Do Spirit Animals Exist?

do spirit animals exist

Whenever I hear these kinds of questions, such as do spirit animals exist or are spirit animals real, I always answer Jung’s answer to whether dreams are real. 

His response was, your dreams are much more real than any of your realities.

Spirit animals do exist, and the only way you will understand this is to find your spirit animal and create an ongoing relationship and have guidance from them. 

The creativity of that guidance will leave you speechless. That is when you will leave the fields of doubts and believe full-heartedly.  

On the other hand, behind this question of “do spirit animals exist,” there are many more questions which we need to answer. 

So let’s start.

What is a spirit animal?

Spirit Animal is a spirit in animal form that guides us in our life journey. You can read more about it here and here.

At this point, one can ask, Are there animal spirits? So that spirit animals are simply the spirit of the animal?

Spirit animals are spirits in animal forms.

Ayşe Nilgün Arıt says about this;

The characteristic of the guide animal spirit is that it does not represent a single specific animal but the whole of that animal species.

The spirit animal is not a unique owl or a particular dolphin; it represents the entire owl or dolphin family.

Since shamanism is everyone’s own individual enlightenment work, the power animal that he will encounter will only have the characteristics of that person or will exhibit the elements they have or need to develop.

Steven Farmer also says that;

When an animal shows up unusually or repetitively as a spirit guide, it isn’t just a single animal. 

It isn’t just the spirit of that specific animal. 

It comes to you representing the collective consciousness of the entire species. 

For example, the Hummingbird that flits about and then hovers for several seconds directly in front of you isn’t just a hummingbird. But is carrying with her the essence of all hummingbirds and is, therefore, Hummingbird with a capital “H.” 

That’s also why when we speak of an animal spirit guide; we leave out the “a” or “an” as a way of recognizing and honoring that spirit animal. 

The hawk that has visited me on many occasions wasn’t only a hawk, but in those instances was representing the essence of all hawks and is, therefore, called Hawk.

Spirit animal history

All ancient communities around the globe had a kind of wisdom that had many commonalities. 

We call this wisdom or this life perspective: shamanism.

Our ancestors believed in the physical reality and another reality that our eyes could not see.

In these ancient communities, healers could travel in cosmic realms and bring valuable information.

We call these people shamans today.

These ancient communities were considered pagans according to the Catholic church and the academic world. Moreover, the term pagan had a negative connotation.

Pagan was bringing the sense of being ignorant, not deserving of searching or understanding.

Till Mircea Eliade in 1951 published his first study about shamanism.

Mircea Eliade was a Romanian anthropologist and philosopher who was very respected because of his religious studies.

Eliade said that the ecstatic clairvoyances and rituals found in ancient human societies and shared with him benefit the person and community and heal the body and spirit.

After that, the academic world began to study these ancient human societies’ wisdom.

Where does the term spirit animal come from?

Ayşe Nilgün Arıt explains the link between shamanism and spirit animals as such:

The common feature of the peoples of the ancient world is the belief that the Earth we live in has two aspects.

Beyond the Ordinary World, which we perceive with our five senses, there is a cosmic realm whose spiritual depths and mystical properties cannot be perceived by our limited physical senses, and this is the Extraordinary World.

The Ordinary World is in known time; it is specific to the moment we live in.

The extraordinary world, reached by shamanic spiritual studies, refers to a quantum time and space.

In all shamanic tribes, there is a purpose of communicating with this invisible cosmic realm to understand the Creator. 

The spiritual guides accompanying the shaman on his shamanic journeys, which is the technique of exploring the extraordinary world beyond the physical Earth and sky and moving there, are called Nagual in the Mayan language.

I am telling all these because the history of the spirit animals is as old as our existence or even more. But, on the other hand, since Eliade’s works, we began to re-talk about shamanism and spirit animals.

Can anyone have a spirit animal?

Yes, everybody has a spirit animal even we realize it or not, even if we get guidance consciously or not.

If you have enough discipline for shamanic works, you can start to be in touch with your spirit animal and interact directly for the effectiveness of this guidance.

You do not need to be a shaman to be in touch with your spirit animal.

What are spirit animals based on?

We see significant ties with animals in Australian, Asian, African, European, and American cultures. 

Spirit animals came as a new age term and began to be used widely mainly after Native American shamanism and Native American spirit animals belief. 

Moreover, shamanism as a term began to be used widely after the Tungus people of Siberia. 

Where is my spirit animal?

Your spirit animal is in the vast ocean of the collective unconscious.

Moreover, remember the words of Rumi;

What you seek is seeking you.


If you are looking for your spirit animal, know that your spirit animal is also looking for you. 

Where to find your spirit animal?

It can sound cliche, but still, it is what it is. You can find your spirit animal inside you. 

There are some ways to meet with your spirit animal;

Shamanic journey: I have found out about my spirit animal via shamanic journeys. Moreover, this is the way for Native Americans as well. 

You can start making shamanic journeys to find your spirit animal. You can read more here and watch the video about how to make a shamanic journey below.

Dreams: You can be intentional with your dreams. Before sleeping, you can relax and ask for your intention of finding your spirit animals. 

Then, just after waking up, write your dream and feel the meaning of the symbolization for you. 

Physical life: Be aware of those circumstances you live in this physical world. 

Are there animals coming to you and behaving weirdly? Maybe your spirit animal is also sending you messages in the physical world. 

Your relationship with your spirit animal is not just for the unseen reality. You can connect with them everywhere. Just ask with an open heart and mind and be aware while wandering around. 

Meditation: You can go to deep meditation to find your spirit animal as well. You can relax and do this guided meditation that I am sharing with you.

Divination tools: You can ask questions to your oracle cards or even tarot about what your spirit animal is. 

Once you know what your spirit animal is, there are ways to foster your relationship with them. 

Honor them in your sacred space: Keep their photos or something that symbolizes them on your altar or your sacred space.

Create a talisman or charm: Create a talisman or a charm with the symbolization of your spirit animal and keep it with you or on your altar. 

Act like your spirit animal-shape shifting:

As Ted Andrews explains in Animal-Speak;

“Shapeshifting is a matter of controlling and shifting your own energies to fit the needs of the moment—being able to draw upon those qualities and energies necessary.”

Ted Andrews

You can act as your spirit animal and feel its traits, personality, messages, and symbols for you deeply. 

Can you turn into your spirit animal?

After talking about shape-shifting, we can ask this question if I can turn into my spirit animal. 

The deeper your relationship with your spirit animal, the more precise its messages will be for you. So you can turn into your spirit animal to feel, understand, act like them. 

Let me try to explain what I mean. It is not like I will convert to a phoenix in this real world and leave my identity behind. 

It is more like talking to your shadow in inner work as you can see a practice about this here, or you can read more about this in the book Inner Work of Robert A. Johnson.

These days I am reading “The Way of Tarot” by Alejandro Jodorowsky. In the book, the writer explains each card; he invites the reader to listen to the card’s messages. 

The card is talking and whispering its pearls of wisdom to you. 

Lastly, in one of my shamanic journeys to better understand the meaning, symbolization, and spiritual messages of my spirit animal, I turned into my spirit animal, which was a great experience. 

You can read more about it here.

How to see your spirit animal?

The other way of asking this question is how to get messages from spirit animals. 

According to Steve Farmer, we have four main ways: visual (clairvoyance), auditory (clairaudience), kinesthetic (clairsentience), or cognitive. 

In the beginning, one of the ways is the strongest, and then mostly we use a second way. 

When we increase our receptivity and open up our senses, we begin to use these four ways. 

The main four ways of getting messages from spirit animals are:

1. Visual: This way is about seeing with your eyes in the physical world or your mind’s eye in shamanic journeys.

2. Auditory: It can be that you hear something in the physical world, or you hear a voice in your mind. In both cases, this would come with knowing that this is a message from your spirit animal.

3. Kinesthetic: This is what we call gut feeling or intuition. You will know the messages with your senses.

4. Cognitive: This way is about inspirations and insights or, in other words, thought processes. 

Just observe yourself and try to be more aware of your ways to get messages from your spirit animal. 

Your awareness will serve as a light, and you will realize that you will gain comfort in all four ways with time.

What does it mean when your spirit animal visits you?

Your spirit animal can visit you in the physical life or your shamanic journey in another reality. 

If your spirit animal or another animal comes to visit you in physical life, it can be that it wants to give you a message or call you to go for a shamanic journey to meet with your spirit animal.

If your spirit animal visits you in your shamanic journey, it is to respond to the questions you have asked for at the beginning of the trip.

Spirit animal journey

To finalize, let me emphasize that your relationship with your spirit animal is a lifelong journey. 

Fiding your spirit animal is a journey in itself. The shamanic journey is designed as a journey for a reason. 

Maybe to show that in your life- in your hero’s journey, your spirit animal will guide you in all steps.

And the important thing is not to arrive but to be aware throughout the journey. 

Check our other articles around the topic:

Below is a Pinterest friendly photo…. so, you can pin it to your Spirit Animal Board!

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