In my previous article, I wrote about the origins of Spirit Animals, totems and Power Animals. In this article, we will explore how exactly to pinpoint what your personal Spirit Animal is, along with how they can help you to learn, grow, and make wise moves and decisions in your life.
How to Discover Your Spirit Animal
At this point you may be wondering, “OK, so what really is my spirit animal then … how can I truly discover what it is?” Well, I have done some research and have discovered a variety of ways to determine what exactly your totem is.
1. Spend more time outdoors. This helps you to forge a greater connection to nature, which you will need to identify your Spirit Animal.
2. Spend time observing animals. In order to become aware of your Spirit Animal, you must first become aware of the nature of animals.
3. Pay attention to the animals appearing in your life. Do any particular animals recur in your life repeatedly? It is said that if a particular animal continuously appears in your daily life, this is an indication that your totem is trying to contact you. For instance, a certain animal could repeatedly show up on your daily walks, in the books you read, TV shows you watch or pictures you glimpse.
4. Pay attention to the animals appearing in your dream life. Spirit Animals are also said to contact us in our dreams. Look out for animals that seem to persistently appear while you sleep – this could be a sign of your Spirit Animal trying to manifest itself to you.
5. Be aware of the unusual behaviour of animals around you. Does a particular animal run up to you, make strange noises around you, or otherwise display strange behaviour patterns in your presence? This could be a strong indication of your Spirit Animal trying to contact or form a connection with you.
6. Think about what animals you have always been attracted to. Are you drawn to any particular animal, either out of fear or adoration? This could reveal an unconscious connection to your Spirit Animal.
7. Try meditation. It is said that our Spirit Animals often reveal themselves to the subconscious mind during practises such as meditation. If you don’t often meditate, or if you would like assistance, see these guided meditation videos:
- Shamanic Meditation – Find Your Spirit Animal
- Awakening Your Animal Spirit Totem
- Connect With Your Animal Guides
8. Keep a journal. Record what animals you encounter in your meditations, dreams and waking life. Look for patterns or recurrences of a specific animal or animals.
It’s also good to be aware of the 20 main types of Spirit Animals. These are the:
- Bear (strength, confidence)
- Butterfly (personal transformation)
- Cat (independence, curiosity)
- Coyote (playfulness, adaptability)
- Crow (vision, intelligence)
- Deer (innocence, gentleness)
- Dragonfly (transformation, adaptability)
- Fox (agility, awareness)
- Frog (rebirth, renewal)
- Hawk (focus, leadership)
- Horse (freedom, passion)
- Hummingbird (positivity, playfulness)
- Lion (strength, courage)
- Owl (wisdom, intuition)
- Rabbit (abundance, vulnerability)
- Sheep (vulnerability, innocence)
- Snake (healing, transformation)
- Spider (creativity, receptivity)
- Tiger (willpower, aggression)
- Turtle (determination, persistence)
- Wolf (intelligence, freedom) [Read our Wolf Spirit Animal article]
Note: The terms “Spirit Animal”, “totem” and “power animal” are often all used interchangeably.
How to Discover Your Spirit Animal’s Medicine
Once you have discovered what your Spirit Animal/s is, a common question to ask is “what’s next?” How can you harness the new knowledge of your totem to benefit your life? Here I will show you a variety of ways to learn from your Spirit Animal.
1. Discover its symbolic wisdom (or ‘medicine’). Each Spirit Animal has strengths and weakness which are important for you to learn about, as they directly apply to your life. The better you understand the symbolic meaning of your totem, the better, in a sense, you will come to understand yourself and what you need to improve or change in your life.
2. Apply your new found wisdom. Learning about your Animal Spirit will help you to learn more about yourself, and will consequently help you to make important decisions, deal with difficult situations and people, and reach your personal goals and aspirations.
3. Don’t humanize your Spirit Animal. Anthropomorphizing your totem will do nothing but silence their unique ways of expressing themselves. In order to be open to your Spirit Animal’s message, you need to first be open to embrace their exclusive language.
4. Be open to your Spirit Animals appearance in your life. Be aware of dreams, or real life occurrences in which your Spirit Animal manifests itself. Also remember that your Spirit Animal can choose to manifest itself in a very subtle way; for instance, in poems, a song, or even a picture in a book, or poster in the street. Our totems are thought to serve as both omens, as well as messengers and guides. So consider the following question in your daily life:
- What feelings do you experience when your totem appears in your life? For example, do foreboding or comforting feelings arise within you?
- What message does your totem appear to be trying to communicate to you?
- Is your totem trying to lead you in a certain direction?
5. Honor your Spirit Animal. Shamans believe that by honoring and venerating your Spirit Animal, you grow and gain a deeper connection to them. Many people like showing respect to their totems by placing objects of the same species around their houses. Others like wearing symbols of their Spirit Animals on their bodies (amulets, pendants etc.)
If you have any comments, experiences or opinions that you would like to add, please feel free to share them below.