What is a Spirit Animal?
Also commonly known as your “Power Animal” your Spirit Animal represents much more than just a generic symbol. Your personal connection is empowered and deepened within any venture. Animals surround us in an ever-present manner, be it our beloved pet dog or the lone roaming coyote you stumble across regularly on a hiking trail.
Quite often, we lack the understanding of the symbolism behind their very nature and what defines them. Traditionally, Shamans believe that Spirit Animals or “Totems” are the reveal of your protection or guide throughout your journey in this life. Relating to a specific power animal offers influential insight into our very conscious mind.
The real essence of your passage is learning is to connect with your Spirit Animal. There are a few ways to do this. There are countless articles about tests and quizzes promising results with a few simple questions, but in order to truly connect, you need to learn through observation. This could occur through dreams, meditation and simply identifying with nature. When you truly discover your unique Spirit Animal, you will be left feeling inspired and empowered.
Why does your Spirit Animal Matter?
More than just an animal we admire, they carry powerful meanings and messages for those who are open to listening. Intended to serve as a guide, bringing attention to those parts of your life that require acknowledgement and exploration, they may help by:
- Identifying undeveloped aspects of your inner self.
- Navigating parts of your every day life that require a strong emotional impact.
- Loosening up your personality in order for you to open up your notion of transformation.
- Reflecting on possible life directions.
- Creating new perspectives on your current relationships, especially our relationship with instinct and nature.
- Inspiring you with it’s natural power and qualities,
- Comfort stemming from support and guidance.
Through cultivation of one’s connection with their spirit animal, you allow the formation of a powerful ally within yourself which in turn restores the energy you need to engage in life and it’s facing challenges.
How does one find their Spirit Animal?
Being the very embodiment of your subconscious mind, they cannot theoretically be chosen. Your Spirit Animal chooses you. Most often, your Spirit Animal presents itself to you during a time when you are relaxed enough to wander internally. This may occur when dreaming or meditating. They can however present in a physical form, often displaying unusual behavior or presenting themselves multiple times within a very short period of time.
There is no “one size fits all” when finding your Spirit Animal, they often take time to reveal themselves too. The trick is to keep your mind and heart open.
To get started, try the following:
- Be observant of nature. Pay attention to your surroundings and what you are experiencing. This could occur in the direction of the wind or even the pattern of the birds above you.
- Be attentive when animals enter your life. Never feel fearful or dismissive. Make it clear that your heart and mind are open, especially when they display unordinary behavior.
- Be observant of encounters with animals. Be it physical or in symbolic form such as an image or object, you truly need to reflect on why certain animals particularly stand out to you and try to relate to their characteristics.
- Intentionally meditate by channeling your inner self. If a specific animal predominantly comes to mind, don’t dismiss this occurrence. Sometimes, it’s not the animal we’ve hoped for and that’s OK. They still offer meaning and deserve reflection.
- Be attentive to your dreams as they are our subconscious mind’s complex way of expressing inner emotions. Keep details of your dreams, especially just as you’ve woken up. You may find that you have been reoccurringly seeing a specific animal you may not have paid attention to before.
- Embrace this journey’s process. The shamanic tradition strongly believes that this journey allows you to view your life from an unattached spiritual state where you reveal your true inner self.
The world is loud and distracting, filled with chaos. Practicing meditation allows you to block out the physical world we exist in, channeling your mind to find your altered, receptive state. Meditation should never be intimidating or feel like it requires any special process to get started. Loosely, sitting with your thoughts and activating your imagination kick-starts your spiritual journey. When one uses meditation to connect with your Spirit Animal, focus your energy on connecting with one or more animals where you feel a strong pull. Opening your mind by focusing will allow you to be more receptive to your Spirit Animal.
The human mind is one complex being, filled with moving staircases and hidden corners, processing and storing everything you feel and see. It’s no wonder we continuously work while sleeping. Dreams are manifestations of our unconscious imagery and guidance. When you have recorded your dream patterns and the animals that may have presented themselves regularly, figure out the specific situations your Spirit Animal may have presented itself.
Animals in dreams typically symbolize:
- Inner feelings which were never really acknowledged.
- Aspects which you may find “wild” or harder to control.
- Basic instincts and emotions.
- People who may have influenced you.
- Guidance through specific events or situations which may have influenced your life and life choices.
Understanding your journey:
Your journey will commence when you have found your Spirit Animal.
- Start researching your Spirit Animal and it’s core traits and characteristics. This will possibly offer a bit of reasoning as to why it chose you.
- List all the qualities and traits, even the disturbing or unsettling ones. Which attributes do you mostly relate to?
- Reflect on the connection and how this relates to your own personal past experiences.
Your relationship is one of a kind when it comes to you and your Spirit Animal. Uniquely, it carries a deeper meaning only you can relate to. Symbolizing your true inner self, connecting you to your totem.
Regardless of your animal, ask yourself:
- How did you first react to your animal and its presence?
- If seen in person, what feelings were conjured?
- Have your feelings towards your Spirit Animal changed as you’ve progressed?
- Do you sense your Spirit Animal reflecting in other areas of your life?
- Is there any connection between your Spirit Animal and other life events?
- Are there specific noble qualities that may stand out? Are there any that may make you pause in concern?
- How is your specific Spirit Animal portrayed in your culture or society?
As one takes their journey through life, there will be a lot of change. We call this the recourse of self improvement and self-discovery. Your Spirit Animal may change over time – this is commonly understood to be the changes that happen as you evolve as a spiritual being. As you grow, so will your totem.