How to Find Your Animal Spirit Guide

Updated on June 7, 2019
Daniella Lopez profile image

I used to dream of wolves without knowing why. Then I realized it was the wolf spirit calling me. Now I look to them as my spirit guide.

Spirit guides, or animal totems, protect and teach us throughout our lives.
Spirit guides, or animal totems, protect and teach us throughout our lives. | Source

What Is an Animal Spirit Guide?

An animal spirit guide—also called a power animal or animal totem—is a messenger or teacher who comes to us in the form of an animal to guide and protect us throughout our lives. They may provide comfort, inspiration, or important messages in difficult times. They may also draw attention to parts of ourselves that require acknowledgment or exploration.

Your spirit guide is an animal that resonates with you and has special significance in your life. Your relationship with the guide connects you with the earth and with nature. Ultimately, this animal is a reflection of ourselves—a representation of who we are and who we might become.

Although found primarily in Native American and Aboriginal cultures, spirit guides are not limited to these traditions. They are present for anyone who seeks them, anyone who yearns for a deeper connection with the earth and with Mother Nature.

Owls teach us to embrace the dark and learn that it isn't something fearful or evil.
Owls teach us to embrace the dark and learn that it isn't something fearful or evil. | Source

How Do I Find My Animal Spirit Guide?

The first step is to respectfully ask your spirit guide to show itself to you. Once you've set your intention, you can begin to look in certain places where your spirit guide may allow itself to be discovered, including:

  • Dreams: Do you often dream of a certain animal? Paying attention to the animals that appear in your dreams, particularly animals that recur frequently, can give you important insights.
  • Meditation: Like dreams, meditation offers access to an altered state of consciousness. Your spirit guide may reveal itself to you during your meditative journey.
  • Nature: Take walks outside and observe the animals around you. Being in nature is one of the greatest ways to find your spirit guide because the whole purpose behind a spirit guide is to provide you with a deeper connection to Mother Earth.
  • Past connections: Did you have a favorite animal when you were younger, or did you have a favorite pet? Perhaps there is an animal you feel drawn to without understanding why. When you visit the zoo or an aquarium, is there an animal you like to visit first or make sure you get to see?
  • Fears: Is there an animal that has always frightened you—but been intriguing to you at the same time? Most often the animal that you're most fearful of will bring you closest to nature.
  • Encounters: Is there an animal that you frequently see near your home or that often seems to be watching you? Or, taking a different take on the word "encounter," did you ever experience an attack by an animal at any time in the past? Being bitten or attacked by an animal could represent the totem testing your ability to handle its power.
  • Zodiac: This Native American Zodiac will reveal which animal is associated with your birthdate. It's not necessarily the case that the animal listed for your birthdate is your spirit guide, but often it will be an animal that represents you fairly well.
  • Shaman: A shaman or qualified spiritual guide can help you identify your animal totem.

If your request is authentic and respectful, your spirit guide will ultimately show itself to you. Don't forget aquatic animals, insects, and birds—every creature on this earth, whether they travel by land, sea, or air, has the ability to be a powerful spirit guide.

Discovering My Own Spirit Guide

I personally have always been fearful of wolves. I dreamt of them often, and sometimes I would dream that I was actually a wolf. I later found out that this was the wolf spirit calling me. Now I no longer fear wolves but respect them and look to them as my spirit guide.

By discovering your animal totem, studying it, and then learning to merge with it, you will be able to call its energy forth whenever needed.

— Ted Andrews, author of "Animal Speak"
The buffalo represents a strong, goal-oriented personality.
The buffalo represents a strong, goal-oriented personality. | Source

Animal Guide Meanings: Traits and Characteristics

Each guide has a different meaning, and they can mean something different for different people. Below are a few examples of animal spirit guides and the common meanings behind their animal totems.

  • Bear: Bears teach us how to be balanced, no matter what life throws at us. They also are very wise, protective of the ones they love, and they harbor incredible strength during difficult times.
  • Buffalo: Those with a buffalo totem tend to harbor tension, so they need to be careful about finding a safe release in order to prevent it from building up to intolerable levels. Buffalos are strong and protective of their tribe. They have incredible strength and are likely to face their problems head-on.
  • Butterfly: The butterfly totem represents freedom, creativity, and transformation. They teach us to work closely with the earth and try to minimize our harmful impact on the planet.
  • Coyote: Those with the coyote totem tend to be cunning, loyal, and very goal oriented. They are focused on their community, but they have no qualms about deceiving an outsider if it means protecting themselves or their loved ones. They know their environment very well and teach us to work in unity with the earth.

Bears are wise, protective, and incredibly strong.
Bears are wise, protective, and incredibly strong. | Source
  • Crow: Someone with a crow totem tends to be very magically inclined. They are dedicated to following order and tend to be strong healers.
  • Deer: Those with the deer totem are intuitive, sensitive, and spiritual.
  • Dolphin: The dolphin symbolizes playfulness and lightheartedness.
  • Dove: The dove represents peace and blessings. A person who is going through a stressful time might call upon the dove spirit for guidance.
  • Eagle: A person with an eagle animal spirit tends to thrive when they're alone. They prefer isolation over community. Eagles have incredible eyesight, providing those with the eagle totem to see clearly in situations that are murky and difficult.
  • Fox: Those with the fox totem prefer to keep to themselves and blend in, rather than standing out from the crowd. They are sensitive yet agile, and they are capable of finding a way forward in the midst of a difficult situation.
  • Horse: Those with the horse spirit guide thrive when they are left wild. They can be headstrong, but they are willing to bend for those that they care about. While they prefer to be left wild, they respond well to a partner who treats them with patience and kindness. The horse totem also represents positive change in someone's life.

The horse spirit guide can represent strong emotions and positive change within your life.
The horse spirit guide can represent strong emotions and positive change within your life. | Source
  • Owl: Those with the owl totem tend to be very quiet and secretive, but when they speak, people listen and treat them with respect. Owls teach us to embrace the dark and to know that it isn't something to fear, nor is it something that is evil.
  • Raven: The raven totem represents mystery, wisdom, and transformation. People with the raven animal spirit guide tend to be strong teachers and are often sought out for their wisdom and intelligence.
  • Snake: Snake spirit guides represents transformation, rebirth, and sexuality. They are strong creatures with strong personalities, but they often lash out during difficult situations. Snake totems teach us to work closely with the earth and to learn to understand the earth's vibrations.
  • Tiger: The tiger spirit represents raw energy and emotion. This totem connects us with our intuitions and instincts.
  • Turtle: Those with the turtle spirit guide tend to be minimalists. They prefer to be on the road and to have minimal possessions or people to hold them back from their desire to travel. The turtle totem teaches us to look within and to be happy with the person we truly are.
  • Wolf: The wolf totem has a strong connection to family and their pack. They tend not to socialize well with others outside of their small inner circle. The wolf spirit guide represents strength, loyalty, and community.

The wolf spirit guide represents strength, loyalty, and community.
The wolf spirit guide represents strength, loyalty, and community. | Source

How Do I Honor My Animal Spirit Guide?

Once you've found your spirit guide, it is imperative that you honor them. The more you do so, the more clearly you will hear their messages and the more effective their power will be in your life. You can honor your spirit guide in many ways, including:

  • Study: Read everything you can about the animal. Learn about their behaviors, traits, habitat, diet, social status, etc.
  • Drawing: Drawing pictures of the animal not only gives honor but also helps you become more deeply connected to their physical form.
  • Figurines, tokens, fetishes: Decorate your home with images and representations of the animal.
  • Dance: Learning to imitate the animal's physical movements and behaviors can create a powerful spiritual link to your guide.

Keep in mind, however, that there is an important distinction between honor and worship. Spirit guides are not meant to be worshiped; in fact, they are our equals—their purpose is to bring humans and nature together as one. We should not dominate our spirit guide, nor should they dominate us. Rather, the intention is to learn from our spirit guide in order to come into harmony with the Earth Mother.

Someone with a crow totem tends to be very magically inclined.
Someone with a crow totem tends to be very magically inclined. | Source

Steven Farmer, Author of "Animal Spirit Guides"

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need to be Native American to have a spirit guide?

It is a common misconception that you need to be Native American or have the experience of a Spirit Walk in order to find a spirit guide. This is not true. If you have the ability to go on a Spirit Walk, then by all means, please do—but you do not need to do this in order to find your spirit animal.

Is it cultural appropriation to ask for a spirit guide?

No. Spirit guides do not discriminate against ethnicity, culture, or background; they are there for anyone who is seeking to deepen their connection with Mother Earth. If you respectfully ask your spirit animal to show itself to you, and if you are prepared to show honor to your guide, you will find what you are looking for.

Can I have more than one spirit guide?

Yes, you can have more than one at one time, or you could have different guides at various phases of your life. You might need to draw upon different energies at different points in your life, and a special spirit animal may guide or teach you during those moments.

What if I'm not happy with the animal guide that seems to have chosen me?

Your animal guide may not be what you'd initially hoped for or had in mind. Perhaps you'd wanted something strong and powerful like a bear or an eagle. It's important, however, to be open-minded and patient. Learn all you can about your spirit animal. You will surely discover a deeper significance that will illuminate the spiritual connection between you and your guide.

When we learn to speak with the animals.... They become our teachers, our friends, and our companions. They show us the true majesty of life itself.

— Ted Andrews, author of "Animal Speak"

Online Quizzes: Food for Thought

Although the journey to discover your spirit guide will likely involve dreams, meditation, experiences in nature, and/or deep introspection about past experiences and encounters, you may also find these online quizzes to be a helpful starting point. The animal these quizzes identify may not necessarily be your spirit guide, but there may be something about the animal that is uniquely aligned to your personality.

Wonderful Book

Animal-Speak: The Spiritual & Magical Powers of Creatures Great & Small
Animal-Speak: The Spiritual & Magical Powers of Creatures Great & Small

This book is an excellent resource for people interested in researching animal spirit guides.

 

Further Reading

McCann, Colleen. "A Guide to Spirit Animals." Goop. Accessed December 12, 2018.

Mildon, Emma. "Don't Know Your Spirit Animal?" MindBodyGreen. Accessed December 12, 2018.

Weiser, Kathy (Editor). "Native American Totem Animals & Their Meanings." Legends of America. Accessed December 12, 2018.

Do you know your spirit animal?

See results

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.

Questions & Answers

  • Can birds be my spirit guide?

    Sure! Quite a few people feel gravitated towards creatures of flight. Hawks and ravens are particularly popular.

© 2011 Danielle Lopez

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    • profile image

      kc 

      2 months ago

      I see this hawk all the time sits on my fence looking at me when i am outside, and sits on fence directly looks in glass doors at me when i am sitting in my easy chair watching tv. Has flown into my window 2 times. I have walked up close to her within 10 or 11 feet. I could see her soft belly feathers and talents holding onto the fence. She swoops down into my yard in front of my screen room. Flown directly over my head about 4 or 5 ft. Was on side roof looking in my bedroom window. I had bird feeder up a while back but took it down a long time ago so she should not be looking to dine here. Going through some really rough times now. Today it was raining, her feathers were all wet, dripping off her head and she sat on the fence looking at me. Am I reading something into this that is not there?

    • profile image

      Karen K 

      4 months ago

      Hi. This is an unbelievable story and if it didn't happen to me, I wouldn't believe it either. I have been going through some heavy duty spiritual stuff. Last night, I was unloading my dishwasher and at the bottom, was a snail. Don't know how it got there, since Ifigiref it could e connected. I looked it up and found out it's my spirit animal

    • profile image

      Regina 

      4 months ago

      2 nights ago I dreamed I had a bobcat standing on my chest looking down at me.I felt it was saying pay attention to me.

    • profile image

      Regina 

      4 months ago

      Pairs of hawks hover above my head once at a powow I saw them fly in from a distance and came to hover about 10 to 15 feet above my head. After that another pair of hawks hovered about 10 to 15 feet above my head in my back yard. Some time I see them land in a tree and my railing of my deck.

    • profile image

      Christy 

      4 months ago

      I feel like I'm followed by raccoons. I come across a lot of Raccoon sightings. Once when I was a kid after playing. Then Raccoons would hang out on my last apartment's balcony. Once when I was getting ready to move, I saw one in the dumpster. And now sometimes they would pass by and I would see them through the glass door. They come pretty close and I can see them staring in. When I'm outside and see a raccoon I proceed with caution, I've never been attacked by a wild animal because I try to let them know that I'm not there to bother them. They'll usually run off or go about their business.

    • profile image

      Jessica 

      7 months ago

      Well I fear sea life and I am not very interested in it and I also don’t like anything slime though I feel great connections to mammals

    • profile image

      Honey 

      8 months ago

      I knew my tolem was a wolf from the start. Even though my sister (Stina) doesn’t know hers, we went to Native American store and saw the spirit tolem guide. It’s a work in progress..... although it’s up to the spirits to deside......

    • profile image

      journeywomyn 

      9 months ago from New Bedford, MA

      I have always known the my totem was a wolf, a white wolf. I have seen him all through my childhood through adulthood. My great great grandpa a Nipmuc Indian born 1889 died 1963 told me many things, taught me many things. For that I am forever grateful. We shared many stories about the wolf.

    • profile image

      Hi, ya'll 

      9 months ago

      Horse: Those with the horse spirit guide thrive when they are left wild. They can be headstrong, but they are willing to bend for those that they care about. While they prefer to be left wild, they respond well to a partner who treats them with patience and kindness. The horse totem also represents positive change in someone's life.

      that so represents me!

    • profile image

      Deardra 

      11 months ago

      I was looking in my mirror once and was looking at my reflection but then out of my face I saw an Old man, he looked Native American and out of his face a panther. Also, while camping with friends. A Mayfly landed on a blade of grass that was near my face. The fly did a very odd thing. Stood up on two legs and used his front legs to groom itself. It got closer to me and looked right at me. The thought that came into my mind is that he was showing me his beingness. I note that I can be in my office and look down at my desk and there is a fly there staring at me. This happens far too often. So I guess one of my spirit guides is a fly and perhaps the other a panther. I also feel a affinity with deers and birds.

    • profile image

      Amberdp1982 

      16 months ago

      im very interested in big cats. panthers and tigers. But since my father passed away in 2006 i have a crow who follows me everywhere i go. and he lets me know hes there.

    • profile image

      Jake Castaway 

      17 months ago

      Most of my friend group feel connections with an animal and I have always enjoyed trying to learn more about that connection and this has helped lots. Thank you

      Is it possible to have more than one? just wondering

    • profile image

      Stefany Burkhalter 

      19 months ago

      How did you guys all find your spirit animal guides

      Please tell me

      Thank u

    • profile image

      Kaykay 

      20 months ago

      I love your hub. I am very intrigued by wolves i love them so much. I do dream alot about snakes though causing me to fear them even though when i was younger i have came across them and even though i was super nervous i had no problem holding them yet they dont give me very much comfort. I also really like cats including tigers cheetahs and lions so how do i know which one is my spirit guide?

    • profile image

      SO-CALGURL72 

      2 years ago

      I just found out that my number one spirit guide is the snake I've always loved snakes ever since I was 11 years old, I always been intrigued by snakes, whie living in New York. when I moved to Southern California and feared the California diamondback rattlesnake. Another animal spirit guide I believe I have is the dragonfly as well as the grasshopper.

    • profile image

      Rocky 

      2 years ago

      Thank you

    • profile image

      Sydney Burke 

      3 years ago

      I do not know of any animal I fear. I have a great respect for most. So which would you sugest.

    • profile image

      Leo 

      3 years ago

      I have an eagle, crow, peacock, and an owl.

    • ThussaysNanaMarie profile image

      ThussaysNanaMarie 

      7 years ago from In my oyster

      Interesting perspective!

    • profile image

      Tigergirl99 

      7 years ago

      The tiger is my spirit guide. I have met and talked with him many times and I named him Kishan. When I go outside at night my senses are keener and Kishan always goes with me. I have always felt drawn to tigers because of there smarts in "battle". This gave me the information that I needed to realize that he would not hurt me.

    • LightIsLove profile image

      LightIsLove 

      7 years ago

      I feel connected to Dolphins for what ever reason. Thank you for having the courage to share with others. I too have had an exsperience. Please read the only hub I have ever posted. You will find it comforting

      "Proof of Angels, Spirits Light Beings, Ghosts"

      Light Is Love

    • Beth J profile image

      Beth J 

      7 years ago from India

      Hi Daniella!

      A great hub! I feel drawn to eagles. I'm pretty certain they're one of my animal spirit guides. Snakes have appeared frequently in my dreams all these years though I've not really felt comfortable with this. I always thought we had to be very comfortable with an animal for it to be our guide. After reading your hub, I understand that this is not necessarily the case!

      In Love and Light,

      Beth

    • Daniella Lopez profile imageAUTHOR

      Danielle Lopez 

      7 years ago from Spain

      Glad you found this informative, Caroline. :) Thanks for stopping by!

    • carolinemd21 profile image

      Caroline Marie 

      7 years ago

      I love this hub. It's amazing. Very informative. :)

    • Daniella Lopez profile imageAUTHOR

      Danielle Lopez 

      7 years ago from Spain

      You are very welcome! :)

    • Cresentmoon2007 profile image

      Cresentmoon2007 

      7 years ago from Caledonia, MI

      Thank you once again. Blessed be!

    • Daniella Lopez profile imageAUTHOR

      Danielle Lopez 

      7 years ago from Spain

      There definitely might be a connection. It's definitely something I would consider if I were you. Try to figure out exactly why it is that you fear those animals and perhaps that will draw you closer to them. Blessed be!

    • Cresentmoon2007 profile image

      Cresentmoon2007 

      7 years ago from Caledonia, MI

      Great Hub. There are actually a few animals I fear. I fear sea life a great deal and geese as well as chickens. I think that above all else I fear sea life A LOT. And have often had nightmares about fish. I wonder if there's any connection there.

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