more than a guided meditation to acquire a spirit helper. Theres rituals offerings and pacts that are necessary to properly begin working in the realm between worlds, if not then your merely deluding yourself or setting yourself up to get toyed with.

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