Thursday, January 12, 2012

Totems/Spirit Animals

I was asked the other night by a friend of mine if I believe in spirit animals or totems. This is always a difficult question for me, because a lot of people when searching for these things often just pick an animal that they really like, or an animal that makes them seem "cooler" (spirit animals often picked: the raven, the crow, the wolf, etc.), and that's not what totems are about.  

I believe that all people have certain spiritual connections with certain animals. This is what I would call a totem. I also believe that there are different types of totems. The first type are the totems that, once they enter your life, stay there forever. The other type would be the ones that enter your life when you need them, and leave when their teaching is done.

Finding your life totem(s) isn't something you seek out and find all in the same day. Generally, when you're actively searching, you won't find them. They find you. All people who really know what their totems are will tell you that there was a defining moment in their lives when they discovered them.This moment is different for everyone.

It could happen when you're out walking, sitting in your backyard, driving down the road, hanging out at the zoo, strolling through a park... anywhere or anytime. When it happens, you see the animal -- who knows -- grazing, feeding their young, basking in the sun/moonlight, or even making direct eye contact with you. In that moment, there is no question of whether or not this animal is your totem. It hits you as if you should have known all your life and that maybe the only reason you didn't was because they hadn't decided it was the right time to tell you yet. This is how you find your life totem... not by looking through an encyclopedia of animals and choosing the coolest looking creature you can find, but by having a truly spiritual experience.

As for the second type of totem animals, like I said before, they will come into your life when they are needed and they will leave when their job is done. All things in nature have wisdom and knowledge to share. It's up to you whether or not to learn from your fellow creatures & plants. Let's say you're having trouble accepting a certain part of life. You may know it, but you may be completely oblivious to it. An animal totem may come to you to help you understand this aspect of life. When they enter your world, they will do something significant to catch your attention. It may not be something significant to everyone surrounding you, but it will most definitely be significant to you.

Let's say that the Lion King didn't completely get through to you, and you need help accepting life cycles and the food chain. Observing a crane eating a snake from the river, or a raven carrying off a baby squirrel from it's nest may be the universe's way of helping you accept the circle of life. Perhaps Crane or Raven didn't get through to you the first time, and only upset you. They will try teaching you again in another light, and will stay with you until you are able to accept the circle of life and move on. Not everyone has trouble accepting the circle of life, so let's look at another example.

Maybe you're having difficulty standing up for your opinions when among people who believe the opposite. The perfect way to explain how a totem may help you overcome this is with another flying beast. Picture yourself in the countryside on a very windy day. There are three trees all in a row, but they are spaced out with about 40 yards between each of them. There's a hawk's nest in the tree to the left, a robin's nest in the tree to the right, and the hawk itself is perched in the center tree. His home is in the same direction that the wind is coming from, but the robins won't accept him into their home because he is a predator. At this moment, he has 2 options: sit it out all day and take the fierce lashing of the wind until it is gone, or show the robins he is strong enough to fly against the wind to get what he wants, which is home, out of the violent wind. Again, one encounter may not be all it takes for Hawk to teach you his lesson, and he will stay with you until he is no longer needed.

Sometimes, certain animals may not show you visually what you need to learn. They will always do something to grab your attention, but once they have it, it may be up to you to realize what they are trying to tell you. You can do this by opening your mind to hear what the animal has to say, meditating on the image of the animal when you're alone, or even by listening to the sounds they make whilst in your presence and interpreting what they mean to you.

Any way you choose to look at it, totems, or "spirit animals," are just that: Spiritual. You can walk away from this blog post, take the spirit animal quiz on and go on thinking your totem is a coyote because you happen to be a trickster. But if you really want to know what your totem is, I would suggest a little soulsearching, meditation, and patience. Your totems will all come to you in due time.

(So yes, Grim, I do believe in totems! lol)

Coyote Image Result From

Peace, Love & Light,


  1. Good Post, I don't know how many times I've heard people assigning totem animals to themselves from little online quizzes or birth charts and the like, this take on totem animals needs to be more popularized.

    1. I'm glad you feel that way! :) Totems can't be found in personality quizzes. They are much more deeply rooted than that, lol.