Originally Posted by Enchanted_DreamFaerie
I'm a beginner to all of this, and I'm wondering. How do you find you're spirit animal and what type of things do you have to do? Is there books that you can read? Please list types of things that I'll have to do & the best books that I should read. Thank you.
I am totally going off the cuff so if there is anything I miss please forgive me! I'm curious to see what all will be said as this is something I'm also very interested in.
I'm going to do this in two parts. This reply is going to be very long and so I would like to break it into parts.
Personally I find that in actuality, you do not really get to choose the animal rather, the spirit animal chooses you! Sometimes you might find that the types of animals you are drawn to may in actuality NOT be your spirit animal. There are many paths out there that incorporate animal guides. In the US, our goto places to look into for this tend to be one or more Native American tribal belief systems. But remember that some animals have different associations depending on the tribe. For example, some view owls as harbingers of death, but not all view owls that way. Then there are other systems not indigenous to North America.
It can also depend on HOW you associate yourself with animal spirits. I tend to not just look at them spiritually, but physically as well. Your physical location will sometimes affect which animal chooses you, but I don't believe it is confined to just that.
So on a physical level here are a few things to consider:
1. Start to pay attention to the type of wildlife (and also not-so-wildlife) that you seem to run into often. Do take in consideration local population status of a particular species. Certain animals will be more abundant in some areas than others and therefore you'll be in more contact with them than others. Don't disqualify common species though, but do be discerning about it too.
2. Make note of how they interact with you if at all. Does a particular animal or species of animal seem a little unusually drawn to you? On the flip side are there any animals that seem to have an aversion to you? What's your actual relationship with a certain type of animal? Do cats seem to adopt you whether your like them to or not? Or do dogs congregate to you? What about birds? Do they seem calm around you or are you always being dive bombed. Reptiles/Amphibians? Fish/crustaceans/etc? Insects/Arachnids?
3. Make note of how YOU interact with those animals. Do you seem to have a "knack" with certain types? Be very honest with yourself. That can help narrow it down pretty well. A great example is me: I love just about ALL creatures. In fact - dealing with animals is my career. So finding out which one(s) that are actually my guides can be a challenge. I mean they all cant be, right? So in my case I, for whatever reason, think it'd be cool to have a feline as my guide. I would just LOVE it if Lynx/Bobcat or even Tiger chose me! I've even owned domestic cats in my life. I've worked very closely with bobcats and eastern cougars - to the point of doing operant conditioning with them. I had/have the good fortune of successfully teaching 3 cougars various commands such as sit, touch, lie down, up (standing on hind legs with paws on fence), and also target training. But even with that experience, I get the distinct impression that for me, at this point in time, a feline spirit hasn't claimed me. However, birds- there is this intense connection with them. Though I've also successfully trained raptors to fly to the fist, the relationship I have with birds goes beyond trainer/subject. Generally speaking, many end up bonding with me in various ways and degrees. Many types of birds seem to develop a trust with me that often happens quite quickly. Even wild adults will quickly learn I mean no harm.
To a slightly lesser degree, Canines are a very close second. Most specifically it's with domestic dogs. They seem to have an affinity with me and I them. In my vet tech days, I almost always had the ability to calm down a frightened dog so the vet could perform necessary exams and/or procedures. I also am fond of the underdogs. If they are little and ugly I was in heaven. In fact I became the designated Chihuahua handler lol.
4. Look up natural behaviors as well as their natural history. Do you like or identify with a particular behavior or general personality they exhibit? Some animals are naturally more aggressive or protective than other types. How do you identify with that trait? Do any of their behaviors repulse you? For some reason, many humans tend to identify with other predators more than they do with prey animals. Do you have a preference? If so, look into why! That in itself is often a lesson to be learned.
5. Pay attention to your gut reaction to a particular animal that you take notice of. It isn't always going to be a comforting or exciting animal that is meant for you. You may be surprised at which creature actually chooses you as well as how they make themselves known to you. Often the creatures that you have an aversion to are inextricably tied to you just as importantly as those that you like and respect. Those tend to be your shadow totem.
6. Tip: Don't limit your research to creatures that are still in existence. You may find that the spirit or essence of an extinct animal is your totem. I admit I have found that I have an affinity for carrion eaters, most specifically Vultures. Several years ago I attended a guided meditation and it was the most profound experience in regards to this topic that I've experienced. During the session, I sensed this powerful presence behind me. Its signature appeared to be vulturine in nature yet it was immense. I felt very protected, warm, secure. I got an impression of big brown feathered wings wrapping around me, protecting me, nestling me. I even got this impression of a scent - a little dusty, a little musty. About a week later I came across an article about an extinct condor like bird called a Teratorn. It had a 25ft wingspan and its range was generally Central American and spilled up into Southwestern portion of North America. Some theorize that this bird may have been the origin of the Thunderbird in some Native American mythologies. I also saw this strange looking canine which appeared to me during the meditation. It looked like a cross between a very leggy red wolf and jackal with fox like markings on its legs. It was crazy looking, even a little goofy looking. I had no idea what it was or if it was just my crazy imagination. Interestingly enough, a short while later I received one of my monthly publications from a zoo organization that I was a member of. The crazy part was the canine creature from my vision was featured in full color on the front page of that particular issue. That animal is the endangered Maned Wolf (also native to Southwestern US and South/Central America - go figure).
So, basically look around you, be observant. Don't just take note of the type of animals you are drawn to but rather see what seems to be drawn to YOU instead. Read everything you can on animals and their behaviors. If you have any questions so far I will help where I can! Next up will be looking at this subject on a more spiritual level!