Spirit Animals

Have you ever seen an animal you don’t ordinarily see, like a fox, and perhaps the very next night, another one? Or have you asked for a sign that a loved one who has passed is still with you, and subsequently had a dragonfly land on you, and then began seeing them everywhere?

Native Americans were very in tune with nature, believing that certain animals, birds or insects come into our lives at certain points for a reason. As messengers from beyond. Sometimes to give us comfort, other times to tell us something we need to know, or to validate something we have already been feeling. If you have had a curious encounter with a particular animal you can Google the name of the animal together with “Spirit Animal” or “Animal Totem” and a few sites will pop up to tell you what message, or “medicine” that animal brings. This is not to say, however, that if a squirrel runs in front of your car you need to go home and do a Google search for squirrels! Rather, you will just “know” when you have been visited by a Spirit Animal. You will know by the way they appear, or when they appear (when grieving, or at an unexpected moment). Perhaps the sudden frequency of their appearance will feel strange - in a good way - and you can’t shrug it off. Your spiritual side will wonder why.

One of my most profound Spirit Animal encounters happened after my father died. Cardinals began to appear, seemingly out of nowhere, shortly after he passed. Usually it was when I was missing him terribly. First I was startled by a flash of red, as a cardinal flew right across my windshield, almost touching the glass. Not long after that I went for a hike in the woods, sat down, and a cardinal flew all around me, landed in the tree above and chirped loudly the entire time I sat there. That’s when I thought “OK, there is something to this! Someone is trying to tell me something!”. When I got home, I checked the meaning of Cardinal. Imagine how touched I felt - literally touched from beyond - when I discovered that red (male) cardinals mean “paternal love”. Wow.

Here is my favorite personal Animal Spirit story. I had asked for a sign as to whether or not I should take a leap of faith, follow my heart, and quit my job to devote my time to spiritually guiding others. I asked for a sign, but not just any sign: I asked to be shown something “extraordinary in nature”. I sort of put it out of my mind for a couple days after not having seen a zebra walking along the edge of the highway, or something equally unlikely. Well, exactly three days later I pulled into my driveway and heard the flutter of wings. I could not believe my eyes when a gorgeous white dove flew down from the roof of my condo building to the pavement right beside my car. It stayed there for awhile and then flew up to the entrance. I was so awestruck I took a photo to record the experience. I got my answer, and I haven’t looked back!

There is so much wonder in nature, and so much to be learned if we only take notice. It is too easy to lose our very real connection to nature when most of us spend our time connected to the internet or indoors. Pay attention to the hawk you saw land this morning; perhaps he was letting you know that you need to trust your intuition more, or your spiritual gifts need to be nurtured and used. In addition to doing a Google search for Spirit Animal meanings, I would recommend a book by Ted Andrews called “Animal Speak”. It is available on Amazon. Blessings!

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