The wisdom and power of the animal kingdom plays a central role in shamanistic and many native religions. As global consciousness grows, more and more people are becoming interested in the concept of totem animals, power animals and animal guides, and more people are learning to tap into the wisdom of the animal kingdom in this way. But how can you identify your own power animal, and what do you do once you know who it is?
It’s Not Your Pet
Power animals are not the same as your much loved pets. You might have a cat you adore, and you may well have a deep psychic bond with your cat, but that’s a different spiritual role to a power animal. A favorite pet is more akin to a “familiar” and is part of your soul group in this incarnation. Your power animal is not an animal chosen by you either, so it won’t necessarily be the animal you want it to be. They choose us, not the other way round.
So Who is Your Power Animal?
There are a variety of ways of identifying which animal is your power animal. You may have more than one, but to begin with it’s best to focus on the main one. A shaman can help you discover your power animal quickly; if you’re experienced in meditation you may also be able to meditate with the specific purpose of identifying your power animal.
However, if neither of those options apply to you, don’t despair. Power animals try to contact us in a number of ways and if you pay attention, sooner or later you will get the message.
First, think about animals which fascinate you. Is there an animal you’ve always wanted to see, one which you learned a lot about as a child? If you could start anywhere in a zoo, where would you head first? You may sense that you are drawn to a particular animal for no rational reason, and this could be important. Remember that although we use the term “animal”, a power animal could be any kind of creature, whether an animal, a bird, an insect, a reptile or even a mythological creature.
Think about the animals you fear too. If you have a phobia of spiders, there may be a reason for that; if you can’t stand cats, that might be significant. Sometimes, we fear an animal because subconsciously we know it represents a part of us which we’re struggling to deal with, and in those cases, this “shadow power animal” can be very important in offering guidance.
Look out for repeated sightings either of the animal itself or of its picture or symbol. Animal symbols could be anywhere, from logos to tattoos, in books and newspapers, on TV, on the web. If the same animal keeps cropping up, that could definitely be the one you’re looking for.
Look out too for real live animals which seem to take an interest in you. Obviously if your power animal turns out to be a whale, it’s not going to come and visit you in your yard – but many power animals are more humble and ordinary creatures such as ladybugs, common birds or backyard critters. If the same animal seems to be watching you, or hangs around you a lot, you should definitely pay attention.
Pay attention also to animals which occur in your dreams, other than your normal pets. All of these “contacts” could be trying to introduce you to your power animal.
Working with Your Power Animal
Once you have identified your power animal, there are several ways you can work with him. If you meditate, keep a journal of meditations specifically on this animal, and see what you learn. Invite him into your dreams too.
Learn as much as you can about this animal’s perceived wisdom, also often called medicine. For example, a spider’s medicine is creativity, while bees brings us lessons about communication. Bear medicine is bravery, while deer medicine is grace. All animals have multiple lessons to each us, so read up on yours. Every time you face a problem or a choice, think back to your power animal’s medicine and see what wisdom that brings you