Animals share with us the privilege of having a soul. ~ Pythagoras
Years ago while living and studying in New York I discovered I was the perfect size for designers who were trying to sell their fur creations to department store buyers. I spent most of my free time in the garment district allowing my body to be poked and measured in order to have a shot of purchasing the fur samples after the buying season was over. That’s how I started my collection of furs, being a human mannequin. I jokingly used to refer to my coats as my spirit animals.
After a recent profoundly personal journey with a Shaman in Santa Fe, I discovered that the true meaning of a spirit animal is much deeper and much more than just generic animal symbolism. Its meaning deepens our personal connection to our physical, mental and spiritual world and it offers influential insights into our subconscious mind.
Spiritual seekers throughout history recorded their interactions with animal energies. They strove to build strong relationships with animal archetypes as a way of broadening the human experience with the natural world.
A spirit animal is the belief based on the spiritual concept of the universe, and all-natural objects within the universe, has souls and spirits. An animal spirit is believed to be a supernatural power that embodies, or conveys influence empowering a person with the traits of the animal.
The phrase “Spirit Animal” refers to the shamanic idea that certain animals (or tutelary spirits) can physically and psychologically empower us. The Spirit Animal is thought to lend its wisdom, attributes, and instincts to us in times of need.
It is said that we, as human beings, possess at least one Spirit Animal or totem, in our lifetime that serves as our personal protector, guide, helper and companion. But usually, it is common for us to have many Spirit Animal helpers throughout different periods of our lives.
Totemism, a system of belief practiced by the Native American Indian people. The Australian Aboriginal people, for example, incorporate the notion that each human being has a spiritual connection to another physical being.
Discovering your spirit animal is a passage that requires more of you than simply taking an absurd online quiz. I learned that this meaningful journey is life changing and discovering your spirit animal will leave you inspired and empowered.
Your spirit animal is the embodiment of your subconscious mind and therefore cannot be chosen. It must choose you. There isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution and often it will take time before it reveals itself. Keep your heart and mind open and begin by observing nature. Be open and attentive when animals appear in your life. Meditate with the intention and reflect on any images. Be attentive to your dreams. And most importantly, what I learned is to embrace the process of journeying.
And as I journey through life, and time passes, I know that my spirit animal and my relationship with it will change. It is the embodiment of my inner self and I as I grow and am shaped by life, so will my totem.
In the end, it’s up to you to decide whether Spirit Animals are merely primitive social constructs, or whether their long history throughout many peoples and cultures points to a higher, deeper truth. Mine is serving as a much-needed inner guide helping me to glimpse into a deeper vision of my life. It is teaching me how to live with passion and genuine purpose and brings awareness and attention to the part of me that needs to be acknowledged and explored. The world around us has become increasingly uncertain and chaotic. When foundations of social systems become disoriented and misguided, there may be no better time to find and follow the pattern already set and waiting to be discovered within the individual soul.
As I left Santa Fe, I reflected on how life unfolds in mysterious ways and in the end, the connections with others on the level of the soul enrich life immeasurably and add to the dimension of the physical, the dimension of the spiritual. Spirit animal relationships will one day become quite natural and commonplace, for they represent the progressive unfolding of the beauty and promise of our capacity as spiritual beings to live a sacred life.