There was a time when humanity recognized itself as part of nature, and nature as part of itself. People would often use images of nature to express this sense of unity. In the past shamans, priests and priestesses were the keepers of the sacred knowledge of life. They were capable of walking the threads that link the invisible and visible worlds. They helped people to remember that all trees are divine and that all animals speak to those who will listen. We can use animal imagery and other nature totem images as a way to learn about ourselves and the invisible world.
The animal world has much to teach us. Some animals are experts at survival and adaption. There are times when we can use those same skills. Some animals never get cancerous conditions. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to learn their secrets? Some are great nurturers and protectors. Some have great fertility and others have great gentleness. Some embody strength and courage, while others can teach playfulness. The animals world shows us the potentials we can unfold. But to learn them, we must first learn to speak to them.
Nature totems, especially animals, are symbols of specific kinds of energy, that we are manifesting and aligning with in our lives. The animals become a symbol of a specific force of the invisible, spiritual realm. The characteristics and activities of these totems will reveal much about our own natures, our innate power and abilities. By studying the totem and learning to merge with it, we are able to call upon its archetypal energy whenever we need it in our life.
Terrestrial land animals have always had a strong symbology associated with them. They represent the emotional side of life; often reflecting qualities that must be overcome, controlled or expressed in a different way. They are also symbols of power. Birds have often been considered the symbols of the soul. Their ability to fly reflects the ability within us to rise to new awareness, bridging the earth and the heavens. As totems, birds each have their own particular characteristics, but they can all be used to stimulate greater flights of hope, ideas and inspiration.
Aquatic life can also be a totem. Water is an ancient symbol of the astral plane and the creative element of life. Various fish and other forms of aquatic life symbolize guidance to specific expressions of intuition and creative imagination. They can reflect the feminine side of our essence. Insects are also a part of Nature, and they an be totems for us as well. From the bee of fertility in Egyptian myth, to the Mantis of the African bushmen to the many tales of the Spider Woman who created the universe in the Native American culture – they hold a dynamic place within the spiritual scheme of Nature.
So how do you begin the process of discovering who your animal totem is? Listed below are a few questions to help you recognize, who your totem animal might be.
1. Which animal or bird has always fascinated you? We are often drawn to that which resonates with us the most.
2. When you are out in nature, what animals do you most frequently see? The animals we encounter in our environment have significance for us.
3. Of all the animals in the world, which are you most interested in now? Our interests in animals can change and when they do it is because they have something to teach us, that is relevant, to where we are at now.
4. What animal most frightens you? It is believed that what we fear most, is often something we must learn to come to terms with. When we do that, it becomes a power.
5. 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. Children often dream about animals. Attention should be given to these animals, as they will often reflect specific animal spirit totems of the child.
Every animal is a gateway to the phenomenal world of the human spirit. What most people fail to realize is; That what they think of animals reflects the way they think of themselves. When we learn to speak with animals, to listen with animal ears and to see through animal eyes, we experience their power and the potential of our own human essence. They become our teachers, our friends and our companions. They show us the majesty of life itself. They restore our forgotten childlike wonder at the world and reawaken our lost belief in magic, dreams and infinite possibilities. What is your totem animal?