Cats and Spiders: History of Native American Totem Animals

Lucky and Nanners – Best Buds

I don’t know if it’s because of a full moon approaching or we’re nearing the cosmic alignment with the center of the universe, but lately I’ve been having some weird dreams which involve, much to my horror, spiders, with an occasion cat thrown in just to mix it up.  Seeing that I have been inducted by association into the Henderson Comanche Grey Mountain clan, (my boyfriend’s family) it made me think about the history of Native American belief in spirit animals.

Native Americans took great stock in spirit animals, believing them to be totem animals.  A totem could be the symbol of a tribe, clan, family or individual.  Indian tradition connects individuals with at least nine different animals which accompany one through life.  It was believed that these different animal guides come in and out of our lives depending on the direction we are headed in, and the tasks that need to be completed along the journey.  These totem animals are with you for life both in the physical and spiritual world and while animal guides may change throughout your life time, it is the one totem animal that acts as the main guardian spirit.

Well, I have dreamed off and on about several types of animals during my lifetime and they always seem to be leading me somewhere in my dreams, but my one totem animal is differently the cat.  Sometimes the spider drops in on occasion both in the dream world and the physical world.  When the big hairy mountain spiders (they look like baby tarantulas) suddenly spring into the middle of the kitchen floor, I can’t kill them.   I just sweep them gently into a dustpan and herd them out the door.

I was curious to find out what my dream animals meant, so I did a little research and found the following:

Bear:  Industrious, instinctive, healing, power, sovereignty, guardian of the world, watcher, courage, will power, self-preservation, introspection, and great strength.  (Dreamed a lot of the bear three years ago during a tough moment in my life)

Cat: Guardianship. detachment, sensuality, mystery, magic and independence. (always have dreams about cats)

Snake: Impulsive, shrewdness, rebirth, transformation, initiation and wisdom.  (I dreamed a lot about the snake when I moved up to the mountains)

Tiger: Strength, valor, power and energy. (I’ve had several dreams about riding on the back of a tiger and it usually happens during some stress or family problem)

Wolf: Loyalty, perseverance, success, intuition and spirit.  (I had a dream a couple of months ago that a black wolf was fighting my cat in my dream.  The cat was in front of me protecting me from the wolf).

And of course the Spider: Balance, wisdom, creativity, communication.

For fun reading this summer if you like history, I recommend “The Great Cat Massacre.”  This is on my list.  Early 1700s in French history.