Updated: Dec 2, 2019
One of my favorite tools as a Shaman is working with spirit guides and power animals. I love taking people on Shamanic Journeys where they can meet their own power animal because it’s such a beautiful way to connect people with guidance, healing, and messages. It’s comforting to know that you have help from the spirit realm, and receiving messages from those guides can create opportunities for healing, growth, acceptance, and confirmation of the path you’re on.
The term “power animal” is typically associated with the traditions of Shamanism. However, many indigenous cultures look to animals as guides, and for messages. A power animal is an animal that stays with you for long periods of time, typically your whole life. Power animals help with journeying, can help you know what your strengths are, and also give you pointers for what to work on or look out for. Those who are inclined to do spiritual work may call on their power animals to help them with specific situations, ask for protection, or ask for guidance.
While a power animal typically stays with you for long periods of time, you will likely still have other spirit helpers who work with you for shorter periods of time, or for a specific purpose. For example, I have specific helpers I call on for protection or courage, another for healing work, and a different helper when I am teaching. Spirit guides may take animal form, but there are lots of other guides and helpers such as angels, archangels, ascended masters, or guides that take human form.
If you aren’t already in contact with your spirit helpers, I have found many people find it easier to connect with an animal first. It feels like there’s less pressure to connect with an animal rather than a guide in human form, and we are used to the symbolism associated with animals. Sometimes you may already be aware of the connection you have to that animal- perhaps it’s an animal you’ve always found fascinating or have had many experiences with in real life. Sometimes though your power animal may come as a complete surprise to you! If the animal is a surprise, and perhaps an animal that you wouldn’t have consciously chosen as your animal, please remember that each animal has specific abilities that are unique and beautiful. I once worked with someone who had a dung beetle as a guide, and at first that seems rather off-putting. However, when you look closer at the meaning of a dung beetle there is a much more beautiful message. Dung beetles take what no one else wants and creates something beautiful from it, a true message of creation and sustainability. In the lifetime of a beetle, they go under a major transformation when they grow wings and can then fly. When you apply this message to your own life, it feels far more powerful. Who wouldn’t want the ability to create something from nothing, then create a beautiful metamorphosis and gain the ability to fly?
My preferred method of introducing people to their power animal is through a guided Shamanic Journey. Read more about Shamanic Journeying here! If you’d like more information about power animals, spirit animal guides, and working with these energies then I highly recommend the books Animal Spirit Guides by Steven D. Farmer and Animal Speak by Ted Andrews.