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.