Having recently discovered my animal Totem (a brown Stallion) I have naturally begun a journey of understanding what a Totem is and what a Totem does. According to Merriam-Webster dictionary a Totem is – 1 a : an object (as an animal or plant) serving as the emblem of a family or clan and often as a reminder of its ancestry; also : a usually carved or painted representation of such an object
b : a family or clan identified by a common totemic object
2 : one that serves as an emblem or revered symbol
So according to M-W, a totem is a symbol, a symbol of family history (i.e. Coat of Arms) or an emblem/and or symbol of self. This describes what a Totem is. Now what does a Totem do?
A Totem is an animal (mammal, insect, marine, and/or mythical) being that aids us throughout life. Some believe that we only have one Totem throughout our life, others I have seen feel that we have many and they can change as we ourselves change (physically and spiritually). My thoughts on the matter are that we all have one main Totem and then have “Totem helpers” along our life’s journey. A Totem inspires and gives us confirmation as to the path we need to take, or even confirmation on the path we are on. Totems can be powerful allies and sources of strength during difficult times. They can also remind us to be compassionate and calm. Totems encompass attributes that a lot of times we already have, but sometimes can have attributes that we need to work on. D.J. Conway’s book Animal Magick discusses “The Art of Recognizing & Working with Familiars.” While this book deals with familiars, I have found it to be an excellent source for working with Totems. There are chants and also explanations for many Totems beings as well as how to connect to them on all levels. Meditation is a great way to work with a Totem or even to discover what your Totem is. When in an alpha state (day dream state) ask for your Totem and pay attention to what appears and/or happens. Any living or even non living (mythical) being could and can be a Totem. Take note of what you see. Compare this with your life. Do you see this animal on a daily basis (birds, insects, mammals). Is this a being that you have loved and adored since you were a child (unicorns, dragons, griffins). This could be your very own Totem Being!