Most of us know that we can learn how to relax from our cat or how to love from our dog, but did you know you can learn far more from animals by tapping into the age old tradition of knowing, honoring and consulting your Spirit Animal Guides?
Alternatively referred to as spirit animals, animal guides or power animals, these creatures can help us greatly on our path of personal growth. As is always the case, different shamanic traditions have different beliefs about how to identify and work with your spirit animal. In this article, I’m
going to provide and amalgam approach for identifying and starting to work with your animal
You may find that you have one or many. I relate to one spirit guide for each of my seven chakras (aka bodily energy centers). There are no hard and fast rules. Here’s how to begin to figure out which animals are your best spiritual teachers:
6 Ways to Identify Your Animal Spirit Guide(s)
1) Actual live sightings your animal — Did you almost run into a squirrel with your car? Or did an overly friendly skunk wander into your backyard? If the event happens only once, it could be a one time message. But repeated sightings of the same animal (excepting of course the domestic ones we all see so frequently) is a strong sign that that animal is your spirit guide.
2) Literal appearances of your animal in non-physical form — Do you keep seeing a particular animal everywhere – in books, movies, jewelry, ads? These appearances are also a strong sign that that animal is your spirit guide.
3) Dream appearances – Animal guides love to visit you in your dreams. Keep a dream journal and make a specific intent to remember any animals from your dreams. Write them down, since we can often lose our earliest waking memories. You will want to see if certain animals show up repeatedly.
4) People mentioning them — Do you keep hearing about a particular animal? That again is a great sign.
5) Animals you naturally love and relate to – If you have always loved monkeys or rabbits or eagles, there is a good chance that animal you love so much is your guide.
6) Consult oracle cards. My favorite ones are these Medicine Cards by Jamie Sams and David Carson. I’ve used them for years, often just picking one card to reveal my animal guide for that day (the simplest way to use them).
7) Consult a shaman – if you feel drawn to go deeper into your exploration of your spirit animal guides, you can consult a shaman who has expertise with animal spirits. This outside perspective will typically cost much more than the other methods, but will give you some deeper, more experienced guidance, if you feel you need it.
After you determine your animal spirit guide, you’ll want to look up the meaning of that animal and see if it resonates with you. In all likelihood, you will find different sources with different perspectives, so look for overlapping repeated themes, and tap into what deeply resonates with you as well. Ultimately, you are the best interpreter for events in your own life, but here is an article that discusses the meaning of the most popular spirit animals.
Once you know the overall meaning of your spirit guide, you can begin to honor and connect with it on a regular basis for more personal understanding and power. Here are some suggested ways to do that:
1) Surround yourself with symbols, pictures, charms, etc, of that animal.
2) Do visualizations and meditations where you call in your power animal and connect with it.
3) If it is a safe animal to be around, try to find opportunities to interact with it in real life. If a horse is your spirit animal, go ride one (even if for the first time).
4) Create an altar. Choose a small corner of your home to put up a low table and covering it with offerings such a pictures, charms and pieces of nature from walks or hikes. Just make sure that everything you put on it pertains to your spirit animal and is very personally meaningful to you.
Make sure to keep it fun and playful. You should enjoy building a relationship with your spirit animal guide. It’s not meant to be a arduous task, but rather an inner journey that will take you deeper into mother nature and also help you better know your authentic self. Done with love and reverence, it can be deeply rewarding and enriching.