Native American Totems
Many people may confuse a totem with what is known as a totem pole. A totem is actually an animal guide that is assigned to an individual; a totem pole is a piece of wood that is carved with a persons totems. Native Americans tradition states a person is assigned nine animal guides that provide spiritual direction both in this life and the next. Among these nine is one main guardian spirit that is designated as the totem animal. This guardian can convey wisdom and direction only if a person recognizes the animal and understands how to communicate with it.
In order to figure out your own totem animal, you must first be open the possibility that these Native American totems are, in fact, entirely possible. Once you have come to terms with this possibility, think back over your lifetime and how you have interacted with animals. Have you always been particularly drawn to one animal at the zoo, or just when looking at pictures? Remember that this animal could be a bird, or even an insect. Is there one animal in particular that you have always found intriguing, or even frightening?
Many people often dream of a particular animalthis could be a comforting dream or even a nightmare. Do you have this type of dream repeatedly? Do you awake with a feeling of deeper awareness or spiritual awakening? While our culture tends to shrug off this uncanny connection to animals, this spiritual tie is the basis of Native American totem tradition. Perhaps you have always felt drawn to a figure or symbol of one animal; many tribes would tell you that this is because that animal is reaching out to be your personal totem guide. Common totem animal guides include bulls, bears, cheetahs, crows, crocodiles, and dogs. Also keep in mind that those of us who are not aware of the totem tradition may find this connection frightening, until we understand the purpose of the totem guide.
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