Spirit Animal Guides and Totem Pole

by Lori Bogedin
Animal Spirit Totem

It is thought that Spirit Animals or Animal Guides arrive in a person’s life when the strength of that species is needed most. The variety of Spirit Animals or Animal Guides is vast and diverse, from warm-blooded animals to reptiles and bugs. Indigenous people believed (and many still do) that a Shaman was the only individual that could access a person’s Animal Guide. In this article, we are going to take a closer look at Spirit Animals, Animal Guides, and the Totem Pole.

Spirit Animals and Animal Guides

Many now believe that Spirit Animals or Animal Guides can arrive in your life at any time and in any number of ways. It is essential, however, to know that the spirit of an animal picks you; you do not choose the animal. When you think the mighty and fiercely confident wolf should be your guide, it might just surprise you that the humble and gentle deer shows up. Your Spirit Animals or Animal Guides will arrive at times when you need the energy of a species the most. These animals act as teachers, friends, protectors, and of course guides.

Spirit animals surround us; it’s merely up to us whether we choose to interact with their energy. A person’s first Spirit Animal or Animal Guide often arrives early in life. Think back to your childhood: do you remember a particular animal that stood out as your favorite?

Animal Spirit Totem

When a distinct animal crosses our path, it is a sign from the universe that the animal is there to help. So, as a child, when that first animal piqued your interest, it was probably there to comfort and guide you. The first Spirit Animal or Animal Guide to make itself known to you is the foundation of your personal Totem Pole.

What is a Totem Pole?

When you think of a Totem Pole, you probably arrive at images of the North American Indian’s grand carved art. The story of the Totem Pole, however, first came from six West Coast Nations. They are the Haida, the Nuxalk, the Kwakwaka’wakw, the Tlingit, the Tsimshian, and the Coast Salish.

And trust me, I had no idea where to find any of those places. So, I looked them up. What I learned was that they are the indigenous peoples of the Pacific Northwest.

Totem poles eventually became an intricate part of preserving history in many regions, including parts of North America like Alaska and British Columbia.

totem pole
Colorful indian totems in stanley park vancouver canada

Not only are Totem Poles beautifully carved pieces of art, but they also help families or clans tell their stories. The carved poles varied in meaning, but they all represented essential events. Each local group or family has its unique style and images cut into the design to keep a record of the tribe’s history. The different spirit animals make it easy to distinguish between each Totem Pole and its origins.

Totem Poles were carved from mature trees, usually cedar. Cedar, which is naturally durable, ensured the preservation of a family story for many generations to come. A pole might take years or even generations to complete.

These stories belonged to a family, clan, or even an individual. Totem Poles told of their legends, myths, events, and those whom they honored. The stories were then retold over and over again at ceremonies. These special events helped people keep track of a clan’s history. The stories intertwined with ritual and community to come alive in a magical, informative, and entertaining way.

Animal Totem Meanings

The top of the Totem Pole would serve as a house crest, spirit being, sacred object, or tribe symbol. Animal totem meanings vary, but generally, the Spirit Animal or Animal Guide would walk with the tribe or individual throughout life, acting as a guide and protector. Most common crests of the indigenous people are: Eagles, Owls, Ravens, the Thunderbird, the Bear, Beaver, Wolf, Whale, and the Frog.

In the last couple of centuries, traditional pole carving seemed to be a dying art. Fortunately, there are indigenous carvers today who help bring back this ancient art. New stories, crests, and poles will pass down history to future generations.

While Totem Poles help display Spirit Animals or Animal Guides in a physical form, they do not fully explain their characteristics. This is why many people feel confused about the concept of these figures. They are most often confused with Guardian Angels.

The Difference Between Guides and Guardian Angels

The Guardian Angel’s role in human affairs is a powerful one. But, I think it is essential to clarify the difference between spiritual guides that might get confused with Guardian Angels. Guardian Angels are appointed by the Divine and they have never walked the Earthly plane. However, this does not mean we are not looked after by other guiding forces.

Below are three examples of guides that do not fall into the Christian hierarchy of Divine Angel guidance. However, they still offer significant help to us mere mortals. We will go over these guides in more detail in future articles.

Spirit Guides

Spirit Guides can come to you in many shapes and sizes. The Spirit Guides of many indigenous peoples include animals as authoritative guides. The animal spirit meanings vary based on the species and particular events happening in your life. In any case, they are the spirits of beings that lived in physical form before transitioning to the afterlife.

The Ascended Masters include figures like Mother Mary, Ganesh, Count Saint Germain, and Buddha, just to name a few. Spirit Guides are thought to have once existed on this Earth in physical form before mastering spiritual enlightenment. Spirit Guides are believed to look after large groups that call upon them.

Deceased Loved Ones

Our loved ones who have passed over are also considered spirit guides. Mediums often claim that loved ones in the spirit world choose to watch over those they love, either by picking a particular person or acting as a peacemaker on behalf of the entire family. With the new-found knowledge of the spirit world, they still concentrate on matters they were best at while alive, only now they can truly serve.

There are many signs that a loved one is near. Ask for specific patterns, coincidences, or certain things to appear regularly. Loved ones adore connecting; just take the time to look for their presence, and chances are they will be there.

Host Spirit Guides

Though Spirit Guides look over a group of people on Earth, the opposite is true for Host Guides. Host guidance comes in the form of a multitude of the essence of a specific group. Host Guides offer guidance, much like our deceased loved ones, but work much like a team.

They are not so hands-on, but they aid in decision-making using the group’s characteristics, values, and traits. Ancestral Guides, Animal Guides, and Elemental Guides would all fall under the name Host Spirit Guides.

Finding Your Spirit Animal and Starting Your Totem

At this point, you’re probably asking yourself: what is my Spirit Animal Guide? Spirit Animals or Animal Guides present themselves in very significant ways. They can even be gifted to you. To be gifted a Spirit Animal or Animal Guide is a great honor and should not be taken lightly. This gift is usually given during a ceremony or meaningful time in a person’s life.

However, your Spirit Animal origin may differ. Most Spirit Animals or Animal Guides show themselves privately to an individual.  It is also believed that once a Spirit Animal or Animal Guide is in your life, it will be with you forever, even accompanying you into the afterlife. Everyone has Spirit Animals or Animal Guides, thus everyone has a unique totem. So, what would your Totem Pole look like?

There are many ways to determine which animals are calling to you. Realize that these animals will change based on your needs. Also, remember that even though you may not be working closely with a particular guide once they are with you, they will be there to call on forever.

So, if you think back to your childhood, is there an animal that stands out? If so, this is the base of your personal Totem. Get to know this animal very well, if you haven’t already. You may find that this Spirit Animal or Animal Guide is all the help and friendship you need.

How to Find Your Spirit Animal or Animal Guide

If you want to look for other Spirit Animals or Animal Guides in your life, look for any of the following signs:

  • Repetitive dreams about a specific animal
  • Thoughts about an animal during meditation or daydreaming.
  • An animal that keeps showing itself to you, whether it shows up in person, a television show, magazines, or even pictures.
  • Take a walk in nature, does one animal keep coming to mind?
  • Consult a reputable Shaman.
  • Go with your gut feeling about which animal you need.

You’ve Found Your Spirit Animal – Now What?

Once you learn that a Spirit Animal or Animal Guide has called you, look at their characteristics. Then, examine events in your life at the time that the guide presented itself. You will often see a powerful connection between your animal’s strengths and elements that you are lacking.

As Spirit Animals or Animal Guides come into your life, add them to your personal Totem Pole. Develop a steadfast and loving relationship with each Spirit Animal or Animal Guide that enters your life. The more you know about the animal’s power and energy, the more you can call upon them during different phases of your journey.

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