Totem Talk

Working With The Animal Totems

SPIRIT of the FOX: Magic, shape-shifting, invisibility, feminine magic of camouflage, cunning, agility, quick-wittedness, diplomacy, wildness. 

"Stealthy messenger of the gods,
Cunning and wise, reliable friend,
Guide my steps through this maze of deception
And see this problem to its end." 


GREY FOX:  Creative Problem Solving

GREY FOX’S Wisdom Includes:

  • Being an Inventive Soul
  • Keeping Your Privacy
  • Climbing Higher in Life

A shy animal, Grey Fox spend his day resting in his various hideaways.   Because he climbs trees, Grey Fox is known as “Tree Fox”. His long sharp curved claws aid him in scrambling up tree trunks. So agile in the trees is Grey Fox that He jumps from limb to limb with the ease of a Squirrel. Grey Fox’s unique ability to climb places Him in his own subfamily of Urucyon cinereoargenteus.

Unlike his faster Cousins, Grey Fox favors the forests. Because of his history with Coyote, He prefers living high up in hollow trees. As a Southerner of North America, Grey Fox spends his days resting in his hideaways in the trees. Wary of humans, He hides at the slightest disturbance. Often alone, He does mate for life and will raise a family.

The Inca of South America named the constellation Pleiades, “The Fox”, which rose during the winter solstice. Festivals were celebrated on the Fox’s reappearance in the sky. Grey Fox, one of their primary gods, was also featured in the Inca creation myths.

Grey Fox teaches creative problem solving. Instead of hunting on the ground, He climbs trees and eats fruits. Gray Fox does things that other Foxes do not such as den in trees, away from large predators.

ARCTIC FOX:  Resourcefulness

ARCTIC FOX'S Wisdom Includes:

  • Having Traditions
  • Building a Good Home
  • Being Uniquely Adapted
  • In A Class By Yourself

Well adapted to coping with life in the frozen North, Arctic Fox is known for her distinctive bushy white coat. Small and compact, She conserves her body heat. Unlike her Fox Cousins, Arctic Fox’s ears are short and rounded. Moreover, her feet are covered with thick hair. Arctic Fox keeps toasty warm in the freezing Arctic winters. Because of her special adaptations, Arctic Fox is in her own subfamily – Alopex lagopus instead of belonging to the Fox Family of Vulpes.

During the winter, Arctic Fox does not hibernate, but migrates south to the coast or along the tree lines of northern Scandinavia. On her travels, She preys on Voles, Lemmings, and Ground Squirrels. At the seashore, She scours the shore for beached Seals and Whales. Sometimes during the winter, Arctic Fox lives on Greenland pack ice.

Unlike other Foxes, Arctic Fox uses the same den for many years. Avoiding areas of permafrost for her den, She searches for high, well-drained areas where the soil is easily excavated. Burrowing in the ground, Arctic Fox creates a system of tunnels with numerous entrances and exits.

Arctic Fox teaches resourcefulness. In summer, She hides food in her den or pushes it into rock crevices. During the lean times, She uses these stores. When live prey is unavailable, Arctic Fox eats eggs and sea urchins. She is not afraid to range wide and far in her search of food.


RED FOX: Shrewdness

RED FOX'S Wisdom Includes:

  • Guide to Other Worlds
  • Good Husband
  • Cunning and Shapeshifting
  • Adaptability

With his doglike face, bushy tail, and red coat, Red Fox (Vulpes vulpes) is the quintessential fox. Originally found only in Eurasia, Red Fox now has the largest geographical range of any living carnivore. Even though He has been snared, shot, hunted and trapped, Red Fox has managed to thrive and expand his range. He now lives in Australia and North America, as well.

How Red Fox came to be in North America is still a puzzle. Supposedly, Europeans brought Him for sport hunting. However some scientists believe that today’s Red Fox in North America is a hybrid of the European Red Fox and a rare native Red Fox species.

Valuing his privacy, Red Fox usually keeps to Himself. In fact, He does his hunting at night when few are out and about. (Because of his solitary nature, many people thought Red Fox has supernatural powers.) However, during the winter mating season, Red Fox dens with Mother Vixen and their Cubs in their stream embankment. For two weeks, after giving birth to their Cubs, Mother Vixen relies on Father Dog Fox to bring Her food. While He does that, She nurses their Cubs. By summer, Red Fox Cubs are ready to leave and go out on their own.

To persuade Him to bring them good fortune, the Japanese treated Red Fox with respect. Also, they believed that He could change into a woman to entice men into misfortune. Since Red Fox traveled solo, the Japanese saw three Foxes together as an omen of disaster.

In Europe, the Celts respected Red Fox’s power. Because He lived in underground dens, the Celts thought that Red Fox was a guide to Other Worlds. The depth of their respect was so deep that they interred Him in their burial sites.

However to Christians, Red Fox symbolized trifling sins and nuisances.   Because He ate carrion and stole grapes, they believed that Red Fox spread heresy among people. To Christians, Red Fox’s small size made what He did to be trifling.

Red Fox teaches shrewdness. Living a private life, He keeps people mystified about his whereabouts. Red Fox throws people off balance and leaves them confused. This is one of the reasons for his success as a carnivore.

Story of the RED FOX clan: A Chickasaw Legend

FOX'S Wisdom Includes:

  • Shapeshifting
  • Cleverness
  • Observational skills
  • Cunning
  • Stealth
  • Camouflage
  • Feminine courage
  • Invisibility
  • Ability to observe unseen
  • Persistence
  • Gentleness
  • Swiftness


The Fox is symbolic of Cunning, agility, quick-wittedness, diplomacy, wildness, feminine magic of camouflage, shape shifting and invisibility.  The most prominent characteristic of the fox is its ability to become one with its environment. The fox is a very observant and fast animal, ready to take action at any time. Its power lies in its cleverness-for example, when leading its enemies astray. Another characteristic is its concern for its family. People who possess the power of the fox are usually quiet observers and are skilled at remaining unnoticed. This means that they blend into their environment, moving around unnoticed in any kind of company and society. They are masters of camouflage. The fox teaches how to grasp concept of unity and how to use this knowledge wisely on all levels.

Excerpt from the book, "Animal Speak" by Ted Andrews

Keynote: Feminine magic of camouflage, shapeshifting, and invisibility

Cycle Of Power: Nocturnal, Dawn and Dusk

The fox is a totem that has touched almost every society on the planet. It is a totem that speaks of the need to develop or awaken camouflage, invisibility and shapeshifting. It is one of the most uniquely skilled and ingenious animals of nature. It can teach these skills to those whose life it enters.

For those with fox totems, it will be important to learn the art of camouflage and its related art of invisibility and shapeshifting. The fox uses its ability at quiet camouflage to its benefit. With practice, you can learn this same sort of ability and apply it so that you may see and hear things that otherwise you could not.

The senses of the fox reveal much about the potential within those who have it as a totum. Its hearing, vision and sense of smell are acute.

The sense of smell is also associated with higher forms of discrimination and discernment. One working with fox medicine should sniff out each situation. This will let them know who to avoid and who to connect with.

Does this person smell right?

Does something smell funny in this situation?

Probably the fox's cleverest hunting technique is "charming." Here the fox performs various antics before her prey. It will jump, and roll and chase itself so that it charms the preys attention. While performing, the fox draws closer and closer without the prey ever realizing it, because the playfulness doesn't make the prey feel threatened! Then at the right momet, the fox leaps and captures its prey.

This is a camouflage technique, one associated with behavior.

It is one that those with fox totems can win any prize.

As you develop attunement to the fox and learn its magic, any prize can fall to you.


They’re fast and startle easily, so you may only catch a glimpse of a red fox, perhaps near dawn, as he hunts for mice or rabbits or as he looms outside a chicken coop at dusk, hoping for a chance to steal your fowl. Red fox are curious and sharp witted. Traps may not fool them. In fact they often make up games of exposing traps and leaving droppings or other signs showing they’re not easily outsmarted. Leaving traps uncovered may also be a way of communicating with other foxes as a means of survival, decreasing the chance another could be caught off guard.

If the red fox appears to you, it may be time to outsmart your competitors or detractors and band together with your own kind. Using all your senses and being observant may help you escape traps you could fall into. The red fox tends to prefer open areas with good visibility. Their eyesight is excellent and they use their senses of smell and hearing to avoid danger and find food as well. You could say the red fox is almost always on alert. Sharpened senses and quick reactions may also keep you or a loved one out of harm’s way if the fox appears to you.

Sexuality and feminine energy are also the domain of red fox. This creature is long associated with the female in folk tales and legends. The fox may enter to stimulate your second chakra, opening you to sexual energy, the energy of life force and procreation. For a woman, the fox may also be a sign to bring home and children back into focus since the female is very domestic, often returning to and improving the same den year after year as she prepares to give birth. The fox is generally monogamous as well, reminding both husband and wife to honor their commitment and bring playfulness and spontaneity back into relationship. Male and female foxes do work together as father/hunter and mother/caregiver to new litters, so parents raising young children may take the fox as a sign of surrender into traditional roles, at least until their “pups” are old enough to leave the den.


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