Animal Personality Symbols: a Different Way to View the Zodiac
I am one of those people who feel a very strong connection to Native Americans and their belief systems. The theme of honoring and protecting the earth and its creatures is one you will see running through many of my astrology and psychic readings. Some Native Americans have a tradition that is similar to the 12 Signs of the Zodiac, but based, instead, on the Earth Medicine Wheel's 12 personalities. Perhaps an off-shoot of the Zodiac traditional archetypes, this Native American chart connects birth dates to animals. I have listed them by birth dates, traditional Animal assigned, followed by the influencing, corresponding Zodiac Sun Sign (in parenthesis). March 21 - April 19. The Falcon, also sometimes the Hawk (Aries). This personality takes flight easily; wishing to soar above the earth and view it from the highest perspective. This personality is often both a messenger and a hunter. Loyal, brave and insightful, the Falcon/Hawk seeks spiritual truth and often will settle for nothing less. This personality is often a messenger of higher truth and prophetic insights, and sometimes writes or speaks about these subjects. If you are not like-minded, it may be difficult to communicate with this soaring Animal. April 20-May 20. The Beaver (Taurus). Hard-working and practical, this personality is driven to accomplish goals; easier when the goals are self-directed. You can always count on this personality to get a job done; Beavers always finish what they start. Beavers often show us how to build a good foundation - for ideas, relationships, life-style. Beavers are great dreamers, who are often able to make their dreams come true through hard work and inspiration. May 21-June 20. The Deer (Gemini). The gentle, graceful deer is one of the more compassionate personalities in this tradition. Deer personalities are sensitive, and likely to take off, if spooked. Deer personalities can hide themselves quite easily; they will only reveal themselves if they feel safe. The deer is a great, protective parent - highly intuitive and agile. If a male deer wanders onto your path, and it has antlers, count them. Their number may be a key number in your life. June 21 - July 21. The Salmon (Cancer/Moon Child). Salmon long to go home; they will meet many challenges to return there. Salmon personalities are persistent and driven. Salmon personalities are water-signs, much as they are on the Zodiac as Cancers. As such, the Salmon person is likely to be moody at times, but also imaginative and sensitive. Generally, the Salmon has many keen ideas, but must be careful to ground them in reality (this relates to the vision of how the Salmon lays its eggs on rough ground). July 22-August 22.The Cougar (Leo). The cougar is lightening fast; determined, stealthy and cunning. This personality is known for leadership, bravery, foresight, much like its corresponding sign on the Zodiac, Leo. It is best not to take the Cougar personality lightly and to respect this person's integrity. The Cougar person has the strength and agility to accomplish much. Do not attempt to undermine or engage in battle. The Cougar will not hesitate to strike back, if pushed to do so. August 23-September 21. The Bear (Virgo). Connected to the earth, this personality is protective of both its territory and its young. The Bear has great strength and great power, some of which is physical; some of which is intuitive and healing. Bears do not like to fight, but will do so, if provoked. If troubled, this personality is best left alone until s/he can work out their problems. The Bear has great power in the Native American tradition. September 22-October 22. The Raven, and sometimes the Crow or Dove (Libra). Highly creative and spiritual, this personality is often mystical and hard to read. Raven/Crow people prefer harmony and dislike uncertainty. Just when you think you understand or "know" this personality, be aware s/he may change or shift their opinions and their preferences in a flash. The Raven may reveal and interest in both the creation and admiration of the Arts. Raven/Grow people are mysterious, but also highly spiritual. The Raven is greatly respected in the Native American tradition. October 23-November 22. The Snake (Scorpio). Much like the corresponding Sun Sign, the Snake personality is capable of regeneration and transformation on a high-level, unknown by many other personalities. Snake people also are capable of being devious and slithering out of responsibilities - particularly in love relationships and business. If properly guided, a Snake personality is capable of transforming and turning around any partnership or project. For the most part, snakes are often solitary and self-contained; an important factor to keep in mind. Transformation is a hallmark of the Snake personality; the shedding of the old in favor of the new is easier for the Snake personality than for most other Signs. November 23-December 21. The Owl.(Sagittarius). Wise and all-knowing, the owl prefers to come out at night. A great, skillful hunter, the Owl keeps watch over its territory and is always on alert. Both observant and sensible, the Owl personality is not so easily distracted or entranced. To engage an owl, you must be equally as practical and keen. Owls take nothing for granted and neither should you when you meet an Owl person. Remember to listen to what s/he has to say, because this Sign has much accumulated wisdom to teach. December 22-January 19. The Goose (Capricorn). Some people tend to write off the Goose, as being "silly," but an equal or larger number remember the Goose that laid the golden egg. And so it is, with this tenacious personality, who is usually rewarded in the end. Wandering here, there and everywhere, goose people are very sure of their tasks in life, even if it takes a long time to finish them. The Goose is protective of its territory and its young, and capable of attacking if either are threatened. Never underestimate the perseverance of the Goose. January 20 - February 18. The Otter (Aquarius). Otters are industrious and mysterious; an interesting combination if you know this personality. They are both creative and logical; sometimes one trait battles the other, which is why creative work can take so long to complete. Otter people often procrastinate and find it hard to make certain decisions. Perfectionism may be an important trait. Otters also are often playful, as they seek to expand their experiences and horizons. They are capable of going deep into any subject or relationship; sometimes they may seem difficult to reach - until they surface on their own time. February 19-March 20. The Wolf and sometimes the Whale (Pisces). So smart and cunning, the Wolf is one of the great hunters in this tradition - but most well-known for its loyalty to its pack and its young on one hand, and its independence, on the other. Wolves are often maligned, but they have much to teach us about working together for the common good and also being able to stand alone. Unlike its corresponding Sun Sign, the Wolf is not known for mood changes or high creativity, but is highly regarded for intelligence and its often gentle nature. Also, wolves do not like to attack, unless challenged to fight or hunting for food. Because there are so many tribes and traditions, this is a generally accepted outline of a Native American horoscope. I have seen many different animals listed for each of the 12 birth dates, but these are the animals most often mentioned in the various charts. You may find others that speak to you more directly. Animal signs and symbols are very important to Native Americans - that is why carved animals are represented on the wooden Native American totem poles throughout this Country. If you are not a Native American, finding your own personal totem can be challenging. Some traditions say that a totem animal is one animal that is with you for life - both in this world and beyond. Other tribal legends and traditions claim that different animal totems appear during different times in a person's life, where they act as guides to help along the way. Some traditions say you can have several animal guides throughout your life; sometimes for a brief period, only to be replaced by another animal guide, depending on your problems and challenges. Your own totem may be different than the personality attached to your birth sign. Your animal totem is the one animal you are strongly drawn to, either through an interest, dreams, study, research or ownership. If you collect cats, own cats as pets, or are drawn to books or TV shows about cats (from tabbies to jaguars), your singular totem may be the mysterious, independent Cat. My theory is that your personal totem is revealed to you by the depth of your passion about a particular animal - be it wolves, birds,butterflies or snakes. I also believe different animal totems enter your life at different times. After a recent trip to Alaska, I became strongly (and strangely) attracted to the characteristics of the Bear after I heard a wildlife lecture about the Alaskan bear. This occurred at a time when I needed courage, strength and self-preservation. Even today, if I want to feel brave and strong, I wear the silver ring with the Tlingit bear symbol I brought back from Alaska. I do believe it empowers me through suggestion. There is no one way about identifying your Animal unless you were born into the traditional lore and schooled in it as a very young child. But if you are drawn to the idea of the Totem, and particularly to Animals, this is a fine way to introduce yourself to Native American traditions and the lessons you can learn from animal icons and archetypes. As we return, on Earth, slowly to our reverence for Nature and all of its creatures, connecting with your Totem animals may be yet another good way to re-launch or re-design your life. You can find much more about Animal Totems and legends, as I did, at Legends of America.com, Animal Totem.com, and a variety of blogs and websites. Also books, such as Totems: The Transformative Power of your Personal Animal Totem, and many others.