Animals have been revered in most cultures, usually as symbols of wisdom or for their physical abilities. Even in the West we use animals and mythological creatures to symbolise the character traits generated by the constellations we were born under. However, one culture in particular has embraced the aspects of nature and incorporated them into their rites and beliefs. For Native American people, animals are used to represent facets of life and, most importantly, facets of our own behaviour. These beliefs and practices remained the monopoly of the Native Americans for hundreds of years, yet now it has been embraced by virtually every psychic practitioner across the world. Totem animals are a great way to gain insight into the aspects of our characters that we cannot wholly explain otherwise.
Native American tradition states that we have nine totem animals throughout our lives. Sometimes an animal will come to the fore for a short period of time, before being replaced with the qualities of another. Rather than being physical animals, they are thought to be the essences of creatures that we are somehow aligned to and that they make themselves known according to the direction that our spiritual lives are taking. In many ways, they can be seen as symbolic of the qualities we need to draw on in order to navigate through aspects of our existence; qualities that the Native Americans ascribed to the animals they encounter.
The Animals Within
We often describe people as having animalistic qualities. It’s not uncommon to hear people described as being ‘as wise as an owl’, ‘as sly as a fox’ or ‘as ‘strong as an ox’. While, on the face of it, these might seem like quick ways to categorise a person’s character, there is more to it than meets the eye. Psychics believe that we are all drawn to things that resonate on a similar vibrational level to our own. The subconscious is much like a two-way radio, broadcasting and receiving psychic signals on a wavelength that is as unique as we are. Those signals that make contact with our subconscious are those that we feel an affinity with or an attraction to – including the wavelengths generated by particular animals. It is possible to discover which animals play an important role in our lives by asking ourselves a few simple questions.
Finding your Totem Animal
● Are there any animals, birds or insects that you feel inexplicably aligned to? The thought may be a random one, but you may find a theme to your choices; do they have a predatory nature, or are they more renowned for their camouflage abilities or grace? While each of the animals you feel drawn to might be very different, you might find an underlying connection between them.
● When you go to the park, forest or the zoo are there any animals you particularly look forward to seeing?
● Are there particular animals that you seem to encounter more than others when you’re out and about?
● Are there animals that you feel naturally drawn to learn more about? It doesn’t mean that you want to do a project on them, but it might be that you enjoy reading books about them or are especially excited when they are the subject of a wildlife documentary.
● Often, we are drawn to animals that frighten us, as though the qualities they possess are somehow intriguing. Are there animals that frighten, yet fascinate you? It might be that you are scared of spiders, but admire the way they are such clever predators or that you are bothered by snakes, yet appreciate their ability to adapt to their environments.
● Have you ever made an immediate and unusual connection with an animal – perhaps one that is wild or has a reputation for being fierce?
● Do particular animals feature regularly in your dreams? Perhaps there is one significant dream, featuring an animal, which you have never forgotten.
● Has a particular animal played a meaningful part in your life?
By asking yourself these questions, you may be able to identify your totem animals; those that you feel an uncanny link with. A further idea is to ask your friends or family to describe you as an animal. However, this shouldn’t be in terms of your physical appearance but, rather, in terms of the essential qualities they perceive you as sharing with a particular creature.
The Native Americans believed that it was possible to connect with their totem animals and ask for guidance and wisdom at times when there are n other answers available. There are many ways in which you can make contact with your totem animal, but the most popular is also the simplest:
1) Ask the question. Firstly, you should enter a meditative state and pose the question that is bothering you. Ask that it is answered by your totem animal. You may find you get fleeting images of particular animals during this session but, if not, don’t worry; your totem animal is simply choosing the right moment.
2) Let it go. Once you have asked the question, you should then forget about it and get in with your day. Just as in nature, we have to let animals come to us; the same is true of trying to connect with your totem animal.
3) Be aware. As you go through your day, you may find you receive mental or physical signs of the animal whose qualities you need to draw on. They might be pictures in a magazine or a stuffed toy; keep an open mind and observe what is happening around you. It may even be an encounter with a real animal.
4) Divine the meaning. Once you have identified which animal is most pertinent to your situation, you need to think about how you encountered it; this will tell you which aspects of its nature you need to employ. Was the animal healthy? How did you feel on seeing it? Where did you see it? How did it behave? The more you can say about the animal you have encountered, the more you will understand about the message it’s imparting.
5) Don’t forget to say thank you. Animals respond well to thanks and praise and the same is true of totem animals. The more thanks you give, the more likely it is that the totem animal will come to your aid as you need it.