Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Animal Totems -by Sayahda.

Mother nature, our provider, is going through a cycle of change. Humanity, her caretakers, are experiencing the effects of that change. As disruption occurs a ceremony begins. The primary source of a person's ill health is not in the body. It is due to a fundamental imbalance in the spirit. Mother nature, our mirror, is inviting us to step inside the circle and experience the ceremonial dance of reunion. The choice is yours.

When I was a child my father, a Cherokee Indian, often took me into the woods so I could discover the many little sounds of life awakening. This gift from my father opened my heart to the birds, plants, rocks and animals, which have become my allies. Sharing simple pleasures is a part of the Indian way. I would now like to share a small gift with you.

Each day upon arising step into nature, physically or mentally.  The first thing you see, become it. Take on its characteristics for a few moments. Breathe into it and allow it to become a part of  you. In this way a deeper insight about yourself is gained, as you discover the heartbeat of life awakening.

Animals on this page: A-B

Alligator, Ant, Badger, Bat, Bear, Beaver, Blackbird, Bluebird, Buffalo, Bumble Bee, Butterfly...

Totems     C 
Totems D-G 
Totems H-L 
Totems M-P 
Totems: Q-S 
Totems T-Z

The Alligator

The Alligator has walked on Earth mother for millions of years and are known in many myths and lore as the keepers of ancient wisdom. Alligators hide themselves in water and mud waiting for unsuspecting creatures to happen by, and then snap. They eat any animal they can swallow and if they cant swallow it; they tear it into bite size pieces.

They only eat when they are hungry and do not consume food unnecessarily. Waste is not a part of alligator medicine. Those with this totem should be careful about over consumption. Digestive disturbances are common with alligator medicine people.

The eyes of the alligator are positioned high on their head allowing them to remain relatively hidden beneath the water and still see above it. Symbolically this hints to clairvoyant abilities.

Hiding in the water ties the alligator to the emotional body of man. The alligator holds the teachings of the discovery and the release of emotions that are locked beneath the surface.

Alligators dig deep burrows when the water is high so that during the dry season they can have a wet alcove to retreat to. These alcoves serve as reservoirs from which other animals can get water. Water is the nectar of life. The sharing of these reservoirs indicates the alligators respect for all life forms.

The power of alligator is its power to survive. They have no known predators. If alligator shows up in your life or in the dreamtime it might be telling you to take care of yourself and secure your basic survival needs.

Alligators come together only for reproduction. They have distinct individual personalities. Those with this totem are usually loners and only join together in groups when mandatory. Alligator medicine people can be great leaders. They know how to survive in any situation and are strong enough to hold their ground.

These fascinating creatures digest their food slowly. Those with this totem should remember to digest and assimilate all experiences thoroughly before moving forward in haste. Alligators teach the art of patience and appropriate timing. They know when to hide beneath the water, peak above it, or take action and snap.

The Ant

The ant is very industrious. Some ants are solitary but most are part of a large community. Within the community there is a repertory of activities and behaviors. Their activities include gathering and hunting. Within a community each ant knows its place and performs its duties with total loyalty to the whole.

Worker ants are excellent architects and can  show us how to construct our dreams into reality. Ants are very persistent and can teach this skill as well.

The power of ant medicine is teamwork. Each ant will do its part to ensure the survival and health of the whole colony, regardless of the role it has been assigned. If ant has to fight, it will; if ant has to dig tunnels, it will; if ant has to carry leaves for miles, it will,  all for the good of the community.

Ants are selfless servants always looking out for their fellow ant. They focus on the best outcome for the community and teach the art of self sacrifice and true service. The queen ant has wings and the ability of flight until fertilized. Once fertilized she pulls off her own wings sacrificing her own flight for the birth of a newborn. Although there is a caste system within the ant community all ants honor and respect each other and work for the common good.

Ants are tireless workers and hunters and teach the art of perseverance and patience in all that they do. Those with this totem will find that many of their life lessons will involve the mastery of patience in some way.

Ant medicine is subtle yet powerful. It teaches us how to release our egos and aligns us with the virtue of equality. Imagine what the world would be like if humanity held and applied the values that the ant expresses. The next time you step on, squash, injure or kill an ant intentionally, ask yourself why you are choosing to destroy the unconditional love that the ant shares so freely. Valuable insights about yourself and your history can be learned from this tiny little totem.

The Badger

The badger is a member of the weasel family. They range is length from two to three feet and are about twelve inches high. Family members often mark each other with scent for recognition since their sight is poor. Their senses of smell and hearing however are excellent. Those with this medicine would do well in professions that incorporate sound as a healing tool. On a personal note, badger medicine people need to develop clear sight, both psychically and physically and not just rely on their other senses for survival.

Badgers have solid muscular bodies.  Its outer skin is loose which gives it a deceiving appearance.  Because of this it is often associated with illusion. What you see is not always what you get!  Its strong powerful jaws represent discrimination of speech. Words can cut, tear and crush or encourage, teach and compliment others.  Those with this medicine have the ability to do both.

Badger dens are extremely clean and well organized. They change there bedding often, backing into their dens with straw, so as not to make a mess in the process. Fastidious about their surroundings they will correct any disorder quickly.

The badger brings the gift of tidiness and organization. If badger has come to you in some way it may be saying that you need to concentrate on maintaining an orderly environment to better facilitate your day-to-day living. . It can also teach you how to manage your time more efficiently.

Badgers will fight to their death if cornered.  Bold and ferocious they are unsociable animals.  Those with this medicine have difficulty relating to others. They will  shun authority and stand their ground in any situation. Expressing themselves in a concise balanced way is one of their greatest challenges.

The badger is a remarkable digger and can get beneath the surface easily. This ability ties the badger to the mysteries of the underworld, where the magic of life and creation is stored. It also symbolizes a strong connection to plant and animal spirits and can teach those with this totem how to align with life both above ground and below it.

The Bat

There are different species of bats, which have widely divergent characteristics. Some are small and others are large. With one or two exceptions, the large bats live on fruits and find their way visually. The small bats feed mostly on insects, catching them on the wing by a process known as echolocation in which an animal produces sounds and listens for the echoes reflected from surfaces and objects in the environment. When this medicine is fully developed in man intuitive and clairaudient abilities are accurate. When underdeveloped psychic perception becomes clouded by imaginings of the mind.

Studies on bats found that when they are placed in a refrigerator, they will go into an instant state of hibernation and come out unharmed when they are warmed, which is unique for a warm blooded mammal. This indicates that the life force of the bat is strong and is able to regenerate and replenish it when needed. Those with this medicine also have this ability and would benefit from all types of yogic practices especially those related to awakening the kundalini.

Bat holds the power of adaptability.  Everything about them, senses, feeding, flight, mating and size is suited to their particular environment.  When bat appears in your life its message may be to examine your surroundings to discern what bounty is being offered to you, and then alter your patterns so you can receive it.

An out of balance bat will get scrambled and confused and will fly into things.  Are you crashing into barriers as you try to get what you need and want in life?  If so, bat may be trying to tell you to take a moment to get your bearings and determine the relative importance of what you are seeking.

When bat flies into your life transformation of the ego self  is about to occur.  The old familiar patterns and ideas that have been your truth are about to change. That which once worked for you may no longer.  The process of transformation represents a death and a rebirth.  Bat offers you the wisdom necessary to make the appropriate changes for the birthing of your new identity.

Author Ted Andrews writes that bats have needle like teeth and can sometimes carry rabies.  Rabies is an infectious disease of the blood and can cause a person to go mad.  Fears that are allowed to spread, uninhibited will eventually permeate our system and can create a kind of madness within our lives.  Bats reflect a need to face our fears.

Because the bat is a sociable animal it can indicate a need for more sociability or increased opportunity with greater numbers of people.  It has great auditory perception and can navigate through the dark easily.  Their built in sonar enables them to know what lies beneath the surface.  Those with this medicine have uncanny abilities to discern hidden messages both from people and the environment..

When bat appears it is asking you to surrender yourself to the process of change.  Opportunities unknown to the conscious mind are about to manifest.

The Bear

There are several types of bear including the Grizzly, Brown, Black, Kodiak and Polar.  Bear has played a prominent role in many Native cultures.  They are considered to be a highly desired ally and spirit helper because of its fearless power. It is believed that the power of Great spirit lives through this animal.  Because of this a constellation was named for it, Ursus Major, The Great Bear. Some tribes  prayed for medicine dreams that would show bear to be their guide. Others felt the bear was too powerful a medicine and would only hunt them if it meant not starving.

In some traditions bear is the spirit keeper of the West. The place of maturity and good harvest.  The gifts that bear offers to those with this totem are strength, introspection and knowledge.

Unlike other animals who are active during a specific time of day, the bear is active both day and night.  This symbolizes its connection with solar energy, that of strength and power, and lunar energy, that of intuition. It enhances and teaches those with this totem how to develop both within themselves.

Bear can sometimes be too quick to anger and too sure of it own power. While they have little to fear they can forget caution, which is an important trait to have. If bear is your totem be careful that you don't throw your caution to the wind.  Being unaware of your limits in certain settings can be disastrous.

Many years ago while hiking in the woods I was surprised to meet a black bear face to face.  As it stood before me the power that the bear held intimidated me.  Fears surfaced and I was sure I was going to die. I rose my arms high over my head appearing larger than I was.  Because I created an illusion of size and strength my life was spared. The bear watched, dropped down onto all four legs and slowly moved away. Bear taught me the importance of appearance by gathering my inner strength and presenting it outwardly.

During the winter bears spend several months sleeping in dens without eating, a condition that resembles hibernation. The more fat their bodies have stored up the deeper the sleep.  Bears live on this fat throughout the winter. It teaches us how to go within and find the resources necessary for our personal survival.

The bear holds the teachings of introspection. When it shows up in your life pay attention to how you think, act and interact. Use discernment in all that you do and discriminate with care. Bear teaches you how to make choices from a position of power.

The Beaver

The beaver is an amazing animal.  They are master engineers and alter environments.  Their dams are made of wood held together with mud and leaves.  Resourceful and ingenious they turn streams into lakes with their dams.  When they leave an area, the dam eventually decays and a fertile meadow is left where the lake was.  The beaver knows how to work in harmony with the environment and can show us how to do the same. They hold the energies of fertility and new promise.

Beavers are expert builders.  Their dams are strong and secure. When the beaver swims into your life it is asking you to strengthen the foundation on which you stand or to build a new one.  If we continue to stand on old foundations new opportunities can pass us by. Because of its building skills the beaver has been linked to ancient masonry.  Those with this totem often have past lives associated with this magical art. The study of masonry can reveal deeper insights about who you are and who you have been.

The beavers fur is waterproof and a hard yellow enamel coats their teeth protecting them from damage. Their teeth continue to grow until they die.  They are always chewing and falling trees. Author Ted Andrews states that without chewing the beavers  teeth would become to large, and it would be unable to eat. Its large incisor teeth are one of its most distinct features and holds great symbology.  A person with healthy incisor teeth usually has a balanced inner nature, if unhealthy an unsettled inner nature is common.  Proper dental hygiene along with developing a sense of inner peace is essential for those with this medicine.  Meditation and quiet contemplation is helpful.

Excellent swimmers, the beaver can stay submerged for 15 minutes.  Controlling the breath is one of its attributes.  Those with this medicine would benefit from yoga or any form of breathing exercises.  They make excellent breath workers as well as architects.

Beavers are creatures of the water the element associated with the subconscious. This is where hidden knowledge and forgotten dreams are stored.  A powerful totem to have the beaver reminds us to live our dreams and shows us how to manifest them using the resources available.  Beavers have a gentle nature and are very industrious.  Those with this totem often find that they must work hard to obtain their goals. Remember to be kind to yourself.  When you feel defeated simply call on the beaver to help you.

The Blackbird

The blackbirds iridescent black plumage holds the energies of mysticism and magic.  Druid legends say that the birds of Rhiannan are 3 blackbirds which sit and sing in the World tree of other worlds.  Their singing puts the listener into a sleep or a trance which enables him or her to travel to the otherworld.  It was said to impart mystic secrets. Those with this medicine often have a hypnotic influence on others as well as an uncanny ability to move between the seen and unseen worlds with clarity.  They make excellent shamans and trance channelers.

Blackbirds are timid and prefer their own company over the company of others.  In humans shyness and insecurity in group settings is common. Vulnerable to outside influences those with this totem need to remember to clear accumulated influences from their energy field on a regular basis.

The male's distinctive song during breeding season is loud and melodious with flute like qualities.  Males often sing from high perches and both sexes produce a variety of sounds which include mimicking other birds.  Blackbird medicine people love to sing and have the ability use their voice to heal and inform. They are also good ventriloquists.

Blackbirds spend much of their time on the ground.   Its locomotion includes walking, climbing and hopping forward and backwards.  They forage for food in open spaces although cover is always near by.  When  foraging in leaf litter under trees they sound like people walking . In humans this suggests an ability to remain grounded in the earth energies while walking a spiritual path.

When resting the blackbird is frequently seen stretching, legs extended back, side wings in full extension, tail spread, and the head tilted to one side as if listening.  Yoga and movement therapy are beneficial for those that hold this totem.

The blackbirds flights are low, short and undulating but fast and direct over open country. They move with determination and focus and can teach us how to do the same.  When blackbird flies into your life your connection with nature and the forces of creation increase.  The magic of the underworld surfaces in your life. Awareness is heightened and change on a cellular level begins.  The blackbird teaches you how to acknowledge your power and use it to its fullest.

The Bluebird

The bluebird is a member of the thrush family. The males are entirely blue, while the females are blue only in the wings. The color blue is associated with spiritual awakening. A color that calms the mind and soothes the heart. Since the color blue is symbolic it will represent different things to different people. A daily practice of prayer and meditation are beneficial to those with this medicine.

Bluebirds arrive from the south in the early spring. They live in open country and woodland settings nesting in holes in trees or fence posts. In native cultures the south is the direction of innocence and childlike activity. When a bluebird shows up it could be asking you to lighten up and let go of any dramas that are presently occupying your life. If it appears in your immediate surroundings this message is more pronounced.

Bluebirds hold the energy of gentleness. They are not aggressive and will avoid confrontation whenever possible. They are patient and observant birds and choose to spend their time enjoying life, however, if a bluebird is provoked it will stand its ground and defend itself. The bluebird teaches us how to move through life with a gentle strength and a patient persistence.

Living ones truth without inflicting it on another person can be a challenging affair. Mankind often feels a need to awaken others with their knowledge. This need can trigger personality disputes causing unnecessary frustration and conflict.

The bluebirds song is one of joy and playfulness. When if flies into your life it serves as a reminder to allow others to grow in their own way and time. Live your personal truth but remember to honor anothers truth. We are all equal in the eyes of the creator. The path a person walks is a personal choice that was created from the soul blueprint. We don't always understand anothers choice but it is imperative that we respect it.  Equally so, we must respect ourselves.

The Buffalo

The buffalo is a symbol of abundance and manifestation. Their large heads represent intelligence of a higher order and their strong bodies ground them to the earth. They are the uniting force between the mundane and the divine and hold the teachings of right action joined with prayer.

Both the bulls and the cows have horns as well as humped shoulders. Horns grow out of the head and extend to the sky indicating a connection with a higher intelligence. Humps are often symbolic of stored energy locked within the body.

The buffalo's humps are located at the shoulders. In man the shoulders hold our personal energy which expresses itself through our hands. Whatever we touch or hold onto is connected to the energy stored in the shoulders.  Shoulders carry responsibility or joy. What we carry within is manifested outwardly.  The buffalo teaches us how to eliminate our burdens by directing our energy in a balanced way.

When defending against danger, the cows will form a defensive circle around the calves and the bulls will form a circle around the cows. This symbolizes the buffalo's mutual respect for one another as well as their protective instincts to defend and honor life.

To the Plains Indians it was a symbol of sacred life and abundance. It gave the gift of life to others by sacrificing its own. It provided meat for food and hides for clothing and shelter. When tribes prepared for a buffalo hunt prayers of gratitude were offered up to great spirit. After the hunt ceremonies were performed that honored the buffalo's spirit. Without the aid of buffalo these tribes would not have survived the harsh winters.

Buffalo's can be unpredictable and dangerous when provoked. Those with this totem need to remember to see the good in all things and not let their frustration store up inside them. Tai Chi or martial arts would be of benefit on a daily basis.

The buffalo reminds us to give thanks for what we have, to respect all life forms and to honor the integrity of our own divine essence. It is a symbol of equality, sacrifice and service and can show us how to live in a state of understanding, acceptance and joy. It helps us release our self pity and awakens abundance within our consciousness.  Buffalo is a powerful medicine to have and serves as a stepping stone towards healing our imperfections and reconnecting with mother earth and father sky.

The Bumble Bee

Unlike the honeybee, the bumblebee usually has fewer individuals in its colony. They do not store large amounts of honey like the honeybee does. Bumblebees are one of the few insects that can control their body temperature. In cold weather the queen and her workers can shiver their flight muscles to warm themselves allowing them to fly and work at lower temperatures than most other insects. Their large size and hairy coat also helps to keep them warm.

Yogi masters have been known to quiet their heartbeat and adjust their body temperatures when in an altered state. This skill is linked to the ancient initiations of mastering the body, mind and spirit. Those with this totem usually have strong past life ties connected to the ancient secrets of longevity and can benefit from the study and practice of yoga. They also make good hypnotherapists.

All bees are productive. They remain focused in their activities and do not get distracted from their goal. Their legs are one of their most sensitive organs. A bee actually tastes through its legs and reminds us to slow down, smell the roses and taste the sweet nectar of life. Hypoglycemia and diabetes can sometimes occur in those who carry this medicine. Therefore daily exercise and good nutrition is advised.

The bumblebee carries the power of service. They are important pollinators of many plants. As a bee lands upon one flower, collecting its nectar, pollen also attaches itself to the leg fibers. It is then transferred to other flowers, creating a fertilization process. Their movement from one plant to another symbolizes the interconnectedness of all living things. The bumblebee is a messenger that holds the secrets of life and service.

If your energy is scattered the bumblebee can show you how to regain focus. If it stings you, it is saying, wake up and follow the rhythm of your own heartbeat. When a bumblebee buzzes you it is asking you to follow its lead. In so doing you will arrive at the destination most appropriate for your new life awakening.

The Butterfly

Throughout history the butterfly has been admired for their delicate beauty.  Most adult butterflies live just one or two weeks except for the monarch and angel wing which can live for six months or more. This is very symbolic.  It suggests that a person with this medicine will experience tremendous soul growth in their earlier years.  A difficult childhood is common.  Life lessons are revealed to the consciousness while in the womb of the mother - the cocoon stage -  and are completed when the caterpillar emerges into the butterfly and takes flight.  Butterflies are symbols of freedom and creativity. They hold the gift of transformation and soul evolution.

Butterflies have a pair of large compound oval eyes made up of thousands of individual lenses.  They can see a single image clearly and are able to perceive ultraviolet wavelengths of light.  This suggests clairvoyant abilities for those that hold this totem.

The antennae of the butterfly has small knobs on each end which is said to play a role in orientation.  When one antennae is missing the butterfly will fly in circles unable to find its way.  Those with this medicine need to stay consciously connected to spirit at all times in order to arrive at their desired destination.

The butterfly represents the process of transformation and shape shifting. When butterfly shows up, make note of the most important issues confronting you at the moment. What state of change are you at in regard to them?

To the Native Americans the butterfly is a symbol of joy. They remind us not to take life so seriously. They feed on flowers that they help pollinate, thereby further spreading beauty. They represent the element of air, quickly changing and ever moving, so gracefully.  Butterflies are messengers of the moment. They come in a variety of colors. To understand the message that the butterfly holds for you a study of its colors can be helpful.

Whenever an eco system is damaged, butterfly is usually the first to leave. They are especially sensitive to the harmony of earth. If butterfly comes to you in a hurt, trapped or ill way, you are being asked to stop disturbing the natural design of life and to flow with events in a more gentle, natural way.

...though within D, I just had to include my favorite:

The Dragonfly

No bird or insect has the flight maneuverability of the Dragonfly. They can twist, turn, change directions in an instant, hover, move up or down, and even fly backwards. The power that dragonfly brings to the tapestry of life is skill. They are experts at what they do and do it relentlessly.

Dragonflies spectacular colors sparkle with iridescence in the sunlight. These colors take time to develop reflecting the idea that with maturity our own true colors come forth.

As newly hatched nymphs, dragonflies live on the bottom of ponds and streams. As they mature and go through metamorphosis they move to the realm of air. Since water represents the emotional body and air represents the mental, those with this medicine will often find themselves trying to maintain balance between their thoughts and emotions.

Children with dragonfly medicine are often very emotional. They feel things deeply and respond to situations with great passion. As they reach adulthood, and through experience, they learn how to balance their emotions with greater mental clarity and control. This gives them the compassionate quality necessary for any type of work relating to healing or counseling.

Dragonfly has the ability to reflect and refract light and colors and is often associated with magic and mysticism. Just as light can bend and shift and be adapted in a variety of ways, so can the archetypal forces associated with dragonfly. It conveys the message that life is never what it appears to be.

By helping a person see through illusion dragonfly awakens ones true vision. Flying at speeds of up to 30 miles per hour they can spot movement forty feet away. Flying into and around things from different angles, they challenge rigid awareness and prompt the energy of change for anyone who holds this medicine.


For more Animal Totems, click here:

1 comment:

  1. too bad site is gone

    anyone know where i can contact sayahda the shaman?