It’s a game: what’s your totem animal? And what’s mine?

Brothers with Snakes

From the source of all current knowledge, aka Wikipedia: totem is a being, object, or symbol representing an animal or plant that serves as an emblem of a group of people, such as a familyclan, group, lineage, ortribe, reminding them of their ancestry (or mythic past).[1] In kinship and descent, if the apical ancestor of a clan is nonhuman, it is called a totem. Normally this belief is accompanied by a totemic myth.

Although the term is of Ojibwe origin in North Americatotemistic beliefs are not limited to Native Americans and Aboriginal peoples in Canada. Similar totem-like beliefs have been historically present in societies throughout much of the world, including Africa, Arabia, Asia, Australia, Eastern Europe, Western Europe, and the Arctic polar region.

Ender’s is a Bear. “You’re sure it’s not Cthulu?” Flora asks—I shake my head, “A Bear, for sure, I know this,” I say. “No!” Ender interrupts. “My totem animal is a reindeer.” “Really? A reindeer?” I ask. Yup. He’s sure. Reindeer. OK. Flora’s might be a unicorn. Or a frog? A frogi-corn? (“Mom! Stop writing now! I’m still thinking!”). OK. She’s still thinking. And Cinder doesn’t want anyone to know what his is, although he knows. He gives me an evil grin. I bet it’s something venomous… or stinky… Probably both…

Sean’s is… a whale. “Really?” “Yup. A humpback whale.” “How do you know this?” “I just know.”


Me, I’m with Flora. I don’t know. I’m not sure. I think… maybe… um… no. I don’t know.

“Blue-green algae?” I ponder.

“Mom! That’ not even a plant!”

I feel rather primitive at the moment. And it doesn’t have to be an animal, does it?

But. For the game, it does. So—go. What’s your totem animal? And why?

And if you think you know me well enough to hazard a guess—tell me what you think mine might be.

And look how low I’ve set the bar. Blue-green algae? You can all do better than that.

Happy Friday. Hashtag  #whatsyourtotemanimal if you’re tweeting.


P.S. My IRL friend Dr. Christopher Gibbins, a psychologist who specializes in the assessment of neurodevelopmental disorders of early childhood, was on CTV news last week talking about tablet use and young children. If you’re a thinking parent, you’ve thought–and overthought–this subject ad nauseam, and probably feel guilty non-stop about whatever it is you’ve chosen to do. Have a listen to what Chris has to say: Interview Clip. Key line: “Parents don’t need to be perfect.” Chris’ other qualification: he’s a daddy too. So nothing he’s telling you is just theoretical. (Although it’s always backed by research…)

P.P.S. YYC Floodster? You’re looking for this: After the flood: Running on empty and why “So are things back to normal?” is not the right question. I’d encourage you to read the comments… because see, it’s not just you and me. It’s all of us.

P.P.P.S. Two of my cyber-friends have put together, and more are featured in,  The HerStories Project, Women Explore the Joy, Pain and Power of Female Friendship. Sarah of Left Brain Buddha reviews it, as well as a few other “end of the Mommy Wars” initiatives here, if you want to have a gander.

31 thoughts on “It’s a game: what’s your totem animal? And what’s mine?

  1. What comes to mind is a rat. Super smart, a bit dangerous, intimidating to those who don’t know you, endearing to those who do, definitely adaptable and resourceful. The ick factor and disease vector doesn’t apply but I can’t think of another animal with those same qualities. Apparently rats can be really good mothers too so that also counts : ).

      • Lol! I conveniently missed that first part. I have actually been told my totem animal but not being familiar with it, am not sure if it is accurate or not. If I were to choose my own I’d say dragon. Beautiful, mystical, majestic, of mythical stature, powerful, dangerous, mesmerizing..

        Yeah. I don’t know. What animal is kinda neurotic, smart, gangly? A giraffe? I’m all limbs, a bit weird, mostly docile but could kick your head in if I really needed to. I move pretty gracefully (I think!) but still walk into walls. My tongue is pretty impressive too, I can touch my nose and tie cherry stems in knots. I can be a bit skittish if I feel threatened. I’m tall. And freckled! I must be a giraffe.

    • ‘Rat’ was the first thing that came in my mind too when I read your question to guess your totem animal. Only, I didn’t really know why I’d chosen the rat for you, but I think CathySnell descriped what I was probably feeling/thinking.

      (I hope my english is good enough?)

  2. You’re making me think! I like that. I will have to get back to you. I think it’s something between Goofy and Eeyore. And maybe a polar bear. As for you, I don’t know you that well, but I do know you’re better than algae. 😉

  3. We had out of the ordinary animal encounters within the first year or so of each of my first three kids’ lives, so I like to think that those are their totem animals.

    The first we saw a pod of orcas when she was 2 months old. The second two river otters swam up into a little lake right next to where we were camping when he was 10 months old. And the third we had 8 baby skunks that visited our yard nightly when he was just over a year.

    The fourth I am not sure about yet. We did see a lot of deer everywhere in her first six months though.

  4. I’m the kind who has to take a test online to come up with one. It told me I was a wolf. I feel like I’m going to need processing time on this.

  5. Dare I say pug? 😉 I think I will, because I’m perpetually worried, yet quizzical, with a tinge of sadness and a lot of exuberance. What else…Love to eat – check. Loyal – check. I think i even tilt my head when spoken to. But I won’t pee on the rug.

  6. I like Bear for you. Protective of her kids and yet encourages them to Be. For me? Hm. Monkey? Except not gross with throwing poop and stuff. Except that I’ve cleaned a LOT of poop up in the past few days so maybe the poop thing fits.

    • We were playing a game last week where you had to answer “if there was a movie of my life, what would its title be” and Cinder’s suggestion for mine was Poops in the City. I sobbed a little.

  7. Ooo I am going to think about this one as I am more inclined to relate to a plant (I do love gardening after all)! I think I might have to make my own creature. A leopard-print fish? As for you…you definitely need fur as you are Canadian (and its cold!). You “bark” (aka freely share your opinions) and take care of your pups (kids)…maybe a seal?!

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  9. Hmm…coyote. You have a definite sense of with and humor. I would definitely say coyote.

    Me? Well, I think that my name online is Fox, maybe it’s obvious? Though I had my totem animals read for me once. It turns out there are more than one for a normal person. Fox is on there, but I’m more coyote.

    My kids are an interesting mix. My oldest is a rabbit. I knew that before she was born. My second child? We were thinking some kind of cat, but now we’re thinking raccoon or weasle. Our middle boy is boar. He even snorted like a pig instead of cried as a baby. Then the little guy is our bear cub. He’s growled all his life. Then there’s my partner, the mysterious lynx.

  10. Thanks for sharing my post!! And hmmmmm…. I kinda want to say a dog, but that just seems too cliche…. I’ll think about it!!

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  12. Mine is an elephant. I’ve known that for as long as I can remember. I don’t know why.
    As for you, I don’t really know you, but from what I’ve been able to learn just from my amazing blog sleuth capabilities (har har) I would say something bad-to-the-bone awesome/noble/cool like a jaguar.

  13. Mine is Heron. Why? Well, I live in Seattle (really, not a woodsy suburb) and I looked out my kitchen window one morning, and there it was – a heron, sitting in a cedar tree, across our back alley. S/he wasn’t always there, but it was a favored spot for the fall/winter. Right around the time I first noticed it, I was down at my parents’ house (who live in a woodsy suburb of Portland) and was washing dishes, looking out the window – and there goes heron, flying by like a freaking Pteranadon, to land up in a tree across the yard.

    So I looked it up, and it fits. The dabbling, the need for balance and grounding, the sort of introverted ness… Totally me. 🙂

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