What is a power animal?

We get wisdom and power from both the natural and supernatural realms. Power animals are one of our greatest supernatural allies so it helps to learn how to connect with them.

The concept of power animals largely comes from the Shamanic belief system. Everyone has a power animal, which is like a guardian angel or spirit guide, but it takes on an animal form. Your power animal protects you from ill-will and helps to guide you throughout your life.

But all power animals are not the same, which is one of the beauties of the concept. Your power animal not only protects you, but it fills you with a particular wisdom, strength or power that is characteristic of that particular animal. So two people who have different power animals will have different strengths that relate to their specific power animal. For example, the Black Panther represents death and rebirth and may give someone the inspiration to reclaim his or her power. If you’ve been suppressed, betrayed or beat down, the Black Panther could come along to give you the power to take your life back  and start again. The Black Panther is also known for its ability to get around in the dark so someone who has the Black Panther as his or her power animal may be more comfortable in difficult situations. Someone who is comfortable doing a lot of self-work and dealing with difficult emotions to bring about healing may, for example, have the Black Panther’s ability to work with energies that are below the surface.

Understanding your power animal

So how do you understand what power or strength your power animal has to give you? A number of books describe different animals and the power and wisdom those animals possess, including Animal Spirit Guides: An Easy-to-Use Handbook for Identifying and Understanding Your Power Animals and Animal Spirit Helpers and Animal-Speak: The Spiritual & Magical Powers of Creatures Great & Small. You can also use your intuition to connect to an animal and figure out what wisdom it is trying to impart. For example, you might ask yourself ‘what does this animal mean to you?’ You may look at a chameleon and see the ability to blend in to any type of situation and recognize that you’ve been given that ability in your life. Likewise, you may look at a snake and notice in particular its ability to shed old skin and create itself anew. That may be a power that you’ve been given if your power animal is a snake.

Your power animal is always with you and guiding you, but you can call on it in tough situations to provide extra help and wisdom. For example, if you’re dealing with grief or going through a tough emotional time, the Black Panther can be called upon to help you see better in the dark.

There are no ‘bad’ power animals. They all have attributes of wisdom, strength and power to share. And they can all provide help and guidance for you as you maneuver through your life.

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