People often confuse Animal Totems and Familiars, and the best explanation of the difference that I’ve found is that Familiars are assistants and Animal Totems are guides and teachers. Their purpose is to show you something, teach you something, or show you a particular path. Both connections are spiritual in nature, but the type of bond you have with each is different.
Animal totems represent our connection to the energy of the universe. Sometimes they show us skills and talents that we have or that we need. Other times they reflect our own qualities back to us. In almost all cases, they help us solidify and maintain our connection to nature and the universal. Many cultures revere animals as spiritual beings, and Jung’s view of animal totems as a representation of archetypes within the “collective unconscious” explains much of this. They provide the link between us and the energy of the universe.