We can learn a lot from nature, not to mention animals. There are many communities around the world that celebrate our relationship with these creatures. This belief system is known as animal totemism.
People who practice animal totemism believe that humans “have kinship or a mythical relationship with a spirit-being, such as an animal.” These animals are thought to offer spiritual guidance and protection. We are able to learn lessons from these animals by the way the live in their natural environment.
The term “totem” comes from the Ojibwa word “ototeman” which means “one’s brother-sister kin.” For Native American and First Nation tribes, totems are associated with a group of people, representing a clan, family or lineage. Other communities that use totems or totem poles include Aboriginal Australians, the Māori people of New Zealand and tribes in African countries like Congo, Uganda and Zimbabwe.
Totems are assigned to people at birth or are a family tradition. Some people choose totems based on spiritual connections, recurring dreams or instinct.
Here are a few animal totem examples:
- Bear. Though these animals are naturally strong and instinctive, they also have a playful side. They remind us to embrace our inner child.
- Coyote. They are considered wise tricksters and represent teamwork and unity.
- Frog. These amphibians represent a bridge between water and land. They represent change/metamorphosis. They also symbolize peace and hidden beauty.
- Horse. These animals are the totems for travelers. They represent swift movements, journeys, freedom and stamina.
- Lady Bug. The little critters are thought to symbolize good luck, love, joy and, at the same time, aloofness.
- Mouse. This animal totem is for dreamers who have an eye for detail and prefer comfort to riches.
- Owl. These birds have become synonymous with knowledge. They also considered clairvoyant and insightful.
- Ox. If you find yourself constantly volunteering or helping others than your animal totem may be the ox. It represents service and determination.
- Peacock. These birds are totems for people who strive to show off their talents with pride. They are considered immortal and majestic.
- Turtle. These animals are for those lead slow-paced and carefree lives. They are shy nurturers known for longevity.
If you want to know what your animal totem is, consider this BeliefNet quiz.