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 Animal Totems Around the World?

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Lady Gwendolynn O'Danaan
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PostSubject: Animal Totems Around the World?   Thu Apr 03, 2008 6:50 am

A while back I was discussing with someone what I thought my animal totem might be. He looks at me and pretty much states the animal I think it is can't be a totem...pretty much. Though I understand he wasn't trying to be close minded or anything this did upset me. Someone I cared about felt the only totems pretty much that existed or were allowed to exist were those that the Native Americans' recognized.

My argument runs as this, in many different cultures they have animal totems. A good example is the Lucky Waving Cat. Do you even know why he's so lucky? Or how about that Raccoon Dog in Japanese culture with really large...balls? Or the African story of Anansi the spider? If those don't seem like animal totems to somebody other then me I don't know what does.

So my question here is, do you believe that any animal can be a totem? And if so do you have any examples of stories or legends or anything else to explain your reasoning?

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"Though my soul is born from darkness, it shall rise in perfect light, I have loved the stars too fondly, to be fearful of the night". Unknown
"On those nights that I gazed upon the full moon in longing it was always you that my heart was calling." - me
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Lady Gwendolynn O'Danaan
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Number of posts : 805

PostSubject: Re: Animal Totems Around the World?   Thu Apr 10, 2008 8:44 am

Excerpt taken from this same topic just in a different place (one of the Otherkin Gaiaonline forums I'm in). I thought I would share the findings.

Starlock of Gaiaonline wrote:
I'd say it depends on what you mean by totem. Technically, the idea of a totem is specific to (IIRC) northwestern Native American cultures and any usage of the totem idea outside of that culture is a misappropriation. From this first context, no, any animal cannot be a totem and as someone who isn't from a Native American tribe, you cannot have a totem anyway. This sort of totem relates directly to tribal identities and if you don't have the lineage, you can't (or really aught not to) claim it. It's true many different cultures used animals in their mythologies and as symbols, but this is NOT totemism.

Then maybe you should check the links I have provided. They indicate otherwise as to the fact that totems are strictly 'Native American'. It also seems the Aborigines of Australia, Areas within Africa, and even in Druidic society that all three make mention of totem animals and there are even some examples. For the Africans they have totems such as Hayena, the gull, butterfly, and others. The Druids have totems such as the Raven, which was also an important 'totem' and or animal to the Norse as well. Other Druid totem animals would be the Hawk, Stag, Otter, and many more. They might not have called these creatures totems, they may have referred to them by another name, but to the scientists and researchers they are 'Totems' all the same.

Here are the links that I have:
The Aborigines of Australia
The Native Tribes of Central Australia
Australian Aborigines Totem History
Voices of Africa
Totems of Ahadi of East Africa
Druid Animal Totems

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"For many are called, but few are chosen" - Matthew 22:14 ver. New American Standard.
"Though my soul is born from darkness, it shall rise in perfect light, I have loved the stars too fondly, to be fearful of the night". Unknown
"On those nights that I gazed upon the full moon in longing it was always you that my heart was calling." - me
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