How to Find Your Totem Animal for Beginners (And What to Do After)
Totem animals, spirit guides, and familiars are a popular topic in the spiritual community. Everyone loves animals. They are mystical, seemingly-otherworldly beings who always tend to show up at the right times. Whether in the wild or in our own homes, they comfort us and bring us messages of joy and hope. Maybe you’re wondering how to find your totem animal and what to do after you’ve found it. We’ll answer those questions for you here.
First, What is a Totem Animal?
There’s a lot of debate on the definition of a totem animal. Is it the same thing as a spirit guide or a familiar? They are all actually different from one another. A totem animal, to put it simply, is an animal spirit that stays with you your entire life. It’s there to guide and protect you and is often gifted to you before birth. Sometimes they are passed down through family lines. They differ from spirit guides in that an animal spirit guide may be a temporary messenger, but doesn’t stay with you your entire life.
How to Find Your Totem Animal
The easiest way to find your totem animal is to think back to when you were a child. What was your favorite animal? What was one animal that fascinated you but might have also scared you? More often than not, the animal that invaded your dreams as a child might also be your totem animal. For me, I had dozens of dreams of wolves. They fascinated me but also frightened me. The wolf, no matter what other animals come and go, has always been in my life from a young age and still is! It is also a familial surname.
Ask for Signs
Still not sure? Ask your totem animal to identify itself to you. You must be open-minded to the signs, and don’t expect a grand entrance from your totem animal. What I mean by this is – don’t expect a zebra to show up in your driveway! That being said, sometimes your totem animal will make a grand entrance, or perhaps they will just give you some very obvious signs.
Those obvious signs might include:
- seeing that particular animal on the TV or online constantly
- seeing the totem animal in nature (at a distance or up close)
- hearing someone talk about this particular animal
- seeing symbols of the animal or seeing pictures in books, etc.
- Have you been particularly obsessed with an animal since you were young? Or maybe you’ve just recently become obsessed with an animal? My friend calls herself a “crazy cat lady” and laughs at the title, though she knows that she is absolutely obsessed with cats.
How to Find Your Totem Animal Through Dreams & Meditations
Another way to find your totem animal is through dreams and meditation. As a teenager, I had a dream that I was in a log cabin and that I died in the hallway. A white wolf laid down beside me, and my soul went into the white wolf’s body. I became the white wolf. From that moment forward, I knew that the wolf would be my totem animal for the rest of my life. He is not always in the forefront of spiritual messages brought to me, but I know he is always with me. Ask your totem animal to show itself in your dreams.
Try Different Meditations
Or if you would like to give meditation a try, ask your totem animal to come during meditation. It’s often easiest for your totem animal to show up in dreams or visions, because they’re in that dimension already. Also don’t be surprised if your totem animal is totally different than you would have imagined. Sometimes it might even be shocking. I know one woman whose spirit animal turned out to be a donkey! But the donkey had some deep, meaningful things to teach this woman and so she figured out why the donkey would be her totem and grew to love it. Also, totem animals can sometimes be mythological: a dragon, unicorn, phoenix, or even a werewolf!
I Found My Totem Animal, Now What?
Now that you’ve found your totem animal, where do you go from here? My suggestion is to study your totem animal’s characteristics: its habitat, habits, foods, behaviors, symbolism, etc. Record your findings and try to apply those things to your own life. Does the tiger exhibit behaviors you need to empower your life? Does the ant’s hard work prompt you to dig in deeper into your career?
In addition to studying and understanding your totem animal’s guidance in your life, you can also:
- add your totem animal to your altar
- meditate on your totem animal
- decorate your home or office with pictures of your totem animal to draw on its energy
- wear your totem animal’s colors
- watch documentaries about your totem animal
- visit your totem animal in the wild, if possible
One misconception I’ve noticed – some say you acquire a “lesser” totem and work your way up the totem pole, so to speak, to greater animals. In my experience, when one receives a totem animal it’s not less or greater than any other. For example, if your totem animal is a dragonfly, this is no less of an animal than the lion. Just different. As you move along your spiritual journey, you may notice different animal spirit guides coming and going. And in this regard, you may be “upgraded” to animals that are more powerful or larger than others. But none is greater than the next. And guides are different than totems, keep in mind.
Common Totem Animals: Can We Have the Same Totems?
I’ve noticed another totem animal misconception circulating in which people say “not everyone can have the wolf as a totem animal”. It’s almost as if these people get possessive over totem animal spirits. Well, I have news. Many of the totem animals are common for a reason – these animals’ spirits tend to gravitate towards humans for many reasons and have for thousands of years. For example – the wolf. The wolf is a canine. And who do they say it man’s best friend? Another – the horse. We’ve been sharing space with horses for thousands of years and will continue to do so. So if someone tells you you can’t have a specific totem animal because it can’t be everyone’s, tell them to stop being so greedy! Share the totem love. Spirit is endless and limitless.