With the growing popularity of Neo-paganism and Neo-Native American spirituality, the phrase of "totem animal" has become a somewhat generic term that actually encompasses meaningful spiritual relationships with animals in a variety of forms. There are historical Native American cultural differences and origins for the uses of words such as, "totem", "medicine" and "fetish", and those uses are traditional in differing tribes. Performing a search of those terms can expose more detailed information about how indigenous Americans use those terms than can be offered here. My purpose of explanation is only to point out how the words are commonly used in the more broad arena of modern, New-Age, understandings.
Animals can provide much guidance to a seeker. As daily messenger, temporary power animal, or life long totem, the creatures in this world willingly participate in a conversation with Great Spirit. Whatever your spiritual belief, it cannot be denied that animal kingdom has stood as a strong system of symbols in human history, art, psychology, and general communication. Animals can convey messages of day to day life, or be used as powerful devises for personal development throughout a lifetime. The world of symbols we use in order to talk to ourselves is vast. I encourage you to look at as many resources as possible when seeking a meaning of an animal. The best resource of all though is you. Find the aspects of an animal that feel right and true to you personally. Ask yourself questions about why a particular animal captured your attentions. It could have a message to deliver about a current situation, or it could be a life long totem animal; only you can know.
A totem animal shares its strengths and weaknesses with its human partner. However, many agree that a totem is a creature whose energy has been, or will be, a long term effect upon a person. Your favorite animal from childhood is often lingering with you still as a life totem. The creepy crawler from repetitive nightmares or unfounded fears may also be a life totem, for all creatures have the balance of dark and light within. Your life totem can reveal how you got to the place you're in now and where you're likely to go in the future. What aspects or habits do you always seem to have with you in life? Behind that answer lives your totem. What are the things you want to develop and achieve? What qualities do you admire and wish to see in your self? How do you want to grow as a person overall? A life totem is a partner and spirit guide through the journey.
-- Tree Pruitt http://www.mysticgriffin.com/
Information offered is mainly unique original content not compiled from previously published metaphysical materials, and is not to be used for profit or republication in ANY form without prior written consent by the author, Tree (Theresa) Pruitt, ©2006/8. The material is offered here ONLY as personal reference.
About Spiritkeepers™ -- One of a kind pebbles & sea shells hand painted by artist Tree Pruitt. Keep the spirit of your favorite totem or spirit animal, symbol, or deity figure a part of your daily life with these treasures that are real mini paintings! Stones are generally pocket sized & many are naturally holed -- known as the witches' amulet or a dream shield. Shells are perfect for desk top or altar display. Images are often one of a kind, found within the natural surfaces. Available in the site store.