Page 1 of 3 1 2 3 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 23

Thread: Totem Animals

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Olympia, Washington, United States
    Age
    31
    Posts
    117

    Totem Animals

    Just a few questions/curiosities about Totem Animals.

    Does nearly every Pagan "sect" believe in/use Totem Animals?
    How does one go about "finding" their Totem Animal? How did you discover yours? Most instructions for finding/discovering the Totem Animal I've read on the internet are the same, but consider the next question:
    How many have found that their familiar (be it bird, dog, cat, lizard, etc) actually is their Totem Animal, too? Or does a Totem Animal have to be a "wild" animal?

    I think that is all...for now
    "The magnificent, marvelous, mad, mad, mad, mad Madam Mim!" ~ Madam Mim, Sword in the Stone




  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Green and fertile Bible Belt land
    Posts
    289
    I like that you ask so many questions, MrsLynch. You're getting the board hoppin'. I'll try to answer what I can.

    1. Does nearly every Pagan "sect" believe in/use Totem Animals?

    I feel that that is a personal preference sort of thing. The idea / belief in / use of totem nimals is a powerful one, though, and most pagans (and non-pagans) I know have some affinity to some manner of creature. It's not a necessary belief, not anything you "have" to believe in "or else". Best thing to do is ask around and see what you find, like you're already doing. :D

    2. How does one go about "finding" their Totem Animal? How did you discover yours?
    My totem animal, the fox, found me. I think that in ways I was looking for the fox, too, but I didn't really know it at the time. I am and have been experiencing a very close contact with the fox, up to the point where I have been seeing, hearing about, or learning about foxes every day--completely at random. I hear about them in conversation, see "fox" in names--I drove down Fox Run Road the other day; I see one every once in a while, running from the road with their bodies hugging the ground. A fox photo popped up on Yahoo's front page once, right in my face. Foxhollow Farm. Mongolian hunters use hawks to fox hunt. There are 21 species of foxes in the world and my favorite is the Tibetan Fox, for his expression and his shovel-shaped face. Fox statues. Fox kami. Foxtail grass. The Fantastic Mr. Fox by Roald Dahl.

    You get the idea. The fox and I share very similar characteristics. Every time I read up about it, I am continuously amazed at how similar my habits are to theirs. I revere everything the fox symbolizes--camoflage, invisibility, listening, cunning, fertility and mischief, the unknown and the mystery of it all.

    3. How many have found that their familiar (be it bird, dog, cat, lizard, etc) actually is their Totem Animal, too? Or does a Totem Animal have to be a "wild" animal?
    I have a hard time with reconciling the idea of a "familiar". I think the idea of totem animals is much more viable, less crazy-cat-lady. Since I don't believe in "familiar"s, I won't really bother with the first part of the question. To the second part, what do you think?
    Last edited by Heliotrope; November 3rd, 2011 at 06:59 PM.
    ---

    [you have been visited by a heliotrope]



    [hi]

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    West Virginia
    Age
    59
    Posts
    3,442
    Quote Originally Posted by MrsLynch View Post
    Just a few questions/curiosities about Totem Animals. .. Does nearly every Pagan "sect" believe in/use Totem Animals?
    That's actually a speculative subject and answer. Today with the proliferation of Wicca & Pagan 101 books and the constant addition of extra's it seem's as if every group has a usage of Totems / Spirit / Guide animals. Like you state it's literly everywhere on everysite.

    Yet go back a few years and it was mostly to be found in first nation practices, shamanic type practices and animist practices for the most part. Outside of those one did not even hear of the notion of totems except to the extent of Totem Poles in the Pacific Northwest of the US and how TOtems were first and formost assigend to fmailies and clanns never individuals except on very rare occasions.


    How does one go about "finding" their Totem Animal? How did you discover yours? Most instructions for finding/discovering the Totem Animal I've read on the internet are the same, but consider the next question:
    My clan totem is that of Wolf. That obtained by projecting out of my body, having a female spirit guide take me to a council fire and introduce me to the spirit dancers about the fire. Within the smoke and flame ring where shadowy figures of many animals and creatures. taking my hand she transformed my body into first smoke then into wolf form and led me into the dance. Then I danced the dance of Wolf until all that remained in the ring was the spirit of Wolf and the shadows in wolf form of the dancers as we danced and became one with Wolf, even shift-shaping and shape-shifting.

    My guides are Dragon Fly, Heron though I have had many other guides come and go as they taught their lesson then moved on. My spirit guides are Snow Leopard and Dragon though as you can imagine they are not fully in the material plain but guides that join me in journey and vision work or travelling the tree.

    How many have found that their familiar (be it bird, dog, cat, lizard, etc) actually is their Totem Animal, too? Or does a Totem Animal have to be a "wild" animal?
    I do not believe a familiar is anything other than a magical creature such as an imp, larve or other lessor type daemon so a totem animal or family pet can not be a familiar. A companion perhaps but not a familiar in the ceremonial and high magics concept of familiars nor in the folk and granny magics concept of familiars.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Olympia, Washington, United States
    Age
    31
    Posts
    117
    Quote Originally Posted by Heliotrope View Post
    I like that you ask so many questions, MrsLynch. You're getting the board hoppin'. I'll try to answer what I can.
    Thank you! I feel silly sometimes when asking so many questions, but I'm so tired of just doing what I'm told when it comes to spirituality! And, really, how else am I to learn if I don't ask questions
    "The magnificent, marvelous, mad, mad, mad, mad Madam Mim!" ~ Madam Mim, Sword in the Stone




  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Des Moines IA
    Age
    47
    Posts
    44
    Quote Originally Posted by MrsLynch View Post
    Thank you! I feel silly sometimes when asking so many questions, but I'm so tired of just doing what I'm told when it comes to spirituality! And, really, how else am I to learn if I don't ask questions
    You're right about how it is that one can learn when seeking answers to questions and to be honest- You don't have to always follow the human protocals of spirituality and for reasoning that human spirituality- almost all of the time- happens to be a personal relationship between individual people and their deities. I'm speaking purely from Eclectic view here too hehehe.

    Either way- when various prospects are important to each individual- it is wise to share little bits of insight here and there and even though 8 out of ten answers will be same or not every aspect is covered- I will venture far enough to say that I discovered my totems through dreams and various clairvoyant messages and through having spent enough time with evaluating each message and dream- I was eventually able to recognize my totems.

    On a lighter note also- each person's totems are different than another and for reasoning that each totem serves a specific relation to one's personality- mentality and strengths or weakness depending upon how people understand them to be. Probably a bit easier of a view- but something to reflect upon and consider when looking to work with totems at the start. Once various things are recognized and or acknowledge by the individual- they can then begin working on a spiritual relationship with their totems as well.

    As for having 1 particular familiar totem- or guiding totem as some people call them- I wouldn't know all too much and for reasoning that I have a pretty good connection with all of my totems in some form or another. One of my attributes is that of having a love for all animals no matter how great or small- beautiful or unpleasant to look at therefor I'm little more inclined to not favor one over another- but if I had to compare notes as to which one tends to lead the pack or herd- I would tend to believe that my black panther totem would be strongest of the group as well as the most commonly chosen messenger.

    My totems consist of: White Wolf- Cheetah- Black Panther- Red Crested Falcon- The Hawk and Butterfly. At least they are the ones that I am the most familiar with.

    Missy.
    Last edited by Jade_Dove; January 10th, 2012 at 03:28 PM.
    "Our greatest conqeusts in life are those of waking from sleep every morning- living through out the day and doing both every day through out every season and year that come along as well as slowly pass with every hour."

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    West Virginia
    Age
    59
    Posts
    3,442
    I wrote this some time ago but it might be helpful to the OP so though i'd repost it.

    ...............................................

    All that follows is my opinion only so other's may differgreatly from that.

    I think what many are discovering is the confusion that has developed about thenotion of Power Animal, Spirit Animal, Spirit Animal Guide, Totem Animal andGuides in general. The influx of new agenotions and a certain amount of revamping of pagan notions and ideals havechanged the face of these items. Thatcoupled to a certain amount of liberty with the definitions as they have beenlifted from other systems of beliefs and practices.

    The Totem Animal is perhaps the most corrupted to my point of view. The totemis an animal that was associated with a clan, tribe, family, etc. It was seldomassociated to an individual except to the extent that a member of the groupclaimed it as their ______ Totem. This is most well known when one looks to theTotem Poles of the Northwestern US. Those are Totems that are associated withthe tribe (group) not individuals. I will admit I am divided in reference towhether one can have a totem from their respective parent’s lines, I.e.different totem from mother's side and father's side. In this perspective it might be possible topossess two totems.


    There is an individual totem on occasion though they are farmore difficult to discover. Usually theindividual who has done or underwent a quest and vision to discover themdiscovers these types. They then becomethe markers for that person and are a guide upon their pathwalk and serve asboth totem, spirit guide and power animal all rolled into one. While possible it is my experience that notall will discover this type of totem creature, even if they do quest for it.


    Some totems become clan or Spiritual Clan emblems andhouses. For instance, Once I was in atrance state and had a woman in white come up to me and led me into a ring ofdancing spirits in animal form. As she brought me to the ring she introduced meto the dancers as "Wolf" and introduced the dancers as simply"Dancers". Yet as I danced the dance I changed from human form tothat of a wolf and watched as the other dancers did so as well, yet they wereof other forms. Later I joined a seconddance that was composed of people that changed to Wolf form only and we dancedagain. Of course there is a lot more to it than just what I have spoken of butthat is for me only.

    Totems are also assigned to clan’s based upon the MedicineWheel. Each quarter of the wheel markedas being under the influence of a specific creature. For instance under one variant I am of theTurtle Clan as that is the house in charge of the quadrant that covers themonth of March. Yet on that same wheel Ihave a totem animal of the Puma, as it is the totem that governs thatmonth. Yet these clan totems may veryfrom nation to nation or from continent to continent. One may also find totems in the form of clanor family heralds in the shape of family crests or banners.

    Individuals were (are) associated with Power Animals. The Power Animal is onethat guide's and influences the individual but is also a source of power andinspiration for the individual. For instance one of my Power Animals is theHeron. All I have to do is see it and my mind takes off, yet not each sightingis a lesson though the bird inspires me never the less in how I view the worldand see myself in it.

    The Power Animal may also show as what is called a Shadow Totem or Shadow PowerAnimal. That is a creature that instills a great fear or hesitation in us. Itis some facet of its power that undermines us until we face that fear and learnto overcome or accept it. It's like Wolf is associated with family and groupyet inversely it is also associated with individualism and self-purpose. Boththat are seen as a detriment to the family / group when they take precedent inaction and purpose.

    The Spirit Animal Guide is usually a form that is taken that we initially finda connection to. Many times the initial contact the front door to discoveringthe more terrifying and darker forms that will follow. Some will hold asingular form the whole time we know them, other's will change and evolve orsimply one will leave and another come. Many times the Spirit Animal Guideleads us and encourages us within dreamtime or journeywork.

    At times the Spirit version may hold the properties of the physical versionthough that is not always true. At times one may find that to discover thespirit realm one must become the Spirit Animal Guide. By becoming the guide we see it's lessons orcome to understand the area we are traversing. Yes, sometimes it also allows us to move unseen or survive in the areawe are being taken to.


    We also have Divine Spirit Guides I believe. For me mine areDeer (Artemis) and Cat (Bast). My parents have told me cats have come to mesince I first crawled from my crib while Deer appear in dreams and walk up tome at times. Granted the Stag is the sign of Artemis and those appear as wellbut the deer is an unobtrusive messenger that appears in the real world ofman. Guides or a messenger that serve toremind us or connect us to the divine presence in our lives if that is acomponent of our pathwalk.

    I do believe there are spirit animals that are life longguides and influences. For me that animal has always been the Dragon. I haveseen them in everything since I can recall and know when they show up somethingis about to happen. In many instances I have carried on conversations withvarious dragons in dreamtime.

    I think Spirit animals may also be seen as primary and secondary. The primaryis always with us but the secondary is of such importance that they are alsopresent at all times but not quite as vocal. For me the secondary has alwaysbeen the Snow Leopard, yet it is also the primary for my wife. I'll admit I have wondered if hers was solarge in my life as it was guiding me to her.

    In the physical sense the assumption of its shape is a form of Shape Shifting.In this instance it's the process of connecting to our Power Animal or SpiritGuide by trying to imitate it's actions and movements. For instance for me withHeron it's a process of stepping into the water and moving and trying to actlike Heron in the way it interacts with its environment. Yet not just trying toact like it but to actually feel like it and understand it.


    Where I may differ is that I also believe we receive guidesfrom all the kingdoms of life. Certain trees and plants are used as guideswithin the kingdom of the Green People; certain minerals or stones may call tous as representatives of the stone people. For me the winged people have sentHeron and Dragonfly. The four legs have used Deer and Cats as guides. The two legs have used many guides. Even thewater people have sent guides in the form of fish (Carp) and newts andsalamanders.

    The thing about guides is that I believe that a guide mayonly be with us as long as necessary to teach its lesson. SO we may have guides that are present for aday, a month, a year however long it takes to teach us the lesson it has beensent to convey to us. As such it alsoimplies that a guide may come and go forever, a guide may appear then disappearfrom your lives multiple times. Itimplies that one may have any number of guides present at and given moment oftime to teach you Spirit’s lesson.

    As I stated at the top these are my beliefs and opinions somay vary greater from what other’s have to say on the subject.

    Below are two articles and links from another person thatsome may recognize from another site. Yet I find that I agree greatly with much that she has said. As such I include them here that you may haveother resources to read and discover from.



    http://www.spiralnature.com/magick/tradvsneopagantotemism.html

    Animal totemism is a hot topic among magical folk, inparticular pagans and shamans. This, of course, has spawned a growing number ofbooks about totems which vary in quality from excellent to appalling, as booksare wont to do. Many of them attempt to be an improvement on Ted Andrews’works, which spawned the “totem dictionary with some extra stuff” trend. Inaddition, there are numerous websites about totems, again of varying quality.It’s laughably easy to find the information you seek.

    http://www.witchvox.com/va/dt_va.html?a=usor&c=words&id=12039



  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    West Virginia
    Age
    59
    Posts
    3,442
    Duplicate post content deleted
    Last edited by monsnoleedra; January 10th, 2012 at 07:04 PM.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    West Virginia
    Age
    59
    Posts
    3,442
    Quote Originally Posted by Jade_Dove View Post
    .. As for having 1 particular familiar totem- or guiding totem as some people call them- I wouldn't know all too much and for reasoning that I have a pretty good connection with all of my totems in some form or another. One of my attributes is that of having a love for all animals no matter how great or small- beautiful or unpleasant to look at therefor I'm little more inclined to not favor one over another- but if I had to compare notes as to which one tends to lead the pack or herd- I would tend to believe that my black panther totem would be strongest of the group as well as the most commonly chosen messenger.

    ..

    Missy.
    Bolding mine. This is another term that is really abused within the Pagan (neo-Pagan) and New Age movements. Today many try to use it to represent anything and everything yet originally it implied a bound creature not of earthly origin that usually was summoned to assist a ceremonial magician. It would be dispatched in the magician's place to do things for him/her or aid them in performing magical rituals. Many times some sort of minor daemon or demon frequently seen as an Imp.

    Today it seem's to be used to reference some witches pet, yet that facet seem's to have come about with the Witch trials and the Malus Maliforcum (sp) as an identifier of what a witch in Satan's service must have. SOmewhat ironic to my perspective considering all the BS built around the so called Burnign Times that used to run rampant in Neo-Paganism.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Adelaide, Sth Australia
    Age
    32
    Posts
    125
    My personal belief is that not everyone has a totem animal. If you do have one, I believe you will discover it when the time is right and that these kinds of things more or less happen when the time is right. If you go on a quest of some kind to find yours because you feel it is the right thing to do I believe you'll find it. If you search for one because a book/internet site/friend says you should then I don't believe you'll find it.

    I believe that things like totem animals, spirit guides, guardian angels, ect are deeply personal things and while it's great to ask questions and get advice I don't feel anything should be done because other sources say it's the 'correct' thing to do.


  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    West Virginia
    Age
    59
    Posts
    3,442
    Quote Originally Posted by grug View Post
    My personal belief is that not everyone has a totem animal. If you do have one, I believe you will discover it when the time is right and that these kinds of things more or less happen when the time is right. If you go on a quest of some kind to find yours because you feel it is the right thing to do I believe you'll find it. If you search for one because a book/internet site/friend says you should then I don't believe you'll find it.

    I believe that things like totem animals, spirit guides, guardian angels, ect are deeply personal things and while it's great to ask questions and get advice I don't feel anything should be done because other sources say it's the 'correct' thing to do.
    Ten years ago, maybe even as recently as five years ago the concept of Totem's was almost unknown. Yet they really took off and soon every book out there had a section on them and the methods of finding them as more and more Native American Spirituality was lifted. They really seemed to become a mainstay about the same time that the notion of a Native American Pantheon started to be pushed in the New Age areas.

    While Guardian Angles have been around for many years I don't really recall hearing a whole lot about them either until about the same time frame. Many will disagree but I personaly think a lot of the totem's and power animals and such became filler for many of the Wicca 101 books that were flooding the market in the 90's as they needed things that were not part of the inner court teachings. Without the various filler's they'd not have sold nearly as many books.

    I do agree though that not all people have totems as the term was initially used. After the 90's if you didn't have one it was one more sign you were not really a pagan in a lot of books, or seemed to imply as much to my perspective. It ranked right up there with the increasing need to have a familiar who was some sort of family pet vice a daemon or daemonic type creature as used in High and Ceremonial magics.
    Last edited by monsnoleedra; January 11th, 2012 at 08:56 AM.

Page 1 of 3 1 2 3 LastLast

Bookmarks

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •