Animal Totems

We have all heard of spirit animals, whether in a movie we’ve seen or a book we’ve read. But do we really understand their purpose or how we can tap into the energy and uniqueness they possess? Spirit animals date back thousands of years when shamans and native tribes realized that we, as humans, have the ability to access our very own animal spirit and harness their spiritual energy and power.

Meaning of Animal Totems

An animal totem is any animal, whether natural or mythical in nature, to whom you have a close affinity with, in your lifetime or in a certain time in your life. It is a spirit being whose energy speaks to you in a manner that is relevant to your unique personality or to your life’s circumstances. Our animal totems can help us understand our past as well as give us a hint of our future. Animal totems are also identified as spirit animals or power animals, animal guides or spirit guides.

Since the dawn of time, humans have had a relationship with animals, both physically and spiritually. The relationship we have with spirit animals reminds us that life is sacred. They provide a type of medicine in the form of guidance, lessons, wisdom, protection and power, and for thousands of years, shamans have depended on the power, intelligence and enlightenment of animal guides. You can see them in Animal Themed Water Fountains, art, and everyone in almost every culture. Spirit animals come in and out of our lives, any time we need guidance and perspective during our life's journey. 


What Animal Totems Offer Us

Animal totems are in essence representatives of certain qualities, traits and skills that we humans are all trying to learn, acquire or embody,  and each animal that speaks to us does so for a personal reason. For example, if we identify with a bird maybe it's because we feel stifled and long to soar fast through the air and over the earth. We long to feel as the old adage says, “free as a bird”. It is up to us to look into the message that our animal totems are attempting to give us. Maybe we need help transitioning to another phase of our life? Who knows better about this than the butterfly? These lovely creatures can teach us how to navigate change and transition with ease, love and grace and see life as a celebration.

In ancient cultures, like the Anasazi of Chaco Canyon, children learned how to think like animals in order to learn valuable life lessons. For example,  they  “became” a tiger when they were hunting for food, “became” an otter when they wanted to be more playful, “became” a hawk so they could have a clearer and broader view of a situation. The truth is that humans are in fact animals, and we possess the knowledge and power of all living things. It is in our DNA.

Everyone has a spirit animal guide since there are always totems connected to your spirit. According to Native American tradition, every individual is connected to 9 different power animals that will keep him company throughout his lifetime in order to offer guidance in his life journey. We can communicate with our animal guide via meditation, nature, simply speaking to them, or via a number of physical items: such as totem poles, emblems, statues of animals, engraved stone and jewellry. For instance, scarlet macaw skulls were found in the Native American Anasazi ruins of Chaco Canyon and were likely used in the making of colorful robes and ancestral Puebloan headdresses.

Spirit guides are a very powerful ally so it’s important to thank them for their support and guidance each time. They help you steer through life, to transform, and see your experiences and relationships differently; so recognize this, thank them and share the gratitude. Like in any relationship, a spirit animal connection needs to be cultivated.

Five Major Animal Totem Groups

Generally speaking, there are at least 5 major animal totem groups that have been identified according to Native American beliefs:

  1. Air Animal Totems: Animals that inhabit air, which is considered the most ethereal of elements, are equipped with the capacity to lend the best understanding of their invisible ways. They are also symbols of strength, power (physical and mental) as well as sovereignty.  Some air animal totems are falcons, doves and eagles.
  2. Earth Animal Totems. These animals symbolize intuition, cognizance, awareness and power. This group also represents power, mental and physical stability as well as the state of being grounded. Popular totem animals that belong to this group include domestic cats and dogs, bears and more.
  3. Reptile and Amphibian Animal Totems.:Animals belonging to this group are masters of sensory perception. They are super-intuitive and fiercely independent. Lizards, crocodiles and chameleons are a few examples of these animal totems.
  4. Water Animal Totems: Since water is an unknown quantity, understanding water animal totems will help us to understand some unknown elements in our lives. They help us reveal and discover our hidden actions or thoughts. Dolphins, hermit crabs, frogs are some popular water animal totems.
  5. Insect Animal Totems: Insect animal totems bear these unique characteristics: patience, tenacity and detachment. They are progressive, proactive and have the natural capability of balancing the importance of minding one’s own business and keeping a strong sense of community. Bees, cicadas, grasshoppers represent these power animals.

Finding Your Animal Totem

Some individuals may have always known from the very beginning the kind of animal totem that they possess. However, some find it difficult to identify what their spiritual animal guide is.
If you’re one of those who has always been wondering what totem animal represents your character, you can ask yourself the following questions to help you find out which spirit animal is with you for life to be your main guardian spirit

  • Do you feel yourself being drawn to figurines or paintings of a particular animal?
  • Did you have a recurring dream about any particular animal?
  • Do you have an unforgettable dream from your childhood about an animal?
  • Do you usually see a particular animal when you are out in nature?
  • Is there an animal that you find extremely scary or intriguing?
  • Is there a particular animal in the zoo that you love or are always interested to see?
  • Do you consistently see an appearance of a certain animal in your life, whether physically, figuratively or in tangible objects?
  • Is there an animal that you’ve always felt yourself drawn into and you can’t even explain why?

While it may be everyone’s goal to know what personal spirit animal guide he has, it is important to note that we cannot choose our totem spirit animal. In fact, it is the spirit animal that chooses us. It decides to whom it wants to reveal itself and share its wisdom. Identifying our animal spirit totem greatly involves the ability to pay attention to both our past and our present. It involves the process of developing our spiritual understanding and inner knowledge.

A totem animal stays with us for lifetime, in both worlds, physical and spiritual. Although we may feel a connection with different animal guides throughout our lifetime, only one totem animal acts as the central guardian spirit; your “ride or die” spirit animal.

If you are still asking yourself, what's my spirit animal? Simply ask the universe to step in and show your personal spirit animal, through a vision, dream or everyday things like billboards, songs or on TV. You don’t need to see the actual animal. Be aware. Does any special animal start to stand out? If so, that is likely your totem animal.

Home | Animals | Bear | Bee | Birds | Buffalo | Butterfly | Cougar | Coyote | Deer | Dolphin | Dragonfly

Eagle | Elk | Fox | Frog | Hawk | Heron | Hummingbird | Lizard | Otter | Owl | Rabbit | Raven | Reptiles

Sheep | Snake | Spider | Turtle | Whale | Wolf

Find Your Totem | Horoscope | Amazing Animal Stories