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The 5 Types of Animal Spirit Guides

There are several different types of animal spirit guides, all with unique purposes that can support you along your path, restore your power and connect you with the beauty and magic of nature.

It’s important to decipher between these different types of spirit guides so that you can better understand their gifts and and create awareness of how they may manifest for you.

I'm going to break down Spirit Animals, Power Animals, Totem Animals, shadow animals and also familiars. As well, I’m going to give you examples of each type of animal spirit guide so that you can better understand and identify their presence.

Even though all of these types of animal spirit guides have their unique purposes they are all an extension of source energy in the same way that we are. Think of it this way - Source energy is communicating with us through the uniqueness of that animal spirit guide and their gifts. thus the wisdom is kind of filtered through the essence and characteristics of that animal and the purpose of that guide.

Something else that all animal spirit guides have in common is that they choose you. You do not choose them though there are many cases where you can call upon or invoke your animal spirit guide and they will show up for you.

Here are the 5 types of animal spirit guides:

Spirit Animals

new born baby deer in spring flowers

A spirit animal repetitively appears to you bringing you signs and messages either physically or energetically like in a dream.

Spirit animals can have a great impact on us for a number of reasons. Their presence allows us to create a deeper understanding of our intuition as we learn to decipher the messages and energy of that animal. Over time, and with the experience of your awareness, you’ll be able to receive a message or sign clearly and quickly and learn your lessons more swiftly.

For example, for the 6 months before my familiar Binx died owls were coming to us regularly and he even chased one away right in front of me. They were literally everywhere and I didn’t know why until after his death. Now I know that when more than 1 owl is visiting me within short periods of time it is a message that something is ending.

Another example of a spirit animal of mine is a whale, but more specifically an orca. Orca’s have been coming to me only in my dream world and the way that they appear is always within a pod. I’m still learning to decipher their messages!

Essentially, a spirit animal acts as a messenger and will appear to you within divine time.

Power Animals

Monarch Butterfly on purple butterfly bush flowers

A power animal is a spiritual partner that you can call upon and that will assist you along your path both in the spirit world and your physical world.

The purpose of a power animal is to support and guide us and, overall, they can act as a type of oracle. They hold answers, wisdom and knowledge that we seek and that can benefit us and our purpose. Connecting with a power animal and nurturing that connection will ultimately help us to restore our power, gain a greater sense of self and deepen our awareness of the spiritual world.

A power animal can manifest for you in many ways spiritually, energetically and physically and can appear as any species of that animal. With a power animal we can invoke their presence and call upon them to show up for us. As well, you can absolutely have more than one power animal, but once you connect with one its essence has sort of imprinted on you and you are bonded.

Power animals are unique in comparison to other animal spirit guides because they are our spiritual partners within both our spirit world and physical world. This is something people who shamanic journey will have a great understanding of. Within a shamanic journey, we can intentionally connect with our power animals to assist us with the purpose of that journey.

For example one of my power animals is a butterfly. I call upon my butterfly for specific types of healing within a shamanic journey and also for other purposes. Once, I needed confirmation of something I was going through so I asked for my power animal butterfly to show up and land on me as a way of validating my experience. 3 days later a butterfly landed on me AND as almost an exclamation, I found an eagle feather in the same afternoon.

Sometimes a butterfly will just show up and it’s not some overtly mystical experience, it’s just a beautiful butterfly but because I have the awareness that I have a power animal that is a butterfly I love to take that experience to witness her appearance and characteristics as a way to nurture our connection. So the butterflies presence within my life is always meaningful and connects in some way shape or form to my power animal.

One of the most common ways to connect with a power animal for the first time is through a power animal retrieval. This is where a shamanic practitioner enters into an altered state of consciousness to travel the spirit realms in search of your power animal. Definitely check out my offerings in the description box for more information on power animal retrievals. Totem Animals

Bald Eagle soaring through the blue sky

Totem Animals are commonly thought to be a representation of your own energy reflected within an animal. A totem animal may have similar characteristics, needs and desires as you do. Their essence is a reflection of your essence. A totem animal can also act as a guardian or a protector. You can have more than 1 totem animal but its common to have a main 1 that you embody.

People who have a totem animal often call on that spirit to allow their essence to assist and guide them and it’s common for someone to embody their totem animal as a practice. They might do this through what they wear, the way they move or even the sounds they make or instruments they play.

Totem animals are also connected to Indigenous cultures and it was common for entire tribes or communities to bond around a totem animal. Totem poles can be used to tell the stories of totem animals, their legends and their significance.

As well, many beliefs about totem animals intersect with the purpose of power animals. So you may notice there is some overlap there.

Shadow Animals

Brown Boa snake slithering with his tongue out

Shadow animal spirit guides can represent a part of your energy that has been suppressed. Shadow animals present some kind of challenge that we need to work through - their presence isn’t necessarily welcomed. It may show up as an animal that you fear or dislike. A shadow animal can manifest in a couple different ways. For one, it can show up as a teacher. It’s presence can teach us to look within to break down our barriers and overcome our fear of doing the work.

A shadow animal can also manifest as a warning. That warning can be nuanced because it's personal. For example, it could be warning you to take action start looking within. This will be entirely personal to you, your beliefs and your fears.

For example, maybe you’re really scared of spiders but for some reason you keep finding one in your car even after you clean it out. The spider spirit could be challenging you to look at the webs you are weaving and how you can create more balance. Ultimately, shadow animals force us to look at stuff we don’t want to look at and so their presence is often unwelcome.

Lately I have been visited by a shadow animal, but it’s not an animal that I fear. It is, however, a representation of my shadow self. I was visited by a raven in several different unbelievable ways. If you want to hear that powerful story, definitely check out my video below!

As we gain the awareness of what our shadows animals and the type of wisdom they bring, we’ll be able to understand our own energies and cycles more deeply which can help us navigate our path.


Beautiful and Precious fluffy white and orange baby kitten playing in an old growth apple tree

A familiar is a spirit guide that intentionally manifests as an aspect of nature, within this earthly realm, to assist a witch on their magical path. A familiar is 1 spirit guide incarnating as 1 being with a consciousness. A familiar most commonly shows up as an animal, but, depending on the witches beliefs, it could also manifest as land or even a tree.

A familiar chooses you and they will present themselves in a divinely orchestrated and divinely timed way. I am actually starting a new series on my channel all about the witches familiar, so we will be diving deep on familiars over on those videos!

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