Totem Animals

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A list of the characteristics of each animal and a brief definition of Native American totem animals as well as a brief guide on how to determine your totem animal.

A totem is a spirit being, sacred object, or symbol of a tribe, clan, family or individual. Native American tradition provides that each individual is connected with nine different animals that will accompany each person through life, acting as guides. Different animal guides come in and out of our lives depending on the direction that we are headed and the tasks that need to be completed along our journey.

 

Native beliefs further explain that a totem animal is one that is with you for life, both in the physical and spiritual world. Though people may identify with different animal guides throughout their lifetimes, it is this one totem animal that acts as the main guardian spirit.

 

With this one animal a connection is shared, either through interest in the animal, characteristics, dreams, or other interaction.

 

This Animal Guide offers power and wisdom to the individual when they "communicate with it, conveying their respect and trust. This does not necessarily mean that you actually pet or spend time with this animal, more that you are open to learning its lessons.

 

For some, knowing what is their totem animal is almost an innate process. Its as if theyve always known, inexplicably drawn to the animal or having a special feeling for the animals energy. For others, they wonder how to tell what their animal totem is.

 

Here are some questions to ask yourself if youre wondering what your animal totem is:

  • Have you ever felt drawn to one animal or another without being able to explain why? This could be animal, including birds and insects.
  • Does a certain kind of animal consistently appear in your life? This doesnt necessarily have to be a physical appearance, it could be represented in other ways such as receiving card and letters with the same animal pictured over and over, unexplainable dreams of a particular animal, watching television and seeing the same animal featured time and time again, or, actually having the animal show up.
  • When you go to the zoo, a park, wildlife area, or forest, what are you most interested in seeing?
  • Are there any animals that you find to be extremely frightening or intriguing?
  • Is there a particular animal that you see frequently when youre out in nature?
  • Have you ever been bitten or attacked by an animal?
  • Have you ever had a recurring dream about a certain animal, or a dream from childhood that you have never been able to forget?
  • Are you drawn to figurines or paintings of a specific animal?

The totem itself is a symbol that represents this animal. This could be any number of items - a crest, a totem pole, an emblem, a small figurine or anything else that depicts your animal guide.

 

Alligator

Maternal, revenge oriented, quickness, aggression, stealth, efficiency, basic survival instincts.

Ant

Group minded, determination, patient, active, purposeful, unity, self sacrifice and industrious.

Anteater

Lethargy, curiosity, nosiness, ability to smell out trouble, rooting around for solutions, finding the lost.

Antelope

Active, agile, jumpiness, keen eyesight, survival, willing to sacrifice, mental clarity, intuitive, protective.

Armadillo

Safety, grounded, sensitivity to attack, strong boundaries, trusting, reclusive, neutral, peaceful.

Badger

Courage, aggressive, healer, problems relating to others, energy conduit, determined, focused, confident.

Bat

Rebirth, longevity, secrecy, initiation, good listener, long life, illusion, journeying, inner depth.

Bear

Industrious, instinctive, healing, power, sovereignty, guardian of the world, watcher, courage, will power, self-preservation, introspection, and great strength.

Beaver

Determined, strong-willed, builder, overseer, dreamer, protector, builder, motion, subconscious.

Bee

Organized, industrial, productive, wise, community, celebration, fertility, sweetness, defensiveness, obsessive nature, and enjoys life.

Boar/Pig

A very powerful totem - prosperity, spiritual strength, organized, balanced complacency and activity, fearless.

Buffalo

Sacredness, life, great strength, abundance, gratitude, consistency, blessings, stability..

Bull

Insight into the past, fertility, raw expression, rushing into things, confidence, strength, provision.

Butterfly

Metamorphosis, transformation, balance, grace, ability to accept change, lightness, soul, vulnerability.

Camel

Survival, endurance, obedience, nobility, positive, accomplishment, adaptive, temperance, humility.

Caribou

Traveler, mobility, preference to be nomadic, adaptability to adversity, sensitivity, guidance, surety.

Cat

Guardianship, detachment, sensuality, mystery, magic, independence, astute, watchful.

Cheetah

Swiftness, insight, focus, brotherhood, self-esteem, acceleration, elusiveness.

Cougar

Leadership, loyalty, courage, taking responsibility, foresight, sensing danger, awareness.

Cow

Love of home, community, contentment, joy, easy going, patience, grounded, fertility.

Coyote

Trickster, intelligence, stealth, wisdom and folly, guile, innocence, skill.

Cobra

Swift and decisive, power of life and death, transformation, energy, connected to eternity.

Crab

Good luck, moves sideways, savvy, unorthodox, relaxed, cycles.

Crane

Solitude, justice, longevity, independent, intelligent, vigilant, focus.

Crocodile

Ensuring your emotions are displayed accurately/appropriately

Crow

Magical, shape shifting, change, creativity, spiritual strength, inelegancy, energy, higher perspective.

Deer

Compassion, peace, intellectual, gentle, caring, kind, subtlety, gracefulness, femininity, gentleness, innocence, and seller of adventure

Dog

Noble, faithful, loyal, teaching, protection, guidance, obedience, sensory perception.

Dolphin

Kind, salvation, wisdom, happiness, playfulness, prudent, capable of deep emotion, and happy.

Dove

Cross-world communication, spirit messenger, peace, gentleness, love.

Dragon

Longevity, richness, prosperity, infinity, wisdom, power, fiery, mythic.

Dragonfly

Flighty and carefree, strong imagination, higher aspirations, lightness, joy, transformation.

Duck

Water energy, helper of seers, affectionate, community oriented, can clearly see/deal with emotions.

Eagle

Divine spirit, sacrifice, connection to creator, intelligence, renewal, courage, illumination of spirit, healing, creation, freedom, and risk-taker.

Elephant

Strength, power, affection, loyalty, royalty, wisdom, reliability, sense of history, pride.

Elk

Strength and agility, pride, majestic, independence, purification, nobility, sensual.

Falcon

New beginnings, adventure, passionate, leadership, rising above, guardianship, superiority, prophecy.

Fish

Graceful, slyness, open-minded, quick to change one's mind, fertility, good luck, happiness.

Flamingo

Heart healing, psychic, people person, flirtatious, colorful, open, power of illusion.

Fox

Cunning, agility, quick-witted, diplomacy, wildness, feminine magic of camouflage, shape-shifting and invisibility

Frog

Water, cleansing, rebirth, sensitivity, medicine, hidden beauty, peace, adaptability, metamorphosis.

Gazelle

Awareness, speed, grace, eagerness, lightness, overcomes vulnerability, alert.

Giraffe

Intelligence, intuition, attaining the unreachable, sees the future, elegance, cleverness, beauty.

Goat

Surefootedness, stubbornness, independence, diligence, in the moment, aloofness, virility, sturdiness.

Goose

Self-demanding, reliable, prudent, rigid, vigilance, parenthood, productive, teamwork, fellowship.

Gorilla

Family-oriented, intelligence, strength, environmental protector, keeps peace through aggression.

Grasshopper

Good luck, abundance, forward, progressive, virtuous, forward thinking, creative.

Grouse

Personal power, enlightenment.

Hawk

Messenger, intuition, victory, healing, nobility, recollection, cleansing, visionary power, and guardianship.

Heron/Egret

Aggressive, self-determined, self-reliant, multi-tasking, balanced, calm, present, independent.

Hippopotamus

Power, creation, imagination, healing, birth, mother-fury, protection of family, emotion depth.

Horse

Freedom, stamina, mobility, the land, travel, power, freedom, grace, nobility.

Hummingbird

Messenger, timelessness, healing, warrior, energy, vitality, infinity, affection, playfulness.

Jaguar

Chaos, shape-shifter, aggressiveness, power, confidence, manifestation, breath.

Kangaroo

Forward, balance, creative, stamina, leaping away from danger, nurturing, generous.

Lion

Family, strength, energy, courage, guardian, protector, ferocity, authority.

Lizard

Conservation, vision, self-protection, hidden defenses, shrewdness, variation.

Llama

Comforting to others, secure, responsible, strength, adaptation, hard work, curiosity.

Lynx

Keeper of secrets, guardian, listener, guide, aware, intuitive, unconventional.

Meerkat

Community, precise vision, good boundaries, lively, courageous, intuition, heart energy.

Mole

Sensitivity, guidance, searching, extended senses, underworld, hidden treasure, digger.

Mongoose

Good boundaries, good defense, courage, cleansing, heart-forward, rebellious, impulsive, authentic.

Monkey

Ability to change the environment, health, success, light and dark, communication, swiftness, energy.

Moose

Headstrong, longevity, steadfastness, wisdom, self-esteem, primal feminine energy, crown chakra.

Mouse

Innocence, scrutiny, order, organizer, eye for details, grounded, super-aware, temerity.

Octopus

Intelligence, camouflage, nocturnal.

Opossum

Smart, clever, sensible, grounded, group-minded, proper use of deception, strategic, surprising.

Ostrich

Grounded, practical, avoidant, spiritual truth, understands denial, truth and justice.

Otter

Playful, friendly, dynamic, joy, helpfulness, sharing, love of young, sensibility without suspicion.

Owl

Wisdom, deception, intuition, insight, messenger, mystery, freedom, secrets, stealth, vision.

Ox

Sacrifice, chastity, faith, humble, self-denial, enduring, strong, magical.

Panther

Protection, hidden emotions, introspection, caution, careful decisions, multi-dimensional, dark and light.

Parrot

Communication, beauty, guide for wisdom, mockery, language, prophecy, verbosity, promise.

Peacock

Immortality, dignity, self-confidence, self-esteem, knowledge, refinement, beauty, sexuality, pride.

Pelican

Resilient, unselfish, rising above, friendliness, responsible, safety, camaraderie, bounty.

Penguin

Self-discipline, order, purpose, community-minded, grace, self-confidence, spiritual.

Porcupine

Innocence, companionship, trust, curious, imagination, good-natured, non-interference.

Prairie Dog

Swiftness, industrious, constructive, preparedness, common goals, retreat, family, digger.

Puma

Companion on journeys to other worlds, grace, silent power

Quail

Group-work, team play, creator of harmony and group tolerance, protectiveness (especially toward children)

Rabbit

Fertility, artistic, in motion, hyper vigilant, joyful, lives by own wits, steps through fear.

Raccoon

Curiosity, disguise, explorer, secret, night vision, cleanliness, dexterity, seeker.

Ram

Stoic, sensitive, persevering, curious, imaginative, new beginnings, change, life force.

Rat

Fertility, stealth, scavenging, intelligence, enjoys luxury, intelligent, wealth, success, drive.

Raven

Magical, introspective, self-realized, courageous, transformational, messenger, psychic, divination.

Rhinoceros

Wisdom, solitary, insightful, solid, good judgment, paradox, stamina, freedom, longevity.

Roadrunner

Mental agility, speed, opportunistic, multi-tasking, energy, busy, accomplishment.

Rooster

Persistence, honesty, strength, flamboyant, upward reaching, eager, cocky, watchful.

Salmon

Proud, intense, confident, wisdom, inspiration, can swim upstream, rebirth, determined, spiritual desire.

Scorpion

Transforming, strong, inspiring, chaotic, passionate, altered perception, death and rebirth, seduction.

Seagull

Versatility, loud, easy-going nature, creativity, laziness, resourceful, opportunistic, freedom.

Seahorse

Confidence and grace

Seal

Love, longing, dilemma, active imagination, creativity, protection during change, dreamer, good luck.

Shark

Prowess, perpetual motion, hunter, survival, warning signs, workaholic, savior, guardian, superiority.

Skunk

Reputation, presence, strength, demands respect, sensual, steady, pacifism, taking your time.

Snail

Protective, aware, solitary, tender nature, androgyny, healing, sensitivity, time and cycles.

Snake

Impulsive, primal energy, shrewdness, rebirth, transformation, initiation, and wisdom

Spider

Balance, wisdom, creativity, communication, networker, cyclical, crafty, fate, protection.

Squirrel

Planner, gatherer, preparedness, awareness, sociable, playful, energy, prudence, resourceful.

Stag

Lord of the forest, masculine power of regeneration, signs.

Swan

Grace, balance and innocence, soul, love, beauty, elegance, transformation, dreams.

Tiger

Strength, valor, power, energy, devotion, tactful, royal, illuminated, unpredictable.

Toad

inner strength, luck, self-examination

Turkey

Generosity, life-giver, sharer, abundance, blessings, pride, virility, sacrifice.

Turtle

Nurturer, shy, protecting, patience, strength, innocence, endurance, longevity.

Unicorn

Purity, innocence, dreamer, personal power, gentle, spiritual vision, other realms, faith, healing.

Weasel

Strength, energy, ingenuity, stealth, wild, ferocious, aggressive, commanding.

Whale

Wisdom, provider, intelligence, kindness, deeper awareness, nurturing, navigator, communication.

Wolf

Loyalty, perseverance, success, intuition, spirit, appetite for freedom, can be a loner.

Woodpecker

Sensitive, protective, devotion, prophecy, progress, determination, balance, communication.

Zebra

Clarity, motion, individuality, balance, illusion, instinct, free, wild, communal, playful, social.

 

Information courtesy of http://www.legendsofamerica.com/na-totems.html

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Added to on Apr 11, 2016
Last edited on Sep 24, 2019
Part of the Raven's Gate Library.

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