Your spirit animal, or power animal, is more than just generic animal symbolism. Its meaning deepens your personal connection and empowers you for success in any venture. Animals are ever-present in our lives, whether they’re our beloved household dog or the roaming coyote that we glimpse every now and then. Yet, we often lack an understanding of their symbolic nature and the key characteristics that define them. Traditional shamans believe that spirit animals or totems are revealed to guide and protect their charges through out a journey. When we relate to our power animals, it offers influential insights into our subconscious mind.
However, in order to connect with the true essence of your passage, you must first learn how to find your spirit animal. According to modern shamans, there are a number of ways to do this. While there are an abundance of online quizzes that promise results in a few simple questions, we believe that the path to find your spirit animal is best followed through observation. Whether dreaming, meditating, or simply observing and identifying with nature, discovering your spirit animal will leave you feeling inspired and empowered.
Why your spirit animal matters
A spirit animal is more than just an animal that we admire. They carry meaningful messages for those willing to listen. Your spirit animal is meant to serve as a guide and bring attention to a part of your life that needs to be acknowledged and explored. Your spirit animal may help:
- Identify aspects of yourself that need to be developed.
- Navigate parts of your everyday life that have a strong emotional impact.
- Loosen your personality and open you to the notion of transformation.
- Discover possible life directions for reflection.
- Create new perspectives on your current relationships, especially your relationship with nature and instinct.
- Feel inspired by its natural qualities and power.
- Feel comforted through support and guidance.
Cultivating your connection with your spirit animal will allow you to form a powerful ally within yourself and feel a restored energy for engaging in life and facing challenges.
How to find your spirit animal
Your spirit animal is the embodiment of your subconscious mind and therefore cannot be chosen. It must choose you. In most cases, your spirit animal will present itself during a time when your mind is relaxed and able to wander internally, such as during dreams or meditation. However, spirit animals may also reveal themselves in physical form, often displaying unusual behavior or being present multiple times within a short span.
There is no one-size-fits all solution to finding your power animal, and often it will take time before they reveal themselves. Remember to keep both your heart and mind open when learning how to find your spirit animal. To get started, try the following:
- Observe nature. Get outside, take your headphones out and pay attention to what you are seeing and experiencing. Notice the direction of the wind and the patterns of the birds above you.
- Be open and attentive when animals appear in your life. Do not be afraid or dismissive. Instead, make it clear that your heart is open, especially if an animal behaves out of the ordinary.
- Take note of repetitive encounters with animals. Whether in physical or symbolic form, such as an object or an image. Repetition may be a sign.
- Research more about animals that interest you. Books and TV shows are a great place to start. Reflect on why certain animals stand out to you and try to identify traits and characteristics with which you relate.
- Meditate with intention. Channel your inner self to find your spirit animal. If a specific animal keeps coming to mind, don’t be dismissive. If it’s not what you had imagined or hoped for, there is still meaning that deserves reflection.
- Be attentive to your dreams. Dreams are often the subconscious minds way of processing complex emotion. Write down your dreams and as many details as you can remember as soon as you wake up. You might be surprised to find a reoccurring animal you had not remembered before.
- Embrace the process of journeying. The shamanic tradition believes that journeying allows you to view your life from a detached and spiritual state, often revealing your true inner self.
The world is a loud and distracting place, filled with constant chaos. Meditation, however, allows you to block out the physical world and let your mind slip into an altered state where it is more receptive. Meditation doesn’t need to be intimidating or involve any special processes. It’s simply a loose term for sitting with your thoughts and using your active imagination for an inward journey. When meditating to find your spirit animal, focus your intention with the goal of connecting to one or more animals. By opening your heart and focusing your mind, you’ll be more receptive to the energy and wisdom of your spirit animal.
The human mind is a deeply complex being, with hidden corners and moving staircases. It’s constantly working to process and store everything you see and feel. So it’s no wonder that even as the rest of your body sleeps, it’s continuously working. Your dreams are manifestations of unconscious imagery and guidance. Often, you may have a reoccurring animal that you never even realized was there. Write down your dream as soon as you wake up and you may soon discover a pattern. Pay particular attention to the message your dream delivers and to the specific situations in which your spirit animal is present.
Animals in dreams typically symbolize:
- Deep-rooted feelings that you have not fully acknowledged.
- An aspect or feeling that you find “wild” or hard to control.
- Your most basic instincts and emotions.
- A person who has influenced your life.
- A guide through an event or situation that has influenced your life.
Understanding your journey
Once you find your spirit animal, your journey will begin. Here are a few tips to make the most of spirit guide:
- Research. Study your spirit animal and its core traits and characteristics. Reflect on why this particular animal chose you. Take note and observe your spirit animal if you see it in physical form – the way it moves, how it carries itself, how it expresses emotions.
- List out all of the qualities and traits of your spirit animal, even the ones that may be disturbing or unsettling. Review the list and identify which of the attributes you relate to most.
- Reflect on how your spirit animal connects to your own personal experiences.
Your relationship with your spirit animal is unique and carries a deeper meaning. While the type of animal symbolizes your inner self, how you connect with your totem also holds an equally important message. Regardless of your animal, ask yourself these questions:
- What was your first reaction to the animal and its presence? Were you scared or threatened? Happy or disappointed?
- If you saw your spirit animal in person, what feelings did it conjure?
- Have your feelings about your spirit animal changed over time?
- Are your feelings for your spirit animal reflective of other relationships or areas of your life?
- Is your spirit animal connected to any situations or life events?
- What qualities do you find noble about your spirit animal? Are there any that make you pause for concern?
- How is your spirit animal portrayed by society or tradition? Do you agree with these portrayals?
As you journey through life, don’t be surprised if your spirit animal and your relationship with it change over time. Your spirit animal is the embodiment of your inner self. As you grow and are shaped by life, so will your totem.