moonvoice (moonvoice) wrote in totemists,

Totems for the New Year

(originally posted in the Axis Mundi e-zine.)

Totems for the New Year

So often, totems are treated like accessories, animals that we show off to our like-minded friends, and that’s where the connection tends to end. But totems (of any kind) can have meaningful benefits outside of basic research into an animal’s meanings and behaviour.

Consider aligning yourself to animal totems or guides for the year ahead. What are you wanting to achieve? The messages of our animals friends are more than able to support us on our goals, and suggest new ones to boot.

Want to be more creative? Consider the orb-web spider and her beautiful woven tapestries. Orb-web spider knows how to create something beautiful no matter how she feels, she teaches us that we create to survive, and not just to feel good. For those considering creative ventures as a career for the first time, orb-web spider can teach diligence, discipline, and the reward of a job well done. For those who want to explore art as a hobby in general, consider bower bird, or even the curious thief magpie, who steals things that appeals to his or her eye.

Considering quitting a bad habit? Look into animals that demonstrate a call to action, and steely willpower. Quoll – all species – are an excellent Australian example of applying discipline, strength and ferocity to any area of your life. If you prefer to go more gently into quitting a bad habit, or creating health; consider gentle frog, who cannot tolerate pollutants in his or her environment, and can communicate to you when you’re going overboard, or drifting back into self-destructive habits. If you’re focusing primarily on halting thought patterns you don’t like anymore, try appealing to the adaptive, curious Australian raven, or highly intelligent bottlenose dolphin.

If you’re wanting to challenge yourself, or try something completely new, consider those animals that have adapted extremely well to challenges themselves. Feral animals, as much as they can be a bane on our native species, are excellent examples of animals that can adapt to just about anything. Camels, cane toad, domestic cat, rock pigeon, rabbit and fox are just a start. As many people have fox, cat and rabbit as totem in particular, it won’t be so much of a leap for those that have worked with these animals before. Alternatively, you can consider native animals that adapt extremely well to human habitation, like willie wagtail, Australian raven, red-back spider or grey kangaroo.

If finance or an increase in wealth and independence is your game, consider animal totems that live in areas of material abundance. Birds of paradise are an immediate ally for those wanting to live the life of the rich and famous (or at least, get one step closer to it!) The reason birds of paradise have been able to develop such beautiful courtship displays, is simply because they live – compared to other birds – relative lives of leisure. Food is abundant, all around them, throughout the year. They want for nothing as much as any animal can. If you’re also someone who has problems with concepts of material richness and wealth, the birds of paradise, particularly those that live in the richest of rainforests, can be extremely helpful.

Travel is often a big one; for people wanting to see the world, take more time to themselves, or spend more time with loved ones in new environments. For those who wish to have some animal totems for the goal of travel, consider all animals that migrate, or are truly nomadic, going where their needs take them. Many native parrots are excellent totem ambassadors for travel; rainbow lorikeet, and wild budgerigar both go where food and water can be found. Then of course, there are the true travellers; the albatrosses and petrels, many of which visit and nest on our shores. These birds can spend incredible amounts of time out at sea, and have been known to be protectors of sailors in many cultures.

As to the 'asking for help' process, you can try different things. You can consider creating a new visualisation to meet this animal, and ask for its help and support. See if you can work something out between your two energies that is reciprocal and meaningful. You can also try researching animals that reflect qualities you may want to adopt in your own life. If you like affirmations, you can try something as simple as ‘as orb-web spider creates works of beauty to help her thrive, so will I.’ Be lateral, whatever works for you, is something that is working well!

Remember, the animal totems in our lives – those that come to us, and those we invite into our space – are immensely powerful, from blowfly to bear. Working with them on a more intensive level, such as what is described here, can lead to enrichment in your life. If nothing else, it can certainly help you to reach your goals and resolutions of 2010!
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