blue heron

What is a Spirit Animal? | Animal Totems

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I've always been attracted to and fascinated by the animal kingdom. I have so many random facts about animals in my head it's ridiculous. I can't help it. There is a message in every creature on this planet. Perhaps I always sensed it, even as a child. Over the last few years, I've taken this passion for critters both big and small, and expanded on it. My learning has taken on a spiritual nature. I've written about a few Spirit Animals (FoxBlue HeronDolphin, Owl, and Squirrel) and yet, I hadn't explained what one is, how to work with them, or even why you should care about who your Power Animal is. It's time to correct that.

So now, based on my own experience, I bring you the answer to the question, What is a Spirit Animal?

 

What is a Spirit Animal?

A Spirit Animal, also known as Animal Totem or Power Animal, is an animal whose spirit has a special message or mission for you. They offer guidance, wisdom, and support. This is also known as their medicine in shamanism and Native American cultures. They may come into your life to help you through certain situations or to offer their strength and protection.

 

How do you know which animal is your Power Animal?

You may go outside your home everyday for a week and see a Raven as soon as you step outfront. You may encounter a Tiger in your dreams. You've been seeing images of Killer Whales everywhere! Perhaps you were always intrigued by Dolphins as a child. These are all Power Animals! You were attracted to or encountered them synchronistically. Is there a particular animal that you fear? Snake is often one of these creatures for most people. Perhaps it has something to do with this creatures inherent qualities. Snake is about change and transformation - the shedding of old skin. Is there a message they have to give to you that you're resisting?

 

How do you make contact?

Go into meditation. There are plenty of Meet Your Spirit Animal meditations on YouTube! If a guided meditation doesn't seem right for you, close your eyes, do some deep breathing, and see which animal comes to you. Don't be put off if it is not an animal you were expecting. Say if you were hoping for an Eagle and instead a Bumble Bee comes to visit. Be open and willing to listen. I'm sure the meaning of this creature is pertinent to you and your situation. You can even set the intention before you go to sleep that you'd like to encounter your Spirit Animal in your dreams.

 

Do you have one Spirit Animal for your whole life? 

Yes you can! Some stay for a lifetime. Others may come just for a short period of time to help you learn a lesson. Once the lesson has been learned, they may move on. You may have many animal teachers come in and out of your life as you grow spiritually.

 

Can you choose your Animal Totem?

Absolutely! Think about what qualities you would like to embody. Do you want to be more of a tiger in your relationship - abundant, fierce, and playful? Work with Tiger energy. Would you like to invite more focus into your work? Then choose a creature like Hawk. Do you want more peace and purity in your life? Work with the spirit of Dove. Do you want to invite more childlike energy into your day? Invite the spirit of Dolphin to come and play! You can also work with the energy of an animal you've always been fascinated with and want to learn more about.

 

How do you work with your Spirit Animal?

Meet with them in meditation. Ask them to be with you as you go about your day. Ask for their strength in trying circumstances. Ask them to help guide you in the right direction when you're confused. Get a statutette, photo,or an item in their likeness. Something that reminds you of them. I, for example, have a Raven pendant I wear everyday. I also have a Raven figurine carved from black onyx that I keep on my altar. Try taking one day out of your week and embody their qualities. Walk as the Lion. Think and use your wisdom as the Owl. Be prepared and resourceful like the Squirrel. You can even invite them into your rituals and manifesting!

 

So you found your Spirit Animal...Now what?

Work with them daily. Ask to feel their presence. What does their energy feel like? Listen to and decipher the messages they bring. Keep an eye open for any signs they give you. When do you see your Spirit Animal? When do you most feel them? What were you just thinking about before they happened to cross your path, run across the road, or squwak loudly, gaining your undivided attention. There are messages in the synchronicity! Keep an eye out for it. Pay attention to the world around you. Expand your awareness. You may be surprised at what you find.

What's your Animal Totem? How do you connect? What has been your experience since the spirit of this creature came into your awareness?

 

xo Ariel

Great Blue Heron as a Spirit Animal | Animal Totems

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When we cross paths with Heron, what does he want us to know? What is his message for us? In this blog post, I will talk about the Blue Heron as a Spirit Animal.

Peace, serenity, stillness, patience, silence, grace, and healing. These are the traits that come to mind when I think of this beautiful bird. I've recently had 2 encounters with this majestic animal. Both times that I witnessed the creature, I immediately became like the heron itself - quiet, still, and contemplative. The Great Blue Heron is a true Mystic of the Chesapeake! Here are some things I've learned about the spirit of the Great Blue Heron.

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Know Thyself

Heron's are solitary creatures. They do not hunt or live in flocks. Since they spend so much time with themselves, they really must become their own best friend and ally - but that doesn't seem to bother them too much! The Heron comes to us with the message to take time out of your busy schedule and truly get to know yourself. The best way to do that is to spend time alone! Put away distractions - the cell phone, the Xbox, the iPod, Facebook, anything that you can watch, listen to, play, or that makes noise. Sit in the silence with yourself. Be in the present moment. Don't worry about the future or the past. Who are you - right now?  Who are you without prying eyes? Who are you bare bones? What is in your heart? Yes, it will probably be uncomfortable the first couple of times you try this exercise. In the 21st century, silence can  feel deafening with life and the media always hurling things our way! Silence can be scary. Being alone can be intimidating. But the key here is that you can be surrounded by people and feel completely alone. Blue Heron is never lonely because he knows he can rely on himself and is confident in who he is! Get to know yourself - your strengths, your weaknesses, your talents. Become your own best friend. That way, even when there is no one in your physical presence, you are never alone. You carry YOU with you wherever you go! Do you want to be your own biggest cheerleader or do you want to be a stranger to yourself? If you don't know who you are, how can you expect someone else to?

Be Still + Reflect

As the Great Blue Heron stares into the water, ever so patiently waiting for a yummy morsel to swim by, he has lots of time to contemplate. His reflection stares, unblinking, unmoving, back at him. What does he see - past battle scars and ruffled feathers or a peaceful, calm, and sleek independence?  Be still in the present moment and reflect on your life and who you are. The Heron comes to us with a message of meditate and contemplate. You are exactly where you need to be right now in this moment! When this graceful bird crosses your path, stop and think - just pause. Sometimes that is all we need to do when we are in the middle of a chaotic situation or a difficult decision. If we pause long enough in disturbed waters, the ripples will smooth out, and we can once again gain clarity. 

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SEIZE OPPORTUNITY!

The Heron is a patient hunter. Barely moving, with eyes unblinking, they search the surface of the water with their eyes. Daring not to breathe, for the slightest breath may cause a ripple in the water. They wait like tall statues, unbearably still, until a fish swims by unaware of the danger overhead. The moment has come - the heron moves at lightening speed, catching the fish and gulping it down. If you do so much as blink you will miss it! Heron comes with the message to wait for the perfect opportunity before you strike. You will know when it is time. I also think this has a warning element of not letting opportunity pass you by or you may go hungry! Don't be too afraid to make a move. Don't hesitate or you might miss the moment you've been dreaming of! Go after your prize! Be confident in yourself when you strike and you won't miss your mark.

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Home Sweet Home

The Heron is always moving between the worlds of water, earth, and sky. He has to feel a sense of home in every one. He is comfortable in all of these environments and can move from one to the other without any fear or resistance. He flows, flies, glides, swoops, and dives in and out of these 3 habitats. He knows how to use each of these elements for their resources to help his survival. Become one with your surroundings. Where are you most at home? How do you co-create with nature and your environment (especially to find opportunity)? How easily do you adapt to change in your environment? Learn about your environment and how you can tap into its resources. Realize that you are a part of a vast ecosystem. Know that whatever you do, it will create a ripple effect throughout your environment. Everything is effected because everything is connected. For example, how does your work life, carry over into your home life, carry over into your romantic life? Are there any boundaries that you need to set between them all? Are you expecting something from a situation or from someone that they are just not capable of giving to you (often times to no fault of their own)? The Great Blue Heron knows he won't catch a fish in the sky and that he can't fly in the water. He knows that he must go to the water if he's hungry and wants to hunt. He takes to the skies if he wants to fly! How can you be more in the flow with the different parts of your life and the demands of each? Do you know where to go to get what you need? When you're secure in who you are and your capabilities, you can feel at home almost anywhere!

King of Vessels | Heron - Wildwood Tarot

King of Vessels | Heron - Wildwood Tarot

Has the mystical Heron flown across your path? Did his lack of movement catch your eye? I'd love to hear about your experience with this majestic creature!

xo Ariel