In the true sense, specific animal instincts and characteristics represent the qualities that we humans should learn to emulate. However, because we lead such busy and complicated lives, often there is no time for selfreflection. Having animal totems surround us gives us pause to reflect and perhaps make important changes for the better to our mind, body and spirit. At times, they can come into our lives when we are at a crossroads or during times of major decisionmaking.
Each specific animal has its own cycle of power. This cycle is the time at which the animal can pass on his most important messages and powerful energies to you. For example, the bear has a cycle of power that is spring and summer, because he is not as active during the winter months when he spends some of that time hibernating. However, the bear leave the den out of necessity during hibernation to sustain him. He can still send you very strong messages and lessons in times other than during his cycle of power.
You may be wondering how you can access your animal totems or how you can find out which ones are guiding you. One or more may be revealed. Listening to the animals around you will help you form a connection. Animal totems can also come to you as a vision in your dreams or through meditation. Pose these questions to yourself: Are there animals who you have been fascinated with since you were a child? Is there a type of animal who represents your personality? What animal have you felt a certain kinship with? Which animals are you the most fearful of?
This will begin the process of learning who your animal totems are. Study the habits and characteristics of those specific animals and try to discover how those things can apply to your own life or to a message the animal is trying to convey to you. If it is an animal you are fearful of, it may be a lesson in how you might overcome your fears in certain areas of your life. Also, if you find an animal is suddenly near you or one that comes into your life out of extraordinary circumstances, take notice. Watch its behavior — how does it appear, is it content, where is it looking, what is it doing? Look for the subtleties, as these will help decipher if it is sending a message to you.