Your spirit animals don’t want you to interpret them, they want you to interact with them.
The subject of spirit guides is a touchy one for me. Some part of me just can’t fathom why half of the Western white women have Wolf or Tiger as their spirit animal, while most of us haver have seen one (except in the zoo) and don’t know anything about them, except that ‘women run with the wolves’ and – if we’re into yoga – that the Hindu goddess Durga is accompanied by a tiger.
Our spirit animals choose us
I think it’s strange that so many of us just choose our spirit animals. As if we’re filling out a friendship diary… ‘My favourite animal: eagle’. Feels a bit easy to me to say: well, I like owls, so Owl is probably my spirit animal, let’s google it’s meaning (“the owl spirit animal represents the deep connection that you share with wisdom, good judgment, and knowledge. Like the owl, which is known for its sharp vision and keen observation, you also possess insight and intuition.” – actually, I rather like this, maybe I’ll choose owl is my spirit animal now *wink emoji*). Honestly, I think our spirit animals choose us.
How to meet your spirit animals
Active imagination work, such as shamanic journeying, gives our subconscious mind – where, the way I see it, our spirit animals live – the opportunity to bring forth spirit animals, without us choosing them. The first time I went on a shamanic journey to meet a spirit animal, I met Tiger. This was a complete surprise to me, because I’m generally not attracted to big ‘scary’ animals. I’d expected my spirit animal to be more in the likes of a squirrel, deer or ladybug.
Interact, don’t interpret
At the time, of course, I did check google for the meaning of a tiger. But what I discovered in working with Tiger, journeying with her and staying open for her guidance, is that the meaning of the animal in general is not so important. More important is that we keep interacting and engaging with the animal.
I think this is a trap many of u fall into: limiting ourselves to meeting and interpreting our spirit animals, with some general information from Google or some oracle deck.
In his book Soulcraft, Bill Plotkin compares this way of (not) working with your spirit animal with opening the door for someone who rings your doorbell, taking a good look at them without saying anything, closing the door and asking yourself “I wonder what that meant?”. It’s rude. And it’s of no help to you or your spirit animals.
Multiple spirit animals
Indeed, animals, because we all have more than one spirit animal. Some might be guiding us more in different stages of our lives than others, but we often have multiple at the same time too. American psychologist Eligio Stephen Gallegos, speaks about the Personal Totem Pole, which exists of seven power animals, one for each chakra.
I’d like to invite you to meet your true spirit animal(s) through active imagination. You can ask your animals to show themselves in your dreams, just before you go to bed. You can go on a shamanic journey and ask for your animals to come to you (I explain the process of that in Dutch in another article, but I also recommend this book by Sandra Ingerman). Or let them communicate through you through automatic writing.
Then, start interacting with your spirit animals. Invite them into your meditation or a shamanic journey. Ask them for guidance, for insights, how often they want to interact with you, what they expect you to do right now. Ask them for help whenever you need it. Put a picture or little figurine of them on your altar. Create an ongoing conversation with your spirit animals. And develop a respectful two-way relationship with each animal.
I’d love to hear how this goes for you. Feel welcome to send me a DM on Instagram and share your experience or thoughts, or book a free 20-minute Dream Talk with me and I’ll help you to meet or work with your spirit animal.
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