Jul 12, 2011

What is a Power Animal or Spirit Guide?

The terms Power Animal and Spirit Guide have entered the popular culture in recent years. I thought a short discussion of what Power Animals and Spirit Guides are would help explain to some who still have questions - what is this whole "Spirit Guide" thing all about?

According to the Spirit Walk Ministry "A Spirit Guide is a spirit that comes forth to guide you through the trials of your life and to help you to understand the lessons that these experiences are there to teach you. Spirit Guides often represent archetypes of behavior for facing the challenges of life and they serve as paradigms of comportment for you to emulate in times of crisis. "

"A certain Spirit Guide may be with you your whole life, or it may be there just to help you through one special challenge. You may have many spirit guides or only one; this will depend on the lessons you need to learn and the trials you must face in this life."
A "Spirit Animal" is the one who will present life's lessons. The Spirit Animal is the one who comes to you in order to show you, through its own unique nature and skills, how to deal with the manifestations of your Spiritual Journey.

The term "Power Animal" is often used interchangably with Spirit Guide.

I see the cunning of the fox; its intelligence and ability to blend into the background, becoming invisible, as skills we can use. "The lesson of the fox," according to Spirit Walk Ministry, "is to stay clear of complications, rather than getting involved in controversies, step back and observe differences from a distance. It is likely you do not need to take sides. The fox takes a neutral stand when he is not being threatened. The fox runs from trouble, preferring not to get in the mix of conflicts." You can see that by observing the fox, there is something we can take away to apply to our own lives. Similar lessons and knowledge of ourselves can be learned by observing other animals and their characteristics.

By searching on the internet, you can find many articles on Animal spirit guides and Power Animals. Spirit Walk has a list of animals and thier characteristics, as do seveal other sites. Even if you don't believe in the spirit guides as a religious practice, it's fun to see which animal you're drawn to and which characteristics seem most like you. For instance, I'm drawn to the rabbit, for its ability to take advantage of opportunities and the way it lives by it's wits. Then again, I do love the Coyote, for its adabtability, playfulness and sense that everything is scared and nothing is sacred.
I started making my clay spirit guide sculptures a couple of years ago,starting with a little raccoon. The idea of having a cute little sculpture I could sit on my shelf intrigued me and before I knew it, I had a small zoo of critters. I usually do what comes to me, but occasionally I get a request for a special animal, and it's always fun to do something new. Each sculpture is created by hand. I never use a mold - just a few simple wooden tools, a rolling pin and my imagination. I like to keep my glazing simple and I try to capture the essence of the animals spirit, at least as I see it. Visit my Iktomi shop on Etsy or my flickr site (on the right side is a link) for more of my spirit guides.


  1. Oh oh oh, the BEAR! Must hit your shop!

  2. I concur; I am truly in love with the bear!

  3. I'm so glad you like him. One of my favorite subjects. I like to switch it up and do all kinds of animals, but when I'm really wondering what to do, a bear is aways a good way to get rolling. I just finished sculpting a bear incense burner and hope to fire it soon. I think that could be pretty cool if it comes out right.