Meeting Your Power Animal

Meeting Your Power Animal

Totem animals represents great spirit or that which they need to survive. We all have power animals which can be accessed by meditation. Below are a list of animals and their symbology.

Ant: group mind, patience, action

Antelope: action, agility and sacrifice

Armadillo: safety, boundaries, medicine shield

Bat: rebirth, secrets and initiation

Bear: power, healing

Bears hibernate in the winter, which may explain their association with “dreaming the Great Spirit” or  retrospection. The symbolism of the Bear’s cave reflects returning to the womb of Mother Earth. [A Cave is an archetype for the mind – sleep – returning to higher consciousness.] This also suggests a strong feminine aspect, one of nurturing and protection. Bear cubs, born in the early spring, can spend as many as seven  years with their mother before reaching maturity.  People with Bear Medicine are considered by many as self-sufficient, and would rather stand on their own two  feet than rely on others. They are often considered dreamers. Many have developed the skill of visualizing new things, but as a result can get caught up in the dreaming, making little progress in waking reality.  Bear’s medicine includes introspection, healing, solitude, wisdom, change, communication with Spirit, death and  rebirth, transformation, astral travel, creature of dreams, shamans and mystics.

Bearpaw: power and direction

Beaver: builder, protector

Boar: is one of the most important totem animals of the Gaelic Celts:  the South and the element of Fire: The life giving power of the sun

Buffalo: sacredness, life, abundance

Buffalo is considered by many tribes as a symbol of abundance: its meat fed the people, skins were used for clothing and covering, bones and sinew were crafted as survival tools, hooves were converted into glue. According to Lakota tradition, White Buffalo Calf Woman gave them the Sacred Pipe, promising abundance as long as they prayed to the Great Spirit and honored All Their Relations, that is, all other creations of nature.  Buffalo’s Medicine symbolizes an honor, reverence or special love for all the things that Mother Earth offers her children. It is also knowing that abundance is present when all relations are honored as sacred, and when gratitude is expressed to every living part of Creation.  Buffalo signals a moment to reconnect with the meaning of life and the value of peace, to praise the gifts you already have, and to recognize and honor the sacredness in all paths, though they may be different than yours.

Butterfly: metamorphosis and transformation

Scientific research has shown that the butterfly is the only living being capable of changing entirely its genetic structure during the process of transformation: the caterpillar’s DNA is totally different from the butterfly’s. Thus, it is the symbol of total transformation.  Butterfly represents a need for change and greater freedom, and at the same time it represents courage: one requires courage to carry out the changes necessary in the process of growth. Its Medicine is related to the air and the mental powers. It teaches us to find clarity in the mental processes, to organize projects or to figure out the next step in our internal growth.  If Butterfly is your Power Animal or if you feel in any way attracted to it, this means you are ready to undergo some kind of transformation. Examine which stage calls your attention the most: the egg is the beginning, the birth of some project or idea. The larva is de decision to manifest something in the physical world. The cocoon has to do with “going inside”, either through insight or the development of the project or idea. The breaking of the cocoon deals with sharing the splendor of your creation with the whole world. Once you understand the stage you are on, you can discover which is the next step.

Cat: Independence

In Egypt cats were always given special privileges and were treated like royalty. In Scandinavia the cat stood for fertility, and in India it is a symbol of childbirth. In ancient times it was believed that witches took the form of their cats at night. Cats are fiercely independent. You can never own one: it allows you to take care of it and love it, but only on its terms. They come and go as they please, when they please.  Cat’s medicine is independence, curiosity, many lives, cleverness, unpredictability, healing, the ability to fight when cornered, seeing the unseen, and protection. He also represents love and can assist us in meditation.  If Cat is your Power Animal, then you have magic and mystery in your life. You are independent and a free thinker. You probably feel energized at night. You will stay with a person or situation until it bores you, and then you’re gone. You have a great talent for organizing things.

Coyote: the trickster, devilment

Crane: solitude and independence

Crow: law, shape shifting, change

Deer: gentleness, caring and kindness

Deer blend very well with their environment but are very sensitive to every sound or movement. Often twins, even triplets, are born in the spring. Does and bucks live in separate groups until the mating season. The white-tailed deer are moderately gregarious, and family members forage food together along with other family groups, giving the appearance of a large herd. People with Deer Medicine are often described as being swift and alert. They are intuitive, often appearing to have well developed, even extrasensory perceptions. Sometimes their thoughts seem to race ahead, and they appear not to be listening. Deer’s medicine includes gentleness in word, thought and touch, ability to listen, grace and appreciation for the beauty of balance, understanding of what’s necessary for survival, power of gratitude and giving, ability to sacrifice for the higher good, connection to the woodland spirits, alternative paths to a goal. The gentleness of Deer is the heart-space of the Great Spirit which embodies His love for us all. Deer teaches us to find the gentleness of spirit that heals all wounds, to stop pushing to get others to change and to love and accept them as they are. The only true balance to power is love and compassion.

Dog: noble, loyal, teaching

Dog was the servant/soldier that guarded the tribe’s dwellings and protected them from surprise attacks. Dog helped during the huntingÕs and provided warmth in winter. It is a symbol of loyalty, unconditional love, protection and service. Its Medicine incorporates the loving kindness of the best friend and the protective energy of the guardian.  If your Power Animal is Dog, your devotion towards your family and friends is infinite. You get great satisfaction from rendering service to others, offering your hand to a friend in need. A kind word, a caress, an act of kindness mean much more to you than material things. However, there is a risk of coming too close to the other side: allowing people to take advantage of you because of your gentle nature.  Dog reminds you that your loyalty should always be to yourself, to your own truth. He reminds you that by respecting and valuing yourself you can truly render a service to those who honor what you can give them.

Dolphin: kindness and play energy

The beautiful, graceful, sleek dolphin carries many messages for the two-legged. Even though it is a mammal, its home is the sea and has mastered the art of breath control. Since water is the symbol of all life – of creation, passion and even sexuality – dolphin brings us teachings from the waters of life.  Playful creatures, dolphins have long entertained man with their joyful antics. Studying dolphin communication has proved to be an awesome task for man. As in all animals, dolphins have developed sophisticated auditory signals that warn others of impending danger. Some believe that these animals are now warning man of impending danger as he ignores the balance of the natural world. Swimming with the dolphins has become a powerful experience for many people, and as they interact with these playful creatures, they cannot help but feel their communication.

Dolphin reminds us that time to play is a crucial element to walk in balance. It moves through the water quickly and with great grace. Dolphin tells us to move with the ebb and flow of life, and not to search for brick walls to smash into, for to spend our energy fighting the current gets us nowhere.  Dolphin medicine includes change, wisdom, balance, harmony, communication skills, freedom, trust, understanding the power of rhythm in your life, use of breath to release intense emotions, water power.

Dragon: longevity, infinity, wisdom, movement through space

Dragonfly: Illusion – Transcendence

Eagle: divine Spirit and connection to creator

Eagle feathers are used all over the world as ceremonial instruments and are considered to be the most sacred healing tools. They are a symbol of power, healing and wisdom. Eagle represents a state of grace that is reached through inner work, understanding and passing the initiation tests that result from reclaiming our personal power. Eagle Medicine is the Power of the Great Spirit. It is the spirit of tenacity. It is the gift of clear vision with which one can truly see the things one sees. It is the patience to wait for the appropriate moment. It is to live in balance with heaven and Earth. Eagle reminds you of your connection with the Great Spirit. It tells you that the universe is giving you the opportunity to fly above your life’s worldly levels, or above the shadow of past realities. Eagle teaches you to look above in order to touch Grandfather Sun with your heart, to love the Shadow as much as the Light. Eagle asks you to grant yourself permission to be free in order to reach the joy that your heart desires.

Elk: strength and agility

Fox: cunning, agility, quick-witted

Frog: water energy

Hawk: messenger, intuition, discernment

Horse: stamina, mobility

The horse shows up in almost every mythological writing, folklore, and reality. There is the mighty winged Pegasus, the eight-legged horse of the Norse god Odin, the stallions of the Hindu sun god, the stallions of Apollo, and so on. Many legends speak of the horse as being clairvoyant and able to perceive humans with magical powers. No single animal has given man the physical freedom of movement as the horse. If you are drawn to Horse, you feel a power in your spirit that is sometimes difficult to control. Horse is a symbol of loyalty and devotion, of unquestioning love and faith in his master. He says that you love to travel, and have more than a touch of gypsy in your soul. Horse is also your warrior spirit – the brave fighter who brings you safety in your journeys, both physical and metaphysical. Horse’s medicine includes power, stamina, endurance, faithfulness, freedom to run free, control of the environment, awareness of power achieved with true cooperation, interspecies communication, expanding one’s own potential abilities, friendship and cooperation, travel, astral travel, guardian of travelers, warns of possible danger, guide to overcoming obstacles.

Hummingbird: messenger, timelessness

Hummingbird – the tiniest of all birds – brings special messages for us. It is the only creature that can stop dead while traveling at full speed. It can hover, or can go forward, backward, up or down. It lives on nectar and searches for the sweetness of life. Its long tongue lets it bypass the often tough and bitter outer layer to find the hidden treasures underneath. Hummingbird is loved by the flowers and plants, for as it sucks the nectar from the flower, the plant reproduces and more of its kind are created. In many traditions, Hummingbird feathers have been prized for their almost magical qualities. It is said that Hummingbird brings love as no other medicine can, and its presence brings joy to the observer.

If you have Hummingbird medicine, you adapt easily to whatever situation you may find yourself in, and make the most of your new circumstances. You don’t waste time looking back and wishing for “what was” for you are concerned with making the most of “what is”. Also, you could never become addicted to any artificial stimulants, for you find joy in your own heart. You take great pleasure in spreading joy and love and beauty to all around you, and have the gift of taking that inner joy into new and different surroundings. You have a talent for finding the good in people, and are not put off by a gruff or abrupt exterior, for you know that, if you can only get beyond that tough outside layer, you’ll find goodness and beauty inside. You may have a gift for working with flowers, maybe growing them to share with others, or using flower essences for healing. Aroma therapy may be your calling.  You have high energy and a spirit that must be free. To restrict that wonderful, free, loving energy is to suffer great depressions and feelings of uselessness. Hummingbird must fly free in search of beauty, spreading joy and love to all it touches.

Kokopelli: fertility, music and joy

Lion: Power of feminine energy

The female hunts and kills prey, feeds the group and takes care of the young. She is the nurturing force in all senses. The male roars to frighten prey and force them toward the lioness, who waits patiently for the right moment to attack. Although the male is the group’s protector, he doesn’t look for confrontation nor attacks needlessly. He only acts when challenged and will fight to death in order to protect, but in reality he prefers the easy, peaceful life.  Lion’s Medicine teaches us the magic of group interaction, of group energy. It also teaches us the secrets of silence and patience. Patience is to pay attention to detail. Lion suggests that we examine ourselves closely in order to understand our strengths and weaknesses, and to wait for the proper moment to act and take full advantage of a given situation.  Learn from Lion the proper way to use power and strength. Stay calm and still, sure of your power. But if necessary, don’t hesitate to fight for the things you are interested in.

Lizard: conservation

Lynx: keeper of secrets, guardian and guide

Moose: headstrong, longevity, steadfastness

Mountain lion: courage, leadership and foresight

Mouse: scrutiny, order, organizer

Opossum: diversion, strategist, deceiver

Otter: playful, prognostication, woman medicine

Owl: deception, clairvoyance, insight (the night eagle)

Owls come in all sizes, from a tiny miniature that actually lives inside the cactus in the desert, to the great horned owl, which is the only bird that can out fly the golden eagle. A fully grown great horned is an awe inspiring creature. Its talons are furry, and closely resemble the paws of a baby mountain lion with claws extended. It is a meat eater, which means it can be a fierce warrior if challenged, or if something dear to it is threatened. It is often referred to as Night Eagle.  Owl is at home in the night. It has great awareness of all that is around it at all times. It has predator vision, which means it sees clearly what it looks at. It has great intuition: it is the totem of psychics and clairvoyants. It has the courage to follow its instincts.  Owl’s medicine includes seeing behind masks, silent and swift movement, keen sight, messenger of secrets and omens, shape-shifting, link between the dark, unseen world and the world of light, comfort with shadow self, moon power, freedom.

Porcupine: innocence, companionship, trust

Rabbit: fear, timidity, nervousness, humility

Rabbit’s medicine includes moving through fear, living by one’s own wits, receiving hidden teachings and intuitive messages, quick thinking, strengthening intuition, and paradox. Rabbit also represents humility, because he is quiet and soft and not self-asserting.  Rabbit reminds us not to be afraid. Fearful thoughts reproduce (like rabbits) and bring the very thing we fear. Rabbit people are so afraid of tragedy, illness, and disaster, that they call those very fears to them to teach them lessons.  If you see Rabbit or in any way feel attracted to him, it may be telling you to wait for the forces of the universe to start moving again, to stop worrying and to get rid of your fears. It always indicates a need to re-evaluate the process you are undergoing, to rid yourself of any negative feelings or barriers, and to be more humble.

Raven: introspection, courage, self-knowledge

Seahorse: confidence and grace

Shark: hunter, survival, adaptability

Skunk: reputation, presence, strength

Snake: shrewdness, rebirth

Spider: Creatrix, web spinner

Squirrel: planner, gatherer

Swan: grace, balance and innocence

Turkey: generosity, life-giver, sharer

Turtle: nurturer, protector, mother energy

Many Natives refer to North America as Turtle Island, because their legends say that when the earth was covered with water, Turtle dove to the bottom of the oceans bringing up earth on its back so that the people could have a safe and dry home. Turtle is at home anywhere because it carries its home on its back. It does not become attached to places, for it is free to search for new opportunities wherever they may be found. When they sense danger, or are in uncomfortable and insecure settings, they withdraw into their shell, and are protected.  If you have Turtle medicine, you value both the power of the earth, the waters of the earth, and the magic of the heavens, for Turtle symbolizes both the grounding quality of earth energy, and the magic of the mystical. Using Turtle energy can help you achieve real balance in your life and your spirit so that you don’t get “stuck in the mud”.  Turtle’s medicine includes a connection with the center, navigation skills, patience, self-boundaries, associated with the feminine, power to heal female diseases, respecting the boundaries of others, developing new ideas, psychically protecting oneself, self-reliance, tenacity, non-violent defense.

Whale: wisdom, provider

Weasel: (ferret) strength, energy, ingenuity and stealth

Wolf: loyalty, perseverance, success

Wolves have been long regarded by Native Americans as teachers or pathfinders. Wolves are fiercely loyal to their mates, and have a strong sense of family while maintaining individualism. In the stars, Wolf is represented by the Dog, Sirius, thought by many aboriginal tribes to be the home of the Ancients.  Wolves are probably the most misunderstood of wild animals. Tales of cold-bloodedness abound, in spite of their friendly, social and intelligent traits. They are truly free spirits, even though their packs are highly organized. They seem to go out of their way to avoid a fight. One is rarely necessary when a shift in posture, a growl, or a glance gets the point across quite readily.  Traditionally, someone with Wolf Medicine has a strong sense of self, and communicates well through subtle changes in voice inflection and body movements. They often find new solutions to problems while providing stability and support that one normally associates with a family structure.

Wolf’s medicine includes facing the end of one’s cycle with dignity and courage, death and rebirth, Spirit teaching, guidance in dreams and meditations, instinct linked with intelligence, social and family values, outwitting  enemies, ability to pass unseen, steadfastness, skill in protection of self and family, taking advantage of change.

Source:
Crystalinks

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Power Animals

Power Animals

A power animal, is a broadly animistic and shamanic concept that has entered the English language from Anthropology, Ethnography and Sociology. A tutelary spirit guides, helps or protects individuals, lineages and nations. In the shamanic worldview, everything is alive, bearing an inherent virtue, power and wisdom. Power animals represent a person’s connection to all life, their qualities of character, and their power.

Power animals are endemic to shamanic practice in both Eurasia and the Americas. They are the helping or ministering spirit or familiar which empowers individuals and is essential for success in any venture undertaken.

In the shamanic worldview, everyone has power animals or tutelary spirits which empower and protect them from harm, like guardian spirits or angels in the Abrahamic Traditions. The power animal may also lend its ward or charge the wisdom or attributes of its kind. For example, a hawk power animal provides hawk attributes, such as hawk-eye.

Power animals most often come to us in dreams, meditations, initiations, and visions.  You can have more than one power animal.  Your power animal at a given time can change depending on your life-path at that time.  Power animals are often attracted by one’s emotional needs of the person – viewed as protectors who help overcome fears and empower us.

The concept of a Power Animal is universal to all cultures. Tribal cultures  will recognize a Totem for the tribe, one for the clan one belongs to,  and one for the family that one is born into. In the United States, and  in other countries, the Tribal and Clan Totem still exists, although it  is thought of in a slightly different manner.

There are also totems for our adopted cultures, such as clubs or societies which we may belong  to, such as the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, the Loyal Order  of Moose, and the Lions Club.

Even Christianity, the prevalent religion  of this country, has maintained two Totem animals, these being the Fish  and the Lamb. Specialized Totems are also seen in organized sports, their  names being reflected in the team names. Example: Chicago Bulls, Atlanta Falcons

The next type of Power Animal or Totem is that which is personal for  the individual. These Totems are protective spirits which help us in our  everyday life. Everyone has such a Totem. Even today most parents give  a special protective Power Animal to their children and tell the child  that it will be protected over night by that Power Animal. They don’t realize that is what they are doing when they give a teddy bear to their little one.

We often unconsciously recognize the Power Animal affecting someone, and use terms which give away our unconscious recognition.

In the shamanic belief every thing is alive and carries with it power and wisdom.  Power animals are an essential component of shamanic practice.  They are the helping spirit which add to the power of the shaman and are essential for success in any venture undertaken by the shaman.

Shamans believe that everyone has power animals – animal spirits which reside with each individual adding to their power and protecting them from illness, acting similarly to a guardian angel.  Each power animal that you have increases your power so that illnesses or negative energy cannot enter your body.  The spirit also lends you the wisdom of its kind.  A hawk spirit will give you hawk wisdom, and lend you some of the attributes of hawk.

Everyone is thought to have a few of these guardian power animals or it is thought that the individual could not survive childhood.  Over the course of her or his life the person may have several.  If a power animal leaves and one does not come to take its place the individual is considered, by the shaman, to be disempowered and therefore vulnerable to illness and bad luck.

Power animals do not have to be mammals and can be reptiles, insects or sea creatures.  Any living creature can serve as a power animal.  (Plants and trees can serve as plant spirit guides.) Domesticated animals are generally not considered power animals because they already in service to human beings.  It is possible to have a domesticated animal, but it is more likely to have a wild untamed animal serve in the capacity of a power animal.

The gifts that a particular animal is thought to give an individual varies depending on the culture.  Although there are certain consistencies for certain animals.  A particular power animal can come to help you with an issue that is very specific for you.  It is important not to lock each animal into a category, and be open to the gifts it may be coming to share with you.

It is important to honor your power animal.  In many western cultures we are not taught to value animals or the gifts that they add to our life and the world around us.  In shamanic work the power animal is essential, for a shaman who has no power – is not going to have very good results.

On a personal level by honoring your power animal you let it know that its assistance is appreciated.  The spirit of the animal is giving up its mobility in order to spend its time with you and assist you with your life.  Also, by honoring the power animal we make a deeper connection with it.  Honoring it can be as simple a saying a thank you inside yourself, or getting an object which represents it and putting it where you can see it as you go about your day.

Shamanic practice honors and acknowledges the life and wisdom that exists in all things.  Everything is believed to have something to teach you and animals are thought to have a wealth of wisdom and protection to offer you.

If you would like to find out who your power animal is, consulting a shamanic practitioner is an option.  But to discover this on you own, you can ask for a dream and see if anything comes up. You can ask the power animal to show itself to you and if you start seeing one or another animal frequently that would be its way of revealing itself to you.

Power Animals are usually a reflection of your deepest self and also represent qualities which you need in this world, but which are often hidden or obscured. A mistake that people often make is to be dissatisfied when they find that their Power Animal is some non-ferocious animal like  a mouse. We tend to think that a mouse is not very powerful – that it  is meek and afraid. What they forget is that spirits are not limited to  physical reality and that size is irrelevant. Your Power Animal may be  a tiny mouse, but in times of need this mouse can and will change its size  and deportment to that which is appropriate to the occasion.

Source:
Crystalinks

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What Totem is Yours? The Twelve Birth Totems

The twelve birth times are represented by totems, each one an animal that best expresses the qualities inherent at that birth time.

Earth medicine associates an animal totem to each birth time (the two sets of dates below the animal reflect the difference in season between the northern and southern hemispheres). These animals help to connect you to the powers and abilities that they represent.

FALCON:

21 March- 19 April (N. Hemisphere)

22 Sept- 22 Oct (S. Hemisphere)

Falcons are full of initiative, but of

 

ten rush in to make decisions that

they may later regret. Lively and extroverted, they have enthusiasm for new experiences but can sometimes lack persistence.

BEAVER:

20 April- 20 May (N. Hem)

23 Oct- 22 Nov (S. Hem)

Practical and steady, Beavers have a capacity for perseverance. Good homemakers, they are warm and affectionate, but need harmony and peace to avoid becoming irritable. They have a keen aesthetic sense.

DEER:

21 May- 20 June (N. Hem)

23 Nov- 21 Dec (S. Hem)

Deer are willing to sacrifice the old for the new. They loathe routine, thriving on variety and challenges. They have a wild side, often leaping from one situation or relationship into another without reflection.

WOODPECKER:

21 June- 21 July (N. Hem)

22 Dec- 19 Jan (S. Hem)

Emotional and sensitive, Woodpeckers are warm to those closest to them, and willing to sacrifice their needs for those of their loved ones. They have lively imaginations but can be worriers.

SALMON:

22 July- 21 August (N. Hem)

20 Jan- 18 Feb (S. Hem)

Enthusiastic and self-confident, Salmon people enjoy running things. They are uncompromising and forceful, and can occasionally seem a little arrogant or self-important. They are easily hurt by neglect.

BROWN BEAR:

22 Aug- 21 Sept (N. Hem)

19 Feb- 20 March (S. Hem)

Brown Bears are hardworking, practical, and self-reliant. They do not like change, preferring to stick to what is familiar. They have a flair for fixing things, are good natured, and make good friends.

CROW:

22 Sept- 22 Oct (N. Hem)

21 March- 19 Apr (S. Hem)

Crows dislike solitude and feel most comfortable in company. Although usually good-natured and pleasant, they can be strongly influenced by negative atmospheres, becoming gloomy and prickly.

SNAKE:

23 Oct- 22 Nov (N. Hem)

20 Apr- 20 May (S. Hem)

Snakes are mysterious, and secretive, hiding their feelings beneath a cool exterior. Adaptable, determined and imaginative, they are capable of bouncing back from tough situations encountered in life.

OWL:

23 Nov- 21 Dec (N. Hem)

21 May- 20 June (S. Hem)

Owls need freedom of expression. They are lively, self-reliant, and have an eye for detail. Inquisitive and adaptable, they have a tendency to overextend themselves. Owls are often physically courageous.

GOOSE:

22 Dec- 19 Jan (N. Hem)

21 June- 21 July (S. Hem)

Goose people are far-sighted idealists who are willing to explore the unknown. They approach life with enthusiasm, determined to fulfill their dreams. They are perfectionists, and can appear unduly serious.

OTTER:

20 Jan- 18 Feb (N. Hem)

22 July- 21 Aug (S. Hem)

Otters are friendly, lively and perceptive. They feel inhibited by too many rules and regulations, which often make them appear eccentric. They like cleanliness and order and have original minds.

WOLF:

19 Feb- 20 March (N. Hem)

22 Aug – 21 Sept (S. Hem)

Wolves are sensitive, artistic and intuitive–people to whom others turn to for help. They value freedom and their own space, and are easily affected by others. They are philosophical, trusting and genuine

Source:

Crovenet

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Living Life As The Witch – Everyday Totemism

Witchy Comments=

 Everyday Totemism

Does everyone have a totem animal that stays with them their entire life? Some say yes, others say no. Regardless, totemism isn’t just about those “primary” totems. The same person may have all kinds of different relationships and interactions with animal totems, and they don’t all have to last a lifetime.

That has been my experience since I began working with animal totems in my spirituality since the 1990’s. Rather than following what other people told me to do to connect with totems. I found my own path through that forest via a lot of trial and error. I quickly discovered was that there was no set number of totems a person could or should have and not every totem stuck around for a long time.

As I met and worked with more and more totem animals. I created an easy organizational system to help me describe some of these totemic relationships:

*Primary totems are what most people think of when they talk about animal totems. These are your “life” totems, the ones who are around for the long haul, as it were.

*Secondary totems are ones that come into your life on their own volition to help you through a stage of your life or a particular time period. Once their intent has been fulfilled, they generally leave your life, though some do make visits later on.. But even then, they aren’t as consistently present as primary totems.

*Tertiary totems are totems that you approach to ask for help with something specific or simply to find out more about them. If you want elp with a single ritual or untangling a problem in your life, you can find out what totem or totems may be best able to help you, and then approach them for that help.

Any totem animal can be primary, secondary or tertiary totem. It all depends on the nature of its relationship with that person. The particular totem itself isn’t crucial — what matters is the intensity and duration of the connection between the totem and person.

While not everyone may have a primary totem, just about anyone can ask totems for help with more short-term goals, even if you’ve never worked with totems before.

Reference:

Excerpt from:
Everyday Totemism
By Lupa
Llewellyn’s 2013

Magical Almanac

Animals as Spirit Guides

Animals as Spirit Guides

 

(excerpted from Animal Spirit Guides by Dr. Steven  Farmer)

Those spirits that are in animal form that teach us, guide us, empower us,  and help us heal are called animal spirit guides or spirit  animals. In shamanic and indigenous cultures they’re usually called  totem animals or power animals. Often these terms are used  interchangeably, although there are subtle differences in meaning.

The term totem animal has two meanings. First, a totem animal is  typically one that is shared by a family, clan, or group. In indigenous  cultures, the family you were born into all have a totem animal in common. In  modern societies, various groups also have communal totems, such as sports teams  or clubs that identify with a totem animal. A second meaning of totem animal is  a representational object of a particular animal, like a small tortoise, owl,  raccoon, or hawk figurines. We often give our children totem animals, like teddy  bears or bunny rabbits to give them comfort.

The term power animal has its origins in shamanism. This is a  specialized animal spirit guide the shaman or shamanic practitioner acquires  early in their initiation into their practice. Their power animal travels with  them whenever they go on a shamanic journey, which is an altered state of  awareness in which the practitioner sends his soul or consciousness into  non-ordinary reality—another term for the spirit world—to receive teachings,  guidance, and healings. You can, however, have a relationship with a power  animal even if you’re not a shaman or shamanic practitioner. They may come to  you in meditations, visions, dreams, or shamanic journeys. It’s a highly  personal and specialized relationship with an animal spirit guide, one where the  personality and characteristics of the particular power animal that you have  attracted to you are reflective of your own personality and characteristics.

Although every creature on the planet can be an animal spirit guide, in some  traditions domesticated animals can’t be power animals because they’ve lost much  of their wildness and are removed from the natural world. Likewise, some  traditions believe that insects are to be excluded from being power animals  because of their size and nature. I have, however, included both domesticated  animals and some insects such as butterfly and dragonfly my book, and even two  mythological animals, dragon and unicorn, to account for those who have enough  of a special relationship with them to call them power animals.

However to experience the tremendous value of working with animal spirit  guides you don’t need to be a shaman, have any interest in shamanism, nor be  associated with an indigenous culture. For most purposes you don’t even need to  be concerned as to whether an animal spirit guide is a totem or power animal.  Instead, consider these wonderful beings as spiritual allies that want to reach  out to each and everyone one of us who are open to their guidance and, when  called with sincere intent, will respond.

One of the great advantages of working with animal spirit guides is that the  actual animal is physically and symbolically present in so many ways throughout  every society and culture on earth. Because of their abundant representations in  third-dimensional reality, they’re continually in our consciousness. Depending  on how and in what way they show up in the material world, whether in the flesh  or as a symbol, their appearance can be  a representative of the spirit of  that animal. When an animal shows up in an uncommon way or repetitively as  spirit guide, that animal isn’t just the single animal, but is representing the  entire species. The hummingbird that flits about and then hovers for several  seconds directly in front of you isn’t just a hummingbird but is carrying with  her the essence of all hummingbirds, and is therefore Hummingbird with  a capital “H.” That’s also why when we speak of an animal spirit guide, we leave  out the “a” or “an” as a way of recognizing and honoring that spirit animal. The  hawk that visited me wasn’t only a hawk, but in those instances was representing  the essence of all hawks, and was therefore Hawk.

Not only do these spirit animals help us in many ways, but another positive  effect is that you’ll deepen your appreciation for the magic and mystery of all  animals, whether they are of the air, water, or the land. Every being on this  beautiful and majestic planet has its place in the web of life, and as we  develop our consciousness and awareness of the unique quality of animal spirit  guides, we enhance our relationships with all of our animal brothers and  sisters.