How to discover your animal totem(s).

I’m a big fan of listening to my intuition, as well as signs that come to me from the Universe.  One of my favorite ways to connect is by paying attention to messages from my animal guides.  When I was about 15 I was auditioning for my first play and was very nervous. My best friend, Hillary, suggested I get a tarot reading to find out if I would get the part.  We both felt led to go see a woman called Anette, an experienced psychic and tarot reader, whose shop we had seen in an eclectic area downtown.  This woman was amazing.  She told me many things that made a me a firm believer.  She told me I would get the part; not the lead but a very substantial female role.  She knew many other things that she couldn’t possibly have known including the name of my stepfather, who I felt was oppressing me with a strict Baptist upbringing, that this oppression would get worse and that it would take a long time for me to truly break free of my parent’s ideology. She also told me that my best friend would get in a wreck behind the wheel of a cream-colored car.

I did get the part, and Hillary did get in a wreck while driving a banana-colored Plymouth Horizon that we affectionately called “The Bucket.” I also got kicked out of my house shortly thereafter by my stepdad, for failing to conform to his religious expectations. Oy.

Probably the coolest thing that she told me, though, was that my spirit guide wears a mask.  The message for me was that it was my purpose in life to teach people to play.  I have spent hours mulling over what this could mean.  Years later, I inquired of a very wise lady how to find out what know what one’s main animal totem is.  She told me to ask the Universe and then to wait and see what messages I received.  She said it should “jump out at me” through a song on the radio, a billboard message, etc.

As I was going to sleep that night, I thought through my day and almost felt like nothing came through. Then I remembered flipping through the channels mindlessly and stopping on a show I’d never watched.  It was a crime show, and on this episode they were investigating an explosion.  As a result of the explosion,  a raccoon had been launched through the air and fused to a person’s face. Pretty gruesome, but it stuck out to me in what I have come to call a “Megaphone Moment” from the Universe.  This is when the Uni picks up it’s megaphone and energetically sends me a shout: “Hellllloooooo, Mercedi! Pay attention!!”

Play is very important to raccoons and incidentally, they also wear a mask.  As I have studied and meditated on raccoon medicine, I have seen many similarities that give me strength and guidance.  Raccoons are very dexterous with their hands, a fitting parallel for my massage therapy skills. They are also omnivorous, eating some small prey but preferring a diet heavy on fruits and vegetables.   Eventually I will do a post about how my own views came to match this philosophy after years of being strictly vegetarian.

While many animal teachers may come to show us their wisdom whenever we are in need of guidance, I believe that we have one special totem animal who symbolizes our main personality traits, and who is with us for most of our life.  Some people just instinctively know, without having to ask to be shown as I did.  My boyfriend, for example has always been drawn to the shark.  He has worn a shark tooth around his neck for the 30 years.  I think it very fitting because his personality is fearless, he stands up to any challenge, and is never caught off guard.


If you want to discover your main animal totem, and to unlock the secrets and wisdom of it’s spirit, here are some things you can do:

  • Pay attention to animal you have been drawn to from a young age.  Do you collect images or sculptures of a particular animal?  Meditate on the qualities of this animal and see how they resonate with you
  • Notice if you have recurring dreams of a certain animal
  • Ask the Universe to show you, then pay attention to your surroundings.  You may physically see the animal or otherwise be shown it in such a way that the universe is asking you to notice such as repeatedly seeing it’s likeness on advertisements, decorations, clothing, etc.
  • Do some research on Native American Spirit Animals and Animal Medicine.  You can check out some of my favorite resources here and here.


Keep an open mind and allow your animal spirit guides show you the way!



Photo credit: Animal Planet/ lwpkommunikacio/CC BY-NC-SA