Two good articles I know of online are at the Manataka American Indian Council, and AnimalSpirits.com. There are also several books. Two decent examples are ANIMAL-SPEAK: The Spiritual and magical powers of creatures great and small by Ted Andrews, and POWER ANIMAL MEDITATIONS: Shamanic Journeys with Your Spirit Allies by Nicki Scully. There is a fun quiz, that can tell you a little more about Spirit Animals, but is also meant to promote a book and should not be taken wholly seriously, here at Jeri Smith-Ready.com.
So, now that we've gotten past all that I'm going to go over some of the details about some of the most common Spirit Animals. All of these are examples that exist currently in my WIP. I'm hoping it's a scene I don't have to cut during the re-write. I will go over some more obscure examples (as well as I can) for you guys tomorrow.
Dog: Among many tribes Dog was the sentinel who guarded the tribe’s home and protected them from attack and warned them of coming danger. He helped during the hunt and gave them warmth when it was cold. Dog is a symbol of loyalty, unconditional love, and protection, so if Dog is your Spirit Guide I would guess that you are a good, fast friend when you grow close to someone.
Dog’s Medicine incorporates the loving kindness of the best friend and the protective energy of the guardian. If Dog is your Spirit Animal then you’re a very kind and giving person whose devotion to their family and friends is unwavering. However, you must be careful not to be too trusting or be taken in by those who would take advantage of you. Make sure you always give your loyalty to those who are right and true.
Snake: Snake is a symbol of cunning and ingenuity, but also of rebirth. If Snake is your Spirit Guide it is possible that you are an old soul and this is not your first time in the world.
Snake's Medicine includes elusiveness, transmutation, goddess energy, exploration of the mysteries of life and connection to the magic cord by which the shaman travels to the spirit world.
Horse: Horse has shown up in almost every single mythological tale. From Pegasus, to Sleipnir, the eight-legged horse of Odin; from the stallions of Surya the Hindu sun god to the stallions of Apollo. No single creature has provided man with the freedom of movement and the ability to travel over long distances as has the horse. If you are drawn to Horse, you may feel a power in your spirit that is sometimes difficult to reign in, but remember, not all who wander are lost.
Horse's Medicine is made up of power, stamina and endurance. He is also known for faithfulness, freedom, awareness of the power achieved through cooperation, communication between the species (and between cultures), and the ability to overcome obstacles.
Rabbit: Rabbit may be stereotyped as being a fearful, simple animal, but in fact they are quite ingenious, especially when it comes to working together. Among Native Americans they symbolize humility.
Rabbit's Medicine includes moving through fear, living by your wits, and receiving hidden teachings and intuitive messages, as well as quick thinking and relying on your instincts. Rabbit reminds us not to be afraid and that we cannot allow our fearful thoughts to reproduce (especially not like rabbits) for they will overcome us if we let them.
Fox: Fox symbolizes cunning, agility, and being quick witted and thinking on your feet.
Fox's Medicine is very interesting and is associated with the Trickster, almost as much as Coyote. Fox stands for shape-shifting, cleverness, unseen observation, stealth, feminine courage, persistence and gentleness.
Owl: Owl stands for deception, clairvoyance and insight, but in this context deception does not carry with it a negative connotation. Deception is often necessary for one’s survival and can be a very valuable tool. The Great Horned Owl is the only bird that can out fly the Golden Eagle so stamina probably ought to go along with those other things as well. Owl is a bird of prey so it can also stand for a person who is a great warrior, especially if that which is dear to its heart is threatened. Owl is also known for his great awareness and his ability to see everything around him, having vision that reaches for almost three hundred and sixty degrees.
Owl’s Medicine consists of seeing through masks and disguises, silent and swift movement, keen sight, messenger of secrets and omens, shape-shifting, link between the dark, unseen world and the world of light, comfort with the shadow self, moon power, and overall freedom and independence.
Bear: Bear has always stood for wisdom, power, and healing and has been associated with the North. Bears spend the winter months in hibernation and among Native people the symbolism of the Bear’s cave reflects returning to the womb of Mother Earth. People with Bear Medicine are considered by many as self-sufficient and would rather stand on their own two feet than rely on others.
Bear’s Medicine includes introspection, healing, solitude, wisdom, change, communication with Spirit, the cycle of death and rebirth, transformation, and being the creature of dreams, shamans and mystics.
This post is going on a little too long, but I promise not to stop here. I'll just have to break it up a little and pick up tomorrow where we left off today. Before we're done though I briefly want to introduce the idea of the Medicine Wheel. The Medicine Wheel is a little like a compass, and is associated with the cardinal directions. I'll go into it more tomorrow, but if you're curious you can read some more here, at SpiritualNetwork.net.
Thanks everybody, and please be sure to come back tomorrow!