Nature is surrounding you and supporting you every moment of your life. The air you breathe, the water you drink, the beauty of the sky, trees and flowers. You are a part of it all. And as such one of the many ways nature could support you is through a spiritual relationship with a Spirit Animal.
Spirit Animals are spirit guides in animal form.
Every continent on earth has some culture that recognizes Spirit Animals in their belief system. The concept of Spirit Animals is everywhere. Like the concepts of enlightened masters, saints or of one great creator spirit, the concept of Spirit Animals does not belong to any one culture. It is a spiritual truth and belongs to everyone.
Whether they are called spirit animals, totems, power animals or other names, certain principles repeat from culture to culture:
- A Spirit Animal relates you to the spirit behind an entire species. It is not just a friendship with an individual animal. A Spirit Animal manifests through all of those physical animals on earth.
- Spirit Animals bring gifts. And their gifts are related to the attributes and behaviors of the physical animals that they manifest.
- You do not choose your Spirit Animal or Animals. They offer you the relationship (and their gifts). Then you get to decide whether you will walk with it or not.
- All animal species have a powerful Spirit Animal. Hummingbird is no less powerful than Eagle. Tiger is no more powerful than Mole. Some are flashier perhaps, but no less powerful.
- Having an Animal Totem is like any other relationship. It must be tended with gratitude, appreciation and respect.
So how do you know that a Spirit Animal is calling to you? Here are some ways to recognize that a Totem Animal is offering you a relationship:
- You might observe unusual behavior in the real world. For example, a hawk might drop a feather near you, or a deer might make eye contact with you for some minutes before bounding off.
- When you see this animal, there is a feeling of importance. A spiritual energy can be sensed around the encounter.
- You find and notice gifts from the animal like feathers from a particular bird on your morning walk or even a dragonfly’s entire body left on your front porch. Or you may see behavior that is a gift, such as an eagle majestically flying over you.
Of course not all animals are part of our everyday world. You will probably not be approached by a tiger on your morning walk. (At least you hope not!) So here are some ways to recognize a Totem Animal that are outside actual encounters with that animal:
- You begin noticing their presence in pictures, movies, bill boards, or books. You have an interest in stories that involve them.
- You feel unusual affection for them. You feel insulted when people insult them. Grieved if people kill them.
- You start collecting their pictures. You find yourself wanting them around you.
- They appear in your dreams, and these dreams are vivid and memorable. You awaken from dreams about them feeling good and energized.
- They appear in your meditations.
- You notice when other people have that Spirit Animal. They may be unaware of it, and yet they may look like that animal or talk with affection about that animal and you notice.
Here are two resources for learning more about 1) Spirit Animal relationships, 2) what gifts each animal brings and 3) how to honor and respect your Animal Guides:
Animal Speak by Ted Andrews,
Animal Spirit Guides by Steven D. Farmer.
Once you open to the possibility of having a Spirit Animal ally, the opportunities will come. A whole new world of adventure will open up, and you will begin to enjoy the gifts of these powerful teachers, guides and healers!
Christiann Howard is an award-winning author and web content designer living in the Seattle area. She is the co-writer with Robbie Holz on the award-winning memoir, Aboriginal Secrets of Awakening.