Interpretations - Sacred Knowledge - Native American Indians - Totem Animals
Totem animals represent the great spirit or that which they need to survive. We all have power animals which can be accessed by meditation. Below are a list of animals and their symbology.
group mind, patience, action
action, agility and sacrifice
safety, boundaries, medicine shield
rebirth, secrets and initiation Bear: power, healing
hibernate in the winter, which may explain their association with "dreaming the Great Spirit" or retrospection. The symbolism of Bear's cave is returning to the womb of Mother Earth. It also suggests a strong feminine aspect, one of nurturing and protection. Bear cubs, born in the early spring, can spend as many as seven years with their mother before reaching maturity. People with Bear Medicine are considered by many as self-sufficient, and would rather stand on their own two feet than rely on others. They are often considered dreamers. Many have developed the skill of visualizing new things, but as a result can get caught up in the dreaming, making little progress in waking reality. Bear's medicine includes introspection, healing, solitude, wisdom, change, communication with Spirit, death and rebirth, transformation, astral travel, creature of dreams, shamans and mystics.
power and direction
is one of the most important totem animals of the Gaelic Celts: the South and the element of Fire: The life giving power of the sun
sacredness, life, abundance
Buffalo is considered by many tribes as a symbol of abundance: its meat fed the people, skins were used for clothing and covering, bones and sinew were crafted as survival tools, hooves were converted into glue. According to Lakota tradition, White Buffalo Calf Woman gave them the Sacred Pipe, promising abundance as long as they prayed to the Great Spirit and honored All Their Relations, that is, all other creations of nature. Buffalo's Medicine symbolizes an honor, reverence or special love for all the things that Mother Earth offers her children. It is also knowing that abundance is present when all relations are honored as sacred, and when gratitude is expressed to every living part of Creation. Buffalo signals a moment to reconnect with the meaning of life and the value of peace, to praise the gifts you already have, and to recognize and honor the sacredness in all paths, though they may be different than yours.
metamorphosis and transformation
Scientific research has shown that the butterfly is the only living being capable of changing entirely its genetic structure during the process of transformation: the caterpillar's DNA is totally different from the butterfly's. Thus, it is the symbol of total transformation. Butterfly represents a need for change and greater freedom, and at the same time it represents courage: one requires courage to carry out the changes necessary in the process of growth. Its Medicine is related to the air and the mental powers. It teaches us to find clarity in the mental processes, to organize projects or to figure out the next step in our internal growth. If Butterfly is your Power Animal or if you feel in any way attracted to it, this means you are ready to undergo some kind of transformation.
Examine which stage calls your attention the most: the egg is the beginning, the birth of some project or idea. The larva is de decision to manifest something in the physical world. The cocoon has to do with "going inside", either through insight or the development of the project or idea. The breaking of the cocoon deals with sharing the splendor of your creation with the whole world. Once you understand the stage you are on, you can discover which is the next step.
In Egypt cats were always given special privileges and were treated like royalty. In Scandinavia the cat stood for fertility, and in India it is a symbol of childbirth. In ancient times it was believed that witches took the form of their cats at night. Cats are fiercely independent. You can never own one: it allows you to take care of it and love it, but only on its terms. They come and go as they please, when they please. Cat's medicine is independence, curiosity, many lives, cleverness, unpredictability, healing, the ability to fight when cornered, seeing the unseen, and protection. He also represents love and can assist us in meditation. If Cat is your Power Animal, then you have magic and mystery in your life. You are independent and a free thinker. You probably feel energized at night. You will stay with a person or situation until it bores you, and then you're gone. You have a great talent for organizing things.
the trickster, devilment
solitude and independence
law, shape shifting, change
gentleness, caring and kindness
Deer blend very well with their environment but are very sensitive to every sound or movement. Often twins, even triplets, are born in the spring. Does and bucks live in separate groups until the mating season. The white-tailed deer are moderately gregarious, and family members forage food together along with other family groups, giving the appearance of a large herd. People with Deer Medicine are often described as being swift and alert. They are intuitive, often appearing to have well developed, even extrasensory perceptions. Sometimes their thoughts seem to race ahead, and they appear not to be listening.
Deer's medicine includes gentleness in word, thought and touch, ability to listen, grace and appreciation for the beauty of balance, understanding of what's necessary for survival, power of gratitude and giving, ability to sacrifice for the higher good, connection to the woodland spirits, alternative paths to a goal. The gentleness of Deer is the heart-space of the Great Spirit which embodies His love for us all. Deer teaches us to find the gentleness of spirit that heals all wounds, to stop pushing to get others to change and to love and accept them as they are. The only true balance to power is love and compassion.
noble, loyal, teaching
Dog was the servant/soldier that guarded the tribe's dwellings and protected them from surprise attacks. Dog helped during the hunting1s and provided warmth in winter. It is a symbol of loyalty, unconditional love, protection and service. Its Medicine incorporates the loving kindness of the best friend and the protective energy of the guardian. If your Power Animal is Dog, your devotion towards your family and friends is infinite. You get great satisfaction from rendering service to others, offering your hand to a friend in need. A kind word, a caress, an act of kindness mean much more to you than material things. However, there is a risk of coming too close to the other side: allowing people to take advantage of you because of your gentle nature. Dog reminds you that your loyalty should always be to yourself, to your own truth. He reminds you that by respecting and valuing yourself you can truly render a service to those who honor what you can give them.
kindness and play energy
The beautiful, graceful, sleek dolphin carries many messages for the two-legged. Even though it is a mammal, its home is the sea and has mastered the art of breath control. Since water is the symbol of all life - of creation, passion and even sexuality - dolphin brings us teachings from the waters of life. Playful creatures, dolphins have long entertained man with their joyful antics. Studying dolphin communication has proved to be an awesome task for man. As in all animals, dolphins have developed sophisticated auditory signals that warn others of impending danger. Some believe that these animals are now warning man of impending danger as he ignores the balance of the natural world. Swimming with the dolphins has become a powerful experience for many people, and as they interact with these playful creatures, they cannot help but feel their communication.
Dolphin reminds us that time to play is a crucial element to walk in balance. It moves through the water quickly and with great grace. Dolphin tells us to move with the ebb and flow of life, and not to search for brick walls to smash into, for to spend our energy fighting the current gets us nowhere. Dolphin medicine includes change, wisdom, balance, harmony, communication skills, freedom, trust, understanding the power of rhythm in your life, use of breath to release intense emotions, water power.
longevity, infinity, wisdom, movement through space
Illusion - Transcendence
divine Spirit and connection to creator
Eagle feathers are used all over the world as ceremonial instruments and are considered to be the most sacred healing tools. They are a symbol of power, healing and wisdom. Eagle represents a state of grace that is reached through inner work, understanding and passing the initiation tests that result from reclaiming our personal power. Eagle Medicine is the Power of the Great Spirit. It is the spirit of tenacity. It is the gift of clear vision with which one can truly see the things one sees. It is the patience to wait for the appropriate moment. It is to live in balance with heaven and Earth.
Eagle reminds you of your connection with the Great Spirit. It tells you that the universe is giving you the opportunity to fly above your life's worldly levels, or above the shadow of past realities. Eagle teaches you to look above in order to touch Grandfather Sun with your heart, to love the Shadow as much as the Light. Eagle asks you to grant yourself permission to be free in order to reach the joy that your heart desires.
strength and agility
cunning, agility, quick-witted
messenger, intuition, discernment
The horse shows up in almost every mythological writing, folklore, and reality. There is the mighty winged Pegasus, the eight-legged horse of the Norse god Odin, the stallions of the Hindu sun god, the stallions of Apollo, and so on. Many legends speak of the horse as being clairvoyant and able to perceive humans with magical powers. No single animal has given man the physical freedom of movement as the horse. If you are drawn to Horse, you feel a power in your spirit that is sometimes difficult to control.
Horse is a symbol of loyalty and devotion, of unquestioning love and faith in his master. He says that you love to travel, and have more than a touch of gypsy in your soul. Horse is also your warrior spirit - the brave fighter who brings you safety in your journeys, both physical and metaphysical. Horse's medicine includes power, stamina, endurance, faithfulness, freedom to run free, control of the environment, awareness of power achieved with true cooperation, interspecies communication, expanding one's own potential abilities, friendship and cooperation, travel, astral travel, guardian of travelers, warns of possible danger, guide to overcoming obstacles.
Hummingbird - the tiniest of all birds - brings special messages for us. It is the only creature that can stop dead while traveling at full speed. It can hover, or can go forward, backward, up or down. It lives on nectar and searches for the sweetness of life. Its long tongue lets it bypass the often tough and bitter outer layer to find the hidden treasures underneath. Hummingbird is loved by the flowers and plants, for as it sucks the nectar from the flower, the plant reproduces and more of its kind are created. In many traditions, Hummingbird feathers have been prized for their almost magical qualities. It is said that Hummingbird brings love as no other medicine can, and its presence brings joy to the observer.
If you have Hummingbird medicine, you adapt easily to whatever situation you may find yourself in, and make the most of your new circumstances. You don't waste time looking back and wishing for "what was" for you are concerned with making the most of "what is". Also, you could never become addicted to any artificial stimulants, for you find joy in your own heart. You take great pleasure in spreading joy and love and beauty to all around you, and have the gift of taking that inner joy into new and different surroundings. You have a talent for finding the good in people, and are not put off by a gruff or abrupt exterior, for you know that, if you can only get beyond that tough outside layer, you'll find goodness and beauty inside. You may have a gift for working with flowers, maybe growing them to share with others, or using flower essences for healing. Aroma therapy may be your calling. You have high energy and a spirit that must be free. To restrict that wonderful, free, loving energy is to suffer great depressions and feelings of uselessness. Hummingbird must fly free in search of beauty, spreading joy and love to all it touches.
fertility, music and joy
Power of feminine energy
The female hunts and kills prey, feeds the group and takes care of the young. She is the nurturing force in all senses. The male roars to frighten prey and force them toward the lioness, who waits patiently for the right moment to attack. Although the male is the group's protector, he doesn't look for confrontation nor attacks needlessly. He only acts when challenged and will fight to death in order to protect, but in reality he prefers the easy, peaceful life.
Lion's Medicine teaches us the magic of group interaction, of group energy. It also teaches us the secrets of silence and patience. Patience is to pay attention to detail. Lion suggests that we examine ourselves closely in order to understand our strengths and weaknesses, and to wait for the proper moment to act and take full advantage of a given situation. Learn from Lion the proper way to use power and strength. Stay calm and still, sure of your power. But if necessary, don't hesitate to fight for the things you are interested in.
keeper of secrets, guardian and guide
headstrong, longevity, steadfastness
courage, leadership and foresight
scrutiny, order, organizer
diversion, strategist, deceiver
playful, prognostication, woman medicine
deception, clairvoyance, insight (the night eagle)
Owls come in all sizes, from a tiny miniature that actually lives inside the cactus in the desert, to the great horned owl, which is the only bird that can out fly the golden eagle. A fully grown great horned is an awe inspiring creature. Its talons are furry, and closely resemble the paws of a baby mountain lion with claws extended. It is a meat eater, which means it can be a fierce warrior if challenged, or if something dear to it is threatened. It is often referred to as Night Eagle. Owl is at home in the night. It has great awareness of all that is around it at all times. It has predator vision, which means it sees clearly what it looks at. It has great intuition: it is the totem of psychics and clairvoyants. It has the courage to follow its instincts. Owl's medicine includes seeing behind masks, silent and swift movement, keen sight, messenger of secrets and omens, shape-shifting, link between the dark, unseen world and the world of light, comfort with shadow self, moon power, freedom.
innocence, companionship, trust
fear, timidity, nervousness, humility
Rabbit's medicine includes moving through fear, living by one's own wits, receiving hidden teachings and intuitive messages, quick thinking, strengthening intuition, and paradox. Rabbit also represents humility, because he is quiet and soft and not self-asserting. Rabbit reminds us not to be afraid. Fearful thoughts reproduce (like rabbits) and bring the very thing we fear. Rabbit people are so afraid of tragedy, illness, and disaster, that they call those very fears to them to teach them lessons. If you see Rabbit or in any way feel attracted to him, it may be telling you to wait for the forces of the universe to start moving again, to stop worrying and to get rid of your fears. It always indicates a need to re-evaluate the process you are undergoing, to rid yourself of any negative feelings or barriers, and to be more humble.
introspection, courage, self-knowledge
confidence and grace
hunter, survival, adaptability
reputation, presence, strength
Creatrix, web spinner
grace, balance and innocence
generosity, life-giver, sharer
nurturer, protector, mother energy
Many Natives refer to North America as Turtle Island, because their legends say that when the earth was covered with water, Turtle dove to the bottom of the oceans bringing up earth on its back so that the people could have a safe and dry home. Turtle is at home anywhere because it carries its home on its back. It does not become attached to places, for it is free to search for new opportunities wherever they may be found. When they sense danger, or are in uncomfortable and insecure settings, they withdraw into their shell, and are protected. If you have Turtle medicine, you value both the power of the earth, the waters of the earth, and the magic of the heavens, for Turtle symbolizes both the grounding quality of earth energy, and the magic of the mystical. Using Turtle energy can help you achieve real balance in your life and your spirit so that you don't get "stuck in the mud". Turtle's medicine includes a connection with the center, navigation skills, patience, self-boundaries, associated with the feminine, power to heal female diseases, respecting the boundaries of others, developing new ideas, psychically protecting oneself, self-reliance, tenacity, non-violent defense.
(ferret) strength, energy, ingenuity and stealth
loyalty, perseverance, success
Wolves have been long regarded by Native Americans as teachers or pathfinders. Wolves are fiercely loyal to their mates, and have a strong sense of family while maintaining individualism. In the stars, Wolf is represented by the Dog, Sirius, thought by many aboriginal tribes to be the home of the Ancients. Wolves are probably the most misunderstood of wild animals. Tales of cold-bloodedness abound, in spite of their friendly, social and intelligent traits. They are truly free spirits, even though their packs are highly organized. They seem to go out of their way to avoid a fight. One is rarely necessary when a shift in posture, a growl, or a glance gets the point across quite readily.
Traditionally, someone with Wolf Medicine has a strong sense of self, and communicates well through subtle changes in voice inflection and body movements. They often find new solutions to problems while providing stability and support that one normally associates with a family structure. Wolf's medicine includes facing the end of one's cycle with dignity and courage, death and rebirth, Spirit teaching, guidance in dreams and meditations, instinct linked with intelligence, social and family values, outwitting enemies, ability to pass unseen, steadfastness, skill in protection of self and family, taking advantage of change.
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"Alone on the Canyon Rim" | ©2006, Stephen Conklin, Jr.
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"Looking Over Devil's Canyon, Utah" | ©2006, Stephen Conklin, Jr.
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"Once Upon a Tree at San Rafael Swell" | ©2006, Stephen Conklin, Jr.
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"Evening Shadows Approaching Bryce Canyon" | ©2006, Stephen Conklin, Jr.
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