Excerpts from Animal Speak
by Ted Andrews.
The skunk is one of the most widely recognized mammals, but it is also one of the most misunderstood. It is a very
powerful totem with mystical and magical associations. Just look at how people respond to it. They show great
respect for it and what it can do. This is part of what skunk teaches. It teaches how to give respect, expect respect,
and demand respect. It helps you to recognize your own qualities and to assert them.
The skunk does not get out of the way of any animal. It moves along at its own speed, with its own mind. It is
self-assured and confident in itself. If skunk has shown up, it can be to help you with this particular aspect. It can
teach you how to be more self-assured and how to assert yourself.
Skunks are fearless, but they are also very peaceful. They move slowly and calmly, and they only spray as a last
resort. Because they are peaceable by nature, they always give warnings before spraying. This warning involves
three stages. First, it will stamp its feet and turn its back to you. Second it will raise its tail up, as the gland which
sprays is located underneath it. When the third step arrives, it is usually too late. After raising the tail, the skunk
will look back over its shoulder. This is to line up the correct angle for spraying. Once the skunk has seen you over
its shoulder, it is too late.
The skunk can spray 1245 feet with tremendous accuracy. It can repeat the spraying five to six times before it
must build up again naturally. The spray is an irritating chemical. It won't kill, but it can sting the eyes and numb
the senses. Sometimes a skunk can show up as a totem to teach us how to get more attention without being
arrogant and irritating. Sometimes it shows up to help us deal with those people in our life who are outrageously
irritating. Tomato juice is still the one thing which helps to eliminate skunk odor. Those with this totem may find
they have a sensitivity to tomato, or a need for more within their life. The qualities and characteristics of the
tomato should be studied as it is part of the contrary or balancing medicine associated with the skunk.
The skunk smell is one that almost everyone can recognize. This has links to how skunk awakens in others a
greater recognition of you and your own abilities. The sense of smell also has ties to sensuality and sexuality.
Research is currently being conducted that reveals the various connections between fragrance and sexual
response. This includes work with pheromones and studies that reveal a surprising similarity between the cells of
and response of the olfactory nerves, and those within the genitalia.
The skunk is a solitary animal for the most
part. Skunks can remind us that there are times best for drawing people and there are times best to avoid people.
Finding the correct balance is what can ensure prosperity.
There are two main types of skunk-spotted and striped. The striped is the most common and most easily
recognized. It actually has a double stripe that runs from its head to its tail. This stripe, whether single or double, is
an indication of the active flow of the kundalini or life force. (The kundalini has ties to the sexual energies and to
the life force that is active in every aspect of our life processes.) In individuals with this totem, the kundalini is
usually already active. Skunk shows up at a time to amplify and to teach the control and use of this life force more
Skunks are usually quite silent, so it is good for those with this totem not to blow their own horns. It will backfire
and only serve to push others away. Sit back and let others do the noticing for you.
Skunks are very adaptable and this is what those with this totem must also learn. Skunk can teach you when its
best to be noticed and how to go about it most effectively. They are carnivorous, but they will eat almost anything,
particularly insects, berries, and fruit. Skunk does its hunting at night.
When skunk shows up as a totem you are going to have opportunities to bring out new respect and self esteem. It
indicates lessons and times associated with increased sensuality physically, sexually, psychically, and spiritually.
Examine your self-image. Remember that people are going to notice you. How they notice and remember can be
controlled by you. This is what skunk can help teach.