Lame Animal Totem: Possum

Having just returned from another amazing African STAR (Self Transformation Adventure Retreat), filled with magical people and astonishing animal encounters, I’m even more obsessed with non-human creatures than usual.

Anyway, I’m getting a bit confused by the number of different of meanings various sources associate with a given animal. Do bats really represent the ability to navigate in the dark, or is that a toad attribute? Does the lizard outside my window mean I need to relax in the sun or be more compassionate?
Furthermore, it seems odd to me that no negative qualities are ever associated with any animal. I mean, really—malaria mosquitoes? Plague rats? Let’s face it: there’s some messed up animal juju floating around out there. So periodically in this newsletter and on my FB page, I’ll be sharing the animal totems you wish you knew more about: the marginalized, the disrespected, nay I say, the lame. You’ll learn the illuminating messages they hold for you. You’re welcome.


Possum is the embodiment of emotional paralysis and questionable personal hygiene. Possum extends her prehensile tail into your awareness when you just can’t muster the energy to work, relate to loved ones, or bathe. Possum energy is inert, scrofulous, smelly, and unwilling.

The message of the possum is that it’s time for you to focus deeply on everything you have been procrastinating about and everyone you have failed.

When under stress, use the energy of possum to help you breathe shallowly, keep all your muscles rigid, and pray to sweet baby Jesus that it all just goes away.

2 replies
  1. Diana Hartje
    Diana Hartje says:

    You DO know that we’ll be expecting a book, soon, on Lame Animal Totems. I will be the first to purchase it! Thanks for ALL your insights, humor, and love!

  2. Loretta Popp
    Loretta Popp says:

    Possum totem: my first outloud belly laugh in days. I just re-discovered you, Martha Beck, and am halfway through your Leaving the Saints. I devoured all your articles in O magazine for a long time before really looking into exactly WHO this woman writer IS who talks directly to me and makes me laugh at the same time as I connect about some freakish pain or other. Visiting your books/website co-incides with day 15 of the 21-day meditation on relationships from Oprah and Deepak. Shazam. I’ll add possum-release to my spiritual tasks! Things are really looking up! THANKS.

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