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ANIMAL AND BIRD TOTEMS

But ask now the beasts, and they shall teach thee;
and the fowls of the air, and they shall tell thee.
Or speak to the earth, and it shall teach thee;
and the fishes of the sea shall declare unto thee.
Job 12: 7-8

Native and tribal peoples believe that all living things have lessons to teach us. By observing the characteristics and behaviors of our creature and feathered relatives, we can become aware of these lessons. Many native peoples carry or wear carvings of animals or birds (fetishes) as a reminder of the wisdom, experience, understanding and medicine power of that animal or bird. These likenesses honor these teachers, as well as inspire us toward a clearer understanding of our own strengths and remind us of where we may need to concentrate more effort in our own lives.

The following is a list of animals and birds and a very brief explanation of the medicine power associated with them. Much of this information came from Animal Speak by Ted Andrews. I recommend reading this book to get more indepth information on totems.

Mitakuye Oyasin. Loretta

Ant: patience, stamina, community-mindedness
Antelope: knowledgeable action, speed, rapid growth, grace
Armadillo: knowledge of boundaries, objectivity
Badger: aggressiveness, persistence, centeredness
Bat: releasing old habits, new growth, rebirth
Bear: strength, introspection, self-knowledge
Beaver: balance, alterations, building, shaping
Bee: service, gathering, community
Bird: unity, freedom, community
Buffalo: abundance, prayer, healing, good fortune
Butterfly: transformation, courage to change, balance, grace
Caribou: travel, mobility
Cat: grace, independence, sensuality, psychic vision
Cougar/Mt.Lion: balanced leadership, cunning, wit
Coyote: humor, trickiness, adaptability, reversal of fortune
Crow: council, intuitive knowledge of universal law, assertiveness
Deer: gentleness, sensitivity, alertness, peace
Dog: loyalty, courage, unconditional love
Dolphin: harmony, love, wisdom, connection with self
Dragonfly: refinement of skills, illusion, need for change, relentlessness
Duck:female-mothering energy, male-coping with stress
Elephant: memory, learning abilitly, health, good luck
Elk: stamina, friendship, pride, power, majesty
Falcon accuracy, rapid progress, restraint
Fox: cleverness, adaptability, cunning, subtlety, discretion
Frog: emotional healing, cleansing, peace
Goat :tenacity, diligence
Goose: safe return, love of home
Gopher: gathering, preparation for the future
Grouse: completion, sacred spiral dance, fulfillment
Hawk: messenger, truth seeker, clear vision, heightened awareness
Hedgehog: self-preservation
Horse: inner power, freedom, safe movement
Hummingbird: beauty, wonder,joy, agility
Lion: association with the sun, courage, nobleness, prosperity
Lizard: caution, regeneration, renewal, growth
Loon: communication, serenity
Lynx: subtlety, silence, secretiveness, elusiveness
Manatee: serenity, gentleness, trust
Moose: self-esteem, confidence, strength, spontaneity, unpredictability
Mouse: scrutiny, caution, success, awareness of danger, illusion, charm
Opossum: peaceful alternatives, deception
Otter: playfulness, efficiency, female energy, healing power of laughter
Owl: wisdom, insight, psychic vision
Pidgeon: romantic love, loyalty, peace, innocence
Porcupine: self-protection, memory, security, innocence, humility
Quail: protectiveness, group harmony
Rabbit: conquering fear, safety, gentleness with self
Raccoon:curiosity, skillful investigation, playful energy
Raven: prophecy, clairvoyant vision, magic, mystery, exploring unknown
Salmon: determination, persistence
Sandpiper: quickness, foraging, scavenging
Seagull: observation, swift action, opportunity,carefree attitude, versatility
Seal: contentment
Skunk: reputation, self-preservation, respect
Snake: transmutation, fertility, regeneration, life force,sexual potency
Spider: creativity, balance, interconnectedness, industry
Squirrel: planning ahead, playfulness, trust
Swan:grace, faithfulness, committment
Tiger: caution, appropriate timing, stealth
Turkey: setting limits, appreciation, renewal
Turtle: protection,grounding,longevity,healing,symbol of the bounty of Mother Earth
Vulture: resolution of problems
Weasel: stealth, seeing beneath the surface, supernatural power
Whale: intelligence, self-expression, intuition, creativity
Woodpecker: sacred heartbeat, rain caller, growth, fertility, cleansing
Wolf: eliminating weakness, committment, family loyalty, teaching skill
Zebra:power, alertness, community

BIRDS:

Blackbird: understanding of the energies of Mother Nature
Bluebird: modesty, unassuming, confidence and happiness
Blue Jay: proper use of power
Canary:power of song and voice. heightened sensitivity
Cardinal: renewed vitality through recognizing our importance
Catbird: language and communication
Chickadee: cheerful expression of truth
Chicken: fertility and sacrifice
Cock: sexuality, watchfulness and resurrection, optimism
Cowbird: parent and child relationships, resolving old issues
Crane: longevity and creation through focus, exression of feminine energies
Crow: magic, creation, spiritual strength
Cuckoo: heralding new fate, intuitive ability
Dove: feminine energies of peace, maternity, prophecy and promise of future
Ducks: emotional comfort and protection
Eagle: spiritual enlightenment, clarity of vision, transcendence, messengers, healing and creation
Finch: energy of variety and multiplicity, increased potentials
Flicker: rapid growth and trust, increased healing love, new sensitivity of heart
Goldfinch: awakening to the nature spirits- fairies, elves and devas
Goose: call of the quest, travels to legendary places, search new dimensions
Grackle: overcoming excess, dealing with emotions
Grosbeak: Healing the family heart
Hawk: Awakening visionary power, guardianship, awareness, truth
Heron: Aggressive self-determination, self-reliance
Hummingbird: Tireless joy, accomplishing the impossible, beauty, agility
Kestrel: Mental speed, agility, grace, control
Kingfisher: New warmth, sunshine, prosperity, and love
Loon: Lucid dreaming and re-awakening of old hopes, wishes and dreams
Magpie: The proper use of intelligence, familiars, and occult knowledge
Martin: Good luck and community peace, peaceful living energies
Meadowlark: Cheerful journey inward, discovery of intuition, innate abilities
Mockingbird: Finding your Sacred Song (soul purpose) and recognition of your innate abilities
Nuthatch: Grounding of faith and higher wisdom, teaches true path to realization is learning to manifest the spiritual within the physical
Oriole: The weaving of new sunshine, can open doors to positive relationship with all members of nature realm
Ostrich: Becoming grounded
Owl: The mystery of magic, omens, silent wisdom, and vision in the night; symbol of the feminine, the moon and the night
Parrott: Sunshine and color healing; teaches power of light and colors
Peacock: Resurrection and wise vision (watchfulness)
Pelican: Renewed buoyancy and unselfishness; teaches how not to be overcome by emotion
Penguin: Lucid dreaming and astral projection
Pheasant: Family fertility and sexuality
Pigeon: Return to the love and security of home; very gentle and loving energy
Quail: Group nourishment and protection
Raven: Magic, shapeshifting and creation
Road Runner: Mental speed and agility
Robin: Spread of New Growth in a variety of areas of life
Sparrow: Awakening and triumph of common nobility; shows how to survive
Starling: Group behavior and etiquette; clear communication
Stork: Birth and unspoken communication
Swallow: Protection and warmth for the home and proper perspective
Swans: Awakening the true beauty and power of the self
Swift: Speed and agility in the great quest; responding to opportunity
Swisher: Awakening to the Fairy realm
Turkey: Sharing blessings and harvest
Vulture: Purification - death and rebirth - new vision
Waxwing: Gentleness and courtesy
Woodpecker: The power of rhythm and determination; stimulates new rhythms
Wren: Resourcefulness and boldness

Want to connect more fully with your totem?
The SunMoon Totem Essences were created with
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Understanding animal medicine...

Here is a story I received in my email box, the source of which is unknown, that might help you to understand how animal medicine works:

Another way of developing strong relationships with nature is to show concern and respect for those who die. How do we do this you ask? My wife led me to see this aspect, She has carried a shovel in her car and when she notices a dead animal on the road she stops and moves it with her shovel to the edge of the road she finds a spot that feels right and offering up cornmeal or tobacco she prays for the creature. I do this now as well.

This leads to a story that still brings tears to my eyes. It happened about two years ago at a time that my wife and myself were having some problems, each of us holding on to some issues and refusing to let them go. It was affecting the family and the split caused by these issues was deepening.

I was driving back from town and a small bird flew from the roadside into the path of my truck. I stopped immediately and thought it peculiar because it had seemed to throw itself in my path. I picked up the little bird, it was a grosbeak, and I took it home to do ceremony for it, but all the way home about 2-3 miles I couldn't get out of my head that it had thrown itself in front of me. I went to the books on animal totems when I got home to look up grosbeak and discover the medicine of grosbeak. There it was and I began to cry, the medicine of grosbeak was, " healing the family heart," I knew then this bird had given his life to heal our family heart and as I stood there crying my wife came over and I told her the story and she began to cry also, we called our daughter in and with arms around each other we all cried as we released the issues, the issues flowing away on our tears, the family heart was healed, the grosbeak had given us its medicine and had given its life in so doing.

Mitakuye Oyasin.

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