Greg: Is there animal you feel in kinship with?
Student: The black panther totem!
Greg: Wow! Did you know that’s my totem?!
Greg: Yes, that’s how it all started for me when I met my black panther brother over 30 years ago. He was the gateway into shamanism.
Student: How do I meet my animal totem, my spirit animal?
Greg: Go to a place in nature that feels special to you, where you have spent time. Sit down on the ground. Close your eyes and go very quiet inside for a few minutes then say these words from your heart. “I invite the Black Panther to come and join me. My heart is open. I want to become your friend. My name is …”
Student: It’s that simple?
Greg: It can be. There are other ways. But I would give that a try and see what happens! If you suddenly see or feel a black panther in front of you, please don’t discount it and think you’re just imagining it!
Student: Can you have more than one spirit animal? I feel very close to wolves
Greg: Wolf spirit animal! These are powerful partners! Yes, you can definitely have more than one. Are any of them coming to in your dreams?
Student: Yes, it’s a wolf but he seems bigger than normal wolves.
Greg: Sometimes that happens. I would call that a Spirit Wolf.
Student: What is the symbolism of a wolf totem or panther?
Greg. Well, I have different feelings about this most folks that teach this. They feel that each totem has specific characteristics. I feel they are like humans in that each spirit has its own personality.
Student: I like that.
Greg: People will ask sometimes when I see an animal in nature does that mean something. Yes, for example: butterfly symbolism–if you saw a butterfly float by when you were connecting deeply with nature I would say that butterfly represents transformation for you.
Student: That makes total sense. It’s like nature and the butterflies are helping you, giving you a message.
Greg: You’re getting it! That’s shamanism–listening to the signs of the world. And sometimes are totem brothers and sisters can help us read those signs. Like your black panther totem can nudge you and say look over there! He’s your buddy!
I feel many teachers of shamanism want to make meeting your totem animal way too complicated. Simple and from the heart is always best. For me, my shamanic journey started with meeting my black panther totem those many years ago. At first, he was pissed! Because I had been innocently ignoring him for a while — I knew I had a kinship with black panthers.
Over our 35 year journey together we have become brothers, best friends and partners. I-Go-He-Goes. We have had a lot of great adventures together! In my practice my panther helps me see into the darkness of client’s emotional body to identify the root or foundational thought creating a block. One could say, he is “lending me his power.” A phrase you will see used in Castaneda’s books or in the Toltec tradition.
My big message to everyone about spirit animals is they want to become friends with you, just like a person would. Meaning it’s not “just” about using them in some way — whether it’s in your healing work or for some other reason. Its’ like the Tree, Rock and Plant-People – they want to be your friend. Always and forever, brothers and sisters, “If you honor them, they will honor you. A Ho.”
Gregory Drambour is the author of three books on shamanism, each of them exploring the friendship with spirit animals. He offers a series of Totem Animal Tutorials and also a Shaman Training Online Program. I found this great site on totems. Check it out: Spirit Animal Info