what is my spirit animal - owl at nighttime

What is your spirit animal? The ultimate guide (updated July 2022)

Curious about what your spirit animal is? Find out which one matches your personality, and how you can get in touch with this part of yourself.

Do you want to know what your spirit animal is and what it means? You’re not alone.

And if you’re curious about what your own spirit animal might be, read on.

We’ll explore the topic of spirit animals in general, and look at how to determine which one is right for you.

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What is a spirit animal?

A spirit animal is a supernatural being that is believed to connect with humans on a higher level: a “spiritual” level.

They are often seen as guides or protectors, and can help us through tough times and show us new perspectives in life.

In the same way, an animal guide is often seen as a powerful being that can give us a better understanding of other cultures, and the world around us in a new way.

Where does the term “spirit animal” come from?

The term is derived from the concept of animism, which is the belief that everything has a spirit.

In some ancient cultures and spiritual traditions, people believe that certain animals have the ability to connect with the spirit world. This connection can provide insight and guidance on your life path.

It usually refers to an animal that is seen as a natural born leader. They are often associated with having a deep spiritual understanding.

In some cultures, it is believed that your favorite animal is intimately connected to your true nature; some types of totem poles represent this idea.

How to find out what your spirit animal is

Your spirit animal reveals many things about who you are as a person, and can even point to your spiritual path in life.

Fortunately, there are a number of ways to find out what your animal is.

  • One way is to think about which animals you feel most drawn to. What animals do you feel most connected to? What animals do you feel represent your personality the best?
  • Another way to connect with your animal is through meditation or prayer.
  • Close your eyes and focus on your breath. Allow yourself to relax and clear your mind.
  • Once you feel calm, focus on the question, “What is my spirit animal?” See what image or message comes into your mind. You may also want to ask your spirit guide or higher power for guidance on finding your animal.
  • Others simply ask for guidance from the universe.
  • And some people may even need to journey into the spiritual realm or consult with a shaman in order to find their spirit guide.

There’s no right or wrong way to find your animal. The most important thing is that you’re open to connecting with it.

All these feelings are spot on, and there’s a reason you’ve been having them: it’s because your spirit animal is trying to reach you.

The roots: indigenous and Native American animal spirit guides

In many Native American traditions, animals were thought to be connected to different tribes on a deeper level.

Some Native Americans would often have dreams about their chosen animal, and believe that it was guiding and protecting them through life.

For example, someone who was seen as brave and powerful might be said to have a bear as their “power animal.”

In many other indigenous cultures around the world, an animal spirit is also known as a totemic animal.

Many indigenous cultures believe that we each have a specific animal that is connected to our soul, and that this animal can teach us important lessons about ourselves and the earth.

In some of those cultures, humans are even believed to have multiple spirit animals that act as guides throughout their lives.

Nowadays, the concept has become popularized outside of indigenous cultures, and many people believe that they have a spirit animal regardless of their cultural background.

How to summon your spirit animal

When you need help from your animal, there are a few steps you can take to contact it.

First, it’s important to relax and ground yourself. This will help you to be open to receiving messages from your kinship animal.

Once you’re feeling calm, try to clear your mind of all thoughts and focus on your breath.

Next, call out to your totem animal. You can do this in your mind or aloud.

Be specific about what you need help with and why you’re summoning them.

Then, open yourself up to receiving messages. These could come in the form of a thought, an image, a feeling, or anything else.

Pay attention to any signs or symbols that you see around you, as these could be messages from your animal.

Finally, thank your animal for their help and guidance.

What does the science say about spirit animals?

As mentioned above, your guide animal is an animal that represents your personal strengths, weaknesses, and traits.

It’s also an animal that you feel a deep connection with.

One’s choice of spirit animal also depends on culture. For example, a 2019 study about spirit animals in Estonia found that the wolf was by far the most popular choice (at 75%), followed respectively by the bear, deer, horse, and eagle.

For some people, their animal is one they’ve always been drawn to. For others, it may be an animal they’ve never even seen before.

For many souls, it only takes a few minutes of reflection on their favorite animal.

To make the process easier, we’ve created a list of some of the most popular spirit animals and their meanings.

Bear spirit animal: strength, courage, and tenacity

bear spirit animal

In terms of spirit animals, the bear symbolizes strength, courage, and tenacity.

If the bear is your kinship animal, then you’re likely to be a natural leader with a strong will.

You’re also likely to be very independent and have little patience for those who can’t keep up with you.

Eagle spirit animal: freedom, vision, and courage

eagle spirit animal

The eagle is often seen as a symbol of freedom, vision, and courage.

If the eagle is your chosen animal, you’re likely to be a free-spirited individual with a strong sense of self.

You’re also likely to be very courageous and have a clear vision for your life. After all, eagles are known for their keen eyesight.

Butterfly spirit animal: transformation, change, new beginnings

butterfly spirit animal

The butterfly is often seen as a symbol of transformation, change, and new beginnings.

If the butterfly is your spirit animal, you’re likely to be a very adaptable person who is always open to new experiences.

You’re also likely to be very compassionate and have a strong sense of intuition.

Cat spirit animal: independence, intuition, and self-confidence

cat spirit animal

The cat is often seen as a symbol of independence, intuition, and self-confidence.

If the cat is your spirit animal, you’re likely to be a very independent person who is in touch with their own intuition.

You’re also likely to be very self-confident and have a strong sense of personal style.

Deer spirit animal: gentleness, kindness, and innocence

deer spirit animal

The deer is often seen as a symbol of gentleness, kindness, and innocence.

If the deer is your spirit animal, you’re likely to be a very gentle and kind person. You’re also likely to be very innocent and have a strong sense of personal integrity.

Likewise, the lithe deer is also often seen as a symbol of intelligence and gracefulness.

Finally, the deer is your spirit animal, you’re likely to have a deep connection to nature.

Turtle spirit animal: wisdom, persistence, groundedness

turtle spirit animal

Wisdom, patience, and endurance are the hallmarks of the turtle.

If the turtle is your spirit animal, you’re likely to be a very wise person who is also very patient.

You’re also likely to be very determined and have a great deal of endurance. As the turtle knows oh so well: “slow and steady wins the race.”

So bear this in mind if you’re feeling like you’re stuck in a rut: like the turtle, keep moving forward even if it’s at a slow and steady pace.

Beaver spirit animal: hard worker, determination

beaver spirit animal

The beaver spirit animal is often seen as a symbol of hard work and determination.

It is also associated with family, home, and community.

The beaver spirit animal is one of the most powerful spirit animals and is known for its strength, endurance, and ability to persevere through difficult times.

You’re also likely to be very good at problem-solving and have a great deal of stamina.

Possum spirit animal: adaptability and resilience

possum spirit animal

The possum (sometimes spelled opossum) is a surprisingly popular spirit animal.

It’s often seen as a symbol of adaptability, which is associated with its ability to play dead in order to survive.

The possum is also known for being very adaptable to different environments. Possums are excellent tree climbers and are often seen hanging upside down from branches.

Possums are nocturnal animals, which means they are most active at night. They are also very good swimmers and can hold their breath for up to six minutes underwater.

The opossum spirit animal is a reminder that sometimes it is necessary to play dead in order to survive and that you should always be adaptable to changing environments.

The possum spirit guide can also help you tap into your own nocturnal abilities and swim through difficult waters.

Dolphin spirit animal: friendly and social

dolphin spirit animal

People whose spirit animal is the dolphin are often characterized as friendly, social creatures who are always up for a good time.

They’re often the life of the party, and they bring joy and laughter wherever they go.

Dolphins are also known for their intelligence and their ability to communicate with others.

Those with a dolphin spirit animal are often good at reading people and understanding their feelings.

They’re natural leaders, and they’re often able to see both sides of every situation.

“Dolphin people” are usually optimistic and compassionate, and they’re always ready to help out those in need.

Fox spirit animal: cunning and clever

fox spirit animal

Have you ever felt a special kinship with the sly fox? If so, then the fox just might be your spirit animal.

The fox is often associated with cunning and cleverness and is known for its trickster-like nature.

In many traditions, the fox is also seen as a guide or teacher, helping those who are lost find their way back to the right path.

People who identify with the fox as their spirit animal may be drawn to careers in writing or acting, and may be interested in exploring their creativity.

Praying mantis spirit animal: calm and spiritual

praying mantis spirit animal

The praying mantis is often portrayed as a calm and spiritual creature, one that is in touch with the divine.

They are said to be able to teach us how to connect with our higher selves and to live in balance with the natural world.

People who identify with the praying mantis as their spirit animal may be drawn to careers in healing or teaching, and may be interested in studying meditation and other forms of spirituality.

Polar bear spirit animal: strength, endurance, and determination

polar bear spirit animal

Polar bear symbolism in popular cultures suggests that this rugged creature is a symbol of strength, endurance, and determination.

In some traditions, the polar bear is also seen as a protector of the weak and a guardian of the natural world.

People who identify with the polar bear as their spirit animal may be drawn to careers in law enforcement or environmentalism, and may be interested in outdoor activities such as hiking and camping.

Lion spirit animal: courage and bravery

lion spirit animal

As the veritable “king of the beasts,” the lion has long been a symbol of strength, power, and royalty.

In many cultures, the lion is seen as a guardian of the underworld, and is associated with courage and bravery.

People who identify with the lion as their spirit animal may be drawn to careers in leadership or public service, and may be interested in studying history or mythology.

Cheetah spirit animal: agility and grace

cheetah spirit animal

The cheetah is often seen as a symbol of speed, agility, and grace.

In some cultures, the cheetah is also associated with hunters and warriors, and is said to be a master of camouflage.

People who identify with the cheetah as their spirit animal may be drawn to careers in athletics or the performing arts, and may be interested in exploring new places and cultures.

Elephant spirit animal: loyalty, companionship, and intelligence

elephant spirit animal

The elephant spirit animal is associated with strength, determination, loyalty, companionship, and intelligence.

If you have an elephant as your spirit animal, you may be someone who is strong-willed and determined to achieve your goals.

You may also be a loyal and reliable friend, and you may be very intelligent.

Elephants are also known for their huge size, which is also a symbol of strength. As such, people who identify the elephant as their spiritual animal usually have a great sense of strength and power.

However, they also know how to use their size and strength wisely, and they are not afraid to defend those who are weaker than them.

People with this spirit animal are usually very compassionate and caring, and they often put the needs of others before their own.

You may be able to see things that others cannot. And of course, elephants are known for their long lives, which is a symbol of wisdom and experience.

Tiger spirit animal: strength and courage

tiger spirit animal

The tiger is one of the most popular spirit animals, and it’s not hard to see why.

The tiger is a powerful animal that embodies strength, courage, and determination.

As your spirit animal, the tiger can guide you through times of challenge and help you find your inner strength.

When you connect with your tiger spirit animal, you may find yourself feeling more confident and courageous.

You may also feel a renewed sense of determination and focus.

If you’re facing a difficult situation, your tiger spirit animal can help you find the courage to face it head-on.

And this capacity can come in handy in spheres of life such as your career, your relationships, and even your personal development journey.

Of course, the tiger is not without its challenges. As a spirit animal, the tiger can also represent uncontrolled anger and aggression.

If you find yourself acting out in these ways, it’s important to take a step back and check in with your innermost feelings.

What are you really angry about? What can you do to diffuse the situation in a constructive way?

Remember, your tiger spirit animal is there to guide and support you – so trust your intuition and let the tiger lead the way.

Wolf spirit animal: a keen sense of understanding

wolf spirit animal

The wolf is often seen as a symbol of loyalty, family, and communication.

If the wolf is your spirit animal, you’re likely to be a very loyal person who values family and friends.

You’re also likely to be a good communicator.

This mysterious pack animal is also a symbol of intuition and insight. When you have a wolf as your spirit animal, it means that you are very attuned to your surroundings and you have a keen sense of understanding.

You can see things that other people can’t, and you often have a deep understanding of the world around you.

You are fiercely loyal and protective of those you love, but you also know how to have fun and enjoy life.

Much like the coyote, the wolf suggests that you are a powerful force to be reckoned with, both in terms of your physical strength and your mental prowess.

Moreover, you are confident and capable, and you always find a way to get things done.

If you have a wolf as your spirit animal, it means that you are in touch with your wild side.

You are comfortable taking risks and walking on the edge. You know how to stand up for yourself and fight for what you believe in.

You are a survivor who is not afraid of obstacles or challenges. You are always moving forward and always looking for new adventures.

Owl spirit animal: an old soul wise beyond your years

what is my spirit animal - owl at nighttime

People whose spirit animal is the owl tend to be wise beyond their years.

They’re often “old souls” who have been through a lot in their previous incarnations.

The owl spirit animal is also associated with rebirth.

Owls are nocturnal creatures, so they can also represent the dark side of your personality.

If you find yourself drawn to the owl spirit animal, it may be time to confront some of your fears and demons.

The owl spirit animal is also a symbol of change and transition.

If you’ve been feeling stuck in a rut, the appearance of an owl may signal that it’s time to make some changes in your life.

Spirit animals and totem power

In sum, a spirit animal is any creature found in the animal kingdom that has been assigned personal power by an individual: if you believe that your chosen animal has a certain quality, then it does.

This assigning of personal power is often done through a totem animal, which is defined as “an object (such as an animal or plant) serving as a symbolic representation” of a certain trait, often within a certain clan.

A “power animal” is said to be a creature that “lends its special strengths to an individual.” A wild animal, on the other hand, is defined as one that has “not been domesticated or tamed.”

Spirit animals can come from any animal species, and each one brings with it ancient wisdom.

Many of these animals have a deeper meaning, supernatural powers, or spiritual understanding associated with them.

Conclusion: why spirit animals are so popular today

A spirit animal is a kind of platonic ideal; it’s the embodiment of all the characteristics that we love and admire in an animal.

For example, a dog might be our best friend because they’re so loyal and loving. We might see ourselves as more like a bear, meanwhile, if we’re independent and tough.

Spirit animals have become increasingly popular in recent years as a way to connect with nature, and they’re also seen as a way to access our own hidden potential.

What’s important is that you connect with the animal that resonates with you the most. Your spirit animal can change over time, too, so don’t feel like you’re stuck with one for life!

No matter how you find your spirit animal, the important thing is that you connect with it on a deep level.

Once you’ve found your animal, it will be with you for as long as you need, serving as a source of strength, guidance, and protection.

Thanks for reading!

Other relevant animal articles:

Photos: via DepositPhotosPexelsUpsplash, and Pixabay

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Daria Burnett

Daria Burnett is an author, counselor, and numerologist based in Florida. She has written several books on numerology and astrology, including the recent Amazon bestseller "Angel Numbers Explained."