Chances are you have heard of a thing called a “spirit animal”. In America, we have a very diverse culture. And there is definitely a push for spirituality as some have stopped adhering to the religion they grew up with. It’s a commonality that many Americans have been turned off to the more traditional religions that have specific stories of the history of god and specific rules on how to live a good and proper life. Many have instead changed to belief systems with more vague guidelines. Many now describe themselves as spiritual instead of religious.
WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE SPIRITUAL?
Defining what “spiritual” means in reference to one’s beliefs is not that easy to do. You could read a couple good books on the subject and still not be able to fully define the difference between it and being religious. But there is a difference, so for the sake of talking about spirit animals, I’ll attempt a brief definition.
North.t It is almost the same as being religious except spiritual is an individual understanding without rules or guidelines. Religious people are part of a group who believe the same specific things, while spiritual people are on their own, so to speak.
WHAT IS A SPIRIT ANIMAL?
Up until a few years ago, I viewed spirit animals as just another stupid thing that people who have lost their “born into” religion try to adhere to in order for them to make more sense of why they are here or why they exist. Then I had a native American girlfriend who explained it to me.
Natives are extremely connected to the earth. It is their church and their god. To them, a spirit animal is a powerful tool they use to help guide them through life. I had been with my ex-girlfriend for a good two years before she opened up to me about her spiritual beliefs. She didn’t volunteer much about it, and after I had earned her respect, she told me her story of the time she found her spirit animal.
For the sake of her privacy, I’m not giving details of her day of discovering her spirit animal but I will say that something happened to her and a red-tailed hawk made himself present for it. She knew in an instant what the hawk represented and so from that day on, the red-tailed hawk was her animal of guidance. It was a powerful and beautiful story. It made me wonder if I had ever encountered my spirit animal and didn’t know it because of my lack of connection to nature.
So this is my white man description of what a spirit animal is. From one wasi’chu to another, a spirit animal is an animal that represents the presence, wisdom, and guidance that nature can give one if he/she is connected to it.
NORTH AMERICAN SPIRIT ANIMALS
The animals listed are the only ones that exist in nature in the United States. I guess any animal from anywhere can be your spirit animal but I’m only listing North American ones because most readers are from the US. And I’m not sure seeing an African elephant on the Discovery channel while you are fighting with your soon to be ex-girlfriend would qualify as your spirit animal. But that’s the thing about being spiritual. You make your own rules.
My opinion is that a real spirit animal should be in your real nature and not on a TV, computer, or phone screen.
18 of the manliest animals from North America that you may consider as your spirit animal.
Porcupine. You may not want to have a rodent as your spirit animal but the porcupine can offer an example of longevity and self-defense. They can live well into their twenties and the North American versions are excellent climbers. Porcupines are also vegetarian which may help guide you away from eating too many barbecue ribs.
Snapping Turtle – The snapping turtle has been around for quite a while. One may become your spirit animal when you try to handle it and it bites you. This pre-historic survivor can live as long as we do and if it makes it to adulthood, it will enjoy a very low mortality rate. The presence of a snapping turtle may give you a sense of earth’s long history and that having a hard protective shell can be a good thing.
American Barn Owl If a barn owl becomes your spirit animal, it’s probably from something related to nighttime or darkness. Owls generally have
Horse – The connection some people make with horses is impactful. Spirit animals generally aren’t domesticated as it’s the connection with nature that the animal guides you with. But since spirituality has no rules, anything goes.
Coyote – You may be surprised to find out that coyotes live almost everywhere in the US. I live in Orlando, Florida and we have them. They may be synonymous with the western countryside, but they have adapted very well to the urban environment. They are in fact thriving in cities and towns all over the country. The biggest reason for this is they are very elusive. I mention the coyote’s illusiveness because if you see one at a moment of specific importance in your life, it may be your spirit animal.
Fox – To be “sly like a fox” is a compliment to one’s ability to being crafty and clever. The fox survives being cunning and crafty, so if your life is in need of these qualities, the fox may be your spirit animal helping you to navigate through your life.
Bobcat – Although not considered one of the “big cats”, the bobcat is a formidable opponent. The characteristics of the bobcat are recognized in many indigenous peoples’ mythologies as their presence can represent a number of spiritual things.
Moose – This is the largest and heaviest of the deer family. They are solitary vegetarians whose presents in nature can offer you a sense of nobility and strength. Unlike the more skittish smaller deer, moose move slowly which, with their great size, displays a sense of majesty when you see them in nature. This would most certainly make for a very manly spirit animal.
Red-tailed hawk – There are many types of hawks that can be your spirit animal. The red-tailed is a great example of a bird of prey as they are beautiful, powerful, and fearful. Any kind of bird would make a great spirit animal. They are mobile and exist above people so they can easily see and guide you in your life.
Alligator – Alligators are not nearly as aggressive as crocodiles, but they are still not to be messed with. These prehistoric survivors move smoothly in the water but are quite ugly creatures. Gators are giant reptiles that represent power and a straightforward single purposed existence. A perfect spirit animal for someone too complex for his own good.
Bald eagle – Eagles are generally bigger and stronger than hawks. Hawks hide more when hunting, while eagles will sore and prey on things that are more out in the open. When you see an eagle in nature, he/she will give you a different feeling than other birds. They are more elusive to humans but that could be because their presence is generally more feared than other birds of prey. When they show themselves, small things stop moving. It would be very cool to have the eagle as a spirit animal.
Wolf – There are so many stories and myths about wolfs. They are feared and dangerous mostly because they exist in packs, which means they can take anything down as prey. An Alaskan once said that in the woods, you don’t just see one wolf from a pack. You either see none of them or you see them all at once. This is how in tune they are to nature and each other.
To all things except ignorant people living outside of nature, the wolf is respected. They can represent many positive aspects of life and living a social existence. I would be quite honored if the wolf was my spirit animal.
Bison – The first time I saw a bison in nature, I was awestruck. I was just a Florida dude who thought bison were like cows. They are not. The biggest thing that I discovered watching bison was their strong social and family structure. It made a strong connection with my social instincts. The bison would make a fine and manly spirit animal.
American Jaguar. There are only a few jaguars in the US so the odds of seeing one in your travels are between very slim and none. If for some rare reason, the American jaguar becomes your spirit animal, then congratulations. You have one super manly spirit animal. And you should maybe play the lotto.
Wolverine. So Marvel comics and Hugh Jackman made this species an almost household name. But, before all of that, the actual wolverine existed, still exists, and is quite feared. They will follow predators so they can scavenge any kills they make. Wolverines have a voracious appetite and would make for an interesting manly spirit animal.
American badger -The American badger is no honey badger, but he can take care of his own and you wouldn’t want to mess with him. They are mainly nocturnal but have been seen hunting with coyotes, which is weird. They typically like treeless grasslands, so if you are out in a meadow pondering your life and see one, it could be your spirit animal.
Cougar. This is the biggest of all the cats in North America. It’s self-explanatory that it would make for a very cool and very manly spirit animal.
Brown bear – This is easily the most feared animal in the US countryside. Most of what people come across is the less dangerous black bear, but no one messes with them either. It’s probably not very common for a brown bear to be one’s spirit animal. Their characteristics don’t offer much in the way of guidance. Encountering one in nature though could give you a much-needed sense of humbleness as you realize how much of a badass you really aren’t.