People often ask me about the Native American Totems and how they work. Generally when I try to explain to them by using an example of an animal totem that is working with me, they say I want that totem too. It really doesn’t work that way. The Animal Totem picks you because you need to have the lesson. You have totems that stay with you from the time you are born and those are determined by the Moon you were born under. Throughout your life you will have Messenger Totems that will come to you with a lesson that you need. The Messenger totems can be with you for a day, a week, or an extended time. It depends on how long it takes you to listen and learn from the message.
I use the Medicine Cards from Jamie Sams to learn about the totems that work with me on my journey here on Mother Earth. They are in essence a form of Tarot from the Native American perspective. To find out the 9 totems that are always with you (who have chosen to be with you) you can do the initial spread which is outlined in the beginning of the book that goes with the cards. After you have determined your power totems you will find out a little more of your purpose in this lifetime.
Medicine Cards: The Discovery of Power Through the Ways of Animals
There are other spreads that you can place the cards in to look into specific areas of your life and what is going on in the now. I do these occasionally to get a broad picture. Daily, I pick 1 card from the deck to see which animal is working with me on a daily basis. There are times the same card returns for days. I don’t find this odd as it tells me that the message of that animal still needs to be worked on. I’m always amazed at how dead on these cards are with what is happening in the here and now.
You do not have to use these cards to be aware of what animal is working with you. If you are suddenly drawn to a certain animal that animal is working with you. It might be that you are physically seeing them more than usual. It might be that you see pictures of that animal and it catches your attention. You are suddenly more aware of a particular animal. Pay attention and do some research on the animal as this is one way that the Native American Totems are calling to you.
~Mitakuye Oyasin~ We are all related
When the Sacred Waterbird, Blue Heron, comes to you in the Native American Totems tradition it gives you a lesson of self-reflection. Heron medicine teaches us about the power of knowing ourselves so that we can discover our gifts and face our challenges. We learn to accept all of our feelings and opinions and not to deny the emotions and thoughts that go with them. Blue Heron encourages us to follow our intuition and to take the empowering journey into self-realization.
I chose this totem message today (or perhaps it chose me) because in the last few days I’ve been on a journey of self-reflection. As much as I work with the lessons of the Native American Totems, one would think that I would have recognized that the Sacred Waterbird was flying over me. Sometimes we two-leggeds can be a bit dense when it comes to the messenger totems that enter our lives. When I sat down to free my mind and decide which totem to write about today, the majestic Blue Heron landed in my mind’s eye. Let’s just say it was one of those “Ahhh” moments. Let’s explore the message that Heron is bringing to me personally and probably to you too if you found this post today.
Blue Heron comes to us encouraging us to dive into the world of our feelings and to look for our truth. If we only look at ourselves in a negative frame we never understand our true potential or recognize the opportunities that come our way. We don’t want to get stuck in the notion of self-importance. We should not think of ourselves as having little or no worth nor should we wallow in self-pity. Heron says to reflect on your feelings and get to know ourselves intimately to find our true calling.
The Sacred Waterbird tells us not to blame others or point a negative finger at the situations of life. This majestic bird says to claim responsibility for our own actions and to face the enemy within us all. We need to find a balance to our inner truths, work on our inner weaknesses, and develop our strengths to know our own spiritual essence. This takes courage to make this journey because it isn’t easy to look at ourselves in an honest way.
We can find wonderful healing for our souls, truly allow ourselves to make our dreams come true, and live our lives to their greatest potential if we listen the the messages of our Native American Totems.
~ Mitakuye Oyasin ~ We are all related
The main lesson or medicine of Opossum is diversion. Let’s learn together what this Native American totem teaches us.
The greatest form of protection that Opossum has is to play dead. It confuses many of his predators into believing that the game has ended. It is not uncommon for the rival to walk away and then cunning little Opossum runs for safety.
There is a great deal of strategy involved with this medicine. If all else fails…play dead! This funny little creature has the ability to use its claws and teeth in a fight but rarely does so. Opossum uses the supreme strategy of diversion when things get too difficult to handle. Our funny little brother would receive an Oscar in the animal world if that were possible. It confuses it’s enemies by actually excreting a musk scent of death to create the diversion.
When Opossum comes to us as a teacher it is telling us that strategy is required in a present situation. We should rely on our instincts for the best way to get out of a tight corner. If it takes pretending to be apathetic or unafraid, then do it. Many times in life if we refuse to struggle or show that hurtful words effect us, our taunters will leave us alone because the game isn’t fun any longer.
Native American Warriors have used Opossum medicine for centuries. They played dead when the enemy drew near or outnumbered them. When the enemy least expected it the Warriors would leap up and the war cry was heard creating further confusion. These First People knew that victory was so much sweeter when won with mental strategy along with physical prowess.
The message from Opossum may be telling you to be clever in achieving your victory and to expect the unexpected. The victory could be something as simple as a nosey neighbor or a bothersome co-worker. Pretty much this little creature is telling you to use your brain, element of surprise, and some drama to reach the progress you desire.
~ Mitakuye Oyasin ~ We are all related
Frog may not be the prettiest creature on the planet but as a totem brother frog has a handsome message. Frog sings the songs that bring rain and makes the dirt of earth more bearable. Frog medicine is related to water energy. We are taught by Frog to honor our tears because they cleanse our souls. All of the water rites belong to Frog.
The body is cleansed and prepared for sacred ceremony by water. We understand this element best while in the womb. Frog, like us humans, is a pollywog in the fetal waters and only learns to hop after it experiences the world of fluidity.
As Frog transforms into adulthood he prepares for the power to call the waters of the skies, rain. Because Frog knows the power of water he can sing the song that brings the rains to Earth. Frog calls on the Thunder Beings to cleanse and replenish the Earth with water when our ponds become dry. We are asked to be like Brother Frog and to know when it is time to refresh, purify, and refill the coffers of our souls.
Look at yourself today. Are you feeling tired, overloaded, harried, frustrated, guilty, nervous, empty, or weakened? If so, Frog is calling you to perform the cleansing that you need.
Take a break and allow your soul to bathe in the waters of Frog medicine. You can do this by taking a long relaxing bath, disconnecting your phone, or just pausing to take deep cleansing breaths. The main point is to find a way to rid yourself of the distractions and to replace the muddiness in your life with clear and clean energy. This will help to replenish your dry spirit, body and mind.
Brother Frog speaks to us of new life and harmony through his rain song. His song calls to the Thunder Beings (thunder, lightning, and rain). His ribbet is the heartbeat that reaches harmony with Father Sky and asks for the needed replenishment. So call to Brother Frog to find peace in the joy of taking time for yourself. This gift to yourself cleanses you of any person, place or thing that does not contribute to your newly found state of serenity.
~ Mitakuye Oyasin ~ We are all related
Lesson about Boundaries
You wouldn’t think that a creature that looks so prehistoric and let’s admit it, is rather homely, could give us a beautiful message. Armadillo does give us a wonderful and enlightening message when it comes to us as a totem in Native American beliefs.
Armadillo #2 (Postcard) by maryvandenberg at Zazzle
It’s message is about boundaries and the setting of them. Armadillo’s medicine is a part of his body, he wears his armour on his back. The boundaries of safety are a part of his total being. He can roll into a ball and never be penetrated by his enemies.
Oh what a lovely gift this message is from Armadillo! Set your boundaries so that harmful words or intentions just roll right off of you! The lesson is to set up what you are willing to experience.
Make a circle on a piece of paper and envision it as a medicine shield. Inside of this circle write all that you are wanting to have, to do, or to experience. Be sure to include the things that bring you joy. You have now set up boundaries that allow only these chosen experiences to be a part of your life. The boundaries become like a shield for you that wards off the very things you find undesirable. This shield reflects what you are and what your will is to those around you on an unconscious level. You can also put the things that you are willing to experience by invitation only on the outside of your shield. These would be things like criticism from friends, visits from relatives you haven’t seen in years, or even people who need something from you.
Armadillo helps you define your space by coming to you as a totem. He may be telling you that you have been too willing to let your home become like an airport terminal and that you have become too obliging to the needs of others.
There are four questions that you should ask yourself:
- Have I honored my time for personal enjoyment?
- Do I let people treat me like a doormat?
- Why do I get upset when I’m taken for granted?
- Why am I a “yes” person?
The answers to these questions will help you set your own boundaries. What makes you feel uncomfortable? What brings you comfort? Are you letting the wants and needs of others bleed over into your own personality? Armadillo tells us to set the boundaries and allow positive energy to sustain us. Block the negative with your medicine shield.
~ Mitakuye Oyasin ~ We are all related.