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Animal Totems and Symbolism

Albatross as totem: Characteristics--

Central Attributes:  Stamina; Grace; Independence; Monogamy; Faithfulness; Loyalty;


Positive character traits: Loyal, independent, graceful, calm, open-minded, lenient,

Successful, enduring.

Negative character traits: Air-headed, lazy, depressive, lenient, restless.

Primary Element: Air

Secondary Element: Earth

Opposing Element: Fire

Direction: South

Time of Day: Afternoon

Color: Pale White

Season: Autumn

Moon Phase: Crescent Moon

Common star signs: Gemini, Libra, Aquarius


Albatross as totem:

The albatross is known as the Prince of Waves, and has great ocean wisdom, but understands especially the currents of the ocean caused by air and wind, leading to an even greater wind wisdom, including forecasting of weather.  His only water language is the language of currents and how weather over water is affected by air.  Because he travels so far, the albatross has and teaches both the freedom to break through limitations and also a wandering sort of courtship, a tendency toward flirting and rejecting those who do not fully travel with him (both physically and mentally or psychically).  Close to the sky (in more than just the physical sense), albatross is a true child of the element of air, and those who have his medicine can benefit from something akin to solar worship, as he himself does.  Knowing air currents as he does, the albatross is very good at navigating paths (figuratively and literally); albatross people can usually balance abstract thought with more intellectual thought, leading to mental harmony in many aspects of life and the developing of concrete objectives.  If albatross comes temporarily into your life he may be trying to teach you to develop such harmony through balance in thought. 

Another lesson of albatross, or common trait in albatross people, is the ability to handle stress.  The albatross is very much a free spirit, a spirit of the air element, yet he is greatly in tune with the element of earth as well, displaying such earth tendencies as loyalty and faithfulness to those who actually win his heart; the albatross in nature is monogamous, and with extended courtship periods—the albatross person is much the same, once he finally finds the person with whom he wants to settle. 

The albatross, a large, sea-going bird of which there are 24 species, is well known both for a large wingspan and for its ability to manipulate wind currents while flying.  One of the world’s larger birds, with a wingspan of up to twelve feet, the albatross tends to southern oceans, though some stray very far north.  Predominantly white and becoming paler throughout its life, albatross soars close to the water, using updrafts from waves and cliffs in order to get lift, gliding much of the time and therefore conserving energy.  In nature the albatross pairs for life.  Yet the albatross, and the person with him as a totem, are also community oriented—when coming in from their many trips, they tend to live in large communities and be very good parents (both mothers and fathers). 

            Throughout time, sailors have often and in many locales seen the sighting of an albatross as a sign of good luck, and the capture, death or injury of an albatross as a terrible omen to those who are at sea.  When albatross comes into your life he teaches grace, using your body and balanced mind to move fluidly through your life in conditions that seem treacherous, turning winds and waters to your advantage, so to speak.  He also teaches the value of finding new roads and pathways, both in physical and mental senses, and seeking the advantage of the road less traveled.  Albatross, though he may have and teach some routine, also teach the importance of breaking away from routine for days at a time, testing out new paths that may be more beneficial.  Albatross can teach people to understand storms, rain, and all aspects of weather connected to water and wind.  Albatross flies close to the sun and encourages people to remember the importance of the sun and its power over the water, the ocean, the seasons, the wind, and the weather in general.  While albatross teaches loyalty, one must remember that he also teaches strong independence, thus discouraging any type of co-dependent relationship. 

            The albatross person is usually a wandering spirit who has difficulty to committing to a singular path in life; this person often has a tendency to go where he/she wants, when he/she wants.  More deeply than anything, they are tied down to energy currents and the wind, grounded only sometimes in a more physical sense, by the people they come to love.  They do not conform to people or culture.  Albatross people often do very well with, and teach others the value of, long-distance relationships.  Albatross people are excellent at conserving energy, often confused by others as laziness or idleness, but actually a caution against excesses to conserve energy for moments in which it is most needed.  Albatross people, so connected with and balanced by both air and earth elements, tend to follow very spiritual paths and seek internal enlightenment in all portions of their lives.  Many albatross people are drawn to the ocean and prefer to live on islands or near coasts (or travel frequently to such places). 

            As a spirit guide, the albatross teaches patience and level-headedness, open-mindedness or tolerance.  With long and motivated attempts, the person who connects with the albatross is effective and successful in endeavors.  The albatross person may also suffer, however, from clumsiness, selective apathy, listlessness, and—if not careful—depression.  (S)he may also be inclined to be lazy during certain cycles and allow people and situations to take advantage of her/him.  The albatross person may tap into the powers of both physical and emotional endurance, effective (if awkward) beginnings and endings, enlightened and careful parenting or nurturing, and an unusually powerful stamina.


Albatross Lessons:  For many people, when the albatross appears temporarily, he is trying to aid them in getting over their fear of water or simply celebrate waves in all their many forms.  Visualizations or photos of the ocean and waves will also be helpful for this person.    Albatross may come to teach you the value of monogamy, long-term relationships, and reviving long-lasting relationships through flirtation and courtship.  If albatross comes into the life of one who is not tending toward monogamy, he might be teaching that that person’s mindset and energy is more suited to monogamy at this time.  Albatross also encourages people to get through trying times by reconnecting with the wind and the ocean—perhaps a beach on a windy day.  Albatross teaches the language of currents both literally and metaphorically, whether the flow of the ocean currents of the currents of movement and energy in one’s life.  As an earth element, albatross is also emblematic of faithfulness and loyalty.  It may come temporarily into one’s life to give a boost of strength needed to remain loyal or faithful to someone in particular, or to encourage such traits in general.  He may be pointing out that appreciation of the sun and how it fits into one’s lifestyle may be appropriate at this time.  As a temporary totem, albatross is also well connected with messages from deities or the world around you—such messages can clearly have great impact on one’s life.   Albatross often teaches a person to reject conservatism and damaging dogma that may restrict freedom, sometimes indicating that it is time for one to shed old path-ways and routines that no longer help them.  While albatross’s message may be monogamy, it also may be teaching one that he/she needs to find his/her own independence from friends, family, or partners.


As shadow guide/totem:  Those who fear the albatross may have an innate fear of the ocean, the wind, hurricanes, tornadoes, or any combination of these, fearing, perhaps, the unpredictability of these elements of nature as seen in frightening storms.  Often, these people are comfortable with routine and afraid of being swept “off track.”  They often have nightmares about the ocean, but also fear internal currents in their lives that may affect their chosen path.  Overcoming such a fear can teach those people to find the power to navigate their path with grace and talent, overcoming fear and reluctance.  People who fear albatross are often also energy conservers who burn themselves up at work and with the inability to better enjoy life.  This shadow totem teaches such people to relax, because they have not prioritized relaxing in their lives.  Those who fear albatross are also often those who resent faithfulness, loyalty, and monogamy, either because they have been fooled and hurt emotionally by it or because it represents entrapment to them.  To gain the aid of albatross medicine, it is best to travel near an ocean, or—better yet—over the deep ocean, if possible. 

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