Totem Animals

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By CinnamonMoon

Ted Andrews; Animal-Wise:
Keynote: Primal strength and creation
Alligator Nests: For the Florida alligator, nest-building is a simple matter of creating a pile of
mud and swamp vegetation with a few swipes of the female's powerful tail. She then lays and
buries the eggs within. While she does patrol the nest to prevent the eggs from being eaten, once
the young are hatched, they are entirely on their own.

The crocodile family includes the largest of all living reptiles. They live in tropical parts of the
world and have an ancient and mixed symbology and mythology associated with both
destruction and birth. They are the devourers and mothers. Crocodiles in particular are associated
with the Great Mother, for they are excellent mothers, a rarity among reptiles. The appearance of
the crocodile indicates the presence of primal strength and creation, the mothering forces.
Although cold-blooded, crocodiles rarely let their body temperatures vary much. They come
ashore at sunrise to bask in the sun and then they cool off in the water as the sun becomes hotter.
They float low in the water, with little more than eyes and nostrils showing. When crocodile
appears, it heralds a time of balance within all environments within our life. The balance may
come unexpectedly, but it will come as a result fo our own efforts, strengths, and creativity. It is
time to trust our instincts in what will work.

The Nile crocodile breeds when 5-10 years old and the males will fight for breeding territories.
The female will dig a huge pit and can lay up to 90 eggs. After 4 months, the eggs hatch, and the
mother crocodile takes the hatchlings in her mouth down to the water, guarding them from other
predators. When the crocodile appears, we should watch over and protect the things we give
birth to for at least a 4 month period. We may get assistance from others or assist others in some
new births.

Our instincts will be very accurate and strong in regards to whom or what we can trust. Our
creative energies are fertile now, along with practical applications. This is the time to trust what
is right for us, our home, our children, and our endeavors. We have the opportunity to tap very
primal creative energies. New birth and initiation are near, as is the strength necessary to
accomplish them.

When young crocodiles begin to develop within the eggs, they begin to squeak. The mother
hears them, answers them, and helps them to hatch. She then assists them to the water, carrying
them in her mouth. If crocodile has appeared, it is time to heed our primal instincts or we may
miss the calls of new creative opportunities.

An adult crocodile captures its prey by laying in wit near game trails and water holes. It then
comes out of the water, seizing its prey in its powerful jaws, dragging the prey under water,
trying to drown it or knocking it out with its whipping tail. The crocodile may even grip the
prey's body in its jaws, rolling over and over beneath the water, tearing into it. The crocodile
may indicate that we are not taking advantage of our opportunities or our impulses. We may also
need to be careful of things that are hidden and unexpected, especially in the environments that
usually nourish us. There may be reason for distrust. If we are not careful, we may be in danger
of being dragged into or under in some way.

*Animal-Speak has more on the Alligator if you have access to that book. If not let me know and
I'll address it specifically for you. Both are pretty much the same in interpretations though.


Australian crocodiles (don't know about other ones) build nests where the temperature is very
carefully regulated as the temperature actually affects whether the hatchlings are male or
female. I think (but not entirely sure) that the hotter temperature is female and the cooler
produces male. But if the temperature is too hot or too cold the hatchlings will die. An
inexperienced mother may not get the temperature right and the might die (poor little

So I don't know what will happen with global warming.

PS are you going to elaborate on the difference between crocodiles and aligators Cinn? I would
like to know.

PPS another fact about crocodiles is if you go to NZ and mention crocodiles then the kiwis start
mentioning wetas. Hmmm. I figured in the end that kiwis just didn't quite realise how big crocs
can grow to be!


Yes, sorry, I lost track of this thread and I'll be happy to elaborate on the variations between the
two. I don't know how much light I can shed but I'll do my best to share from several resources I
have on this. *S*

Alligator: Watchful, guarded, longevity, immortality: Tough-skinned, impervious to the
comments and influences of others, keeping their eyes on a single goal. Sluggish, and often live
to be incredibly old. Devoted to homes, although these may very well be hovels.
Alligator/Crocodile: To the ancient Egyptians the fearsome crocodile was often identified with
Osiris, lord of the fertilizing power of the Nile, god of death and rebirth. The mighty water
creature was also used as a symbol for reason, for it appeared to see clearly even though its eyes
were covered by a protective membrane. The crocodile god, Sebek, was often associated with
Ra, the creator Sun God.

To the Hebrews, the crocodile was levithan, "the great dragon that lies in the midst of rivers"
[Ezekiel 29:3]..."upon Earth there is not his like, who is made without fear" [Job 41:33].
Levithan evolved from crocodile to a great demon dragon, synonymous to many as Satan.
Some African tribes believe that crocodiles house the souls of murder victims seeking revenge.
A more common belief construct mountains that the great reptiles are themselves the present
incarnation of tribal ancestors. And as powerful physical representations of Grandmothers and
Grandfathers who have returned in spirit, they may be either benevolent guides or monsters to be

The crocodile as a symbol of deceit grew from European travelers who claimed that they had
witnessed the large reptiles luring their victims to the river's edge by moaning and crying as if in
pain. Once the hapless investigator had been caught in its powerful jaws, it was alleged that the
crocodile would continue to weep over its prey, crying "crocodile tears".

To the Native American tribes of the southeastern United States, the alligator certainly inspire
reverence and respect, but it figures into the majority of folk stories as the butt of Rabbit's clever
tricks. That audacious trickster was not always quick enough, however, for it was an alligator
that snapped off Rabbit's once long and elegant tail, thus shortening it to its present ball of fluff.
Certain of those same tribes perceived evil spirits as bearing the same coarse scales of the
alligator and maintained that the Master of Life had purposely created them with such rough and
ugly skin to make their true natures readily identifiable to the discerning.

If you have recently acquired the alligator as your totem animal through a dream or vision, you
have an ally that will guide you to an understanding of deep levels of ancient wisdom that may
be used for the acquisition of great personal empowerment. Your spirit helper will help you to
sense wisely that such power brings with it the need for balance so that you do not abuse your

The great reptile may also symbolize the figure of the proud survivor. The alligator has survived
essentially unchanged for millions of years as a strong, tough, powerful, and fearless ruler of its
domain. This spirit helper will always see to it that you acquit yourself proudly in any physical
encounter on your earthwalk, but it will also see that you practice regular meditation so your
spiritual growth is not neglected.

Crocodile: Vicious, snapping words spoken in haste; treachery or hypocrisy without thought to
the consequences. Falsehood, insincerity, and deception (as in crying "corcodile tears"). As the
guardian of the gate to the underworld, the crocodile also represents an obstacle to the threshold
of the subconscious.

Crocodile: There are fourteen species of true crocodiles. Included in this are two gavials, one
each in India and Malaysia. True crocodiles have sharply tapering heads which expose a tooth on
either side of the lower jaw. These creatures are descendants of ancestors very much like them
who lived with the dinosaurs. A few have been known to reach 23 feet in length. They like to
float in water with just their nostrils, eyes, and ears above the surface. They have a powerful tail,
webbed feet, and strong jaws.

To distinguish between an alligator and a crocodile, certain physical characteristics can be
observed. The alligator's snout is wider and more rounded than that of the crocodile. Crocodiles
are found in rivers, lakes, and oceans throughout most of the tropic regions, as well as in warmer,
moist temperate zones. Like alligators, all crocodiles must live in water, except for brief forays
onto land; they breathe air. Those crocodiles with longer, more slender snouts live in India and
the Malay region. They are known as Gavials, a corruption of the Hindu name gharial.

The Mayans considered the image of a crocodile to be an object of fun, such as the hobby horse
in English festivals. However, in the rest of the world, the crocodile has had dual symbolism
from the earliest times. It is both feared and revered in most countries in which it lives.

In ancient Egypt, the crocodile was connected with Set, the god of evil, and Sebek, who was
shown with a crocodile-head. Although Sebek was the son of Neith and an ancient solar god, he
was associated with Set and brutality. Since the crocodile can see even when its eyes are covered
by its nictitating membrane, the Egyptians said it symbolized seeing reason clearly. They linked
this creature with fury and evil, but also believed that it had access to great knowledge.

Superstitions: The people of India say that crocodiles make a moaning and sighing noise like a
human in distress to attract victims. Crocodiles are also said to cry tears over their victim's head
when they have devoured the body. Therefore, the expression "to cry crocodile tears" means to
pretend you are sorry for something you did when you really aren't.

Magickal Attributes: Deceit, treachery. Lying in wait to get revenge. Waiting patiently to see the
truth behind a veiled issue. Protecting yourself from deceitful and manipulating people.
Alligator: connotes spiritual aspects that are self-serving.

Crocodile: connotes underlying negative spiritual aspects or forces. Crocodile tears characterize
the expression of false emotions for the sake of obtaining sympathy or attention; insecurity.
Crocodile: The ancient Egyptians had two basic meanings for the crocodile. In one
interpretation, the crocodile represented viciousness and fury. However, they also represented
power and wisdom,, as they appeared in hieroglyphics showing the dead transformed into
crocodiles of knowledge. Crocodiles can mean trouble or danger beneath the surface. This
danger can be coming either from within yourself or from someone else in your life. Look
beneath the surface and see what the truth of the situation is. This can be a sign of false feeling or
dishonesty, the expression "it's a crock" indicates hypocrisy.

Alligator: Alerts you to an enemy. Be very cautious in any venture.
Crocodile: The meaning here depends on the action. If you merely observed him, he's a warning
against untrustworthy associates who are trying to influence you adversely. Stand firm. If he
chased you or threatened you, good luck is sure to follow, unless he caught or injured you, in
which case you are in for a painful disappointment or business reverse; however if you killed a
crocodile or saw a dead one,, you will have success beyond your wildest expectations.

Personal observance: There is little between the two that defines matters differently. The
alligator has the shorter more rounded snout and therefore may not be quite as intrusive or
dangerous but it's a fine line between them. The crocodile seems to be stronger on false issues
where the alligator is more true to its path (the false tears issue). Basically they seem to hold the
same connotations though.

On a personal experience level I have only worked with Alligator, I was bitten painlessly and
pulled back from an entrapment by it. It kept me *from* danger, rather than taking me into it.
Because of this I see them as a Guide that can see beyond what we are able to recognize, they act
quickly and come out of nowhere to do so. Appearing when needed, this is also a risk to those
who would do harm for they lay hidden until the moment they strike. They move so slowly at
first that they are undetected and strike at the most advantageous times. They are good teachers
in helping you learn to stalk truths, grasping them at just the right time. I hope this has helped
you differentiate between the two, but it's a very fine line as you can see.


Here's the physiological and anatomical differences -- perhaps you are able to distill from that
what would be of use for your quest for insight?

From: http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-the-difference-between-a-crocodile-and-analligator.htm (site not available)
The first difference between a crocodile and an alligator is that they are from different families
of crocodilians. Crocodiles are from the crocodylidae family, while alligators and caiman are
from the alligatoridae family.

In terms of physical differences the easiest way to tell the difference between the two is that a
crocodile has a very long, narrow, V-shaped snout, while the alligator's snout is wider and Ushaped.
Because of the wide snout of the alligator it packs more crushing power to eat prey like
turtles that constitute part of its diet. The narrow crocodile snout, although still very powerful, is
not really suited for prey like turtles but is very versatile for fish and mammals.

Another physical difference between the crocodile and the alligator is that the crocodile's upper
and lower jaws are nearly the same width, so the teeth are exposed all along the jaw line in an
interlocking pattern, even when the mouth is closed. They also have an enormous 4th tooth on
the lower jaw that is accommodated by depressions in the upper jaw just behind the nostrils.
An alligator, on the other hand, has a wider upper jaw, so when its mouth is closed the teeth in
the lower jaw fit into sockets of the upper jaw, hidden from view. Only the teeth of the upper jaw
are exposed along the lower jaw line. Even the enormous 4th tooth on the bottom jaw, which is
exposed in a crocodile, is hidden in the alligator.

Another physical difference is that crocodiles have a lighter olive brown coloration, while
alligators appear blackish. Alligators also prefer freshwater while crocodiles like brackish water
and sometimes even ocean.

Speaking to this difference, while crocodiles and alligators both have glands on their tongues,
crocodiles still use these glands to excrete excess salt. Alligators seem to have lost this ability,
making their tolerance for salt water comparatively brief. Biologists believe this suggests that
the crocodile is less removed from its oceanic ancestry.

Both crocodiles and alligators have dotted sensory pits along the upper and lower jaws that look
almost like beard stubble. They detect slight changes in water pressure, thought to help the
animals locate prey. These sensory pits were called Integumentary Sense Organs (ISOs) until
they were renamed to Dermal Pressure Receptors (DPRs). While both animals have them along
the jaws, the crocodile has one on every scale covering its entire body. Some researchers believe
the crocodile's DPRs might be linked to detecting levels of salinity.

It is generally stated that alligators are docile compared to aggressive saltwater crocodiles, and
that crocodiles grow larger. While true in general, there are exceptions to every rule among the
many species. As an example, the average alligator grows to about 14 feet (4.3 meters), while
crocodiles can reach 19 feet (5.8 meters) or more. That said there is one species of crocodile -
the African dwarf - that barely reaches 5 feet (1.5 meters). Also, the Indian mugger crocodile has
a decidedly U-shaped snout, breaking the V-shaped rule.

In terms of nesting, crocodiles lay their eggs in mud or sand nests near brackish water, while
alligators make their nests out of mounds of vegetation surrounding freshwater.
In the United States crocodiles are only found around the southern tip of Florida, though they
can also be found in the Caribbean, Central America and South America. Alligators are found in
the southeastern United States, and South Florida is the only known place in the world where
crocodiles and alligators cohabitate the same areas.

Crocodilians, which includes both crocodiles and alligators, are believed descended from
archosauria which lived 250 million years ago at the end of the Paleozoic era when all the
continents were joined together in a single mass known as Pangea. About 30 million years later
in the Triassic period (220 million years ago) archosauria split into two lines of evolution, one
being crocodilians and the other dinosaurs and birds. Scientists theorize that the Age of Reptiles,
which lasted some 155 million years, ended about 65 million years ago when an asteroid struck
Earth wiping out the dinosaurs. But while dinosaurs vanished crocodilians survived!

After surviving nearly unchanged for over 200 million years crocodiles and alligators were
hunted to the brink of extinction between 1900 and 1967in a period as brief as a single man's
life. Additionally their habitats continue to shrink. Today due to conservation efforts the
American alligator is no longer on the endangered species list but many species of crocodiles
remain at risk. Continued diligence is necessary if we are to preserve these incredible animals
that open a door to the planet's early history and a window into an age of fantastic creatures that
ruled the earth for tens of millions of years.


I've been spending time with Alligator the past few days. Alligator seemed to come on very
strongly for me. The animal itself felt so foreign, yet I had no doubt that I was being asked to
"use" Alligator Medicine and I didn't even know what it was. Of course, Crocodile and Alligator
are different animals, but my initial research revealed that symbolically they are discussed
together. I wasn't buying that symbolically they were the same or very similar; they seemed
different to me and at the time all I had to go on was guidance. When I felt Alligator's presence
for the first time, I asked my Guide if it could be Crocodile. The answer was "No." It was
Alligator. Not Crocodile.

So, that is when I began my inquiry. Mouse you shared good information, and a lot of it with me
and I thank you. Initially, all that I could grasp about Alligator was its Contrary Medicine, how
fierce they can attack, the power of its jaws, how it can hides and submerges itself in water as it
stalks prey and observes, and the power in the tail held significance to me too. The Contrary
Medicine resonated with me - guess I've been carrying that for a while.

I've read over and over that it was associated with Earth Mother....but I couldn't grasp it initially.
I only saw the Contrary Medicine. I was being asked to use the Medicine positively so I needed
to figure this one out.

Alligators - far more than crocodiles - are definitely mothering/nurturing to their eggs and their
young. They vigilantly stay with their eggs during the 65 day incubation period and also for a
year after birth (a long period of time). Alligators are fiercely protective of their young and
defend them aggressively. And, they have a strong homing instinct for their territory. I was
touched by a video clip I saw where Alligators carry their newborns in the clenches of their
strong jaws - transporting them to safer territory. The Alligator uses its powerful tail, with a
couple swooshes to create a mound of nest for its eggs.

The Alligator's ability to see above the water, to define the ripples and currents - to see the
nuances - to see above emotions and the mundane to be acutely aware of their surroundings,
what is going on above and below the surface, and to utilize what is sensed and learned and to be
vigilant about using those things for nurturing and protection and facilitating are what captivated me.

Alligator has a slow digestive process. Combined with the heightened awareness and eyesight
above the water, is the ability to fully delve into the situation, with every sense, and some to
understand it by opening up to it - again part of the alligator's sight and vision above the water
and by digesting it fully which requires patience and fortitude to continue on.
The shadow side of alligator is the strong jaw and the quick and very powerful tail (crushing
strength to crush another verbally and forceful pushing away) and fiercely protecting instead of
guiding and allowing others to have their own experiences (so confusing guiding/nurturing with
defending/protecting at the extreme).

Anyway, these are some things that I've learned about Alligator and about myself. I was called
this weekend to use Alligator Medicine - as guidance had forewarned me. I didn't even know that
I was using it, but when I arrived back home, a guide said to me "that is what Alligator Medicine
is." I was baffled, so we "chatted" about that and in fact I had used Alligator Medicine in a
situation on Friday night. One way I used Alligator was the ability to gently, very gently, guide
conversations and interactions (of those Spirit asks me to watch over and a relationship has
ensued) by pointing out places of rest and strength from which they can draw upon at the
moment, when in an uncomfortable situation, one that maxes them out, and they don't know
what to do, and I readjust the energy dynamic and offer a word or two,point something out and
then they are on their way again. On Friday night I was aware that I was doing this, I was
cognizant of it all.....but I never equated it with Alligator Medicine until I came home and my
Guide and I chatted.

Talk about a quick lesson!


From http://www.sayahda.com/cycle.htm (site not available)

The Alligator
The Alligator has walked on Earth mother for millions of years and are known in many myths
and lore as the keepers of ancient wisdom. Alligators hide themselves in water and mud waiting
for unsuspecting creatures to happen by, and then snap. They eat any animal they can swallow
and if they cant swallow it; they tear it into bite size pieces.

They only eat when they are hungry and do not consume food unnecessarily. Waste is not a part
of alligator medicine. Those with this totem should be careful about over consumption. Digestive
disturbances are common with alligator medicine people.

The eyes of the alligator are positioned high on their head allowing them to remain relatively
hidden beneath the water and still see above it. Symbolically this hints to clairvoyant abilities.
Hiding in the water ties the alligator to the emotional body of man. The alligator holds the
teachings of the discovery and the release of emotions that are locked beneath the surface.
Alligators dig deep burrows when the water is high so that during the dry season they can have a
wet alcove to retreat to. These alcoves serve as reservoirs from which other animals can get
water. Water is the nectar of life. The sharing of these reservoirs indicates the alligators respect
for all life forms.

The power of alligator is its power to survive. They have no known predators. If alligator shows
up in your life or in the dreamtime it might be telling you to take care of yourself and secure your
basic survival needs.

Alligators come together only for reproduction. They have distinct individual personalities.
Those with this totem are usually loners and only join together in groups when mandatory.
Alligator medicine people can be great leaders. They know how to survive in any situation and
are strong enough to hold their ground.

These fascinating creatures digest their food slowly. Those with this totem should remember to
digest and assimilate all experiences thoroughly before moving forward in haste. Alligators
teach the art of patience and appropriate timing. They know when to hide beneath the water,
peak above it, or take action and snap.

Libraries are on this row
INDEX Page 1
(Divination & Dreams, Guides & Spirit Helpers)
INDEX Page 2
INDEX Page 3
(Main Section, Medicine Wheel, Native Languages & Nations, Symbology)
INDEX Page 4
(Myth & Lore)
INDEX Page 5
(Sacred Feminine & Masculine, Stones & Minerals)
INDEX Page 6
(Spiritual Development)
INDEX Page 7
(Totem Animals)
INDEX Page 8
(Tools & Crafts. Copyrights)

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