The concept of having an animal as a spirit guide in the physical world is not a new one. Many cultures respect and refer the place and power of animals in both the physical and metaphysical realms. One of the best known cultures belongs to the Native Americans, who have long believed that a spirit animal can serve as a guide through life and can help to transport the soul after life ends.
In astrology, an animal guide appears in many branches of astrology, from Shamanic astrology to Celtic astrology to the Chinese Zodiac. In this article, learn more about what an animal guide is and does and how to discover your personal animal guide.
Animal Guides Defined
In some traditions, the animal guide is called a “spirit animal.” In others, there are references to an “animal helper” or “totem animal.” Each of these references points to approximately the same concept – that of an animal companion to guide and teach a human counterpart.
Several basic concepts hold true regardless of the specific astrological tradition. First, the animal guide picks their human counterpart – it does not work the other way around. Second, the animal guide can stay present for a long time, appear for just a brief period of time and even reappear intermittently throughout a person’s life. And third, the animal guide will find a way to reveal its presence either in daily life, in meditation, in dreams or in other ways.
Learning From An Animal Guide
Each animal guide has different qualities and lessons to impart. As such, an animal guide has no limits to what lessons it can offer. The only limits come from what their human counterpart is willing or able to learn.
The animal guide may appear at key moments in life as a sign to move forward, hold back, make a specific choice, wait patiently for a little longer, provide reassurance and comfort or even deliver messages of caution or warning.
In this way, once the animal guide has been identified, it can be very helpful to learn as much as possible about that animal’s natural ways in life. Studying where the animal lives, what it eats, how it chooses a mate, whether it leads a solitary or pack life, how it hunts, what special abilities or instincts it possesses and how it passes from life can all provide deep insights into life from a human perspective.
Despite the human tendency to categorize or classify some animals as above or below others, in the realm of animal guides all animals have equal value and worth. Each animal has unique lessons to impart. An animal guide may choose to pair with a human counterpart for a specific reason, which is ultimately to the good of the person who has an openness to learning what that animal guide can teach.
Animal Guides in Astrology
Animal guides appear in different ways in different branches of astrology. For example, in the Chinese Zodiac system, there are 12 animals that each correspond to a specific year in a 12-year cycle. When one 12-year cycle concludes, another begins and the first year of the new cycle returns to the first of the 12 animals, which are the rat, the ox, the tiger, the rabbit, the dragon, the snake, the horse, the goat, the monkey, the rooster, the dog and the pig. The year a person is born indicates that person’s birth animal guide.
In the Native American tradition, each person has a birth totem animal, or animal guide, that serves a similar role as the birth zodiac sign. A totem animal stays with the individual throughout life in spirit form as a guide and mentor. It is also possible to have an additional animal guide aside from the birth totem animal, if needed.
In the Mayan tradition, the birth totem animal is called a Nahual. However, the Nahual is associate with the date and time of the person’s birth as it is in the Native American system.
Animals in physical or spirit form also show up in other complementary psychic traditions, such as Feng Shui, tarot (“ta-roe”) and oracle readings. Certain spiritual disciplines also place more importance on the presence of animals in both the physical and spiritual realms, recognizing them as messengers and guides with ultimately benevolent intent.
The Celtic tradition also recognizes the presence of animal helpers. In this approach, trees and plants are also recognized to have the power to impart guidance, knowledge and wisdom.
Learning about animal guides can be a rich and rewarding undertaking. When non-human beings appear during an astrological reading, their presence is deliberate and has much to teach. Since the animal guide chooses the person, remaining open to receiving message from non-human beings can be an essential aspect of becoming aware of the presence of the animal guide. Whether you receive visits from your animal guide in the physical world during your waking hours, in dreams or sleep or through an astrological reading, you will be able to receive your animal guide’s blessings and benefits.