We have 7 animal totems: one in front of us, one behind us, on each side, above, below and within. Once you’ve determined that an animal is a totem, you look in your inner vision or feeling to see where it goes.
For those who come from a culture where clans still exist, I’m talking about North American First Nations whose clan system is based on animals, for example I’m from the bear clan, usually this animal is the inner totem.
The totem sometimes imposes itself. We often see it, in books, in nature if we live there, in our dreams. If an animal persists and appears often, it’s a sign. One thing that confirms that it’s a sign is that there’s a particular emotion that comes over us when we see it. For example, every time I’ve seen bears in the wild, I’ve had a rush of affection, a joy of love, I really love these magnificent beings and I always want to get closer to them. I once met a mother bear with her two cubs. There was no fear, just sweet joy and the feeling of a special moment. These feelings are typical of a totem. Here, the key word is vigilance, observation, being attentive so as to notice which animals are coming towards us and beckoning us. If the emotion is always there, then there’s a good chance that this animal is one of your totems.
Another way to find them is to take a shamanic journey to meet them. The album Earth Drums is a great help. For the technique, you need to be taught and accompanied. During the shamanic journey, you call the totem and observe the animal that comes. If it comes regularly and there’s always a significant emotion when it appears, then it’s surely a totem animal. In any case, if it is, you’ll feel it inside you. The emotion that accompanies a totem animal is not misleading.
It sometimes happens that an animal, without being our totem, visits us a few times because it has information to pass on to us. Not to be confused with the totem animal, for the simple reason that the totem animal will always be available to help you and this animal will not. If you call your totem, you’ll always get an answer, a subtle but perceptible energy. In the case of an animal that comes only a few times to give specific information, the same constancy and fidelity will not be present. How can you tell them apart? With emotion and regularity, the totem animal manifests itself, unlike the other whose manifestation (in dreams or otherwise) will be sporadic.
The totem animal doesn’t change, it’s stable all your life. In a way, it’s part of you.
Totems cannot be determined by date of birth.
One of the reasons why totems are so important today is that they help us reconnect with nature and our inner selves. Notice how much children love animals. Finally, something real in their lives! Ever since they were born, they’ve been given toys, objects that have no reality, no real meaning that could help them understand life, but animals, oh my, at last something real! And it’s the same with us, living so far from nature, in a conditioned and programmed environment, with the stress and pollution of modern life, it’s a real relief to be able to get in touch with aspects of our lives that are natural and part of us. Reading about animals also helps us to understand nature – it’s like a window on the natural world that is so cruelly lacking in modern life.
When these articles on totems were first published, there was a comment about the spider dreams one person had. This was followed by a response from another reader who is a fine example of how to work with totems. Her comments can illustrate how a person can research with the elements at their disposal to understand what the totem wants to communicate to them and whether indeed this animal is a totem. I therefore quote the comment and her response in full.
I often dream about spiders, is that my totem insect?
What characterizes a spider? Research it. It has 6 or 8 eyes, I think, so something to do with vision… Rather solitary too… 8 legs, incredible dexterity… the ability to make silk for its web in its belly… What does it mean to you? What can you learn about yourself or your life from these dreams? Did you feel caught up in her webs, or is she teaching you how to weave the web of your life, the power of creation, or perhaps she’s teaching you how we’re all connected, because what we do to one part of the web, we do to the whole web… Take a look at the symbolism of the dream catcher, and also of the mandala; the canvas and the mandala are necessarily connected… Jung said that the mandala represents the Self… Enjoy your research! ”
So, this concludes the brief summary, with these three weekend articles, of the introduction to animal totems detailed in my book TOTEMS ANIMALS. I’ve translated the book from the French publication but have yet to find an English publisher for my most popular book. The French edition of this book is selling 10 times more than my other 7 books. I do online video meetings to help people find and work with their animal totems. If you want to explore your allies in the animal world, I can help, with 35 years of experience and many workshops and teachings. Here are some photos of some of these workshops below. If you’re interested in an online meeting to find and work with your animal totems, drop me a line.
– Animal totem ceremony this person overcame powerful limitations by connecting with her totem animal.