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What Is Your Spirit Animal?… (And What Does That Even Mean?)

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Have you ever wondered, what is your spirit animal? If you’ve spent any time on social media recently you’ve probably heard the term, and chances are you’re a bit confused as to what that phrase even means. Your friend posted a photo of a puppy taking a nap, claiming it to be her spirit animal; you saw someone on the street wearing a tank top claiming whiskey is her spirit animal (no comment); when you’re feeling extra sassy and diva-esque perhaps you think that Beyoncé is your spirit animal.

The hashtag #spiritanimal currently has over 244,000 posts on Instagram alone. But what is a spirit animal anyway? Does it have to be an animal? Can it be a person? Can it be a fictional character? Do you have to pick just one, or can you connect with different spirit animals at different times depending on your mood? Back up…let’s start with the basics. What the heck is a spirit animal anyway?

The spirit animal of the Native Americans


According to a recent article in The Atlantic, “the concept of the spirit animal comes, most directly, from Native American spirituality. In that tradition, though there are variations across tribes and cultures, the spirit animal—otherwise known as a «totem animal»—generally takes the form of a single animal with which a person or a clan shares a certain set of characteristics, and therefore a kinship.” Clearly, the concept of a spirit animal isn’t new.

But what has changed in recent years is both the interest in the idea of spirit animals, and the ability to share your findings online thanks to our good friends Facebook, Instagram and YouTube. Thanks to modern technology there are websites and apps to help you find your spirit animal. It’s no longer just a spiritual journey or rite of passage—it’s a fun activity to kill some time thanks to online quizzes and games. Spoiler alert: according to this quiz yours truly is a cuddly kitten. We’d like to agree, but in reality, we’re closer to a honey badger on most days.

What does it mean?

Eagle as a spirit animal concept

According to Google Trends, interest in the term “spirit animal” has grown exponentially over time if you look at how often the term was searched and how many articles relate to the search term. Beyond that, the term spirit animal has become a perfect punch-line when presented with humorous GIFs or images/posts on social media.

It has gained so much popularity and interest that “spirit animal” even earned a spot on, being defined as: “a spirit animal or totem is meant to be a representation of the traits and skills that you are supposed to learn or have. Online, saying something or someone is your spirit animal is a statement that said person or thing is a representation of you or what you want to be.”

The spirit animal

Lynx as spirit animal concept

So what is your spirit animal? Is it something you just know, like when you meet your true love or you find that perfect wedding dress or you finally choose a name for your firstborn? It’s hard to say. Some people just feel an instant connection to another person, animal, character, food or object. Maybe you watch a TV show and have an intense feeling of respect, admiration, love and connection to a character (cough, Tami Taylor on Friday Night Lights, cough). Maybe you read about an animal with an intense need to protect her young and the maternal side of you knows that being is your spirit animal. Maybe you have different spirit animals for different moods or days of the week.

One with him


Sometimes it seems like you can seek out your spirit animal based on your current state of mind and your emotions, but some experts feel that you need to let your spirit animal choose you. Observe what is happening around you, listen to your instincts, pay attention to the behaviors you see (whether by animals or other people) and be open to this connection.

As for when, how and where you connect with your spirit animal, “spirit animals will be most present when you journey out of your conventional state of mind, such as during meditations, day dreams, night dreams, or other altered states of consciousness.” Lastly, once you do discover your spirit animal, learn as much as you can about that animal, person or being. Consider the qualities that you admire, share or hope to have, and pay close attention to how that animal makes you feel. Then you can decide how you plan to use your newfound awareness and this intense connection in your daily life.

The post What is your spirit animal… (and what does that mean?) appeared first on Mundo Hispanico

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