Pagan Blog Project – C is for Caribou

C is for Caribou – a post about my spirit animal

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via Chris Wakefield on Etsy

Since I was a toddler, Caribou/Reindeer was an animal that I was very drawn to and desired in many representations, especially in toys. My one and only in-store temper tantrum was because my mom wouldn’t buy me a plush reindeer that I was eyeing! And at a western New York zoo when I was four or five years old, several velvet-antlered reindeer rested right by the fence, and I was able to surreptitiously reach my stubby fingers through and stroke the velvet. I was bothered by how Santa’s reindeer were often depicted in art as white-tail deer; “That’s not right!” I would declare haughtily, glaring at the window clings or storybook pages or whatever else had done Caribou/Reindeer injustice.

It was an animal I was fascinated by; a fascination that only grew as I got older. I was always drawn to it and loved it. My favourite animal, on the other hand, typically remained the Horse and Zebra throughout my life. Caribou/Reindeer roamed in the background, but it was always there.

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via Corina Dross on Etsy

As an adult in my mid-20s, my spiritual journey began to shift into the beginning stages of what it is now. My biomom had been on the same shifting path for much longer, in her house on the side of a lush Virginia mountain, and she had many books that I dove head-first into whenever I was at her place.

One of these books was about spirit animals.

I learned that one’s totem spirit animal is often one that isn’t necessarily one’s favourite animal, but one they’ve been drawn to for many years. My curiosity piqued, I searched for Caribou/Reindeer, and my heart leaped.

As a totem animal, Caribou teaches strength, endurance, fortitude, and perseverance. He/She teaches adaptability in adversity, how to flow and keep moving in life, and to wander and grow. He/She shows how to take on the roles of duality, the male and the female qualities that you possess. Caribou can aid in spiritual and emotional transitions, communications, and social abilities. He/She is about movement and finding your place and your happiness as you walk through life.

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via Nick Clements on Etsy

That little leap of my heart was the soul knowledge that this was my totem. It made so much sense, too, as Caribou is a Canadian animal, and I deeply felt drawn north for eleven years before I finally moved to Canada. Those eleven years of northern lust was Caribou urging me on.

And still he urges me through life.

Rarely, he appears in my dreams as a snow-white animal. When I see his brethren in person at zoos (one thing on my bucket list is to see them in the wild!), I feel my breath catch in my chest. That’s how it’s always been and it’s even more so now, with this knowledge.

My love recently adopted a Caribou for me from the World Wildlife Federation. The adoption certificate and poster also came with the plush that is on my altar.

For further reading into Caribou/Reindeer and the power of other totem animals, check out these links:

Caribou as a Totem
Animal Teachers
Native American Totems and Their Meanings

Love and light,
Mary

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