Spirit Totem Animals and Spirit Animals

by Olivia Page & Rachel Chamness

Have you been wondering what a spirit animal guide is versus an animal totem? In this article we will be exploring the differences.

Spirit animals and animal totems are terms that are often used interchangeably but they each have their own definition. If you have an interest in working with your animal spirit guide and totem animal, knowing the difference in the roles they play can help you work with them closer and help you understand the medicine they wish to teach you.  

Connecting with animal spirits is a great way to understand yourself and receive messages from a higher realm, in order to help guide you along your journey. Animals are not on earth just to be part of the food chain. Animals help teach humans aspects of themselves that perhaps they have forgotten and to make sure that humans know that they are never alone.

Animal Totem Wolf image

What is a Spirit Animal?

A spirit animal is any animal that crosses your path that you take notice of or has taken notice of you to guide you. Animal guides can cross your path during your waking hours or even in your sleep. They could come to you in a vision or during a meditation. 

Maybe you see an animal in the clouds or in an advertisement or TV show.  If an animal guide has a message for you or they have something to teach you, they will find a way to connect with you. If you are seeing the same animal over and over it is time to look up its symbolism, so you can get the message this guide has for you. There are many books and websites devoted to these spirit animal symbolism and meanings. Better yet, you can just ask the animal guide and see what comes to you in your thoughts, feelings and visions.  

Every animal has a spirit and therefore can always have medicine to teach anybody who is willing to listen. A spirit animal or animal guide is a guide to help you with your manifestations. Animal guides help you create a deeper connection to spirit and yourself. If you are feeling lonely or insecure, an animal guide will help build you up and let you know that you are not alone. An animal guide wants to help you connect with your heart and joy.  

The aspects the particular animal possesses will shape the medicine the animal teaches you. This is because each animal has its own way of surviving and overcoming challenges in the life it lives on Earth, with the rest of Earth’s creatures. Messages from an animal guide can also come through your sense of smell, sight, hearing and feeling. When you come across an animal guide, pay attention to what your current thoughts and feelings are, because the animal guide is most likely providing guidance for you concerning those thoughts and feelings.

Bear Animal Totem Image

What is an Animal Totem?

An animal totem is an animal that is one of your main animal guides, who is with you from birth and will be with you during your entire incarnation on Earth. You can also have more than one animal totem. In some Native American cultures, you can have nine animal totems with you from birth!  

An animal totem is like your guardian angel or spirit guide, but in the form of an animal. Your animal totem also teaches you and guides you along your journey.

Like all members of your spirit team, your animal totem wants what is best for you. Like all spirit team members, an animal totem cannot infringe on your freewill. 

Your spirit team, whatever form they take, are guides and protectors. Sometimes we go through trials and tribulations to teach us about who we are, our strengths, our shadows and to help us build a stronger connection to higher dimensions and our soul selves.  

You may have more than one animal totem even if you’re not Native American. It has to do with your journey at soul level. Your soul may have contracted with one animal totem or several. An animal totem’s main purpose is to help you discover who you are and to help you step into the power of who you are with strength, confidence and in the most authentic way possible.  

If having nine animal totems resonates with you then you should know that each animal represents the different directions north, east, south, west, above, below, within, right and left. You may have a different animal totem for each direction.

North is the direction of Earth and helps you stay grounded in your truth.

East is the direction of air and helps your wishes take flight and helps with movement.

South is the direction of fire and helps with creating something new.

West is the direction of water and helps you connect with your emotions.

Above connects you with your higher self.

Below connects you with matters that reside below the surface, your hidden self.

Within connects you to your hearts desires and joy.

Left is the energy of the feminine. 

Right is the energy of the masculine.

Spirit Animal Totem image

But how do you find out what animals are your animal totem?

Your animal totems can also be animals who guide you in this life. This isn’t the same sort of strong connection you have with your pet, or even a Spirit Guide who is an animal, but more the animal who has chosen to help you in this life. It can also be an animal that you possess qualities of. If you reminisce about your life and you’ve always loved bears and eagles and felt a strong connection with them, then they are probably your animal totems.  

You can look up the animals you feel a strong connection with and see what characteristics the animal possesses that you possess as well. Another way you can find out your animal totems is by asking your higher self to bring you the same animal over and over. You can even have an Animal Totem Reading or ask a shaman who works with spirit animals and totems to connect you with your animal totems.

Some common animal guides and totems are bear, eagle and wolf.  The symbolism of each animal is the same whether it is your totem or spirit animal.  But, a totem animal will have more significance for you throughout your whole life.

Eagle Spirit Totem Image

Bear:  There are many kinds of bears and each type of bear possesses its own specific medicine, so we will talk about bear medicine in general. Bear medicine teaches you how to step into the power of consciousness and its interconnectedness; and how we all play a role in how things play out as a collective. Bears are associated with trees so if you have a bear as your totem or guide, connecting with trees will be important for you as well. Bear medicine is asking  you to open up to your potential and as you discover your potential, to share it with the world. 

Eagle:  Eagle medicine can light up your crown chakra and connect you with the cosmos. Eagle medicine can help with any healing you need to do. If you are a healer, eagles can help you heal others. The eagle is able to soar to great heights, but it comes back to earth for food and water. Because of this, the eagle can teach you the importance of maintaining your connection to Earth and the cosmos simultaneously. This is the Spirit Totem I most strongly identify with, and my Eagle Spirit Totem Guide is named André.

Wolf: Wolf medicine teaches you about loyalty to self and others, perseverance and how to work together. Wolf medicine can teach you how creating ritual or a consistent connection to spirit can help you awaken and be fully engaged in Spirit’s guidance for you. Wolves have amazing senses and can help you to use your senses to guide you in day to day life. They guide you to know your strengths in how you receive messages from spirit. 

⁠Interestingly, the Switchword WOLF can be used to attract loyal and trustworthy people, your Wolf Pack! ⁠

Ask yourself what aspects of your current animal guide or animal totem do you wish to possess or encompass in your everyday life?

How can you become like your animal guide or totem in a way that helps you get through your journey, in the best way possible?  If there is an animal you know you want to work with you can just call them in to help you with your current circumstances.  

You have animal spirit guides that help you every day. Totem Animals and Spirit Animals can help as certain situations come up— to provide you with the attributes they possess to help you succeed. An animal totem stands by your side through your whole life and wants you to possess their qualities and strengths to help you get through the ebbs and flows of your life’s journey. Your animal totem wants to protect you, but in a way that allows you to learn your lessons and step into a feeling of empowerment.  Allow these spirit animals in your life or those that cross your path to connect with you, guide you and empower you.

How Do you Connect to Your Animal Spirit Guides?

In May 2021 in my Transformation & Ascension Group, we received help from Animal Spirit Guides and Totems. If you wish to communicate with your Animal Spirit Guides and Totems, this month will connect you and will always be in the TAG archives.

You can also learn to communicate with your Guides through Spirit Signs, by reading this article on Spirit Signs & Spirit Guides.

If you would like to learn to connect to your Spirit Guides — animal or otherwise, I recommend further opening your psychic clairs— we do a lot of this in my TAG Community Membership. You can also meet your Spirit Guides and flex your psychic muscle while increasing your communication with many beings of light.

If you feel like you are too much of a beginner for TAG Lightworkers, you can check out TAG Beginners to start your journey!

Want to learn about an animal spirit form known as Daemons (not to be confused with demons) from Atlantis? Click below to watch a Youtube video with April Lindevald channeling Pallas the Owl about these wonderful guides!


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