Spirit animals and what they mean

The history of spirit animals dates back to the beliefs of Native American Indian tribes and Australian Aboriginals. These beliefs blend Animistic and Totemistic ideals that can be found in other religious belief systems and ideologies. Animism is the belief that all plants, animals and objects have spirits or souls. Therefore, those who ascribe to this why of thinking have a moral obligation to treat all matter responsibly and with kindness.

Totemistic belief refers to the idea that each human being has a connection to another physical being. This is prevalent in many cultures. For example, The Sauk and the Osage people of North-Eastern United States assigned qualities of their clan totems through names to each of their clan members, and expected of these members to take on traits of the animal.

While many of us do not live in cultures when a spirit animal is present at a coming of age ceremony, it is still important to recognise and accept your spirit animal. Jackie Weaver, a prominent animal psychic explains “We all have guides and they actually choose to look after us. They are known as spirit guides/totem animals/power animals. To receive information is a universal language hence why we can connect to any species.” Kathe Weiser- Alexander at Legends of America has a list of questions to ask yourself if you are looking for your spirit animal:

“For some, knowing what is their totem animal is almost an innate process. It’s as if they’ve always known, inexplicably drawn to the animal or having a special feeling for the animal’s energy. For others, they wonder how to tell what their animal totem is.”

Here are some questions to ask yourself if you’re wondering what your animal totem is:

Have you ever felt drawn to one animal or another without being able to explain why? This could be any type of living creature including birds and insects.
Does a certain kind of animal consistently appear in your life? This doesn’t necessarily have to be physical appearance, it could be represented in other ways such as receiving card and letters with the same animal pictured over and over, unexplainable dreams of a particular animal, watching television and seeing the same animal featured time and time again, or, actually having the animal show up.

When you got to the zoo, a park, wildlife area or forest, what are you most interested in seeing?

Are there any animals that you find to be extremely frightening or intriguing?

Is there a particular animal that you see frequently when you’re out in nature?

Have you ever been bitten or attacked by an animal?

Have you ever had a recurring dream about a certain animal or a dream from childhood that you have never been able to forget?

Are you drawn to figurines or paintings of a specific animal?

While these questions may help you discover your own spirit animal, what does it mean? Lots of sites have in-depth guides to each individual animal and any psychic phone reading should be able to discover the attributes you share with your totem animal. For those looking for a more general overview, we have reviewed the main Spirit animal types.



From domestic house cats to magnificent leopards, any spirit animal within the feline family is guaranteed to have some similar traits. The cat family marry oppositions like action and rest, light and dark. All cat spirit animals symbolise independence, confidence and control, whether these are qualities you already live by, or are some you would like to adopt, a feline spirit animal is mysterious and inspiring. Each individual cat, whether big or small, has its individual properties, for example a jaguar represents ferocity, sensuality and passion while a lynx is known for perception, instinct and patience.

People with cat totems are often creative and independent souls, selective of their friends and comfortable in their own company. They are quick to understand social situations and rarely respond to trends or peer pressure. They are liable to become isolated if spend too much time alone.


Barn Owl

All bird totems share similar properties, such as freedom, ascension and trust in nature, and these traits are seen in everything from the eagle to the wren. While there is a massive divide in the bird kingdom – whether they are hunter or prey – all bird totems observe and therefore understand and empathise keenly. There are many sorts of birds, and each have key attributes. Ostriches are known for their cleansing, community and stability whereas quails represent love, action and abundance. Jackie Weaver speaks of her own Spirit animal “Any animal can come forward and I have an owl called Caesar who passes knowledge to me. An owl is a watcher in life so they assess situations [which is] so ideal as their thinking is very logical.

Those who respond to bird totems are normally people who can ascend to a higher plain, whether that is through an owl’s wisdom, a dove’s serenity or a magpie’s cunning. They are also keen observers who prefer to placate than argue.



Reptilian totems all share common elements of transformation, connection with earth and water and adaptability. The nature of reptiles shedding their skin is a notable feature in all reptilian spirit animals and those who take them as their totems. It shows a gift for accepting and welcoming change as well as letting go of previous mistakes. They often hold little interest in material wealth or possessions and instead focus on the people and experiences around them. Snakes are renowned for cunning, creativity and patience while the chameleon represents concealment, caution and cleansing.

People with reptile totems are those able to adapt to any environment whether physical or social, but have a real affinity for environmental issues. They rarely take centre stage in conversations but once they do decide to take action it happens rapidly.



Totems in the form of insects have been mirrored in many civilisations across the world, while the Ancient Egyptians heralded the scarab beetle as a symbol of eternity, the powerful Barberini family took the bee as their symbol when they rose to prominence in 17th century Italy. All insects represent a pro-active attitude, stubbornness and commitment. While they hold the biggest physical populations on earth, insects as spirit animals are reasonably rare and often overlooked. A cricket is known for its musicality, fortune and introspection while a spider evokes connectivity, persistence and the feminine. Christie Michelsen, a spirit animal oracle describes spiders as one of the emotionally diverse spirit totems “Spiders. They evoke our wondering admiration, and our horror, both. On the one hand, we have the miraculous, ethereal beauty of a spider web, like a garment woven for angels. On the other, a horrifying entity creeping into our nightmares, or emerging from the darkest imaginations of a Tolkien or a J.K. Rowling”

Those attached to insect totems are often hard working and positive people with an upbeat attitude. They are usually busy people who lead full lives and yet still find time for others. They usually have large friendship groups and forthright attitudes.

Mythical Creatures


Mythical creatures are rarely life-long spirit or totem animals, instead they act as a guide to usher you through current trials you are facing. The main similarity between the different spirit animals of mythical origins is our lack of understanding about them. While many animals have a mix of both positive and negative traits, they often work in harmony with humanity and have understood or adapted to a certain degree, this is not the case with mythical creatures. While the culture you grew up in often informs your attitude to mythical animals, such as Western dragons being vicious villains whereas Eastern cultures revered them as a sign of prosperity and good fortune.

If a mythical creature has revealed itself to you, then it is rarely for a long duration, instead it is to overcome the current problems you are encountering.

Image Credit: Gabriel White Jitze Couperus Tod Baker Chris Burke Marben

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