Spirit Animals - My Thoughts

Are Spirit Animals A Genuine Concept?… Or Are We Simply Making Another Spiritual Power Play?… My Thoughts On Our Flawed Bias System!!!

It is no secret that the spiritual and magickal communities have a system that is deeply flawed as I have touched upon several times in my work. Often have I pointed out fallacies which are more often than not debunked with a little bit of logic and closer inspection. One of the dominating factors that I believe cause this, is our own bias toward our community (which in all honesty is a natural thing). There is a bias toward more or less anyone who wants to have themselves validated by others. I truly believe that there are many people in our community who wish reality was a certain way so much so that they would rather find away to justify believing that reality exists, rather than accepting what actually is.

Many have abandoned logic, common sense and basic science because it is a conflict to the fantasy they wish they could be in. Here in lies our flawed system. Instead of questioning these fancy concepts even when a logical argument arises many tend to look the other way, the typical see no evil so that they don’t have to change their own flawed ways. Its far easier to live a lie than to admit being wrong and then changing the mistakes that were made. This is of course a broad opening to the specific topic I want to address today. That topic is spirit animals.

Most if not everyone in our community will know this very common and somewhat trendy concept. It’s a popular thing to have a spirit animal and to figure out what your animal is. However, here is where I pose my first question. Is this a genuine and real concept? Or is this being used as a power play? Let me first say that spirit animals (and variations such as power animals) do have some legitimate history to be taken into consideration. Animists and shamans have been using this idea of our relation to animals for a long time. Yet, history does not always mean useful. In our community I have observed the telling feature that this concept is simply a masked validation for our fantasy world.

There are common choices for spirit animals (and I emphasise the word choice here) and even more common choices. Wolf, bear, lion, as my first examples turn up frequently. Yet things like, cockroach, dung beetle and garden worms never show up. These things are still animals. Now ok animals and bugs do have a clear distinction, but what about the rat? Or the turtle? The seagull or pigeon? It is clear there that the popular kids get picked first. We have hundreds of wolf spirit animals but not a single squirrel. Herein lies the bias. The majority are choosing their animal because it validates their own conceptions of themselves. It’s a romanticism that most don’t even realize they have. Its empowering to pick a bear or wolf but degrading to choose a worm or cockroach, as such we avoid the latter. Funny how even we spiritually evolved people still have this hint of looking down on lesser animals like the bugs as well as people in our spiritual conquest. Now let my say next that I realize not every person is subject to this, but I am talking generally.

It is my belief that the animal doesn’t choose us as many spiritualists believe, but rather we choose them. We pick these animals because of many potential reasons. For the typical average joe this is most likely a power play, pick an animal that makes you cool and superior. For others it can be simply feeling like you have something in relation. It’s not uncommon for us humans to relate certain traits to animals and then see patterns in the likeness ourselves. However, this is based upon our own bias and romanticism’s which is where the issue lies. The third is experiencing some kind of affinity toward a certain species of animal which again falls to bias. Often psychological concepts such as pareidolia (seeing patterns in randomness which does also account for this concept), Ideomotor and placebo end up debunking spiritual concept.

Now let me now say that in all honesty I have no issue with this concept and I myself have had spirit animals. But with all my work I try to take a non-personal approach and look at things from a Birdseye view. This concept doesn’t do much harm for the majority however, I think we should speak our observations more so when we are searching for truth and evolution. I think that spirit animals as a concept is simply our own minds trying to relate to the world around us and as things get popular and trendy they get abused and misinterpreted. This observation however, I think it is an important one so I want your thoughts on this observation?

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Bugs, worms, and to some extent vermin are forms that astral parasites would take (or however you’d conceptualise them, maybe pathological thought currents, or unwanted epigenetic expressions), so there is a reason people don’t go hugging a great big bug - they are also the form negative energy commonly takes when removed in a shamanic healing session, that and unnatural and distasteful things, like fish with teeth.

A scarab would mean a different thing to a guy in Egypt 3000 years back, but today, it’s mainly just a beetle, so unless someone feels very certain they have the right animal for them, most people teaching Harner’s methods will suggest leaving it alone - the spirit animal energy can take any form, so it’s not innately “biased” to refuse something that seems to be taking forms you dislike.

There are ways to handle this if a person ONLY returns stating their SA turned up as a thing that were troubled by, but that’s a little beyond the scope of this reply.

On the rest, I’m going to copy a section from the tutorial I have created on core shamanic journeying regarding this, it in some ways echoes what you’re saying, though to be honest I don’t get my frillies in a twist if people want to externalise their spirit animal, I mean, I did that intentionally with my Personal Daemon and that’s been nothing but awesome ever since then:

Don’t try to guess what your animal is or will be, and don’t be disappointed if it’s not something “cool.”

… It’s perfectly normal to want to have some symbol of it in your life, don’t go wacky and get it tattooed or anything, but it’s fine to draw it, or print out a picture of an animal of that same type, or even buy a piece of jewellery or a t-shirt or something that represents it and becomes a focal point.

It may merge with you later on, or change into a different type of animal, all things are possible - but this is stage 1.

But in a world where friends can turn out to be backstabbers, where “jobs for life” are a thing of the past, so your colleagues today in any corporate job will be the competition for the next gig, is it really a big deal if someone gets an archetypal wolf, and loves the hell out of it so much that they go full “Three Wolf Moon” on the iconography? :wink:

There are far worse affiliations someone can have than to their idealised nature, externalised as a wise and loving guide.

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While I don’t deny that there are some people like that, you also need to keep in mind that science is largely based on interpretations.

Things in the world don’t speak for themselves, they don’t tell us what they are. Instead we come up with various definitions and ways to describe something.

Take for example a tribal society for example who view what we call “schizophrenia” as a “spirit attack” and then treat it with herbs.

Are these people “delusional” for having a different idea of schizophrenia than us? Our scientists will look at the physical aspect of schizophrenia (parts of the brain) and come up with interpretations, while the tribal society will examine the behavior and subjective experience of the afflicted by proxy (e.g. when the afflicted tells them what’s happening), and come up with their own deductions.

Then, both the modern western people and the tribal society will use various ways to help the afflicted.

You would have to have such hubris to say that the tribal society is delusional for “believing in a fantasy” because they examine schizophrenia differently, define it differently than us. What’s more important is the treatment, and they use herbs, which are probably less damaging than the pills you get in our modern western world.

So I think you should think before throwing the words “delusion” or “fantasy” or whatever buzzword you heard from Dawkins, Darren Brown, and whoever else. Our reality is made out of narratives and stories we weave, not inherent objective truths which are being told by the objects themselves that we encounter. Of course there are exceptions: The only few things you can be absolutely certain about are your self existence and gravity.

This would be a sound argument if you were comparing animals of the same biological complexity. But you’re not. You cannot compare insects to mammals either. Humans are mammals, therefore it would make more sense for their spirit animal to be a mammal. Are there people who overuse wolves, bears, etc? Sure. But you have many people who from a very young age relate to these or similar animals. I think there’s more to it than just “power play.” Children don’t think about “self image” or “status” or whatever. I know many of my friends and associates who practice magic from a young age have always related to a particular animal. It’s a common theme.

As for the squirrel, yes I’ve met people who have the squirrel, or a fox, or a racoon as their spirit animal(s). Guess you’ve not discussed this with too many people.

I’d say it’s both. You have cases where people choose them, and cases where people (usually children) feel chosen by them. Which one is more common is of no concern to me.

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Bloody hell - I was attempting to ‘rationalise’ things last night and almost gave myself a breakdown thinking I was bordering schizoid, or lewy body dementia! The more I read about all of it the more it seemed a catch 22 situation in that the medical fraternity have moved in on the religious groups as the new purveyors of exorcisms through pharmaceuticals and tortures through icepick lobotomies rather than considering that we do actually co-exist with many different types of entities and guess what humans can actually talk to each other without opening our mouths, being in the same room over many miles via telepathy.

I relate to horse; is it my spirit animal - I don’t know but I have an affinity to the creatures. For all I know my spirit animals may in actual fact be my nemeses the slug and moth.

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Oh I am fully aware science is interpretations after all thats what I do, look at different perspectives and interpretations in an attempt to dissect their core. I hold Science to the same scrutiny as I do spirituality.

As for us coming up with ways to describe and rationalize things, find a meaning I agree completely, I do however think its important to explore why we come to certain conclusions.

delusional… you mistake what I said. I said the community as a whole is guilty of being delusional not this particular concept. However, mental illness is another topic that I have some interest in as it concerns magick but thats for another day.

As for our narratives and stories that is what they are, narratives and stories. I am not looking for our perception of reality I am looking at what reality is outside of how we dress that up. Looking at the core of it all. There are objective truths that can be tested even if they themselves have their own limits and can be bent. If gravity is an objective truth than does it not logically suggest there are other objective truths?

Here is another objective truth, nothing can be created without it first being in thought. So I urge you to test this, try and do something that doesn’t involve you thinking. (also subconscious and unconscious thought is still thinking).

Now since we have both concluded that there are objective truths then the path of discovering them and testing them seems a viable choice, hence my work. So i will take the exceptions and see what that tells us hence my work and articles.

Lets talk about animals now. So animals have different complexity, yes sure. But does this now not suggest that a spirit “animal” is in fact chosen by us because of our relativity to it rather than something like a bug? additionally, when you break down the actual make up of the dna there isn’t much difference between a rat and a human in the dna compared to how the physical body manifests. So complexity can be argued to a certain degree. But wait, I thought spirituality wasn’t about the physical in this sense… so by that logic complexity has nothing to do with spirit animal but rather what they have to teach and guide no?

As for me not discussing it with too many people perhaps you have a smaller circle of people, but when you interact in a community of hundred of thousands these patterns are very obvious. Hence why my work is speaking generally. it is literally my job to talk to people so no I have discussed this and observed this for quite some time and with many people.

as for the over all article, this is an observation to discuss, not a hit piece.

I feel you are 100% on point regarding most cases of people with spirit animals, but your way of saying it is more polite than mine. My way of saying it is that some people are just full of shit. It’s kind of like past lives. Everyone I talk to on that topic was either a monarch or historical figure in their former life. Right…

That depends on the culture. I know in NE Native American cultures some had the spider as their spirit animal. But, largely, I think many insects can’t be spirit animals because they don’t have kind of consciousness to make a relevant connection with a human that a human can be receptive to. I think most encounters with insect spirits are either astral nastiness or some other spirit incognito.

Spirit animals go a lot deeper than a person identifying with the animal’s traits on a comparison basis. Thinking your spirit animal is a wolf because a wolf runs quickly is as meaningful as thinking you’re spirit animal is a dragon because you happen to be holding a lighter (thank you Joe Rogan). It does not matter if a person identifies with a wolf or not; if their spirit animal is a wolf and it is actually a spirit animal then it is not going to behave like a run of the mill wolf. I’m still not convinced that any such interactions I have had were even rooted in physicality.

I have to believe there is something to it. Unfortunately I can make no sense of it. Let me give you an example. I do believe spirit animals are very real. Mine chose to meet me in the form of a deer. This makes no sense to me at all. I share no physical traits with a deer. I have neither grace, speed or a gentle nature. I have never had a dream that I can recall remotely involving a deer. I hunt, kill and eat deer. I don’t even like the movie Bambi. No deer spirit has ever shown me great insights or helped me through a tough time or inspired me. But every so often a deer that probably is not a deer pops up. It is an odd encounter, no exchange or expression is made, but there is a kind of ‘click’ like you are meeting an old friend for a moment. Then it is done. And it is weird. It leaves no boon, no answers, it is just an experience, kind of like seeing a newly discovered species for the first time. This makes it confusing and somewhat insufferable in it’s seeming lack of significance. I think the phenomenon has something to do with the natural kind of brain wave shift that happens sometimes when you are out in natural surroundings by yourself.

So when I hear people with their grandiose tales of a bear spirit or fox spirit that was extremely profound I just nod and smile. Like I said, some people are just full of shit. The others might be having genuine experiences, but I can’t identify because of the absolute lack of common ground.

I think that is more of a regional thing that is becoming increasingly blurred in the information age.

I don’t think it is one or the other. It could be a bit of both, but I honestly think that in genuine cases it is could be a few things. 1. A matter of randomness via hallucination. Consider that many historic accounts of spirit animals involve intentional sleep deprivation, dehydration, starvation and drugs. 2. Some kind of spirit that is encountered while in psychological states that has an energetic correspondence or synch with the individual experiencing it that interprets into a given animal consistently. 3. It is some type of spirit that chooses to consistently meet you in the form of (insert animal) for whatever reason.

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