Working With The Animal Totems
TOTEM ANIMALS ~ The Shaman's Totem ~ Eagle
Actually the term ‘totem’ was derived from the Algonquian word - Ototema or sometimes - Nto’tem, or Odoodem which means kin or sibling. In many Algonquian dialects it refers to a particular animal or supernatural being/creature associated with a tribe, clan, or band. This Ototema is often thought as a creator spirit or an ancestor. Most often an ally and protector.
These Algonquian Ototemas go far back to the tribe’s, clan’s or band’s origins. Totems cannot be chosen randomly or by an individual’s affection or admiration of a particular animal. Information regarding Ototemas is much less guarded than personal spirit helpers and guardian spirits and are often displayed in art.
The term Totemism is used by ethnographers and anthropologists to describe similar beliefs shared by primitive tribes all over the world.
There’s nothing really preventing people from choosing what they believe to be totem and spirit animals, but there are some who do so in ignorance of the tribal cultures associated with such.
Thank you for this clarification Pockshimmo. I wasn't aware of the origins of the word "totem" so I have learned something from your reply, and I appreciate and respect your words. My teacher has taught me that it is a mutual choice or "agreement" between the animal spirit and the human essence (on a soul level, not the level of personality or ego) when such animal/human "alignments" are enacted. It is by agreement between the essences of both the animal and the human being that establishes HOW that animal shows up in the life. I agree that a person can't just go out and pick an animal totem they like on the basis of personality alone, and that the animal *chooses* the human being they would like to work with in a specific alignment or capacity. Thanks for making that clear as well. ~ Have a wonderful LONG Memorial Day weekend! ~ Terri