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North: Moose

The direction of the North makes most of us think of cold winters, ice and snow. Your animal to the North should be your personal “jiminy cricket.” The direction of North has been held by many cultures to represent those who have survived the passage of time as North is associated with Winter, the last season before rebirth of the new Spring. From the North we can learn when it’s time to listen to what others have to say and when it is time to hold the floor and say our piece. The North Animal will always give you aspects to consider you may not have seen on your own. Finally, those who have eeked out an existence in the far north truly understand how to be grateful for each and every blessing that comes their way.


It is interesting to note that Moose is the Animal of the North in many Native American traditions. This large ungulate that can grow to nearly a ton in weight at first appears odd and gangly. Those who have seen Moose feeding in a pond, ducking his head below water and resurfacing is a spray of water as tender underwater vegetation is pulled to the surface, know this appearance to be false.

A moose in motion is actually amazing. In some ways it seems impossible that that much weight could be supported by those spindly legs. However, Moose easily moves quickly on her path as she uses the length of her legs to best advantage. Whether used to bend so that she can dip down to ground level for a tasty treat, or to stretch so she can reach the tender shoots of willow, Moose is in full control of her long limbs. Moose can either laze along, gently stepping from food source to food source as she grazes undisturbed, or run swiftly escaping Grizzly or Man with ease.

Moose must also be respected. As the largest of the deer family, Moose reigns over the lands of the north. More than twice, and sometimes three times, the size of it’s relative the Caribou (or reindeer), Moose travels the vast northern regions. Moose is not always the most congenial of animals. Moose enjoys her personal space and is normally a solitary animal, however she can be seen in herds of up to 50-60 animals at one time.

Moose Totem is strong energy for the carrier, but it can be a load to carry as well. Moose has little patience for those that disturb her. She has even been known to attack and kill humans who have irritated her or gotten between her and her young.

The MicMac Indians of Nova Scotia have oral traditions that tell a story of how moose will return to the water if it is hunted too persistently in any one area, hiding in the safety of the seas. In northern Maine the Penobscot Indians have oral traditions of how the moose was once a denizen of the deep as a great whale. These are just two of the many associations between Moose and water in native traditions.

Moose doesn’t have much patience or caring for the constructions of man. She will jump fences with relative ease, she will cross high traffic roads with a nonchalance that can be terrifying to passing motorists. She can be fierce in her nonchalance. There are numerous cases where Moose has killed man in recent history. Moose appears often in the towns of the North, caring naught for the boundaries set by man.

As a Totem, Moose is strongly aligned with feminine energy, primal and strong.. Moose is also associated with late fall and early winter because that is the time she is most often seen by man. Moose’s love of the wet places – swamps, ponds and streams – shows her alignment with the receptive energies.

Water has long been associated with the veil between worlds, and Moose moves easily in this realm. Snow is literally frozen water than has crystallized and fallen from the sky. Whether passing through a swamping cove at the side of the lake on a warm summer evening, or stepping through the deep snows of the back country, moose is always at ease in water. With the advantage of excellent depth perception, Moose is quite adept at gauging appropriate jumps, steps, gaits and trots for the terrain in which she travels. Moose reminds us not only is all not as it seems, but that grace and stamina are a strong combination. This is part of the energy Moose gives to those of her totem.Moose, when searching for the most tender of aquatic plants can plunge to the bottom of a lake and spend up to a minute feeding before she has to resurface.

Moose understands that the work of diving down into the depths can bring her the reward of the best of nutrients. With Moose as your Totem you are invited to dive deep into the depths of the receptive force of the divine feminine and open yourself up to the awareness and sensitivity that Moose provides. Moose energy is often found in those who have walked the earth for some time and have gained the wisdom and knowledge of experience.

Moose energy speaks of wisdom. Living in a harsh and unforgiving environment Moose has learned where to find sustenance throughout the year. If the snows become too deep in the high country, Moose wisely moves to lower elevations where food is more easily found. Moose cares for her young and is known as an extremely protective mother. She is wise to understand the importance of caring for those outside herself. Yet Moose cares for herself so that she may take care of her children as well. Moose energy was considered to grant the carrier of her totem great wisdom and discernment.

Moose is herbivorous. The tender shoots of a willow branch, the juicy shoots at the bottom of the pond, the buds of new growth. These are delicacies for Moose. Those who carry Moose medicine would do well to blend both modern and traditional (specifically herbal) remedies. Although imbued with feminine energy the Moose is also well known for it’s antlers. Except for the rare genetic aberration, only the male of the species grows the well recognized antlers. Of all the animals of the earth that grow antlers, Moose is one of the largest. Moose’s antlers differ from those of any other animal in several ways. One of the most obvious is the broad wide shape of the antlers. Moose’s antlers are distinctive among “horned” animals of any type. The antlers, which are grown annually for display and combat for females in the rutting season, are a symbol of Moose’s power and strength and are shed every year. The antlers start as nubs on the head and grow to their full length covered in what is referred to as “velvet.” The velvet is actually the outer sustenance layer to the antlers. As the antlers reach their full growth the velvet is rubbed off. Moose rubs his antlers against trees, brush, shrubs, even rocks and logs. There is a specific significance in this annual rubbing of the head.

Moose’s action helps to remind us that a mental “housecleaning” every year, can be a good thing.Moose is determination, strength, primal power, the guardian of the North. Although at home in the high northern cold places, Moose is also a symbol of sexual energy and sensual power. Many traditions celebrate sexual energy and power as being directly related with creative power. Creative energy can be boundless because by it’s very nature it continues to recreate itself. Moose grants many who carry it’s totem a great capability for creativity.

Moose is a totem of great power. Most often seen in the fall or early spring when the feeding cycle brings her more within the sights of man, Moose is associated with the harvest. Moose is related to Samhuinn. Harvest and abundance are emblematic of Moose Energy. Moose was believed to give extra strength and energy to those who ate of her flesh.

Those who walk with Moose are granted easier access to the otherworld. Moose allows those who share her path and carry her Totem to absorb many of her traits. If Moose has come to you, listen to her message of bounty and fulfillment; agility and determination; ability to move between the realms; and concern for the interconnectedness of all things. Moose watches and then acts decisively. Moose survives by her intuitive nature and heightened senses of smell and sight. Fearing only the great Grizzly Bear, Moose relies on instinct and intuitive to find her way. Allow Moose’s feminine flowing Energy to help you as you seek the one within.

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