Animal  Totems

The Bear


Bear is the epitome of the protective mother.  She represents your hidden strength.  Bear says to look inward in order to know ones self.  Her medicine  awakens the power of the unconscious.  Bear’s  cycle of power is the spring and summer.  

Bears  are considered to be a highly desired ally and spirit helper because of its fearless power. It is believed that the power of Great spirit lives though the bear.  The bear holds the teachings of introspection.  When it shows up in your life pay attention to how you think, act and interact.  Use discernment in all that you do and discriminate with care.  Bear teaches you how to make choices from a position of power.  In some traditions bear is the spirit keeper of the West.  The place of maturity and good harvest.  The gifts that bear offers to those with this totem are strength, introspection and knowledge.  Bear teaches the importance of appearance by gathering inner strength and presenting it outwardly.

Unlike other animals who are active during a specific time of day, the bear is active both day and night.  This symbolizes its connection with solar energy, that of strength and power, and lunar energy, that of intuition. It enhances and teaches those with this totem how to develop both within themselves.

Bear can sometimes be too quick to anger and too sure of it own power.  While they have little to fear they can forget caution, which is an important trait to have.  If bear is your totem be careful that you don't throw your caution to the wind.  Being unaware of your limits in certain settings can be disastrous.

There are several types of bear including the Grizzly, Brown, Black, Kodiak and Polar.  Bear has played a prominent role in many Native cultures.  Because of this a constellation was named for it, Ursus Major, The Great Bear. Some tribes  prayed for medicine dreams that would show bear to be their guide.  Others felt the bear was too powerful a medicine and would only hunt them if it meant not starving.

Bears are amazingly fast.  The grizzly and black bear can reach speeds of up to 35 to 40 mph.   And all bears can climb and are therefore associated with trees.  Trees are a powerful and ancient symbol, as is the bear, and both are links to the Heavens and the Earth.  Trees are also a symbol of knowledge, fertility and growth.  

During the winter bears spend several months sleeping in dens without eating, a condition that resembles hibernation. The more fat their bodies have stored up the deeper the sleep.  Bears live on this fat throughout the winter.  It teaches us how to go within and find the resources necessary for our personal survival.  People with bear as their totem will find this cycle of semi-hibernation very natural during the winter months, during which time they may give birth to new ideas or projects that will take root in the spring.  

Bears also have a great fondness for honey.  Honey, the natural sweetness of life, is usually found in hives, located in trees.  Again, this reinforces the connection between the bear and trees.  Use this as a reminder to go within to awaken the power, bring it out into the open and taste the sweetness of life.  

 


The Bison (American Buffalo)

The Bison is a symbol of abundance and manifestation. It has been said that they represent the idea they you do not have to struggle to survive if the right action is joined with the right prayer. When uniting the mundane and the divine appropriately, all that is necessary will be available.

The bison is often mistakenly called buffalo. The buffalo is actually an animal of Asia or Africa. By any name, they are massive and formidable.  

Each aspect of the bison can be broken down into separate message. The large head, for instance, not only symbolizes heaven and the divine, it also represents intelligence and a higher order. The horns, being the most obvious weapon, point up to the heavens. Having four legs grounds the bison to the earth. These two things form the connection between heaven and earth. This may also indicate a need to use your head wisely, being careful not inflict unnecessary harm. Bison also have poor eyesight but acute hearing and an excellent sense of smell. This shows us that even if one of our senses is not as strong as the others, they all can and do work together in harmony.

The bison’s hump symbolizes stored forces and abundance that can be tapped into when needed. The position of the hump, at shoulder level, also symbolizes the ability to embrace life, and to incorporate our own efforts into whatever life has to offer.


The best way to describe a bison is UNPREDICTABLE. They usually appear peaceful, unconcerned, even lazy, yet they may attack anything, often without warning or apparent reason. The bison may appear slow and clumsy, but he can outrun, out turn, and traverse rougher terrain better than most animals, except perhaps the horse. They can move at speeds of up to thirty-five miles per hour and cover long distances at a lumbering gallop. Those with this totem need to remember to see the good in all things and not let their frustration store up inside them.

The bison will also, usually follow the easiest path. If you join the right action with the right prayers, the path is not difficult, and will open and flow easily without the need to push or force our way through. The bison symbolizes the opportunity to effortlessly manifest and move forward towards abundance.

If the bison appears in your life, it is an indication that the law of synchronicity is operating within your life, or is what is needed at that time. Things will happen in the time and manner in which they should. Appropriate right action is called for here.


The bison reminds us to give thanks for what we have, to respect all life forms and to honor the integrity of our own divine essence. It is a symbol of equality, sacrifice and service and can show us how to live in a state of understanding, acceptance and joy. It helps us release our self pity and awakens abundance within our consciousness.  
 


The Blackbird


Representing mystics, the blackbird is said to have a hypnotic hold over others.  It has strongly been connected with omens and is believed to be able to move between the seen and unseen worlds with clarity.  Blackbird medicine can help you to understand the energies of Mother Earth.  Its cycle of power is summer and its messages are of understanding the energies of Mother Nature.

The blackbirds iridescent black plumage holds the energies of mysticism and magic.  Druid legends say that the birds of Rhiannan are 3 blackbirds which sit and sing in the World tree of other worlds.  Their singing puts the listener into a sleep or a trance which enables him or her to travel to the otherworld.  It was said to impart mystic secrets. Those with this medicine often have a hypnotic influence on others as well as an uncanny ability to move between the seen and unseen worlds with clarity.  They make excellent shamans and trance channelers.

Blackbirds are timid and prefer their own company over the company of others.  In humans shyness and insecurity in group settings is common. Vulnerable to outside influences those with this totem need to remember to clear accumulated influences from their energy field on a regular basis.

The male's distinctive song during breeding season is loud and melodious with flute like qualities.  Males often sing from high perches and both sexes produce a variety of sounds which include mimicking other birds.  Blackbird medicine people love to sing and have the ability use their voice to heal and inform. They are also good ventriloquists.

Blackbirds spend much of their time on the ground.   Its locomotion includes walking, climbing and hopping forward and backwards. They forage for food in open spaces although cover is always near by.  When  foraging in leaf litter under trees they sound like people walking . In humans this suggests an ability to remain grounded in the earth energies while walking a spiritual path.

When resting the blackbird is frequently seen stretching, legs extended back, side wings in full extension, tail spread, and the head tilted to one side as if listening.  Yoga and movement therapy are beneficial for those that hold this totem.

The blackbirds flights are low, short and undulating but fast and direct over open country. They move with determination and focus and can teach us how to do the same.  When blackbird flies into your life your connection with nature and the forces of creation increase.  The magic of the underworld surfaces in your life.  Awareness is heightened and change on a cellular level begins.  The blackbird teaches you how to acknowledge your power and use it to its fullest.


The Cardinal


The cardinal is a power packed bird that transforms and awakens us.  She represents renewed vitality through recognizing self-importance.  Her cycle of power is year-round and reflects the rhythm of the number 12 - 12 days, 12 weeks, 12 months or the hour of 12.  Because of it year round cycle, its medicine is available at all times.  Its message is of renewing vitality through recognizing self-importance.

Its color and its voice are its two strongest characteristics.  It is a member of the finch family and is often recognized by its brilliant red color.  The cardinals voice is strong and clear and reflects an air of importance.  This power packed bird can teach you how to express your truth, develop confidence and walk your talk.  If you respect its teachings it will lead you home.  

The eggs laid by the female hatch in about twelve days.  This, along with the cardinal being a year round resident, reflects the rhythm of the number twelve.  The number twelve often has important significance for those with this totem.  It can indicate a turn of events or a life changing situation.  When the cardinal flies into your life expect a change to occur within 12 days, 12 weeks, 12 months or at the hour of 12.  Because this bird is a year round resident its medicine is available at all times and should be used by those with this totem whenever a need arises.

Cardinals have a loud whistle.  Whistles penetrate the air with sharp distinct tones.  They demand our attention urging us to hear what is carried through the air.  Both male and female cardinals join in the whistling.  This reflects the need to integrate our male and female characteristics into our day to day life.  Feminine energy is linked to intuition.  Male energy is linked to perseverance.  If both are operating within our life our intuitive knowledge has the perseverance and strength necessary to manifest our goals and dreams.

Cardinals eat many decaying weeds and injurious insects.  When a cardinal appears in your life it is telling you to pay attention to your eating habits.  Are you eating things that might be injurious to your health?  Is your diet nutritionally balanced?  Extra care should be given to the blood and circulatory system.  Past life ties to overindulgence or the consumption of poisonous substances is often linked to cardinal medicine people.

The bright red color of the cardinal is very symbolic.  Red represents the blood or life force of the Mystic Christ.  In yoga circles this vital force is known as the kundalini.  The kundalini lies dormant within us until activated by a disciplined spiritual practice.  Once activated spiritual power can be attained.  The cardinal offers safe passage into the world of personal power for those who ask for its help.  A great love or a strong dislike for religion and churches is common among cardinal medicine people and can indicate a past life connection with one or both.

When a person with cardinal medicine steps onto a spiritual path there will be no turning back.  Everything else in their life will seem insignificant.  Extra care must be taken here to insure personal happiness, particularly in the area of one to one relationships. Balancing spiritual ideals and physical pleasure will need to be instated in ones life so harmony on all levels is known.


The Coyote


In some native tribes the coyote is referred to as the trickster or joker.  Actually, the coyote is a cunning, clever and amazingly adaptive animal.  There are many stories about the coyote.  He is known as the great one and the foolish one.

 

Coyote does not consciously try to trick us, he mirrors our own human capacity for displaying cleverness and stupidity.  Coyote's cycle of power is year-round and its message is of wisdom and folly.

To the Indian, the coyote is the creator, a teacher and the keeper of magic.  Even when the magic does not work, it serves a purpose. There is always hidden wisdom where the coyote is concerned.

Coyote is playful as well as skillful.  She reminds us not to become too serious and that anything is possible.  Coyote teaches balance wisdom and fun and shows us how they can go hand in hand.  Through the coyote we can reawaken the child within us, open the intellect and stimulate our intuition.

Like the coyote we can work with others to get what we want in life, or we can dive into a lake to catch a reflection.  We can send troubles away or invite them carelessly.  When coyote wanders into your life you are being asked to look at something you have been avoiding.  Coyote is our mirror for the lessons we need to learn in order to walk a good sacred road.  It will hold up the mirror relentlessly until we finally get the picture.

For a long time humans have been attempting to shoot, poison and trap coyote into non-existence.  Instead, birds like the Condor have been nearly wiped out with poisoned meat, and the clever coyote may be more numerous today than ever.  Despite humanities encroachment and aggression, coyote has found a way to walk its walk and survive.

Coyotes usually mate for life.  The father shares in the responsibility of raising a litter.  Both parents will train the pups to hunt. They live in the sides of hills or in underground dens where the family unit is well protected.  They prefer a location close a water source, open grassland and thinly wooded brush, but can adapt to almost any environment.  Because of this they have been able to survive and grow in numbers.

A coyote who gets caught in a trap will gnaw off it’s own paw.  Even with this disadvantage, a mother can go on to raise a healthy litter.  Since coyotes hunt small game not with speed, but by pouncing and snapping with their jaws, the mother will still be able to fulfill her role quite well.  Those with this medicine will go to extreme measures to protect and nurture family members. Words that rip and tear another to shreds should be avoided.  Sporadic bursts of energy are common and balanced action is required for ones overall well being.  Being excellent care takers, coyote medicine people will put other people’s needs before their own.  Care is advised however to give to yourself equally.

Coyote's hunt in cooperative groups.  While one chases, one will rest, then they switch.  They are very organized and teach us the importance of teamwork.  

The howl of the coyote is a social call.  It warns of danger, it calls for assistance and can express the coyote's loneliness.  The howl is very recognizable and reminds us of our primal connections.

Coyote will help you to negotiate a difficult situation.  Thank him for coming and showing you the traps that you may be caught in, or a way that you could be fooling yourself.  Coyote is an especially powerful teacher with regard to relationships because it is when we are in a relationship that we can fool ourselves the most.  Coyote is not out there to get us, but to teach us, whether we want to learn or not.


The Dragonfly


The dragonfly is a symbol of the power of light.  It is skillful in avoidance and has a refined, tenacious and relentless nature. No bird or insect has the flight maneuverability of the Dragonfly. They can twist, turn, change directions in an instant, hover, move up or down, and even fly backwards. The power that dragonfly brings to the tapestry of life is skill. They are experts at what they do and do it relentlessly.

Dragonflies spectacular colors sparkle with iridescence in the sunlight. These colors take time to develop reflecting the idea that with maturity our own true colors come forth.

As newly hatched nymphs, dragonflies live on the bottom of ponds and streams. As they mature and go through metamorphosis they move to the realm of air. Since water represents the emotional body and air represents the mental, those with this medicine will often find themselves trying to maintain balance between their thoughts and emotions.

Children with dragonfly medicine are often very emotional. They feel things deeply and respond to situations with great passion. As they reach adulthood, and through experience, they learn how to balance their emotions with greater mental clarity and control. This gives them the compassionate quality necessary for any type of work relating to healing or counseling.

Dragonfly has the ability to reflect and refract light and colors and is often associated with magic and mysticism. Just as light can bend and shift and be adapted in a variety of ways, so can the archetypal forces associated with dragonfly. It conveys the message that life is never what it appears to be.

By helping a person see through illusion dragonfly awakens ones true vision. Flying at speeds of up to 30 miles per hour they can spot movement forty feet away. Flying into and around things from different angles, they challenge rigid awareness and prompt the energy of change for anyone who holds this medicine.


The Eagle


The eagle is believed to be a sacred messenger, carrying our prayers to the Creator and returning with gifts and visions for the people. It's cycle of power is year-round and daytime.  Its message speaks of the illumination of spirit, healing and creation.

Eagle feathers aid medicine people in calling on this connection when they need to contact spirit.  They are used in powerful healing ceremonies and even for shapeshifting, and are therefore sacred to the Native American people.  Since the eagle is protected by the United States Government, it is illegal for anyone to possess the feathers who are not of Native American blood.  

The eagle is incredibly patient. Often seen perched in a tree maintaining the same position for hours at a time.  Eagle teaches those with this totem how to master the art of patience in every area of their life.  Within the energy of patience "all things are possible."   

Eagles are good at feeding themselves from the land and still soar to great heights in the sky. They teach us how to move through life without becoming attached to anything.  Eagles can teach us the balance of being of the earth but not in it.  They show us how to accept what comes our way and see everything as a gift from great spirit.  They have excellent hearing and can hunt as much by ear as by sight. To those to whom eagle comes, the ability to hear spiritually and psychically will awaken.

Eagles have sharp beaks and strong jaws used for cutting and tearing.  The eagle reminds us to pay attention to our speech and how it affects others.  Eagle asks us to maintain a prayerful connection with Spirit, to keep our minds focused on what is important in life.  Maintaining this attitude removes judgment from our consciousness.  Without judgment we speak with encouragement and kindness towards others. Lessons associated with judgment are part of this medicine.

An eagles feet also offer important lessons.  Eagles have four toes.  Four is the traditional number for keeping oneself grounded. Even though it soars though the sky, the eagle stays connected to the earth.  The talons, being meant for hunting and grasping, also reflect the need to stay connected, to grasp and utilize the things of earth.  Without this connection it would not survive.

Eagles have excellent vision and are a symbol of greater sight and perception.  Perched high in a tree they appear to analyze and observe everything.  If Eagle has blessed you with its presence in some way, you are being given potent gifts of clarity and vision to use for the good of all people helping to bring forth the light out of the darkness. Eagle also serves as a reminder to those with this totem to communicate with Great Spirit daily so the gifts Eagle offers you can be utilized fully.


The Frog


Frog is the cleaner of spiritual energy.  It is peace loving as well as an emotional healer.  Frog represents transformation through water and sound.  Because frogs are found in water and on land they hold the magic of both.

Water has long been associated with emotional cleansing.   Mud the combination of earth and water is used in healing therapies to rid the body of toxins.  The frog is a totem of metamorphosis.  This signifies the awakening of ones creativity.  When frog leaps into a persons life it is an invitation to jump into their creative power.  To do this it is helpful to know which stage of life you are presently in.  By studying the characteristics of the frog the discovery of your present life cycle is known.   

There are numerous species of frogs found all over the world.  Their bodies are designed for jumping and their sharp eyes help them capture their prey, mostly insects.  Because the frogs eyes bulge out from the sides of the head they are able to see in nearly all directions. This provides them with excellent depth perception.

Frogs  have a well developed sense of hearing.  Behind each eye is a large disked membrane, an external eardrum that picks up sound waves and transmits them to the inner ear and then to the brain.  This coupled with their exceptional sight give them both clairsentient and clairvoyant abilities.

The frog produces sound similar to the way humans do by forcing air from the lungs over the vocal cords.  Their variety of complex calls from ribbets to croaks associates it with language. Those with this totem have the potential to take command of the spoken word and are often bilingual.

Tree frogs are strong jumpers and despite their toes being only half webbed they are also strong swimmers. One of the most interesting characteristics of the tree frog is the changing of its colors from bright red, green, orange, to aqua.  Color change is brought about through the stimuli of light and moisture which create physiological change and result in contraction or expansion of the pigment cells in the skin. These bright colors appear on flanks, groin, surface of the thighs and the belly and serve in species recognition or in confusing predators.  One species native to South America has brightly colored eyespots on its rump.  When approached by a predator, the frog lowers its head, elevates its rump thus confronting the predator with a seemingly much larger head. The study of color and its affects on a persons psyche is helpful.

With the exception of a few species, most frogs do not care for their young.  They mate and then abandon their eggs.  Because of this lessons associated with survival are common in frog medicine people.  


The Owl


Being a bird of the night, Owls have long been a symbol of the darkness within and of hidden secrets. Owls symbolize mystery, magic, omens, wisdom and vision. Its medicine is symbolically associated with clairvoyance, clairaudience and astral projection.

Associated with the Goddess Athena, the Greeks believe owls to be a symbol of higher wisdom. To others, owl symbolizes the feminine, the moon and the night. Some associate the owl with reincarnation; and others, with fertility. Owl has been believed to have great healing powers. In some Native American Indian tribes, the Owl is a symbol of protection, while other tribes believe it symbolizes evil or death, and still yet, some believe owls embody the mysteries of shamanism and prophecy.

Active at dawn and dusk owls are sometimes referred to as the night eagle, a messenger from the darkness and a guide through all the mysteries that it contains. It teaches us how to embrace our personal darkness without fear.  Owls are sometimes thought to come to those that are about to die.  This does not mean a physical death as much as it means the letting go of some part of yourself that is not serving you.  Owls with their spectral senses help guide us through the dark tunnels of fear, change and uncertainty to the brilliant  light shining at the other end.  If the owl appears in your life thank it for its willingness to guide you through its shadowy realm to the other side of promise and joy.

There are well over 100 species of Owl.  Their secretive habits, quiet flight and various calls from whistles, screeches, screams, purrs, snorts, chitters, hoots and hisses have made them objects of superstition and even fear. Actually, hooting is often territorial, and also used for courting. Contrary to popular belief, not all owl species hoot. Owls can also make clicking noises with their tongues, often used as a threat. They may also clap their wings in flight as part of a mating display. Individuals with this totem are private complex people and don't like others to know what they are really thinking. This can sometimes lead to misunderstandings especially in the area of personal relationships.

Because owls are predators, they are feared by many birds. For this reason, they are often attacked or harassed by groups of smaller birds. Once the attack begins, many different birds will join in. Interestingly, the owl rarely responds to the harassment, and is rarely injured in any way. The mobbing may succeed in forcing the owl to move on to a different area. The retreating owl is often pursued by the mob. If an owl appears to you, it could be telling you that it is better to walk away from conflict, especially when it is based in the fear of others.  Do not engage in mob mentality.

Owls have many abilities which set them apart from all other birds. Their wings which are extremely soft and thick, allow them to fly silently as they can swoop down on unsuspecting prey.  Silence is something people with an owl totem should practice. Owls are able to slip in and out of places unnoticed and can teach us how to do the same.

All owls have a short, curved, downward-facing beak that is hooked at the end. The bill is curved downwards in order to keep the Owl's field of vision clear. The nostrils are positioned towards the base of the beak. Most Owls have a very poor sense of smell. If owl has entered your life, it may be in your best interest to remain silent, try to clearly see the situation, and keep your nose in your own business.

An owl’s eyes are large and forward facing giving them a wise appearance.  The owls eyes are specifically adapted to detect subtle movements. Their yellow eyes hint of the sun, alive in the night. While the owl can see well in the daytime, they have extraordinary night vision.  The owls forward facing eyes permits the greater sense of depth perception necessary for low light hunting. Although owls have binocular vision, their large eyes are fixed in their sockets so they must turn their entire head to change views.  Those with owl as a totem may find it helpful to meditate upon this aspect of the owl.  A stiff neck could indicate that you are hindering your perception to a great degree.

Owls have a very expressive body language. Many species will bob and weave their head, as if curious about something - this is in fact to further improve their three-dimensional concept of what they are viewing. Do you need to be paying more attention to detail?


As owls are farsighted, they are unable to see clearly anything within a few inches of their eyes. Owls can feel their prey with the use of filoplumes, hair like feathers on the beak and feet that act as "feelers". Their far vision, particularly in low light, is exceptionally good.

To protect their eyes, Owls are equipped with 3 eyelids. They have a normal upper and lower eyelid, the upper closing when the owl blinks, and the lower closing up when the Owl is asleep. The third eyelid is called a nictitating membrane, and is a thin layer of tissue that closes diagonally across the eye, from the inside to the outside. This not only protects the surface, it cleans the eye, clearing its vision, symbolizing new vision opening up to you.  Having owl as a totem may reflect that you were born perceptive, with a vision of others that you may or may not have recoginzed or acknowledged. Often those with an owls as a power totem have a unique ability for seeing into the eyes and souls of others.

An owl’s powers of vision are matched by their almost otherworldly hearing abilities. An owl uses it’s unique, sensitive ears to locate prey by listening for prey movements through ground cover such as leaves, foliage, or even snow. When a noise is heard, the Owl is able to tell its direction because of the minute time difference in which the sound is perceived in the left and right ear. An Owl can also tell if the sound is higher or lower by using the asymmetrical or uneven Ear openings.  It will also occasionally make clicks as a form of echo location.

In studies done with owls that were placed in totally light free rooms, the owls were able to locate a mouse by sound alone. Those with this medicine are usually gifted with clairvoyant and clairaudient abilities.  Souls who are born with this totem have chosen a path which suggests a need to refine and perfect these gifts for the aid of others. They make excellent therapists, psychologists and counselors.

If you work with owl medicine you will learn to see and hear what others try to hide. You will hear what is not being said, and you will see what is hidden or in the shadows.

An Owl's daily activity begins with preening, stretching, yawning and combing its head with its claws. The plumage is often ruffled up, and claws and toes are cleaned by nibbling with the beak. If you find that owl is often showing up, ask yourself; do I need to be more mindful of my appearance?

Those with owl as their totem would do well to examine the individual characteristics of each species of owl, as well as their general characteristics.


The Spider


Spider is a symbol of creativity.  Is the weaver of the web of life and of fate.  Spider is able to interconnect, linking the past and the future, birth and creation.  If spider crawls into our awareness, it is asking us to rebuild the web of our life in accordance with the design God gave us.

Many stories exist about the weaver, Grandmother spider. She carried on her back the gift of fire in a basket that she wove and presented it to the people.  In another story it is said that her web bound all things together and formed the foundation of earth.

These legends give the spider a link to the past and the future, birth and creation.  When the spider crawls into our awareness it is asking us to rebuild the web of our life in accordance with the design the creator gave us.

Spiders differ from insects in having eight legs rather than six and in having the body divided into two parts rather than three. The number eight laid on its side is the symbol for infinity.  The number two implies the union of two forces joined together. Together they equal ten.  Drop the zero and you are back to the starting point of one.  The hidden message of spider is unity. The study of numerology is beneficial for those who hold this medicine.

The construction of a web is linked to the geometry of creation.  In the construction of an orb web the spider releases a sticky silken thread into the wind.  If the breeze carries the thread to a spot where it sticks the first bridge is formed.  Spider cautiously crosses the line reinforcing it with a second.  This process continues until a frame is constructed in which the web can secure itself.  Bridges serve as a link tying all things together and remind us of our interconnectedness to all life.

The spider shows us that the past, the present and the future are all interwoven.  It awakens our intuitive creative senses and encourages us to design the fabric of our lives from our souls original intention.  If you see a spider in its web, or creating a new one, pay attention.  It symbolizes where you are in the weaving of your own destiny.   A study of the medicine wheel and the four directions is helpful.

Because spiders are actually very delicate they embody the energy of gentleness.  Spiders are not usually aggressive unless they are defending their lives.  Moving forward in all situations with a gentle strength is a skill that often needs to be learned for those with this totem.  In man, the bite of a poisonous spider symbolizes a death, rebirth process.  Poison enters the nervous system and the body either transmutes it or falls victim to its venom and dies.

The spider signifies the tapestry of life.  The web we weave is the reality we experience.  Choosing the appropriate path is one of the lessons associated with this medicine.


The Tiger


Tigers are symbols of focus, patience, inner sight, clairvoyance and healing.  Tiger's orange gold coloring represents vitality and regeneration.  Courage, power, energy, strength, will-power, devotion, passion and sensuality are all characteristics of the tiger.  Its cycle of power is nocturnal, the full moon and the new moon.

Tigers are magnificent animals that hold an air of independence and confidence. Being solitary animals, males and females come together only during the mating season. The tiger is an excellent mothers.  The cubs stay with her into their second year, partly because they are born blind. To compensate for this their inner sight is fully operational. This is symbolic for those with this medicine. Children born into this medicine are natural clairvoyants and prophets.

Mysticism and mythology surround the tiger.  The Chinese believe that the tigers head often carries the chinese "mark of wang," or king, on its forehead.  This is can be seen within the patterns of its fur, one vertical line with three horizontal ones passing through it.  Because of this Tiger is one of the 12 signs of Chinese astrology.

Unlike other big cats, tigers are excellent swimmers tying them to the energies and mystical qualities of the element of water.  Water is associated with emotion and intuition.

Muscular, powerful and agile the tiger can travel great distances in search of food. The distance they cover depends on how much prey there is to eat.  The less prey the further their territory extends. Walking on their toes with the back part of the foot raised tigers stalk their prey or lie and wait and then spring unexpectedly on them. Tigers are nocturnal hunters and hold the teachings of focus, patience and surprise.

Tigers are also known for their healing properties.  Their body parts are sought for use in traditional Chinese medicine and exotic herbal remedies. Their orange gold coloring symbolizes vitality and regeneration.  Those with this medicine heal quickly.


The tiger’s sight, smell and hearing is excellent.  They have round pupils and yellow irises, except for the blue eyes of the white tiger.   Due to a retinal adaptation that reflects light back to the retina, the night vision of the tiger is six times better than that of humans.  Tiger teaches us how to see into the world of the extraordinary.

Those with this medicine have a strong sensitivity to touch and make excellent body workers.  Creating sacred space where others cannot enter, spending time alone in order to gather the energy required to move tirelessly throughout life is advantageous for those with this totem. When tiger appears get ready for adventure, challenge and change. The power, passion and vitality of tiger will activate the same components within you.

When tiger comes into your life, expect new adventures that will awaken power and passion in your life.  Expect it to begin within 6-8 weeks and last for at least a year and a half.


The Wolf


The Wolf is a highly intelligent animal, representing loyalty, guardianship, and ritual. It is ultimate symbol of the “wild spirit” within. Wolves are legendary because of their spine-tingling howl, which can strike fear in the bravest of men. However, the howl of the wolf is how they communicate. A lone wolf will howl to attract the attention of their pack. Some howls are territorial in nature, and some may be a warning.   Sometimes the howling begins simply because of the howling of a nearby wolf. If you hear a wolf howl it might be telling you to stand your ground and defend your boundaries.

A lone wolf embodies the energy of freedom, whereas the wolf pack embodies a sense of community. If wolf appears to you alone or in a pack it is asking you to acquire the same within your own life.  In spite of their negative press wolves are actually friendly, social and highly intelligent.

Wolves are the largest members of the dog family. Adaptable gray wolves are by far the most common and were once found all over the Northern Hemisphere. But wolves and humans have a long adversarial history. Though they almost never attack humans, wolves are considered one of the animal world's most fearsome natural villains. For this reason, the wolf is the most misunderstood mammal in nature.  They do attack domestic animals, and countless wolves have been shot, trapped, and poisoned because of this tendency.

Wolves live and hunt in packs of around six to ten animals. They are known to roam large distances, perhaps as much as 10 to 12 miles or more in a single day.  If in pursuit, the wolf might run as many as 30 or more miles in a day, making it the ultimate symbol of stamina and strength. Wolves hunt in packs, relying on endurance to run down weak and older animals.

Being extremely social and organized, wolves not only cooperate during the hunt, they share in the responsibility of raising their pups. They do not fight without cause, rather choosing to avoid conflict. Sometimes a growl, a glance, a posture is all that is necessary to determine dominance. Wolf teaches those with this medicine to know who you are and to develop strength and confidence in what you do.

Wolves convey much with their bodies. If they are angry, they may stick their ears straight up and bare their teeth. A wolf who is suspicious will lay its ears back and narrow its eyes. If a wolf ears are flat against its head, this indicates fear.  A wolf who wants to play dances and bows playfully. Their body language is symbolic for those with this medicine.  Man also uses body language to convey messages.  The study of this art can increase perception in those with this totem.

Wolfpacks are established according to a strict hierarchy, with a dominant male at the top and his mate not far behind. Usually this male and female are the only animals of the pack to breed. All of a pack's adults help to care for young pups by bringing them food and watching them while others hunt.

Wolf teaches you to have a balance between the needs of your family and the needs you have for yourself.  While they are loyal to their pack, they do not give up their individual identity. If a wolf appears in your life you are being asked to look at where you are being too dependent and where you may be too independent. Strike a balance within your family, your work and your social life.


The Woodpecker


The Wood pecker represents knowledge of personal truth, inner strength and mental strength.  Its cycle of power is summer.  


The Woodpecker, known as the Earth’s drummer, is connected to Native American drumming.  Drumming is the heartbeat of mother earth and is associated with shamanism and the ability to move into other dimensions at will.  For those with this totem the woodpecker represents self discovery. As they peck into and through trees and dead wood, hidden layers of ones psyche are revealed. Those with this medicine are good analysts and have strong mental capabilities. They make excellent psychiatrists and psychologists.


Woodpeckers are active birds so caution is advised to maintain balance when reviewing any situation or issue.  Too much analyzing can result in procrastination.

In spring the loud calls of woodpeckers often augmented by drumming on hollow wood are the sounds of males holding territories. Woodpeckers defend their territory aggressively. Those with this medicine need to be in control of their personal environment and will not tolerate others trying to change it.  Although personal space is very important for woodpecker medicine people control issues can sometimes be a problem and flexibility needs to be learned.

Woodpeckers dig into trees to find bugs and grubs to eat which denote digging into something, the art of discrimination and increased analysis. They also has a peculiar way of flying with a rhythm and manner unique to itself.  All of this serves to say, be conscious of flying to your own rhythm, and don't be afraid to dig in to make the best choice for what is right for you, sometimes it also means you need to drum up a little change and get some renewed rhythm!

There are about 180 species of woodpeckers in the world.  Most spend their entire lives in trees.  Woodpeckers are climbers. They climb by propping their stiff pointed tail feathers against a support while shifting its leg hold.  With its body close to the trunk or branch and its head bobbing, the bird hitches upwards, back down spiraling and nimbly darts sideways at incredible speeds.  Because of their speed predators have difficulty catching them.

Their flight patterns are unique. Woodpeckers fly up, coast down then fly upwards again. Those with this totem often find that their path in life won’t always conform to society's standards and that their personal unique rhythm needs to be honored.  Woodpeckers teach us to honor our personal truth and move through life with perseverance and inner strength. By staying grounded in our pursuits our goals can be obtained.

If the Woodpecker has shown up in your life it may telling you to stimulate new rhythms.  Rhythm is a powerful means of affecting physical energies.  Sometimes we get so wrapped up in our daily lives that we neglect our physical bodies. Woodpecker says that you may need to drum out some change in the rhythms of your life.  

Woodpeckers are opportunists. They know when to fly out from a perch to catch insects in the air or on the ground. Their barbed tongues and strong chiseled beaks symbolize life lessons associated with discernment and proper use of speech for those with this totem.

If the Woodpecker flies into your life, it is telling you that the foundation is there.  It is now safe to follow your own rhythms.

We are a part of the natural world, and the natural world is a part of us.  Being such, it is our responsibility

to learn as much as we can about our environment.  Mother Nature and the animals, birds, insects and even

plants, trees and rocks within have much to teach us.  

We fear what we do not know.  We destroy what we fear.  It is important to learn to communicate with

Mother Nature and all of her inhabitants so that we can stop fearing and stop destroying.  

Animals can be wonderful teachers.  Learning to communicate with them will reawaken our childlike beliefs

in magic, and dreams and help us to remember that all things are possible when we learn to believe.