In life, we tend to gravitate towards things that we like and avoid things that we don’t. While this is usually an instinctual thing that can help keep us alive, there are fundamental lessons in both the things we avoid and the things we are drawn to.
When I was first introduced to spirit animals, I assumed mine would be my favorite animal. I later found out that this isn’t always the case. Our spirit animal is a symbolic representation of our life that has certain behaviors, tendencies, and patterns that we can learn from in order to better understand ourselves.
Finding Your Spirit Animal
That is why it was suggested to me that perhaps the spirit animal that would serve my growth the most was an animal that I was afraid of. Now there are many reasons why we may be afraid of an animal.
Perhaps you walked into a large spider web as a kid, were bit by a dog, or in the case of batman; had a negative experience surrounding bats.
Whatever your experience, there is typically an animal that makes your hair stand on end and all of your senses turn on, making your very alert when you suspect it might be around.
This animal may be a good one for you to explore in a symbolic way. For example, if you are terrified of spiders, you may want to think about what makes a spider a spider.
They seem to have their own intelligent way of setting up webs in high traffic areas so that they are most likely to succeed. Maybe on some level, there is a lesson about seeing and seizing opportunities that can be learned from our little friend.
Once you observe and respect your spirit animal you may find that you learn a lot of symbolic lessons for your own life.
In my case, I was bitten by a dog when I was a young child, resulting in a fear of dogs and the need for reparative surgeries to my face. This particular dog was an Alaskan malamute which looks a lot like a wolf, especially to my young 5-year-old brain. What always baffled me is that on some deep level I was in awe of and attracted to the wolf.
So my spirit animal was a mix between something I was drawn to out of respect and also a bit afraid of because of past experiences.
I found in my own life a pattern of trying to be a misunderstood lone wolf in my own way. This did NOT serve my highest good or my ability to thrive in society.
That is when I decided to try and use the community aspect of the wolf to learn how to work with people instead of trying to do everything on my own.
These lessons, that were patterned by the wolf created an opportunity for me to learn and grow into a better version of myself.
Learn About Your Guide
If you feel that you have found a possible spirit animal for yourself and don’t know a lot about that species, then check out some documentaries or use a guide to help you better understand what you Spirit Animal is all about.
Once you feel fulfilled on that front then open yourself up to the next lesson and see if another animal floats into your life and catches your attention.
On some traditions, you would go out into nature and then see if your path was crossed by any animals. In those cases, the animal would be seen as a message about something going on in your life right now.
For example, if you see a hawk soaring high above it may be a reminder to look at the big picture or to see life from a higher plane. Sometimes it means that a spiritual path is right for you or that you should try and look for a sense of meaning bigger than yourself and be of service to that cause.
As life unfolds in front of you take the time to observe it and as you learn to see symbolic meaning you may find that it becomes easier to understand yourself and become a better friend, family member, and member of society.
Images courtesy of Patricia Ariel