Updated: Jan 26
Are you one of many who've never even heard of Spirit Animal Guides? I'm sad to say that until a few years ago neither had I - I've been completely blown away with the messages I have received from mine. Read on if you'd like to find out what happened.. honestly, it's completely uncanny!
What are they? In the Native American tradition, spirit animals are an embodied in a live animal form that we can draw upon for strength, protection and inspiration.
A natural way for people to connect with their spirit guides is through the face of a familiar animal.
Let's say you spot a fox at the end of the garden - he could've shown up to help you with a tricky situation, to remind you that you need to think and act quickly and adopt a bit of cunning to see your way through it.
Or a wolf - hopefully you won't see one of those at the end of your garden - but an image on TV, a calendar, a coffee cup - will remind you to look to yourself, to call upon your independence, to get through a certain situation. It could even be your dog giving you a meaningful reminder of what a loyal kind and friend you are when others may make you feel differently.
So here are my fabulous animal spirit guides:
I was born in 1962 and the tiger is my Chinese Zodiac Animal or 'shengxiao' which means 'born resembling' which made me laugh because I do have green-ish eyes with lots of lines around them! Having turned 60 I hope the whiskers don't follow too soon!
Your Chinese zodiac animal does not necessarily present as a spirit guide, but they are a good place to start to learn more about their strengths (and weaknesses). So do check your out if you don't already know it. And don't worry if you're the rat - they have some redeeming qualities!
The tiger represents willpower, personal strength and courage, so if this animal appears to you, it will remind you that you have these qualities, you just need to draw upon them.
My first meaningful interaction with a spirit guide was with a dragonfly, whom I saved from certain death when out swimming one day. This beautiful creature clung onto my finger for ten minutes or more whilst I gently blew the water off his face and back. One by one he shook and lifted his wings, but did not fly away. I held my finger to my face and we looked deep into each others eyes - I knew it was trying to tell me something important. It was such a powerful moment that I googled dragonfly, and lo and behold discovered they were a strong spirit animal guides, and, like the butterfly - when they appear its time for major transformation.
At this time I had been struggling with a seemingly crazy idea that I needed to experience a whole new life after turning 50. To leave husband, home and corporate career and relaunch myself into a more authentic, spiritual way of living. And somehow this encounter made me feel I should take the leap of faith.
My second experience - The spider
A couple of years after my dragonfly experience - when I did go ahead and make radical changes to my life - I was still struggling to find my purpose in my new life - I attended a Women's Circle for the first time, not sure what to expect.
When we arrived we were asked to give the reason we were there. I said "I need to find my purpose".
Half way through our gathering, the Spirit Animal Guide deck of cards was handed round - I was confident I would pull the dragonfly - and was horrified to see I had the spider. Not this cute colourful guy here either, but a monster tarantula. What happened to my beautiful dragonfly? It made me think I'd been a fool to believe the dragonfly had been an important messenger after all.
How-e-ver...drum roll here please... the first line of text on the Spider card mentioned 'dharma', which, it said, in Sanskrit, translates as Purpose! I could not believe it. The whole women's circle were stunned too. The exact same word that I had uttered 5 minutes previously. What I learned from this experience is that you do not have one particular spirit animal that guides you forever. Different animal guides show up when you need their guidance most, and the spider helps you to integrate some missing piece of your personal “puzzle” and gain an overall perspective on your life which was exactly what I needed.
She also shows you how easy it is to feel at home wherever you happen to be - by simply popping up a web - in my case unpacking my few favourite things - because at the time, I was currently without my own home and used to spend a lot of time staying with family and friends or travelling.
The Third Encounter - The Owl
This beautiful card turned up whilst running my first ever women's retreat which was a nerve wracking experience. Impostor's Syndrome was kicking in hard - was I 'qualified enough' to be talking to people about tapping into their intuition and looking for positive change? To guide them through meditations? To nurture them fully?
Anyway, after dinner I shared the Spirit Animal Guide pack and I pulled the owl, which represents knowledge and intuition - exactly what I was sharing with these wonderful women.
The owl provides the inspiration and guidance necessary to explore the unknown, to change, transform, and experience the mystery and magic of life. It gave me confidence to know that through my own difficult times I had gained some wisdom which I was passing on.
If you haven't already joined the growing community of people who are embracing spirituality and nature, I hope, like me, these beautiful animals will inspire you to do so. I believe they can help us by reminding us of the strengths that we need to call upon when in doubt. To trust our intuition to guide us towards more meaningful connections to ourselves. Take the quiz and see what you need to learn from the animal kingdom.