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Animal Symbolism, Totems and Dream Analysis from A to Z

By on January 8, 2015 in Spiritual Awakening
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Animal Symbolism, Totems and Dream Analysis from A to Z

Preface by Gregg Prescott, M.S.

When an animal appears to you in a dream or out in nature, what is the symbolism of this particular creature? Nothing happens by coincidence and these animals are here to teach us lessons. Find out below the answers to animal symbolism!

Quick story: I was watching some metaphysical videos on YouTube when I heard a rustling sound in my bedroom. I didn’t think twice about it until about an hour later, when I was about to leave my house to pick up my daughter and noticed a woodchuck IN MY 2nd STORY BEDROOM! I shut the door, picked up my daughter and we returned to film this event. Don’t miss the surprise ending!!!

I found this animal to be very interesting in terms of metaphysical symbolism:

Because the woodchuck hibernates during the winter, the animal is symbolic of understanding the cycles of life, death, and rebirth.

It seems that we are going through a rebirth of consciousness so this event was most appropriate!

Anyway, enjoy the following analysis of animal symbolism and refer to this chart when an animal mysteriously comes into your life because there is no such thing as coincidence!

Ant through Dog   Eagle through Lynx   Manatee through Rhino   Seagull through Zebra


The ant is a very hard worker and conscientious in every detail of its work. They live in huge communities where most tasks are delegated to individuals who form work groups to carry out various activities of hunting, gathering, nesting and nursery, habitat construction, and protection. The ant accepts its position within its community without question and is totally dedicated and loyal throughout its lifetime to the entire community.The ant people are wonderful builders and architects. They can show us ways to build a reality based on our dreams.

Ants are determined and relentless in pursuit of their mission. If the ant people come to visit you, it may be this quality they will teach.

Solidarity and collaboration are keys to the success of the ant. Every individual in the community does its duty to ensure the welfare of the whole colony, regardless of its personal safety or how long it must labor. The ant spirit teaches us teamwork and loyalty.

Ants are unselfish and sacrifice themselves to benefit the community. Learning this valuable lesson of the ant can be the greatest of all gifts.

Honor and respect are the hallmarks of the ant people.

Ants are tireless workers and hunters and teach the art of perseverance and patience in all that they do. Those with this spirit will find that many of their life lessons will involve the mastery of patience in some way.

Ant medicine is subtle yet powerful. It teaches us how to release our egos and aligns us with the virtue of equality. Imagine what the world would be like if humanity held and applied the values that the ant expresses. The next time you step on, squash, injure or kill an ant intentionally, ask yourself why you are choosing to destroy the unconditional love that the ant shares so freely. Valuable insights about yourself and your history can be learned from this tiny little totem.

Dream Analysis: If ant appears in your dreams, or you have other unusual ant encounters, you should ask yourself, if you are relying on others to help you complete your project. We can’t do it all alone. We need others to support our efforts. Reach out and ask others to do their part.

Antelope / Pronghorn

Heightened psychic ability, may need to insulate ourself or come out of hiding, adaptability with strong survival skills, strong sense of smell, new opportunities can be seen, teaches how to overcome obstacles with a swift and gentle nature. Antelope teaches listening to intuition. Are you adapting like you should? Taking chances or afraid of failing? Are you listening to your instincts? Antelope can teach you strength and courage in all areas.


Teaches protection and how to use it, sensitivity to others attacks either real or imagined, demonstrates boundaries and respecting the boundaries of others, learn to trust what you feel with others, new birth coming -shows how to deal with it. Teaches how to use defenses when needed. Is it time to hide away to collect thoughts or come out and present your thoughts and abilities? Are you letting your guard down too often? Armadillo can show you how to protect your personal space.Brother armadillo has a passive style of defense and its medicine comes from its own body. The ‘digger’ is called the “Little Armored One” because of thick bony plates and horns that covers its back. It teaches protection and ways to move through dimensions.

The armadillo rolls into a tight ball when threatened to cover its vulnerable underside. Brother Armadillo’s medicine is to teach ways to expose your inner-self and allow natural defenses to protect you. People who are too paranoid, ‘hard-shelled’ or cover their feelings unnecessarily may need the spirit of the armadillo.

Armadillos are territorial and regularly patrol their boundaries to sniff out intruders and potential threats. If the armadillo comes to visit you, it may be time to examine your boundaries, or artificial limits placed on your abilities, time, or space. Is someone invading your space?

Medicine from Brother Armadillo is strong and tenacious. It teaches how to protect yourself from potential threats.

The armadillo is slow but persistent in its daily tasks and ignores most non-threatening activities around it. These traits will help one who follows the armadillo medicine to realize when they may be negligent of a persistent problem or avoiding issues.

Brother Armadillo is a solitary dweller and does not have many friends. Pay attention to the shell of our armored friend when he enters your meditations and find new ways to join with others in social activities.

The armadillo digs for its food and makes burrows to sleep and have its young. The digging aspect of its behavior indicates that you may need to work harder at finding the morsel of sustenance in your life to bring more spiritual awareness.

Brother Armadillo understand the necessity of spiritual purification and loves water. He is a good swimmer, floats very well and can swim under the surface for long periods. Armadillo readily crosses any stream or river with ease. These traits give people of the armadillo spirit an understanding of the power of spiritual cleansing and ability to move with fluid easy movement between dimensions.


Ass or Donkey can teach much about patience and humility. They have wisdom and teaches when to use it with timing. Ass’ aids in realizing outer recognition of inner potentials and the strength that comes from internal fortitude. He can aid in showing one how to move with the flow and allow Spirit to work and/or trusting your strengths. It is a time to not be content and complacent while you enjoy the road to the goal. Are you working too hard and not being productive? Are you following your intuition in what you “should do”. Is stubbornness hindering you mentally, emotionally and spiritually? Ass will teach you how to listen to your head and heart.


Keeper of stories, write things down, sees beneath the surface of all things and people, including herbs and roots, self-expression and knowledge when to act and react, teaches how to ground and connect with the earth, chances to develop self-expression, reliance along with persistence and perseverance, and shows how to navigate the new chapter in your life. Are you being aggressive and fighting for what you want or need? Are you expressing feelings?


Initiation, death-rebirth, changes are taking place which are blessings, facing facts in one’s life, fears are always beneficial, trust instincts. Bat tells us it the end one phase of life and the beginning of another. Bat can show how to navigate in the dark and unknown. Soon you will see the world with a new perspective, teaches sensitivity to vibrations around you, navigation, introspection and demonstrates ability of observation and power of meditation and solitude along with ability of working in groups when necessary. Bat shows how to make those important transitions.


Sub/Unconscious mind, strength, grounding, inner energy of soul to find answers, judgments, are you too critical or not critical enough, inner power to taste the honey of life. Bear teaches caution, quiet of the mind and silence within. There is great power in introspection which awakens insights and opportunities. Bears teaches leadership, natural healing abilities and defending when necessary. Are you eating a balanced diet? Utilizing your intuition? Being cautious? Brown, black or white, what does the color say to you? Bear will show how to balance and express oneself. (See also Polar Bear)The Great Bear is found on every continent and comes in many sizes and colors. The bear is revered on every continent, especially North America where the indigenous people who believe it was once human and Great Mystery lives in the spirit of bear. Many American Indian tribes have bear clans and bear ceremonies. Bear people use herbs and other plants in healing. Bear medicine is powerful and without peer among the animal people. The bear is a guide to the river of meaning.

Bear is spirit keeper of the West, the place of darkness, maturity and good harvest. From this place, Grandfather Bear gives strength, introspection and knowledge.

Bears are active during the night and day. This symbolizes its connection with solar energy, that of strength and power, and lunar energy, that of intuition. It enhances and teaches those with this totem how to develop both within themselves.

Grandfather Bear is a solitary dweller and master of his domain. This teaches us the importance of independent thinking and to seek peace in quite meditation to

Bears are sensitive to Mother Nature’s cycles. They sleep long hours in the winter living on fat stored in their bodies. It teaches us how to go within and find the resources for survival and how to remain balanced amid change. This medicine is a reminder of the great circle of life and rebirth, renewal and fresh beginnings.

The stars above in infinite meadows of heaven show us the Great Bear in the Sky, Ursa Major, as a sign of the greatness and infinity of bear wisdom.

Bear is the embodiment of strength and is fierce to a threat on its lair. It is not wise to come between the mother bear and her cubs, teaching us ways to always protect those we love.

The bear holds the teachings of introspection. When it shows up in your life pay attention to how you think, act and interact.


The beaver spirit is never defeated. A gentle nature makes the beaver a friend to all creatures within its domain. Beaver is an industrious neighbor with its unbelievable resolve and tenacity. People who work with the beaver spirit will learn great lessons of life that will bring many blessings of strength, security and trust.The beaver is a tremendously complex, yet simple totem – Complex because their abilities and talents are many, and simple because most qualities of the beaver can be emulated by humans. They are master architects and are among the few animals on earth, that alter their environment to meet their requirements.

As an expert builder, beaver medicine strengthens the foundations of one’s life and can help to build new ones. Beaver can show us ways to be in harmony with our environment even as that environment changes.

The beaver is an excellent swimmer, able to hold its breath under water for 15 minutes or more. As a water creature the beaver spirit is deep within where dreams past and knowledge flow in the subconscious warehouse of our mind. This medicine can help us to call those inner waters to the surface where they can be used to build a better life.

The beaver’s fur is highly prized because it is both waterproof and soft, teaching us to repel afflictions of life in a good way.

The beaver is practical, quick-witted and resourceful. All these qualities are brought forward and understood while working with the beaver spirit.

The beaver’s large teeth are among its most prized possessions and they continue to grow until the moment of death. This prominent feature of the beaver is a reminder that the tools we use to improve our lives must continually honed and sharpened.

Beavers are very industrious, hardworking, and tenacious in whatever project they undertake. People who work with his spirit are reminded to work hard to achieve their goals and they will never be defeated by a lack of initiative. If you feel overcome or overwhelmed by life’s challenges, ask the beaver for help.

Beaver has a kind and gentle spirit. We should all be like the beaver.


Abundance, incorporates our own efforts to embrace and hold life, burdens and rewards are carried, keep self well grounded, follow the easiest path, don’t use force in areas of life, flow with it. Teaches creativity, courage, sacred knowledge, sharing with a sense of community, survival strategies, teaches how to challenge with forthrightness and grace. A time to honor your path and ask for assistance from Spirit. Buffalo teaches abundance and strength of character along with harmony and expression of gratitude and honor for all creatures. Do you have gratitude? Strength? Surviving with courage?The great bison or buffalo of North America is a very powerful symbol to American Indians. Though best suited to cooler climates, buffalos roamed virtually in entire continent. The smaller woodlands buffalo and its bigger cousin, the plains buffalo were revered and honored in ceremony and everyday life. To the plains Indian, our Buffalo Brother meant sacred life and the abundance of the Creator’s blessing on Mother Earth.

The buffalo is powerful medicine that is a symbol of sacrifice and service to the community. The buffalo people agreed to give their lives so the American Indian could have food, shelter and clothing.

The buffalo is also a symbol of gratitude and honor as it is happy to accept its meager existence as it stands proud against the winds of adversity.

The buffalo represents abundance of the Creator’s bounty and respect for all creation knowing that all things are sacred.

The buffalo represents a manifestation of the divine aspects of our being.

Because of its size, speed and sharp horns, buffalos can be dangerous when threatened. People who hear the message of the buffalo spirit are reminded to temper their power in dealing with others and allow the tranquility and peace of the Buffalo Brother to enter their lives.

Those with this totem need to remember to see the good in all things and not let their frustration store up inside them.

Unlike the European domesticated cow that places its rump toward approaching cold and faces away, the buffalo turns its head to face and stand firmly against raging storm. This quality reminds us to have courage and face problems head-on.

Buffalos unite against danger as buffalo cows defend their young, old and sick by forming a protective circle around them and the bulls form a circle around the cows. If you see the buffalo circle in dream or vision, it may mean someone around you requires your strength to defend and honor them. Or, it is a call to unite with others to bring about positive change.

The huge head of the Buffalo Brother signifies higher mental abilities that is grounded to Mother Earth by their tough bodies.

The buffalo teaches us how to eliminate our burdens by directing our energy in a balanced way.

Blue Heron

Dream Analysis: This bird is telling you to stand up for what you believe in. It isn’t always easy but you will feel better in the long run.


Boar teaches spiritual strength, protection and the mysteries of nature. Aids in getting organized and solidifying changes. Shows self-reliance, independence and fearlessness in trials and tribulations, enduring and strong, boar shows how to protect your efforts. Are you too scattered in thoughts and actions? Do you need to stand up for your beliefs and opinions? Are you using your intuition throughout the day? Boar can teach power and respect in the balance of complacency and activity.

Dream Analysis: This power animals’ message is face your problems head on.


Bobcat teaches that there is a time for solitude, learning to be alone but not lonely and a time for social balance. He shows how to keep confidences of those around you with a balance of inner and outer perceptions. Bobcat aids in tapping into the curiosity of the unseen world of secrecy, invisibility and hidden meanings for understanding spiritual mysteries of the path that is being traveled. Bobcat will offer protection and expertise of this path and lend its knowledge in maneuvering your developing natural internal power. Bobcat teaches the ability of being able to turn on/off creative forces in life. Always look for what is hidden on all levels and trust your senses for bobcat medicine is a powerful one with lessons on many levels.


Fertility of thoughts, ideas, possessions, makes the mundane and earthy more fertile, new ideas need to be expressed, teaches stability w/o stubbornness, assert feminine energies for balance. May demonstrate the necessity for a balance diet. Are you being forthright in your intentions? Are you willing to stand your ground in life matters? Bull can give us skills needed for expressions of strength.


The butterfly is great admired among American Indians and is a bringer of joy and peace. Cultures all over earth revere its delicate and colorful beauty. Most butterflies live very short lives, only a week or two, except for the Angle Wing and Monarch live about six months. They experience stages of development from egg in the cocoon to caterpillar to adult butterfly.The short life span and beauty of the butterfly is symbolic of early spiritual growth. Lessons of life will be shown during sometimes difficult formative years and come to light as the butterfly spirit begins to fly. They hold the gift of transformation and soul evolution.

The butterfly is reminiscent of freedom and creativity.

Butterflies have a pair of large compound oval eyes made up of thousands of individual lenses. They can see a single image clearly and are able to perceive ultraviolet wavelengths of light. This suggests clairvoyant abilities for those that hold this totem.

The antennae of the butterfly have small knobs on each end which is said to play a role in orientation. When one antenna is missing the butterfly will fly in circles unable to find its way. Those with this medicine need to stay consciously connected to spirit at all times in order to arrive at their desired destination.

Butterflies are not very organized, often return to the same flower many times before they realize it, and cannot remember relatives. This trait shows us to be better prepared for life’s challenges and relationships.

The butterfly represents the process of transformation and shape shifting. When butterfly shows up, make note of the most important issues confronting you at the moment. What state of change are you at in regard to them?

Butterflies remind us not to take life so seriously. They feed on flowers that they help pollinate, thereby further spreading beauty. They represent the element of air, quickly changing and ever moving, so gracefully. Butterflies are messengers of the moment. They come in a variety of colors. To understand the message that the butterfly holds for you a study of its colors can be helpful.

Whenever an eco-system is damaged, butterfly is usually the first to leave. They are especially sensitive to the harmony of earth. If butterfly comes to you in a hurt, trapped or ill way, you are being asked to stop disturbing the natural design of life and to flow with events in a more gentle, natural way.


Dream Analysis: Animal communication is very real so we can benefit by paying attention to what they have to tell us. Camel is telling you that even though things may seem difficult at the moment, trust that you have the resources to get through this challenging time in your life.


Dream Analysis: Cardinal power animal’s message is that you have an imbalance. The imbalance could be spiritual or physical.


Caribou teaches endurance, strength, fortitude and perseverance in going the distance. He will teach the power of adaptability in adversity, caution in surroundings and tenacity to get things accomplished. Caribou will show how to take on the roles of duality, the male and female qualities that you possess. Is it time to take a more dominating role in life and work or perhaps a softer subtler stance in situations? Caribou will also aid in spiritual transitions, communication and social abilities and skills. Caribou will show how to keep moving onward and flowing with the group. Caribou is about movement and finding your inner peace and your place as you walk through life.


Magic, independence, clever, unpredictable, balance of energies and actions in life, mysteries will unfold in life if a cat has come around. Cat shows how to clarify perceptions which allows new ideas to manifest, encourages mental and emotional agility, aids in being resourceful and stealthy tactics, teaches courage and confidence. Do you need to be more independent? Are you using your resources the best of your ability? Is it time to start a new project? Cat will show how to continue the process of opening your intuition for soul growth.

Dream Analysis: Cat symbolizes independence. Cat is asking you to look at how you can reduce your dependency and strike out on your own.


Dream Analysis: Adapt to the situations you are finding yourself.


Dream Analysis: This totem’s message is to get clear on your intentions. Focus more to achieve your goals.


Dream Analysis: Chimpanzee’s message is to combine intellect with intuition to solve your problems. One with out the other will not work but the two together will give you the answers to your questions.


Dream Analysis: Condor’s message is to take a step back before making any decisions.

Cougar-Puma-Mountain Lion

Assertion of growth, take charge, be strong, come unto your own power, defending yourself when needed, teaches how to leap into opportunities, helps balance when to be gentle and when to assert your energy more forcefully. Cougar teaches strength and grace, responsibilities and balanced leadership. Are you taking on enough responsibilities? Are you empowering your life the best way you can? Is it time to go forward? Cougar will assist in these lessons.


Cows can teach us about the home and community and the joy, contentment therein. Cows aid us in realizing to be easy going and live in the moment. They show us about love and connections at work and home. Cow also may demonstrate how to eat properly. Are eating enough fruits and vegetables? Are you happy at home? Cow can teach how to make those changes that are needed to balance to the joy in your surroundings.


Wisdom, jokester, having fun, stimulates cooperation and tasks, adaptations, balances knowledge and laughter into teaching, shows us how to learn from our mistakes with wisdom and a sense of humor, sense of family and children, demonstrating and communicating along with balancing risk and safety, trust and connection to the Spirit to find answers. Are you taking yourself too seriously? Too uptight and stressed? Are you trusting enough right now? Coyote will teach resourcefulness and adapting to new situations and how humor can be a useful tool in any situation.Coyote is subject of many American Indian stories, songs and ceremonies and if often referred to as the Trickster. Coyotes can adapt to almost any environment, but prefer the prairies and low foothills. They live in undergrounds dens or sometimes caves. Coyote is a survivor. Hunted to near extinction, coyote populations are slowly rebounding in areas where they are least threatened.

Coyotes usually mate for life. This favorable characteristic of Coyote reminds us to be loyal in all our relationships and especially those of a spiritual nature. Roaming from relationship to relationship, without direction or stability should be avoided.

Coyote is a cunning adversary. He sniffs the air and surrounding plants and stones looking for the scent of prey. Once a scent is located he stalks with great stealth and circles the area in which prey is located to understand possible escape routes and determine the best area suitable for an attack to take place. The spirit of coyote shows us ways to fully understand the circumstances surrounding situations in everyday life and to develop reasonable plans to achieve our goals.

Coyotes slyly hunt small game and move very slowly into position before pouncing on their prey. Applying this lesson in life, we can learn patience and ways to move forward at the best possible times.

Coyotes are excellent teachers, providers and protectors of their families. They will go to extreme lengths to insure the safety and well-being of their offspring. Visions and dreams in which coyote spirit makes itself known may bear a message of duty and responsibility to one’s family, community or employment.

Coyotes work well with its brothers and sisters to develop a strong community. Like the coyote we can work with others to get what we want in life. Followers of coyote medicine put other people’s needs before their own.

Coyote is always on the look out for traps set by both humans and other animals. They move cautiously through their environment ready in a flash to move out of dangers way. Thank the coyote spirit for showing you ways to avoid life’s pitfalls.


Crow is the left-handed guardian. Crow knows the unknowable mysteries of creation and is the keeper of all sacred law. There are several species of crow. Raven is one of these and magpies are another. Crow medicine people are masters of illusion. Do not try to figure crow out. It is the power of the unknown at work, and something special is about to happen.Crow is also the guardian of ceremonial magic and healing. In any healing circle, Crow is present. Crow guides the magic of healing and the change in consciousness that will bring about a new reality and dispel “dis-ease” or illness. You can rest assure when ever crows are around, magic is near by and you are about to experience a change in consciousness. Crow can give you the courage to enter the darkness of the void, which is the home of all that is not yet in form.

They are territorial and won’t give up an area without a fight. They are loners, seeming to like to spend time to themselves.

If you have a crow as a totem, you need to be willing to walk your talk and speak your truth. You must put aside your fear of being a voice in the wilderness and “caw” the shots as you see them. Crow is an omen of change. If he keeps appearing to you he may be telling you that you have a powerful voice when addressing issues that you do not quite understand or feel that they are out of balance.

Crows are the bringer of messages from the spirit world, and is thought to dwell beyond the realm of time and space.

When you meet crow, he could be telling you that there will be changes in your life and that possibly you should step by the usual way you view reality and look into the inner realms …walk your talk…be prepared to let go of your old thinking and embrace a new way of viewing yourself and the world.

Crow is the sacred keeper of the law. Crow medicine signifies a firsthand knowledge of a higher order of right and wrong than that indicated by the laws created in human culture. With Crow medicine, you speak in a powerful voice when addressing issues that for you seem out of harmony, out of balance, out of whack, or unjust.

When you learn to allow your personal integrity to be your guide, your sense of feeling alone will vanish. Your personal will can then emerge so that you will stand in your truth. The prime path of true Crow people says to be mindful of your opinions and actions. Be willing to walk your talk, speak your truth, know your life’s mission, and balance past, present, and future in the now. Shape shift that old reality and become your future self. Allow the bending of physical laws to aid in creating the shape shifted world of peace.


Power of gentleness, love, alertness, camouflage, balance and alertness, attention to subtler outside influences, ability to listen, attention, shows how to walk gracefully and carefully, connections to children and people for best interests of all, vision, hearing, smell, helps discern what actions to be done. Teaches empathy for others, soft direction and leadership abilities. Are you awakening to your own innocence? Are you listening to your inner child? Deer walks softly and gracefully. Are you ready for new opportunities that will reflect this gentle love to others?


Protection, companionship, faithfulness, warnings. Dog is a symbol of friendship and the unconditional ability to love and accept. They exhibit loyalty and are fierce protectors when needed. Examine the type of dog and what it says about you. What behaviors do you have or would like to have of the dog? Are you showing compassion for others? Are you a good companion and protector balanced with playfulness and joy? Are you serving humanity in the best way you can? Dog can teach you strength in the above qualities. (Also see Wolf)Dogs have one of the best totems or spirit guides because they are well attuned to the nature of humans and understand the best ways to guide them. Throughout history the dog has been known as man’s best friend. There are hundreds of varieties, sizes and shapes found on every continent. Certain breeds of dog are designed for specific functions.

The dog is a protector and guardian. Their acute hearing and keen sight forewarned their masters of impending danger. They serve selflessly never asking for their service to be praised. They hold the energies of unconditional love and teach us its true meaning.

Domesticated dogs are faithful companions to humans and enjoys being useful by serving human friends. Their sense of spirit and the ability to love even when abused is incredible. The dog teaches those with this totem how to give and receive love unconditionally. It also carries the energy of forgiveness. People with dog medicine would do well in service oriented jobs.

Dogs are intelligent and sensitive. They are able to sniff out dangerous situations accurately and guide us into safety. Psychic gifts have long been are associated with the dog because of their ability to detect subtle energy frequencies often unknown to mankind. If dog suddenly appears in your life pay attention to your immediate surroundings and let the dog guide your footsteps.

Certain breeds of dog were designed for specific functions. The study of the breed and its purpose can help you define the energy associated with it. Since wolves and coyotes are its descendants these should be studied as well.

The behavior of a dog often reflects the personality of its owner. Through its observation and constant interaction with you it anticipates your next move, and serves as a mirror image of who you truly are. The dog is a great teacher for those who are willing to be loyal students. The choice is yours.

Dream Analysis: Dog symbolizes loyalty and faithfulness. Dog is telling you that your loyalty is misplaced by serving too may masters.

Ant through Dog   Eagle through Lynx   Manatee through Rhino   Seagull through Zebra

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