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What Are Spirit Animals?

Learn what spirit animals are from Wiccan High Priestess Phyllis Curott in this Howcast video.


Hi. My name is Phyllis Curott, and I'm a Wiccan priestess. I'm also a shamanic practitioner. Spirit guides are, you hear a lot about spirit guides these days. People like to talk a lot about angels, and that's a specific sort of cultural form of a spirit guide. In shamanism and in shamanic Wicca, a spirit guide is very often a power animal. It's an animal. We call it a power animal. And it's your guide. It's your teacher. They're with you from the moment you're born actually. You may not be aware of it, but we see it all the time.

You know, people who have these crazy collections of 10,000 owls or 400 elephants, and everybody is always giving them. That's their power animal. That's the animal that they were born with. And it watches over you. It's a quiet teacher. When you enter into a relationship with it, which you do through the practice of shamanism and through the practice of Wicca, at least in my tradition, it becomes a very active teacher. You are aware of the relationship, and it's a two-way street. You're required to take good care of it. You need to dance and pay attention to it. You need to journey on a regular basis. They get very annoyed if you're not working regularly. They need exercise like my dog needs to go out every day. Your power animal, your spirit guide needs the relationship with you. You give it as much as it gives you in many ways. You're the conduit into this realm, into this three-dimensional, material plane that we're in. In many ways, they're sort of the archetype, if you'll borrow a Jungian term.

The spirit guide is kind of the archetype of the animal. It will have its own individual quirks and personalities. My particular power animal, the first one I got, Bear, will be very different from your bear, if bear is your animal. You're given an animal. Somebody usually journeys for you and seeks the animal for you, and then there's a method by which it's given to you. And then you bring it into your body by dancing with it, and then you journey with it to introduce yourself. And it teaches you. It's your guide in non-ordinary reality, in sacred realms. And it protects you. It teaches you what you need to know. It shows you the things that you need to learn. And the animal that you are given is exactly the animal that you need at the moment that you have journeyed and been given this animal. So you may be given a chipmunk. And, you know, especially if you're like this great big burly football player guy, you might think that a chipmunk is highly inappropriate, and you could be extremely resentful and even reject that chipmunk. But you don't want to reject that chipmunk, because it is exactly the animal that you need.

It's the one about grace and humor and speed and agility and disguise and has all kinds of gifts that happen to be the gifts that you need at that particular moment. Spirit guides can also be mythical creatures. They can be dragons or griffins. And spirit guides can also be ancestors in some traditions. And they can be figures, medicine people, or monks, or nuns. They can be human figures, but more than human. They're wise ones as you are becoming a wise one. They're wise ones in the other realms, and they're your guides and your teachers.

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