Lessons of the Totem Animals

//Lessons of the Totem Animals

Lessons of the Totem Animals

Years ago, I found a book on animal totems — after pulling an all-nighter with a Navajo friend who clued us in to the shamanistic roots of animal guides and animal medicine. In this Native American spiritual tradition, we each have nine totem animals who walk with us on this life path. They appear when they are needed to guide us at pivotal points.

I don’t know what my nine totem animals are. I’d like to know, but I never undertook the exploration in full. I do, however, feel my greatest sense of connection when I’m with animals, some more than others. And I notice when a single type of animal keeps appearing in my life, particularly if that animal never showed itself previously. If it comes at a particularly stressful period, I pay attention to the lessons or the “medicine” ostensibly offered by that particular animal.

Kestrels Everywhere

Last week, I started seeing Kestrels. I never see Kestrels close by. I’ve looked for them, hoped to photograph them as more than a speck on the horizon. But in the years I’ve now roamed Bay Area trails, rarely a Kestrel . . . except as a distant blip.

Now, in the span of seven days, I’ve seen four different Kestrels. All close up. All near urban enclaves. All sitting still, showing great tolerance for my presence.

Kestrels are falcons, and lessons of the falcon include balancing speed against outcome, as well as exercising patience in waiting for the right moments to act. If any animal can teach me patience, I’ll embrace it as a totem animal whether or not it wants to be. Kestrels appearing on the cusp between these two years and decades — I will take that as a mandate.

American Kestrel in Oakland

An American Kestrel in Oakland - ©ingridtaylar


American Kestrel in So. Cal - ©ingridtaylar

An American Kestrel in So. Cal. - ©ingridtaylar

By | 2010-01-02T20:29:30+00:00 January 2nd, 2010|Blog, Philosophically Speaking, Raptors|2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. john brannen February 1, 2010 at 10:13 am

    The American Kestral has been my guide all my life. I am fortunate to have a picture that I took of a WHITE Kestral. Go to Google and type in John Brannen Kestral for picture. It was so comfortable with my presence it stepped on to my finger and allowed me to position it at different sites and photograph it. Very powerful medicine. I am a grateful Spiritual Warrior walking the Red Road. I have no Native American Blood.

  2. ingrid February 4, 2010 at 4:41 pm

    John, I looked up the photo you mentioned — how incredible. And what a powerful affiliation to have in this life. I love the term “walking the Red Road.” Thank you for reminding me of that. My ancestral origins are steeped in animism (the Baltic ancients) which may explain my lifelong connection. I’m humbled and grateful when an animal guide appears. I appreciate your insights.

Comments are closed.