What is an Animal Totem?
Animal Totem’s have been mentioned in history, books and the craft for a very long time but what is an animal totem and how can it aid you? The word totem means “kinship group.” It comes from the Algonquian word adoodem.
Native Americans would sometimes mark their village with Totem Poles. These were logs carved with each animal or being on top of one another. Today, statuary is found in many homes representing one’s totem. Some spiritual groups even tattoo it upon their body.
The dictionary describes a totem to be:
“a natural object or animal believed by a particular society to have spiritual significance and adopted by it as an emblem.”
Animal Totems in Witchcraft
Like other spirit guides and guardians, animal totems can help us along our spiritual path, keep us out of trouble or even teach us valuable lessons. I have seen them in my meditations, viewed them as a message when they cross my path and even honored them upon my altar.
One of the lessons in Christopher Penczak’s book “The Temple of Shamanic Witchcraft” is to find your animal totem. When I did this exercise I was, at first, a little disappointed to have a wolf show up. I felt like a wolf was common. That it wasn’t unique. I also was surprised that a crow or raven did not show up as I have had a strong connection to the Morrigan.
When I researched it further, I found that there is a tie between Raven and Wolves. It seems that they play a game of hide and seek. A raven will fly ahead and land upon a tree branch. It will call until the wolf catches up and finds them. Then they will repeat this game.
Ravens will also fly ahead and circle a potential prey. Wolves run to the sight and kill the prey. After they enjoy their meal, they will leave some for the Ravens that helped them.
How to find your animal totem
- Pay attention. Your animal totem is probably trying to get your attention or at the very least giving you signs. Do you see an animal every where you go? Are you drawn to certain paintings, photos, statuary and realize that the same animal can be found in the piece? Have you always been drawn to the same animal but cannot figure out why?
- Meditate. Go into meditation with the intention that you are going to meet your animal totem. When you do make sure you listen to them. They may want to take you somewhere to show you something. Pay attention to this and as many details as you can.
- Visit a farm, go out in nature. Sometimes a totem animal will walk right up to or come very close.
- Be patient.
Be open to messages that animals send you every dayWhen you see an animal that you do not usually see, research what it means magickally. Here is a list of books that can help. You should add at least one of these to your witch’s libary.
Animal Speak by Ted Andrews
Animal Magick: The Art of Recognizing and Working with Familiars by D. J. Conway
Totems: The Transformative Power of your Personal Animal Totems by Brad Steiger
There are even apps for your phone and online sights. Be weary of most of these. Cross-reference to make sure the information is coming from a reputable source.