The world of symbols we use in order to talk to ourselves is vast. I encourage you to look at as many resources as possible when seeking the personal meaning of an animal. The best resource of all though is you. Find the aspects of an animal that feel right and true to you personally. Ask yourself questions about why a particular animal captured your attentions. It could have a message to deliver about a current situation or it could be a life long totem animal; only you can know.
With the growing popularity of Earth-Based religions and early indigenous American style spirituality the phrase "totem animal" has become a somewhat generic term that actually encompasses meaningful spiritual relationships with animals in a variety of forms. There are historical cultural differences and origins for the uses of words such as, "totem", "medicine" and "fetish", and those uses can vary from tribe to tribe, Nation to Nation. Performing a search of those words can expose more detailed educational information about how indigenous Americans used them, and I would recommend learning from more professional resources in addition to user-based sites such as this blog. My purpose of explanation here is to point out how the words are commonly used in the broad arena of modern New-Age understanding.

I'm writing the symbolic meaning of animals from my own words, observations, and personal references. Most of the creatures I'll discuss will be those from North America because that is where I live, as do the animals and insects that I encounter. The articles and information here are mainly original content not compiled from previously published materials on the subject, other than my own sites, and are not to be used for profit. Information should be considered as "entertainment" only, so readers use any advise or information at their own risk.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Symbolic Meaning of the Badger

Hand painted Spiritkeepers Stones badger, by Tree Pruitt.
 The loose skin and cuddly look of badger is a bit deceptive because powerful muscles lay beneath that fluff. Illusion is one of the gifts of badger medicine. Though an unsociable animal, badger hangs loose in its skin and can take bites from others without much danger to itself. This protective quality can often slow things from getting through to badger people. They may need a bit more patience from loved ones who share the family den, as they often have difficulty relating to others. Not being fans of authority, expressing themselves in a clear balanced manner and staying out of conflict is often a great challenge. Badger people may also need more time to absorb changes and learn concepts new to them. But when they decide they are ready no knowledge on the Earth can stay buried for long. As with any animal messenger, badger can be a temporary power animal or life long totem. If badger has entered your life in some way you might also take a look at the weasel family as a whole, and the prey of the badger, to discover other important aspects. The dachshund, known as the badger dog, was bred just for hunting this fierce member of the weasel family, so examining what preys upon badger can also reveal much to the spiritual seeker.

  Points to Ponder  

Positive Aspects - illusion, expression, strength, Earth knowledge, durability, focus, ability to dig to the core of the problem swiftly, caring for the self, positive self image

Negative Aspects - aggressiveness, poor adaptability, rushing to conclusions without assessing the entire situation, anti-social behaviors, difficulty relating to others, pretense or arrogance

Tree Pruitt, 2007. *Some concepts may be referenced from information supplied through, "Animal Speak", by Ted Andrews, Llewellyn Publications, without direct quotation.

What's In A Name?

A portion of "Eagle Woman", a painting by Tree Pruitt.
Below are some of the different terms used to describe the ways animals and insects are referred to within the modern New Age spiritualist movement. I've also shared here my interpretation of what these words and phrases mean, as well as some tips on how they can be used by a spiritual seeker or metaphysical minded person.

  • What's A Totem?
  • Animal Spirit Guides
  • Ghosts
  • Animal Fetish
  • Medicine Totem
  • Temporary Totems & Everyday Messengers; OMEN SIGNS
  • Power Animals 

What's A Totem?

A totem animal shares its strengths and weaknesses with its human partner. However, many agree that a totem is a creature whose energy has been, or will be, a long term effect upon a person. Your favorite animal from childhood is often lingering with you still as a life totem. The creepy crawler from repetitive nightmares or unfounded fears may also be a life totem, for all creatures have the balance of dark and light within. Your life totem can reveal how you got to the place you're in now and where you're likely to go in the future. What aspects or habits do you always seem to have with you in life? Behind that answer lives your totem. What are the things you want to develop and achieve? What qualities do you admire and wish to see in your self? How do you want to grow as a person overall? A life totem is a partner and spirit guide through the journey.

Animal Spirit Guides  

An animal spirit guide may or may not be a pet or animal you once knew that has died. It is the actual essence of a particular animal communicating from the place of the dead, The Sprit World, or perhaps another dimension; reaching from the Akashic realm. Spirit guides tend to stay in contact with a chosen person for quite some time. They generally are present to help guide the person through a portion of growth, a layer on the Spiral of Life. They're influence may seem to come and go at times, and the visits may continue for years or only months. Eventually though, once the needed goal, or layer of the Spiral, is reached, the animals influence, is no longer needed. The person, if true growth has indeed happened, will know when this time has come, understanding that animal's particular energy is no longer required there is little sense of loss or remorse.


Animal ghosts, (also sometimes referred to as a spirit animal) can pass messages to us through human helpers, such as pet psychics, or may even directly effect a location, such as in a haunting. An animal ghost was once a living creature that you somehow encountered in life, but has since passed away. It too is the actual essence of a particular animal communicating from the place of the dead, The Spirit World, or perhaps another dimension.

Animal Fetish

An example of fetish designs, Spiritkeepers Stone #sk028 by Tree Pruitt.
An animal fetish is also sometimes today called a totem. A fetish is an artistic representation of an animal, with spiritual design. It stands as a dwelling for the general aspects and energies of a particular creature, (similar to a Hindu deity statue). It is an example of Native American society using a form of sympathetic magic, where the form of the animal itself is thought to attract the gifts that animal has to offer. Akin to a prayer, the fetish offers a hope for the person, or makes a declaration he/she will act in a different way. A fetish is a three dimensional shape of an animal that the person who carries or wears hopes will pass on some of the good quality traits; power. A fetish can be used as 'totem medicine' when the fetish does indeed represent your totem, and is worn or carried in a medicine bag. It is not an actual totem, but only a representation of the totem animal; a spiritual keepsake to remind you of your path.

Medicine Totem

A staff made by Tree Pruitt
A medicine totem is like a charm, or a sacred trinket. It can be a reminder of a sacred or special event in life; keeping that spirit with the holder. Material of construction doesn't matter because every thing holds energy. However, animal medicine needs to involve an animal in some way. A symbolic representation of the chosen animal can be made or obtained, (see "fetish" above). Some may also choose to have a physical connection to a particular species. In such cases, medicine takes the form of a claw, tooth, feather, or tuft of fur. This raises moral and ecological issues, and such use is a personal choice, tempered by legality. Read below about ANIMAL PARTS. A medicine totem of any kind can also be a form of treatment for ailment. Any time a person has a way of being to overcome, be it too much of this or too little of that, the person is in a state of dis-ease. Medicine is required to help in the healing of the diseased state of being. It is an expression of sympathetic magic, where the form of the animal itself is thought to attract the gifts that animal has to offer. In the movie, "Crocodile Dundee", the main character wears a necklace made of the tooth of a croc of which he'd shared a memorable encounter, as both a keepsake and protection amulet.

Temporary Totems & Everyday Messengers; OMEN SIGNS
Totem animals aren't always life long partners. Any animal can temporarily take on the role of a message delivery service from Spirit. How does one recognize when an animal is trying to deliver a message? If a creature suddenly begins to catch your attention -- shows itself in your yard, catches your eye often on television programs, in books, manifests in your thoughts, dreams or doodles -- then it probably has something to tell you. Messages are delivered to you on a daily basis from the world around; any creature can be trying to communicate to you at any given moment. Has a common housefly ever seemed to look right at you? Maybe it was! Let's say a bird you've never noticed before lands outside your window right at the moment you decide to look outside. Is that just a coincidence or were you put in the right place at the right time for a reason? It depends on how you feel about it inside. Did seeing the bird make you think of anything in particular? If there's a little nagging sense in the top of your tummy afterwards, you might want to do a little research about that bird. You are very likely to discover something useful for your immediate future from that rare visitor of the example.

Power Animals  

A power animal can teach you about yourself right now in this space of your life. It holds a greater depth of meaning than a messenger passing by to do a job. What are the things you'll need to get through the next step of the journey of your life? Gain confidence in your current knowledge and abilities by recognizing the positive qualities of a creature that has come to you. Discover what aspects of your life and self may need improvement by learning the more negative qualities associated with a power animal -- it lends its power to you!
Timber Wolf Spiritkeepers Stone #sk043 by Tree Pruitt

Above contents are copyright Tree (Theresa) Pruitt, ©2006/13, and were previously published on the former Realm of the Mystic Griffin website.