Animal Spirit Guides
Animal spirit guides are those animals that you have had an affinity for or have seemed to have walked with you for a very long period of time. They may have walked with you for many lifetimes, many years or just have recently came into focus as you have had need of them. Your spirit guide animal need not be limited to animals on this planet at this time as mythical creatures and extinct ones are useful guides too.
There are several types of animal spirit guides that you may encounter, these are the main ones:
Lifelong: This is the animal spirit guide that you will have throughout your entire life. It may appear to you at any time during your life span but once it is with you it will stay for the rest of your existence. This animal may be one you have had an affinity with or have appeared at various points. This creature may have in fact been with you for many lifetimes.
Journey: This animal walks with you for a length of time which could be weeks or years or any period of time within. It is a guide that keeps you on your pathway. These animals can come around quickly as you need their help during certain times in your life and then leave just as quickly. They may linger as long as the blink of an eye or for many months. These usually appear when you have a journey to start and will stay with you until that particular life experience is completed.
Message: This animal sporadically just pops into your life on a moment by moment basis. It may show up one day as a “wait a minute” moment, to let you know something is going on. Take note of the animal and what message it is trying to impart to you.
Shadow: This is your side that you may fear the most. Once you conquer the fear of this animal it becomes one of your greatest strengths. This spirit guide reflects the part within yourself which you are least confident about or the bit of your personality which you dislike the most.
Purpose: This guide will show up for particular events, rituals or journeys. I have a black panther animal spirit guide that only comes to me when I am hedge riding (journeying) to the underworld, my wild boar guide refuses to travel to the underworld so the panther arrives to accompany me instead. The same happens with my frog spirit guide, he is only with me when I am drumming.
By observing animals in natural surroundings and their associated behaviours, we begin to get glimpses of each creature’s medicine. This understanding in turn helps us to connect with the animal spirit, honour it and utilise the magic within our own lives and spell work.
Our spirit animal and its medicine can help us in various ways:
- It can give the strength, energy and enthusiasm to face up to difficult situations or challenges in your life.
- It can shed some light on an important decision you may have to make.
- It can offer ideas for a particular project and find solutions for situations that seem unclear.
- It can help to access your inner strengths.
- It can help to overcome your fears.
- It can unleash your hidden potential and true qualities.
- It can build up your resistance to illness.
- It can speed up the healing process when you are ill.
- It can help you to discover important information in special circumstances.
- It can help you find lost objects.
- It can keep you out of harm and help you to avoid dangerous or life threatening situations.
- It can help protect you from physical, mental or emotional pain.
- It can comfort you when the things are tough.
- It can help you to improve your relationships.
- It can help you to develop your self confidence.
- It can guide your spiritual journey.
The roles of a spirit animal guide
Counsellor and Messenger – In this role your spirit animal helps you to understand situations and offers answers and guidance, it can give you options to help with decisions or choices. Your animal spirit guide can give an indication on which pathway should be taken and what behaviour to adopt.
Protector – In this role your spirit animal guide can lend you the strength, courage and energy to face anything that is thrown at you. It can also warn when danger is approaching or when a situation is about to turn sour. Each animal will react differently to scenarios so it is important to listen very carefully to what they are trying to tell you. Different animals will have specific reactions to danger.
Teacher – Your animal spirit guide can be a great teacher and show you how to use your own energy and inner spirit to its full potential throughout your life. The animals that appear regularly can give us important messages and they will continue to appear until we have learnt and acted upon the lesson.
Healer – Animal spirit guides are excellent healers and can show us not only how to heal our own emotional, physical and spiritual ailments but also how to heal others. Your animal spirit guide will lend you healing energy. It can also show you the best treatment or technique to use and help speed up the healing process.
Guide – Your animal spirit guide is all the above roles in one neat package, your lifelong guide will be all of these things and more. Once you have found your guide your life will change forever, for the better and you will wonder how you ever got along without it.
Meditations and Spells to Find Familiars and Animal Spirit Guides
There are many ways in which you can meet your spirit animal. In general we have a main spirit animal that stays with us throughout our lives. Sometimes another spirit animal will appear depending on the lessons we need to take on board at different times of our lives. It is also possible for other animal messengers or allies to appear to help us with a particular task. With a measure of meditation and observation when we are listening to our intuition we can start to recognise our spirit animal and our other animal allies.
There are meditations, dreams, dancing, drumming, spells or just being particularly drawn to one animal or seeing images of it in everyday life.
Have you always been fascinated by a particular animal or has a specific animal appeared continuously in your life? Do you see any animals on a regular basis whether it is on the walk or drive to work or even on the television? And of course…are you frightened of any animals? Sometimes the animal we fear is the one we can learn the most from, this would be your shadow animal spirit.
Given below are some exercises to help you determine your own main personal spirit animal:
The animal to which you feel the most drawn
Is there an animal to which you have always been drawn? Do you collect miniatures, ornaments or cuddly toy versions of a specific animal? Was there an animal that you particularly liked when you were a child, the thought of which still draws you? Do you live with a cat, a dog, snake or a horse to which you have a deep attachment? Has a close relative or good friend mentioned a specific type of animal; does this animal frequently cross your path? Is there an animal that keeps showing up at difficult times in your life? Or is there an animal that just seems to hang around you?
You may already have made a connection with your animal spirit guide but not be consciously aware of it. It may be working its magic and making a link with you in preparation of you discovering it!
If you are scared of a particular animal and you are able to overcome these fears you will then have an excellent connection with it. If you have been bitten by an animal the Native Americans would say that it is testing you to discover your strength and that you are probably already in possession of its medicine, bit of an extreme method though!
In order to discover our spirit animal it is really important to stay open and to observe the animal’s that appear in our lives. Bill boards, TV shows, newspaper articles, labels on cartons – signs could be anywhere…
Meditation to meet your animal spirit guide:
To watch a replay of my talk on Animal Magic, click below
Information from Pagan Portals Animal Magic by Rachel Patterson