Nature Totems by Ted Andrews




A totem is any natural object, animal or being to whose phenomena and energy you feel closely associated with during your life.  


In the past shamans, priests, and priestesses were the keepers of the sacred knowledge of life. The individuals were tied to the rhythms and forces of nature. They were capable of walking the threads that link the invisible and visible worlds. They helped people remember that all trees are divine and that all animals speak to those who listen. 

The study of Nature Totems is essential for understanding how the spiritual is manifesting within our natural life. A totem is any natural object, being, or animal to whose phenomena and energy we feel closely associated with during our life.

We can use animal imagery and other nature totem images as a way to learn about ourselves and the invisible world. We do not have to believe that these images and totems are beings of great intelligence, but there are archetypal powers that reside behind and oversee all manifestations in Nature. These archetypes have their own qualities and characteristics which are reflected through the behaviors and activities of animals and other expressions of Nature.   

When we pay attention to and acknowledge a nature totem, we are honoring the essence that lies behind it. We are opening up and attuning to that essence. We can then use it to understand our own life circumstances more clearly. We can share in its power or 'medicine'. Nature totems, especially animals, are symbols of specific kinds of energy we are manifesting and aligning with in our life. The animal becomes a symbol of a specific force of the invisible, spiritual realm manifesting within our own life. The characteristics and activities of these totems will reveal much about our own innate powers and abilities. By studying the totem and then learning to merge with it, we are able to call upon its archetypal energy whenever needed.

The true shaman, the true naturalist, works to reconnect conscious human life with Nature and Spirit through totems and ritual. The images of the animals and the expressions of Nature help us to transcend our normal, waking consciousness so that we can more easily attune to ethereal realms and beings. The first step begins with realizing that all vision and imagery, originating in Nature or the inner mind, has validity on some level.

Through creative imagination we begin to see the spiritual energies surrounding and interplaying with the physical world. What we consider imagination is a reality in some form on levels beyond the normal sensory world. With creative imagination, we create a new kind of awareness, a new kind of experience in color and form. This triggers higher forms of inspiration and intuition, giving us a higher understanding of the conditions of our lives and the spiritual energies affecting it. Images are the tools to link with the spiritually creative world. It is what helps you to identify your spirit totems and awaken their energies in your life.

Totems come as: animals, birds, aquatic life, insects, reptiles, and plants, trees, flowers

In the photograph above, the parrot totem represents sunshine and color healing. The parrot is a bird of the sun. Its bright colors and sunshine aspect are what give it its magic. Its feathers can be used in prayer sticks for powerful healing rites and to invoke the energies of the sun at any time of the year. Anyone with a parrot as a totem should do some study of colors and their effects. The parrot is a wonderful teacher of the power of light and colors. 


* I will be holding guided meditations in November 2013 (both individual and group setting) to discover and awaken to your animal totem, or spirit animal. This is a powerful journey practice to connect deeply with yourself and open to the energy and message of your spirit totem.