Today, in searching for a lifepath that is more harmonized with the earth, many folks are relearning the “old ways” by relating to animal energy like the ancient Native Americans did. Even within Chinese and western astrology, all or most of the signs/symbols are animals.
In much earlier times, animals were not just hunted for food or kept as pets. They taught people how to live off the land … and to even survive in some cases. People would closely watch how the different animals lived; for example how and where they found food and water in their natural habitats. This may have led to the connection that people began to feel with animals – where people began to notice the differing strengths and weaknesses within many of the animals, and in turn began to personally connect with them on both spiritual and physical levels. They began to realize and believe that all animals have different lessons to teach, while also possessing different healing and/or inspirational powers.
What is an animal totem/guide?
An animal totem or guide is an animal that a person spiritually identifies with. In my experience, some guides are “temporary helpers” that come to us when we find ourselves going through particular events, lessons or life challenges, while others remain with us for our entire lives. But regardless, ALL of your guides will instruct, guide, and protect you as you gradually stroll down your spiritual and physical lifepaths.
Animal guides help us reconnect with nature by reminding all of us that we are always spiritually and universally interconnected. BUT! In order accomplish this … you first do need to know what your animal totem is!
How do I meet my animal totem(s)/guide(s)?
There are certainly many different methods of meeting your guides. However, in my own opinion meditation is the best method. Here is a visualization technique that was taught to me (and it worked extremely well!):
Sit on the floor or lay comfortably in your bed and totally relax. Close your eyes, breathe deeply and slowly, and allow all of your muscles to completely relax. Now visualize your Crown Chakra (which is located on top of your head or just above it – and is a large orb filled with the most divine white energy/light). Once you have your Crown Chakra visualized quite clearly, next visualize a chord of this very same light/energy flowing from your Crown Chakra down through the top of your head, traveling down along your spine, all the way down through to the Earth. Visualize this energy moving down even further, deep to the core of the Earth and connecting with it. Feel the warm energy of the Earth flowing through your body and feel its power increasingly strengthen you. Allow this energy and power to surge through your entire body: your arms, legs, fingers, toes, and so on. Allow the energy and power to build within you, until you create a slight “energy/power cocoon” that envelops your entire body (this should be seen as a slight aura (or energy field if you will) made of the similar energy that is now flowing through you – emanating approximately an inch or two in thickness from all around your body). Once you have visualized this, you may now allow the darkness behind your eyelids to envelop you.
Visualize a white light shining up ahead of you. Begin to visualize yourself walking toward this light. As you get closer, notice that you are walking towards a doorway to another realm. Interesting… What does that door look like to you? What is it made of? When you open this door, look out and see a beautiful, lush forest and step out onto the ground. Take in your surroundings: look at the trees, shrubs, grass, weeds, flowers, etc. Are there any streams or rivers around? Walk around to enjoy and explore everything that is surrounding you. As you look ahead of you, you see a pathway through the trees. Visualize yourself stepping onto the path and beginning to walk slowly. Walk a while, and then pause. Then listen carefully and wait. Soon you may see your animal guide approach you. Take as much time as necessary … until your guide finds you. When you see this animal, speak with him or her. Ask any question you might have in mind – perhaps even ask him or her what their name is. Or, maybe you just want to say hello at this point. It is your decision.
When your animal guide motions to you that your meeting is finished, politely thank him or her and say goodbye (my first meeting with one of my guides I gave him the biggest hug!). But please, also make sure that you promise your guide that you will return once again (in order for your relationship to flourish with your guide you do need to make it a common practice).
Walk slowly back to the doorway you passed through and visualize yourself walking back through it. Step into the darkness once again, and see another light up ahead. Walk to the light, and visualize it slowly enveloping you and surrounding your entire body. Once the light surrounds you, you may then open your eyes. At this point your journey is complete. I would then perhaps take the opportunity to write down all that you saw, all that was perhaps said between you and your guide. Anything that you feel was quite significant … write it down. Because if it doesn’t make much sense to you now, it just might later on down the road!
*** One thing to note though – if you have more than one spirit guide, only one may come through to meet you at a time. Within my own experience (as at one time I had three different animal guides), that was indeed the case. During meditation and a “meeting” with one of my guides, I noticed a rustling in some bushes in the not too far distance. I also got the feeling of being watched quite closely – as well as feeling some sort of “expecting” or “eager” type of energy waiting for me behind those bushes. But all the while, nothing emerged from there. When I ask, even as I write this article, as to WHY another guide refuses to emerge while you are already sitting with one, I just get the very stern message that it is “private” and that it is “polite and respectful to do so.” So, when you meet your first guide for the first time, politely ask him/her if there is any other spirit wishing to meet with you. If the answer is yes, then you will indeed be urged to “set up another meeting” for your other animal guide(s).
I met my animal totem. So what should I do now?
Your animal(s) will “talk” to you on many different occasions … either during meditation, through dreams, or while you’re awake. When you’re awake, you could very well hear them speak words to you, while at other times you may not hear spoken words at all – but moreso only “feel” what they are saying. It is rather hard to explain here. But once you connect with your guide(s), you will then understand what I mean. As you develop your relationship with your guide(s), you will quickly learn the difference and know when they are speaking to you.
The thing is though, they don’t manipulate a person’s thoughts or actions … they only give reasonable suggestions. Much like your ancestral or other human spirit guides, they can offer you advice and help guide you through many challenging life lessons. Animal guides have special lessons to teach us: they can help us learn how to better utilize our energies, they can teach us how to interact with other people, and they can even guide us towards a certain career path. But by no means are they limited to just these lessons alone! There are indeed as many reasons for guides as what there are guides themselves. But they do have so much to offer, and it is a true blessing to have the companionship of an animal guide.
** Just try to keep in mind that they’re not with you to make every move or decision for you … just like your other spirit guides don’t tell you how to live your life or make your decisions for you. All guides can merely suggest to you or show you a favorable course of action – all decisions and moves rest within your hands alone.
How do I find information on my totem?
Read up on them as much as you can. Learn what your animals symbolically represent, what they eat, where they live, what their habits are, what sounds they make, and so on. But also learn about all of their strengths and weaknesses. You might begin to notice that many of your weaknesses are quite similar to those of your totem animal’s, while many of your strengths may also be quite similar in nature. In addition, find out what Elements (Earth, Air, Fire, and Water) your animals correspond to. Some will be obvious … for example birds would correspond to the Element of Air, while water dwellers like the dolphin would correspond to the Element of Water. But on the other hand, some totems won’t be as obvious. For instance, animals that transmutate, or change their form and/or appearance at some point in their lives (caterpillars/butterflies or tadpoles/frogs) might correspond with the Element of Fire. But don’t take this as being absolute … because some animals might even correspond with more than one Element! When in doubt, it is always best to just get the goods straight from the horse’s mouth: ask your animal(s) what Elements they feel are their correspondences. In fact, you might very well get an answer you’re not even expecting.
But in all honesty, asking your animal(s) questions is the best way to learn everything you want to know about them.
But what if I never get to meet my animal guides?
Don’t worry! They will find you. Simply open yourself up to your guides and know that they can present themselves to you at any time. They will find you when the time is right; just remain aware and open for them. If you try to contact them and get no results, like I mentioned I wouldn’t worry about it too much. Even though you may think you didn’t contact your guides, they are with you and they most certainly did hear you. For whatever reason, they may have felt that the time just wasn’t right for you to meet. But rest assured they will indeed present themselves to you … when they themselves feel that they’re ready for you and you for them.
For some people I do realize that visualizations and meditations can be somewhat difficult to master and concentrate upon. So in order to somewhat aid you in beginning this process, there are several questions that you can ask yourself beforehand. All of the questions below should initiate your coming to realize what prominent animal has been in your life. Keep in mind that there are no right or wrong answers. Only you will know which animal totem(s) is right for your journey along your lifepath. But one thing you should try to do is remain as patient as possible throughout this process. Allow things to come to you flowingly and as they should … in their own due course and time. Doing the exercises below should indeed help you along though:
Since we are drawn to what resonates with us the most, what animal, bird, or insect do you feel most drawn to?
When you go to the park, forest, or zoo what animal are you most interested in seeing?
What animal do you most frequently see when you’re out in nature or in the city?
What animals are you currently interested in learning about?
Which animal do you find most frightening or intriguing?
Is there a recurring animal in your dreams or do you have one you have never forgotten?
Have you ever been bitten or attacked by a particular animal?
Ask yourself what animal has played a meaningful part in your life. If you’re unsure, make a list of animals that have drawn your interest or have left a deep impression on you from paintings, photographs, stories, movies, carvings, and so on.
Which animal shows up in your life most often? Keep a journal of the animals present in your dreams or that you encounter throughout the course of a day for the next month. How did the animal behave? Did you interact with the animal?
What animal(s) do you feel you can relate to the best? Is there any animal that can describe your own personality, likes, dislikes, etc.?
The purpose of animal spirit guides/totems is to mainly support our development as individually evolving human beings. Their direct involvement is by protecting you, guiding you, and also teaching you lessons along the way … which I must admit makes your relationship with them truly unique. You know, working with an animal spirit guide is like having a very intelligent and watchful big brother in the spirit realm. It is truly something that I am extremely grateful for – to be able to experience such a warm, loving, understanding, nurturing, and supportive relationship. If only everyone could feel what I do when I connect with my spirit guides. But then again … in writing this article, this is what I am now truly hoping to accomplish.
Brightest of blessings to you all – and may you have the most wonderful and peacefully enlightening journey with your animal spirit guides.
Lisa & Orpheus (Lisa’s Totem Animal Spirit) Copyright 2009
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