We have many allies along our spiritual journey, among my favorite are our animal guides. Animal guides are our spirit guides in animal form. Some of them are connected with us since birth and some of them swoop in at the perfect time to convey a much needed message. Learning to listen, pay attention and decipher the message can be a magical and life-changing experience. 

The Message of Deer

I have had some pretty amazing encounters with animal guides ( also called spirit animals) in my life. Some happening in deep meditative states but many real-life encounters too. I’ve always felt a special connection with them and often they show up for clients as the client becomes ready to work with their special and intelligent energies. One of the more profound experiences I’ve had was with Deer. Driving home from a camping trip several years ago on a long a windy road with no shoulder, a small fawn jumped out in front of my car. I had no place to swerve and sadly the deer died. I was devastated for days afterward.  About three days later I was doing yoga in my room, as I moved back into downward dog I looked out the window behind me through my legs. There I saw Deer looking back at me. In her perfect wholeness, she stood and stared. I could then hear her voice in my head telling me to love myself wholeheartedly. As I moved out of downward dog I turned around to look out the window again and Deer was gone, but her message of self-love and compassion remained.

How do Animal Guides Work?

When these beautiful spirit animals show up for us, it isn’t the consciousness of the single animal that is guided to help you. If you think about Plato’s theory of forms, he said that two realities existed. The material realm which we live in and the non-material realm where the essence of all things exist in their perfect form. It is in these non-material realms that Deer exists. Some teachers like to call this the Oversoul which then collaborates with a single consciousness in the material plane to convey the message. So the Oversoul of Deer would work with a deer on a material place to help us navigate our lives. Of course in the case of Dragon or Unicorn, those animals do not have a material counterpart, so their presence will show up in meditation or some other astral form.

Noticing the Spirit Animal

When you notice a real or symbolic animal showing up over and over, that means they have a message for you. Sometimes, like in the case of Deer, the message is easy to know. In other cases their presence might be more subtle. So the first thing to look for is an animal showing up over and over again in an unusual way. This might be in our 3-D reality or in meditation or healing work. If you always see crows by your house but that is usual for them to be there, that is probably not an animal guide. Now if you were on a hike and a crow follows you from tree to tree cawing loudly along the way, I would pay attention to that. Another example I’ve experienced is I’ve had a mouse hanging out at the top left-hand side of my patio screen door. At first, I thought he was scared of my cat and ran all the way up there, but my cat was inside. Then I thought he must be stuck, but on further inspection, he was just hanging out there. It wasn’t until I went and looked up the message of Mouse that he left the spot. It is those types of instances where I pay attention.

Messages Through Metaphor

The first thing that I do when I know an animal guide is trying to send me a message is to think about the characteristics of the animal. I like to think in terms of symbolism and metaphor. I had Lion showing up in my meditations over and over, so I thought about what a lion means to me. They are expert energy managers, they won’t chase after something unless they know it is going to nourish them. They protect their pride etc. So after thinking about Lion as a symbol, I feel into the information and to see what feels right. Is there some resonance to the metaphor and can I see how it applies to the circumstances in my life? There are also some great animal medicine cards that can assist you and some pretty good websites too. Here are a few of my favorites (here and here).  You might also just sit in meditation with the intention of receiving the message they are trying to convey.

Developing a Relationship with Animal Guides

As I mentioned, some animal guides are with us for large chunks of time, maybe even since birth and some of them show up with a message for us when we need it. Either way, it is important to honor their presence in our lives. You can do this by having an animal totem. I work with Crow on a regular basis and I have a couple of statues and figurines in my office to honor our relationship. You can also do things like donating money to charities that support the wellbeing of a particular species. Remember those animals are connected to the Oversoul and as you honor them you also honor the essence of them. Sitting in meditation with your messenger and connecting with them on a regular basis is another way to nurture your relationship.

Animal guides are magical messengers. Learning to work with them can enrich your life and assist you in your awakening process. As humans, we sometimes forget that we are part of the natural world. We too are animals. As we learn to tune into the subtleties of the natural world there are so many beautiful energies to explore that can expand your thinking of what is possible. So pay attention to the animals that show up and then learn to listen to the guidance they have for you. It may just change your life. 

Want to learn more? Listen to this podcast with Stacy Couch on Entanglement Radio.


(c) Can Stock Photo / Donvanstaden

(c) Can Stock Photo / arturasker