Totems: What Are They And What Is Their Purpose?

The term totem comes from the Ojibwe tribe. It is a sacred object, a spirit being, or an symbol that represents a clan, a family, a lineage, a tribe, or a group of people. The beliefs behind it are based on deities and tutelary spirits and isn’t limited to indigenous people in just America, but to many cultures around the world. Places such as Africa, Arabia, Arctic, Asia, Australia, and Europe are known to have totems, but may not refer to them in a spiritual sense.

In contemporary neoshamanic and New Age, the use of “totem” terminology has been for the personal identification with a guide or tutelary spirit. There are animistic religions that associate with totemism in their beliefs, thus it is represented by either an animal or some other type of natural figure.

Animal Totems Meanings

Totem is defined in Webster’s Dictionary as: “A natural object, usually an animal that serves as a distinctive, often venerated emblem or symbol. A means of personal or spiritual identity.”

Animal totems have a large role in our lives as they are part of our self-discovery, our imaginations are captured by them, and they give us unbelievable avenues of self-awareness and self-expression.

Animal totems assist us to understand our past. If we pay attention, we can see a glimpse of our future with the aid of animal totems. Since ancient times, animals have served as indications of the personality traits that humans seek to achieve. Animals are some of the most powerful and strongest symbols in a human’s spiritual toolbox.

When we think about totem’s, it is the Native American animal totems that are most commonly thought about. However, all around the world, other cultures have incorporated animal signs as well.

By observing animals, we can see how a simple life is possible, a life that is pure in emotions and thoughts. Therefore, with the incorporation of animal totems into our daily lives, we can reaffirm our spiritual goals. We can focus internally on the attributes that our totems represent and externally live the character that our totems give us.


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