For many pagans, animals and insects act as spiritual guides and protectors. Many different animals show up at various points in our lives to deliver messages from the Universe, and to help guide us along our paths. By studying the spiritual and instinctual behaviors of the animals that appear to us we can learn much about ourselves, and our journey in life.
The best book I have come across for information on animal and insect totems is Animal Speak by Ted Andrews. The info presented within the text is extremely helpful on a personal level, and can also be used by pagan writers seeking guidance for characters and/or plotlines.
Here are few of the animals we see most often in city dwellings, and their attributes.
(Information is taken from “Animal Speak” and various internet sources.)
The hummingbird represents tireless joy. They teach how to draw the life essence from nature and to use it for healing. As the only bird that can fly backwards, hummingbirds teach you to explore your past lessons and draw the happiness from the experiences, instead of despair. They are fiercely independent – they like to be alone and free except for when mating. Those with this totem have to be careful not to become completely antisocial.
Skunk teaches us how to comprehend a warning. Many times in life our instinct can foresee trouble ahead, but our mind gets in the way and inhibits this knowledge. By watching and learning from skunk, we learn how to honor that part of ourselves which like the skunk, gives us many warnings before an actual problem or disaster develops. When a skunk appears in our life it could very well be our intuition sending us a signal of imminent danger or caution.
In its travels, no matter where a pigeon ends up or how it gets there, it knows the way home. It never gets lost, for even when it is unsure of its surroundings, the bird listens to the rhythm of the earth, smells the power and hints in the air, and can find its way back to where it belongs. Pigeon teaches us of security, and how to make a home of our own. We learn to use all of our senses in an equal and balanced manner, to guide us on our path to wholeness. Set your sights and attention on your goals, visualize exactly where you want to be in your life, and trust your instincts to guide you there.
Hawk medicine unties Heaven and Earth, and allows us to hear the messages from the Universe and our spirit guides. The hawk shows us how to integrate these messages into our lives, as well as aligning the upper chakras to their highest potential. A hawk appearing suddenly in your life may signify the need to release issues from the past that no longer serve you. Hawks are known for their superior eyesight, and those with totem are encouraged to pay attention to details, to view each situation in its entirety.
The magic of the dragonfly inhabits both water and air, and brings in the influence of passion balanced with mental clarity. The dragonfly pushes us to move past illusions, to see the true colors of every situation. When the dragonfly appears, be ready for serious yet joyful transformation to take place in your life, generally in cycles of two days, weeks, months, or years.