Recently, the term spirit animal has turned into a meme-loving machine.
We’ve seen many silly memes about people we admire, stating they are our spirit animal.
But, where does this phrase even come from?
And more importantly, what does it mean to have a spirit animal?
Now, I’m not a real woo-woo type of person but I vehemently believe in the power of the connection to nature.
It grounds us, and even if you aren’t a spiritual person, you can find value in identifying your animal totem.
What Are Spirit Animals?
Spirit animals, or totems depending upon the culture you are researching, have been recognized for centuries.
The Celts, Native Americans, Vikings, and many more cultures have embraced the idea of spirit animals. Heck, even J.K. Rowling incorporated the Patronus (basically a spirit animal) into Harry Potter.
According to dictionary.com, “spirit animals are meant literally, referring to spiritual guides or totems that take the form of animals.”
I’m not talking about any of the above-mentioned cultures or religions when I refer to spirit animals.
Right now, I want you to think about is why it’s beneficial to attach your identity to an animal.
Instead of religion, or spirituality (because I know this can make people uncomfortable) I hope you merely think of a spirit animal as an animal you relate to, and feel a strong connection with.
Why Are We Attracted to the Idea of Spirit Animals?
In the modern-day, all over the internet, we talk about our spirit animals.
And what we are really saying is that we identify with something, or someone–we are kindred spirits.
When you think about it, social media, our cell phones, and technology have created a gap in the human connections we used to have with each other.
Identifying with something gives us a sense of meaning and purpose, and something to relate to when we feel lost amongst society’s noisiness.
If we’re talking about spirit animals in the more ancient sense of the term, we are referring to actual animals. Not actors, food, or things.
Why Finding Your Spirit Animal Can Help Your Mindset
So you’re now wondering how a spirit animal can help you achieve a peaceful mindset.
Here’s the deal:
1. Your Spirit Animal Gives You a Sense of Identity
More and more, people are feeling lost, and disconnected from themselves, or who they were as children. We spend our lives on the hamster wheel, always reaching for the next milestone and doing what we think we’re supposed to be doing. And this is based on what we think is socially acceptable.
We work hard in school, find a job, get a promotion, get married, become a great parent. But those are the skeletons of our society, and the inner wild you had as a child is the meat of it all.
Sometimes, we need an anchor, to bring us back to the present moment. And identifying yourself with an animal that’s a kindred spirit can do just that.
For example: if you’re going through a transition, and have difficult decisions to make, it’s important to understand yourself to make a decision. Animals have characteristics that model our own, or vice versa, and having an anchor to connect to will help you come home to yourself.
2. Coping Mechanisms Courtesy of Spirit Animals
There’s a lot to learn from nature, and if you are going through a difficult time, thinking of yourself as your spirit animal will help you cope with grief, loss, pain, jealousy.
If you align with the nature inside yourself and the animal you identify with, you’ll learn to cope with anything.
We get some crazy ideas in our heads, and instead of them being outrageous, dangerous, or unproductive, meditation with your spirit animal in mind can be much more effective.
There’s nothing wrong with siphoning strength from nature by imaging yourself close to it and your spirit animal. Ideally, your animal will bring you peace, calming, and a sense of compassion. So, when times get tough, return to your inner wild and imagine yourself as or with your spirit animal.
3. A Tribe to Belong To
We all go through seasons in our life where we feel extremely alone. Not only do spirit animals help you connect to something, but it can also make you feel as though you belong.
My guess is, you like some animals more than others. Are you a cat or a dog person? Were you that little girl that couldn’t get horses out of her mind?
Why do you think you are attracted to some animals more than others? What is it that you like about them, and what they represent?
Dig deep on this one, because you may really be surprised at what you can uncover about yourself.
Why do you long to be with that one animal?
Why are you already part of the tribe, or pack, that the animal is a part of.
4. Spirit Animals Bring You Closer to Nature
Last but not least, we could all use a little more nature in our lives. If nothing else, take the time to think about your favorite animals, and why you like them.
Your spirit animal should be a reference point, an anchor–something to bring you back to yourself and the present moment when times are tough.
Bonus points if you have access to your spirit animal. There’s nothing more calming than spending time with a beloved pet, listening to them breathe, purr, or look deep into your soul.
Especially when you feel completely lost.
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