Saturday, October 22, 2016

October Totems: Salmon

In our tradition we divide the year not only by eight solar and agricultural holidays, but also by the Kalends. We celebrate twelve months of the year by the common calendar, plus a special thirteenth month for Samhain.  These month cycles are associated with different totemic spirits. Each month is assigned an animal, a bird (or other flying creature), and a tree. October's totems are Salmon, Hazel, and Lapwing.

The totemic associations are as follows:

Salmon – (Bradan) oldest animal; wisdom, knowledge, inspiration
Hazel – (Coll) wisdom, intuition, creativity, divination, the source
Lapwing – (Curracag) resourcefulness, distraction, wisdom, divination


The Salmon is the “Oldest Animal” in Welsh mythology and is critical in the search for Mabon. Salmon is a symbol of wisdom, inspiration and rejuvenation.

The Salmon will return to place of its own birth to mate (often with great difficulty) and is, therefore, a reminder that we need to journey back to our own beginnings to find wisdom. The Druid quest is for wisdom and knowledge, leading eventually to the Oldest Animal.

It swims in the well of wisdom (Connla’s Well) at the source of all life, a sacred pool that has 9 hazel trees growing around it. Fionn MacCumhaill received the wisdom of the salmon when he was cooking the fish for someone else. The juice splashed on his hand, and he got the knowledge of the fish when he sucked the burned spot.

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