Totems – Brad Steiger

Totems: The Transformative Power of Your Personal Animal Totem
Brad Steiger
HarperSanFrancisco, 1997
218 pages

I’ve actually had this book for years and never got around to reviewing, though I’ve read it a few times and I use it in my totem animal workshop that I present as an example of a book resource.

I like it for the most part. Steiger has done a good job of covering the basics of animal totems, from how to find one to how they can influence us on a daily basis. While the book does have a totem animal dictionary (something that, if you’ve read my reviews, you’ll know I’m not crazy about), it’s a decent one, with a nice selection of animals and good information contained in it. And there’s enough solid material besides the dictionary to make this a good 101 book on totemism.

My main complaint is that due to the large amount of “Indian-centric” terminology in the book, people might think it’s 100% genuine “Native American totemism”. It’s actually a New Age interpretation thereof, and so while it may be inspired by various indigenous cultures, it’s not the same thing as what those cultures are doing. Just take it with the usual grain of salt and you should be fine. Additionally, the author does include a really thorough bibliography, and while there are no internal citations to tell where specific bits of information came from, it’s good to at least get an idea of his sources.

Overall, this is a good starter’s guide to totemism. While it’s not without its flaws, you could definitely do much worse.

Four pawprints out of five.

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