Animal Writing Totem

The belief that everyone has an animal spirit guide is prominant in religions from all corners of the world.  From shamanism in the mountain ranges of Siberia to Celtic mythology to Native American Spirituality.

According to such belief, each person enters the world with an animal spirit who helps them throughout their life.   Along with this lifelong animal spirit, a person may encounter  totems who see them through particular trials.   Shadow animals may also appear to test a person, to make them face what they fear, and what they must overcome.

 I thought it would be fun to imagine what your animal writing totem would be if such existed.  (who knows-maybe they do!)

This exercise came to me because in the last few days,  I’ve compared myself  twice to a magpie when it comes to writing.   Endlessly curious- If I go to a website to research a particular subject for my novel, I will then follow another interesting link…and then, yet another, and another…

It’s hard for me to focus on one story because I’m always being distracted by shiny objects (ideas) everywhere.

   As magpies steal anything they can carry,  I steal inspiration from everything and anything I come across: dreams, poetry, conversations, books, music, newspaper articles, films, rain, the night sky, sunrises and sunsets, biographies, names on tombstones…

Magpies are opportunists-  and good stories are everywhere.

Further, magpies are symbols of otherworlds,  the hidden, and the mysteries of life and death.   Themes that often play in my works.

So, what would your animal writing totem be?   A wise, observant owl- perhaps writing omniscient?   Are your stories as clever and unpredictable as a monkey?   Is your writing sensitive and filled with the keen observations of a deer?  Do you write swiftly and freely as a horse?  Do you gently weave stories together like a spider?  Do your stories deal primarily with emotional issues like a dove?

Use your imagination and have fun!

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35 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. This way of thinking is intriguing, left me reflective. I train my imagination.

    When you have time, visit me. I have a Blog where write about my story of the fiction.

  2. My favorite animal is the cheetah, and I think it’s my writing totem as well.

    Cheetahs are unusual, even among the big cats (they have their own genus). I do my own thing in writing. Cheetahs are swift, and I try to make my stories as fast-paced as possible.

    Cheetahs can make a chirping noise. I… um, no writing equivalent here.

    Thanks for the great topic!

  3. Mmm, the animal I most identify with is a little foo-foo spaniel. I can usually insinuate myself in the front seat of the car and get the driver to lower the window. I can be snappy and sweet all the same time 🙂

    Oh wait, you wanted a writing one…

    …it’d have to be the chameleon because I write in different genres to suit my taste for the moment.

  4. Nice to meet you, Eukor.

    Glad my post got you wondering. I believe imagination is the most vital element for a writer. 🙂

  5. Hey Marian,

    Thanks! I’m really glad you like the topic. I hoped others would find it fun, too.

    What a great way to think of the cheetah in regards to your writing. 🙂

  6. Hey Jewel,

    You are the chameleon. I noticed how different your horror blog is from Pink Ink! 🙂

  7. Probably the iconic author’s familiar, the housecat. I often write at night, leading to me falling asleep at the keyboard, and my first instinct when I catch an idea is to mangle it and then drop it in front of my wife to see if she likes it.

  8. Eagle.

    Birds of prey fascinate me.To fly free, to have keen sight to go where few can or dare. But I am also afraid of heights and flying, of crashing down in flames and not getting up again. So the eagle represents all those things and more.

  9. Hmmm. That’s very interesting! I’ll have to think about that some, because I’ve honestly never contemplated this before.

    *wanders away, brow furrowed*

  10. Hey Unfocused Me,

    Opening Lines of Baudelaire’s, The Cat:

    “she prowls around my shadowy brain
    as though it were her dwelling-place”

  11. Hey Ralfast,

    Very interesting choice in regards to your work I just read.

  12. Hey Jen,

    I’m sure you’ll come up with something very intriguing.

  13. Definitely the cat…there is a quiet, cunning wisdom about the cat, and I love that dominating overlord attitude 🙂

  14. Hey Colby,

    Hmmm… a cat writing totem does have many good qualities. As a dominanting overlord, maybe I could actually have *some* sort of control over my characters. They are very unruly subjects.

    What’s that shiny thing over there? Runs off, stuck with her magpie…

  15. It would hafta be a Labrador Retriever. “Go get the right word. No, not that one. No, that one doesn’t smell right. Try this one. Noooooo…..Yes! Now give me a treat!”

  16. Amy,

    You never fail to crack me up. 🙂

  17. Not sure what my animal would be, but probably something that drools, with white foam coming out the sides of its mouth. Perhaps a bulldog…

  18. Nancy,

    Thanks for the laugh! 🙂

  19. Tasha:

    I think you’re right about that. Didn’t think about that before but it fits.

  20. I would have to say a hummingbird. Ideas form in my head seemingly still until I sit down at the computer. Then they buzz right to action sometimes at incredible speeds, backing up and trying again as needed.

  21. Hi LK,

    Nice to meet you.

    I love the image you just described.

    And since my writing is slow today maybe I need to call up on a hummingbird. 🙂

  22. See Ralfast?

    We magpies notice everything. 🙂

  23. Wow, I never actually thought about something like this. I know my animal totem is the wolf but I have no idea what my animal writing totem could be. It would take some thought but I definitely sound like one of those magpies, too! 🙂 Thank you for a great topic.

  24. Hey Dawn,

    Very interesting that your life totem is a wolf. Mine’s a dog.

    So, hmmm… sounds like we both have a mix canine/avian in us.

    Glad you like the subject. 🙂

  25. Hmm. I think mine must be the same as my animal totem for everything else – coyote. Perpetually trying to balance wisdom and silliness (or outright stupidity), easily distracted by the next new thing, outsmarting myself (or being outsmarted by my characters), trying to remember to laugh when everything falls apart…

    Oh, and stealing people’s food, of course. 😀

  26. Hey Amy,

    I just looked up coyote totem. That does sound a lot like you and your writing. (least from what I can gleam from your blog). A mixture of seriousness: your kickass writing work ethic and your self-depreciating humor. 🙂

  27. well, you’ve got me thinking. I’d need an indecisive animal, rather insecure, that still goes around making bold decisions from time to time. Probably some sort of weird hybrid that wants something it can’t have, and maybe belongs on another planet…

  28. Hey Uppington!

    Since you’re musing on it now, it would be interesting if one came to you in a dream. If some rabbit hands you a pen and demands that you, “get cracking”- let me know. 🙂

  29. Mine would have to be a turtle. If I’m any slower on this story I’m working on…I believe that makes me the only reptile here 😉 Well at least maybe I’ll live long enough to finish the dang thing!

  30. Hey Astro Sis,

    Reptiles are very fascinating. Be not ashamed. 🙂

    That’s so funny about the turtle. I had a couple of really slow days recently so I can totally relate.

  31. Tasha, no rabbits handing me pens, but this is too funny. I dreamed a Lynx in the back yard – just standing there, looking mysterious. So, just for kicks, I looked up Lynx in my animal totem book. And was told that the Lynx magic is that of knowing deep secrets but not telling them. Which defines my Muse quite nicely: She just looks at me, with this enigmatic secretive smile, and says, “I know something you don’t know.” She then proceeds to feed it to me, one word at a time. Of course, in my dream the Lynx then turned into a bear, and the dream ended with Jim Carrey pressed up against my screen door like a squirrel on steroids and I had to kick him to make him go away. What sort of twisted thing do you think that means?

  32. OMG, Uppington. I just laughed so hard I literally got tears in my eyes. Lynx…bear…Jim Carrey.

    I’m not even going to touch this one.

  33. Awww. I was hoping you might shed a little light on the insanity! Just glad I’m not in analysis or anything right now.

  34. I hate that I am just now finding this post. What a great topic! I don’t know about relating with an animal. The one I have most compassion and would love to see leave capitivity is the Elephant.

    As for an animal guide a few years ago I was going through a difficult time (post partem) and every morning I would go out and water my flowers to find a Morning Dove cooing at me. I didn’t think anything of it at the time.

    A few months later after seeing it nearly every day, I went away on a weekend sabbatical by myself and there out my widown resting on a gable was a Morning Dove.

    Later I told a friend about it and she said sometimes animals come into our life to bring us a message. Each animal has a meaning, the dove for example is peace. My friends said,”Maybe the dove is coming to tell you peace is coming?”

  35. Malanie,

    Thanks so much for sharing that. I definitely think the dove entered your life at that time to try to give you a sense of peace.

    The world is pretty amazing when you open yourself to it. 🙂

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