Animal Totems are powerful energies
lives. I've created this page to explore
the meanings behind animal totems and
how to work with animal medicine.
We each have animal totems or power animals that
are unique to us. Often these totems will take the
form of a beloved pet or actual animal that finds it's
way into your life. Most times, however these
animals appear to us energetically. That is to say
their presence is made known to us through tv
programs, sightings of the animal, dreams, recurring
conversations, visions, etc. If one but pays attention
to their world they will begin to see the animal totems
that already exist in their life.
Once we open to this type of energy and thinking we
have opened ourselves to call on any animal totem
at any time. We are able to call these energies into
our lives by focusing on them through prayer,
ceremony or intention. This is the very essence of
Bison (north American buffalo)
We were in the car driving to dinner when my
partner looked at me and asked, “What is the animal
for this week?” I tried to act cool, knowing that I had
nothing to offer as a response. I stepped into that
all familiar prayer of the desperate when he said,
“we’re going to Buffalo Wild Wings…the buffalo
would be a cool animal totem.” I couldn’t deny it. I
had asked for an answer and one was instantly
given. It was quite evident that the buffalo
represents prayers answered.
This is in fact the truest essence of this animal’s
medicine. The Native Americans were
hunter/gatherers, often suffering great losses to
starvation, especially during the winter months.
They prayed to Great Mystery/ Great Spirit for
relief. They asked for abundance for the people. It
was then that the White Buffalo Calf Woman
appeared to the people and bestowed upon them
the blessing of prayer and manifestation. She
brought them the understanding of asking and
receiving of what we desire in life.
The Native peoples were saved as a race due in no
small part to the hunting of the bison. Great prayers
were said before the taking of this animal’s life and
no part of it was wasted after the fact. The bison
literally clothed, fed and housed the people. The
relationship between prayer and manifestation in the
physical is the greatest understanding the bison
brings to us. Showing reverence to the spirit that
resides within all things is the mark of the spiritual
Bison have huge heads and humped shoulders.
These over-exaggerated features teach us the
value of combining higher thinking with physical
effort. The head is the seat of thought and higher
spirituality, while the shoulders represent physical
action. The unification of these to aspects creates
an amazing ability to affect our physical reality. The
connotation of “as above so below” takes on a
deeper, truer meaning when bison appears in your
life. By marrying our thoughts with our actions we
empower ourselves to create our lives as we would
have them be.
Bison are herd animals. This understanding of the
safety in numbers and the group mentality is
essential for some to understand their roles in life.
For many, the ability to simply blend in and become
one of the masses is quite important. This thought
can also be taken to mean that we are all in this
together and we are, in fact, our brother/sisters
The bison is often known as a buffalo, a term that
refers to African and Asian animals. The one thing
that ties all of these animals together is the fact that
tribal peoples depend on them for survival and
connection to their physical world. All tribes survive
on the principal that everyone has a role and that all
roles are necessary. If everyone in the tribe does
his or her part the tribe will survive. If each
individual does not fulfill his or her roll the tribe is
weakened. Bison reminds us of this
interdependency of all things.
Blue whales are the largest animal on the planet
today and are most likely the largest animal to ever
live on planet Earth. Blue whales can reach over a
hundred feet in length. They can weigh up to 150
tons and their hearts are the size of a small car. In
fact, the blue whale is so large that it could not
survive on land as it would be crushed under it’s
own weight. This reminds us how important it is to
be supported by our surroundings and
The mother nurses Blue Whale babies for six
months. The milk is so rich that it allows an amazing
rate of growth, ten pounds an hour or over 200
pounds in a single day. Such rapid growth and
expansion is a powerful energy that whales can
bring to your endeavors. The milk represents
having everything provided that is necessary for this
growth to occur in your life. It also reminds us to
take in the richness that life has to offer.
Blue whales are mammals, which means they
breathe air. They surface every five to ten minutes
to take a breath but can hold their breath for long
periods of time while diving to incredible depths.
The balance between the emotional energy of water
and the intellectual energy of air can help us to
learn to balance our thoughts and feelings. Whales
are “voluntary” breathers. This means that they
choose when they take a breath as opposed to the
automatic way that we breathe. Being able to
choose when and how to take in what you need is a
remarkable talent that whale can teach us.
The scientific name of the Blue Whale translates into
“the mouse whale”. This is obviously a humorous
statement for the largest animal on the planet.
Being able to laugh at ourselves and to always
maintain a sense of humor is the hallmark of this
Blue whales have a huge migratory path that they
follow each year. They travel from cold feeding
grounds to warmer water for reproduction,
symbolizing the need to transition into the proper
environment to create that which we want in our
lives. It is believed that the Blue Whale has the
ability to follow the magnetic currents along the
ocean floor to find its way. For those wishing to
develop their intuition whale can show you how to
trust your inner guidance, especially when you aren’
t able to see where your intuition is leading you in
the physical world.
The Blue Whale emanates a low grumbling call.
Their songs can be louder than a jet airplane and
allows them to communicate with other whales
hundreds of miles away. Anyone working on
endeavors concerning mass or long distance
communication can benefit from whales abilities.
Remember though, when we empower ourselves
with such a strong voice we are also taking on a
huge responsibility to use that voice is a way that isn’
t damaging or threatening to others. There is great
power in our words and we must remain mindful of
what it is we are sending out into the world.
Amazingly powerful, the Blue Whale is poetry in
motion as it glides easily and quickly through the
water. Strength and power are nothing without
grace and poise. The Blue Whale can not only help
you to gain great strength and personal power, but
can also teach you how to use that power with a
This enormous creature feeds on Krill. Quite
literally, the largest animal feeds on one of the
smallest. We are reminded through this that even
the tiniest detail can make all the difference in our
quest for personal expansion. It also shows us that
there is nothing that comes into our world, no matter
how small, that doesn’t in some way affect our
Floating softly on the breeze, butterfly brings
change and transformation and the magick of color
into our lives. Ya ya, I know. Winter is upon us and I’
m talking about butterflies. It may seem odd to
many, but to me the butterfly is a perfect totem to
call upon at this time of year. Many people suffer
from seasonal depression at this time of year. The
holidays are upon us…the skies are more grey and
less sunny…one year ends as another begins…and
let’s not forget family. All of this can add up to a lot
of emotional “stuff” to deal with. The bright colors
and seemingly carefree nature of the butterfly can
help give us that little lift we need to get through this
time in the joyous manner that we should.
All butterflies start as a caterpillar, and then enter a
cocoon to finally emerge as a strikingly beautiful
creature ready to take flight. This ability to
transform is a powerful gift of this totem and should
be used anytime you face significant change in your
life. It reminds us that all things in life move in cycles
and the importance of honoring all of the identities
and stages of our lives.
When the caterpillar enters into its transformative
stage it forms a cocoon around it. By observing this
we can see the need for times of rest and feeling
protected and secure during major changes in life.
It also shows us the value of making changes on our
own without having to make a public fanfare about
it. Some of the greatest personal changes we can
have are ones we do not talk about but simply
undertake on our own.
Some butterflies migrate over huge distances.
Monarchs are most known for this. The idea of
returning “home” is essential for those with this
totem and many will find that they have a safe place
that they must return to from time to time to
recharge themselves and prepare for the next step
The life stages and ideas of migration both speak to
the concept of timing. Being able it recognize when
it is time to move on and when it is time to act or
remain at rest is essential to really achieve our
greatest goals and ambitions. Butterfly can assist
us in attuning ourselves to this divine timing.
Anyone wishing to work with color therapy or to
enhance his or her own aura should call on butterfly
medicine. The diversity of colors and patterns can
bring healing to any aspect of our lives. When
butterfly shows up in your life pay attention to the
colors. I strongly recommend reading up on the
colors and their meanings when such a totem
The next time you see yourself needing to deal with
change in your life take a minute and ask the
butterfly to help you. Close your eyes and think of
yourself entering into your cocoon of safety and
personal growth, allow yourself the grace of divine
timing in your situation and then see yourself
emerging in vibrant colors ready to spread your
wings and let spirits gentle breeze carry you to your
next expression in life.
As I was looking at the field across from my house I
saw two animals in the distance running back and
forth. I grabbed the binoculars in time to see two
coyotes playing a game of tag with each other.
They nipped and ran and were obviously having
quite a bit of fun. Then, just as I was totally caught
up in the game, they disappeared into the tree line.
Just like that the game was over and they were on
their way. I found myself thinking about their
carefree manner and love of the chase with each
other. They seemed to be trying to tell me
something even though they were seemingly
unaware of my presence in any way.
Coyote teaches us the amazing gift of being able to
laugh at ourselves. Coyote is known as “the
trickster”. Many confuse this as being an
adversarial energy but nothing could be farther from
the truth. Coyote wants only to help us find humility
and humor when we would normally take ourselves
far too seriously. When coyote comes into our lives
it is often during a time of great stress or troubles.
Coyote only wants to help you through such times
with laughter and perspective.
Coyotes are devoted family members. The male
and female share in the parenting duties and spend
a great deal of time teaching the pups how to be the
best coyote they can be. The desire to pass along
what has been learned is a strong need within many
of us, and coyote can help us to step into our role
as a teacher. Coyote reminds us that the difference
between knowledge and wisdom is experience.
When we share our experiences with another it not
only provides them a chance to learn through us but
it also allows us to gain new perspective on our own
Coyotes often hunt in a cooperative manner, each
taking a turn to run down the prey until it tires
enough to be caught. This ability to work with others
and the understanding of when to “pass the torch”
can help many of us to accomplish greater goals
than we could working alone. Coyote is so well
versed in this that they will even work with other
animals, such as the badger when hunting. By
stepping outside of their own kind they often achieve
greater successes. This shows us the value of
breaking out of old ways of doing things and helps
us to embrace the ways of others that come into our
A coyote will often use the same den for years.
However, they only use it as a base of operation.
They will have babies there, retreat for safety and
rest or simply hide out in their den but then they
always feel the pull to roam again. Many of us can
benefit from the notion of returning to our sacred
space to recharge our energy and our spirit to
accomplish the next task. Coyote helps us to
understand the value of our home in our lives while
also teaching us that adventure and experience
await us whenever we are ready to pursue them.
Although coyotes are often rough in appearance
they are the keepers of great understanding and
wisdom. The next time you find yourself taking life
too seriously don’t be surprised if coyote comes
loping into your world to make you step back and
laugh at yourself.
It never ceases to amaze me how Spirit manages to
present me with a new animal each week to bring to
you. Yesterday I had an in person client who began
her session with a story about seeing crows the
entire way from her house to my office. As she
finished her story she said, “I don’t even know why I
felt I needed to tell you this but I just had to”. I just
smiled, knowing that a powerful totem had flown
through my client and right into my world.
The crow is a symbol of creation and magick. The
color black is representative of the Void or womb of
creation. Anyone wanting to tap into his or her
creative side can greatly benefit by working with
crow medicine. This is especially true for endeavors
that bring something into being that was previously
Crows are very clean birds. Even the young will not
foul the nest. This tidiness teaches us the value of
taking care of our appearance and our home. Our
homes are reflections of our state of being
internally. If you find your home cluttered or messy
it is important to look at the state of your thoughts
and emotions. They will no doubt be scattered and
unorganized. Crow can help us to put ourselves in
order, which will ultimately be reflected in our
A group of crows is called a “murder”. Such a harsh
word with such a noble creature teaches us to not
get caught up in labels that others would place on
us. We are reminded that others perceptions are
based on their perspective and often are not
accurate assessments of ourselves.
Crows are very intelligent and are known for their
ability to size up a situation to gain the greatest
benefit for themselves. Often, crows will post a
sentinel to guard against predators and dangers.
This shows us the necessity of awareness. When
we are in tune with our surroundings we are
empowered to change and affect them. Too many
people go through life in a sort of foggy awareness,
never really connecting with this world or other
people in a deep and meaningful sense. Crow can
help us to overcome this tendency and to embrace
our world and all the beauty therein. The sentinel
posted by the murder of crows will often caw so
loudly when presented by danger that they warn
other animals in the process. This selfless
communication is an amazing quality that crow
brings to us.
Crows are drawn to shiny objects and many of these
items end up in their nests. Everything from coins to
jewelry have been known to turn up in crow’s nests.
Anyone with monetary issues or matters of physical
possessions will benefit from crow’s ability to bring
wealth and gain into our lives.
The vocal ability of the crow is legendary, making it
a great totem animal for those working on
communication skills. The crow has a complex set of
“caws” each with a different meaning. They can
help us to find the way to communicate our thoughts
effectively, as well as, helping us to understand
others. Communication is essential to any
relationship and is often the aspect of life that limits
most people’s experience.
If crow shows up in your life it is a time to tap into
your creative abilities and push your life into a new
and exciting phase. It is a time to express yourself in
a new way and find the direction in life that leads to
your success and happiness. Call on this amazing
totem’s medicine to help you on your journey.
I had just finished a long day of readings in a town
an hour from where I live and settled in for the drive
home. The drive was relaxing, something I needed
after so much psychic and emotional energy. I
found myself instantly thinking about the animals. I’
m never sure which totem will present itself or how to
inspire me to write about them but I knew something
would click. It always does. I turned up the
“Shamanic Dream” cd and decided to just let it come
to me as it would. I had made it all the way home
and was turning off the interstate when I saw the
Deer, a male and female standing along side the
road just watching me drive by as if to say, “what
took you so long, we’ve been waiting”.
They turned and ran into the tree line and faded
from sight. The urge to follow them was strong.
Deer reminds us of our wild spirit. They show us the
gracefulness and harmony that can be achieved
when we are in balance with nature. For those who
feel caught up in society and the urban jungle the
deer can bring about a feeling of connectedness
that has been lost by our detachment from the
The alluring quality I felt when I saw the deer speaks
to one of its most important attributes, the pull
toward new adventure. Deer can help us to “let go”
of what is holding us back from the next cycle and
adventure in our lives. When you find yourself
becoming stagnant and needing adventure in your
life call on the deer and be prepared for the thrill of
the hunt to take you over.
Deer represents an innocence and peace that many
in today’s world are longing for. Buddha is often
pictured with a deer showing again the innocent
quality of this totem. If you ever have the
opportunity to observe a newborn fawn the
innocence of deer energy becomes very apparent.
The coloring of the deer is quite significant as it is
adapted to completely conceal the deer’s presence
in the woods. This ability to “disappear” is quite a
handy trick to have at one’s disposal. The most
striking quality of a deer is its antlers. Antlers form
behind the eyes, growing as solid bone directly from
the skull. Physically they represent protection.
Metaphysically they represent spiritual antennae
that help us to connect to the spiritual realms and
energies. The positioning behind the eyes would
suggest development of clairvoyance and visions.
This psychic sight is an amazing gift that deer can
bring into your life.
When we find ourselves feeling jaded or stuck in life
and need to find a new direction we can call on deer
to help. We can connect with this amazing totem
and it’s medicine to give us innocence and grace,
vision and strength and most of all, call us to a new
adventure that will lead to our happiness and
While the dolphin is one of the smartest animals on
the planet, they are also one of the most playful.
We are all used to seeing them perform in oceanic
parks and similar shows but that performance is only
achieved through training that builds on the innate
desire to play and have fun that exists within the
dolphin already. When this totem comes into your
life it is time to expand your horizons. Think about
the expansive oceans and all of the experiences that
lie therein for our friend the dolphin. With such
complex brains they are able to experience the
wonder of the underwater world in a way that few
other creatures can. Water often represent
emotions, so working with dolphin medicine can help
you to experience and understand your emotions in
a new and deeper way.
Dolphin also teaches us to embrace the duality of
our nature. The dolphin is a master of the water
and yet it breathes air. It lives completely in one
element and is dependant upon another for it’s very
survival. Dolphin’s ability to draw on such differing
elements teaches us to be flexible and adaptable. It
shows us the power that comes from exploring all
aspects of ourselves and bringing those differing
qualities into alignment and balance.
Dolphins are extremely social creatures and often
work together in groups to achieve common goals
such as hunting. This totem can help you in
projects involving others, social group interaction or
any situation where a common interest is the focus.
Next time you feel awkward in a group setting call on
the dolphin and don’t be surprised when you are
suddenly the witty and vocal center of attention.
Dolphins are masters of communication with a
complex language of their own. Dolphin medicine
carries with it the gifts of clairaudience and
clairvoyance. Dolphins rely on a type of sonar and
through this they are able to use sound waves to
create mental pictures. When dolphin comes into
your life it is a time to expand your perceptions of
yourself and the world around you. Look at the
world as your ocean, full of opportunity and
adventure and most of all, pursue all of this with the
help of others along the way and by all means, don’t
forget to play a bit on your journey.
I had been thinking for a while that I wanted to write
an Animal Totem piece on Elephants but kept talking
myself out of it because they aren't readily available
to us here. I knew that the Totems could find their
way into our lives even if they weren't in a living form
but had no idea how the wise Elephant would make
it's presence known.
It came in the form of one of my addictions, online
shopping. When the ten-pound box of incense
arrived I started going through it like a child at
Christmas. There in the bottom of the box was a
thank you note along with a complimentary incense
burner. On that burner was the stamped form of an
Elephant. I normally wouldn't have thought that
much about it but the Elephant had been on my
mind already and there I was holding my validation
in my hand.
Elephants are the largest land animal and should be
called on whenever we have big projects we are
working on. Elephants can literally uproot trees with
their awesome strength. Such a powerful energy is
helpful for clearing obstacles to our goals. In truth,
few things ever get in an Elephants way.
The most notable feature of the Elephant is the
trunk. The sense of smell is very keen in the
Elephant and reminds us to be very discriminating in
our choices. The Elephant also reaches and grasps
things with the trunk. This shows us that we are
capable of reaching things before thought out of our
grasp but that we should be very discriminating
about what we reach for and what we hold onto.
Such a magnificent nose makes the Elephant the
perfect Totem for anyone working in aroma therapy.
Another striking feature of the Elephant is its tusks,
a formidable weapon that juts from the mouth area.
Elephant reminds us of the power of our words.
While they can be a powerful tool for defending
ourselves, they can also be a dangerous thing when
not used properly.
Elephants are extremely emotional creatures. They
show each other great affection, mourn their dead
and even seek revenge when another has hurt
them. Elephant shows us that we should not run
from our emotions but rather strive to understand
them so that we can live our lives more fully.
Elephants also seem to have an understanding of
when it is time to "move on" from a particular
situation. Through this they show us that while
feeling our emotions is beneficial, so is the power to
not be ruled by them.
They have such an interconnected society and
caring for one another that they will often rally
around an injured herd member, helping them to
keep up with everyone else. This selflessness is
something that we can all learn from.
Beautiful symbols of wealth and royalty, Elephants
are revered in many cultures. They live in a
matriarchal herd made up of cows and a patriarchal
herd made up of bulls. Typically males only join the
female herd to mate. This division honors both the
males and females equally and is a reminder for us
to recognize the strength and significance of both
One of my favorite images of Elephants is of them
bathing together in a muddy watering hole. It's like a
spa day for the giants. They will lovingly spray each
other and themselves. They roll around and get the
ultimate mudpack treatment. They will take a break
to bask in the sun or nibble on some leaves. All in
all they indulge themselves for a brief bit from the
struggles of the harsh terrain of life.
Deborah arrived for the session with a gift in hand.
It was a "lucky bamboo" plant in a very unique pot. It
had frogs all around the top of it. I started laughing
as soon as I saw it because I had been considering
writing an animal totem piece on frogs already due
to the very high number of them that have shown up
at my home. I listened to Deborah telling me that
she had bought two of the bamboo plants, one in
the frog pot and one in a more plain variety. She
explained that she was suddenly led to give me the
one with frogs. This was the confirmation I had been
looking for. Frog was ready to jump onto the page.
Frogs are amphibious which connects them with
both land and water. The grounding aspect of land
combined with the emotional component of water
makes Frog a powerful totem to work with when
dealing with strong feelings. They can help us to
remain grounded while delving deeper into our
emotional selves. They teach us that while it is
important to remain grounded in life it is also
advantageous to embrace our emotional identity as
A frog's life begins as an egg. They hatch as a
tadpole and finally progress into the form we all
know and love. This progression helps us to
understand that everything in life is temporary. Life
is a series of progressions and evolutions, each one
leading us to our new form and phase of life. For
this reason, Frog is a wonderful totem to work with
during times of transition and change in our lives.
Frogs are very vocal creatures and can help us to
get in touch with our own expression. When we
combine the quality of expression with the emotional
component of water we begin to understand the
power that comes from giving voice to our feelings
and communicating from a point of emotion. This
can give greater depth to our expression and help
us to understand these qualities in others.
One of the most recognizable traits of the Frog is its
ability to jump. This energy is quite helpful for those
that need to leap forward in their own lives. It can
help us to leave the space we are in and allow us to
move forward without having to go through all the
usual steps. When we tap into Frog Medicine we
empower ourselves to make great forward
progress. One of my favorite sayings is "if you feel
froggy then jump". This means that often we will
know it is time to move on or to change our lives in
some way but to do so requires action. Frog can
help us to shift from the realm of thinking to one of
Frogs bring creativity and whimsy into our lives.
Think about Kermit the Frog. Sure he is a muppet,
but he is also a symbol of humor and expression.
Jim Henson surely recognized these qualities in frog
when he chose to make Kermit his front man. One
of my favorite childhood memories is of Kermit the
Frog sitting on a lily pad singing, "it's not easy being
green". Ok, while a Frog on a lily pad with a banjo
singing about his challenges in life may seem an
odd reference, you can't deny that there is a lot of
creativity and expression contained in that image.
Frogs have long been a symbol of prosperity and
good fortune. When they come hopping into your
life it often heralds a time of abundance and
success. Frog is an excellent Totem to call on in
times of financial or material need. They can literally
"jump start" your energy in the areas of business
In some Shamanic traditions Frog is thought to
control the weather. Here again, the link between
water and earth is shown. Frog can be called on to
bring the rains to nourish and cleanse all areas of
our lives. Their Medicine can empower and enrich
our reality. So, next time you see a Frog hopping
along ask yourself what you are being called to jump
into in your life. Think about how you can move
forward by getting in touch with your emotions and
let yourself laugh, especially at your own self. This
is the greatest of all gifts that Frog gives us.
When I began my Shamanic path the Medicine
Woman who taught me named me ShadowHawk.
She told me that the hawk was the messenger of
Spirit and that I was to serve that purpose for people
in my life’s work. Ever since that time I have been
fascinated with hawks.
There are many different types of hawks but the
most plentiful is the red tailed hawk. The coloring of
the tail represents raw life force energy. It is a color
of passion. This can represent sexual energy but
also the joy and fulfillment that comes from following
your hearts desires.
Hawk’s keen eyesight brings with it the gift of “the
sight” or psychic vision. When hawk arrives in your
life it is a time to pay attention to your intuition and
the messages that Spirit is sending you. Hawk can
help you to learn to trust your inner vision and
understand the messages that you are receiving. It
can often be a time of great change in one’s life
when they can see the bigger picture of their life and
Hawks mate for life and both the male and female
share the responsibility of raising the young. They
are very defensive of their chicks and nest. Hawk
can help us to understand our role in relationships
and can help lead us to true love and connection in
our lives. They teach us to work together with
others toward common goals.
Hawks most often inhabit the same area for their
entire life. This suggests the need to find our place
in the world. The place that provides us with all that
we need for our happiness and success. It also
suggests the permanence of hawk’s medicine.
When this totem appears in your life it will remain a
part of you for all time.
Hawks soar gracefully, often staying airborne for
hours at a time with very little effort on their part.
They seem to gently float in slow arching circles.
This effortless spiral dance shows us the essence of
Spirit itself. The planets spiral around the sun. The
seasons run in a never-ending circle. All things
repeat the spiral dance of birth, life, death and
rebirth. Hawk teaches us to flow gracefully through
these cycles, letting the winds of Spirit carry us to
our next experience.
As a master of the air, hawk shows us the value of
perception. Through hawk medicine we can achieve
a higher understanding of our lives and ourselves.
We can “rise above” the problems and obstacles
that face us.
Hawk is a powerful hunter with razor sharp talons
and beak. These can be powerful tools to help you
accomplish your goals but we must remain cautious
so that we don’t make our words too sharp and
hurtful to others. When used properly hawk
medicine can help you to grab the opportunities that
come into your life.
|Sage Studio | Located in Triad Wellness Center | 1440 E. Lark St, Ste F | Springfield, MO 65804 | 417-866-2248
A YOGA STUDIO IN SPRINGFIELD MO
serving Nixa, Ozark, Rogersville, Battlefield, Willard
|inside Triad Wellness Center
1440 E. Lark St, Suite F | Springfield, MO 65804