What Is a Power Animal?
(excerpts taken from Power Animals: How to Connect with Your Animal Spirit Guides by Dr. Steven Farmer)
Power animals are spirit guides in animal form, valuable allies who can help you navigate through life’s challenges and transitions. You can turn to these perceptive and trustworthy oracles for advice and counsel on any questions or concerns, for they’re exceptional teachers who will help you learn about both the spirit and the natural world. Working with them on a regular basis will enhance your personal life and expand your spiritual capacities immensely.
Power animals can appear in meditations, visions, dreams, shamanic journeys, or on the earth in their physical form. They can be mammals, birds, or reptiles; and even so-called mythical creatures such as unicorns or dragons can be power animals, although they have no physical representations in the material world. However, since spirit animals’ power is drawn from their instinctual and wild nature, it’s uncommon for purely domesticated animals such as pets to be part of this group.
The source of power for your animal spirit guide won’t just be a single animal, but the entire species. For instance, if your power animal is Bear, it won’t be just one particular bear, but an animal spirit guide that’s representative of the entire species of bears. Consequently, you’ll probably develop a greater appreciation for all bears, and likely extend that care and respect to the animal kingdom as a whole. If Dolphin is your power animal, for example, your love and appreciation will likely go out to all creatures of the sea and naturally expand to include those of the land and the air. Your animal will also teach you to use this power compassionately, to heal and empower yourself and others.
The good news is that we can recover our power animal or even discover a new one by opening our hearts, minds, and souls to this notion, Your power animal may come to you in meditations, visions, dreams, or shamanic journeys. You’ll have an opportunity to recover your power animal in the guided meditation journey for this lesson. If you’ve had a particular affinity or attraction for an animal, it’s most likely this is your power animal. Just recently someone wrote and asked what I thought her power animal was. She went on to describe how hawks have shown up for her much of her life, especially in the past few weeks, and was wondering if this could perhaps be her power animal. I wrote back and basically confirmed what she already knew, that Hawk was her main animal spirit guide, or power animal.
Your power animal may leave you at some point, even if you’ve paid attention to her over the years. Usually that means that the relationship has served its purpose, and another power animal either is or will be coming into your life. I’ve observed how these spirit guides will enter into our lives at a time when we most need their particular expression of spiritual power. For instance, if you’re moving into a position of leadership, Cougar spirit may very well leap into your life as power animal, helping you with confidence and clarity in your leadership roles. If you’re going through a major transformative process with big changes, you may find Snake spirit or Butterfly coming into your life as a power animal.
Another interesting facet is that often your power animal is reflective of your personality characteristics. For instance, Rachel is slight of build, energetic, with a tendency to move very quickly, often juggling several tasks at once, flitting from one to the other. It’s no accident that her power animal turned out to be Hummingbird. Gary is a fairly large man, gentle by nature, yet very capable of standing up for himself or for others as needed. No one messes with him. No surprise that his power animal is Bear.
Other questions that come up are about cats or dogs being power animals. Generally domesticated animals can’t be power animals because they’ve lost much of their wildness and are removed from the natural world. Likewise, some traditions believe that insects are to be excluded from being power animals because of their size and nature. Generally true, however in my book Power Animals, Dragonfly and Butterfly both argued vehemently about being included, so I caved and included them. I see now the wisdom of that, as they both offer unique types of power.
Yet another question that comes up on occasion is about mythological or etheric animals, such as dragons or unicorns. Although some would insist that they exist in third dimensional reality, it really doesn’t matter whether they do or not. If you believe they do, then they do. Any of these so-called mythological animals can certainly be your power animal. The only disadvantage is that they’re not commonly seen in the physical world as are other kinds of animals.
This is a highly personal and specialized relationship with an animal spirit guide. It’s not one you choose in the usual sense of the word. It’s more of a soul-to-soul connection, your soul bonding with the soul—or more accurately the oversoul—of the animal. The relationship is one to be nurtured and attended to on a regular basis, and if done, will last a number of years.