Personal Totem Pole

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.)

6 Responses to “Personal Totem Pole”

  1. Carol J. Garvin Says:

    Interesting things to consider! I’d have to give some thought as to what I’d include if I were to create a personal totem. I looked at the list of totem animals and their meanings and apparently I fall somewhere in line with a wolf, panther and mouse. Seems like an incongruous combination, doesn’t it?

    It seems you’ve been giving much thought to your strengths and the resources you will embrace to see you through your changed life. Good for you! That’s a good positive approach. 🙂

  2. joylene Says:

    I grew up where there were many totem poles and I can still remember trying to read them on my own without any help. It wasn’t easy. I’m not sure I like the thought of doing one for my life. I’m far too emotional and effected by the moment. If things were going well, then my pole would be easy to construct. But ask me the same thing in 30 minutes and what a difference. Maybe that’s something to consider for obvious reasons. Thanks, Pat.

  3. knightofswords Says:

    A golden eagle, a black horse, and a raven are always close at hand.


  4. dave ebright Says:

    I guess I’d be a mix between the beaver & bear. (Cheated – looked at the link.) Hope to “see you” this Thursday.

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