Native American Animal Totems

Discussion in 'Animism' started by inbloom, Feb 2, 2006.

  1. inbloom

    inbloom as the crow flies...

    I saw no other forum where this would be more appropriate, so I figured I'd post it here. I'm not even sure what Animism is, does it kind of tie in with Native American Spirituality?

    My question, as the title indicates, is about Animal Totems. A friend of mine really got me into them a while back, when he got in contact with his Wolf Medicine. He's been deeply connected to the wolf ever since, and I've always been eager to find my totem, but to no avail.

    Lately, however, I've been getting alot of what I believe to be messages. Often, nearly every time now, when I go out into nature, I'm visited by the Crow. About three days ago, I was out at my favourite nature spot. Just as I was getting ready to leave, I was walking down through the valley, and two crows started circling over head, cawing, and flying near me. I felt entranced, and sat there watching them, until they flew out of sight.

    Yesterday, while out at the same spot, I saw another crow. He flew over head, again cawing and flapping his wings, as they tend to do, and I once again was entranced. Later on, I was walking down town, and AGAIN a crow passed over my head, doing the same thing. Once again, I was entranced.

    And just today, as I was out at the same nature spot, I saw FIVE crows. I was standing on the rocks, looking out over the valley, and in the distance I heard a caw. I looked behind me, to see a crow come flying in over the field, swoop past me, and glide over the valley, where he was joined by two more, and they flew through the valley together, cawing away, until they passed the bend, and were out of sight. Once again, I wasn't even able to look away for a second. About 10 minutes later, as I travelled over and down through the trees, two more passed over head together, and their caws just seemed so beautiful to me. I just love the sound.

    My question to you, if there are any of you experienced in this possibly a message that my totem is the crow? I've read alot of things that talk about how, when an animal chooses you, it will make itself known to you, and will often be an animal you see a lot in nature. The crow has definetly been that, to me, lately.

    Since discovering all this, I feel very connected to the crow, and the sight and sound of them really soothes me. Makes me feel at peace. Could this be a sign that the crow is my, or one of my, animal totems? Any help is apprecaited. Thank you.
  2. teh-horace

    teh-horace for your pleasure

    crows are cool
    also, animism has to do with the fact (rather belief) that everything (and i do mean everything) has a spirit
    hehe, i learned that at the beginning of my english class last semester
    but back to the point
    the way i'm lookin' at it
    if you feel, like strongly and deeply, that the crow is your animal totem, then it probably is
    i had a dream that a polar bear was my guardian that i was always holding on to for protection and just for the sake of givin' it a big ol' hug
    someone said it was probably my animal totem
    i'm not too sure
    as i don't venture out into areas where polar bears come walking beside me to protect me from things :p
    but who knows? :D
  3. white_raven

    white_raven Member

    I would say, unless you completely do not believe the crow is your totem (it doesn't resonate with you), it is probably your totem.

    When I discovered my totem, I would see like ten deer every day for a few weeks. One buck even came out of the woods and walked up to me. And I was walking one day and this stray limb had fallen but looked odd so I was walking up to it and this deer leapt out from behind it and ran off.

    Anyway, the crow symbolizes creation and spirituality, reminding us to "create and manifest the magic of life" (Ted Andrews). Does that message sound applicable to your life?
  4. inbloom

    inbloom as the crow flies...

    Thank both of you, for your help and insights. I appreciate it. :)

    White Raven, yeah, I've read a lot about how the Crow is supposed to symbolise connection to the "Great Spirit" and the Mystic and unknown. This definetly describes me to a T, as I've, for the longest time now, been into uncovering the unknown, and the things beyond every day reality.

    Alot of what I've read on Crow really applies to my life. Especially how connection to her is supposed to help bring about change in your life, which is something I REALLY need right now. It also struck a chord with me, when I read that the Crow teaches us to see past our emotional pains, and find the path to forgiveness, acceptance, and understanding. Also something I need right now.

    Another question I have is, how do you know for sure how long a totem should stay with you, or which ones stay for life? I would very much like Crow to be my life totem, but will it always be? Or is she maybe just giving me a message for my life, as it stands now? I'd really love to have a lfie companion in the Crow, but how do I know for sure? I realyl feel the Crow has been speaking to me lately, making itself known, and revealing itself to me all the time. Is there anyway to understand these things better, or is it all just feeling?

    Thanks for your time.
  5. Mabye the crow just has a powerful message for you at the moment.
    I was seeing bears alot for a while but bear isn't my totem, its medicine just resonated with me and my learning at the time.
    I just finished my time with racoon medicine and will carry spider and bat medicine untill I overcome my fears and fully step into myself.
    I haven't found my life totem animal yet, I know I have some learning to do first but look up the message of crow and if it is YOUR totem, you will know with all of your being.Otherwise you may just be carrying some powerful crow medicine that will help you get through something and show you things about yourself.
    YOU will know if crow is just for a time or forever...
    Trust your judgement.
  6. inbloom

    inbloom as the crow flies...

    Thanks Echo!

    I dunno, I really feel a strong connection to the Crow. Possibly it's just message, possibly not. I guess I'll just have to wait and see.

    A couple sites I saw say how the time of year you were born, indicates your totem, in which case my birth totem would be the Brown Bear, and my totem would be the Mouse. I've never really felt any sort of strong connection to them though, like I've been feeling with the Crow. I honestly can't say I've felt a life long connection to any animal, as it hasn't been until recently that I started to get into this stuff. I have been realising, though, more and more, that I see Crows a lot, everywhere I go.

    Thanks to everybody for your help, I appreciate it so much. :)
  7. Chodpa

    Chodpa -=Chop_Chop=-

    Yes, crows are cool, but for native Americans often they are considered the medicine man and the trickster/wise man. Often they are the callers to the quest, then later they become the guide, and yet later the source of wisdom, usually because they turn out to be a transformed medicine man. So goes the myth, I think.
  8. Erasmus70

    Erasmus70 Banned

    One thing I would like people to stop doing is saying 'Native Americans' or this is 'A Native thing' or 'Natives believed this or that'.
    Totem Poles are found around Canadas Southwest and Americas 'Pacific Northwest Region' and in my case,
    The Totems Im familiar with are Haida tradition.

    "But those are Native Americans right?'

    Uhhh.. ok.
    Well this is like saying that 'Europeans' would build Stonehedges or something along that line.
    Haida are not Mic-Mac.
    Haida are not Blackfoot
    Haida are not Hurons.

    Even today with alot of 'homogenisation' (mixing) which is what happens with Europeans who moved to North America.
    Even still,
    To this day Haida and their Totems HAVE NOTHING TO DO with Mohawk (for example) and are distinctly unique and different nations from each other..

    If a Mohawk had somehow made it all the way to Haida Gwaii 300 years ago, the Haida would have seen him as foreign and his beliefs and customs as bizarre and outerworldy as they would have a European.

    Sorry, but it just irks me to no end when people start talking 'as if' there was some unified 'people' called 'Native Americans' who all had some universal culture.

    (not directing this at the original poster in particular but just generalising here)
  9. Chodpa

    Chodpa -=Chop_Chop=-

    Actually, I knew that, but thanks for reiterating. I know a small amount of Cree and that's about it. Not sure if the crow things fits. I don't know where my old medicine man went ten years back.
  10. inbloom

    inbloom as the crow flies...

    Sorry, I didn't mean it like that. It's just that I know Animal Totems/Medicine is a tradition among a lot of native tribes, am I wrong? Correct me if I am, but anything I've ever read on it, has stated something along those lines.

    Didn't mean to offend, I'm sorry.
  11. SilverClover14

    SilverClover14 Senior Member

    It is pretty common among many native tribes. It's just the term totem that Erasmus has a problem with, I think.

    I'm a very firm believer of spirit animals (or totem animals, familiars, whatever). Ever since I was young, I've had dreams about elephants. My favorite TV shows as a small child were about elephants (the Elephant Show and Babar), I've always run straight to the elephants at the zoo, and I've always wanted to go to India or Thailand or Vietnam to see them. When my parents went to Hong Kong when I was 6, the only thing I asked for were elephant figurines so I have a small collection.

    Whenever I'm upset, I have dreams about elephants. Those are the dreams I remember the most vividly. When I was 4 or 5, my parents got into a big argument before I went to bed and I fell asleep really upset. I dreamt that a pink baby elephant was there with me and the dream seemed to go on forever. When I woke up, it had been so vivid that I spent the next hour searching my house for it. It's odd that I still remember that dream so vividly 14 years later. That just gives me more confidence in my beliefs.
  12. Erasmus70

    Erasmus70 Banned

    Sorry, wasn't directing that at anyone in particular but just wanting to clarify the situation in general.
    In my experience, I know about Haida totems and I understand that you can also find that tradition outside Vancouver Island although I have not heard of it anywhere else but to those peoples in the 'Pacific Northwest' areas.

    I helped on a Totem and this will surprise you that it was done by a German.
    So far gone was the cultural memory on the Rez that the Canadian government actualy paid a German expert to start a project and then try and pass it on to the natives.
  13. wolfspirits

    wolfspirits Member

    I found this sight on day when morning came early for me, and I am sorry to see that it had stopped so many moons ago. I am also sad to see the turn that it was taking.

    Should it matter who's culture did what? The Great Creator will find a way to talk to any heart that is open and listening. My father was military and we were stationed in Montana for a better part of my youth, I grew to love and respect the culture and people that surrounded me. They became my family and I to them. I was 13 when my first and life totem showed up, and I had this confirmed. It is the wolf. I have tried to honor it ever since.

    I have many different ancestries that run through my veins, but my spirit is of the earth. I have my own family now. My husband and I are trying our best to teach our children what we have learned. I am passing down the love that was given to me.

    So to any who finds this place like I did, I hope you will see that no matter where you come from, no matter the skin, if your heart is true;honorable;brave;genital;and quiet the your totems will find you, And when they do, its a gift not to be taken lightly.

    Thank You and Peace
  14. themnax

    themnax Senior Member

    the spirits of places and species, are things that are out there. they can be allies and sometimes even friends. but they're not about reading a bunch of words and saying them back. some of the things people say when they use words like totems and shamans, just make me shudder, because they're like someone, you know, pretending to know with words. sometimes one culture may sound all crazy to another culture. but some of the things people think they know and claim to, just might be a little bit crazy to ALL of them.

    i think people are too flip and mindless about things that to someone else might be sacred. because i wasn't raised in any of the traditions, maybe i don't have any more room, then some of the things i see said, to talk.

    i don't know. but what i've felt and experienced, i didn't set out to go looking for,
    and while i've read a lot of books, what i've met didn't come from them.

    maybe what i've felt and met might be all crazy to any real 'native' culture too. i try to be careful about that, as the elders i've heard, and i don't claim to have met many personally or often, seem to set the example of trying to be.

    which is rather by a great deal of contrast to much of what i've seen and heard people say.

    if you have an Allie, if one has found you, i think you need to study them, like you would a textbook. them, your allies themselves, not just what you can read somewhere that might be all crazy.
  15. There is nothing as eloquent as a rattlesnake's tail. Navajo
  16. wolfspirits

    wolfspirits Member

    How did you come to own a rattlers tail? For they just don't just pop off their end. LOL There are two ways that I know of and than there is e-bay. :)
  17. inbloom

    inbloom as the crow flies...

    UGH. why are so many of you wrapped up in the fact that i used the term 'native american'?? fuck.

    you all know what i meant. if i were to ask a question concerning tibetan buddhism, would it be wrong of me to call it by that name? if i had asked for buddhism instead of 'tibetan buddhism', i would get a much broader response on buddhism than i wanted, since the religion varies from region to region. same thing applies here. being a north american, i am more familiar with the beliefs and religions of the native american people than i am with any other, and wanted to know more about their specific beliefs on animism. out of complete and utter respect for their ways of life, of course. that was what i was after. is that so wrong?

    yeesh. it's not like i used racial slurs or trashed anybody in a disrespectful way. c'mon, now.
  18. wolfspirits

    wolfspirits Member

    Inbloom, okay, this all started with a question. The question was about the meaning of the Crow and about the spiritual ties to it. (If I read the first posting correctly) Look, there is no easy answer to your question, because it all depends on YOUR spirituality. There are many base meanings to the Crow, depending on what path you are taking. Hence all the conflict you have seen in the above postings. Your friend has the Wolf, than he also is on the path of the Teacher (if he be of a Native American Spirituality, and I don't mean any disrespect in this), than maybe he can be a good guide for you. That way, all of us will not confuse and/or anger you. I have found that animalism (spirit totems) is very personal. All I can say is keep going back to that same spot and listen, learn what you can about the crow and talk with your friend. Your spirituality is yours. I am sorry if I added to your frustration, peace.
  19. inbloom

    inbloom as the crow flies...

    thank you wolfspirits. i do realize now that, yes, it is mostly dependent on me to figure out what it all means to my life. keep in mind i posted my initial question about 4 years ago now, haha. i have changed and learned much since then. i just wanted to clear up all the hubbub surrounding the terminology i used. i meant no disrespect to anyone.

    thank you again for your help. :)
  20. wolfspirits

    wolfspirits Member

    Inbloom, would you believe that I wasn't really expect a response to my first post, lol! For 4 years had passed, and why did I say anything to begin with? Well, I know what it is like to have questions, and the answers get lost in, for the lack of a better why to put it, politics of some else spirituality. Everyone has their right to their own, but when questions get asked that is a time for guidance, not thumping. So, I figure I say something,lol. I am glad that you are finding the answers that you were seeking. Peace

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