The Animal Within


The other night I had a dream. I was walking through a field and a wolf jumped out in front of him. This made me think about the link between animals and the spiritual world and whether my dream had been more than just coincidence.

In some cultures animals are revered for their connection to nature and shamanistic qualities. The term ‘Power Animals’ originated from The Way of the Shaman by Michael Harner in 1980. Power animals are associated with achieving success and for understanding the nature of a particular emotion. How does one go about finding one’s spirit animal? What does it mean to have a tiger or a bear watching over you as a guide?

I decided to take a couple of quizzes on the subject for entertainment value. Both my results came back as my spirit animal being a wolf. The symbolism of the wolf implies a yearning for freedom and strong intuition when it comes to following instincts. I found this revelation interesting when thinking back to the wolf in my dream. If the idea of a spirit guide is true then was there a reason it appeared?

Different animals point to different life paths. The apparition of a lion represents courage and overcoming difficulties. It may be a sign of trying to control aggressive tendencies. A hawk signifies clear vision, and a predilection with focusing on day-to-day undertakings. The bear represents a warrior spirit and pillar of strength. If one appears, it may be a calling to stand by your beliefs.

Each also comes with a negative side. The wolf may indicate a feeling of being threatened and a lack of trust. The wolverine may highlight stubbornness to the point of recklessness.

From a shamanistic point of view, honouring a power animal is important. There is more than one method of looking for your guide. Meditation may lead to an alternate state of consciousness. In certain cases more than one animal may appear. If we have found our spirit does that make us more appreciative of the species as a whole? Or is it an excuse to explain away the negative things that can happen?

Spirit animals can be an elusive construct. They may not appear until the time is right or until they are least expected. Where do they fall when stacked against modern religion? Is there any room for interpretation when believing in the rule of one God?
Perhaps it is not about their physical representation but what they mean to an individual. Spirit animals can become another way of finding meaning in a universe of uncertainty.


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