Totem animals and hearing the messages the universe sends you.
I’m leaning against the fridge in a soul sister’s Brooklyn kitchen. “So Megg, Crocodiles are showing up EVERYWHERE for me lately. Like, everywhere. I’ve got to figure out what the Crocodile totem means. Do you know?” And Meggan gives me her classic eye twinkle and says, “Turn around.” Taped to the fridge door is her boy’s drawing of the day… “Shai's Crocodile Shadow.” Alright cosmos, you have my attention.
I started noticing Crocodiles & Alligators on a trip to NYC and they kept appearing for months. The taxi I got into had an IZOD advert on the roof. In the pet store my puppy tootled over with a stolen chewy in his mouth — of a baby Crocodile. On the way to swim class my kid reminds me that he needs a new pair of Crocs. When I drop him off he's in the “The Gators” swim club. During a dinner party, a friend’s little boy hands his toys to guests "Here, you can have Crocodile, D'nelle." I lost track of how many times I turned on the car radio to…yes, I know, it’s like a cheesy punchline, Elton John’s Crocodile Rock. (Do you remember when rock was young?)
The cosmos speaks to us through earth symbols. Repeating numbers, the properties of flowers, synchronistic wisdom from street signs and the guy on the corner, the lyrics that put it all into perspective at just the right moment. The universe is communicating with us all of the time -- the trick is to make it a two-way conversation. This requires close attention, like all quality interaction.
Field notes on spirit animals and messages
The spirit and mythology of animals is a very powerful language -- and it's been attended to for thousands of years. Animal beings speak directly and very specifically. Their personas and qualities translate into meaningful insight for us -- insight that can dissolve veils of confusion in an instant, and help you find your way to the clearing.
Signs show up in "everyday life." You don't need to have shamanic power dreams or go on a vision quest. The animal shelter poster on the back of the bus, that dude's 80's wolf t-shirt, the Mustang logo that keeps popping up. Animal speak in human.
You can ASK FOR SIGNS. Show me more. Please be recognizable to me. It would be comforting to have a sign today. Thank you for showing up...
Some animal guides will accompany you just for periods of time in your life, when you need them. So they are not necessarily your forever life animal totem. Years ago, I had an incredibly powerful dream that rocked me. A black panther jumped into my shoulder and I sat up in bed, gasping. Panthers carry four times their weight. They balance the light and the dark. They walk alone. That Panther energy showed me that I needed to leave a relationship. And when I left, I felt the Panther energy recede.
Totem notifications aren't about glamour. Just look for repeating symbols, and don't take it as a direct reflection of your sex appeal. I mean, Crocodiles?! Eagles seem cooler, non? When my boy was really little I tried to convince him that his spirit animal was the Owl. He said, “Mama, I’m a Pig for now because I am.” Pigs are determined, playful, sweet, and extremely protective. That's my little Piggy.
Ancient knowledge meets modern information. You're seeing Crows, or Mice, or Turtles, or Whale signs everywhere...just GOOGLE it! Dial a Shaman. Enter in to any search engine: the type of animal + "totem." Or, the type of animal + "medicine." And you will get dozens of spiritual interpretations that you can cross-reference with each other and with your heart. Also, Jamie Sams and David Carson's Medicine Cards deck is a fun classic.
Turns out that Crocodile animal medicine is about awareness coming to the surface (like the Croc's eyes poking up from the water's surface) -- and "revenge through patience." I'm not the vengeful type, but this message was right on track for me. Crocs & Alligators are the keepers of knowledge, ferocious mothers, and need to digest slowly - patience. "Know that this is the beginning of a new period of growth and regeneration. Use breathing techniques to keep yourself balanced during this time of change and give yourself time to integrate all of the changes you are making in your life. Patience is key at the moment." Thank you, Google'd animal totem Crocodile Lover. I hear you.
We are never off the grid of light and wisdom, even if the lights looks dim. Signals are there if you look and listen. Sometimes they howl, sometimes they snap, sometimes they help you see in the dark and take flight.