Llewellyn Worldwide, Ltd.
View your shopping cart Shopping Cart | My Account | Help | Become a Fan on Facebook Become a Fan | Follow Us on Twitter Follow Us | Watch Us on YouTube Watch Us | Subscribe to our RSS Feeds Subscribe
Browse ProductsAuthorsArticlesBlogsEncyclopediaNewslettersAffiliate ProgramContact UsBooksellers
Advanced Search
ENCYCLOPEDIA
Glossary
What's New
Most Popular
List of Articles

Email Exclusives
Sign up to receive special offers and promotions from Llewellyn.

Get the Latest Issue of New Worlds

July/August 2014 Issue

New Worlds Catalog

Get the FREE app for your tablet and mobile device. Now available in the iTunes Store and the Google Play Store

Also available as a PDF File.

Click for more information about New Worlds or to receive issues via mail.


The Llewellyn Encyclopedia
Print this Term Print this Article

Animals of the Spirit Worlds

This article was written by Raven Digitalis on January 20, 2014
posted under Animal

The Spirit Animal

One’s personal animal guide is called the spirit animal or medicine animal. In shamanism, the spirit animal is the psychopomp: the escort of souls to the spirit world. It is the embodiment of the collective animal consciousness of a particular species, the essence of an earthly animal, as opposed to a mythological beast or exclusively astral creature. The number of animals a person has varies for everyone. A spirit animal walks alongside someone from birth, though they may leave the person or go into the background later in life. They are typically animals who are local to the place a person is born, for example, bison in North America, koalas in Australia, and dolphins in Jamaica.

The Power Animal

Power animals are also astral helpers whose energy becomes attached to the person for one reason or another. They differ from the spirit animal in that they are only either given by another person (like a tribal or Craft Elder) or invoked by practitioners themselves for their medicine. They are similar to the spirit animal in that the animal appearing is actually a piece of the fullness of the animal’s group consciousness. By that, I mean that they are an embodiment of the specific animal’s singular essence: a falcon is a splinter of the collective Great Falcon energy; the badger is an embodiment of the Great Badger energy and so forth.

The Totem Animal

Totem animals are actually quite different than the previous two. They are often seen as guardians of a particular tribe, clan, or family and/or an area of land. The latter are called Land Spirits or Genus Loci, and are similar to the Devas, which East Indians speak about. It is imperative for the magickal person to connect with Land Spirits of the area they reside in, visit or move to, as they will remain part of the area regardless of physical changes on the property. They will also influence any magick the Witch performs, patterning the energy in part to its own vibrational essence. Land Spirits may be created by human intention or simply appear as manifestations the energy of a particular area. Either way, they are very real, both sending and receiving similar energy while remaining in one spot.

Totem animals are projective manifestations of personal intention and in that sense are created, not unlike a gollum (golem) or thoughtform elemental in high magickal traditions. They represent the collective consciousness of a group mind. Totem animals are often incorporated in a tribe’s mythology and cosmology, and are ascribed specific traits. Several cultures in the world do use amalgamated animal forms, including Persian and Scythian tribes who create new mythological species that are combinations of a number of animals, one of which is the gryphon. Along similar lines there exist animal spirit guardians who are the embodiment of an animal species’ consciousness. For example, the Great Elk Spirit is the unification of all aspects (including personalities) of Elk consciousness put to a singular form, acting as the oversoul: the entirety of that animal’s consciousness put into one body as an emanation thereof. These are the guides most often called forth in ritual when working with foreign animal medicine. The power animal, on the other hand, is a piece of the great oversoul.


In western ceremonial magick, there is often a tendency to view a magickal operation as something that is at odds with the natural order of the universe. This is very much the core of the western mindset, where nature is something external to oneself to be "conquered." Human individuality and the Will of the magician are thought to be somehow... read this article
Casting a Circle for Clairvoyant Readings
The Moon and Rainfall
6 Truths About Enlightenment
High Magick & Initiatic Orders
Planetary Meridians: 10 Gateways to Empowered Intuition

Most recent posts:
May I Speak to the President?
Readers, please enjoy this guest blog post by Jean-Louis de Biasi, author of Secrets and Practices of the Freemasons, The Divine Arcana of the Aurum...

Using Signposts
This is a good technique if you are reading for yourself or for someone who is willing to be interactive with you and the cards. I've been working...

Traveling with Spirits
Readers, please enjoy this guest blog post by Gregory Peters, author of the new Magickal Union of East and West. I enjoy traveling, and will fly...




Llewellyn's 2015 Astrological Calendar Llewellyn's 2015 Astrological Calendar
82nd Edition of the World's Best Known, Most Trusted Astrology Calendar

By: Llewellyn
Price: $14.99 US,  $16.99 CAN
Llewellyn's 2015 Daily Planetary Guide Llewellyn's 2015 Daily Planetary Guide
Complete Astrology At-A-Glance

By: Llewellyn
Price: $12.99 US,  $14.95 CAN
Llewellyn's 2015 Witches' Datebook Llewellyn's 2015 Witches' Datebook
By: Llewellyn
Price: $10.99 US,  $12.50 CAN
Llewellyn's 2015 Sun Sign Book Llewellyn's 2015 Sun Sign Book
Horoscopes for Everyone!

By: Kim Rogers-Gallagher
Price: $11.99 US,  $13.95 CAN
Llewellyn's 2015 Moon Sign Book Llewellyn's 2015 Moon Sign Book
Conscious Living by the Cycles of the Moon

By: Llewellyn
Price: $11.99 US,  $13.95 CAN