What is your spirit animal?
Native American cultures have long revered animals as sacred teachers and keepers of the natural world; they are viewed as sacred and divine guides that appear in our lives to teach us what we need to know. As the Manataka say, “You do not choose a spirit animal as your personal spirit guide. The spirit chooses you, and they decide to whom they will reveal themselves and make their friend.” To believe we hold sway over our animal counterparts is pure vanity and ego. Native Americans honor animals as emotional and intelligent beings, who still connect with one another on the level of collective consciousness – something humanity once had the ability to do, but has forgotten over the years. Many of us now see a shift in consciousness, one that is calling us back to the collective connection with All and that includes our animal counterparts. We are all One.
When an animal comes to you unbidden, either in physical form or in dreamtime, it often carries a message. There are several types of spirit animals:
- Life animal guides which reflect an aspect of your spiritual self and accompany you through life.
- Journey guides which appear during shamanic or other kinds of medicinal or drum journey experiences.
- Shadow guides which can instill fear because there is a lesson to be learned surrounding negative behaviors.
- Messenger guides which appear briefly to deliver a message, leaving upon closure of the lesson.
If all of a sudden you notice a certain animal appearing in your path, it’s wise to take note and consider the message. If there is an animal you fear – this is something to examine as well. What do you need to learn to attain your Highest Good? The message your guide brings may be a warning, and it may be the answer to your next step.
How to decode your animal guide’s message
Once you realize which animal totem has come to you, it’s time to understand that animal. Educate yourself about its nature and characteristics. Find out all you can. If you can go to a place to observe it in nature, do this. This honoring, reverence, and willingness to learn is where your answers lie. Sit with the learning, meditate on it. Ask yourself:
- What aspects/situations of my life does this animal embody?
- What areas of my self do I embody this animal’s traits?
- Where do I need more/less of this animal’s characteristics?
- Am I avoiding anything that I need to address?
- What is my heart telling me to do?
When you come to a fork in your path, and you are distressed about which way to go, it may be because your mind is saying one way and your heart another. This is the prime time for a journey guide to show up, and clarify what is right for you. Often your mind will create fear around the unknown, and convince you that the “safe” path is the correct one for you. If your guide shows up here, you may want to listen.
Often the spirit animal is here to teach you how to live in alignment and harmony with all other sentient beings. This is where you want to consider how your own characteristics and mindsets are matching up with your guides. The effort you give to your relationship with your guides, the more they will reveal to you. Animals are instinctive, and can sense your readiness and trust.