Animal Totems: When, Where and Why


"It's an ever-intriguing question. When we ask it, our mind moves into the jungle, the tundra, the forest, the desert, the search of creatures big and small that have somehow felt like our mascots, guardians, or allies." — Kim Krans

30 years ago or so I caught sight of a duck swimming, calm and smooth, on the Connecticut River somewhere in the center of the state. The energy called to me: at that time, my totem animal was the duck.

Many years later, I have journeyed with the Buffalo, the Owl, the Snake, Wolf and Lion. I have raised sheep and walked with the Ewe, Lamb, Ram and Whether. Today, I am constantly in companionship with the Buffalo, Owl and Snake. 

What does that mean? Let's take the Buffalo: Kim succinctly identifies the qualities of trust, practicality and spirituality. "The hooves of the nightly Buffalo are grounded in the earth, yet its heart and mind rise toward heaven. The buffalo sees challenge, hardship or a bump in the road as an opportunity for upliftment. Therefore the Buffalo does not fear death, illness or misfortune..." The Buffalo is sacred: soft and gentle, protective and true. The Buffalo reminds us of the gift of life—in all that that can possibly represent. The Owl? The Owl symbolizes abundance, clairvoyance and treasures. "A mysterious and otherworldly creature" of great, quiet wisdom. The Snake is the "guardian of unawakened magic and creative potential." The symbol of our highest potential and an awakening. 

When creature cross my path, I consider. If a Raven flies and sweeps as I walk, I contemplate the Raven...and the "Raven-ness" in my life. Profound wisdom surrounds us in nature:  Pause. Consider.

• The Wild Unknown Animal Spirit deck by Kim Krans
Medicine Cards, Discover of Power Through the Ways of Animals by Jamie Sams and David Carson
• Seek out web links on animal totems: there are checklists, guided meditations and documentaries.