You can’t log on to Facebook or Instagram without seeing a picture of someone’s pet sleeping in a bowl of dog food, or cat lying on the counter with a caption, “Fido is my Spirit Animal.” Maybe this joke was kind of funny the first time. I read an article recently that the ridicule of Spirit Animals stems from the oppression of Native American people, and tantamount to the caricatures and stereotypes that we have become accustomed to with the Cleveland Indians and Redskins.

I noticed that I avoided talking openly for years about Spirit Animals because I was afraid of ridicule, or simply not being taken seriously. I think it is human nature to make light of things we don’t understand. After 10 years of working with the unseen worlds and developing relationships with my guides and helping spirits, I still can’t say that I understand.

A sacred tradition

Although Spirit Animals are a sacred and integral part of many different Native American traditions, they are not unique to Native American culture. Shamanic cultures throughout time and across the globe have worked with some form of Spirit Animal, also called Power Animal.

A Spirit Animal is a guardian angel that stays with you throughout your life. Your Power Animal is unique to you and has a very special gift to help support you on your journey. You can’t look it up in a book or Google it on the Internet. Power animals, helpings spirits and guides are compassionate helping beings that take on different forms and appear in different ways to different people. As humans we attach names and forms to things to help us understand them, but ultimately spirit guides are energy and may have form or may be formless.

Power Animal retrieval

If you feel that you have lost connection to your power, from a shamanic perspective you may be in need of a Power Animal retrieval. Every time I have the honor of meeting a client’s Power Animal I am awed and humbled, and I’m often surprised by the depth of the meaning and wisdom.

My client gave me permission to share her story of a Power Animal retrieval. In the session, I saw a tiny egg buried in the sand.  I watched the egg hatch and out came a beautiful sea turtle. In the journey, I watched the sea turtle struggle to make its way to the ocean, where I watched it swimming in bliss under the light of the moon. The message for my client was that she was “one in a million.” Only one in a thousand turtles are able to make it all the way from the sand to the sea, and she was the one that made it.

In spite of her past history of struggle and trauma, she had the strength and resilience to make it through. The story resonated so deeply with my client and became a way for her to create a new story about her past, a healing story. Now she has an ally with her to remind her of the gift that she is to this planet and her connection to the web of all of life.