How Do I Find My Spirit Animal?
This is one of the most common questions I receive when I give talks on shamanism. Most, if not all shamanic societies or cultures believe that everything around us has its own spirit or soul. Native American culture also teaches that we are each born with an animal spirit guide and that throughout our lives, we may call upon or be visited by an animal spirit guide to help us deal with our circumstances, in other words, to find strength or whatever characteristics that species may have of which we are in need.
It's also important to note that spirit animals are not just mammals. It's possible (and quite likely) to have a spirit animal that is an insect, fish, reptile or amphibian, invertebrate (like many sea creatures), or plant. Mythical creatures can also be spirit animals, including unicorns, dragons, Pegasus, and phoenix, as examples. Some believe that since a human is an animal, that there may be individuals that have a human as a spirit animal (not spirit guide, because yes, those may have been a human at one time and we have those, as well).
Another very important point is that animal guides choose YOU. You don't choose your guide. So a love of horses or cats does not mean that either is your birth spirit animal. Instead, it is the spirit animal that your soul or spirit needs to walk beside you in this life. That is another reason why it may not be a "warm and fuzzy" creature. It's what you need, not what you want.
But how do you find out what animal spirit is your guide?
Meditate. Granted, this isn't for everyone, but those of you that do meditate can do so with the intention of having your spirit animal step forward for you. The challenge is to be clear which spirit animal you want to do so, as there are spirit animal helpers surrounding you as well. My suggestion is to ask for your birth spirit animal or primary spirit animal and see which one steps forward (I visualize a clearing in the forest when I work with others' animal guides and if I need to walk into a difference landscape, my guides point me toward the beach or into the night sky for mythical creatures).
Pay attention to animals or signs that repeat for you. If you are seeing an animal or other creature everywhere, consider if this might be your spirit animal. Often, it is one of your current animal guides, but use this test: 1) Did this animal or being have meaning for me earlier in life? 2) Have others bought me gifts or inexplicably associated me with this animal/being? 3) Am I drawn to a group of animals or beings that others don't understand or share my affection for? (Examples: snakes, insects, amphibians, dragons.) 4) Is there a particular animal/being I fear? (Sometimes we are really connected to this animal but our lack of understanding of its significance for us can have the opposite effect, driving us away from our spirit animal.)
Use oracle or medicine cards. Sometimes using physical tools, such as oracle or medicine cards can point to our spirit animal. I have used Medicine Cards for many years while doing spirit animal readings. I no longer need them as my connection to the natural world has grown but they are a useful tool if you're just starting to connect with nature and with animals/beings in particular.
Get a reading. Yes, I do spirit animal readings, as I'm sure many people do. What sets me apart from others is that 1) I am a certified Shamanic Practitioner, 2) I am a professional Certified Wildlife Biologist®, and 3) I am a Professional Intuitive that has mentored under a number of well-known psychics and psychic mediums. If you are interested in a reading, please see my "Services" page or contact me via email at firstname.lastname@example.org (that's intuitive-thenumberone-investigations).
I hope this information has been helpful in guiding you toward identifying your animal spirit guide!
Read on if you're interested in the types of spirit animals...
Many of us are familiar with the concept of Animal Spirit guides, totems, and messengers. Below is more information about the four types of animal spirit guides; Messenger guides, Journey guides, Life guides, and Shadow guides.
Messenger Guides. Messenger guides are just that Dash Dash they come to us and give us messages in certain situations. They guide us in the right direction and stay with us until we have heated their warnings. The ways that messenger guides can be identified is often by the behavior that an animal guide exhibits. For example, some believe that seeing an animal repeated Behavior three times is an indicator that it's a messenger. I have found that unusual behavior is also a way that you can determine if you're receiving a message from an animal messenger guide. An example of this would be to see a bird circling overhead repeatedly, or and I'm usually sized flock of turkeys wild turkeys on your ride to work in the morning, or any other behavior that seems unusual or out of place to you. In other words, animal messenger guides do everything in their power to ensure that we take notice of the message that they're trying to give us.
Journey Guides. Journey guides come to us whenever we are at a fork in the road in our lives, need to make an important decision, or are starting something new, such as a new career, going back to school, or learning a new skill or trade. A Journey Animal Guide will appear by your side and help you by lending you their strengths, characteristics, and xxx. Your Journey Animal Guide will stay with you until you've made the decision or learned what you needed to learn -- basically until that particular journey is complete. A Journey guide can be with you from just a few days to a number of years. This explains why sometimes when we are going through difficult decisions, for example, we are drawn to animals that are not our Life guides.
Life Guides. A Life Animal Guide is with you from the time you are born and remains with you throughout your life. These are the Animal Guides we are most familiar with; the ones that we may have felt a connection to when we were young or have an affinity for now. They remind us of our strengths, talents, and gifts that we have been given in this lifetime. They stand beside us to help us weather the many storms that we experience in a lifetime. But it's important to note that we don't choose our Life Animal Guides, they choose us. Shamans journey to the Lower World to retrieve our Animal Guides if they have left us during a time of trauma, especially traumas in our childhood. A shaman can also tell you which Life Animal Guide walks with you. Another way to discover your Life Animal Guide is to journey or meditate on your own.
Shadow Guides. A Shadow Animal Guide will appear in our lives to challenge our beliefs, values, and the way we are living our lives. When a Shadow Guide comes to you, it is to awaken you to areas of your life that require change. As such, Shadow Guides are teachers of life lessons. Shadow Guides will keep reappearing until you make positive changes in your life or evaluate your beliefs and values as to whether they still serve your highest good. The most important thing to understand about Shadow Guides is that they help us find and stay on the path we were meant to walk. There are times in our lives when we all need a little (or big) nudge to get back on track!
Animal Spirit Guides are an integral part of our growth and self-development. They stand beside us, walk with us, and teach us lessons to help us stay on our life path. Once we accept the presence of our Animal Spirit Guides, we can work with them and gain access to the support, guidance, and wisdom they hold for us.
Do you work with your animal guides?
Dr. Carol Pollio
Director, Intuitive Investigations®