Spirit, Totem, & Power Animal Meanings

Click on the buttons below to find the symbolism and meanings of the Spirit, Totem, and Power Animal you’re searching for. Scroll down below the buttons or click to learn more about Animal Spirit Guides. More animal spirit articles are added every week so check back often!

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If you’ve wandered onto this page you’re likely looking for spiritual juju which can only be found in the energies of the animal kingdom.

You’re not alone. Spiritual seekers through all of history recorded their interactions with animal energies and medicine. They strove to build strong relationships with animal archetypes as a way of broadening the human experience with the natural world and its gifts.

Spirit, Totem and Power Animals are messengers from the world of Spirit, the collective conscious, Source, etc.

They show up in our awareness when the time is right, gifting to us a gentle reminder that we are connected us to their divine energy and can call upon it to achieve our highest and best life.

More importantly, these creatures become teachers, guides and advisors when we most need it.

Any living thing can potentially become a Spirit, Power or Totem Animal because of the inherent symbolism in that creature.

Let’s take an example. When you think of a bird you probably immediately think of flight. So from the get-go the bird spirit speaks of movement, often quick.

Take this one step further.

What about the color of the bird, the direction in which it’s flying, whether or not it tweets etc. Each of these simple things gives the bird more potential symbolic value.

As you learn about spirit animals, power animals and totems you will begin discovering many of these values and how they pertain to not just your spiritual path, but also daily living.

As you work with spirit animal guides you’re able to tap into a whole new level of awareness of the world in which we live and our own inner spiritual landscape.

This landscape is where the energy of spirit creatures manifest, bringing assistance, insights, and aptitudes that you need at that time.

Tribal animism went one step further, however, and began thinking of animals as messengers and symbols from Spirit that foretold of something or provided guidance.

That’s how Animal Totems and Spirit Guides began. If the local village Shaman saw a stag in a dream the night before a hunt, he might tell the hunters that Stag Spirit has shown him a successful expedition.

Spirit, Totem, & Power Animal Definition – and Familiars, too!

Most books and websites refer lump Spirit, Totem, and Power Animals together and refer to them simply as “Spirit Animals”.

Through my research and personal experience, I don’t find this to be an accurate description of the role these beautiful and giving creatures play in our lives here on Earth.

Certainly, the symbolism, meanings, and sacred messages that we perceive come to us from the animal world are a conglomeration of ancient myths, observation of animal behavior, stories of personal interaction, etc.

In this, any part of an animal’s “symbolism” could be applied to their definition as a Spirit Animal, Totem Animal, and Power Animal – and that of your “Familiar” as well.

It is up to us to determine what and when this symbolism and meaning makes sense in our present moments, past experiences, and future endeavors.

However, that said, the lessons from each type of animal spirit guide – how they affect us energetically – are very different. Applying those lessons and energies are, also, different processes.

And we haven’t even begun to talk about animal communication! LOL

Below are definitions for Spirit, Totem, and Power Animals – and Familiars.

Spirit Animal Definition

Perhaps a particular animal keeps appearing in a dreams, TV shows, advertisements, coming up in conversations, etc. This is your Spirit Animal.

Effectively a Spirit Animal represents characteristics or abilities you currently have, that you hope to develop, or something you should start working toward.

Returning to the example of the bird, perhaps you’re about to move, or perhaps you need to loosen up and become a little more liberated (spread your wings!).

Spirit Animals also deliver messages regarding persons, places and situations in our lives. “Do or don’t marry”, “Go for that new job”, “Slow down or speed up”, etc.

Totem Animal Definition

You know that Flamingo collection that keeps growing because you just can’t help yourself? You must buy every Flamingo anything you can lay your hands on?

Yep, that’s a totem.

It’s an animal whose energy simply “speaks to your spirit”.

Native American tradition tells us that your totem stays with you, or your family, for life. As you grow and change spiritually, the meaning of that totem likewise grows in your awareness.

Power Animal Definition

In indigenous cultures, elders teach children how to “become” a tiger when they are hunting food, “become” the otter when they need to be more playful, “become” the hawk so they can have a better overall view of a situation and see things more clearly.

This is Biomimicry, Biomimetics and what we label as “calling in your Power Animal“. Because we are all connected and because humans are, in fact, animals, each of us houses the knowledge and power of all living things in our DNA.

Hence, we can invoke or call forth the mental, emotional and physical energy of any animal and do so at will.

Animal Familiars Definition

Another animal spirit connection is the Familiar.

Unlike other types of animal guides, this is usually a living creature that bonds closely with a human counterpart and assists with metaphysical pursuits.

The cat that rolls around the floor every time you cast a circle is very likely your familiar. The bond between you and your familiar is often very deep and one built on respect.

Familiars are not simply “pets”. They are “animal soul mates”.

Animal Spirit Guides are Beautiful gifts

So, what animal spirit is calling to you? What does it mean?

Maybe you’re glimpsing a piece of your personality that’s developing or needs restraint. Or that creature can be a manifestation of emotions and situations of import.

Then too, perhaps you have meet a spirit guide or teacher that will take you on a merry chase toward enlightenment.

Look up the animals speaking to your heart here in my Spirit, Totem, and Power Animal Meanings and Symbols Guide.

In the meanwhile, release your inner Beast and use these lessons from nature to help you grow closer to nature and your very own soul!

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15 Responses

  1. Flora

    43 years ago I went into the kitchen at night to make a cup of tea – I suddenly felt I was not alone
    I looked behind me and there was this Huge Black Dog standing very still just looking at me – I called out to my husband and the dog silently turned and left! The next morning my son was born – I always remember this on his birthday and wonder if there was any meaning to this strange encounter?

    • Hello, Flora;

      That’s certainly a Spirit Animal encounter to remember! Dogs are harbingers of unconditional love as well as protection of home and hearth. The color black symbolizes mystery – the unknown. To figure out what the Dog’s spiritual message was, maybe take some time and reflect on the subject of unconditional love. Have you received it through the last 43 years? Have you given it? To remember anything 43 years later means this Dog left a big impression. Maybe now is the right time for you to truly receive its wisdom.

      Hope that helps.

      Stay wild,

  2. adele

    my graqnd daughter(some huron decent) is having dreams reguarding a older indian woman with walking stick and feather.she comes with a indian warrior hunter and younger girl, they want her to follow them sometimes and to dance with them what do u make of this the warrior never leaves her side

    • Hello, Adele;

      It sounds to me like your granddaughter is meeting her ancient tribal ancestors in the aethers. In the dreamstime, we can easily travel through time and space. So, when your graddaughter is asleep she ‘journeys’ and meets her guides and/or soul family. She’s a very lucky young lady to have an Indian warrior watching over her!

      Hope that helps.

      Stay wild,

  3. Lori

    I’ve had lost a child 31 years ago of SIDS & had 3 Deaths in my family
    My father in 08 he talks to me & a red breasted bird comes & sings to me
    I lost a close Aunt of my husbands from cancer she moved here and believed in angels & Pennies from heaven iam finding pennies all the time, her husband our uncle died in Jan 2014 I helped him he had Alzheimer’s & Dementia for years & he helps me with my car & ‘we lost my Husbands Dad 11/23/15 died of dementia I was his hospice nurse & always promised him I would not put him into a home
    He came back also as a Bird!! Birds seem to be my spirits & my love of Dogs are my comfort

    • Hi, Lori;

      Please accept my apology. I normally respond much faster. I was on a mini vacation and, then, Hurricane Matthew decided to visit me in Florida. 😉

      Thank you for the work you do in this world. Hospice nurses are angels on earth and I honor you. Loss is so difficult, especially when it comes in multiples. I’m sending you a ginormous hug and asking all your animal spirit guides to surround you with tons of love and support.

      Stay wild,

  4. Kei Lewis

    My mom feels/sees images of a 4 legged furry animal – maybe a dog. It laid in the bed and threw his paw across her, She is going through trying times right now. Her and my dog are besties (my mom is 72 and home with my GSD everyday). What would you say about this?

    • Hello, Kei;

      I’m unsure what kind of insight you’re seeking. However, it sounds like your mom is truly connected with her Spirit Animal at a very deep soul level. How cool!

      Hope that helps.

      Stay wild,

  5. Danielle

    Last night I was getting into the car and a long-haired, grey cat calmly walked over and hopped into the car. It seemed happy and well-fed, clearly not a stray, and i took a few minutes to usher the cat out. It was beautiful and I got a good feeling about it. I’ve been going through a lot lately in my relationship with my significant other, so I’m wondering what message this sweet kitty might have had for me.

    Thank you and have a great weekend!

    • Hello, Danielle;

      First, I’m sending tons of good energy to you and your significant other! I sure hope all is soon healed.

      In general, Cat as a Spirit Animal is about helping us learn independence and how to set boundaries. However, Cats offer huge lessons in trust. In general, Cats aren’t really trusting animals. So, because kitty jumped in your car – that’s a big sign that you are a trustworthy and loving human! That said, Cats are very clear communicators when it comes to ‘drawing lines in the sand’ – like when one minute you’re petting them and they are purring but out of nowhere they bite you! LOL

      The color grey is a middle of the road color. So, perhaps kitty came to let you know that balance is needed at this time and setting clear boundaries can help that come about.

      Hope that helps.

      Stay wild,

  6. Kacie

    Hi Bernadette,
    This is all so interesting to me. I have never spent much time seeking out or learning about the impact animal spirits bring to our lives, if we are accepting enough to allow them to guide us. So I am learning a lot from your site!
    My mother passed away last year on November 3 and over the course of this past year I have grown a lot through my grieving and have found a strong desire to get closer to the spirit world around me and it continues to grow. My husband and I found out I was pregnant with what would have been our first child in Aug. Since the day I found out I have seen at least 1 butterfly almost every single day! Unfortunately, about 3 weeks ago we found out I had an early miscarriage. I still see the butterflies everyday but before (while I was still expecting) they were always yellow and now they come in different colors. I feel like they come to me as signs from my Mom just letting me know she is still here for me but now I’m wondering if maybe there is some deeper meaning I should look into.
    What do you think?

    • Hello, Kacie;

      Please accept my condolences for your family’s losses.

      Here’s what I think about your seeing so many Butterflies…

      While Butterflies are one of the most archetypal symbols for transformation and transition, they have an even more amazing symbolism. See, when Butterflies migrate somehow generation after generation flies to exactly the same tree/spot as their ancestors. Even when they get blown off course, Butterlfies find their way back to nest in the same sacred home of the preceding generations. Kacie, I believe alllll these Butterfly experiences you’re having is your mom’s way of letting you know she is always with you – that she has your little one safe with her and they will both be there when you transition to the other side. I say this because those of us who are Lightworkers – who work in the Woo Woo biz – believe that heaven, the other side, beyond the veil, et al is our ‘true home’.

      Sure hope that helps.

      Stay wild,

      Butterfly Spirit Totem and Power Animal

      Butterfly Spirit, Totem, and Power Animal

  7. Kristin

    Hi Bernadette
    I just came across your page and was reading through everyone’s experiences with their animal guides and was interested in finding out whether its possible to have more than 1 animal spirit guide at the same time. I’ve always loved big cats, especially tigers. I was flipping through an animal spirit guide card deck once and silently asked what my spirit animal guide was and the 1st card I picked up was the tiger card. Coincidence perhaps? Also I’ve always loved and felt drawn to wolves as much as tigers and was told once by a psychic that my spirit animal was a wolf…..I’m confused as to which 1 it is now!

    • Bernadette King

      Hello, Kristin;

      LOL That was no coincidence! That was Tiger energy pouncing on you to trust! Now, that said, we can have more than one Spirit Animal. Also, sometimes, people get mixed up between the definition of a Spirit, Totem, and Power Animal – that’s why all my artwork and articles refer to each, separately.

      BTW, I’m a professional psychic medium and I can tell you that only YOU can determine what your Spirit Animal(s) is/are. So, if Wolf resonates with you – cool! If you prefer to purr rather than growl – groovy! Stay with the big Cats! 😉

      Hope that helps!

      Stay wild,

  8. Julian

    Hi Bernadette!
    First of all let me just say I was very amazed when I found your website — it’s really good! Now for the question haha. I once saw a bat outside of a classroom in our school. It was black and had reddish eyes. I didn’t notice it much at first, but some of my friends started poking it with a stick and it woke up (this was in the late morning). I suddenly felt very attached to the bat and told them to cut it out (a bit harshly, I recall😆) but the bat flew away nonetheless. I was oddly a bit troubled about this. I couldn’t stop thinking about it for days. Any advice? Thanks!

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