In the Middle Ages, families often represented their values and status in the world with a personal crest, or a shield that contained symbols relating to their family tradition and history. An image of a crown might be used to convey that they were part of the royal family; a dog might serve as a symbol of loyalty and friendship; and even the colors selected for the shield often had a specific meaning and intention. As we make our own personal crests in this ritual, we will have the opportunity to slow down and identify what values are the most important to us and define us most.


Title the crest in the space with your name. Alternatively, feel free to use a name you’ve always wished you’d been called, or a nickname that you prefer. Or it could be a word that motivates and inspires you, such as victory. Whatever you want. This is your coat of arms.

Choose your color palette for the background and in the drawings.

Choose a terrain, such as the ocean, mountain, forest, or a desert, and draw it at the bottom of the shield.

Choose an animal that best describes who you are (if you need some help, check out the Animal Totem section on here). This might be a single animal or an animal composite; for example, the body of a lion, eyes of a hawk, and feet of a rooster. Draw or collage the animal in the center of the crest on top of the terrain.

Embellish the rest of your crest with other symbols that are meaningful to you, such as flowers, stars, other animals, blogs, or whatever feels right. Your imagination is the limit!

Once you’ve completed your personal crest, write about why you chose to include what you included. Write down everything that comes to mind: What does the color mean to you? The animal? Now write about how you make this crest central to your daily life.

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