What is a spirit animal?
Also known as a Power Animal.
A spirit animal is a shamanic belief that the spirit of a certain animal, that chooses you or you choose, helps bring guidance and protection to your life journey. You and the chosen animal will often share similar characteristics.
As with a lot of sacred traditions, having a spirit animal has become much more mainstream. In recent years, spirit animals have become somewhat of a metaphor and more humorous, often making light of the subject by making a person their spirit animal. When someone says that another person is their spirit animal they are saying that that person represents someone they greatly admire to be more like. I used to say Bill Murray is my spirit animal, but I think I've outgrown him. For now my spirit animal is a beetle, although black crows keep showing up in my compost every single day. I don't know if this is because they want to be my spirit animals or because they are looking for grub?! It's up to you how you regard this tradition, you can choose to find this sacred tradition as meaningful as you would like. Even though I am mostly european descent, my great, great grandmother was native american, I love the idea of learning about and exploring traditions from all of my ancestors and other cultures.
By NO means do I mean any disrespect to anyone with this exercise. It's just a fun exercise to learn about the ways of different cultures and introduce yourself to the group through something you feel connected to and the imagery/colors you choose to use. I love exercises that open doors to other worlds and I hope this (or other) exercises do that for you.
How do you find your spirit animal? There is a whole site all about finding your spirit animal • here •. On the same site you can take a quiz that might help you find your spirit animal. Here is the quiz.
I used this guided meditation on the Insight Timer app by Oliver Jenkin. If you've never meditated before this might be a strange one to start with, but the idea of meditation is to calm your mind, connect to yourself, and find clarity. When you meditate on finding your spirit animal you sit or lie quietly and let your thoughts go. Your animal may come to you as you meditate.
After you find your spirit animal you can then choose your favorite color palette to use. Sketch out an image of your spirit animal. I used cotton watercolor paper and an inktense pencil to start.
Add drawn images to your Spirit Animal that you feel represent you or something you are going through. I chose an image of the sun because I am truly solar powered, I love the heat and have always loved suns/moons. I also added some leaves to represent my love for nature and change. I then added dots to represent stars, which to me represents the unknown magic that exists all around us.
Once you have your drawing done begin to fill it in with paint. I used gouache paint for this exercise.
What to know about Gouache:
Gouache is a lot like watercolors, it's just more opaque than watercolor and dries very flat. Light colors tend to darken as they dry and darker colors often lighten as they dry. It can be watered down to make a thinner, more transparent paint. Gouache, just like watercolors can be reworked by wetting. Gouache has a very fast drying time. The paint will remain rewettable until fixed with a fixative. If applied too thickly it will crack.
My favorite gouache paints are by Schmincke. If you want a more affordable set that's easy to travel with this is my favorite set. They are great paints for the price.