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Traditional 7 Chakras Animal Totems


Animal Symbols and Chakra Power Animals

Each of the chakras of the human energy system are also linked to a specific animal or animal symbols. Each animal symbol reflects the characteristics and attributes that are similar to the vibrational qualities of the chakra they represent. Chakra animals have symbolic meanings and are often referred to as totems or personal power animals.


Muladhara Chakra (Root Energy)

Associated Animal(s): Elephant, Ox, Bull, Mole
Native American - Snake
Eastern Indian - Elephant with 7 Trunks
Strong earth connection, support/foundation



Swadhisthana Chakra (Sacral Energy)

Associated Animal(s):

Crocodile/Alligator, Fish, Badger
Native American - Dolphins
Eastern Indian - Makara (Mythical Crocodile), Stag, Elephant


Manipura Chakra (Solar Energy)

Associated Animal(s): Bear, Lion
Native American - Birds
Eastern Indian - Ram


Anahata Chakra (Heart Energy)

Associated Animal(s): Wolf, Dove
Native American - All Mammals
Eastern Indian - Antelope


Vishuddha Chakra (Throat Energy)

Associated Animal(s): Bull
Native American - All Human Animals (Humanity)
Eastern Indian - White Elephant

Ajna Chakra (Brow/Third Eye Energy)

Associated Animal(s):

Mountain Lion, Black Antelope, Owl, Butterfly
Native American - Spirit Guides & Ancestors
Eastern Indian - Garuda Eagle

Sahasrara Chakra (Crown Energy)

Associated Animal(s): (None) - or - Egg
Native American - Kachina Universal Spirit
Eastern Indian - Enlightened Human

Working with Your Personal Chakra Animal Totems


The personal Totem Pole process has connections
 with the wisdom and myth of the North American Indians or, as they are more correctly 
known, Native Americans.

There is also an overlap with the tradition of the Indian subcontinent in that the main 
energy centers of the body are focus points. These centers are known in Sanskrit as the
 Chakras, a word which means "wheel."

One usually comes to working with their personal totem pole by way of a workshop or class. During the
 course of the class by a process of deep relaxation and active imagery, the participants
 are encouraged to bring their attention to each of the chakras in turn and to allow an
 animal to emerge from that energy center. The object is not to decide what kind of
 animal will present itself but rather to stand back and permit the process to occur.

People are often surprised by the kinds of animals which appear. They can be wild or 
tame, real or imaginary (e.g. dragon, unicorn). Animals may be ill or healthy, free or
 caged. There can be very young animals or those on the point of death.
 The main purpose of allowing these animals to come along is that they provide a very 
helpful and revealing element to facilitate the psychic and emotional process of the individual.

It is important to note that these creatures are not caricatures to be anthropomor
phised. Each 
of the animals exists in some sense in its own right, with its own unique personality and 
mode of behaviour. And, the animals may express themselves either verbally or non-verbally to the person working with them.

At the same rime it can be said that the animals have a metaphorical dimension in 
that they mirror the state of the individual and as such can provide a way of understanding 
the current process. In this sense they are a means to reframe the therapeutic work being
 done or can provide clues about ways to develop the therapeutic process.

There is a dynamism in working with the animals because they have a life of their 
own and can contribute very directly to insight. It might almost be said that there are 
eight facilitators working with the client – the facilitator and seven animals ...

During the workshop or class journeys, it may be that no animal will emerge from one or more of the 
energy centres. This is not something to cause concern, rather it is a time to reflect and 
to seek help from the animals which have come along. This usually takes place in ‘council’.

When each animal has presented itself, the participant becomes involved in a dia
logue. Firstly, the individual asks the question – “What do you need from me?” The
 animal will almost always answer quite specifically.

A Beginning Relationship

The next question in the dialogue is often more difficult. It is harder because the participant tells the animal what s/he needs from it. At this stage of the process the individual 
may not know what s/he needs from the animal and also this is a beginning relationship 
and needs to settle a little. Finally, one asks the animal if it has a message. In my case the
 same bird said – “Yes, sing your own song”…..Again the message is clear and direct. It
 may not be a comfortable one and it may need to be thought about but that’s why one 
begins the totem pole process anyway.

This formula is repeated with each of the creatures. Apart from anything else it is a
way of getting to know them and their reason for being there. When this process is 
treated with respect it can be a very powerful way of healing and directing our growing.

Since it is an organic process it is natural to people and easy to live with. The principles 
behind it are simple but not simplistic. There is deep wisdom behind them and outlined
 briefly by Nancy Zastrow, they are as follows:

1. The work is based in experience

It is not a thought system and cannot be accessed by arguments. It does not involve 
having to believe anything. In fact it is helped by a kind of suspension of belief that allows 
one to simply be open to the process unfolding.

2. The process is deeper than intellection

The process transcends intellection or any of the more familiar modes of inducing 
persons to change. The journeyer operates at a level not often reached ordinarily, and
 since the work is conducted internally there is little fear of encroachment from the out

3. The process is one of healing and growth and is therefore
 positive and benign. The journeyer can be and often is, led through difficult experiences but this is invariably for the sake of cleansing and healing what is amiss and restoring wholeness and 

4. The animals encountered are in charge

It is the animals who know what is needed, and they, with the journeyer, form the
 healing council which guides and oversees the work. Even though it is difficult to do the
 work without a facilitator, the work is one’s own, directed by the animals.

5. The function of the guide is to keep the journeyer and the 
animals in relationship.

The facilitator is usually crucial, providing a safe place in which to relax and allow
 the work to proceed. The guide attends to the process from the outside, however,
 sometimes bringing the journeyer back to trustworthy inner wisdom, away from 
habits or destructive beliefs and always referring the journeyer to the animals for the
 correct procedure from within.

6. Individual growth takes precedence over dogma

This takes us back to the first point and the understanding that arguments, ideas, and
 discussions of what ‘ought to be’ fall in the face of that which causes the person to grow. (Nancy Zastrow: The Totem Pole, Vol. 1, No. 1. 1990)

The animals can and do change. This may happen in a variety of ways: Young ones 
may grow up. Others may die and be replaced by different creatures. At times an animal 
may simply disappear. Sometimes the animal will discuss its reasons for leaving and it is
 also the case that there may be more than one animal associated with a particular energy

Integrating the Experience

The reality of the totem pole process is so powerful that it can happen that one falls
 into the trap of simply enjoying the animals in their own right without seeing them as a 
means for therapeutic development. I have known people to become so involved with
 the colour and the antics of the animals that they simply relate the stories without any 
attempt to integrate the experience into their own process. This is the omnipresent
 danger in my opinion and one which a guide or facilitator needs to watch.

It is true to say the the totem pole can be understood in a metaphorical way. The animals can provide a way for the client to reframe or re-label an experience which can 
bring insight into their emotional and psychic process.

However, the other reality is that while it can be said that the totem pole is only 
a clever use of the imagination, it cannot be denied that the animals appear to have an 
unpredictable and independent streak which is not under the conscious control of the 

A Subtle Reality

This brings us to the discussion about where does reality begin and end. Is the process
 of the totem pole simply an interesting use of an animal metaphor or is there a subtle
 reality involved which indicates something more than an internal and subjective process?

There are many questions which could be asked, for example, what is the nature of
 our connectedness with the natural world? How many levels are we operating on? We
 have been conditioned to experience the world through our main physical senses – sight, 
sound, touch, taste and smell. But to what extent is a developed intuition and imagination 
a valid form of knowing? This question brings us to the boundaries of the cognitive
 process and really enters the realm of epistemology. Intuition and imagination are inter
nal processes and as such are not easily available to empirical method. So perhaps faith 
needs to be placed in a more wholistic paradigm of research since the older more mechanistic approach to research cannot handle the internal world effectively.

It seems to me that a good model for a starting understanding of the animals is to 
describe them as a manifestation of intuitive awareness, where intuition is a means of 
knowing which takes account of the empirical evidence and adds another dimension
 which expands perception. Imagination is that dimension and it is my belief that the power of imagination needs to be celebrated and acknowledged much more fully than

To conclude, I like to work with the animals. I admire the clarity, gentleness and insightfulness they bring. This article is written not so much as a rounded 
discussion piece but as an expression of my excitement about the Totem Pole process.
 There are many questions to be addressed. Perhaps I’ll find answers on the journey.

[Excerpts above are from an article by Alan A. Mooney, a psychotherapist in private practice. He
 has a particular interest in personal growth work using
 animal imagery and other forms of visualisation. He works 
from the Centre for Creative Change, 14 Upper Clanbrassil 
Street, Dublin 8. 01-538356/7.]

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