I'm all about totem animals, which is why I named my spiritual practice TOTEM. And, while I get asked about them all the time, it can be a hard thing to articulate in words. Totem animals are, like most things in shamanism, are best understood through personal experience, and can vary in meaning and significance depending on the individual, context and even one's state of consciousness during "contact".
That said, there are some universal themes that can be really useful if: 1.) an animal seems to be popping up for you and 2.) if you are looking for a particular energy to help you.
Lately, I've noticed Wolf popping up a lot. And it's not a coincidence. Heading into winter, Wolf is an apex predator that becomes increasingly active and focused in order to ensure the pack can survive the lean, cold months to come. (Cue the "Winter is Coming" memes).
There is a lot online and in reference materials about Wolf as a totem animal- you'll get the typical notes on their pack structure, monogamy, family, and teamwork. But there are some deeper- or perhaps less obvious- qualities to this energy as well:
1. "Big Bad" Wolf. Wolves are depicted throughout history and literature as evil, malevolent monsters that hunt humans, eat livestock, and menace the countryside. But that couldn't be further from the truth. When Wolf energy comes in, it may indicate that, to be successful or happy, it's important we not stress about optics. Sure, we may look- or seem- like the bad guy, but that's just a reaction to power. Wolf medicine is a reminder to step into your power, be yourself, and don't sweat the folks that see you as the bad guy- they're just intimidated.
2. #PackGoals. Wolves work together as a team to hunt and care for each other. When moving across large expanses of land, the leaders will take up the rear and keep an eye on the more vulnerable packmates. This sympatico is essential to their survival, and every individual works in concert to achieve their goals. When Wolf shows up in our lives, it's time to work with your pack- that team of people that are aligned around common goals. Have some individuals been supporting you? What can you do to return the favor? How are you contributing to the community that has supported you? It takes the whole group to survive the winter, so Wolf is an excellent reminder that sometimes you really do need others.
3. What Big Eyes You Have. Yep, shit's about to get weird. Wolf is one of the totem animals that has the most impact on your sensory perception and physical appearance. When working with Wolf, individuals may experience heightened senses (smell, taste, sight) and even hear friends remark on their eyes or teeth- just like in the Fairy Tales;) Wolf is one of the primary "shifter" energies in shamanism, so embrace this as an opportunity to slip into another skin- whether literally or figuratively. And take note of what you learn from your enhanced powers of perception: did you notice someone covering their mouth before they lied? did they shift nervously in their seat? who's body language is open and welcoming? And who is just not quite right? Learning nonverbal communication and tapping into your other senses can be an invaluable tool at work and in life.
Want to learn more about Wolf? Or how to leverage this energy as a shamanic tool for personal development? Shoot me a note anytime: firstname.lastname@example.org.
And let me know what animals or spirit guides you're interested in learning more about- let's keep this series going!