A spirit animal is a powerful guardian spirit in animal form that serves as a companion and protector. Spirit animals are a vital source of spiritual power, as well as a source of insight and wisdom. In this blog post I explain what spirit animals are and describe some of the different kinds of spirit animals.
A spirit animal is a type of guardian spirit. Other examples of guardian spirits are angels and ancestors. Spirit animals are fully-compassionate spiritual beings worthy of the utmost trust and respect. They are filled with love, and they watch over and protect us.
Whether you make contact with a spirit animal yourself, or you are introduced to a spirit animal with the help of a shaman, keeping the relationship strong helps ensure that you remain protected and supplied with spiritual power. For recommendations on how to do this, please see my After Your Session page.
Spirit animals can be almost any kind of animal, but are usually birds and mammals. Size does not matter. From the largest whale to the smallest mouse, they are all equally powerful. Even extinct animals, and fantastic beasts like unicorns and dragons, can be spirit animals. In my personal tradition, I tend to work with animals of the northern forests.
Are spirit animals the same for different people? They are simultaneously both the same and different. If you have Bear as your spirit animal, then Bear has universal totem characteristics that we associate with that animal, such as strength. At the same time, however, each spirit animal is a distinct individual spirit with a unique personality, appearance, and gender.
Sometimes, a spirit animal is a lifelong companion. Other times, a spirit animal appears at a certain time to provide support, or to perform a specific function. It is even possible to have a "team" of several spirit animals, each of whom serves a specific purpose.
What is the difference between a spirit animal, a power animal, and a totem animal? As mentioned, a spirit animal is a guardian spirit in animal form. I typically refer to a power animal as a special kind of spirit animal that is enhanced through shamanic work. Finally, a totem animal symbolically represents the universal characteristics of an animal species, but doesn't refer to an individual spirit.
Please see below for descriptions of some of the most common spirit animals. I encourage you to discover your own unique spirit animal, and to experience all the wonderful ways a spirit animal can help improve your life experience.
Also, for more information, please see my blog post Guardian Spirits.
Robbie - August 15, 2022
Bear is strong, independent, and courageous. Bear has keen senses and instincts, and watches everything carefully. Capable of great healing, Bear has access to powerful medicine. Bear seeks solitude, and emerges from hibernation in spring with answers and insights.
Butterfly shows us the power of transformation and metamorphosis. Butterfly is a reminder of the beauty within, which can emerge unexpectedly. Butterfly seems so delicate, and yet flies with confidence and grace. Butterfly has a lightness that comes from its connection to spirit.
Deer is gentle, sensitive, and full of love. But deer is also fast and agile, moving and adapting quickly as conditions change. Deer is full of purpose and has a pure-hearted connection with the sacred. Deer asks you to have compassion for others and yourself. Deer says that to forgive yourself is a form of wisdom.
Eagle has great vision, freedom, and independence. Eagle can fly above all the troubles of the world, and see distant horizons. Nothing escapes the powerful focus of Eagle's keen eyesight. The clarity that Eagle experiences allows for deep insight, and an ability to choose options in the present that change the future.
Hawk is a messenger of the air, bringing information from the spirit world down to Earth. Hawk's piercing call causes sudden awakening and realization. A tireless protector, Hawk is ever-vigilant and keenly aware. Hawk is full of purpose and dignity, always knowing what it must do.
Full of energy, vitality, and quickness, Hummingbird is the bringer of joy and optimism. Playful, adaptable, and clever, Hummingbird appears suddenly and with great curiosity. Hummingbird also brings good luck, messages from the spirit world, and higher vibrational frequencies.
Representing primal chaos, Jaguar is an assertive shape-shifter who walks without fear in the darkness. Jaguar has powerful magic and incredible confidence. Meeting challenge with ferocity, Jaguar encourages us to take back our power and to defend our own personal sovereignty with fierce resolve.
Rabbit is a gentle healer, helping us to forgive ourselves and open our hearts. Full of quiet imagination and curiosity, Rabbit is thoughtful and creative. Rabbit also brings success and prosperity, effortlessly finding abundance and nourishment in the world. Rabbit harmoniously coexists with all life, and teaches acceptance.
Owl appears unexpectedly and mysteriously, but in truth Owl knows no mysteries. This is because Owl can see through illusion, and into the shadows. Owl is wise and intuitive, bringing good council. Owl is also prophetic, telling us when to pay careful attention to what happens next.
Raven is the bringer of magic and powerful medicine. Raven invites us to heal ourselves by courageously entering the darkness of the past to reveal truth in the present. Advising us to let go of anything that holds us back, Raven teaches introspective self-knowledge and transformative realization.
Often misunderstood and viewed as being negative, snake is actually a powerful friend and ally. Snake is able to shed its skin, showing us the importance of constant change and renewal. Filled with primal energy, snake teaches us to face our fears and transform our weaknesses into strengths.
Shy but strong, turtle is very self-reliant and well-protected. Turtle is confident in knowing that everything needed for survival will be provided for by nature. Turtle also has great patience, and can endure difficult circumstances. Slowly but surely, Turtle adapts to change, and always perseveres.
Whale is a traveller of the vast cosmic ocean of consciousness, surfacing with insight and wisdom from deep within. Whale can withstand tremendous emotional pressure, and has an incredible capacity to hold spiritual power. When Whale sings a beautiful song, truth resonates far and wide.
Self-reliant and independent, but also a strong leader in social situations, Wolf is adaptable and versatile. Wolf runs swiftly, wild and free, and reminds us to trust our instincts and maintain personal sovereignty. Loyal and persevering, Wolf is a faithful companion, never giving up.
Additional relevant information about spirit animals can be found in the following blog post: