This DIY Is Not for Everyone – Creating My Spirit Animal Totem Pole

Most DIY projects are home décor or gifts. This one is different because it makes something for you and you alone to appreciate. It involves meditation, collage, making a collage of the collages, local printing, $ store poster board and tape. What you end up with is a Spirit Animal Totem Pole. The only thing this project has in common with other DIY projects is an item from the $1 store.

Everything anybody creates is inspired by something. My project was inspired by the book SoulCollage® Evolving: An Intuitive Collage Process for Self-Discovery & Community(specifically Chapter 7), by Seena B. Frost. Her work was inspired by The Personal Totem Poleby Eligio Stephen Gallegos. In simple terms, this is a process for discovering and honoring your chakra power animals. There’s a lot involved in the step of discovering. Then comes the collage step. Then to create a totem pole I made a collage of images for each animal and attached them to poster board in the order of the chakras.

I wrote a more detailed article for the SoulCollage® Community Update newsletter, November 2020 issue. A meditation process brings forward an animal associated with each chakra. What I want to share here is the creation of the totem pole with images of the animals.

Step 1: Each SoulCollage® card was created with a 5 inch x 8 inch cardboard, images, and glue. Images were taken from non-copyrighted sources online, and from images I cut from magazines, old calendars and greeting cards I had at hand. I made multiple cards for each animal (not necessary, but I really enjoy this process). For example, these are three of the individual 5×8 cards I created for wolf.

EPSON196 (1) EPSON208 (1) EPSON207 (1)

Step 2: To make a collage of the collages and print them, first I scanned the 5×8 collage images, then went online to Walgreens photo, uploaded those images, selected the collage prints option, fiddled with the number and position of the images, then printed a collage print for each animal. With a promotion of 50% off photo (which the site does frequently) it was $2.49 for each 8×10 collage. Project cost under $20 for photos and poster board. These are the collage prints for snake and butterfly.


Step 3: Cut the poster board in half and connect the halves into one tall and narrow piece that is 9 ¾ inches wide by x 51 inches tall. I connected the pieces with duct tape. Not terribly elegant, but it worked.

Step 4: Attach the 8×10 collage prints in the order of the chakras using double-sided tape.

My personal totem pole: looks like this:

7thchakra         Crown Chakra             Butterfly         Spirituality

6thchakra         Third Eye Chakra       Leopard           Intuition

5thchakra         Throat Chakra             Snake               Communication

4thchakra         Heart Chakra               Deer                Love

3rdchakra        Solar Plexus Chakra    Owl                 Power

2ndchakra        Sacral Chakra              Bear                 Creativity/Sexuality

1stchakra         Root Chakra                Wolf                Survival

I had a couple versions of the totem pole. After creating the first one, I redid a couple of the animal collages because I felt the animals would be more impactful by eliminating some of the other collage elements (for example, a butterfly landing on the forehead of a child was great symbolism, but didn’t highlight butterfly as much as I wanted).

Version 1unnamed-14 (1)

Version 2



Of course, I could have just laid out a single image for each animal in a more traditional totem pole, like this.

EPSON205 (2)EPSON202 (1)EPSON200 (1)EPSON197 (1)EPSON214 (1)EPSON199 (1)EPSON207 (1)

This is a deeply personal and meaningful piece for me. And I love that every person’s creation will be a unique set of animals, in a unique order on their totem pole.

Creating the art was a first step. To learn more, I did reading and research on my animals. I searched online using terms like “spirit animals”, “animal spirit guides”, “animal spirits and what they symbolize”, “spirit animal companions”, “animal symbolism” and “animal totems”.

I found the book Spirit Animals: Unlocking the Secrets of Our Animal Companions by Stefanie Iris Weiss. Also, Animal Spirit Guides: An Easy-to-use Handbook for Identifying and Understanding your Power Animals and Animal Spirit Helpers by Steven Farmer. This information helped me come to an understanding of what it means when butterfly shows up as the 7th chakra animal or snake shows up as the 5th chakra.

Again, this is not a DIY for everybody, but I especially recommend it if you’re in a period of self-exploration, self-reinvention, or exploring a major life transition or challenge. This entire year has been challenging, both on a personal and more global level. Excellent timing for this project.


** I want to note that my Snake collage contains an image that was created in an intuitive art animal spirit guide reading done for me by the artist Susan Tower. I loved this process and honor the art that came forward.

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2 Responses to This DIY Is Not for Everyone – Creating My Spirit Animal Totem Pole

  1. I love this process and thank you so much for sharing it online. After creating Soulcollage® cards for each of my Chakras (over the course of several years) it is interesting to see some of the similarities to yours with some noted exceptions:
    1st Root Chakra: Alligator (primitive needs, instincts)
    2nd Chakra: Owl (uncaged creativity)
    3rd Chakra: Lion (sense of self)
    4th Heart Chakra: Snake (protection)
    5th Throat Chakra: Peacock (communication and presentation)
    6th Third Eye Chakra: Deer (mentality…watchful awareness)
    7th Chakra: Butterfly (freedom)
    I created a painting of this for my own meditation purposes.

    • Carol Merwin says:

      I love the idea of a piece of artwork incorporating all the animals. Thanks for sharing your spirit animal companions. Interesting to see we are being supported by some of the same companions, in different ways.

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