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Wellness

All About Spirit Animals and How to Find Yours

“Animals are ever-present in our lives, whether they’re our beloved household dog or the roaming coyote that we glimpse every now and then. Yet, we often lack an understanding of their symbolic nature and the key characteristics that define them. Traditional shamans believe that spirit animals or totems are revealed to guide and protect their charges throughout a journey. They offer influential insights into our subconscious mind and carry meaningful messages if you are willing to listen. Your spirit animal is meant to serve as a guide and bring attention to parts of your life that need acknowledgement and exploration” (source: gaia.com).

I’ve never actually looked into knowing my spirit animal, nor how to find mine. I just assumed that your spirit animal is the animal that shares common characteristics to you, but it’s kinda hard to draw connections between animals’ biological behavioral patterns and your quirky personality.

So I started by taking “what’s my spirit animal” online quizzes. The first result from spiritanimal.info claimed I am a deer because I’m “highly sensitive and have a strong intuition” (which is pretty true), and I deal with challenges well (not at all true). However, quizony thinks I’m a fox because I observe and plan ahead, and I notice everything, which is more attuned to my OCD than my personality, cause I’m not sly. But then, brainfall claims I’m a whale, because I “have a strong inner voice” and strong bonds with others, which is more optimistic than realistic. Ok maybe online quizzes aren’t ever reliable, so of course I’m going to get a different animal each time.

But I wanted a solid way to find someone’s spirit animal, so the next thing I thought of were zodiac signs. Let’s say that I believe in astrology for a second and claim that because zodiac signs are based off our personalities aligned with the stars, then perhaps the behavior of some animals can be connected to our zodiac signs.

Henceforth, combining results from three websites (thethings, bookallsafaris, and soulonsoul), these are the spirit animals for the zodiac signs:

Aries (Mar 21 – Apr 19): hawk, cheetah, and tiger

These three animals are attributed because aries are passionate, independent, loyal, confident, and spontaneous. They seek competition, have high energy, and never back down from a challenge.

Taurus (Apr 20 – May 20): beaver, polar bear, and wolf

Taurus are explained to share many traits with these animals, including the ability to overcome barriers, having endless patience and time, intelligence, and above all, the desire for being in control of your life, work, and actions.

Gemini (May 21 – Jun 20): deer, fox, and black panther

The traits that lead to these animals are being witty, energetic, smart, conversationalists, entertainers, curious, superficial, and having a crowd-pleasing exterior to protect them through life.

Cancer (Jun 21 – Jul 22): woodpecker, tortoise, and dog

Cancers are nurturing, empathetic, caring, sensitive, compassionate, loyal, and sometimes possessive.

Leo (Jul 23 – Aug 22): salmon, lion, and peacock

These animals are charismatic, enthusiastic, different from the norm, loyal, excessively proud, dominant, outgoing, and self-centered.

Virgo (Aug 23 – Sept 22): bear, mandrill, and eagle

Virgos are perfectionists, independent, smart, shy, generous, skeptical, lazy, and intelligent, much like these animals.

Libra (Sept 23 – Oct 22): raven, gray wolf, and panda

As a libra, I know we love balance and being team players, and are smart, loving, peaceful, advice-givers, easygoing, caring, patient, and relaxed.

Scorpio (Oct 23 – Nov 21): snake, African elephant, and lion

These animals are collectively mysterious, secretive, passionate, helpful, funny, leaders, determined, resourceful, and intimidating.

Sagittarius (Nov 22 – Dec 21): owl, Przewalski’s horse, and cat

Being driven, energetic, impulsive, easygoing, sensitive, impatient, curious, and craving freedom are traits that make these animals linked to sagittarius’.

Capricorn (Dec 22 – Jan 19): goose, elephant shrew, and horse

Ambition, independence, passion, sense of humor, generosity, self-discipline, and responsibility are characteristics these animals share with capricorns.

Aquarius (Jan 20 – Feb 18): otter, dolphin, and bear

The aquarius community is found to be playful, creative, smart, quirky, popular, devoted, shy, introverted, and protective.

Pisces (Feb 19 – Mar 20): wolf, seahorse, and fox

These animals are graceful, generous, thoughtful, passionate, independent, gentle, friendly, and wise.

So after reading about how animals supposedly have characteristics that align with the traits associated with zodiac signs, I still felt skeptical. For the most part, most of these characteristics are so broad that it’s hard to tell. Sure I fit into the characteristics for an animal under my zodiac, but I might fit into another better for a totally different zodiac. And a lot of the traits are repeated, like smart, independent, and loyal. And some animals can fit into more than one zodiac, like the lion.

I decided to look into spirit animals more, for a better way to find your specific animal, and spiritanimal.info was extremely helpful in this search. Combined with more tips from gaia, here’s an actual step-by-step guide on how to find your spirit animal.

Let the animal choose you

This isn’t a matter of deciding which animal you like the most, so it doesn’t matter which you think is the cutest or most aesthetically-pleasing. Your spirit animal will come to you, either in a dream or meditative state, or in the physical world. This doesn’t mean a squirrel running up to you on the sidewalk, but seeing images, thinking of memories, and recurring sight of the same animal.

Observe nature

Do not build up walls between you and the natural world. Listen to the wind instead of your music, and watch the environment instead of going inside. You have to seek your spirit animal and accept the guidance it offers you, not just look at an animal and claim it behaves as you do.

Understand what draws you toward an animal

Is it just your instincts that draw you toward an animal, or something more? Do they hold some special memory in your heart, do they represent something to you, and do they affect your emotions as well as your thoughts? If you notice something special in an encounter with an animal, investigate and examine it further.

Use an open heart

If you do not want the guidance your spirit animal can give to you, then do not seek it. You need to feel a connection to this animal in your imagination, reality, goals, emotions, and personality. Your spirit animal is an ally to you throughout life. Thank it for seeking you, and live through the journey it has joined you for.

Become a professional

Learn about your spirit animal online or in books. Know their personality, behaviors, and biology. Whenever you encounter the animal physically or a memory of the animal, thank it for being with you. Cherish the connection you have to this animal, what it represents for you, and the voice it has.

Whether or not I believe that creatures of different species could be spiritually connected to humans, I’m intrigued by the concept of being able to use the physical body as a representation for a soul that you are connected to, and I definitely plan to find my spirit’s guide.

 

Jennifer Davenport

Elizabethtown '21

Campus Correspondent for the Her Campus club at Elizabethtown College. Jennifer is part of the Class of 2021, and she's a middle level English education major, with a creative writing minor. Her hobbies include volunteering, watching YouTube for way too many hours, and posting memes on her Instagram. She was raised in New Jersey, lives in New York, and goes to college in Pennsylvania, so she's ruined 3 of America's 50 states. She's an advocate for mental health, LGBT+ rights, and educational reform.
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