Since the dawn of the human’s existence on Earth there were forces and allies that accompanied him on his way to survival and knowledge and many times they made the difference between life and death. Ancient tribes and shamans were guided by these spirits in areas of safety and prosperity, they were getting information about healing and protection from evil and they operated as intermediaries between the human world and the spirit world. Some of these forces were their ancestors and some were animals, that helped them in their daily life as long as they were alive and continued to do so, even when they crossed over, throughout the human history.
The idea of the animal Totems is ancient and appears in every area populated by humans. Of course, they are not the animal themselves, although there were people who believed so, but they more likely are archetypes and the energy repercussion of the total unconscious of each species.
A Totem is an animal or a plant or an element of nature that stands as the emblem of a human or a group like a family or a tribe, reminding them of their origin or their mythical past and thus creating a family or an interdependent relationship. Traditionally, faith in a Totem was accompanied with a myth that was important to the tribe.
Belief in the Totems was not restricted to the American aboriginals and the indigenous of Canada. In a weird way, that implies their objective existence in other planes, similar beliefs appear throughout history in tribes and societies all over the world. In Africa, Asia, Australia, the Arctic, all of Europe and more, in areas and times that the indigenous people of each one couldn’t possibly have any contact with the rest nor transfer any ideas, there was the simultaneous belief in the existence of the Totems and of course there were the corresponding stories and myths accompanying them.
Although there has been the belief that the tradition of the totems spread from the population of ancient China to the rest of the world, others deduce that it bloomed separately in different places at the same time. The equivalent tradition from North America is estimated to be more than 10.000 years old.
The Totem embodies all the wisdom of its kind and it constitutes the higher expression of the characteristics of the archetype of a particular animal. For example, the Totem of the Bear isn’t just one creature but it represents all bears, or even better the sum of this kind, what the native Americans called “the Great Bear”.
Each animal has specific characteristics. It is widely known that the lion is brave and the ant is hard-working. But, there is great wealth, beyond their basic elements, and a complex psychology that makes each Totem unique and special.
Although in our time the direct connection with the Totems and all they represent has been lost, there has never been a greater need for their immediate presence in our life. The modern man experiences a cruel distancing from his values, a fact he finds very difficult to even admit. The unsatisfied need for a better quality of life has led us to the consumption of big quantities of medication, the experience of ongoing stress and existential uncertainty that we yearn to fill.
Turning and returning to the wisdom of the Totems can become the first step to a path of vital importance for our soul. We may have drifted away from them, but the Totems are always near us, ready to rebuild the fallen bridge with us.
Our relationship with the animal Totems, that started with the beginning of humans and animals coexisting, has never stopped. But, respecting peoples’ right of free will, they have stayed away. This is the distance that the people themselves created when they moved away from nature and stopped respecting other creature. But, just as we distanced ourselves, we can return back to the only creatures that will not judge us and that will do all that is possible to help us in every level, unselfishly.
The moment we recognize and get to know our personal Totem, we will understand that we are not alone in dealing with the difficulties of life. There is another creature, that represents the wisdom of a whole specie and that is willing to help us in every way.