A lot of cultures from across the globe have a spiritual traditions which relates different character traits to certain animals. In many of these cultures, a person will embark on a journey of discovery, or vision quest, in order to discover and connect with their spirit animal, or animal totem. Once the difficult part of discovering and communing with your animal totem is done, the real work of understanding what that reveals to you begins.
While each culture has a different tradition regarding animal totems, what is truly surprising is how many times the symbolism behind each animal is shared between different cultures. It’s not simply enough to recognize your animal totem; you must also know what it represents and how that influences your life.
Common Animal Totem Meanings
There is a large variety of birds and each different species carries its own meaning and symbolism. Generally speaking, birds are an animal of the air and tend to be related to matters of knowledge and spiritual connection. Since they fly in the air, birds are flying creatures that are also seen as messengers who bring us knowledge and wisdom from the heavens.
As one of the most powerful and complex animal totems, a bear totem is a sign to find the balance between being peaceful and patient with power and authority. Remember, you’ll often find bears relaxing in a sunny spot or playing with their young, but when danger approaches, beware of their swift fury. One important key on how to interpret an animal totem of a bear is to study whether the bear is hibernating or not, and to use that as your guide to its meaning.
Much like birds, there is a wide variety of specific meanings when it comes to fish and other animals that make their home in the water. Most of their underlying meanings are related to purity and freedom and relate to our deepest thoughts and motives. Across spiritual traditions, fish are a symbol of fertility and abundance, which relates to your creativity, happiness and good fortune.
No, don’t worry or shrink in fear. A spider as an animal totem is not a reason to cringe. The spider as an animal totem is a sign to think about the choices that you are making in life and what you are building. Think less of the eight legs and more of the intricate webs that spiders build. Take time to reflect on the life and home that you are building for yourself. Will it stand the test of time and be a place of nourishment and security, or will it fall apart in the wind?
Often having a reputation for being aloof, mysterious and clever, cats as an animal totem are a sign of change and transformation. It’s a reminder to ourselves that remaining flexible and adaptable will serve us well during times of upheaval.
Throughout time and spanning many cultures, dogs are often portrayed as guardians of the spiritual realm. Known for their loyalty, obedience and protection, dogs are domesticated creatures that are often happy companions to humans. Let this be your guide you in your relationships and ask yourself how you can better serve, protect and love the people who are most important to you.
Remember, your animal totem may change as your life circumstances change. Every different animal totem has an important message for you to accept and incorporate into your life. Be cautious to not immediately dismiss your animal totem based on your personal preferences and be sure to delve deep into what it can mean for your life and spiritual journey.