|DO YOU KNOW YOUR
Begin the process of discovering your animal totems by examining the animals
you have been most interested in & the times of your life that interest was
piqued. Use the following questions to help determine which animals are
probably totems to you in your life.
1. Which animal or bird has always fascinated you? (We are drawn to
that which most resonates with us. Those animals which fascinate us have
something to teach us.)
2. When you visit the zoo, which animal do you wish to visit the most
or first? (esp. children)
3. What animal(s) do you see most frequently when you are out in
nature? Have you had encounters with animals in the wild? (The animals we
encounter, in their city environments or in the wild, have significance for
us. We can learn from them, even if only about survival within that
4. Of all the animals in the world, which are you most interested in
now? (Our interests in animals change. Yes, we usually have one or two that
are lifetime, power animals, but others become prominent when there is
something importance or specific to teach us.)
5.What animal most frightens you? (That which we fear the most is
often something we must learn to come to terms with. When we do that, it
then becomes a power. Some shamans believe that fears will take the shape of
animals, and only when we confront them without fear do their
powers/medicine work for us instead of against us. Such an animal become a
6. Have you ever been bitten or attacked by an animal? (Historically,
if a shaman survived an attack, it was believed that the animal was the
shaman's spirit totem and the attack was the totem's way of testing the
shaman's ability to handle the power.)
7. Do you have dreams with animals in them or are there animal dreams
you have never forgotten? (This is especially important if the dreams are
recurring or if at least the animal image in the dream is a recurring one.
Children often dream of animals, & attention should be given to these
animals. They will often reflect specific spirit totems of the child.
The lion is the largest African carnivore. It is a sandy to tawny colored
cat with white under parts on which females often retain rosettes and spots
characteristic of younger animals. Of all the cats, sexual dimorphism is
most striking in the lion. Adult males are not only larger than females,
they have a mane of long hair on the side of the face and top of the head,
extending onto the shoulders. The mane is usually tawny, but in some
individuals it may be almost black, or more rarely reddish or creamy. Males
usually weigh 175–190 kg and females about 120 kg. The lion has a wide
habitat tolerance and is absent only from extensive desert regions and
tropical rain forest. Open woodlands and thick scrub provide the best
habitat. Lions work together in prides to feed the group, as well as protect
it. Our medicine is for us to work together for the good of all. It's
ok to think about ourselves sometimes, but we do need to think of others
Keynote: reclaiming one's true power. Cycle of power: dark o f the moon, new
moon, winter. The panther is a very powerful and ancient totem. The name
panther is more generally associated with a particular species of leopard or
jaguar, although in Florida area, the cougar is also referred to as panther.
As with most of the large cats, the panther is a symbol of ferocity and
valor. Like the tiger and the lion, it embodies aggressiveness and power,
but without the solar significance. In the case of the black panther, there
is definitely a lunar significance. As with any totem, a study of the
individual characteristics can provided much insight into the energies being
awakened within those who align with this animal. Panthers of the leopard
family are found in Africa, Asia Minor, China and India. Those we associate
with the jaguar family are found in the southwest United States (rarely
anymore), throughout Mexico, Central America, and parts of South America.
Mediate upon this totem, when it reveals itself to you, will help you
determine whether it is part of the leopard or jaguar family.
The panther, in general, is smaller but more fierce than lions or tigers.
They have over 500 voluntary muscles that they can use at will. This
reflects a lot about an individual who has such animals as a totem. It
reflects an ability to do a variety of tasks as he or she wills. It is
simply a matter of deciding and putting to use those particular "muscles"-be
they physical, mental, psychic or spiritual. As a whole panthers are loners
although they do associated with others, they are most comfortable by
themselves or within their own marked territories. They are drawn to those
individuals who are likewise often solitary. The panther is an enchanting
combination of beauty and utility. They have a wonderful gracefulness, with
an ability to move with ease or freeze entirely. They are quiet when they
are stalking, hunting or pursuing. Those who have a panther as a totem will
find their greatest power in silence as goals are pursued. Revealing too
much or speaking too much about pursuits can counteract some of the
Panthers are excellent sprinters, but they are not great long distance
runners. From a health perspective, those with panther totem must learn to
pace their work, allowing time for rest and to play. They must not push too
far or too hard on any one task. If they do, they are more susceptible to
imbalances. In times of trouble-in any environment-those with panther totems
are often the first and the fastest to respond and especially in the work
environment they respond effectively to deadlines and to pressures. After
mating, the panthers only stay together for a short time. The female handles
the rearing of the young, disliking intrusions from the outside. This is
often similar to women who have panthers as totem guides. They do not like
others-even mates-interfering with how they feel the young should be raised.
The female panther almost always raises the cubs alone and women with
panther totems often find themselves doing likewise-whether out of divorce
or simply through asserting dominance in that area of the couple's life. All
cats have binocular vision. Each eye can work singly, providing greater
depth of vision, magnifying images, and facilitating judgment of distances.
Thus anyone who aligns with the panther will begin to develop greater depth
of vision-of their life, of events or other people. This is more than just
psychic sight. It is inner knowing.
Often people enter the metaphysical field taking up exercises and mediation
to have their inner lights "clicked on". Individuals with panthers as totems
are usually individuals who came into the world with the lights already on.
Thus they should not be discouraged when they do not experience what others
describe when their lights turned on. They should trust their thoughts and
their inner visions (imaginings) for there is probably a strong foundation
in reality. To those with whom the panther links comes the ability to
clairaudience, to hear the communications of other dimensions and other life
forms. The panther has very strong hearing. It can move its ears to locate
the direction of sounds.
from Ted Andrews' Animal Speak
According to English witchcraft handbooks of the early
seventeenth century (familiars do not appear in Continental witchcraft
trials and literature), the name given to spirits attendant upon witches or
Usually familiars are visible to ordinary sight, as, for example, in the
form of dogs or cats, but in some cases it was claimed that witches were
followed by a swarm of invisible familiars. The word is from the Latin
familiares, but alternative Roman names were magistelli and martinelli,
while the Greeks called them paredrii.
It was held that the familiar, usually in the form of a small domestic
animal, was given to the witch by the Devil as companion, helper and
adviser, which could be used to perform malicious errands, including murder,
and other feats of black magic.
Confronting Familiar Spirits.
"Spinner of webs, an archtrickster, and a silent and murderous trapper,
the spider was tiny enought to hide in the hood of a witch's cloak as a
familiar and whisper instruction in her ear" (Lehane 106). Margaret Wyard,
an accused witch of Bury St. Edmonds in Suffolk, England, confessed to
having a spider among her familiars
(Guiley 1989 44).
Animal Magic: Spiders
In folk magic a spider eaten wvery morning will provide you with great
strength and power. The witches according to lore could raise storms at sea
by catching a spider in pots. They are also used as ingredients in folk
remedies. They are used as amulets.
Spiders as Familiars
Spinning & Weaving Goddess
Navajo Dine - Goddess of Weaving
In the beginning there were only two: Tawa, the Sun God, and Spider
Woman (Kokyanwuhti), the Earth Goddess. All the mysteries and the powers in
the Above belonged to Tawa, while Spider Woman controlled the magic of the
The Children and the Hummingbird
An excerpt from a Spiderwoman story.
Grandmother Spider Woman
A quilt collage based on the legends of Spider woman. The quilt was pieced
from hand-woven fabrics. The people climbing up one of the borders,
represent the emergence of all the clans climbing towards the sun. The large
spider on the web represents a story I read about Spider stealing the light.
Spiders are very delicate creatures that play an important role in
the myths and lore of many peoples as the teacher of balance between the
past and future, the physical and spiritual. To the Native Americans, Spider
is Grandmother, the link to the past and future. In India, its associated
with Maya, the weaver of illusions. With its gentle strength, Spider spins
together the threads of life with intricate webs. Spider knows the past
affects the future and vise versa. It calls us to make use of our creativity
and weave our dreams into our destiny. If you want to make a deeper
connection with your Animal Totem, fill your environment with images of the
animal to let the animal know it is welcome in your space.
I think this is great information on this page I plan to go back to the web
site during my healing time
Excerpts from Animal Speak
by Ted Andrews.
The spider has shown up in myth and lore throughout the world. Usually
its symbolism has been very similar wherever it is used. In India it was
associated with Maya, the weaver of illusion. It has had connections to the
Fates in Greek mythology and the Norns in Scandinavian lore - women who
would weave, measure, and cut the threads of life. To the Native Americans,
spider is grandmother, the link to the past and the future.
Spider teaches you to maintain a balance - between past and future, physical
and spiritual, male and female. Spider teaches you that everything you now
do is weaving what you will encounter in the future. In the tarot deck is a
card - The Wheel of Fortune. This is a card that has to do with rhythms -
the rise and fall, the flow and flux. It is linked to the energies of honor
and fame, and the sensitivities necessary to place ourselves within the
rhythm of Nature. Meditation upon this card would be beneficial for anyone
with the spider as a totem.
The spider awakens creative sensibilities. It weaves a web of intricate and
subtle fabric, as if to remind us that the past always subtly influences the
present and future. Often the webs will take a spiral shape, the traditional
form of creativity and development. The spider found within the web reminds
us that we are the center of our own world. The ancient mystery schools had
one precept inscribed above their portals: "Know Thyself and Thou Shalt Know
The Universe!" Spider reminds us that the world is woven around us. We are
the keepers and the writers of our own destiny, weaving it like a web by our
thoughts, feelings and actions.
The spider, because of its characteristics, has come to be associated by
mystics and in mythology in three predominant expressions of magic. The
first is magic and energy of creation. It is a symbol of creative power,
reflected in its ability to spin a silken web. It is also associated with
assertiveness of that creative force, of keeping the feminine energies of
creation alive and strong. This has ties to the characteristics of some
spiders, i.e. the female black widow, which will kill and eat the male after
mating has exhausted it.
The third predominant magic of the spider is associated with its spiral
energy, the links with the past and the future. The spiral of the web,
converging at a central point, is something to be meditated upon by those
with this totem. Are you moving toward a central goal or are you scattered
and going in multiple directions? Is everything staying focused? Are you
becoming too involved and/or self-absorbed? Are you focusing on others'
accomplishments and not on your own? Are you developing resentment because
of it - for yourself or them?
Spider is the guardian of the ancient languages and alphabets. Every society
has had myths about how the different languages and alphabets were formed.
The Chinese alphabet is attributed to Ts'ang Chien, the god with the dragon
face and four eyes. He formed it from the patterns of the stars, the marks
on the back of the turtle and the footprints of birds in the sand. The Norse
god Odin created the Runic alphabet after hanging upon the great tree of
life for nine days and nights. After this time, the twigs fell off and
spelled our certain formulas and words.
To many, there was an alphabet even more primordial. It was formed by the
geometric patterns found within spider's web. To many this was the first
true alphabet. This is why spider is considered the teacher of language and
the magic of writing. Those who weave magic with the written word probably
have a spider totem.
If spider has come into your life, ask yourself some important
questions. Are you not weaving your dreams and imaginings into reality? Are
you not using your creative opportunities? Are you feeling closed in or tuck
as if in a web? Do you need to pay attention to your balance and where you
are walking in life? Are others out of balance around you? Do you need to
write? Are you inspired to write or draw and not following through? Remember
that spider is the keeper of knowledge of the primordial alphabet. Spider
can teach how to use the written language with power and creativity so that
your words weave a web around those who would read them.
|Miscellaneous Animal Totems:
The key words for Praying Mantis are "insight and protection through
stillness". While we need to have fun and experience joy this weekend, we
also need to take personal time. I heard an ad today that said 'even a few
minutes walking barefoot in the grass is a few minutes for you.' We need to
take that few minutes, for our sanity, our health, and our connection to the
Earth. ~Teresa Tio
The key words for Chameleon are "news of changing environment". Today's
medicine is encouraging us to look around for new opportunities outside of
our usual circle. It's ok for us to want change, and perhaps to go looking
for it too.
The key words for Otter are "creativity and skill". Perhaps while we are
meditating today, we can refresh our creative energy. We can certainly use a
boost, and using our creative skills can help!
Hummingbirds in Native American Tradition by Peter Guanikeyu Torres,
President and Council Chief of the Taino Indigenous Nation of the Caribbean
The Taino Native American people were the first people to meet Columbus
in 1492. The Hummingbird is the symbol of the spreader of life on the Earth.
It also symbolizes the rebirth of the Taino Indian Nation of the Caribbean
and Florida. We also call our Warriors, Colibri Warriors (Hummingbird
Warriors), as the Hummingbird is very peaceful but, it protects it own
homeland with the heart of a Eagle. Our history tells us the small
Hummingbirds were at one time small flies that Agueybaba the Sun
Father transformed one day into little birds.
The key words for Toad are "inner strength and resources". When we have
changes happening that are out of our control is when we need to utilize the
gifts we have. Inner strength as well as inner resources are tools we often
ignore or forget. It is perfectly acceptable to use them, especially when we
are in need.
The key words for Bat are "new truths and perceptions". Bats hang upside
down in caves, or at least a lot of them do, and this allows them to see
things differently than when they are upright. Perhaps we need to take a
page out of "Dead Poets Society" (the movie) and look at things from a new
The key words for Ant are "searching and working for the greater good".
Perhaps the new creative outlet we have been looking for involves more than
just us. Thinking about others, and working to help others can be very
stimulating and interesting. At least, it's not boring.
The key words for Horse are "movement and balance". Riding a horse requires
balance or else we'd just fall off. (At least I would...) I have seen people
riding horses as though they are one with the horse. There is a certain
harmony between horse and rider which establishes balance on mental, and
perhaps spiritual levels, as well as the physical. This is something we need
to strive for in our lives, and I do mean balance with ourselves, and our
partners. Another meaning comes from the idea of the “power of partnership”.
To a Native, the horse could carry bundles far heavier than the man so the
two had to work together to carry the heaviest loads.
The key words for Fox are "blessings and magic afoot". Planting and
nurturing the seeds of our future is a good idea this weekend. Not only
that, but getting out and actually being active is good for us too. There is
great creative energy abounding, and we are all blessed with it! Ever heard
the words “Cleaver as a fox”? Quick wits is also another strength of those
who carry Fox as a totem. Need a quick solution? Just ask the Fox.
Owls: from an Aboriginal Perspective (I am a Koori in case you
hadn't realized!! Koori= Aboriginie) I don't really know much about the
symbolisms of animals from other countries or their meanings for animals,
but from my perspective. We have more types but there are two different
types of Owls on which I know about. There is the Mopoke or Boobook (Depends
on where you are from) which is a very shy but common bird here.....he has a
very mournful cry, very forlorn. We have a saying "Don't be a Mopoke" which
really just means cheer up. In the Dreaming he was a bad tempered selfish
man who refused to share his ample possessions with the Great Spirit who was
walking in disguise as a man. As the fates would have it, his Karma caught
up with him and he was turned into an Owl. He has a sad cry because he will
never forget his crimes. It was thought that his cry presages death. But
this is symbolism, so it really means that the death is something in your
life that has outlived it's usefulness. That old energies will be replaced
by new ones. So it's really just a sign that a new phase in your life is
Mopoke is a reminder to lighten up and not put too much emphasis on the
trivial and not to dwell on the negative. That being mournful will achieve
nothing but attracting this same doldrum attitude from others. A little
reminder that what you put out, so you will receive. So be mindful of your
attitude when around others, it will rub off!
Another dreaming is about the Grey Owl, Eerin. He symbolizes the power of
the night, mystery and wisdom. Owls are quite often women's totems, (The
closest word I can come to to describe what our "Kobongs" are is totem but
that's not really an accurate portrayal.) They are a symbol of female
energy. (Even though in our Dreaming Eerin is a man.) He was a very good
watchman. He lived to an old age and was a highly valued member of the
tribe. When he died the elders performed a sacred rite of cutting themselves
and letting their blood drip over his body in a giving of their life source
as a sign of esteem. They a great corroboree in his honour. An enemy tribe
taking advantage of the distraction crept up on them in
ambush when out of the smoke the tribe heard Eerins warning call and a Grey
Owl flying over head.
So Owl can signify issues of protection or imply a threat. Owl can call for
the use of watchfulness and silence. This is where there symbolism of wisdom
comes from...(Those who listen most and speak less, know more). Owl also
symbolizes special talents. Can be a sign of acceptance and recognition of
of ones inner most feelings, dreams, and hard work. You say you saw the Owl,
there is significance there also. If it was a new moon, he is telling you to
expect the emergence of a new phase in your life. During a full moon he
symbolizes the fruition or rewards of practicing your talents, of the hard
work you have put in to whatever of your life you have been working on. In
the dark of the moon, he asking that you take particular notice of your
dreams and their abilities to convey sub-conscious issues influencing your
Come to us: Eagle, Wolf, Bear and Cougar.
Dance we now The Power dances.
Eagle soaring above the peaks,
Share with us freedom, majesty and fighting skills.
Teach us lessons we need to learn.
Dance with us The Power dances.
Wolf, cunning tracker, by day or night. Share with us endurance, courage and
Teach us lessons we need to learn. Dance with us The Power dances.
Bear, trampling along earthen paths, Share with us Mighty strength and sense
Teach us lessons we need to learn. Dance with us The Power dances.
Cougar, lonely tracker of terrains, Share with us Agility,
stamina and endless curiosity. Teach us lessons we need to learn. Dance with
us The Power dances.
Round and round.
Dance we now
The Power dances.
You and I.
With me, in me
I am you, you are me.
Together as one,
Yet separate, too.
Dance we now
The Power dances.
All Spirit Beings,
To dance the dances
With your human kin.
Dance the Cycles
Of Life and Death,
Hope and Fear,
Good and Evil.
Dance the Cycles,
Now and Again.
Of Time and Space
All is Once,
There is none.
Dance the dances
Again and again. .......from R.M.P.J. 8/86
Notes: This article is excerpted from the Rocky Mountain Pagan Journal. Each
issue of the Rocky Mountain Pagan Journal is published by High Plains Arts
and Sciences; P.O. Box 620604, Littleton Co.,
80123, a Colorado Non-Profit Corporation, under a Public Domain Copyright,
which entitles any person or group of persons to reproduce, in any form
whatsoever, any material contained therein without restriction, so long as
articles are not condensed or abbreviated in any fashion, and credit is
given the original author.!
Raccoon is the disguised one. She
reminds us that sometimes we need to hold a little of ourselves in reserve.
Not all that we are or have to share of ourselves is appropriate for
everyone. Some must be kept in private. There are those who would take what
we have to share and abuse us for it later.
Raccoon also reminds us to explore, examine and learn. There is so much out
there that it cannot all be learned in one session. Take your time, keep
your eyes open and explore all that the Goddess puts in front of you. She is
doing this for your edification.
And thirdly, Raccoon reminds us to play, and have a good time. This whole
world is virtually a theme park and there is so much to experience and be
entertained by. This brings to mind a question that was given to me to
ponder years ago by one of my teachers: "What if life were a vacation and
when we die, we have to go back to work?" firstname.lastname@example.org