Don't Know Your Spirit Animal? Here's Exactly How To Find Out

mbg Contributor By Emma Mildon
mbg Contributor
Emma Mildon is a millennial activist, co-host of 11:11 podcast, and best-selling author of Evolution of Goddess and The Soul Searcher's Handbook.

Illustration by Jenny Chang-Rodriguez

In the Native American tradition, spirit animals are an embodied form of a spiritual guide. Spiritual guides can present themselves to us whatever way we are willing to see them, and it is natural for people to connect with theirs through the face of a familiar animal. You may find that you have one main power animal, or you could feel close to many animal spirit guides. Your animal guide(s) hold a particular quality that could help you navigate life with a bit more ease, faith, and confidence.

Not sure what your spirit animal is or what messages it's trying to send you? Here are some resources to help you find out.

A few techniques for discovering your spirit animal:

1. Pay attention to your dreams.

Our dreams are intimately connected to our waking lives, so every time you see an animal in yours, write it down the next morning. Is there any particular animal that comes up again and again? That could be your spirit animal.

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2. Think about your past connections to certain animals.

Your spirit animal may have been your favorite animal from growing up, a beloved pet, or just a wild animal that you always crossed paths with when you were younger.

3. Journal about the animals that you feel drawn to.

Sit down and do a quick 5-minute meditation to get quiet and make room for your intuition. Then, consider one animal that has a special significance to you. Ask yourself: If this animal were my guardian spirit, what lessons could it be trying to teach me about my personal power and inner strength? Spend a few minutes journaling on the answer.

Complete this exercise multiple times for as many different animals as you wish. Then, come back to your journal after a few days away and see which animal and lessons resonate the most with you.

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Once you've identified your spirit animal, you can start to listen to it.

Spirit animals teach us about ourselves. They are thought to emanate the traits and strengths that we should be honoring more in our own lives at a certain point in time. (Note: For that reason, your spirit animal may very well change over the years!) For example, if your spirit animal is a crow, you could benefit from channeling the tenacious hunter's energy inside of you.

One way to remind yourself of the qualities of your spirit animal is with a physical representation of your guide—be it a photograph, statue, or painting. In many Native American tribes, these are known as animal totems, and they are deeply sacred and passed down through generations. 

Every time you are touched by your spirit animal—whether you interact with it in real life, see it in a photo, or hear someone else talk about it—you can use it as a reminder of the importance of its unique qualities.

Some common spirit animals and their core qualities.

Here is a brief introduction to animal meanings for some common guides:

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Bear Spirit Animal

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The bear spirit animal is thought to be one of the most powerful. It is deeply emotional and feels a deep connection to the earth and the outdoors.


Butterfly Spirit Animal

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The butterfly is a symbol of transformation and development. It is incredibly adaptable and approaches all changes with ease and grace.

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Cat Spirit Animal

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The cat symbolizes curiosity, adventure, and independence. It has also mastered the art of patience.


Deer Spirit Animal

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The deer is a sensitive, highly intuitive spirit guide. It strikes a balance between confidence and success and gentleness and grace.

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Dove Spirit Animal

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The dove represents peace, blessings, and new beginnings. It is a hopeful and optimistic spirit animal.


Dolphin Spirit Animal

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The dolphin spirit guide represents playfulness and wisdom. It is a master communicator and unifier.


Elephant Spirit Animal

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The elephant (my spirit animal) symbolizes wisdom, gentleness, and spiritual understanding.


Frog Spirit Animal

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The frog is the spirit guide of healing physical and emotional wounds. It speaks to the importance of checking in with oneself and healing from the past in order to live in the present.


Fox Spirit Animal

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The fox is the guide of camouflage. It has mastered the art of detachment and growing with surroundings.


Horse Spirit Animal

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The horse is the guide of passion and drive. It's incredibly productive and goal-oriented.


Hawk Spirit Animal

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The hawk spirit guide represents perspective and the ability to see things from all sides. It is extremely compassionate and empathetic.


Lion Spirit Animal

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The lion spirit guide represents heart and courage. It's a natural-born leader with a deep sense of authority.


Mouse Spirit Animal

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The mouse represents the importance of details and scrutiny. The mouse guide reminds us not to overlook the smaller stuff in life.


Snow Owl Spirit Animal

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The owl is the spirit guide that has the ability to see what others miss. It sees the deeper meaning of things and discovers the hidden treasures in life.


Peacock Spirit Animal

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The peacock represents resurrection and reinvention. It knows it's never too late to change course.


Sea Turtle Spirit Animal

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The turtle is a highly spiritual guide that represents the journey toward wisdom, truth, understanding, and peace.


Tiger Spirit Animal

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The tiger guide represents raw feelings and emotions. It is highly intuitive and great at following instincts.


Wolf Spirit Animal

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The wolf is connected to intelligence, instinctiveness, and freedom. It follows primal instincts above all else.

Emma Mildon
Emma Mildon
Emma Mildon is a millennial activist and best-selling author, aiming to provide fun spiritual wisdom...
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