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Animal Guides

Animal Guides
There are many civilizations throughout the world who believe animals are part of our spiritual teachers and guides. From the Far East, to Native Americans, a sacred Cow from Hinduism and the Dove of Peace that plays a key role as a guide in Christian literature. All societies believe animals have played and do play a special role in our spiritual and physical lives.
The connections we have with the animal kingdom isn't just restricted to Paganism, Shamanism, the New Age or metaphysical beliefs and understandings. If you take some time to look at a church, a chapel, synagogue or gathering place belonging to a religious sect that you're not real familiar with. Talk to others about their beliefs and ask them what animals come to mind when they describe the relationships between that kingdom and the kingdom of their God. It's really a great way to learn, bridge gaps and even share knowledge.
As for me and my beliefs and understandings come from a Celtic/Cherokee heritage. It is widely believed that animals here in the physical form, as well as the spiritual form, are all guides and teachers to us. When an animal in the physical world crosses our path, we are to learn something from the encounter. When you see an animal in the woods or a bird in the sky, think to yourself, what is this raccoon trying to tell me? What does the eagle want me to see? You can even try to connect with the creature and see if communication is possible. But even if it isn't, you can decipher the meaning.
Animals In Dreams
In dreams, the meaning of the animals are more associated with how you see the animal, than their real physical characteristics. In other words, the easiest way to gain understanding about an animal who crosses your path in a dream is to define the characteristics that you associate with that animal. Start an encyclopedia of symbolic representations for your dreams. This would be 'your' Dream encyclopedia that contains the meanings of objects and people you see in your personal dreams. Those "dream" books you buy in the store are really just someone else's interpretation of symbolic items, so why not use the interpretation that really matters...YOURS. Once you start filling up your encyclopedia, you will be able to use it for both these animal encounters and dream interpretations. After all, your interpretations will be valid for both events and much more meaningful for YOU then someone else's ideas or perceptions.
Here's an example that puts all this together:
You and I are walking through the woods, I'm on your left, you on my right. The dirt path is wide, shaded slightly from the warm sun and we can see far off to the next bend. A large green snake crosses the path in front of us. Moving from left to right, going from south to the north. It makes no move toward us. It simply moves patiently and methodically across the path, about 15 feet in front of us.
Now, how would I interpret the snakes message depends on a few of my perceptions.
  • For me, green is a healing color and snakes represent medicine, as in the medical insignia.
  • I believe that when we receive information or energy from the Divine, it enters our body from the left intuitive side. We deliver it from the right action side.
  • The south represents the physical world, probably because I know the lower chakras of the body are the physical chakras that we re-create in each new embodiment. The upper chakras are the ones we take from lifetime to lifetime and are part of the soul/spirit. So I have always associated the north with spirit.
Based on these perceptions, seeing a green snake, cross from my left, to my right, going from south to north and without any aggressive move toward us, would be telling me a healing will be needed along this path. I will probably be the one giving the healing energy as it passes through me from left to right. The snake moving toward the north indicates the healing will be one of spirit, or information will be given that will bring about a spiritual healing for someone along this path.
In my dream encyclopedia I would define the meaning of a snakes in general terms like this:
Snake: healing, stealthy, sleek or slithery
Green Garden Snake: healing, green healing energy, required for a healthy garden
You can learn more about deciphering dreams by reading the Dream Interpretation article here in the Metaphysics section.
Animals of the Physical Kingdom
When animals cross our path in the physical world they are bringing us a message, typically that affects our physical world. Depending on the animal, they can cross meaning between the physical and spiritual worlds. One of the best books I've ever found on this subject is "Animal Speak" by Ted Andrews.
The basic concept of deciphering animal sign starts with understanding the animal in physical form. What are it's characteristics, habits, and personalities. For instance, a rabbit represents fertility for obvious reasons. A Raven represents transition, not always transition to death; but a significant change in one's life. Ravens are also associated with the Celtic Morrigan; and can also represent the triple goddess or going through the cycles of life. Especially if you see 3 Ravens at the same time.
So learning about the animal and it's life will give you an understanding of what the animal is trying to tell you when it crosses your path.
Deciphering Physical Animal Messages
To find the meaning or message behind the animal that cross your path, you need to examine 3 basic parts of the encounter. This is best explained through scenario, so here goes:
Let's say you see a hawk circling your house one morning on your way to work. Stop for a few moments and watch it. Try to distinguish the colors and if you can, determine what kind of hawk it is, on this day you see a North American Red Shoulder Hawk.
Now consider the 3 basic parts of the encounter.(You might think about keeping a journal and describing what happened. If you don't have time now to decipher the meaning of the visitation, you'll have enough information to do it later.)
  • What are the characteristics of the animal.
  • What do the colors of the animal represent.
    For example, the hawk had red shoulders; which will distinguish it from a red tailed hawk.
  • Describe what the animal was doing. What was your gut feeling at that moment.
    For instance, was the hawk was just soaring and enjoying it's view from above, or was it searching for something. A place to land? Something to eat? Give your description in as much "feeling" and intuitive detail as possible.
Next, you should read about the scientific and physiological characteristics of the animal to help you determine what could have been doing. You can certainly go to the library and look it up in an encyclopedia. But if you can get your hands on Ted Andrew's Animal Speak, you'll have some wonderful explanations of what this bird might represent. You might even look for a Peterson's Field Guide book (ie: Peterson's Field Guide to Birds). These are wonderful books to have around the house, they can help you identify just about any animals you might encounter.
Once you've got all this together and recorded in your journal. Step back and contemplate a little on what you wrote. How does your interpretation of this event fit into your life. What aspect does the visitation shed information or light upon.

Animals of the Spiritual Kingdom
If animals in the physical world are here to bring us messages, then what are the spiritual animals doing? Well, actually the same thing, just in a different manner and that's typically not their only purpose.
Animal guides teach us a little more intimate detail about our personality, character traits and even our spirit and spiritual gifts. They help guide us along our spiritual path, and can even protect us on the spiritual as well as the physical.
The best way to learn what your animal guide means for you is to follow the same "interpretation" of the animal as we just did in the physical realm. Write down what the animal means to you, what characteristics do you associate with and identify with. What color the animal is and what that meaning has for you. What kind of energy vibration can you associate with your relationship to this animal as your guide and so on. The more you can describe the more insight you might have into your own inner self.
Now it is possible for people to have more than one animal guide. The most common is 2-4 different kinds. During different aspects of your life, one animal may be highlighted more than the other, because you are working on aspects of yourself that require their particular energy to help you progress. Or one kind might duplicate itself to add meaning to your existence, as if when you marry, the animal also gains a mate. Actually it is more common for the animal to find a mate first, and the "love" energy between them effects your energy to attract a mate for yourself.
The type of animal can vary so widely you might be amazed. We often think of an animal guide as a cat, wolf, bird or salamander. Creatures we are familiar with, because they bring the most significant symbolism to our lives. But what if your a paleontologist? And the most significant animal for you is a pterodactyl. Why can't an extent species be an animal guide. Well, it can! So when you go out into the ethers to meet your animal guide, don't go with any preconceived ideas of what you'd like it to be. You're doing yourself a disservice and maybe even be insulting the animal who's with you. Just keep an open mind and be honest with yourself.
The best way for me to explain the significance of an animal guide is to tell you of my personal relationship with my guides. I have had 2 during my entire life and recently a 3rd has made itself known to me. The two main wonderful creatures are a white wolf, and a red shoulder hawk.
So what do these two animals tell about me. Cherokee tradition gives meaning to each animal, and then further defines their relationship through their color. The wolf is considered to be the highest spiritual teacher in the kingdom, even above the hawk and eagle. Each color of the wolf brings a different lesson or knowledge. In my traditions, the white wolf is a phantom beast, it lives between realities, two worlds, two planes at the same time. It comes to teach the lessons of balance, of bridging the physical world with the spiritual world, and how we can cross the planes of existence to learn and share knowledge with our higher self and with the unseen teachers and guides.
My friends that know me in the physical world have told me they can see how my teachings accomplish the goals and purpose of the white wolf. But more so, when they speak with me face to face, they can see a shift in physical energy in my face and eyes that gives them the impression that I'm existing in some other realm. It's a description I usually heard after a reading, but in the past 5 years, it happens more and more in normal everyday conversations. So I guess I do live in 2 places at once...being a Gemini, I would find a way of pulling in dual natures and worlds.
The wolf in a non-spiritual essence also tells me a little about me. A female wolf is a creature of community. She's rarely alone. She shares responsibilities of family with her pack. She is loyal to a fault, some she-wolves have died trying to save one of their own pack members from danger. So being loyal to a fault isn't necessarily good, but it ain't that bad either. I prefer looking at it as being loyal with acceptance. A wolf is territorial and not afraid of fighting for her home or pack. Like many dogs she is a little jealous of those she doesn't know or trust and will often try to put herself between her home/family and others. It's an act of protection, not possession. And in typical wolf fashion, she is also on guard to sense the slightest changes in energy for good or bad. When not threatened and when treated with respect, a wolf will allow others to get close to her and to her pack. But when approached with deceit, or hidden agendas, she will often pick up on that scent and be wary of the contact. Often this "feeling" will appear much earlier than others. She has good ears for listening to the most intricate details, up close and far off. So that early warning system kicks in, even when the energy is at a far distance and has not yet arrived. So when you cross the path of a wolf, they often know you've been coming for a while.
Using Animal Energy
What do you do once you know about your animal. Well, you can define your strengths and use them to overcome or help to support your inner self during those weak moments. How? By using the strengths of your other animal guide(s). It's important to learn both or all your animal guides. So when you need the strength of one, you know what energy or animal essence to call upon.
Meeting Your Animal Guides
The best way to meet your animal guides is through a visualized meditation. I have designed a meditation to give you an example of how you can meet your own animal guide.
Additional Reading:
Meditation Guide A How To Handbook.
Meditation Exercises
Meditation Prayers
Chakra Meditation
Meeting your Spirit Guides
Animal Guides
Guided Meditations
Meeting your Relative and Spirit Guide
Meeting your Animal Guide

Sources: 1, b1, b3, b11, b12, b13, s9


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