Native American Indian people have given the world so many gifts of wisdom. They have reminded us and awakened us to the ancient knowledge all our ancestors had long ago. One of these beautiful gifts is the memory and wisdom of our Totems, or animal spirit guides. Traditional people call these spirit beings our "keepers" or friends. The word totem is a Cree Native American Indian word and it means friend or ally.
As a spiritual artist, I see Totem Animal spirits in your aura and they are very important elements of your guidance. Totems come to strengthen your instincts, intuition and trust, but most importantly, they come with wonderful gifts to help you awaken your natural spiritual gifts once again.
Traditional people tell us that our totems come to give us "medicine" to heal us because many of us have lost our natural instincts due to being "educated" as my old teachers would say. What they meant is that our civilized society tends to neglect and even ridicule all that is intuitive and instinctive, so we have tended to lose contact with this wonderful spiritual ally.
In ancient times, a young person would go on a Vision Quest (Please see my book: Ghost Mountain for deeper insights into the Vision Quest procedure) and await for a totem to present itself as the helper or friend. Very often the totem would bite or scratch that person. My elders would say they had been "marked" by the bear, wolf etc. Of course for those with snake medicine, for example, the whole marking process is pretty dangerous. One of my teachers had this medicine and had to allow the snake to bite him, yet he never became ill. He had "snake medicine" which meant he could help people transform in amazing ways. Snake medicine people have amazing personal powers....not for themselves... but as gifts to help others.
Sadly in modern society we see a tendency to write all this down on a resume, or a "dictionary" of totems. Few if any of these "shamans" have actually done the hard yards. In addition writing about medicine is contrary to the traditions. It is hardly wonder that so many traditional people cringe when they see or hear of such blatant abuse of the traditions. Luckily, most of the elders I knew were philosophical about the whole situation and recognise that it was not because of disrespect so much as ignorance that made non-traditional people do this kind of thing.
Yet behond all the petty plastic shamans is the essential truth that we are all medicine men and women, if we use our totems to help ourselves and our lives. It really is that simple. The traditional people tell us that each of us has nine totem spirits. Some are stronger or easier to connect to than others. The most well known is the "power totem." Clairvoyants such as myself see this totem above or around the crown chakra area or sometimes dropping down to the third eye area. However, totems work with each of the chakras because, as you know, chakras are tiny mini-computers which are always processing energy.
Totems work in various ways to help you understand your inner powers. They are not "spirit guides" in the usual fashion and usually do not offer verbal advice. They instead offer you skills and wisdom to help you help others. This is why we might say that someone has "bear" medicine and yet another has "eagle medicine." In both cases these two people interact with the world very differently, and have unique skills or talents to share.
Because we have more than one totem, we might find ourselves morphing energetically from one totem to another. For example, a shy and quiet bear, might suddenly shift into a more socially interactive Humming bird. Another example might be for someone who works with Butterfly energy (transformation) who at times seems to be a sleepy caterpillar and at other times, cannot keep still. This simply indicates that the various stages of the totem are working all at the same time. Something that is not uncommon.
This is why I offer one or three totems in each of my Spirit Guide portraits.
The totems assist the Spirit Guide to guide you into your natural talents and inner wisdom. However, I also offer a more intense "totems only" drawing.. you will see several illustrated here. These special totem portraits help you get a grip on your totems and therefore a deeper insight into life purpose and karmic debts or pathways. I draw the totems together, near the chakras that they govern. You can place the picture on the wall and most people might not realize how personal it is to you because there is no "human" face staring back. This portrait helps you open yourself to their unique and very illuminating guidance.
I know it certainly helps me to connect to my totems when I feel a little unsure of what direction to walk.. perhaps you will too!
For deeper insights into Totem spirits, please see my book section, particular the Shaman's Door series where I explore all aspects of Totems and their placement on the Medicine Wheel!