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Animal spirit - weasel to wolf

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Native American tribes are numerous throughout our lands. Animal symbolism may vary from tribe to tribe. Following are some basic attributes of animals from Weasel to Wolf.

This series of articles also includes the spirit powers of birds, insects, and reptiles.

Weasel or Ferret

Weasels, though quite small, are very active predators. They are long, sleek, slender, and have short legs. This enables them to get down into burrows and other tight places to seek small prey.

Weasels are very curious and often quite playful. They are very energetic and seem to like showing off. One of the interesting habits they have is to do a war dance after fighting with other animals, being the victor in getting food from competitors, or in the case of the pet ferret, playing with toys. Watching them perform this victory dance can be mesmerizing.

Though they look very graceful and fragile, weasles do have a lot of strength for their size. They can take down rabbits and poultry when they choose to.

Symbolism: Strength, energy, ingenuity, stealth, curiosity, speed, energetic, graceful, playful


The Orca (Killer Whale) is a strong feature in the arts and myths of tribes in the Pacific Northwest and the Canadian British Columbia coastal areas. The ancient tradition of the carving of totem poles by these tribes often feature the Killer Whale.

The Haida regard the Orca as the guardian and ruler of the sea because of its massive size and power. Many stories tell of Haida ancestors putting on skins of killer whales to enter the realm of the spirit world, where killer whale people and humans visit, communicate and feast together.

The ancient tradition of the carving of totem poles is still done by the Tlingit tribe. They often feature the Killer Whale on the poles, for the Tlingit honor whales as strong and brave fish. The mythology of the Killer Whale is that it will bring food and help to a chief who is wounded.

It is believed that humpback whales may live up to 77 years. Other findings indicate some whales, like the bowhead whale of Alaska, may live much longer. Listening to the song of a whale makes one wonder if the they are coming from an age of long ago, or, as some believe, that they are the reincarnations of chiefs.

Whale songs are their way of communicating -- the sound often seeming. It is a very spiritual experience to hear the song of the whale for it seems like it is coming from the past.

Symbolism: creation, drawing on power of ancestors, wisdom of the ages, use of instincts and reasoning, longevity, provider, compassion


The wolf is a very intelligent animal that follows primordial instincts. They are very ritualistic in their manner and pack behaviour. Their social structure consists of the alpha pair which rules the others pack members.

Wolves are very territorial. They usually mark a much larger area than needed for their survival. This is a way to avoid other packs which often results in fatal encounters.

When hunting, the pack cooperates with very organized planning -- yet a single wolf or pair are usually more successful in attacking and bringing down large prey.

The call of the wolf is a very beautiful sound that is so much a part of the wilds of nature. Wolves have different calls (howls) which members of the pack recognize. The calls can be heard across great distances.

The wolf can teach us how to adapt to change. We can learn from Wolf to accept our darker side and to trust our instincts, to accept life as it is or embrace change. The wolf is seen by many as great teacher medicine.

Symbolism: spirituality, guardianship, ritual, loyalty, wisdom,strength, perseverance, intuition, pathfinder, instinct, community minded, adaptation, teacher, hunter, survival



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