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How to Discover Your Spirit Animals

Updated on April 17, 2016
ChristinS profile image

Christin is a Metaphysical author and professional Tarot expert with over 25 years of experience in the field.

Discover totem animals and their meanings
Discover totem animals and their meanings | Source

Totem Animals, Familiars, Power Animals, and More...

Have you ever noticed that animals tend to bring out our compassionate nature? I've observed that people often treat animals better than they do other humans. There is just something about them that compels us to know and better understand them.

Animals and animal symbolism have been part of the history and traditions of numerous cultures. Throughout time, man has revered animals and looked to them with great wonder and amazement. Animals have a great deal to teach us about ourselves and about our connection to this Earth and all living beings. I believe many traditions were born from our desire to better understand ourselves and our world through the observation of Earth's creatures.

Whether you believe in totem animals or animal spirit guides specifically or not, the animal lessons and wisdom can still bring you greater insight, inspiration and understanding.

Look at the behaviors of an animal you feel particularly drawn to; what habits do they have that you could stand to develop? Perhaps they embody other characteristics that are challenging and symbolize lessons for you to grow through. The possibilities are endless.

An example....

As a child I was always afraid of, yet fascinated by bees. Bees are such interesting creatures. They have amazing communications abilities and they work well within their community to assure the survival of everyone. Bees represent teamwork, effort, communicating well with others and survival.

In my life, I love writing. I started writing as a means of survival, having grown up in a household where verbal abuse was common. I often tend to be reclusive and would likely do better being part of a larger community.

I believe that writing (communication) has the power to influence others – for better or for worse. Simply looking at the habits of the bee shows me a lot of important things about myself as well. They demonstrate to me qualities that I have and areas where I could improve.

I have also learned to further respect and revere honeybees in particular, because of the vital role they play in humanities quality of life. Without the work of the bees, our plant life would die. Without the plants to provide us oxygen and food, we wouldn't be long for the world either. That tiny little bee commands greater respect than many of the “power animals” people feel drawn to.

There is power in humility, and all beings can impact life on a large scale through small actions.

So what are totem animals?

Totem animals can be any animal under the sun. A power animal is typically with you for life and embodies the greater lessons and skills you came here to learn. A shadow totem is an animal guide that helps you to address and conquer your fears. Other animal totems may come and go throughout your life to help you with a particular thing before moving on.

Discover Your Power Animal

A power animal does not have to be a big and mighty animal at all. It doesn't even have to be an animal, it could be a bird or an insect. Everyone claims the popular animals “wolf” “tiger” etc. Any creature can be a power animal; so let go of the mindset that “bigger is better” here.

Some of the greatest power animals are the tiniest of creatures. For example, the honeybee I spoke of previously. This meager little creature who bears great responsibility for the process of life itself. Without them, the planet would be in grave danger.

Another favorite of mine is the seahorse. These unusual creatures are nothing like what they seem. They mate for life and the father bears the young! They are also diligent creatures who can work themselves to exhaustion. They come up for those with unusual roles in life, who are vibrant, hard working and truly unique.

Let go of preconceived notions and think about animals you have dreamed about in the past or ones that you have always felt drawn to. Have you seen a particular animal appear around you a lot? (not necessarily in person).

For example my power animal is the Great Horned Owl. They show up around me a lot usually nesting near my home. I also see them regularly in a variety of locations and at unusual times. They tend to catch my eye when I am wandering around in stores, or sometimes people who don't know me or my totem will send me something with an owl on it. I have found many interesting antiques and vintage items that are quite rare with these owls on them also. Wherever I wander, they tend to show up.

Before I knew that owl was my power animal I would dream of them often. When I was growing up I remember their distinct low hooting call and waking up to that and feeling a bit unnerved by it. I realized that owl has been with me on my entire journey and embodies many of the characteristics I have worked to develop over the years. Their medicine has also shown me how to conquer many fears by facing my dark side with courage and honesty. When we face ourselves in this manner; it allows us to break free from prisons of the mind and grow spiritually.

As you work to discover your totem; think back and take note of any animals you've had appear around you frequently. Come up with a list of a few animals that you think may be the right one. Look up those animals and learn about their habits and how they live. Does it resonate with you? Do you see them as having some qualities you need to develop further? Or, do you see them as sharing unique traits that you also embody? If so, this is a good sign you are on the right track.

You can also do guided meditations and other activities to attract your animal to you if you are uncertain. You can learn more about these techniques and other exercises you can use to discover your totems and draw them into your life via the Totem Wisdom link below.

I have developed an entire website geared towards Totem Animals. Learn more about how to connect with your animal spirit guides, get a free totem reading and discover fun and interesting facts about the animals you may not know at

Do you have Totem animal or animal spirit guide?

See results

© 2011 Christin Sander


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    • ChristinS profile image

      Christin Sander 2 months ago from Midwest

      Thanks so much for sharing your story Juwariyah. I'm so glad you found comfort during those times and that you continue to now as well.

    • Juwariyah 2 months ago

      I grew up in a very Dysfunctional

      home. When the abuse, which was not only physical, it verbal and mental abuse. I survived it all. Now I am a 61 year old female. During those times my mind inner eye, would visualize the following Animal Guides -

      1- @ 8yrs old, I would see a Black Stallion running so fast the Mane would be flow wildly in the wind.

      2- @ 10 to 12 yrs old, I would see and hear the Flight of a Bumble Bee.

      3- @ 14 to 18 yes old, I would see, The Prettiest and Colorful Butterflies.

      During my preschool years, Lady Bugs would always land on my clothing, I would hold my hand in its path, and watch it crawl all over my hand. I can still see these memories, also the calmness was feeling back and still feel it when ever I get stressed or angry.

    • ChristinS profile image

      Christin Sander 5 months ago from Midwest

      Hi Naomi, not crazy at all. I am a cat lover as well. Butterflies are so cool when they land on us. I've only experienced that a few times but it's very special.

    • Naomi R 5 months ago

      I have always been drawn to animals. Mostly to cats, I felt safe and protected as they slept near. I was so close to one that I could almost hear her speak at times. Crazy huh! but since I moved to ky. the butterflies are always coming around. They land on my hands and flutter about my head.

    • ChristinS profile image

      Christin Sander 5 months ago from Midwest

      It's possible to be drawn to more than one and to have several animal helpers on your path.

    • midnight 5 months ago

      I believe i have the spirit animal of a wolf but i also have some traits from a bear and an owl

    • ChristinS profile image

      Christin Sander 10 months ago from Midwest

      Thanks for the read and comment JDSSquirrel - I appreciate it. It sounds like you have a strong way with the animals - a neat gift :)

    • JDSSQUIRREL 10 months ago

      I strongly believe in spirit animals. I've always been most comfortable in nature, never fearing harm. As a teen, every Saturday was spent on an uncle's farm. I would head out into the woods knowing black bears had been spotted nearby, knowing there were 2 kinds of poisonous snakes, and other dangers. I would always say, I have the dog's with me.

      In 1995, I worked at a wildlife park. I had s bear cub I took car of. I could pick her up to move her away from danger. She left suckered bites on my stomach too. There was a bongo that would pin me to a fence to scratch his head. He never hurt me. The Burmese python never threatened me. The Pontou Donkeys followed me like puppies.

      I frequently have animals get very close to me in the woods. Recently a Red Tailed Hawk landed about a car length from me. I've had squirrels sit on a log near me.

      I'm not sure which animals are my spirit totems. I just feel right with pretty much all of them. Spiders are the only creatures of nature that bother me. Small ones don't but larger ones do.

    • ChristinS profile image

      Christin Sander 11 months ago from Midwest

      Thanks Dianne for the read and comment. Much appreciated. Squirrels are indeed very hard working, industrious creatures.

    • Dianne 11 months ago

      I have always been drawn to cats and have 2 of them. But I'm also very drawn to squirrels and there business in preparing for things. I like to be prepared ahead of time for almost everything to feel like I'm not losing control. Thank you for your information

    • Gayla 12 months ago

      I have raccoons from the woods climb in my lap or wait for a backrub. I have had four very close encounters with cougars, one had two kittens. I've had a coyote come when I called on the animals of the forest to protect me. I can walk among the deer and there is a possum that puts it's nose to my leg. It is hard to figure which one.

    • ChristinS profile image

      Christin Sander 14 months ago from Midwest

      Not necessarily Virginia - an animal spirit guide will tend to not just be an animal you like - I love cats, but don't consider them a spirit animal for me - that doesn't mean of course that you can't admire and embody the characteristics of any animal you admire. With cats they are very loving, but very independent and they tend to teach a lot about boundaries for example.

    • Virginia B. S. 14 months ago

      Thank you very much for this very interesting and informative article. I've always loved cats and admired salamanders. Does that mean that one of them is my totem animal?

    • ChristinS profile image

      Christin Sander 15 months ago from Midwest

      What a lovely story Sharon - dragonflies are indeed beautiful creatures and I'm glad you got to have that special encounter :)

    • sharonann99 15 months ago

      Hello ChristinS, I really enjoyed this article, thank you.

      Ever since I was a small child, I have been fascinated by insects, arachnids and reptiles. But the one that drew my attention most is the dragonfly. To me they symbolize freedom, independence and quick thinking. A few years ago, a rather large one hovered a foot from my face for about half a minute, staring me straight in the eyes. It was a profound moment for me. My brother and a friend of mine witnessed this, both just watched in awe.

      Keep up the good work!

    • ChristinS profile image

      Christin Sander 15 months ago from Midwest

      Crazysgirl Meditation is an excellent practice for those with ADD/ADHD and is very helpful. You can find all my advice and exercises for discovering your own spirit animals on my website and blog Go through those pages and info first and if you still have questions feel free to contact me there :) thanks for the read and comment. Christin

    • Crazysgirl 15 months ago

      I am so very interested in this topic! I really, really want to figure out what my animal spirit guide is, but I'm not sure how to go about it. They say dreams can be very helpful, but I very rarely remember my dreams, usually only if it was something very traumatic or horrific, and I can't recall any animals being in them. As far as meditating, I wouldn't know where to begin. I'm 46 and I'm ADHD, so my mind is usually going in 20 different directions at any given time lol. I've always been drawn to all animals, especially dogs and horses. I don't know if that means anything or not. Just wondering if you have any other suggestions that could help me out.

    • ChristinS profile image

      Christin Sander 15 months ago from Midwest

      Thanks for sharing your experiences Steph.

    • Steph 15 months ago

      My animals are first and foremost the dog. I believe in the happy go lucky attitude and unconditional love, but then life happens. However there are four furry babies at my front window every time I come home and it is ironic also that three of them are named after other animals. Sable, Mousie, and Bear. When either my hubby or I park in the driveway we can already hear the Song of the Dog people and once in the house the Wiggle but dance never fails to make us laugh! There's also the lizard, dragonfly, hummingbird, and sometimes the alligator, I have come to find out that (living in florida) seeing a gator means I need to watch for someone trying to blindside me or catch me unawares. Gators are all about stealth and single mindedness as you don't see them usually until they want you too.

    • ChristinS profile image

      Christin Sander 16 months ago from Midwest

      Well thank you so much for your unsolicited critique there Barbara. Fortunately, most people understand the point I was making - that not only four legged furry creatures have spiritual symbolism attached. The fact you have to be so nasty in a comment and disregard the whole piece without even reading speaks volumes to your character. So, you couldn't read it, felt the need to insult me and had to scroll all the way to the bottom to do that. My mother taught me that if we don't have anything nice to say..... Kindly troll someone else; I don't need or want your negativity. If this is the way you have to treat people you don't know then perhaps you should spend some time analyzing what is making you hurt so much that you it makes you feel justified in insulting others. Yes, even people on the internet have feelings dear. Remember we are all connected and treat others the way you yourself would like to be treated.

    • Barbara Rasmussen 16 months ago

      It doesn't even have to be an animal, it could be a bird or an insect."

      Sorry, couldn't get past that blatant error to see if there was anything of value afterwards. :(

    • ChristinS profile image

      Christin Sander 17 months ago from Midwest

      cool newbiz :) thanks for sharing your story. those are unusual totems to say the least and very neat.

    • newbizmau profile image

      Guided Abundance 17 months ago from Mobile, AL

      Through a recent meditation I found more of my Spirit Animals. At first I thought I only had the one, my beautiful Owl, but a group meditation recently showed me two more, the Camel and a mexican salamander called an axolotl.

    • ChristinS profile image

      Christin Sander 17 months ago from Midwest

      Keep up the search Christen, when you're ready it will become known to you. Thanks for the read and comment.

    • Christen 17 months ago

      I have always wondered what my power animal is- I've meet two shadow guides, Raven and Jaguar who introduced themselves to me in my dreams. But, my power animal is very elusive. Raven and Jaguar made it very clear they were here for the lesson but not to stay. So, very curious!

    • ChristinS profile image

      Christin Sander 18 months ago from Midwest

      You're welcome Lyra. Otters are amazing animals here is some specific otter information from my totem wisdom site - enjoy!

    • Lyra Shimmer 18 months ago

      I made a dream in which I meet a cute and happy otter. I remember I played with her, but I don't remeber any talk. After this dream I was convinced it was my totem, but I'd never see her again... but I don't often remember my dreams actually. Thank you for your article :)

    • ChristinS profile image

      Christin Sander 2 years ago from Midwest

      Thanks for sharing Sollux. You can have more than one and likely you have a few that speak to you.

    • Sollux 2 years ago

      It's getting really hard to tell what mine is. I've narrowed it downt to either a bat,a dove,or an owl. I have dreamed of doves most recently but I always get these strange impulses to "take off" like a raptor of sorts. It's kind of like instinct to me now it's getting really strange.

    • Snakesmum profile image

      Jean DAndrea 2 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      Interesting article - animals are fascinating, and certain ones draw us like magnets. I'm always drawn to cats, of any variety, but reptiles are a strong fascination also.

    • ChristinS profile image

      Christin Sander 2 years ago from Midwest

      Thanks for the comment and votes Kevin - much appreciated. Chickadee's are so sweet, I can see why they are your favorite.

    • The Examiner-1 profile image

      The Examiner-1 2 years ago

      That was very impressive Christin. You have written a well thought out and descriptive article about the totems. I have watched and studied birds and I have been extremely fascinated by them for many years. The chickadee is my favorite, ever since I saw the first one. I also wanted to mention that have the book by Ted Andrews (Animal Speak), which I bought at Borders (in NJ) for $20.00.

      The chickadee is my bird of power helping me find truth and knowledge, which I do (reading and learning).

      I voted this up+++, shared it and pinned it.


    • ChristinS profile image

      Christin Sander 3 years ago from Midwest

      That's awesome Helen :) Spider is actually my shadow totem, but those also have value. They help you face your fears in life and grow through them. My primary totem is the great horned owl. They even come to roost in my trees in my backyard every winter. :)

    • just helen profile image

      just helen 3 years ago from Dartmoor UK

      My totem is the spider. I have had many positive experiences with her, one being when I actually received a message which both reassured me and predicted the future 5 years down the line. That was when I received confirmation the spider really was my totem!

    • Denise Handlon profile image

      Denise Handlon 4 years ago from North Carolina

      LOL, I couldn't help but read your comment, Christin, because the 'animal totem' in the notifications caught my eye once more. Oh my, makes me wonder if I should go back to my old hubs and check for unanswered comments. Well, thanks for your response-better late than never.

      I notice that T.A. has passed away now and it makes me a bit sad, because of his contribution to this subject. He was an interesting man whom I would have enjoyed sitting down with for a chat.

      If you have not yet the butterfly hub I wrote I would be interested in hearing your comments about it. Have a good w/e.

    • ChristinS profile image

      Christin Sander 4 years ago from Midwest

      Wow, I apparently forgot to get back to the comments on this hub originally, I am doing my "one year" overhaul and apologize for my carelessness.

      Yes the Ted Andrews book is very nice. I've had the pleasure of getting a copy of it several months ago and it's very thorough.

      I love the butterfly totem! What a great symbolism it shares of growing through major challenges and changes in order to take flight.

    • Denise Handlon profile image

      Denise Handlon 5 years ago from North Carolina

      Hi Christin-I've always enjoyed working with Animal Totems and have mostly followed the Ted Andrews' book that Danette refers to called, Animals Speak. It is quite interesting if you have not yet looked at it.

      I followed your animal totem link and really enjoyed reading through your web. I thought it was very well organized and interesting.

      I think my animal totem is the butterfly. It has been significant in my life since at least age 16, probably earlier than that. My other totems come and go, but the deer seems to be with me significantly as well as my shadow totem, the spider.

      Actually, I wrote a hub about my phobia of spiders and how I overcame it.

    • Danette Watt profile image

      Danette Watt 5 years ago from Illinois

      I enjoyed this hub. You are probably familiar with Ted Andrews' books, such as Animal Speak. Voted up and beautiful

    • Alastar Packer profile image

      Alastar Packer 5 years ago from North Carolina

      Hi ChristinS. Welcome to HP. You can write well and bees are a good totem. This is a very fine short article. Are you aware of Carl Jung's forays into the collective unconscious where he would imagine himself in a cave and would then wait for an animal guide to come and take him on a journey of discovery? When I read about that many years ago I found it quite interesting but can't remember what it's called. Just a thought. Thanks.

    • ChristinS profile image

      Christin Sander 5 years ago from Midwest

      Thank you - I am very glad you enjoyed it :)

    • Binaya.Ghimire 5 years ago

      According to Hindu mythologies, Shiva is lord Pashupatinath, which literally means master of animal-kind. Perhaps no other religions have animal totems as much as in Hinduism.

      Yes of course your article was on different point of view. And I enjoyed very much

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