Animal Totems Guide

Animal Totems & Spirit Animal Meanings

By: Derek Hatfield

Animals often come to us as guides, helpers or teachers.  They also appear as a sign or indication, of lessons pending or learned.  The way we interact with them is somewhat unique and will vary from person to person.  When researching animal spirits / medicine / totems, I encourage you to use wildlife sources about the animals in their natural habitats.  Many people dream medicine animals  or feel drawn to a particular animal.  When your attention is drawn to a medicine animal, recall the energy and mood of it to best help you understand its presence / lesson.  Within native traditions, medicine animals often come to us as guides or helpers at difficult moments / times in our lives.  They will also appear as a sign (indication) if we learn to listen. When researching animal spirits / medicine / totem animals,  I encourage you to research all you can from wildlife sources about the various animals.  They teach by example!

I was taught the there is a difference between medicine and totem animals.  A animal ‘totem’ was given to particular branches (clans) of family within a tribe / group.  Lessons were taught by ‘medicine’ animals.  Times have changed.  These days they are called animal spirits, totems, guides, teachers, musings … what ever you call it – critters teach!

The best way to understand animal teachings, is to simply look at their natural features and behavior and think of how they may apply to you.  Are they showing you a strength within that you can draw upon and build?  Are they showing you a place where you are unbalanced and need to heal?  Do they offer a method, a strength that will help you in a current phase of your life?   Ask yourself why it speaks to you . . .


Creation, destruction, birth, death, beginning of a new period and death of the old, knowledge is transformed by a new level of growth, hidden wisdom awaits. Alligator indicates knowledge that is currently hidden from you that will come to light, this would also be a time to create your own opportunities. You are unbalanced with yourself and surroundings, allow the new to bring balance back to you


Community, social structures, family, nurturing, Ants indicate promise of success through effort and hard work. Now is the time for planning and preparation for the future. Working together for the same goals, patience and endurance are needed throughout this time .A positive time to learn new skills for you to be Successful.


Trust, intuition, changes, ending or death, sensitivity, fears, new perspective, can indicate this is a time to trust in the unknown and take a risk, the only guidance you will have at this time is your instinct and intuition .A time to be sensitive to the vibrations around you. A time of endings and the beginning of the new, this is a time of transition now. Do not allow the fear to hold you back as it is important to keep moving forward .Do not talk just listen and observe those around you.


Look beneath the surface, self-expression, knowledge, grounding, dis-honesty, belief in yourself. Can indicate that someone is being dishonest with situations you are involved in, a time for you to plan things carefully, honestly and not offering information that is not asked for, when others are thinking of themselves as first. You may need grounding so that your mind can be more focused on the important things. Anything connected with business or legal issues make sure that you look at the small print and the small details behind these matters. You now have the knowledge to take on new projects and ideas on your own. Be prepared for what is coming up and just allow things to develop in their own time


Strength, grounding, dreams, judgment, awareness, being prepared, energy, unconscious mind. Bear indicates that you need to prepare for the future; not doing this will cause loss. You will need to be more grounded in what you are doing as well as being strong through the next few months. A time to take note of your dreams as there will be messages in them, now start planning and building on your goals, to achieve greater success. An indication you could be lacking power in situations around you, now is the time to push to gain your control and power back. Be conscious of others and their intentions.


Communication, fertility, joy, harmony, home, a time to focus on your home environment and getting it right for you, time to think about your role in life, and if it is what you want, then make the changes if they are needed. Make sure you are productive in your actions. Be aware of the joy that can come from nature as well as allowing joy into your home and life.


Reassurance, rebirth, transformation, spiritual rebirth, harmony, Beatles indicate a time for communication in areas that cause you problems now, allowing you to bring harmony back into the situations in your life. A time to be aware of your physical body and how you are caring for it, your diet may need to change in some way. It is time to take the next steps or level forward especially with career and relationships, is relevant for all areas in your life at this time; you will overcome obstacles so continue forward motion.

Bison or Buffalo

Courage, abundance, community, knowledge, spiritual, travel, survival, freedom, harmony, now is the time to be aware of the spiritual connection that you have, allowing the knowledge you have and the knowledge you are given to give you the courage to move forward in the correct way. A good time to be moving to pastures new or travelling/arranged travel, with any changes you are making now make sure there is more freedom and harmony for you with them. Do what is right for you to survive in difficult times.


Transformation, positive changes, growth, spiritual, if a butterfly lands on you it is said to be a loved one that has passed over letting you know everything is and will be ok. At this time there will be difficult changes happening around you, however these will be for the better in the long term . The end of difficulties and the beginning of a new easier stage, Can indicate a sensitive time for you emotionally.

Buzzard or Vulture

Purification, accomplishment, reaching goals, awareness, confidence, endings and beginnings, instinct.Indicates you need to rise above any stressful situations and let go of the emotions and stress that come with them, as this will allow you to find a way forward. There are things that are hidden from you at this time, however they will become known to you very soon, this is a time to be looking for new opportunities connected with work and business, trust in your abilities and build on your confidence now to achieve much better results by letting go of your emotions, in situations now you can accomplish much and reach your goals. Spiritually it indicates moving to a higher level of awareness


Independent , magic, resourceful, courage, restraint, agility, opportunity, luck. Cats indicate there are opportunities coming your way and to take your time in choosing which ones will be best for you. Also a time to be independent and take control of the situation at this time, cats can indicate that your luck will improve for a short period of time. Be aware of what is going on around you before taking action, be confident and have courage with your choices, to allow others to change your mind.


Chameleon indicates now is the time to show your true colours, emotions The mind and intellect can be used for defensive purposes in knowing when necessary to strike or to be patient. Chameleon can mean sensitivity, independence and needed to master changes of the mind, body and spirit .A time to adaptability to the environment, and your surroundings.


Family, communication, fertility, individual, trust. Will indicate family ties and bonds that need to be looked and changed in the way you are happy with. A time to be more outspoken and confident in what you are communicating to others, be careful of being too trusting with those around you at this time, as you may be pulled into a false sense of security which will cause you problems later on. Indicates fertility and things coming your way, do not be greedy only take what you need.


Family, contentment, home, trust, love, diet, a time to focus on the family bringing calm where there has been trouble, can indicate a home move, or to make changes in the home is needed to bring more positive feeling into the home. Check your diet and make sure you are getting what you need from your food intake and avoid excess. This is a positive time for new love and connections, as well as developing stronger love bonds with current partners and family.


Focus, patients, justice,karma loyalty, awareness, strength of mind This is the time to be patient and not to force things, allow them to happen in their own time. Can indicate a time of justice on all levels depending on what you are planning to do, things will be rebalanced on a karmic level over the coming months, be aware of all that is happening around you especially with things close to you, only take action when you are confident and sure of success.


Spiritual, intuition, change, death, rebirth, magic, opportunities, contact from past. Crows are believed to carry the souls from this world to spirit world. Can indicate that spirit is trying to communicate a message to you. Crow is also seen as a magical symbol and can indicate positive outcomes after a bad patch. Be aware of opportunities that come up for you now, as they may have greater potential than you realise. Can signify connection to the past is about to happen. It is important that you use your intuition at this time to avoid problems from others.


selfishness, laziness, luck, trust, changes.This is a time you need to be aware of others being deceitful or underhanded, be aware of others using your feelings and emotions for their own gains. Can indicate that you are being too trusting and not taking notice of the warning signs around you. Indicates changes that can be good or bad this includes changes with your luck, shows you that someone is using you for the own gains. Cuckoo indicate you need to think of yourself more at this time.


Cormorants is a reminder that we must learn to enjoy our accomplishments, our catches in life and not allow others to distract us from the enjoyment of our accomplishments. Also not to hesitating and to keep to your plans that you have started, keep your eyes on your goals and react to the change that may try to block you from them.


Love, gentleness, new life, alertness, balance, blending in, alertness, caution, can indicate a time to listen to others, and be aware of the situation you’re in now, take your time and do not rush into situations, a time to tread carefully .Having the ability to lead others without being controlling or dominant, indicating a time of change or an ending of a bad relationship, the opportunity for a new love and growth with someone new. Sometimes indicates birth of a new life.


Protection, loyalty, friendship, leadership, security, dogs can indicate that you need to take control and leadership in situations that are happening, or in your personal life, being able to work in a group without competing within the group. Sometimes can indicate you need to be more aware of security for yourself or your property, and being able to protect yourself not just physically but emotionally and financially.


Life, spiritual connection, creative, dreams, trust, harmony, can indicate new born life or new start in life, a time to trust in others and communicate openly .Being able to get the balance to working hard as well as allowing time for fun and enjoyment, strong spiritual and psychic connections. A time to work with others to achieve joint goals, avoiding difficult conflicts would be a good thing just now.


Peace, love, joy, new beginning, agile, awareness, hope. Doves indicating peace and joy are coming your way after a turbulent time. Is a time to be hopeful as more positive things will be soon with you, remain aware of your surroundings as you are not completely in the clear yet a new beginning is about to start, you can relax once this has started. An indication of deep meaningful love coming into your life soon.


Family, protection, confrontation, expression, sensitivity, creativity, endurance,Indicates this is a time to be creative with your ideas and express yourself so that others can see your full potential, however at the same time remembering to be aware of others who may take opportunity to cause you harm physically or emotionally. Your creativity and confidence may attract jealously from others, this can be a difficult time with many obstacles, by sticking to your goals and desires you can achieve success. A good time to develop stronger family connections.


Agility, expression, control , wisdom, indicates swift change is coming your way, being prepared to lay down new foundations, it is almost time for you to express yourself, you may feel you have no control over things that are happening, do not worry as control will come back at the right time. You may feel information has been withheld now is not the right time to make your move.


Spiritual, healing, strength, wisdom, courage, awareness, freedom, The Eagle is indicating you need to be aware of greater potential within yourself, and to let go of any fear that is holding you back. This also a time for spiritual growth and development. You have the wisdom, strength and courage to overcome anything negative that is blocking you from reaching your goals. If you are being controlled and restrained by others, the Eagle indicates it is a time to break free from these restraints and controls placed on you by others. Reacting and thinking quickly is essential now, avoid hesitation.


Wisdom, strength, power, knowledge, spiritual awareness, family, now is the time to look at family connections and other closer bonds, you could be heading for a situation you have experienced before, use your knowledge and wisdom to avoid the problems of the past, situations where you feel you have little or no control will soon change where you will have a much greater advantage and power. A time of greater spiritual awareness.


Regeneration, healing, growth, reflection, worm indicates a time of healing and to give yourself that time. The need to ground yourself on all levels, it is better you do not reflect upon the past, let it go to allow the new growth into your mind and life now.


Determination, inspiration, travel, openness, this is a time to have determination and inspiration to continue to push forward with the situations you are finding difficult, travel is indicated now or a good time to arrange travel plans, maybe warning of difficult times just ahead, being open to new ideas and opportunities may give you the answer you are looking for.

Frogs or Toads

Transformation, abundance, new life, sensitivity, healing, hidden beauty, power, regeneration, life changes, adaptability, new beginnings. Frogs and Toads shows it is time to cleanse and adapt, as you have become stuck in old ways, get in touch with your feelings and emotions and wash the negativity and doubts away, you are likely to be bogged down with situations in your life at this time it’s the right time to take a leap forward into a new start. You will be sensitive to things around you and will feel it much more than you normally would, this can be used to your advantage went dealing with others. Sudden changes in your life are about to happen physically and emotionally. Indicates changing all areas especially in your home. also indicate a time for healing is needed now this can be physically, emotionally or spiritual. An opportunity to develop and strengthen your position in life quickly now. This is not a time for hesitation take the opportunity that present them selves to you and move forward with them.


Cunning ,creativity, skill, slightness, unseen danger, behavior, persistence. Fox can indicate someone being crafty or underhanded around you so use your skill and cunning to get the upper hand, continue to persevere with what you see as being important to you at this time now. May indicate danger in business or a financial loss, be careful of any agreements made, use your skill and judgment to avoid the potential danger points.


Shows how to be outgoing with tact and how to cope and overcome obstacles, indicates to let go of the old outdated perceptions and to make way for the new. Indicates you can emerge successful in this change within yourself. When you see a gecko it also is a sign to pay attention to dreams and visions. You could be holding on to old emotions and feelings, now would be the time to let them go, to bing balance and transformation into your life and the right time for you to grow.


Independents, agility, confidence, support, foundations, trust. Indicate at this time you will need to take a leadership role, supporting others when moving in a new direction, a time to establish strong foundations for the future. You have all the information you need, you do not need to look to others for more guidance. It is important to you to take control and choose a direction to move in.

Ground Hog

Studying, new developments, boundaries, resourceful, dreams, goals.Indicates a time for studying in an in-depth way to greater your chances of success, be aware of your boundaries and other people’s to avoid trouble now, a good time to start new development and building toward your dreams and goals. A period for clearing out the old to allow for the new to come in.


Enjoyment, home and family, health, strength, balance, protection, opportunities. This may be a time you need to protect yourself from others on an emotional level, be aware of your health and make sure you are doing the right things to ensure good health now. There will be opportunities coming your way, be ready to take them, if there are problems with home and family at this time, concentrate on bringing the balance back into the situations to allow happiness in. Now is the time to prepare for your short-term future.


Freedom, spiritual, travel, stamina, clairvoyants, power, new directions. Can indicate a spiritual awareness as well as clairvoyant abilities, a time to travel into new areas spiritually and physically. You need to make sure that you are free of restraint from others now, so you can move forward freely and happily. You have the power within you to reach and achieve the things you desire. Do not allow others to restrict you in any way at this time


Sharpness, patients, blending in with your surroundings, Indicates you can be emotional on the inside but tough on the outside to allow you to face your fears, is a time for rejuvenation and listening to your inner feelings, as well as learning to protect and defend yourself emotionally, physically and spiritually.


Patients,lost,destruction, changes, greed, strengh A time to show you have strength, at the same time you will need to be patient, and wait for the right moment to use your strength, there are changes that are coming and out of your control, make sure you are not being greedy if so,changes thing now to avoid problems in the future.


Sensitivity, grounding, instincts, patients, determination. This is the time you should be listening to what is happening around you and what others have to say with out saying anything yourself. Make sure you are grounded then things will go your way. You will be sensitive to your surroundings now do not allow this to influence your judgement, a time to be patient and determined to achieve the best outcome for yourself.


Awareness, communication, wisdom, aggression, learning, creativity, jealousy. Monkey is indicating now is the time for communication and being aware of others’ motives. There is jealousy around, be aware as this has the potential to cause problems for you. A positive time to start learning something new, your wisdom can help you now but use it carefully as someone is likely to use it against you.


Focus, being deceived, detail, low profile. This is a time to be focused on everything around you especially when connected to money and business. Someone around you is trying to deceive you, or avoid you finding out the truth. Look into the smallest detail of things you are involved in at the moment. A time to keep a low profile and allow others to have the control, until you know which direction you want to take things in.


Spiritual, independent, awareness, control, trust, at this time you should be careful, as all what you see or hear may not be what you first expect it to be, uncovering what is hidden from you, this is not the right time to trust those around you .A time to be independent and take control of situations, can indicate a spiritual awakening and moving forward on to a new spiritual level.


Joy, playfulness, strength, curiosity, creativity, awakening, healing, wisdom, faithful, love, Otter indicates a time to be having fun and happiness in your life, you should make the effort to allow this to happen by doing things that will make you feel positive, and meeting others that will make you feel positive about yourself. Can indicate when love or faithfulness is needed in your life, or you are about to meet someone where love can grow. It is the time to allow the child in you to show, taking care of yourself emotionally and physically and allowing yourself to heal.


Healing, transformation, understanding, agility, spiritual, planning. Now is the time to start making the transformations you need to go through to be happy, take time to understand what your needs are in relationships, and start planning a way to fulfil those needs, can be a time for a spiritual awakening, can indicate you need to allow time for yourself to heal from emotional or physical events that have happened recently.


Fertility, family, patients, awareness, enjoyment, adaptability, self-control. Now is the time to be patient, and wait for the right time you can make your move into a better position, this is a fertile time, good for creating new life and new projects. Be aware of hidden dangers when dealing with others, you can avoid the pitfalls. Can indicate you need to adapt quickly now to new situations. Take some time out to enjoy yourself.


Explore, cleanliness, transformation, curiosity, awareness, difficulties. Indicates a time where you should look to clear out the things you no longer need in your life ,possessions and people can also mean you need to be cleaner with your surroundings. You will need to change your way with people you are having difficulties with just now. Curiosity will get you into trouble if you are not careful, Now is a good time to explore new ideas and travelling to new places.


Adaptable, survival, untrustworthy, resourceful, overcoming obstacles, truths, abundance. A rat can indicate that someone you are dealing with is untrustworthy in many ways, be aware of your own survival in business as well as your personal life it is important to put yourself first, you may find there are obstacles in your way, rat is showing you these obstacles can be overcome by adapting and changing the way you approach things now. Things that had been kept from you will soon be uncovered, there is prosperity and abundance coming your way soon.


New beginnings, energy, opportunities, sexuality, trust, luck, judgement, fertility. Is a sign of new beginnings and great opportunities as long as you leave the past behind you. You need to look at your sexuality as well as your sex life, make sure you are being true to yourself with your needs sexually. Soon there will be opportunities around you that will seem risky, trust yourself and your judgement and take the ones that are right for you. A sign for good luck and fertility.

Sea Anemone

Patients, survival, taking things slowly, indistinct, trust, if you see Sea Anemone it signifies that you need to be patient at this present time. allow things to come to you. Allowing things to happen in their own natural time, as this will allow you to see any hidden dangers. Do not make rash assumptions as things are not as they appear. Be aware that communication needs to be two-way within relationships. If you push to make things happen faster than their natural progression you will incur problems and disappointment.


Career, hidden danger, determination, respect, changes, can indicate dishonesty with the people around you, be aware of hidden dangers with possible choices you are making at this time, you may need to rethink things and change direction. Be careful of over reacting. This can be a difficult time but making changes and having determination you can be successful.

Togetherness, community, direction, protection. Indicates this is a time for being more involved with community and family, coming together will bring a positive outcome for all involved. Can be a warning you need to protect yourself and others from difficult situations that are happening now. Revaluate where you are going in your life and what your goals are and make sure you are moving in the right direction to reach your goals.


Balance, sensual, confidence, excess, control, spiritual awareness. Look at where you need to bring balance into your life and start working on it now, you need to curb the excesses in your life and become more grounded to avoid difficulties that are indicated to happen if you continue in the manner you are now. Possibility of more spiritual activity around you this can be good as well as bad, be prepared to protect yourself if you feel you need to. This also may apply to your every day life.


Fertility, rebirth, wisdom, transformation, sexuality. Snakes indicate changes and new opportunities, as well as transformation of yourself. Removing what is not needed, listening and being aware of a heightened intuition and dreams. Can indicate time for a fresh start, being aware and honest with yourself about sex and sexuality.


Creative, strength, balance, patients, ending possibilities, at this time it will benefit you if you are understanding and gentle, however remain strong with your choices and ideas, there are obstacles but with determination and patience you will find a way to overcome them . Being creative, tempering greater possibilities to you so allow your mind to be creative. Spiders also indicate an ending of an ongoing problem or situation may not be what you want but is right.


Awareness, success, knowledge, trust, loss,planning. This is a time to be aware of what is happening around you and the potential changes that may happen, planning for the future and the changes to come before it’s too late. Now is when you should trust your knowledge with making choices and decisions. Can also indicate a period of forgetfullness leading to loss. Putting in the right effort now can lead to success.


Healing, regeneration, abundance, luck, inner strength, protection, this can be a time when your luck will change, if there has been health problems with yourself or someone around you. Starfish can indicate any improvement with the healing process .A sign that spiritually you are a protected from negative energies at this time.


Adventure, power, skilful, confidence, determination, control, Patients, loyalty, healing, tactful This is a time when you will need to use all your skills, patience and determination to achieve your goals short-term and long-term. May indicate you need to look at the loyalty others have for you and you for them, as this may need to change. Can indicate a time for healing physically, emotionally and spiritually. You should be more confident within yourself and with the choices you are making now, you have more control than you realise.


Transformation, abundance, new life, sensitivity, healing, hidden beauty, power, regeneration, life changes, adaptability, new beginnings. Frogs and Toads shows it is time to cleanse and adapt, as you have become stuck in old ways, get in touch with your feelings and emotions and wash the negativity and doubts away, you are likely to be bogged down with situations in your life at this time it’s the right time to take a leap forward into a new start. You will be sensitive to things around you and will feel it much more than you normally would, this can be used to your advantage went dealing with others. Sudden changes in your life are about to happen physically and emotionally. Indicates changing all areas especially in your home. also indicate a time for healing is needed now this can be physically, emotionally or spiritual. An opportunity to develop and strengthen your position in life quickly now. This is not a time for hesitation take the opportunity that present them selves to you and move forward with them


Survival, endurance, longevity, patients, psychic and spiritual awareness. Indicates a time for spiritual awakening and to search within to find fulfilment. Now is the time to take things slow and listen to others. Be aware of what is happening around you. It may be time to protect yourself, time to put yourself and your own security first


Vulnerable, loss, slightness, hidden danger, strength, weakness. Indicates there is hidden danger with people you are dealing with on a personal or financial level, be aware of your vulnerabilities at this time as someone is looking for them. You can also look for others’ weaknesses to gain the upper hand and strengthen your position now. Can indicate a loss of something valuable to yourself, this can also be an an emotional loss. Keeping a low profile, and the spotlight off of yourself will lead to you being successful in this difficult time.


Family, communication, freedom, magic, passion, honesty, creativity, indicate honest communication is needed at this time, with yourself and others, it is currently not happening. Being more creative with your thoughts can bring greater success to you. Now would be a good time to develop stronger ties with family and close friendships, it is important that you spend time alone to allow you to grow spiritually and to be aware of the magic of nature, time to be aware of your own inner beauty.


Loyalty, spiritual, sociable, family, wisdom, balance, resourceful. Wolf can indicate a time of spiritual awareness and the need for more understanding of spirit. A time to look at family ties and to strengthen them where necessary, being sociable and making the effort to connect to new people will bring you positive results, with disagreements or difficult situations you will need to tread carefully and use your wisdom to get the best outcome for you. There may be a short period of isolation before reconnecting with
loved ones.


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