Farm Animal Symbolism: Which One Is Your Spirit Guide?
Animals have spiritual lessons to teach us. Many animals (including birds, insects, and even mythical creatures) possess a unique archetypal energy imbued with certain characteristics, gifts, and challenges. When we are drawn to a certain animal, we are drawn to the particular wisdom of that animal.
Domesticated animals have lessons to teach us, too. One of these farm animal totems (spirit beings) may be your spirit guide. It may, in some way, even represent you as a person. However, a spirit animal is NOT your animal doppelganger! Rather, an animal totem is a spirit guide that helps you correct an imbalance.
How to Identify Your Animal Totem
Identifying your animal totem(s) is an intuitive journey. You could experience one or many of the following signs that a particular animal is your spirit animal:
- a feeling of inexplicable attraction to an animal
- having recurring dreams about that animal
- being intrigued or curious about a certain animal
- unconsciously surrounding yourself with images (paintings, figurines) of that animal
- physically encountering the same animal when you're outside
- having an animal "pop up" everywhere, like in TV shows, songs, books, cloud shapes . . .
This article describes five spirit animals: horse, cow, sheep, pig and chicken.
Westerners think of cows as "livestock", but in other countries (such as India and Nepal), cows are considered sacred and their slaughter is against the law. Krishna's given name "Govinda" means "protector of the cows".
First and foremost, the Cow is the giver of nourishment and a gentle loving creature. Cow/Bull's spirit energy stands for:
- Mother Goddess and Fertility. Many pre-Christian religions chose cows as a symbol of the Great Goddess and motherhood. For example, Hathor, one of the most ancient goddesses in the world, is commonly depicted as a cow goddess with horns.
- Wealth. In India, cows symbolize abundance and fullness of life.
- Alertness to Danger. Cows are sensitive and intelligent animals. Other than their size and horns, they don't have great protective features like sharp teeth or a hard shell, so their sense of danger is one of their strong qualities.
- Holding Your Ground. Bulls are rather known for their stubbornness. In a positive aspect, it manifests as stability, sturdiness, determination and ability to hold your ground.
- Love, Kindness, Compassion. Cows also symbolize nourishment through sacrifice. Look into the deep soulful eyes of a cow to know how gentle these animals are.
As a spirit animal, the Cow teaches us to be kind, gentle and nurturing. But being nurturing also means being nurturing to yourself! Do you get enough rest? Do you eat clean, nutritious food? Do you allow yourself to be pampered? Do you attend to your spiritual needs? Call on the Cow if you've been neglecting to nurture your body and soul.
The horse is a power animal. It represents movement, nobility, ambition, stamina and the element of air. But more than anything, horse energy symbolizes freedom. It's the type of animal that doesn't like being restrained or caged in. If you are drawn to this particular spirit animal, the horse may be teaching you:
- the freedom of self-expression. It could be artistic expression or not stifling yourself emotionally or sexually.
- the balance between independence and responsibility. Freedom doesn't mean running wild through life without a care in the world.
- to enjoy the journey instead of obsessing over a destination. On the other hand, it could symbolize your yearning to travel, to see the world.
- good work ethic. While a wild horse is all about the joy of running free, a workhorse teaches the virtue of hard work and perseverance.
- to align with your natural gifts. When you know what you're passionate about, what drives you, you can find success and self-fulfillment on a scale that you could never imagine.
Have you taken on too many responsibilities? Do you want to make a change but feel too attached to a place, a job, a relationship? Call on the Horse if you feel restrained, tied down, powerless or in a rut. This spirit animal also helps those who are facing a hurdle or a difficult choice.
If the Cow is associated with Hathor, the Sheep is associated with the Celtic goddess Brigit. Brigit is the goddess of spring, rebirth and purification. The sheep/ram animal spirit represents:
- Innocence. Remember in The Silence of the Lambs when Clarice tries to save the lambs from slaughter by freeing them, but they wouldn't run? Innocence is characterized by child-like qualities of purity and vulnerability.
- Strength and Virility. While female sheep (ewes) and baby sheep (lambs) are seen as vulnerable and innocent, male sheep (rams) are head-strong, tough and full of energy. In astrology, they represent the sign of Aries, one of the most stubborn and powerful signs of the zodiac.
- Conformity. In cultural terms, the sheep represent the weak and the gullible, hence words like "sheepish" or "sheeple", referring to the herd mentality of following the crowd, the majority, the trends.
- Self-Acceptance. The sheep also symbolize the need to accept oneself and one's limitations, and to renew our commitment to spiritual growth.
- Peace. Lambs are very peaceful, docile animals, except during a mating period or when the offspring is threatened.
Do you tend to be too combative? Do you always butt heads with people, and it affects the quality of your relationships? Are you someone who never says sorry? As a spirit guide, the Sheep teaches to be gentle and peaceful, even as we are overpowered by other, more aggressive urges. The Sheep also teaches to sacrifice for the greater good.
Sheep are playful and affectionate animals. Researchers discovered that sheep can remember 50 different faces of other sheep!
Pigs are very smart, adaptable, tenacious animals. In one form or another, pigs exist in every part of the world. The characteristics of the Pig are:
- Intelligence. Pigs are one of the smartest animals in the world. An adult pig is as smart as a 3-year-old human child, and according to a PBS documentary The Joy of Pigs, they are "smarter than any other domestic animal".
- Cleanliness. Contrary to a popular belief, pigs are very clean animals. They only roll in mud to cool down because they don't have the sweat glands. So when someone says: "I'm sweating like a pig," clearly, they know nothing about pigs.
- Achievement. When something is extremely unlikely to happen, they say: "When pigs fly". The pig symbolizes high achievement that no one saw coming—something almost miraculous, yet real.
- Luck and Abundance. It's no coincidence that we put our money in a piggy bank - pigs represent wealth, prosperity and its shadow counterpart - greed.
- Having Fun. Pigs really know how to relax and just enjoy the moment. They prefer sensual delights to almost anything in the world. The pig symbolizes pure pleasure-seeking mentality and an easy-going nature.
In our society, pigs are not recognized for how smart they really are. People simply see them as bacon. That quality of being unnoticed or underestimated can work to your advantage.
If you are drawn to this spirit animal, don't worry about what others think of you. You'll be able to accomplish more without that extra attention and people will never see it coming. The Pig could also be telling you to make the most of the opportunity in front of you.
There are over 150 different varieties of domestic chicken. It's a very common bird, however, it's also one of the most influential animal totems because it's associated with knowledge. These birds' spirit energy symbolizes:
- Curiosity. The Chicken will peck-peck-peck away until it gets to that coveted seed of truth.
- Knowledge and Learning. The Chicken represents the ability to collect knowledge and to spread it. It possesses openness to new ideas, strong mental powers and a unique personal perspective.
- Fertility and Sexuality. Chicken is a "yin" feminine energy associated with life, nourishment, growth, and reproduction.
- Courage. A rooster's energy is quite different from a chicken/hen's. Roosters are a "yang" energy known for being bold, proud, competitive, and even pugilistic. That's why we may call someone "cocky" when we mean "confident", and why we say: "Don't be chicken" when we want to encourage someone to be brave.
- Having a Voice. Rooster is also known for its distinctive loud crowing that says: "Good morning, world! I'm ready to meet you." Rooster represents strong communication skills and having the power of persuasion.
If you are drawn to the Chicken spirit animal, you are being asked to re-evaluate what you think you know. Be curious, be open-minded. The world is way more complex than we can imagine. On the other hand, the Rooster may be encouraging you to overcome your fears in order to achieve your full potential. It is time for you to step up and align with your purpose.
Spirit Animal Poll
Which one of these domesticated animals are you most drawn to?
Questions & Answers
© 2017 Lana Adler