What Are Power Animals?
Power animals are spirit guides in animal form, valuable allies who can help you navigate through life’s challenges and transitions. Perceptive and trustworthy oracles, you can turn to them for advice and counsel on any questions or concerns. They’re exceptional teachers who’ll help you learn about both the spirit world and the natural world. Working with them on a regular basis will enhance your personal life and expand your spiritual capacities immensely.
Power animals can appear in meditations, visions, dreams, shamanic journeys, or on the earth in their physical form. They can be mammals, birds, or reptiles. Even so-called mythical animals such as unicorns or dragons can be power animals, although they have no physical representations in the material world. Since a spirit animal’s power is drawn from their instinctual and wild nature, it’s uncommon, however, for purely domesticated animals such as pets to be power animals.
The source of power for your animal spirit guide is not just a single animal, but the entire species. For instance, if your power animal is Bear, it’s not just any particular bear, but an animal spirit guide that’s representative of the entire species of bears.
Another positive effect of working with your power animal is that you’ll develop a greater appreciation for that species, and likely extend that care and respect to the entire animal kingdom. If Dolphin is your power animal, for example, your love and appreciation will likely go out to all creatures of the sea and naturally expand to include those of the land and the air. Your power animal will also teach you to use this power compassionately and in service, to heal and empower yourself and others.
Spirit Guides and Power Animals
The term, Spirit Guides, also called guardian spirits or helping spirits, describes any spiritual being that helps us in a positive way. They protect us, guide us, and provide encouragement and inspiration. We may have any number of spirit guides throughout our life, whether or not we’re consciously aware of them. Some have been with us since childhood, while others have appeared at various periods in our life, perhaps to help us through a difficult transition. Spirit guides can be religious figures, angels, ascended masters, ancestors, faeries, or, for our purposes, animal spirits.
Animal spirit guides, familiar to indigenous and shamanic cultures, are called either power animals or totem animals. Typically these terms are used interchangeably, although there are some subtle differences in meaning. Totem animal is the more widely used term, and this concept is universal to all cultures. Indigenous cultures typically have a tribal totem, another one for the “clan,” and another for the family you were born into. Contemporary cultures also have totem animals, such as ones for clubs or societies like Lions Club or the Loyal Order of Moose. Sports teams often carry animal totem names, such as the Chicago Bears or the Philadelphia Eagles. Even Christianity has the totems of the lamb and the fish.
Parents often give their child a special protective totem animal, such as a teddy bear, telling the child that it will protect them. The child believes this, and by their belief in the animal they hold in their hands they’re unwittingly calling in the spirit of that animal and its associated powers. The bear becomes a personal totem, or power animal, for the child, and this animal spirit guide may remain with them into their adult lives.
Power animals, rather than being associated with a family or a group, are specific and personal for each individual. Like totem animals, they are guardian spirits that empower us in our everyday lives. They also protect and guide us as we explore non-ordinary reality-the realm where spirits reside, just across the veil of our usual and ordinary perceptions.