Also known as a spirit ally or animal guide, a spirit animal is characterized as a teacher or messenger that comes in the form of an animal. It is not a novelty; Native American spirit animals hold a sacred place in tribal culture.
Within any tribe, spirituality can take many forms but often emphasizes spiritual connection with the world around you. The spirit animal enhances this connection by teaching us different lessons about ourselves and our environment.
Traditionally, it is believed that we do not choose our own spirit animal; the spirit animal chooses us. Creating a bond allows the spirit animal to offer healing or “medicine” in the form of guidance, protection, power, or wisdom. We are not limited to one spirit animal in a lifetime; we can have multiple spirit animals come in and out of our lives, each providing us with unique knowledge.
Finding Your Spirit Animal
If you seek your spirit animal, you need only ask it to present itself to you. Spirit animal meanings vary and are unique to each individual. Consider a few important questions:
- Have you ever felt drawn to a certain animal or have a favorite animal without being able to explain why?
- Does a certain kind of animal consistently or repetitively show up in your life, either physically, in symbols, or in dreams?
- Are you frightened of or mystified by any particular animal?
If a particular animal comes to mind when answering these questions, this animal might be trying to tell you something. Allow the animal to come to you during meditation or some other state of altered consciousness. You can also try journaling about your past and present, the things that are important to you, and your core values. Your spirit animal should become clearer as you consider the depths of what makes you who you are.
Understanding Your Spirit Animal
In many Native American tribes, animal totems can serve as a reminder of our spirit animals. They are deeply sacred and can be passed down for generations. Even without a totem, it is possible to be touched by your spirit animal in many ways; you might see it on a hike, pass a portrait in a gallery, or hear it sung about in your favorite song. You can use these encounters as a unique reminder of who you are and that your spirit animal is with you on your journey.
Is your spirit animal the cat, curious and independent? Or the turtle, wise and truthful? Only time, patience, and careful understanding can open the connection to your animal guide.