On Power Animals

Often when I mention I am a shamanic practitioner, one of the first questions I am asked (besides “What is Shamanism?”) is whether or not I have a power animal. Power animals are referred to by many names such as animal familiars, spirit animals, animal helpers, and animal totems. Power animals are spiritual guides that come to us in animal form to support us, protect us, and to lend us their wisdom and power. They can be mammals, insects, reptiles, or birds, and they can be fantastical, such as dragons, griffins, or pegasus.

Power animals can be with us our entire life, or they can come and go. Some power animals arrive to support us during times of transition, challenge, or celebration. Sometimes they come to us during initiations in life, and lend us their insight and strength, helping us to navigate rocky roads and unsettled waters. Sometimes they come to us during times of sorrow, to offer us comfort and care. The human relationship with animal spirit guides is as old as humanity itself, though many in the modern world have lost their affinity to their power animals. Gratefully, this connection can be recovered and the deep and profound support and strength offered by animal spirits can be revived within all of us.

How can I find my power animal/s?
Shamanic practitioners are trained to conduct power animal retrievals, which often include messages regarding your relationship with the animal/s and guidance on how to honor and nurture your power animal and the connection you have. Another way to connect with your spirit animal, is to ask it to present itself to you. Recommended states include while daydreaming, asking them to visit your dreams just before you go to sleep at night, during meditations, or when you are feeling deeply relaxed.

Power animals choose you, so find a place where you feel comfortable and safe, and gently allow whoever is present and wants to be known to reveal themselves to you. Also, notice if you just feel really magnetized towards a particular animal, even if you have no conscious explanation for it. In my experience, people have many connections with animals, often since early childhood, so when power animals are retrieved and the connection is reestablished, people can feel a rekindling of a past relationship, like meeting up again with a lost friend or family member. It is beautiful to witness people feeling a strong sense of belonging, especially if that has been missing from their lives! Your favorite animals, or animals that you have represented in your house, as pictures, sculptures, or toys, are often depictions of your spirit animals, or those that are seeking to connect more deeply with you.

I often hear statements like:

“I loved moose when I was a kid, and I was always thinking about them. In fact, I loved them so much, I have a tattoo of one.”
“All my life I’ve dreamed about owls.”
“Sharks have always been my favorite animal. When I go diving, I feel empty if I don’t see them.”

I live in Colorado, so when people come to visit, they’ll sometimes say things like;

“I’d forgotten how important bears are to me.”
“When I’m in the mountains, wolves appear in my dreams.”
“I just saw an eagle! As I watched it, I felt like I was flying over the mountains myself. Like we were one.”

I have many beautiful, powerful, delicate, and extraordinary power animals in my totem. Some of the animal spirits I have worked with or continue to work with include jaguar, pegasus, wolf, hummingbird, bee, dragon, bison, butterfly, elk, crow, whale, and hawk. Each of these has provided me with insight, protection, power, and guidance, and I am eternally grateful for their support. If you are feeling drawn to move forward with more peace, power, clarity, and connection I welcome the opportunity to support you in finding your very own power animals.

With deepest appreciation for the animal spirits,


This is the first post of many to come that I hope will help to illuminate your relationship with your power animals and spirit guides.