Animal Helpers

Hallo Nick,

I wonder if you can help. I'm a bit confused on the subject of animals as spirit helpers, guides, or familiars, or even totems. I have a bird that will show its self here on middle earth when I am in danger (ie, before something goes wrong I actually see it). I also have woodpeckers who always make themselves known to me usually by calling. This is everyday, but the medicine I carry within in me has all the characteristics of the wolf.
So what animal is what to me--is one my guardian one my familiar or what? Would one of these be my helper as a guide to the other worlds? Why do I have such a relationship with these animals here on middle earth? Thanks.

Hello Simon,

Don't get all hung up in labels--such limits things. The bird who comes to you before something goes wrong is coming to tell you that something is about to go wrong so is allowing you to make a change or adapt before it happens.. Be sure to honor the gift this one is giving you. Offer gifts in return. He is a spiritual helper.
Wolf is probably an aspect of yourself that has the characteristics of Wolf as opposed to being an external being. Some people refer to this as a power animal. It is a strength within you.
Don't have a clue about the woodpecker. What service, if any is he providing? Maybe he is presenting himself to you, and you must learn more about him to know whether there is something of value in a relationship with him for you.
There are spirtual beings everywhere. It is not surprising that you might see some of them if you are paying attention.
Hope that helped a little.

     I was wondering, if there was an individual with a totem from outside their country, did their ancestors come from there? Basically how possible or probable is it that totems stay within their region or within the blood of the land so to speak.
     And could, say an American with totems found in America who then moved to Africa (or such), would they pick up new totems there, or would they get new ones still from America should they need new totemic guidance, and if they got a new one that was from the land they lived in, would it stay with them if they moved back home?

Dear Deb,
     Let me first clarify that totem animals are not universal to traditional shamanic peoples--in the ways I know, we do not have them. However, we do have relationships with the spirits of animals. From that perspective, I offer my input to your question.
     Generally, the spirits of animals (or animal spirits) are found where the living animals are found--I would expect to find the spirits of elephants in Africa or India, but not in Europe or the Americas. Therefore, it would be unlikely that one would gain relationship with Elephant except where they live. My teacher told me that you can't get Deer in the city--there aren't any there to get--you have to go where they are. Now I wouldn't take that as 100% because with zoos, we might have nonindigenous spirits around, and there's always the posibility of some spirit getting lost and winding up locally. However, I would think it unlikely that a person would end up with an animal spirit coming around him outside of where those animals normally live.
     So far as the spirit of an animal continuing to stay with a person who has traveled outside of that animal's area, if relationship existed and the spirit were taken care of, it would go with the person wherever the person went.

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