Gilbert Speaks on Totem Animals

30 Apr


Today, I had the pleasure of attending a class on Totem Animals. What are Totem animals? Does everyone have a Totem animal? How do you know what your Totem animal is? Meet me after the jump to find out.

The instructor, Shelley Shayner, is a very dear friend of mine and she is also a multi-talented soul: Artist; Author of Mystical Fantasy stories; professional Tarot Reader; Spiritual Healer, and Intuitive Symbolist. I think the reason Shelley and I connected so quickly when we met at the South Jersey Writers’ Group is because she is connected to the Universal Collective; we are birds of a feather.


Shelley held the class at The Center, Life in Balance, a huge, beautiful Victorian home. She had river rocks on the table along with art paper, acrylic paints and brushes. Shelley explained her journey into recognizing her Totem animal and then asked each person in the class to tell her how they connected with nature.

Everyone has a Totem animal and during your lifetime, you may find that different animals step up to the plate as needed. What is a Totem animal? It is a spirit being that is with you for life. It is a guardian in both your spiritual and physical world. You may share the same characteristics as your Totem animal.

How do you know what your Totem animal is? Are you drawn to a certain animal, but can’t explain why? Does a particular animal consistently appear in your life? You might often dream about this animal, or see photos of this animal all over the place. This animal might even be frightening to you, like a snake or a shark, but that isn’t a bad thing. It means that you are trying to harvest the worthy powers of that animal.

What I hadn’t realized until today’s class is that the Totem animal chooses you. I had told Shelley, on numerous occasions that I’d always assumed that my Totem animals were: eagle, tiger, and grizzly bear. But, there was an animal that had apparently chosen me at birth and I was re-introduced to that animal today.

Calling Your Guide

Shelley had the five participants do a grounding meditation before beginning the Shamanic Drum Journey. I was surprised when I didn’t see my familiar animal guides─no tiger, no eagle and no bear. Where were they? Eventually, the grizzly showed up. It stood up on its hind legs then dropped heavily to the ground.


I began to follow the bear, thinking that this was truly my birth animal guide…but I was mistaken. I was suddenly surrounded by a green mist. Something grabbed hold of my wrist, pulling me away from the bear. It was a huge elephant. It used its trunk to lead me back from the meditation and into the class.


After each participant told of their vision, Shelley told them the meaning, powers and spirituality of the animal that chose them at birth. They were then to paint the image of that Totem animal on any of the river rocks on the table. While Shelley described the spiritual meaning of my elephant, I happened to glance down at a rock that was in front of the woman sitting next to me. I quickly swiped it from her─another message from my Totem animal?


I apologized to the woman next to me for stealing her river rock, but it was really meant for me. The cracks, made by Mother Nature over time, had formed a shape of an elephant on the river rock. All I had to do was paint my animal.

Follow Shelley’s blog to find out what other classes she’ll be teaching.


5 Responses to “Gilbert Speaks on Totem Animals”

  1. Jessica Ann Walsh May 4, 2017 at 2:02 pm #

    I LOVE this! A friend of mine did a shamanic journey to discover her totem animal and I loved hearing all about it. I tell myself my spirit animal is an elephant so I love that yours really is! I’d be curious to see what mine actually is.

    • gilbertspeaks May 4, 2017 at 11:30 pm #

      Jess, maybe this would be a nice treat for the Writer’s group to have Shelley teach this to them at one of the meetings.

  2. E.M.A. Timar May 17, 2017 at 2:19 pm #

    This has always been an interest of mine. I still reference a copy of a website where I gathered some information in 2000 on the different types of totem- birth, power, shadow, life and lesson.
    Personally, I have always been drawn to the wolf. I had a crystal wolf I used to keep in my purse and when my purse was stolen I felt the loss of that token more than the money or other possessions. It was like a small piece of me was taken.
    If Shelley does another class I hope I can make it.

    • gilbertspeaks May 17, 2017 at 9:54 pm #

      I will be sure to tell Shelley that you are interested and I think that she is doing another class. If I see another crystal wolf, I will get it for you.

      • E.M.A. Timar May 19, 2017 at 5:28 pm #

        Thanks. You don’t have to replace it though. I just still remember it even though it has been 10 years. The markings in the quartz just seemed like the wolf was meant to be made from it and your comment about the elephant rock brought it back to the fore.

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