Totem poles told stories, recounted historic events, celebrated cultural beliefs, symbolized a person’s life. Some were simply artistic presentations. The most important symbol went on top, the least important on the bottom. (Of course you knew this because of the saying “low man on the totem pole.”)
An animal was often used to represent a person. For example, a raven stands for introspection, courage, and self-knowledge. I just picked “raven” randomly, but oddly enough, that seems to be a good totem for me (at least I hope it is — I still have my doubts about the courage). And, coincidentally, my last name means “bright raven.” Since a raven is a bird, it could also mean that I am ready to try my wings. Or I will be someday.
My totem would also include a rose hip. A rose hip grows after the rose has died, and it becomes the source of a new life. (Okay, that may be a bit fanciful, but that’s the point of this particular exercise.)
A pen would be a part of my totem. So would an aquamarine — it protects health, and since I am at high risk because of grief, I need all the protection I can get. I could include a seesaw because I always seem to second-guess myself, but I will leave it off since I would want my totem to represent hope for the future.
If you were to create a personal totem pole, what would you include to represent your life, your dreams, your beliefs? What would your totem animal be? (You can find your totem animal here: Native American Totems and Their Meanings.)