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About Totem Animals

The idea of totem animals in the Native American tradition has been made famous from years of less than accurate books and movies. Classically everyone is a wolf or an eagle or some other noble beast and the idea of totem animals seems to be fraught with superstition. However, the idea has it's own basis in being similar to not only being provided with guides, similar in a sense to angels, but also in being guided or taught lessons. In addition we see similarities to astrology with it's use of animal symbolism, as well as animal symbolism woven through many religions and spiritual systems. Perhaps most shocking to the modern mind is the Jungian idea of Archetypes, universal symbols that can to a degree be looked at in conjunction with totem animal symbolism. Totems are a part of the spiritual path but also represent far more in their value for understanding cultural heritage as well as personality types, once totem animals were agreed upon.

First and foremost some common misconceptions about totem animals should be addressed. The idea that everyone is an eagle or a wolf or a bear, a mighty animal with the most wonderful of traits, animals that the person can choose for themselves based on their own opinions, is not part of the actual belief system. Numerous animals are considered a part of the system of totem animals and also may be dependent on the tribe or geographical area or tradition. Animals means different things to different tribes additionally. However for the sake of explanation whether it is a bear or an otter or a dog the animal that is most appropriate is actually thought to choose the person, not the other way around. Traditionally (once again depending on tribe or tradition) the person starts to see what appear to be coincidences or signs or omens concerning what animal is their appropriate animal.

In the modern world this could be the sighting of a stag (deer) followed, by reading a magazine with a striking picture of a stag, followed by seeing a billboard with a stag displayed upon it. The animal in question may have qualities the person has or needs. However once that person is convinced this is the chose animal totem, as a guide it has great power and significance. In point of fact psychologically the person would of course start to make traditional associations with that animal and might start to act in the forms attributed. Wise as an owl or a fox might be a modern interpretation. While the bear, as bears do follow the same path over and over again, symbolizing a person with key patterns, as well as possible might and strength and more. Wolves are considered social creatures. The Raven is the wise trickster, although the Coyote also can play that role.

Deciding how to choose your totem animal may be a matter of looking for the right signs and interpreting them in many cases. However in the final analyis this practice can have great therapeutic and spiritual value. It can be a religious or spiritual epiphany, or a more practical down to earth lesson in wisdom. It is all about finding your true path, learning many lessons and indeed stretching yourself for personal growth. Indeed there is no one lesson to be learned and a person may go from one totem animal or symbol to another, one lesson to the next. Life is not a destination, it is a journey and we should enjoy and experience each step. So take the chance, take the first step, go down the path to deepening spirituality and remember to look at the richness offered in many different traditions.

Written by Travis Meeks



The practice of using animals is of Native American, shamanic, and tribal origins. Shamans believe that animals are messengers of the Great Spirit. They are on Earth to teach you something. The Great Spirit shares information with you through visions and dreams using animals to represent what you should do. More and more people are adapting this concept to their daily practices. This is so because humans have always been fascinated with animals and their abilities and cunning.

Familiars

Basically familars are animals that we sense they been with us before. Is it recarnation? Maybe, maybe not. A familar is with us to assits us in our majikical workings. An eaiser visual to understand familars would be this perception, "Traditionally cats are associate with witches." Other animals, like dogs, rabbits, horses, and snakes, can be familiars too. You should see and be aware of the animal displayed actions towards you. Lot of tymes a familar will come our way via unexpectedly.

However, your pet is not necessarily your familiar. A familiar represents all the good qualities of that animal, and it is atune to you. It provides you with a link to the animal kingdom and the essence of their power.

Totem/Power Animals

Many tymes we cannot always work with physical familiars due to many reasons. Perhaps the most common one will be space limitation. Let's face it, who can keep a Bear in his/her house? Therefore, many Earth practioners work with their totem animals in the astral.

Totems are not specific animals but mystical powers. Totem animals are sought in the astral world. We choose those power animals that closely represent mostly our higher selves. In other words, power animals are chosen by their affinity to the person.

Power animals are used for specific purposes too. For example, a Shaman may choose the animal that lends to a specific kind of magick. Maybe the spell needs some "medicine" from the Snake. Some animals are associated with the quarters. Sometimes these energies are activated with the quarter calls. Totem animals are great advicers. So if you are confused about something, call the Wolf or the Bear!

Most new path takers ask me how many totem animals can one have. Our personality has many facets, so you're likely to have more than one power animal. However, I suggest that you begin to work with one power animal at the time. Visit the animal in the astral world and "talk" to it for a while. Once you get acquantainted with that one, move to the next one.

Bear in mind that totem animals may come and go out of your life as you grow. So do not feel bad if you see the Bear spirit disappear from your life, and instead the Fox spirit appears. There are those power animals that might stay with you for the rest of your life, but others may come and go as need be. Welcome those that come to you for the new experiences they will bring into your life.

Walk in Peace and Beauty.

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