If you’ve ever asked yourself the question – “What is my spirit animal?” – you are not alone. Some of us have had special connections with certain types of animals since we were very young. While others of us have had a profound, even surprising, experience with a particular animal that had a powerful impact on our lives. For many, these types of experiences make it clear to them.
If you’re not sure who your spirit animal is, you can take UniGuide’s spirit animal test below. And you can read more details about spirit animals in different cultures later in this post. When you take the spirit animal quiz, it’s important to not overthink your answers! Simply select the first answer that resonates the most with you.
Spirit Animal Quiz
What is my spirit animal?
Another way you can discover your spirit animal is by considering questions like these:
- Were you especially interested in a particular type of animal or insect when you were a child?
- Has an animal or insect suddenly made himself or herself known to you? This could be by crossing your path in real life or in art or the media, in a way that powerfully riveted your attention?
- Do you feel a strong connection with certain species of animals or insects?
- Has a specific animal or insect entered your dreams?
- Have certain stories, books, or movies that involved a particular animal or insect had a strong impact on you and stayed with you?
Your answers to these questions are worth exploring. As you learn about animals and insects who have a special meaning to you, you will expand your level of consciousness. And we are all here to evolve as souls.
Spirit Animal Meaning
What is a spirit animal? The simplest explanation is that a spirit animal is a guide and a protector who can help you on your life path. While animals exist in the physical world in their animal forms, like us, they are also connected to the metaphysical world.
Animals exist of their own accord; they are not hear for us. Yet like all relationships, they have much to teach us, both on a physical and spiritual level.
In our modern world, it’s easy to get caught up in our own lives and those of other people. Too often, we become desensitized to animals and the other species with whom we share our planet. A spirit animal can help you to tune into the diversity of life on our planet, and to be aware of the interconnectedness of it. This kind of awareness elevates your level of consciousness.
On a daily basis, there is more going on than our basic human senses are experiencing. Your spirit animal can guide you on your soul’s journey as you navigate your way through life on Earth.
Here’s a quick video on spirit animal meaning:
Spirit Animal History
People have experienced a spiritual kinship with animals for tens of thousands of years. It’s impossible to know exactly when human beings first started associating animals with supernatural powers. Perhaps it was our early hominid ancestors millions of years ago who saw that animals could do things that they were not capable of.
These spiritual connections with animals have been depicted in the ancient stories, artwork, and belongings of cultures around the world. What is clear is that for centuries, people have believed that animals have a special connection with the spiritual world.
Native American Spirit Animals
In Native American cultures, members of many tribes believed (and still do today) that animals have a connection to the spirit world and that they have supernatural powers. Through a special connection with animals, human beings can gain special powers and insight.
In Native American tradition, you can have more than one spirit animal. And most often they will choose you. Some tribes believe that each of us has nine power animals who accompany us and serve as guides throughout our lifetimes. For Native Americans, your spirit animal can come to you through a vision quest, a deep meditation, or a profound experience that affects the course of your life. This connection is not to be taken lightly. Your spirit animal is sacred.
Many tribes believe that medicine men, or shamans, can shapeshift into animals, gaining unique powers that the animal possesses. For example, medicine men who shapeshift into owls gain crystal clear insight. In addition, many Native Americans believe that dreams of animals bring messages and wisdom from your ancestors.
Because they view them as sacred, Native Americans have certain taboos around killing animals. For example, owl medicine men vow to never harm an owl. Furthermore, many tribes view it as spiritually unacceptable to kill a mother bear with cubs. And if an animal is killed for food, their spirit must be thanked.
Native American tribes also have a clan system, which is a system of community organization that is based on maternal family lines. Historians also theorize that the system helped to keep gene lines healthy. Generally, clans are associated with an animal who is the protector of the clan. For example, different tribes have bear, crow, fox, wolf, hummingbird, snake, and other animal clans.
Virtually every tribe depicted animals who were special to them in their artwork, as modern tribes do to this day. Animal totems are sacred objects, They symbolize and tell the story of a tribe or clan, a family lineage, or even a person.
Tribes of the Pacific Northwest carve totem poles that tell the story of their family’s ancestry and legends. A spirit animal depicted on totem pole is a guide who walks through life with a person or a family – teaching, guiding, and protecting them.
Egyptian Spirit Animal
The ancient Egyptians loved animals, and their pets were every bit as important to them as our animal companions are to us today. In ancient Egyptian households, if the family cat died, everyone in the home would shave their eyebrows to show their grief. And if the dog died, the family would shave all of their body hair off, including the hair on their heads.
Historian Joshua Mark tells the story of a high priestess named Maatkare Mutemhat, who lived during the 21st Dynasty, around 1,077 – 943 BC.
Mutemhat devoted herself to the god Amun, taking a vow of celibacy to prove her commitment. Centuries after she lived, Mutemhat’s mummy was discovered in the Theban necropolis, which is located on the west bank of the Nile River, across from what is now the city of Luxor.
With Mutemhat’s mummy, archaeologists found another, much smaller mummy, the size of a very young child. The archaeologists first assumed that this mummy was Mutemhat’s child and that both had died in childbirth. However, this assumption didn’t align with what they knew about Mutemhat’s vow of celibacy.
Spirits in the Afterlife
Years later, in the 1960s, scientists used X-rays to further understand who the tiny mummy was. The X-rays confirmed that the small mummy was not a child, but Mutemhat’s pet monkey.
Beyond loving their animal companions and believing that they would experience an afterlife just as human’s did, the ancient Egyptians also believed that animals could communicate with the gods. They saw that animals had their own language and they assumed the language was one that the gods understood.
Furthermore, the Egyptians believed that animals could be the living embodiment of gods. The gods would inhabit the bodies of certain animals, such as falcons.
In this video from Heritage Key Media, Dr. Salima Ikram talks about how the ancient Egyptians viewed animals’ connections to the spirit world:
Animal Spirits in Aboriginal Australian Culture
Like the Native Americans, Aboriginal Australians believe strongly in the interconnectedness of life on Earth. A term used to describe this belief system is “animism,” in which people, plants, animals, landforms, and even celestial bodies are connected and are part of something greater.
Animism: Breath, Spirit, Life
The Rainbow Serpent
One famous Aboriginal story that embodies this is the story of a powerful animal spirit called the Rainbow Snake, or Rainbow Serpent. You will see the Rainbow Snake depicted in a lot of Aboriginal artwork.
The Aboriginal Australians believe that when they see a rainbow in the sky, it is the Rainbow Serpent who is traveling from one waterhole to another.
The Rainbow Snake is a powerful being, a protector and provider of life because he brings water to the people. Thus, the Rainbow Snake is associated with fertility, the abundance of plants and animals, and the availability of food.
In this video from Storyteller Media, Robert Bropho, who is an elder of the Noongar People who are Indigenous Australians, tells the story of the Rainbow Serpent:
Greek and Roman Mythology and the Bible
Animals are depicted in Greek and Roman mythology, as well as the Bible, in symbolic and spiritual ways. Whether they were associated with Greek and Roman gods, or sent by the Judeo-Christian gods, animals had messages for people from the spirit world. You can read more about these depictions in UniGuide’s posts about specific spirit animals.
Spirit Animal in Celtic and European Folklore
Like the Aboriginal Australians, the Celts believed the world was inhabited by spirits and divine beings, some of which would take animal forms.
The Celtic goddess Artio was associated with bears and was the goddess of wildlife, transformation, and abundance. The goddess Epona was associated with horses, and would protect mares and fouls, as well as Gallic warriors when they rode into battle. Another Celtic goddess was Morrigan, who was associated with crows, would also help during warfare.
In Anglo Saxon folklore, great kings were believed to be descended from bears. Some believe that King Arthur’s name comes from the Romano-Celtic god Mercurius Artaius, who was a bear god. Furthermore, the Anglo-Saxon hero Beowulf was possibly named after a bear – his name is translated to “bee wolf,” which refers to a bear who takes honey from bees.
In medieval European folklore and in modern Wiccan belief systems, witches often had animals with whom they were very close. These animals were familiar spirits, otherwise referred to as familiars. They served as guides and sources of information, connecting the witch to the supernatural world. Often, their familiars were cats, but they could also be ravens, foxes, wolves, and other animals.
Spirit Animal in Norse Mythology
The concept of familiars also existed in Nordic cultures. Humans were believed to have supernatural fylgjur with them, which translates to “followers.” These fylgjur were animal spirits, and occasionally human spirits, who helped the person get through life.
Animal spirits also helped warriors in Norse mythology. As part of his training and initiation into an exclusive warrior group, a warrior would spend time alone in the wilderness.
During this period, he would bond with the savage world. Eventually, he would start identifying with and establishing a spiritual union with wild animals. These might include bears or wolves, and the warrior would adopt their strength, fearlessness, and ferocity.
Animals as connections to the spirit world also appear in cultures throughout Africa. Owls were associated with sorcery and witchcraft. The Africans believed that owls traveled freely between the material and spiritual worlds. Some African cultures believed that the hoot of an owl meant that something bad was about to happen.
In Liberia, the Kpelle People held similar beliefs to the Native Americans and Aboriginal Australians. They believed that animal spirits guided and protected their people. In addition, they believed that animals were a part of them, representing an alter ego or second self.
Spirit Animals in Asia
Many Asian cultures also believed, and still believe, in animals’ connection to the spiritual world.
In the Chinese myth Shan Hai Ching, from the 4th century B.C., bears lived in caves on what was called Bear Mountain. The ancient Chinese believed that gods and spirits would play with the bears there.
The Ainu People, an Indigenous group in Japan, worshipped bears, referring to them as “kamuy,” which translates to “god.”
In other Asian religions and belief systems, animals were intricately connected to both the physical world and the divine. And like the Celts, Native Americans, and Aborigines, Buddhists see the union, or oneness, of human beings with animals and nature.
The Shinto believe that people, animals, and nature are interconnected. Animals are considered to be more in tuned with the spirit world because their instincts. Thus, their thought processes are more pure and less cluttered than those of the complex human brain. To this day, in Japan, butterflies and dragonflies are seen as messengers from the spirit world and symbols of transformation.
When an Animal Crosses Your Path…
When an animal or insect crosses your path or otherwise make themselves known to you, pay attention. There are no coincidences. They all have something to teach us. Even domesticated animals, like dogs and cats, or animals and insects we see in our communities, like raccoons, coyotes, or hawks, all have something to teach us.
If you feel a kinship with a wild animal, but don’t have the opportunity to experience them in their natural habitat, you can can get to know them in other ways. For example, by exploring the work of wildlife biologists, filmmakers, artists, and animal protection organizations.
After all, we are all here on Earth to learn, evolve, and to seek enlightenment. Animals are earthly manifestations of something greater in the Universe, just as we are. They can teach us and guide us as we navigate our soul’s journey.