Spirit, meet your animal. If any photo could depict ananda, this would be it.
I know some people find spirit animals silly and, maybe, taken out of context they are. But, having grown up in Oregon with a strong influence of Native American culture in my childhood, I find my totem to be immensely important. If we were to reframe "spirit animal" and instead call them archetypes, would they then seem a little less silly? Because this is exactly what they are: archetypes, and yet also messengers.
Some of my most prominent totems are spider, frog and elephant. I remember the first time elephant showed up in my life as a messenger. I was about 24yo and in the throws of a PTSD misdiagnosis of Bi-Polar Disorder. I was heavily laden with pharmaceutical drugs and battling my own demons with the diagnosis. Yoga was basically keeping me alive, by keeping me marginally sane for a period of time every day, but I was seeking everlasting peace and that I couldn't find. I turned to hypnotherapy as one non-invasive or drug inducing solution.
I had never met the therapist, but in our session I told her my plight and that I was just hoping to find some semblance of peace or hope. She took me inward and there I met my messenger--an imposing, yet calm, Indian elephant. His enormity and beauty gave me peace and I intuitively knew it was a message of strength, stability and even power. In the years that followed that became ugly and black before seeing the light of healing, I often conjured up the memory of this elephant to find that calm and recall my personal power. I actually to this day often recall this memory.
Of course, almost 15 years later, elephants are found throughout my home, especially in the form of Ganesh, the remover of obstacles. But, elephants will always be more than a Hindu deity to me, they are part of my spiritual DNA as an archetype that represents the strength of my spirit and how I always persevere. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
What animals fill your totem? I'm curious to know what archetypes represent your spirit...