Do you have a spirit animal?
There are many cultures and beliefs when it comes to the guardians of Animism. I won’t try to explain the many variations of Animal Guardians throughout history (as Google can do a better job with that than I), but I feel we must acknowledge the practice of Native Americans and other indigenous cultures that relied on such spirits to guide them.
In my own life, as I’ve studied more of the Native American’s beliefs and ways, I realize they align with my own in many many ways. In certain tribes, animals and plants were considered to have spirits. Like us, they had their own energies and souls, and would guard or guide those who were kin to these attributes.
What I’m speaking of, however, is entirely different than the Native American Vision Quest or Animal Totems, and should be not seen as the same. The only similarity between what I’m describing and the sacred practice of the Tribes of America is the belief that all living creatures have a spirit. Since I’m not privy to their customs, I do not wish to portray any falsehoods about them- nor do I wish to appropriate them in any way.
Though in modern times, “Spirit Animal” has become synonymous with pretty much anything we relate to, in this post, I would like to take it back to a place of serious reverence.
For me, everything that has life holds a spirit. With that, I don’t believe the grass is necessarily talking to me, but I do believe it has a life force that translates through an energy. Recently, we’ve learned that trees talk to each other via their underground root system, dogs are able to understand to the equivalent of a 4 year old child, and other animals live in symbiotic relationships that rely on the survival of one another. These are just examples of how our idea of “communication” should be expanded and used to encompass all living things.
A Spirit Animal is a guide, or guardian, that can do many things for its human friend. For some, it can harness the latent strengths that person denies themselves, while for another it can echo the positive qualities that the human defines themselves by. It’s a very personal association that no online quiz, or quick definition, can give you. Not even me, for it should be vastly different for everyone.
At least in my opinion, anyway.
I have several Spirit Animals, broken into two groups: Spirit Guide (or Guardian) and Spirit Companions.
My Spirit Guardian is but one animal that has followed me my entire life, guiding me without ever seeming to. My Guide is a Turtle. Ever since I was young, I’d find them in the oddest of places, I’d dream of them, and I’d protect them with a fierceness that I didn’t understand until I was much older. Unlike many, I do not decipher between the different species, because I feel their spirits are not distinguishable that way.
My Spirit Companions are those that I am drawn to, or are drawn to me, but have other meanings associated with them. For example, Butterflies and Dragonflies come to me often. I can sit in my front yard and have them land on me, as if I were but a flower. However, unlike the Turtle, these companions are only brief passerbyers in the grand scheme of my life. Thought to carry messages from loved ones passed, I associate these companions to my Great-Grandmother, or other’s who’ve crossed over.
The major difference between the two groups is one stays with me forever, and the other comes and goes freely.
My son has two Guides, and no companions yet. But, this can and probably will change as he grows. Elephants and Wolves find him constantly, as Turtles do me. Whereas, my husband, has yet to find a Guide- though, he believes dogs are somewhere close. I believe this has to do with the varying openness each feels. My son, very open, has already found his, while my husband- very shy, has not.
For every individual, there is an animal, plant, or spirit, that speaks to them in a way that they do not have to articulate. To find such animals, you must be open to the belief that the human soul is not, as Christians believe, the only soul. Every living creature or object is granted life, and this energy holds special meaning to not only us, but to nature itself.
The path to finding your guide may be difficult, depending on how many companions you may have. For me, I have quite a few that come and go, but Turtles have always been prominent in my life for as long as I can remember; therefor, it was quite easy when I started walking this path to realize they were my Guardian. However, for others, you may have many companions, of which none stay around for long- and finding the guide among them can be difficult.
To find your Spirit Guardian, and/or Spirit Companions, all you need to do is look around you. Start seeing the patterns that follow you, sit and mediate on your life- see the constants that have presented themselves to you. A friend of mine found that any time she was struggling with something difficult, she’d see bats at night. Though they didn’t come to her often, they were always consistently there for her when she needed them- to her, that meant they were her Guardians.
Another friend always loved dolphins. Her first tattoo was even a dolphin, yet she never felt a deep connection when she began exploring her spirituality- and decided that though she adored the creature, it wasn’t a Guide or Companion, but simply an animal she loved.
I remember being in the woods, younger than my son is currently, and having a baby turtle crawl over my hand. I don’t remember why I was alone in this place, but I often went there when I was having troubles at home- and for a moment, I forgot all that and followed the small turtle to a small stream until it disappeared into the water. I felt very at peace then, and that memory has stayed with me for decades, as if it was just yesterday. When I visit aquariums with Sea Turtles, they often follow me back and forth in their tanks- a very special kind of connection that I cherish fully. I never leave Bass Pro without spending a full hour enjoying the turtles coming to me. A little boy, on our most recent trip, told his daddy that I was a Turtle Whisperer- because every single one that got off the log would come straight for me. I won’t lie, it made me very happy to hear him say that.
For my son, Elephants came to him when he was itty bitty. I had a dream about his room, and it being covered in Elephants. His Nursery was then done with a Safari theme, including Elephants. When he had his first seizure, an acquaintance of mine felt the random urge to send him a Red Jasper Elephant, that sits next to the bed he sleeps on. Since he’s had his elephant, he’s not had a single seizure.
Wolves were his own choosing. He says he has dreams about being a wolf, and that he believes he was a wolf in another life. I don’t persuade him otherwise, and fully believe that Wolves are an intended guide or companion in his life. Perhaps Elephants will begin to visit him less as he grows older, not necessarily needing their presence as much as he does now.
Unlike an online quiz that spits out a preset answer based on biased questions, there is no limitation to your Spirit Guardian. You may find that it’s not an animal at all, but instead a tree- especially for you Taurians who are so grounded in the Earth itself. You may find that it’s as “mundane” as a kitty cat- however, there’s no competition here. No right or wrong.
Keeping a journal is handy for this kind of person quest, but for me- I am terrible at writing about the every day. My journal would read quite literally the same day after day, with few variations, and I’d end up not seeing a pattern at all. Instead, I like to take trips down memory lane, in my head- during quiet moments.
Mediation, dreaming, and an open mind are all that’s absolutely necessary to finding your spirit animal (guide or guardian).
Fasting for several days is another medium that can allow you to ascertain your spirit guide. As the body starts to rely on itself for nutrients, the brain begins to open to other realms- allowing you to better understand the patterns around you.
Sage, Palo Santo, and Salvia are great to burn while trying to induce a meditative or relaxed state that can help you see which spirits come to you. Teas that open your mind, such as psychic teas, are perfect during these sorts of quests as well.
Just be open to what you see. If you’re followed by Lady Bugs, that makes your Guardian no less significant than the man who is chased by Lions. We are all connected to the spirits which call to us, a symbiotic relationship that only time and deep spiritual work will expand on. Remember there is no right or wrong.
And, when you get a clear picture, or idea of your Guardian- start researching its history, its meanings across all cultures and religions, and I know you’ll find that somehow, it’s relevant to you.
A list of my Spirits for those who are interested:
Guide (or Guardian):
Companions: (which have come and gone over the years)
“Black Birds”- Crows and other sorts
What’s your Spirit Guide? Do you have Spirit Companions?
Until next time, my friends…