Native American Totems

Discovering the medicine and lessons learned from the spirits of animals and all living things.

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domesticated catI wonder how many of you have thought about the possibility that the pets that you choose to share your life with may be an indication of a totem working with you. Take the domesticated cat for instance, there is a possibility that in some way your pet cat is a creature teacher in your journey on this earth. What are the lessons that can be learned from domesticated cats? Well, quite a few in actuality. There are many energies surrounding cats in general.

We often see the explanations of the wild cats that act as a totem to people but we do not get much when it comes to a tame cat or even a feral cat that we may see in our daily lives. Wild and domesticated cats share certain qualities which could come into play with your totem medicines.

Throughout the history and even pre-history of man the cat has predominated both myth and lore of several civilizations. The ancient Egyptians held a cat in very high regard. The goddess Bast was often depicted as a cat or with the head of a cat on a female body. The Scandinavians associated cats with their goddess of fertility, Freyja. The Hindu tradition often showed the goddess of childbirth riding on the back of a cat. And then there are all those folk tales that have a cat in them to consider. So, for many centuries humans have given the cat a special place in their lives and often associated them with mystery and magic of some kind.

When we consider the traits of a cat we find some contradiction in the descriptions but aren’t cats kind of contradictory in general. A few terms used to describe a cat’s nature might be:

  • curiosity
  • nine lives
  • independence
  • cleverness
  • unpredictable
  • healer

Often times the pet cat of a witch is referred to as a familiar which means a spirit in the form of a cat. Some even believed that a witch could turn into a cat if she so desired.

As much as we would like for our cats to be active and playful during the day, in reality they are much more attuned to activity at night. There is a reason for that. It is due to the fact that they have extra rods in their retinas which makes them more perceptive to light. So, they see very well at night. We often say they are independent and unsociable during the daylight hours when it has more to do with their ability to see so well at night. The spiritual aspect of seeing in the dark translates to the dark being the home of our fears and the things that we do not want to see or can’t see. This brings the association that cats have with magic and mystery because in the spiritual realm they would be able to see those things and perhaps help us with our fears, see things clearer and not be afraid or understand the things we can not see.

I can barely remember when a cat has not been in my life. There were cats around my Grandmothers house all the time. She would feed them but they were not really her pets. I’ve had a pet cat in my life for decades. My first was when I moved out on my own and a little kitten begged me to rescue it. Except for just a few months during four of my six decades I have shared my life with at least one cat. We currently have a gray tabby as our pet. Her coloring is significant in that gray represents maturity and security. There is a long story of how she came to be with us and I often say that she adopted us. Now as I reflect on her being here as a possible totem, her insistence in us taking her in when she was barely weaned from a neighborhood cat was the universe making sure that I had a cat around to help me learn the lessons of facing my fears and seeing things more clearly.

What brought me to this post today is that not only do we have our cat in the house that I feel this connection of my soul to, but in the last couple of months there are two (there is that number again in my life) feral cats that have decided to live under our deck. Uhmm, they are both gray cats. One is a tabby that looks like she could be a sister to ours and the other is a long haired gray with hints of white on her fur. Those hints of white could mean hints of new beginnings or clarity of purpose. As I sat down to write my post this morning the cats were strong on my mind.

To say that 2013 and the transitions that presented themselves in my life caused me to fear for the future would be putting it very mildly. I wonder if those extra cats coming into my path towards the end of the year are more significant than I had first thought. Perhaps they are here to teach me that I have nothing to fear, that the mystery of the future is something to look forward to. The cats will help me find my way in the darkness and come out on the other side with some clarity of my purpose with the remaining years that I have….there is some magic and mystery coming alive if I open my soul to it.

If you would like to learn more about the secrets and lore of cats this book is a great one to have.

secrets of cats
Secrets of the Cat: Its Lore, Legend, and Lives

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