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Find Your Spirit Animal
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 throughout a journey. They offer influential insights into our subconscious mind and carry meaningful messages if you are willing to listen. Your spirit animal is meant to serve as a guide and bring attention to parts of your life that need acknowledgement and exploration.
The Path of the Shaman
Prior to organized religion, the power to heal and bring blessings of the spirits into our world rested within the hands of shamans. These shamans still walk among us.
Assignment: Hone Your Observation Skills
In order to connect with the true essence of your passage, you must first learn how to find your spirit animal. 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 leads to inspiration and empowerment. On your spirit animal quest, remain present, look for connections with animals, from squirrels in your gardens, a fox on the side of the road at night or the white buffalo that visits you in your dreams.
In a journal, document the details of your encounters with animals, including your resulting emotions and the events surrounding these encounters.
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 showing themselves several times in short succession.
1. Observe Nature
Get outside, take your headphones off and pay attention to the abundance of the world around you. Notice the direction of the wind and the patterns of the birds above you. This step is essential in preparing you for spirit animal connections. Your ability to find your spirit animal, and receptivity to their guidance, depends on your ability to observe the natural world and identify signs and symbols.
2. Take Note of Animal Encounters
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.
Conduct a ceremony to call in your spirit animal. Ceremonies may involve burning of medicinal plants, such as sage and palo santo, as well as chanting and creation of altars. During your ceremony, ask for your spirit animal to be show themselves, in vision, dream or live form. Do not question or overthink their appearance. Rather, ask for their support and guidance.
4. Research Animals of Interest
Research animals that interest you. If you remember the influence of certain animals during childhood, research traditional knowledge or scientific information about that animal. Reflect on why certain animals stand out to you and try to identify traits and characteristics that resonate with you. Explore their movements, interactions with other animals, habits and cycles.
Channel your inner guide to find your spirit animal. If a specific animal keeps coming to mind, don’t dismiss it or overthink it. If it’s not what you imagined or hoped for, that animal still bears wisdom that deserves reflection. Sit with your thoughts and use your active imagination for an inward journey. Coax your animal out of your subconscious with tenderness. By opening your heart and focusing your mind, you’ll be more receptive to the energy and wisdom of your spirit animal.
6. Document Your Dreams
Dreams are often the subconscious mind’s way of processing complex emotions, as well as manifestations of unconscious imagery and guidance. Write down your dreams and as many details as you can remember. You might be surprised to find a reoccurring animal present. Pay particular attention to the messages your dreams deliver and to the specific situations in which animals are present. Animals in dreams may symbolize deep-rooted feelings not fully acknowledged in waking hours, a feeling that you find “wild” or hard to control, and/or your most basic instincts and emotions.
Embrace the process of journeying. The shamanic tradition believes that journeying allows you to view your life from a deeply connected and spiritual state, often revealing your true inner self. Once you find your spirit animal, your journey together begins. Study your spirit animal and its core traits and characteristics. Reflect on why this particular animal chose you and how your spirit animal connects to your own personal experiences.
8. Express Gratitude
Your spirit animal is a powerful ally. Always thank your spirit animal for their guidance and support. They may help you navigate life, to transform, and to see your experiences and relationships in a new light; in turn, express your recognition and deepest thanks. Like any relationship, a spirit animal connection requires cultivation.
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