If you talk to the animals
they will talk with you
and you will know each other.
If you do not talk to them,
you will not know them,
and what you do not know you will fear.
What one fears, one destroys!

~Chief Dan George



All of creation carries a wisdom if you have the ears to hear it. The creatures we share this earth with are no exception. They are here, not as inferior beasts to exploit, but as companions on our Earth journey. All our companions are teachers as well, and each one we encounter has valuable lessons for us to learn. Some say, and I believe it's true, that long, long ago, we knew the language of the four-legged ones, the winged-ones and the swimmers of the seas. Somewhere back in time, we lost our connection. Scientists would tell you we evolved into intelligent beings. One look at the state of the world in our hands will tell you we evolved into anything but intelligent beings. What we did was lose our connection to the earth and each other. And we are all suffering for it.

Not all cultures lost that connection. The native peoples of the world still know the ancient wisdom, though the 'civilized' world has tried its best to sever the connection. Increasingly, though, even those who are not from those cultures began to listen to what they had to say, and somewhere deep within their knowing they seemed to remember the ancient voices. And more and more, the so-called intelligent beings are turning back to their sisters and brothers of the animal world for wisdom and guidance.

There are different schools of thought when it comes to animal spirit guides (also called medicine animals, totem animals, power animals, familiars...). I'll have links at the bottom of the page to different ones where you can explore the subject. For me, my connection to certain animals seemed to have happened very early, and long before I'd ever heard of the concept of 'medicine animals'.

They say your animal spirit guides come to you in a variety of ways. They can appear in your physical surroundings (where suddenly you seem to see butterflies everywhere you go, for example), or come to you in dreams. Or you will feel a particular love and 'soul connection' to one or another.

There are three animals which I know to be special guides in my life, and another that came later. The first is the wolf. No, I've never come across one in my life, but I've always felt a connection to them. Not a love, or admiration, but a true spirit connection. The wolf has been my primary guide and teacher. This link will take you to my Wolf Spirit page...


Another is the black panther. I've always loved the 'big cats'. One of my earliest paintings (at the age of 12, I think) was of a tiger, but my first sight of a black panther hit straight to my heart. I was at a zoo with my parents and stopped dead in my tracks in front of her cage. We looked into each others eyes and for an eternal instant we connected soul to soul. The ordinary world seemed to melt away and we were encased in light; a part of that light; a part of each other. What I remember most is the excrutiating pain of her heart, this majestic spirit bound in a cage. I don't know how long it was. My parents finally took me by the hand and led me away, but I never took my eyes off hers until she was completely out of sight. And I've carried her light in me ever since. This link will take you to my Black Panther page...

black panther

Ah, the raven. My mystical, magical guide. Again, from an early age I seemed drawn to stories about her. Much later, when I was living in California I was walking along Monterey Bay when suddenly I heard the familiar 'caw', and a huge raven swooped above my head three times - the last one coming so close to my head I heard the "woosh" and felt her nearly brush the top of my hair. To tell you the truth, it scared the tar out of me! *s* She flew back over to the lighthouse about a hundred yards from the road and cried out a few more times. Someone passing by said she was attacking me for getting too close to her nest, but there wasn't a tree or nest anywhere near me, and there were lots of other people walking the path I was on, and playing on the golf course between the path and the lighthouse where she came from. No, that was no attack. My magical friend was trying to get my attention...and that she did!

About 7 years later, I went to a seminar on Huichol Shamanism which was being held in Alaska. (The seminar was with the Dance ofthe Deer Foundation, headed by Brant Secunda. There is a link at the bottom of the page where you can find out more information.) I was originally supposed to stay for 3 weeks, but stayed on another 3. It was one of the most magical times in my life...second only to my week swimming with dolphins, but a very close second. I've been to quite a few beautiful places, but no place that seemed so ALIVE There were a million spectacular moments with the scores of eagles that came to visit us each day, whale sightings, and just the majesty of the woods and ocean. But it was Raven who came to visit me from my first day, and at special moments throughout my time. While searching for feathers in the woods to make my prayer sticks for a vision quest, I found 4 perfect, beautiful raven feathers actually standing up out of the brush in different locations. While walking up the road to search for a spot where I would do my vision quest, a raven landed about five feet on the dirt road ahead of me. By now being quite used to talking to my friend, I asked her what she was trying to tell me. She kind of looked off to the side and then flew off. "Well, okay", I thought, "lets see what's off this way". And just off the road was a perfect trail leading down through the wood to a rocky clearing just off the ocean --- the perfect spot to vision. And Raven has been the harbinger of the magical in my life ever since. This link will take you to my Raven page...


The fourth came at a Medecine Wheel Gathering in upstate New York. One of the speakers was Alberto Villoldo and at a ceremony one night the participants were to go to a secluded spot and ask for our spirit guide. So off I went, and asked the spirit world to send me my guide. Pretty much expecting to see Wolf, or Raven or Panther, the minutes passed, and nothing seemed to come. After about 20 minutes or so, I was about to give up when in the darkness I nearly fell to the ground. Suddenly right before my eyes was a huge eagle flying right at me. I thought it was an immature bald eagle (Looking in books, later, I realized it was a golden eagle). Suddenly it was as if I was seeing through her eyes, as if her spirit had indeed come into my body. I remember asking, what should I call you, Grandfather Eagle?; Brother Eagle?... The clear, curious answer was "Grandmother". About that time, it seemed as if Wolf was 'stepping back' from my life. Not going away exactly, still over to the side, but seemed to be sitting it out, as it were, for the time being. It wasn't until maybe 6 months later, when I was actively involved in studying Huichol Shamanism, that Brant was telling a story about Grandmother Eagle (a golden eagle revered by the Huichol people) and how she and the wolf did not get along. Suddenly I realized why Wolf had stepped to the side. He did not have a primary role in Huichol beliefs and was deferring to one who had. Since continuing my spiritual journey, Grandmother Eagle seems now to be soaring around the periphery, and Wolf has returned to the center, yet she is still there when the road requires her special guidance. This link will take you to my Eagle page...



So these are the four main animal spirits that I believe guide me on my journey. There are and have been others, that come for brief periods to teach me various lessons at different times in my life, but these four are constant companions, though as I've said, Grandmother Eagle seems to be on the periphery. As I mentioned earlier, there are different schools of thought about animal wisdom. Some ascribe a certain number of animal spirits to each person, some say a certain animal represents various elements and seasons. This will vary according to custom and belief.

It's important to remember that Spirit speaks to us in ways we best understand which may be very different from how s/he speaks to someone else. This is why the notion of any religion having 'THE' truth is so ridiculous and why all paths are valid and worthy of respect. As you read the following attributes of different animals and those you'll find at the links I've included below, keep in mind that these are only guidelines. My best advice to you would be to read what seems to call to you, and then search within yourself for what resonates as truth to you.


Ant ~~ group mind, patience, action

Alligator ~~ maternal, revenge

Antelope ~~ action, agility and sacrifice

Armadillo ~~ safety, boundaries, medicine shield

Badger ~~ aggressive, healer, energy conduit

Bat ~~ rebirth, secrets and initiation, long life

Bear ~~ power, industrious, instinct, healing, introspection

Beaver ~~ determined, strong-willled, builder, protector

Bee ~~ organization, industrial, productive, wisdom

Buffalo ~~ sacredness, life, prayer, abundance

Butterfly ~~ metamorphosis and transformation

Cheetah ~~swiftness, insight, focus

Coyote ~~ the trickster, intelligence, stealth

Crane ~~ solitude, justice, longevity, independence, intelligence, vigilance

Crow ~~ law, shape shifting, change, creativity, spiritual strength

Deer ~~ intellectual, gentleness, caring, kindness

Dog ~~ noble, faithfulness, loyal, teaching

Dolphin ~~ kindness, salvation, breath of life

Dragon ~~ longevity, infinity, wisdom, power, movement through space

Dragonfly ~~ flighty and carefree, illusion breaker,

Duck ~~ water energy

Eagle ~~ divine Spirit, sacrifice, connection to creator

Elephant ~~ strength, power, wisdom

Elk ~~ strength and agility

Falcon ~~ new beginnings, adventure, passionate, leadership

Fox ~~ cunning, agility, quick-witted, camouflage

Frog ~~ water energy, cleansing, rebirth

Gazelle ~~ the soul, agressive

Goose ~~ self-demanding, reliable, prudent, rigid

Grouse ~~ the sacred spiral, cycles

Hawk ~~ messenger, intuition, victory, healing

Horse ~~ stamina, mobility, power

Hummingbird ~~ messenger, timelessness, healing, joy

Jaguar ~~ chaos, shape-shifter

Lion ~~ family, strength, energy, courage

Lizard ~~ conservation, dreaming

Llama ~~ comforting others

Lynx ~~ keeper of secrets, guardian and guide

Moose ~~ headstrong, longevity, steadfastness, wisdom

Mouse ~~ scrutiny, order, organizer

Opposum ~~ diversion, strategist, deceiver

Otter ~~ playful, friendly, dynamic, female energy

Owl ~~ deception, clairvoyance, insight , messenger

Ox ~~ sacrifice, self-denial, chastity

Panther ~~ self empowerment, movement in darkness without fear, death and rebirth, strength

Peacock ~~ immortality, dignity, self-confidence

Porcupine ~~ innocence, companionship, trust

Rabbit ~~ fear, timidity, nervousness, humility, fertility

Raccoon ~~ curiosity, cleanliness

Raven ~~ introspection, magic, healing, shape-shifter

Salmon ~~ proud, intense, confident

Seahorse ~~ confidence and grace

Shark ~~ hunter, survival, adaptability

Skunk ~~ reputation, presence, strength, respect

Snake ~~ impulsive, shrewdness, rebirth, transmutation of energy

Spider ~~ creatrix, web spinner

Squirrel ~~ planner, gatherer

Swan ~~ grace, balance and innocence

Tiger ~~ strength, valour, power, energy

Turkey ~~ generosity, life-giver, sharer

Turtle ~~ nurturer, protector, grounding, Mother Earth energy

Whale ~~ wisdom, provider, keeper or ancient knowledge

Weasel ~~ strength, energy, ingenuity and stealth

Wolf ~~ loyalty, preserverance, freedom, teacher

Woodpecker ~~ sensitive, protective, devotion

A Dictionary of Symbols
by J. E. Cirlot
Earth Medicine by Kenneth Meadows
Medicine Cards by Jamie Sams and David Carson

The following links will take you to some wonderful sites to learn more about animal wisdom, shamanism and other related subjects.

Enjoy your journey...

Shamanism - Working with Animal Spirits
The Pagan's Path - Animal Guide Meditation
Animal Spirit Guides
Totem Animals
Venus Rising
Morrighan's Totem Animals
Spirit Online ~ Shamanism
Understanding Spirit Animals
Dance of the Deer Foundation
The Four Winds Society - Alberto Villoldo, Ph.D.


Excellent books on the subject:

Medicine Cards by Jamie Sams and David Carson
Animal-Speak by Ted Andrews
Earth Medicine by Kenneth Meadows
Shamanic Experience by Kenneth Meadows
Animals of the Soul by Joseph Epes Brown
Singing The Soul Back Home by Caitlin Matthews


Organizations dedicated to preserving and
protecting wildlife and the enviromnent:

The World Wildlife Fund
The Nature Conservancy
The Sierra Club
The Endangered Species Coalition
Environment Defense Org.
Friends of the Earth



Read how scientists are conducting research
on animal communication and possible healing frequencies
they contain at this link



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