Spirit attempts to communicate with us in a number of different ways and it’s up to us to become better listeners, no matter how these messages come to us. One of the most accessible ways is through animals. Whenever an animal shows up in an unusual way or repeatedly in a short space of time—whether it’s the physical animal or a symbol of an animal—it’s one way Spirit tries to reach us and teach us.
When this happens there’s a lot more going on than you might expect. In these instances it’s not just the animal or the life force that animates that particular animal, but much bigger than that. The oversoul of that species has sent a representative to offer you a message, to resonate with your spirit-consciousness and offer you guidance along your spiritual path.
How To Identify an Animal Spirit Guide
I’ve had many experiences where Spirit has come through with messages in this way and have heard many stories from others of similar occurrences. Just recently while preparing to attend a men’s group I walked out to the backyard and heard a flutter of wings coming from the trees in the neighbor’s yard. At first I thought nothing of it as it’s not unusual to see crows flying about here and there. Then in a flash a different type of bird appeared and much to my surprise and delight, it turned out to be a hawk! It was the first time ever that one showed up in our yard, so it certainly qualified as unusual. The hawk flew to the Arbutus tree directly behind the house and landed on the branch for a few moments, during which—I swear—he looked directly at me.
He didn’t stay long, but long enough for me to know he was delivering a message. I closed my eyes, took a deep breath, and asked, “Hawk brother, what’s your message?” Once you ask the question of the spirit animal (in this case Hawk spirit), it’s important to pay attention to everything that happens following, including what you see, hear, or feel.
In this case I immediately heard my inner voice, “Stay focused and pay attention for other signs,” which turned out to be completely relevant for the upcoming men’s group. My friend and I had offered to facilitate this particular session and since the group had been meeting for some time now, we both agreed that it was time to push the edges a bit further. We were confident the processes would open the way for greater honesty and depth.
Look For Messages From Your Spirit Animal Guide
I was driving to the group thinking about what Hawk had said when I pulled up to a stoplight and looked to my left. On the side panel of the U-Haul truck two feet away from me was an image of several snakes with reference to a website to “learn more about garter snakes and other animals.” I was immediately reminded of the second part of Hawk’s message—being alert to other signs—and once again asked for the message, this time from Snake spirit. “There’s to be significant healing in the group.” Okay, got it. That boosted my confidence that all will go well in the men’s group today and helped me relax and just show up and stay present and focused.
Without going into detail, the processes we introduced served the purpose. I was very thankful for Hawk and Snake spirit sending their representatives to me. Hawk spirit in the form of a physical hawk and Snake spirit via the symbols on the side panel of the truck, with several images of snakes as if to add to the power of that message.
What To Do When You See Spirit Animals
If you should have a similar experience of encountering an animal in physical or symbolic form as I did, there are a few things you can do to understand and interpret the message. Here are some suggestions that I’m sure you’ll find helpful.
- Close your eyes, take a couple of nice, comfortable deep breaths, and in your mind state, “Please tell me or show me the message,” then pay attention to any immediate thoughts, images, or dialogue. Trust what you get, whether or not it makes immediate sense. It will later.
- Think of the characteristics of the actual animal. That will give a clue to the spirit animal’s “medicine.” For instance, a hawk has incredible eyesight and when scanning the horizon with his broader vision, when something gets his attention, he focuses. So one of Hawk spirit’s medicines is the gift of focus and presence.
- Refer to any books or other devices that give you some ideas as to the possible message, such as my book Animal Spirit Guides or the new condensed –and- revised Pocket Guide to Spirit Animals.
- Search the Internet for terms such as spirit animals, power animals, totem animals, and so on to discover message of the particular spirit animal of your inquiry.
No matter the possible interpretation or meaning of the message, be sure that it somehow resonates with your inner knowing and your heart. The more you listen, the more you will hear. Most of all have fun with this and be sure to thank the animals and the spirit animals in whatever way you choose!
Dr. Steven D. Farmer, Ph.D., is a shamanic practitioner, Soul Healer, ordained minister, and licensed psychotherapist.
Jaguar’s Wisdom Includes:
- Seeing the roads within chaos
- Understanding the patterns of chaos
- Moving without fear in the darkness
- Facilitating soul work
- Empowering oneself
- Moving in unknown places
- Psychic sight
Crow/Rook’s Wisdom Includes:
- Guardian of the place before existence
- Ability to move in space and time
- Honoring ancestors
- Ethics and Ethical behavior
- Carrier of souls from darkness into light
- Working without fear in darkness
- Guidance while working in shadow
- Moves freely in the void
- Understands all things related to ethics
Wolf’s Wisdom Includes:
- Facing the end of one’s cycle with dignity and courage
- Death and rebirth
- Spirit teaching
- Guidance in dreams and meditations
- Instinct linked with intelligence
- Social and familial values
- Outwitting enemies
- Ability to pass unseen
- Skill in protection of self and family
- Taking advantage of change
Rabbit/Hare’s Wisdom Includes:
- Paradox and contradiction
- Living by one’s own wits
- Receiving hidden teachings and intuitive messages
- Moving through fear
- Strengthening intuition
Dolphin/Porpoise’s Wisdom Includes:
- Knowledge of the sea
- Patron of sailors
- Communication skills
- Understanding the power of rhythm in your life
- Use of breath to release intense emotions
- Water element magick
Elephant’s Wisdom Includes:
- Connection to ancient wisdom
- Removal of obstacles and barriers
- Using education opportunities
Squirrel’s Wisdom Includes:
- Ability to solve puzzles
- Quick change of direction
- Storing for the future
- Balance in giving and receiving
- Power of rest during times of non-movement
- Avoiding danger by climbing to a higher place
Giraffe’s Wisdom Includes:
- Sees far into the future
- Ability to reach things that are unreachable to others
- Ability to remain above the fray
Horse/Pony/Mustang’s Wisdom Includes:
- Freedom to run free
- Control of the environment
- Awareness of power achieved with true cooperation
- Interspecies communication
- Expanding one’s own potential abilities
- Friendship and Cooperation
- Astral travel
- Guardian of travelers
- Warns of possible danger
- Guide to overcoming obstacles