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Totem Animals and Springfever

April 26, 2014

I’ve been thinking a lot about totem animals lately. The interesting thing is that in this case, as with all archetypal behavior, we mirror the animal we seek. The animal spirits who work with us on an day to day basis change over time, sometimes seasonally. We probably each have a primary Animal, we might even look like that animal, but there are others out there who come to serve us when we need those particular gifts: the acuity of Hawk, the guile of Fox, the fertility of the Hare. I was just speaking to my friend the writer and poet  Robert McDowell about the bear totem coming out of hibernation. It’s been such a long winter and he’s cranky and hungry and yet also weary and emotional. These emotions are just the way it is in spring for the bear, it doesn’t mean anything special, but it does, if we reflect ‘Bear’, show us how our own sense of things makes…well…sense! There’s nothing wrong, but there is a huge shift happening as the season changes and the whole world comes to life (in the northern hemisphere, that is). Our immune systems go into overdrive, and suddenly we’re just as exhausted as we were midwinter when the days were short and dark. I love Bear totem, but it is seasonal for me. Bear was my first ever totem, I was a small child when I got my first bear sculpture, and I have it still sitting at my bedside. This time of year when I walk by my bear fetishes I always want to stop and talk. It’s so hard, being tired and emotional at the same time. There are brief moments of energy and alertness, but mostly the awakening phase is still a bit of a fog. Still in the cave, right?

For others the bird totems are most active now, birds are nesting with their young. Predatory birds are active now, stealing baby birds, eggs, and new young rodents…it’s a feeding frenzy, making up for the winter of scant food. If this animal, the Hawk or Raven, is your totem now, how would that heightened sense translate? Serious motivation, aggressiveness, ability to spot opportunity, seize the moment. Spring cleaning, inside and out. Looking for a new job, cleaning out the closet of life. A time to expand, put on weight, winter has been thin and harsh, there is no time to lose. It’s an aggressive kick-ass time for Hawk. It’s also a time of new nests, rebuilding, renewal, clearing, vanquishing enemies.

Meanwhile, I will try to think about sweet things like berries and honey and move slowly out of my cave and back out into the world. There is so much activity now that those of us with the Bear at our side might feel overwhelmed, our immune systems taxed. We aren’t moving at the speed of Hawk. As we come toward the solar eclipse of the 29th and then the Beltane fires of May 1st, we each align ourselves with our animal guides and pattern our actions by looking at the animal himself, then we can’t go wrong. Allow the animal into your consciousness, it will be like a road map of springtime.


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