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Animal Medicine Totems and Spirit Guides: Learning the Difference and Finding Your Connection

Updated on August 14, 2013

Connect to your animal totem and spirit guide

Animal Medicine and Spirit Guides are essential to one's walking in balance and harmony with the Earth Mother.
Animal Medicine and Spirit Guides are essential to one's walking in balance and harmony with the Earth Mother. | Source

The Tradition of Animal Medicine

The teachings and beliefs of Native American tribes are beautiful and full of great wisdom. Their strong connection to Mother Earth are nothing short of how we should follow by their examples.

One of the greatest teachings of America's indigenous people is that of the animal totems, their medicine, and spirit guides. Just as there are many religions for different faiths and cultures throughout the world, each individual tribe reveres their animal totems and spirit guides in their own way as well. However, they do share one thing in common: that they hold the highest regard and respect for animal medicine and spirit guides. They realize the common bond between the animals and Mother Earth is powerful and by following their examples and listening to their teachings, they too can have that common bond.

Many tribes including Lakota, Seneca, Choctaw, Yaqui, Cheyenne, Cherokee, Aztec, and Mayan have been fortunate to have their elders hand down their teachings and traditions, however, because of the diversity of these traditions, we have only had a fraction of the deep understanding that is needed to live with this system of divine creation.

Wind Song: May it be of Comfort

Animal Medicine and it's Purpose

The purpose of learning, knowing, and experiencing the medicine of animals, finding your totem, and listening to your spirit guides is to allow yourself to connect with our Mother Earth and all her creatures which have that divine ability to live in harmony and create a balance that is desired by every human being.

It is never too late to begin a process of understanding our connection to Mother Earth and her creatures. By beginning this process, you will open a doorway to understanding your animal totem, the medicine it offers, and connecting with your spirit guide(s).

Understanding Animal Medicine

When the term "Animal Medicine" is used, we need to redefine the word "medicine."

The concept of medicine in the Native American culture refers to anything that will improve one's divine connection to the Great Mystery and life. This includes without a doubt, healing the mind, body, and spirit. However, it doesn't stop there. To live a healing life that will constantly connect you to Mother Earth, animal medicine is also anything that will teach and bring you personal power, understanding, and strength. Because it is so powerful and all encompassing, this way of life involves walking the Mother Earth and seeking for perfect harmony throughout the Universe.


A Precious Gift

What is so amazing about Animal Medicine is that it is free to all of us. It is out there for us to learn about, to call upon, and to apply to our every day lives.

Our fellow creatures the animals, have hundreds of lessons and messages to impart on each of us every day. These messages of healing are directly from their habit patterns they exhibit which can be called upon by anyone who is astute enough to observe their way of living. Each lesson is based on a concept or idea and each creature is assigned to one of these lessons. By observing and calling upon these animals and their medicine, the lesson you are to learn will be revealed to you through meditation, observance, and an open mind.

Steps you can do to call upon your Animal Medicine

To call upon your Animal Medicine, there are a few things you can do to invite each lesson to come forth:

  1. Meditation: Find a quiet spot, light a few candles, perhaps have a waterfall running, or very soft soothing music. Imagine yourself in a forest or meadow and concentrate on your power animal(s). Once relaxed, call out to the power animal(s) and see if they come to you. Try having a conversation with them. When you are through, be sure to bless them and tell them "thank you." For some, this may take several occasions of meditation.
  2. Dreaming: After doing some meditation, remind yourself that these animals will come to you in a dream and keep that thought throughout the day. Cleanse your thoughts of any negativity and remain peaceful and contemplative so that your mind is open for receiving. Just before retiring for the night, offer a prayer and ask your animal guide to help you remember your dream in the morning. In the morning when you awake, write down anything you remember from your dream(s).
  3. Have your animal totem pulled by someone knowledgeable in totems who can assist you in understanding your animal medicine.

Calling Upon Your Animal Medicine

When calling upon the power of an animal, one needs to remember that you are asking for it's teachings and the lesson you are seeking at that time. By doing so, this will pull you into the strength and wisdom of that animal and you will begin to feel the essence surround you.

Because you are searching the understanding, knowledge, and healing of the animal kingdom, you must ask with all humility, have an open heart and mind, and open your window of intuitiveness.

The lessons that are given to you are those that your life is in need of that time. It may not always be the answer that you seek. Be open to that which comes to you as these lessons are chosen to reflect being human, being vulnerable, and most of all, seeking a complete wholeness with life and the Great Mystery. These lessons are eternal and forever forthcoming as long as you honor every living thing as a teacher.

How is Your Spirit Animal Guide Chosen?

You don't choose them, they choose you and come to you with teaching messages. Sometimes they stay with an individual for a season, a day, or a lifetime. It depends on how much that individual is in need of their spirit animals.

If you find yourself in a place where you are constantly seeing or thinking about a certain animal, open your mind and observe what this animal is doing. Learn about the animal by reading about it's habits and characteristics. If you see it quite often in your dreams, then it is a good chance this precious animal spirit has become your guide for a time.

One thing to remember is that you can have the same animal for a spirit animal guide and animal medicine. The difference is that if this animal comes to you without being called upon, most likely it is appearing to you as your guide and it has a special message for you, whether it be a lesson of life or a warning.


Animal Spirits and their Medicines

Animal Spirit
Animal Spirit
Patient, active, great planners, community mindedt
Joy, happiness, magical, peacemakers
wisdom, survivalists, never waste or take more than they need
Dreamer, imagination, awareness
Protective, shields off enemies and negativity
Keeper of secrets, respected, clairvoyant
Quick to act and react, aggressive, persistant
Mountain Lion
Natural Leader, balance power, strength, grace
Strength, gentle, self-esteem, willingness, leader
Introspection, intuition, contemplative
Scrutiny, nit-pickers, well organized, knowledge
Builder, industrious, sense of achievement, constitutes harmony
Diversion, smart, strategist, survivalist
Prayer and Abundance
Curious, caring, playful, balanced energy, woman medicine
Transformation, new beginnings, clarity
Kinship, wisdom, seer, perceptive, messengers
Trickster, sacred, laughter
Innocence, trust, gentle, loving
Lawful, shape shift, personal integrity
Fear, worry wart
Gentleness, loving, kind
Magic, mystical, courage, awakening
Loyal, sensitive, charity worker, nurse, soldier
Reputation, energy, self respect, repels
Manna (life force), rhythm, relaxation, peacefulness
Wholeness, healing, transmutation, passionate, precreation
Illusionist, change, gentle reminders
Infinite possibilities, weaver, peaceful, creator
Courage, spirit, opportunity, explorer
Gatherer, change, planner, survivalist
Stamina, intuition, warrior, strength
Graceful, intuitive, relaxation, great instinct
Adaptability, observatory, swift, cunning
Helpful, encouragement, giver, enlightenment
Cleansing, awareness, musical, transformation
Mother Earth, grounding, compassion, protective
Movement, sacred spiral, whirlpool, enlightenment
Stealth, observant, strategist
Messenger, teacher, awareness
Balance, emotional, record keeper, healer
Power, civilized, honor, loyal
Teacher, loyal, dedicated, family oriented, community minded, intuitive
This list of Animal Spirits along with their Medicines can be helpful when calling upon your spirit guide or totem. Be sure to study those precious animals which come to you and make them a part of your life every day.

Click on the source link to read more about each Animal Medicine

Click thumbnail to view full-size

Animal Medicine Hubs

The Animal Medicine Hubs displayed to the right will help you understand that animal better and connect to that animal if their medicine is needed in your life at this time.

After reading about each animal and their medicine, you may feel an automatic kinship with one or more of them. If so, then it is time to seek out more information on that animal that is standing out to you. Surround yourself with that animal whether it be a picture, figurine, jewelry, books, etc.

Connecting with your Animal Spirit

Which method have you connected with your Animal Medicine or Spirit Guide?

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Elizabeth Rayen
Elizabeth Rayen | Source

About the Author

Lisa has directed and acted in musical theatre for nearly 30 years. Her musical upbringing allowed her to pursue her career in teaching and directing and continues to direct shows today. As the owner of 2 online Home Décor sites, Lisa’s passion for Rustic Living all begins with her love for the home, outdoors, and her many hobbies. Lisa loves to laugh, and she share’s that love through her comedic hubs centered on her MOM. Lisa’s passions include writing, directing, acting, photography, singing, cooking, crafts, gardening, and home improvement, including decorating. Lisa also writes under her penned name, Elizabeth Rayen.


Comments: Animal Spirit Totems and Spirit Guides

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    • Rusticliving profile imageAUTHOR

      Elizabeth Rayen 

      4 years ago from California

      Awwwweeeeee... thank you my sweet sweet Sunshine! You are so precious! ♥

    • Sunshine625 profile image

      Linda Bilyeu 

      4 years ago from Orlando, FL

      Animals are such interesting creatures, as you do brilliantly made us aware :)

    • Rusticliving profile imageAUTHOR

      Elizabeth Rayen 

      4 years ago from California

      ShyeAnne, Thank you so much your visiting again and your sweet comment. I am so pleased you enjoyed it! Namaste my friend ♥

    • ShyeAnne profile image


      4 years ago from Deep Bay, British Columbia, Canada

      re-read and it gets a second thumbs up! Really good article

    • Rusticliving profile imageAUTHOR

      Elizabeth Rayen 

      5 years ago from California

      Thank you so much DDE. It is a great passion of mine and I love learning even more as I continue to write about it. Namaste =)

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 

      5 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      Great hub and interesting information, I had not given this a thought and you did such a perfect write up on this topic, well done.

    • Rusticliving profile imageAUTHOR

      Elizabeth Rayen 

      5 years ago from California

      Oooo I love the squirrel! Thank you for stopping by and commenting ShyeAnne!♥

    • ShyeAnne profile image


      5 years ago from Deep Bay, British Columbia, Canada

      Voted up and interesting. Animal spirits. Mine is the squirrel

    • Rusticliving profile imageAUTHOR

      Elizabeth Rayen 

      5 years ago from California

      Bill, There is no doubt that you have a spirit animal guide and totem. You will recognize it when the time is right. Namaste my friend♥

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      How very interesting. I have heard of totems before, of course, but never considered that I might have one. Now I'll have to think about it and whether a certain animal has been consistently in my life. Thanks for the food for thought.

    • Rusticliving profile imageAUTHOR

      Elizabeth Rayen 

      5 years ago from California

      Thank you so much Frank! I'm pleased you enjoyed it. Namaste my new friend♥

    • Frank Atanacio profile image

      Frank Atanacio 

      5 years ago from Shelton

      Rust... this was actually a fun and entertaining hub.. informative too voted up and useful :) Frank

    • Rusticliving profile imageAUTHOR

      Elizabeth Rayen 

      5 years ago from California

      Thank you so much Gypsy Rose Lee! I am with you.. I love all animals as well..we are truly blessed to have them among us! Namaste my friend! ♥

    • Gypsy Rose Lee profile image

      Gypsy Rose Lee 

      5 years ago from Riga, Latvia

      Voted up and interesting. This was fascinating. Love the pics and video. I just love all animals. Passing this on.

    • Rusticliving profile imageAUTHOR

      Elizabeth Rayen 

      5 years ago from California

      That is awesome Deb (aviannovice)! You have a wonderful animal totem and I have no doubt that the eagle belongs to you.♥

    • aviannovice profile image

      Deb Hirt 

      5 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      My totem is the eagle. You did a great job on this piece and it makes a lot of sense. Those four simple words that you mention about the eagle, are four words to describe me.

    • Rusticliving profile imageAUTHOR

      Elizabeth Rayen 

      5 years ago from California

      My Dear Scribenet, you hit it right on the nose with the dogs and cats. I have both and they are constantly teaching me the meaning of unconditional love, loyalty, companionship, playfulness, and who is boss.*L* thank you so much for stopping by and leaving your precious comment. Namaste my friend! ♥

    • Rusticliving profile imageAUTHOR

      Elizabeth Rayen 

      5 years ago from California

      Good Morning Nicola! Thank you for such a wonderful comment. I'm glad you will come back at your leisure and read through. If you get the chance, my individual animal totems might be of interest to you as well. I certainly appreciate your votes and sharing and your well wishes to everyone finding their totem. Namaste! ♥

    • Rusticliving profile imageAUTHOR

      Elizabeth Rayen 

      5 years ago from California

      Good Morning Vinaya, Isn't it wonderful how Mother Earth's creatures are revered in so many cultures? They have so much to offer us through their "medicine" whether it be physical or Spiritual. Namaste my friend♥

    • Rusticliving profile imageAUTHOR

      Elizabeth Rayen 

      5 years ago from California

      Good Morning alocsin. I actually wrote this hub with you in mind when you asked this question on my Wolf hub. You do not necessarily need to see an animal constantly to have it a part of your totem. Even after your totem is chosen, it is up to you to surround yourself with the animal(s) that have come your way by reading and learning about them, having figurines around the house, pictures, wearing jewelry designed with them, etc. Take a few moments a day and put yourself in a quiet place, meditate and imagine yourself in a peaceful forest, or meadow, or any place that makes you feel at peace. Then think about certain animals that you may like, or have an attraction to. It may be one I have listed on the hub, or another animal, bird, insect etc. As you think about this animal, call it to come forward to you and imagine it sitting in front of you. Talk to it, tell it how much you admire it. After you have done this, thank the animal and ask it to come to you in a dream. If this animal comes to you in meditation or dream.. then you have found your first animal totem. Namaste my friend♥

    • Scribenet profile image


      5 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Interesting Hub, Lisa! I do not know too much about this topic and have been fascinated by it, so I just "had to" read it :). Thinking on the unconditional love and joy of just cats and dogs, I do think animals have a lot to teach us "constantly at war" humans! Awesome!

    • ThompsonPen profile image

      Nicola Thompson 

      5 years ago from Bellingham, WA

      Unfortunately, I only had time to skim this as it was a spur of the moment click as I checked my notifications. From what I read, it's a well thought out and beautifully organized Hub. I will return to it when I can give it my proper attention - it looks like something I would really enjoy. Thumbs up and voted interesting and beautiful! Good luck to every one finding their totem animal! It's a precious gift to have!

    • Vinaya Ghimire profile image

      Vinaya Ghimire 

      5 years ago from Nepal

      I was born a Hindu. Many of the Hindu gods are animal totems, we have elephant god, monkey god, snake god etc. I knew animal parts can be used as native medicine, but did not know about the animal medicine you have explained here.

    • alocsin profile image


      5 years ago from Orange County, CA

      I like the list of animal totems and their meanings. But is there any way to find out what your totem is, if you don't see one constantly? Voting this Up and Interesting.

    • Rusticliving profile imageAUTHOR

      Elizabeth Rayen 

      5 years ago from California

      Thank you so much Alicia! I'm happy you enjoyed it. Thank you for stopping by and commenting! Have a great day!♥

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 

      5 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Thanks for sharing this information, rusticliving. It's detailed and interesting! It's also very thought-provoking.

    • Rusticliving profile imageAUTHOR

      Elizabeth Rayen 

      5 years ago from California

      Thank you Mary! I totally agree with you! In the infinite words of the late great Satchmo, "What a wonderful world"...this would be! Thank you for being my first visitor and first comment. Have a wonderful day!♥

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 

      5 years ago from New York

      "...the common bond between the animals and Mother Earth", it wouldn't hurt the modern world to follow the Indian way in this respect especially.

      Imagine how wonderful the world would be if we were all living a "healing life"?

      This was very interesting Rusticliving.

      Voted up, useful, and interesting.


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