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Urban Totem Animals: Messengers of Spirit

Navigating life in an urban environment, like Los Angeles, is not without its set of challenges. Surrounded by millions of people, concrete, traffic, noise, pollution and hectic daily schedules with work and family, finding time to catch messages from the spiritual world can prove frustrating. I work with many clients that ask for a sign, some type of way to find that indeed they are not alone, and that there is an unseen realm inhabited by benevolent beings, Angels and guides helping them to steer the ship through uncharted waters. “If only I had a sign that I was on the right path”, they say. Signs can come to us in a myriad of forms and can intensify over time as we acknowledge them. From license plates to numerology, to feathers and coins on our path, signs seemingly abound everywhere. The early inhabitants of our area, the Native American tribes, had a system for improving their connection to the Great Mystery, and to all of life. Native American “medicine” is an all- encompassing way of life, because it involves walking on the Earth Mother, in perfect harmony with the Universe.

According to Legends of America: Native American totems and their meaning: “A totem is a spirit being, sacred object, or symbol of the tribe, clan, family or individual. Native American tradition provides that each individual is connected with nine different animals that will accompany each person through life, acting as guides. Different animal guides come in and out of our lives, depending on the direction that we are headed, and the tasks that need to be completed along our journey.”

Native beliefs further explain that a totem animal is one that is with you for life, both in the physical and spiritual world. Although people may identify with different animal guides throughout their lifetimes, it is this one totem animal that acts as the main guardian spirit.

With this one animal, a connection is shared, either through interest in the animal, characteristics, dreams, or other interaction.

This Animal Guide offers power and wisdom to the individual when they “communicate” with it, conveying their respect and trust. This does not necessarily mean that you actually pet or spend time with this animal, more that you are open to learning its lessons.

For some, knowing their totem animal is almost an innate process. It’s as if they’ve always known, inexplicably drawn to a particular animal, or having a special feeling for the animal’s energy. For others, they wonder how to discern what their animal totem is.

Here are some questions to ask yourself if you’re wondering what your animal totem is:
• Have you ever felt drawn to one animal or another without being able to explain why? This could be any animal, including birds and insects.

• Does a certain kind of animal consistently appear in your life? This doesn’t necessarily have to be a physical appearance; it could be represented in other ways, such as receiving cards and letters with the same animal pictured over and over, unexplainable dreams of a particular animal, watching television and seeing the same animal featured time and time again, or actually having the animal show up.”
Following is a sampling of some totem animals right here in our urban back yard, a brief description of the “medicine” they carry, and their meaning:

Crow: justice, shape shifting, change, creativity, spiritual strength, energy, community sharing, and balance.
Cougar: leadership, loyalty, courage, taking responsibility, foresight.
Coyote: the Trickster; intelligence, wisdom, guile, innocence, staying in the present moment.
Deer: compassion, peace, intellectual, gentle, caring, kind, feminine, innocence.
Dolphin: kindness, salvation, wisdom, happiness, playfulness, deep emotion.
Hawk: messenger, focus, visionary power, seeing the overall view, receptivity, heightened awareness.
Owl: clairvoyance, astral projection, magic, both black and white, illumination, messenger, keen insight.
Wolf: loyalty, perseverance, success, intuition, spirit.
Whale: wisdom, keeper of the ancient knowledge and earth history, sound, intelligence, kindness.

As you call upon the essence of these amazing and local messengers, you will immerse yourself in complete harmony with their wisdom, their medicine or teaching. They are here to assist you as you navigate the “Good Red Road”, or lessons of vulnerability, being human, and seeking wholeness with all that is. They are part of the true pathway to power. Their power lies in the wisdom and understanding gained from one’s role in the Great Mystery and in honoring every living thing as a teacher.

“We have not inherited the Earth from our ancestors, for indeed, we are borrowing it from our unborn children” ~ Lakota prayer

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