A totem is a spirit being, sacred object, or symbol of a tribe, clan, family or individual. Some Native American tribes’ traditions provide that each person is connected with nine different animals that will accompany him or her through life, acting as guides.


An Animal Totem is an important symbolic object used by a person to get in touch with specific qualities found within an animal which the person needs, connects with, or feels a deep affinity toward.

You can have several animal guides through out your life. Sometimes an animal guide will come into your life for a short period of time, and then be replaced by another depending on the journey or direction you are headed toward. Your guide will instruct and protect you as you learn how to navigate through your spiritual and physical life.

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Bear Totems

Although bears are thought to be ferocious carnivores, they are actually quite playful and eat less meat than some smaller animals -- supplementing their diets with plants and fruit. Bears are astonishingly swift for their size, running 35-40 mph in short distances.

The most common bear is the black bear. This name can be misleading since some black bears are various shades of brown. The Grizzly is most famous for its ferocious strength but is not aggressive by nature. The largest bear is the Alaskan Brown Bear who is a relatively solitary animal. The "cute" Polar Bear is the most aggressive of all bears -- the best hunter and the most dangerous.

Bear teaches us to respect our natural hibernation cycles. Just as Bear rests during winter and reawakens during spring, we need spaces of rest and rejuvenation. Bear calls us to awaken the potential within ourselves and the power of our unconscious mind. Bear reminds us there is a time for playfulness and a time to be assertive.

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Buffalo Totems

Buffalo's humped shoulders and horns indicate stored-up power. When threatened, buffalo create a defensive circle in which cows encircle the calves, and bulls encircle the cows. When provoked, buffalo can be unpredictably dangerous.

The Plains Indians hold the buffalo sacred. Tribes would offer prayers of gratitude both before a hunt and after a buffalo was killed to honor the spirit of the animal that provided them meat, shelter, and clothing.

Buffalo reminds us to give thanks for what we have, and pay tribute to the sacrifice of life that allows us to survive. It comes to teach us to reconnect with the Earth, respect all life, and honor our own divine essence.

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Cougar Totems

This cat goes by several names including Mountain Lion, Panther, and Puma. They are solitary cats who, unlike other cat species, are active during the day. They are also the most widely distributed cats in the Americas. These elusive hunters will pounce on their prey with a strong short burst of energy after studying its movements, never hesitating, showing none of its movement is wasted.

Cougar spirit will teach us to assert ourselves, and take control of our life so we can become leaders. Cougar's graceful swiftness shows us how to understand the natural flow of our environment and move into a position of leadership.

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Coyote Totems

Coyotes, also known as the Desert Wolf, are recognizable by their thick bushy tail, pointy nose, and ears. In the winter their coat grows thick to protect them from the harsh weather. They can run up to 30 mph, and their call will be heard up to 3 miles. Coyotes can live in urban areas as long as food and shelter is available. They form loose family groups which form for short periods of time then break apart, depending on the food supply. This large group formation will work together to catch deer. Normally coyotes hunt alone or in pairs. In this situation, one may intentionally chase small prey into the jaws of another coyote so they both can share a meal. A good way to tell a coyote apart from a wolf is its tail, which they carry low while the others carry their tails high.

Coyote teaches us to laugh at our mistakes so we won't get mired in the pain of life's lessons. Coyote comes into our lives when we need to understand the balance of wisdom and foolishness.

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Deer Totems

Deer is a keen observer, enabled to see well in low lighting and its sensitive hearing allows it to perceive a twig snap in the distance. For the first few days of life a fawn hardly moves, hidden by the color of its coat from predators. Once it can stand, it follows its mother around to learn how to survive. The graceful movement and gentle nature of these creatures show us the innocence of nature.

Deer is a messenger of serenity, can see between shadows and hear what isn't being said.

Deer teaches us to maintain our innocence and gentleness so we can share our open-heartedness with others.

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Eagle Totems

Eagles hunt with sight and sound, seeing eight times greater than humans because their eyes are closer to the front of their head. Their incredible sight and hearing makes them good at feeding themselves from the land while flying at great heights. They use their feathers as little winglets to reduce turbulence which increases lift. Eagles use their back talons to kill small prey while using their front three to grasp the prey securely. Their sharp beaks cut and tear while using their strong jaw muscles to crush their prey.

Both male and female eagles incubate the eggs. If humans encroach on an Eagles' nest or touch the eggs or nest, the Eagle will likely abandon them.

Native Americans send their prayers to Eagle, so as he rises above the chaos to meet the Creator and return, he will return with a vision for the people. Hence their feathers are considered great aids making spiritual contact in prayer with Eagle.

Eagle shows us that people with high ideals need to be able to spread their wings so they can reach for the stars. Eagle brings the gift of clarity of vision. As long as we follow our intuition we will be heading in the right direction.

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Elk Totems

Elk are seldom seen alone, preferring to live in large herds. This does not mean they don't need some personal space. If they are cornered they will make full use of their magnificent antlers. They are known to fight aggressively with other elk for mating rights, and it is not uncommon for them to draw blood over this matter. Nevertheless, they can be unpredictably passive one moment and aggressive the next.

An elk's incredible stamina enables them to run for long periods of time, while their strong reflexes allow them quick response to anything in their path. They never graze at night, and if the herd is attacked they will bolt in every direction to confuse the predator.

Elk's regal demeanor reminds us that if we are confident, we can claim our Empowerment. It teaches us to maintain and protect ourselves by taking time out. Elk realizes it is important to remain closely connected with community, and be observant of subtle energies.

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Fox Totems

Foxes are highly adaptable creatures who will move into urban surroundings when, their habitat is encroached on by humans. They maintain a territory, but it greatly decreases when they live in urban areas as opposed to hill country. Each territory is kept by one family group, which consists of a dog fox, vixen, and their cubs. If there is a good food supply then the family group can expand to include a few other adults. Nevertheless, only one vixen will produce cubs in the group. As for food, foxes are not too picky eating anything from earthworms, crabs, and fruit to small mammals. They bury the excess prey to eat when the food supply is short.

Fox's clever nature makes it a master of camouflage. When hunted by hounds, Fox will psyche them out by doubling back on its own trail, and run around in circles to break the scent. It has the amazing ability to meld into the background, allowing it to quietly observe the situation around them.

Fox comes to us when we need to slip out of a situation so we can be silent witness to what is really taking place behind the scenes. We need to use our cleverness to our advantage, but we must remember to be discreet. Fox asks us to carefully look at where we are coming from, so we can remember to approach things with a clear conscious.

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Frog Totems

Frogs can jump 20 times their body size in one leap. As adults they breathe from their lungs and absorb oxygen through their moist skins. They use their tongues, which are covered in a sticky mucus, to catch prey. If they eat something poisonous they regurgitate their entire stomach. Tadpoles can live out of water as long as they remain moist. They will eat their own tails and it is absorbed as it grows into a frog. Frogs can be hypnotized by shining a light at both of their eyes or being placed on their back and having their stomach gently stroked.

Frog understands how stress can create a whirlwind of negative energies, and reminds us to refresh ourselves so we won't get burnt out. It brings cleansing power through tears of sorrow or joy. Frog knows the importance of releasing our pains with a shower of cleansing water so we can transform into who we are meant to be.

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Hawk Totems

Hawks are predatory birds with remarkably sharp claws (talons) and whose size greatly varies within the 250 species. Female hawks are usually larger than the males. These raptors hunt during the day employing the use of their fierce talons to tear apart their prey.

Most hawks live in prairies, marshlands, forests, or open savannas. In these habitats they use their acute vision to hunt their food and raise their offspring. Hawks are fearless birds who will even face off with poisonous snakes if necessary.

Hawks piercing shriek tears through the air. In its shrill cry lies an important message which represents illumination. Hawk teaches us to scope out the situation and focus on our talents, trying to draw them out. Hawk learns to see the big picture in order to understand the past, present, and future. Hawk asks us to be observant of surroundings so we won't get distracted from our path by others. It also reminds us not to get caught up in minor annoyances so we can maintain our inner balance.

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Horse Totems

The horse was introduced to this continent by the Spanish, transforming this continent by providing its inhabitants with a freedom of movement and travel no other animal could provide. They pulled wagons and provided a speedy form of travel for the Natives. Because of the horse these people were now able to travel great distances along with their belongings.

Pegasus, Centaur and Unicorn are forms horses have taken throughout mythology. These magical creatures can see the essence of a man's soul. Once wild horses were in the millions, currently there are only a few hundred herds left. They were pushed off the land by humans and hunted for domestication. Despite domestication, their strong love of freedom has kept their spirit alive.

Horse represents freedom and power. Horse people are wild spirits that cannot be broken. If Horse comes to you, look for safe passage into the new. We must synchronize our motives with that of others so we can quickly and steadily reach our goals.

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Lizard Totems

A lizard's keen sense of vibrations from the ground, excellent hearing and sharp eyesight enables them to detect the slightest movement. One fascinating ability lizards have, is being able to break off their tails to escape predators. As their tail is writhing, it distracts the predator so the lizard can make its escape. Unfortunately, a lizard can only do this once because the tail grows back cartilage instead of vertebrae.

In myths and lore, Lizard is associated with dreaming. Dreams awaken our unconscious mind and make us aware of issues we haven't been ready to face in our conscious lives. Lizard appears when we need to analyze our present reality and brings the message for immediate change in some area or areas of our life. This change can represent letting go of old ideas or negative behaviors which endanger our growth.

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Moose Totems

Though moose appear awkward, they possess a gracefulness with which they move easily through deep snow and unstable terrain. Their excellent depth perception, and sense of hearing enable them to know when to camouflage themselves. This is an incredible feat since the adult male can stand 7 feet tall and weigh 1,200 pounds. These animals can be unpredictable by either running away when they see you, ignoring you, or mauling you.

Moose calves are born with their eyes open, and those with this totem are usually born with their inner eyes open. Moose uncovers the depth of who you are and aligns you with your inherent wisdom. Moose teaches us to value ourselves and reward ourselves for a job well done.

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Otter Totems

The otter's white whiskers have gained them the nickname of "Old Men of the Sea." As the smallest of all mammals, male otters grow to just over 4 feet long, including their tail.

Otters have huge appetites and will normally eat 5,000 pounds of food a year. Though they'll eat any type of marine animal, they prefer the slower moving prey.

Sea otter babies are almost the same size as their mothers.

Otter brings understanding of our childlike self and asks us to rediscover our playful side. In its wisdom it advises us to nurture our talents and make good use of them.

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Owl Totems

Owls, which have been called cats with wings, are the silent hunters of the night. Their downy feathers and the front edge of their wings have a fringe which silences their flight. The wings are substantially bigger than their actual body making their slow smooth flight all the easier.

These birds also have a third eyelid which moves from side to side to clean their vision. An owl's eyes are fixed in the socket, however to be able to see all around, their incredibly flexible necks can rotate 270 degrees in any direction. An owl's vision and hearing work harmoniously enabling them to eat their body weight on a daily basis.

Owls know when to move silently and when to be still, which makes them the keepers of secrets. These solitary birds don't feel the need to proclaim their presence to anyone until the timing is right. Owl comes to us when we need to open our eyes, and study the situation at hand. If we watch and listen with our inner selves we can figure out what is happening behind the scenes, and confront those who are trying to deceive us at the appropriate time.

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Rabbit Totems

Rabbits normally live alone in the wild, making their homes by burrowing underground. Rabbits are curious animals who like to explore their surroundings. They live on a few acres of land & become familiar with every square inch. They are territorial creatures who will fight over their piece of land. Their eyes can see in every direction, so they will watch a bird in the air while watching a predator on the ground. When aroused, their ears stand up. All these characteristics combined with their willingness to run away, are what rabbits use to defend themselves against predators.

Rabbit is often connected with fear because they are timid and constantly on guard. Rabbit wants us to learn how to face our fear and know when to defend our space or walk away.

Rabbit shows us that defending ourselves doesn't always involve fighting back. He teaches us to listen carefully to what is going on in our environment so we can accurately use our intuition when in danger.

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Raven Totems

Ravens are the largest songbirds in North America. Their bodies are covered in rich black plumage, which shines with an iridescent bluish color. Though often mistaken with crows, ravens are much larger and their croak is more raucous. Ravens are intelligent masters of mimicking the calls of other animals and have also been known to mimic some human words. They are good at finding food and communicating with other ravens where food is located.

It is their natural talent of recycling, which has gained these birds a bad rap. They do a good job cleaning up nature by eating dead animals. Ravens further recycle by using the same nests year after year, and bringing in new materials for repairs if necessary. These birds build their nest in large trees or the sides of cliffs where they usually lay 4-5 eggs. They don't wander far from where they were raised and will only get a new mate if one of the pair dies.

Ravens are known as the "keeper of secrets" in several native tribes, and are the teachers of mysticism. They have been wrapped in a wealth of myth and lore throughout many cultures and ages. Their black color and diet of dead animals associates them with the vast void of darkness, which is representative of the unconscious.

Raven flies to us with heightened awareness and greater understanding of our consciousness. It is with this new perception that we begin seeing into the hearts of others and experience their feelings. Raven asks us to experience the transformation it brings within our multidimensional self, and be reunited with the mysteries of the universe so we can expel our inner demons.

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Snake Totems

Snakes smell with their tongues, and that's why it flickers out of their mouth so much. An amazing aspect of snakes is their ability to shed their skin and create a new layer. Before they shed their skin, their eyes cloud over giving them a trance like appearance. Once they have fully shed their old skin, their eyes clear up and they leave the place, never looking back.

Snake comes when we are moving toward change and need to let go of a part of our old self. Snake awakens our spiritual intuition allowing us to explore the mysterious depths of our mind and soul. Its unblinking stare looks into our souls and teaches us how to birth untapped power and creative wisdom.

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Turtle Totems

Turtles love the water. In fact they spend a lot of time in the water and some go ashore only to lay and bury their eggs. There are some 250 types of turtles found in the world, 48 of which live in the United States. Turtle survival is highly based on their body structure. They use the shell (which is actually their backbone and ribs) on their backs as their home and can retreat into it when they sense danger. Another way turtles survive is by sensing vibrations in the water through their skin and shell. If a turtle is flipped over when hiding in its shell, it will use its strong neck to flip itself back over. Turtles have slow metabolisms which enable to live a long time.

Turtle teaches us to be careful in new situations and to be patient in reaching our goals. Turtle also teaches us to take things slow, for it gives us time to figure out if we need to protect our self or forge ahead. Turtle shows up in our lives when we need to go into shell and wait until our thoughts & ideas are ready to be expressed. He also teaches us to be adaptable to our environment so we can find the harmony within it.

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Wolf Totems

Wolves are the epitome of stamina, known to run 35 miles a day in pursuit of prey. They are highly misunderstood animals, who have gained the reputation of being cold blooded. In reality wolves are friendly and social creatures. Aggression is something they avoid, preferring rather to growl or create a posture to show dominance.

Even though living in close knit packs provide wolves with a strong sense of family, they are still able to maintain their individuality. Wolves represent the spirit of freedom, but they realize that having individual freedom requires having responsibilities.

Because wolf is a teacher and pathfinder, he comes when we need guidance in our lives. Those who have a Wolf Totem will move on to teach others about sacredness and spirituality. Wolf can also teach how to balance the responsibility of family needs and not to lose one's personal identity.

Wolf teaches us to develop strength and confidence in our decisions. He shows we will learn to trust our insights once we learn how to value our inner voice. This wisdom keeps us from inappropriate action. If wolf appears in your life examine where you need to develop more confidence and if you need more balance between friends, family, and yourself.

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