The concept of following symbolism through one’s dreams or during meditation has a vast history. Shamanisms, Greek Mythology, European Farmers during the Neolithic period, Hermetic, Kabbalistic, yogis, and Native Americans have all followed some form of the Underworld or Otherworld. An animal many times guides the traveler through this sacred place and for the Native American this animal was represented on a totem.
Totems through history have been used to represent a tribe, clan, family, or individual. An individual totem, believed by Native Americans, is linked to each person. Throughout one’s journey it is believed that one central animal totem will be the primary guide with other animals joining in to help that individual during their life. These secondary animals can come and go depending on what is happening in one’s life. While there are thousands of animals only nine are recognized as animal totems.
Described below are the directions on how to mediate and find your animal totem. But some believe that the process of merely choosing an animal either at the zoo, through a collection, or as simple as picking a garden spigot can give one insight into the animal that would represent an individuals totem.
Gardening spigots can be mundane in nature but can quickly be turned into a piece of art. This art can make a personal statement about the homeowner and a cosmic announcement if one follows their own animal totem.
An animal totem or guide is one that is a discovered through self-exploration. To find ones animal totem requires performing an exercise that invites an animal into your realm. These steps are better performed outside but can be done indoors. But remember this exercise takes room so plan ahead. First in whatever environment you choose face east or south. These directions are the easiest to work with in this exercise. Then start drumming and becoming one with the drumbeat as you sit facing east or south. As this process continues start to build your inner World Tree. This tree takes in nourishment from breathing in and pulling energy up from the earth. This energy continues to the very top of the tree. Breathing out returns the energy back to the earth.
When one feels their inner World Tree is energized stand up and increase the pace of the drumbeat. Start moving around the chosen environment clockwise while following the beat. As you let the music move you call upon all world’s creatures to join you in the dance. As this mental invitation continues one will begin to sense a presence, feel the brush of a wing, hear the howl of wolves, and the croaks of the frogs. All the sounds and sensations of the animal kingdom will come into your realm.
Continue dancing but pay attention to what your body is doing. Your gait may change and your hands and arms may perform differently. When you feel your animal totem approaching invite within and dance together. When the time is right stop dancing and slow your breathing down until it regains rhythm. At this point welcome your animal totem into your soul.
Keep in mind you do not choose your animal totem it picks you. Also remember that your animal totem will change and sometimes more than one will be present at the same time. Also remember it is not size of the animal that is important but instead the personal characteristic that each animal possess and why they chose you.
Below is a brief list of animal totems that also have counterparts in spigot designs. Following ones animal totem in spigot selection will help one create a personal Zen experience in the garden.
This animal totem is a companion to all rain spirits. Individuals who follow this totem possess hidden beauty and power that shows up as ability to be sensitivity to others. They are also healers and interpreters of sound throughout the body.
The dragonfly totem is one that has control over air, water, and light magic. This totem reminds us that we all are made of light and have control over how that light is reflected if we choose too.
One who renews their energy through understanding their own self-importance represents this animal totem.
The chickadee totem is a truth seeker who has unquenchable thirst for knowledge.
An individual who is known to be a shapeshifter represents this animal totem. These individual are also known to go through transmutation while bring a dance of joy to all that follow them.
This animal totem is in a group of animals that provide nourishment and protection. It is also known to be a great teacher of mindfulness.
The symbol of water is represented by this animal totem. Individuals who associate with this animal totem typically are good at navigation, patience, and setting boundaries. They also inspire others through self-reliance, stubbornness, and handling confrontations by nonviolent means. The turtle totem also provides psychic protection while representing the female creative energy of Mother Earth.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Mindy McIntosh-Shetter has been an Agricultural Science educator, and is a horticulture and/or environmental blogger who earned a degree from Purdue University in Agriculture Education with a minor in biology, and natural resources. Presently she is finishing up her Masters in Environmental Education and Urban Planning for the University of Louisville while working on her own agriculture/environmental blog.