Animal Totems
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Power Animal Attributes

A Note on the Keywords Chosen: Some of these describe characteristics which the power animals can help to deepen; others describe characteristics which may be lessened. Thus a choice of Rabbit/Fear doesn't mean that identifying with and working with the energies of this animal will increase fear, rather, that it can help to relieve it.

Attributes of Power Animals

The attributes below are primarily taken from traditional Native American and Celtic teachings.

Bat - Rebirth. Shaman initiates undergo a ritual death in which they face their fears and are reborn without their old identities. Bat medicine teaches us to release fear and any pattern which no longer fits in with our pattern of growth.

Bear - Introspection. Bear medicine teaches us to go within, in order to digest our experiences and to discover that we contain within ourselves the answers to all of our questions.

Beaver - Builder. Beavers work in cooperation to build their homes and domes, and this medicine teaches us that we can create and fulfill most powerfully when all involved appreciate the talents of each and work together in harmony.

Buffalo - Prayer and Abundance. Buffalo teaches us that true prosperity comes when we are grateful for what we have and when we live in harmony and love with all other beings.

Butterfly - Transformation. Butterfly fearlessly leaves the safety of its cocoon to meet a new world in a new form, trusting its untried wings to allow it to fly. It is a powerful symbol for anyone who's contemplating or in the midst of a major change.

Cat - Wholeness. The cat, a creature which combines a high degree of sensuality with a deeply psychic and spiritual nature, teaches us that the physical and spiritual worlds are not separate, but one.

Coyote - Trickster. When we're being too serious about life Coyote may come along to teach us to laugh at ourselves. It is also the karmic enforcer, reminding us that whatever we do to others will be done to us.

Deer - Gentleness. The power of Deer medicine is that of unconditional love. Only love, both for ourselves and for others, can dissolve the barriers which prevent us from realizing wholeness.

Dolphin - Breath of Life. Dolphin teaches us that in attuning to the rhythms and patterns of nature we can learn true communication with the wisdom of All That Is and share this wisdom with others.

Dragon - Transformation Though Celtic tradition gives specific qualities for dragons of the elements of earth, fire, water, and air, in general terms, Dragon's power is that of shedding its skin and emerging as a new, transformed being.

Dragonfly - Illusion. When we've tricked ourselves into believing that the limitations of physical existence prevent us from changing and growing Dragonfly medicine teaches us to pierce our self-created illusions.

Eagle - Spirit. Eagle flies fearlessly, bridging heaven and earth, and teaches us to courageously face our fear of the unknown in order to fly as high as our heart's joy can take us.

Elephant - Committment. They are deeply committed to all creatures with whom they have relationships, are powerful when protecting others and gentle in nurturing them. Also, in the form of the Hindu deity, Ganesh, they are guides for overcoming obstacles.

Elk - Stamina. This medicine teaches us the best use of our energy, helping us to take on no more than we need to accomplish, and to endure on our chosen path until we've reached our goals.

Fox - Camouflage. Fox's greatest gift is not being able to outrun the hounds, but to know in advance when they'll be on the hunt. When we learn to detach from our surroundings and to observe with all of our senses, we, too, will be able to anticipate and create the future.

Frog - Healing. As water cleanses the arid earth and returns life to it so Frog's medicine can wash away any physical and mental energies which deprive us of harmony and peace, and helps to replenish our own ability to heal ourselves on all levels.

Horse - Power. Personal power is our servant, to be neither abused, squandered, nor kept to ourselves. When we share our power with others and teach them how to nurture their own power, our journey becomes faster and more joyful. In Celtic tradition the horse-goddess
governs the life cycle of birth, death, the afterlife, and rebirth; thus, to work with Horse medicine enables us to feel comfortable with all aspects of this cycle.

Hummingbird - Joy. Hummingbird darts lightly through the world, spreading its message of joy and beauty, and teaching us to appreciate the wonder and magic of everyday existence.

Lizard - Dreaming. In our dreams we imagine different futures and choose which we will materialize. Lizard teaches us the importance of respecting and remembering our dreams.

Moose - Self-Esteem. Moose represents expressing the joy of accomplishment, not to boast or seek recognition, but in a spirit of sharing, born of the understanding that joy is contagious.

Mouse- Scrutiny. Mouse teaches us to pay attention to the little details which might get overlooked in our mad dash to see the big picture, and reminds us not to overlook the obvious.

Mountain Lion - Leadership. To be true to oneself, allowing neither fear of responsibility nor the jealousy and insecurities of others to divert one from one's path, is the mark of a genuine leader.

Otter - Woman Medicine. Otter is receptive, playful, and free of jealousy. As both women and men begin to express the highest qualities of this medicine the world can become a joyful place where all can play without fear of harm or loss.

Owl - Deception. Owl, the night hunter, has the ability to see what others may miss. The gift of this medicine is to be undeceived by external appearances and to discover the truth beneath them.

Seal - The Inner Voice The seal reminds us of our connection to our deep inner rhythms, feelings, and knowing, as represented by the sea. When we fear drowning in these depths, Seal reminds us how to swim.

Rabbit - Fear The more we focus on our fears the more we attract them to us. Rabbit medicine teaches us to attract to us abundance, love, health, and a warm, dry burrow.

Skunk - Self-respect. When we fully accept who we are and learn to express the essence of ourselves, without ego, we attract those who share our path and repel those who don't. Skunk medicine is the original "Walk your talk."

Snake - Transmutation. As Snake sheds its skin so we can shed our illusions and limitations in order to fully use our vitality and desires to achieve wholeness.

Spider - Weaver. As Spider weaves her web so we weave our realities. This medicine teaches to remember that we are the creators of our lives.that we are the creators of our lives.

Squirrel - Gathering. Squirrel, in preparing for winter, gathers only what it needs. This medicine teaches us to discard not only unnecessary physical objects but those negative beliefs which limit our trust in love and abundance.

Swan - Grace. Swan teaches us to trust the grace of our being as it operates in both the physical and spiritual planes, and urges us to rejoice in the gifts of our physical bodies and our intuitive minds.

Turtle - Mother Earth. By following the example of Turtle we can learn to ground ourselves in the nurturing and protective energy of the earth and to flow with its energies at a pace which assures completion of our tasks.

Whale - Record Keeper. Through the rhythm and patterns of sound Whale teaches us to hear our inner voices, to be in touch with our personal truths, and thus to know the wisdom and feel the heartbeat of the universe.

Wolf - Teacher. Though the moon rises every night Wolf always finds something new to learn from it. We, too, in exploring the hidden paths of consciousness, may discover new truths to share with the rest of our clan, the human race.

Contact Your Animal Totems

One way to make the world of spirit part of our normal reality is to create and deepen our connection to the animals. Many cultures believe that animals can bring us messages from the spiritual plane and can guide us during our explorations in that dimension, and simply to open ourselves to the energies of a different kind of being expands the dimensions of consciousness.

As we open ourselves to a deepened awareness of animals we become more able to appreciate how the physical and spiritual worlds are one. We, like the animals, are a spiritual being in a physical body.

Working with animal energies, either directly, or through imagery and symbolism, also serves to bring us in touch with our own animal natures - an aspect of ourselves which is so often repressed. When we discover the animals which most strongly call to us we discover important elements of ourselves.

Totem meditation

It is often helpful for people to make a tape recording of the meditations so they can focus on the images without having to remember what comes next.

--------Begin by getting into a comfortable position, incense burning, or candles if it helps you relax.

--------Use your favorite relaxation method, followed by the Mystic Marriage exercise if you know it. Once your mind is open and your body is relaxed, it is time to begin the following meditation.

--------With your eyes closed, imagine that you are in the middle of a large field of flowers, surrounded by dark green woods, all around you in a circle. You can be sitting, standing or lying down, however you are most comfortable. Every color of the rainbow surrounds you. A gentle breeze moved the flowers back and forth, like a dance all around you. It is a sunny day, the sky is clear and a beautiful blue, with large fluffy white clouds above. Just take a moment and enjoy the beauty and peacefulness of nature. Now imagine you are closing your eyes, in the field, surrounded by beautiful colors. Listen to the sound of the wind as it rustles through the flowers. Let the sound of the wind soothe you as you just relax and listen. Without opening your eyes, say to yourself, "I wish to meet my power animal". Repeat this three times, while thinking open, loving and inviting thoughts to the animal spirit you are about to meet. Keeping your eyes closed, listen. Just listen. Open your mind and allow yourself to hear any sounds other than the wind. Your animal totem is drawing nearer to you. It heard your request and it is coming to meet you. You may hear the sounds of it's approach. But you know it is a helpful and loving spirit, so you remain calm and peaceful. You may not hear any other sounds besides the wind, but rest assured the spirit is close by. Do you feel a presence? Hear a sound? Is there a new smell that wasn't there before? Let it come, relax, don't force it. Don't open your eyes until you can sense the presence of your animal totem. Once you feel the sensations that let you know you are no longer alone, imagine you slowly open your eyes. Look around the field, look up into the sky. Your totem is here, although they may not be right next to you. They could be at the edge of the woods, or high in the sky. Look around. If you see no animal, no moving beings, look around you on the ground. Is there something here that wasn't here before? If there is, this is your totem. Take a moment and make a mental welcome and thank you for coming to your totem. Don't try to do any path working or spiritual quest, just greet each other at this time. Once you have finished, imagine you close your eyes again and allow yourself to imagine you are back in your meditation room.