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Forums -> Spiritual Creatures -> Totem Animal

Totem Animal
By:
Post # 1
I know what a totem Animal is , and a while back I did a ritual to help me find my totem Animal and was stuck on bears. Then I realized that there are such things as spirit animals & spirit guides. Since that ritual I have grown and gain more knowledge in my path and though right now I don't have a definite path, I know what I seek. I was looking around, because I want to get back into practicing and starting from the ground up instead of diving head first which I did in the beginning and want to start with my totem Animal. That has always been a good ground for me.
I know from my cusin' that there are Native Americans who will take a spiritual journey for you with their totem to find yours ( she did it, amd her totem is an otter and she even got a name as well ). Anyway, I am very bad with reascearching online & don't have much access and was wondering if anyone on here comes from or believes in that and is willing to point me in the right direction for getting someone to journey for my totem. Yes I can do it myself, but I strongly feel that these type of people have a greater understanding of the spiritual realm and won't be tempted to pick their favorite animal ( I'm guilty of doing that to myself).
Anyone who can direct me in the right direction - thank you very much

-Spike
*Blessed Be*
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Re: Totem Animal
By: Moderator / Knowledgeable
Post # 2

I believe what you are talking about is your "spirit animal" and not a Totem. You might find the following to be helpful in understanding the difference.

"Spirit Animals and Totem Animals are two separate concepts many constantly confuse. Some even seem to think the two are interchangeable. Some have even tried to use the two to draw comparisons to a Witch's Familiar, but the concepts are all very different.

The word "Totem" actually comes from the Anishinaabe word "Doh-Daym" (spelled Dodem) meaning "Clan". Your Clan animal represents which family is in your lineage and what skills you are expected to master in order to serve the tribe (these days, the community). There is nothing mystical in the way a First Nations person receives their Clan animal. Depending upon whether the tribe is Matrilineal (tracing a member's lineage through their mother's side of the family) or Patrilineal (tracing through the father) a Clan is decided at birth. The animal you are given represents the skills you will learn throughout your life. For instance: I am Bear Clan. The Bear represents a master medicine worker as the Bear knows what herbs and plants to dig up when it is ill. It also represents a tireless warrior and protector. These are the skills I bring to the table for my people. In the case of adoption or a Caucasian parentage, there usually is a Clan that serves as the "adoption Clan" and takes in members. The Anishinaabe are Patrilineal, and since my fiancee's father is Caucasian, he is Eagle Clan or a member of the adoption clan.

There *are* mystical channels a person can go through to find their Clan if their mother or father's lineage is unknown. I had the unfortunate circumstance of being a member of a Patrilineal tribe and having my Anishinaabe heritage passed down through my grandmother's family. I had to go to what is known as a "shaking tent", or a place where a Medium speaks to the spirit world on your behalf. I asked him to find my Clan. Others go to Medicine People, or simply dream their clan.

No one who is non-native can have a clan or totem animal .This is *specific* to those who are First Nations by blood. Since your Clan animal was also used as a way to avoid incest (as anyone of the same Clan could not marry) a non-tribal person has no need for a Clan animal. It is also used as something that is specific to your *service* in regards to your people...if you aren't a member of the tribe why would you have any obligations to them? There *do* exist special cases in which a Non-Native person is adopted into a tribe's adoption clan whether it be through marriage or some extreme act of service they've done on a tribe's behalf.

Spirit animals are an entirely different concept that can be applied with or without First Nations lineage. A Spirit animal is a personal guide which can take many forms and have many purposes. For Instance, one of my friends (who is Scandinavian in lineage) has a wolf as her spirit animal. She has always had a fascination with them since childhood and has had many run-ins and dreams in which they have visited her. Other people have Spirit Animals that arrive in times of need or reflection.

How can you tell if you have a spirit animal or who they are? They way it has always been explained to me is that the animal in question has to be behaving out of the ordinary in order for it to be considered legit. If you like moose a lot and just find them interesting that doesn't count. But if a moose came and stood outside your front door and snorted at you...that would be a pretty huge clue. It has to be something outside of their nature, some way in which they reach out specifically to you. While I'm not sure if I have a spirit animal I have wondered if mine might be the Deer. I've had many strange run-ins with them such as them walking right up to me out of the woods, surrounding my dorm building and so on.

Spirit Animals should be thought of more as patron animals. They support you and guide you when the going gets rough or when you're just not seeing something right in front of your face.

So I hope this has helped everyone understand these concepts a little better. They are individual and important to my people and very important not to accidentally mix up!

The above was written by a dear friend of mine and posted at http://realpagan.net/group/firstnationsspirituality/forum/topics/spirit-animals-vs-totem "

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Re: Totem Animal
By:
Post # 3
Thank you for the time & effort put into reading this & responding ( mostly the time & effort in responding). When was referring to Totem animals & the Native Americans, I was viewing them separately for I know ( liked you explained ) there is differences. When I used the term Totem in referring to me , I was using it as how it was explained to me ( granted you wouldn't know how it was explained to me ), as an animal that is a part of me. For example: if I were to be an animal, it would be that, it's part of my soul, and is one with me and is constant.
Then again, my knowledge on the subject is coming from a book called: Totem magic by Yasmine Galenorn ( Dance of the Shape-Shifter). Yasmine refers to totem animals as : An animal that is a reflection of yourself, that in Shape-Shifter magic it would be what you natural would shift as in the spiritual plane
- Again thank you for taking the time to respond
Many blessings
-Spike
*Blessed Be*
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Re: Totem Animal
By:
Post # 4
Thank you, Lark! This was helpful.
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