Spirit animals and meanings

102 Spirit Animal List and Their Meanings

If you are surfing through this spirit animal list or animals and their meanings, most of you are definitely aware of its basic concept. For the ones who are not, here’s a quick background:

Spirit Animal Meaning

102 Spirit Animal List [Animal Symbolism List]

What’s the Whole Purpose of a Spirit Animal?

How Can You Spot Your Spirit Animal?

Questions to Ask Yourself to Identify Your Own Power Spirit Animal

How Do Spirit Animals Make Themselves Known?

Leveraging the Powers of The Spirit Animal List

Other Things to Keep in Mind about Spirit Animals

Now Go, Find Your Own!

Spirit Animal Meaning

Spirit animals are divine pilots on your journey of life. It relates to you with its unique skills and characteristics and manifests itself to help you overcome the challenges on your spiritual walk.

Following the golden rule of ‘Everything is connected’, Native Americans believe that each of us travels with a cadre of spirit guides. There are angels, mythical creatures, ancestors, and then there are animal totems, plants, and light beings.

Spirit animals also known as power animals or spirit guides is your spiritual teacher or messenger in an animal form. Each individual or a person has one of its own, defined by your birth date or zodiac sign. People lookup for a spirit animal list for various purposes – guidance, protection, power or even wisdom.

They often carry a hidden meaning which is hidden in plain sight which we will discuss later in this article. So, if lately who have been bumping into an unusual breed of animal, it is most likely your spirit animal.  

102 Spirit Animal List [Animal Symbolism List]

Now that you know the basics, let’s move onto the crux, i. e. the spirit animal list or animal symbolism list. As mentioned above, there are thousands and thousands of spirit animals each with its own significance. Here’s a list of the most common ones.

1. Ant: Diligence, unity, patience, self-control, sacrifice, loyalty and honesty.

2. Alligator: Retribution, creativity, efficiency, hostility, bravery, and efficiency

3. Anaconda: Balance, immortality, patience, power, wisdom, cunning, and elusiveness.

4. Albatross: Liberated, travel, limitless, good fate, sensitive and thoughtfulness.

5. Antelope: Efficacious, energetic, defensive, perceptive, keen eyesight and risk-taker.

6. Armadillo: Sensitive, defensive, trustworthy, calm, isolated and humble.

7. Beaver: Determined, visionary, defensive, inventor, fantasizer and subliminal.

8. Buffalo: Divine, strength, balance, thankfulness, wealth and firmness.

9. Bat: Ego, fear, challenge, keen-observation, inner-depth, illusion and clairvoyance.

10. Bear: Power, Bravery, understanding, peace, aggressive, authority, solitude and majesty.

11. Bee: Communication, love, success, wisdom, wealth, hard work, protection and chastity.

12. Black Swan: empathy, freedom, joy, dignity, loyalty and exposition.

13. Butterfly: Joy, romance, celebration, transformation, spirituality, creativity, and peace.

14. Bluebird: Flexibility, innovative, kindness, thankfulness, togetherness and glory.

Spirit Animal List – 1

15. Bull: Fertility, expressive, strength, courage, procurement and hasty.

16. Cardinal: Cheerful, brilliant, bold, extraordinary, dignity and trust.

17. Camel: Endurance, trust, commitment, determination, focus, humility, patience, and durability.

18. Cheetah: Quick thinking, passion, flexibility, quick-witted, freedom, progress, and protection.

19. Cat: Magic, curiosity, affection, observational-skills, secretive, supernatural, and mystery.

20. Cougar: Patience, observation, sensuality, courage, responsible, dependable and spiritual warrior.

21. Cuckoo: Flexibility, love, fortune, balance, shrewdness and insightful.

22. Caribou: Nomad, flexibility, sensitive, guidance and assurance.

23. Crane: Isolated, integrity, endurance, attentive, self- reliant and wisdom.

24. Crow: Magical, fearless, adaptability, manipulative, wisdom and transformation.

25. Deer: Love, generosity, elegance, grace, compassion, caring, safety, and determination.

26. Dove: Purity, gentleness, devotion, hope, love, communication, peace, and sacrifice.

27.  Dog: Loyalty, bravery, friends, affection, protection, communication, patience, and devotion.

28. Dolphin: Harmony, defensive, assistance, resurgence, lively and strength.

29.  Dragon: Transformation, defensive, motivational, authoritative, magical and strength.

Spirit Animal List – 2

30. Dragonfly: Transformation, lively, flexibility, connection, emotional and illusionary.

31. Eagle: Goal-oriented, focused, adventurous, resilient, vision, power and freedom.

32. Elephant: Strength, loyalty, determination, confidence, honor, pride, dignity, and royalty.

33. Emu: Flexibility, unity, expressive, lively, equality and transit.

34. Elk: Strength, self-reliant, cleverness, magnificent, generosity and dignity.

35. Falcon: Goal-oriented, fearless, authoritative, freedom, intelligence and victory.

36.  Flamingo: Balance, goal-oriented, clear-sightedness, love, power, balance, and happiness.

37. Fox: Quick-witted, wisdom, luck, cleverness, curiosity, cunning, adaptability, and playfulness.

38. Frog: Transformation, sensitivity, peace, fertility, cleansing, rebirth, peace and power.

39. Gazelle: Alert, swift, consciousness, anticipation, refinement and lightness.

40. Goat: Firmness, self-reliant, isolated, vigor, alert and strength.

41. Grasshopper: Good fate, wealth, innovative, visionary, dynamic and progressive.

42. Giraffe: Individuality, intelligence, peace, farsightedness, cleverness, gentleness and patience.

43. Goose: Joy, bravery, guidance, fertility, loyalty, reliability, teamwork, vigilance, and wisdom.

44. Goldfinch: Courageous, defensive, dedication, happiness, luck and originality.

45. Hawk: Vision, alertness, nobility, cleansing, goal-oriented, strength, creativity and courage.

Spirit Animal List – 3

46. Hedgehog: Protection, flexibility, patience, kindness, strength and self-dependent.

47. Hippopotamus: strength, protection, wisdom, hard-working, fertile and balance.

48. Horse: Freedom, adventurous, freedom, mobility, independence, friendship and endurance.

49. Heron: Independent, balance, calm, intrusive, multi-tasking and self-determined.

50. Hummingbird: Flexibility, love, wisdom, hope, healing, ability, ecstasy, and aggression

51. Inchworm: Logical, transformation, subtlety, concealment, and transmutation.

52. Jellyfish: Faith, transparency, illumination, acceptance, sensitivity, protection and intention.

53. Jaguar: Power, loyalty, speed, strength, grace, knowledge, fertility and rejuvenation.

54. Koala: Gratitude, healing, calmness, trust, empathy, magic, protection and pleasure.

55. Kiwi: Alert, fidelity, authoritative, cultural, genius and togetherness.

56. Ladybug: Good fate, true love, innocence, metamorphosis, pious intervention and illusionary.

57. Lion: Pride, courage, power, natural-born leaders, authority, dignity, wisdom, and fiery.

58. Lizard: Imagination, spirituality, sensitivity, adaptability, ego, intrusion, and quick-witted. 

59. Loon: Patience, calm, connection, faithfulness, satisfaction and refreshment.

60. Magpie: Flexibility, communicative, fate, love, opportunity and attitude.

61. Monkey: Bold, confident, social, compassionate, playful, aggressive, creative and rebellious.

Spirit Animal List – 4

62. Moose: Endurance, intelligence, dignity, feminine, strength and impulsive.

63. Mosquito: Persistence, feminine, agility, direction, detection, self-confidence, and blunt.

64. Mouse: Stealth, modesty, understanding, dishonest, grounded, eye-for-details and innocence.

65. Mockingbird: Expression, thankfulness, defensive, lively, creativity and togetherness.

66. Meadowlark: Satisfaction, joy, wisdom, carousal, modesty and manifestation.

67. Orangutan: Creativity, gentle, solitude, ingenuity, honorable and logical.

68. Opossum: Wisdom, sensible, humble, togetherness, extraordinary and decisive.

69. Otter: Lively, cheerful, kindness, sensibility, dynamic and happiness.

70. Ox: Sacrifice, monogamy, grounded, longevity, strength and loyalty.

71. Osprey: Balance, visionary, potentiality, rigor, timing and opportunity.

72. Owl: Wisdom, secret-keeper, freedom, comfort, stealth, vision, protection and deception.

73. Panda: Adaptability, balance, determination, willpower, diplomacy, inner-sight, and solitude.

74. Panther: Courage, valor, power, protective, aggressive and feminine.

75. Peacock: Beauty, knowledge, self-esteem, foresight, endurance, royalty, love and sexuality.

76. Penguin: Community-minded, grace, discipline, confidence, sacrifice, spiritual and determination.

Spirit Animal List – 5

77. Pelican: Strong, selfless, warmth, responsible, defensive and kindness.

78. Porcupine: Innocence, visionary, self-involved, humble, togetherness and anxious.

79. Rabbit: Creativity, prosperity, intensity, love, cleverness, sensitivity, harmony, and imagination.

80. Rat: Kindness, fertility, foresight, intelligence, abundance, strength, success, and stealth.

81. Ram: Aloof, sensitive, hard-working, anxious, visionary and transformation.

82. Rhinoceros: Intelligence, isolated, decisive, endurance, liberated and insightful.

83. Raccoon: confidentiality, illusionary, bravery, emphatic, versatility and protection.

84. Reindeer: Accomplishment, abundance, endurance, strength, faith, tenacity and protection.

85. Rooster: Fearless, unique, intimacy, ego, nonconformity and intrusive.

86. Snake: Impulsive, power, shrewdness, transformation, magic, fear, wisdom and healing.

87. Salmon: Dignity, seriousness, intelligence, resurgence, spiritual and firmness.

88. Swan: Grave, purity, love, beauty, power, elegance, devotion, calmness and balance.

89. Spider: Patience, creativity, protection, growth, aptitude, networking, balance and wisdom.

90. Sheep: Compassion, peace, purity, courage, progress, level-headed and humble.

91.  Squirrel: Playful, social, balance, passionate, trust, hardworking, and resourcefulness.  

Spirit Animal List – 6

92. Stork: Resurgence, creativity, responsibility, boldness, protective and fertility.

93. Tiger: Valor, power, pride, devotion, fearlessness, vigor, passion and royalty.

94. Turtle: Wisdom, patience, speed, endurance, fertility, longevity, protection and peace.

95. Turkey: gratification, generosity, connection, togetherness, hard-working and wealth.

96. Tarantula: Creativity, patience, self-protection, transformation, and intimidation.

97. Unicorn: Magic, love, faith, vision, innocence, purity, gentleness and grace.

98. Vulture: Loyalty, patience, quick-witted, goal-oriented, trust, vision, and perception.

99. Wasp: Aggressive, creative, fertility, intelligence, teamwork, enthusiasm and determination.

100. Wolf: Protection, partnership, loyalty, compassion, spirituality, togetherness, and power.

101. Whale: Wisdom, power, strength, self-reliance, protection, bravery and ancestry.

102. Woodpecker: Intelligence, healing, unique, connection, revelation and perception

Spirit Animal List – 7

This is not an exhaustive spirit animal list, which means there can be other power animals that are not included in this list but are still in play. This is majorly because of their (very) less probability of appearance or likeness from a human being.

What’s the Whole Purpose of a Spirit Animal?

There are thousands of spirit animals each with its defined set of qualities ranging from reptiles, wild animals to even insects. In the world of spirituality, it is often said:

‘You don’t choose the animal; the animal chooses you.’

Irrespective of the kind, power animals have just one vision in mind: to help you achieve your spiritual goals. When you are determined or goal-oriented to your destined purpose (or dharma), they appear (not necessarily in physical form) and guide you to the end line.  

They are here to protect you, guide you, teach you in every possible manner. You just need to keep all your senses active and comprehend their presence.

How Can You Spot Your Spirit Animal?

Even if you are now aware of the meanings of various animal symbolism list and what these animals symbolize, it will serve no purpose to you unless you know how to identify your own. So how do you do it?

Ask your animal guide to manifest itself!

You need to stay aware of 24*7 and take note of all the appearances of the animal whether physically or symbolically. You might repetitively encounter them in different forms. Say for instance you bumped into a channel that is describing butterflies.

Then, the next morning you spot a butterfly on your way back home. You also walk into a store that has a beautiful butterfly wallpaper. You wear a dress with a butterfly patch, without giving it a thought. All of this combined means just one this – the butterfly wants to talk to you.

Define your intention and ask your spirit animal to show itself to you. You can also seek help from a shaman or any other licensed energy healer for some guidance. A major part of this process depends on your capability to pay attention to both past and present, your inner knowledge and spiritual understanding

But, all along the journey of finding your own spirit animal, don’t forget this paraphrase of animal guides (as mentioned above): You don’t choose the animal, the animal chooses you.

Questions to Ask Yourself to Identify Your Own Power Spirit Animal

A lot of times, people have a certain liking towards a particular animal, primarily for its traits or characteristics. It might be because you are spiritually drawn towards it. If not, here are questions that you must ask yourself if you’re wondering about your spirit animal.

  • Do you feel naturally drawn towards a particular animal, like its calling you? You might or might not have a reason for it. It can be anything, from a mosquito to an elephant or even mythical creatures like unicorns.
  • Do you often see a particular animal in various forms like in your dreams, or on animal shows or on the cards you receive?
  • When you visit a zoon or an animal sanctuary or a forest, which animal is on the top of your must-watch list? 
  • Is there a particular animal, the sight of which is extremely frightening or intimidating?
  • Do paintings or figures of a particular animal attract you?
  • Is there an animal that keeps appearing in your dreams or is there a dream (about an animal) from your childhood that you are unable to forget?
  • Is there an animal who has attached you or bitten you at some point in your life?

How Do Spirit Animals Make Themselves Known?

Now when you have introspected yourself, you need further validation of whether or not the animal that you think is your spirit animal. For that, you must know the forms in which spirit animals make themselves known. These are a few of the ways:

  1. Dreams or visions
  2. Physical encounters (mostly in odd places)
  3. During deep meditation
  4. Advertisements, billboards, TV, mobile phones, etc.
  5. All the other sense-cues (smell, touch, taste, hearing, intuition)

The first one is the most dominant form because if you dream of a particular animal repeatedly, it surely isn’t just a coincidence. Your spirit animal is trying to convey something to you.

Depending on the spirit animal, if you spot an animal at really odd places or bump into the same animal continuously – it surely is a call!

Images during meditation is a very strong indicator. Since meditation already holds a very strong place in spirituality, your spirit animal’s blurry images with your eyes closed is not a bad omen.

Pictures on TV when you are browsing channels, on mobile phones when you are scrolling social media, on billboards when you are passing-by a busy street – if you notice the same animal, it’s time to open your spirit animal list to see what the animal symbolizes.

The last one is the toughest because most of us are not-so conscious with our other senses. Thus, for you to identify a trend via sounds or smell or even taste – you need to be extremely active (spiritually!)

Leveraging the Powers of The Spirit Animal List

Can spirit animal be a human?

Yes. Since humans are technically animals, your spirit guide can also be a human.

Remember when you are off on a long drive and your tire punctures. Then suddenly out of nowhere a guy or girl appears to help you change a tire. The spirit animal is that in your life. They appear to fix you, encourage you and guide you in the right direction. Every spirit comes in your life with a purpose and vanishes once it is fulfilled. The reason why the relationship so developed is short-lived.

Is it possible to have multiple spirit animals?

Yes. Just like people, even animals in your life will be determined with the goals you are destined to achieve and challenges that are placed on your path.

At different phases of your life, different animals will guide you, each working with a similar motive: to help you reach the end line.

There’s no upper or lower limit for the number of animals you will encounter in your lifetime. It entirely depends on your own spiritual awareness. A spirit animal will try to drop multiple signs and capture your attention but if you keep dismissing these signs as mere co-incidences, it’s not going to hang around for your reply.

Can it be defined in the form of ‘spirit animal by month’ or your zodiac sign?

Yes. Spirit animals depend on your birth sign or zodiac sign and are often referred to as birth animals. Since your birth is defined by month, the spirit animal list is naturally categorized by month.

It widely depends on the astrology system that you follow: Native American, Chinese, Western or Celtic.

So say, for instance, if you are born between the periods of time of 20th March – 19th April, your spirit animal by month will be Ram since your Zodiac sign is Aries. Similarly, for each birth sign, there will be a different spirit animal. This means if you are a Gemini, your birth animal will be a Phoenix. On the other hand, for Taurus, Bull will be their animal guide.  

Here’s a detailed dig on ‘spirit animal by birthday’ by whatismyspiritanimal, if you wish to explore.

How will you understand the message of your spirit animal?

Spirit animals mostly communicate in the non-verbal language and the messages so delivered are highly personal. To discern the meaning, you must first know what is the first thing that pops up in your mind when you think of your spirit animal.

If you associate peacock with its beauty, then the message might here be about your physical beauty. Or if you associate an elephant with its heavyweight, your spirit animal might be trying to warn you about the baggage that awaits you.  

However, if the creature is unknown to you, then lookup for the spirit animal list in a book or on the internet with meaning, religious connotations, symbolism, etc.

If either of these steps fails you and you still feel the disconnect, here’s what you can do: Try to mimic the animal, think about it during meditation or read in books.

What to do once you figure out the message?

Now, that’s totally in your court. Once you have uncovered the message from your spirit animal, what you want to do with it will be entirely your own decision. You can wait for other messages or take immediate action, depending on the situation. 

Other Things to Keep in Mind about Spirit Animals

  • They don’t always appear for a reason. Sometimes they just stop by to say hello on special occasions, say your birthday or any other important event of your life. 
  • Spirit animals may return to you more than once as the situation demands. It might either be to increase your rapport or complete a half-delivered message.
  • If there are cases that you lose sight of your spirit animal suddenly, you need to introspect yourself and ask if anything that you have done shows signs of disrespect. You can mend the broken only when you know where the crack is.
  • Sometimes, a spirit animal may leave in the middle to make way for a creature that can deliver the message more efficiently. This means the spirit animal who entered your life initially has served its purpose.
  • There are also seasonal spirit animals that may appear to guide you through cycle energies. A baby Bunny in Spring or Penguin in Winter can be the best example.
  • They work cooperatively. Honor the nature of your animal guides and you will be able to work with them in harmony.
  • There can be times when you are surrounded by more than one spirit animal. Each of them must have a different message to communicate – so listen to them carefully and maintain accordance.

Now Go, Find Your Own!

There’s no denying that there is a universal power guiding and protecting us all. Spirit animals are a version of this dive power that exists to help us get back on the track.

With the break of a new day, it’s time for you to embark on the journey to find your power animal. It is calling out for you; you just need to be more aware of your surroundings and believe that everything happens for a reason!

These encounters can be really synchronistic only if you know what these animals symbolize and try to convey. 

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What Is Your Spirit Animal? The Ultimate Guide

Do you want to know what your spirit animal is and what it means? You’re not alone.

And if you’re curious about what your own spirit animal might be, read on.

We’ll explore the topic of spirit animals in general, and look at how to determine which one is right for you.

What you will learn in this article:

  • 1 What is a spirit animal?
  • 2 Don’t miss out on this unique astrological opportunity
  • 3 Where does the term “spirit animal” come from?
  • 4 🔥 Ready to meet your Twin Flame?
  • 5 How to find out what your spirit animal is
  • 6 The roots: indigenous and Native American animal spirit guides
  • 7 How to summon your spirit animal
  • 8 What does the science say about spirit animals?
    • 8. 1 Bear spirit animal: strength, courage, and tenacity
    • 8.2 Eagle spirit animal: freedom, vision, and courage
    • 8.3 Butterfly spirit animal: transformation, change, new beginnings
    • 8.4 Cat spirit animal: independence, intuition, and self-confidence
    • 8.5 Deer spirit animal: gentleness, kindness, and innocence
    • 8.6 Turtle spirit animal: wisdom, persistence, groundedness
    • 8.7 Beaver spirit animal: hard worker, determination
    • 8.8 Possum spirit animal: adaptability and resilience
    • 8.9 Dolphin spirit animal: friendly and social
    • 8.10 Fox spirit animal: cunning and clever
    • 8.11 Praying mantis spirit animal: calm and spiritual
    • 8.12 Polar bear spirit animal: strength, endurance, and determination
    • 8.13 Lion spirit animal: courage and bravery
    • 8.14 Cheetah spirit animal: agility and grace
    • 8.15 Elephant spirit animal: loyalty, companionship, and intelligence
    • 8.16 Tiger spirit animal: strength and courage
    • 8. 17 Wolf spirit animal: a keen sense of understanding
    • 8.18 Owl spirit animal: an old soul wise beyond your years
  • 9 Spirit animals and totem power
  • 10 Conclusion: why spirit animals are so popular today
    • 10.1 Other relevant animal articles:

What is a spirit animal?

A spirit animal is a supernatural being that is believed to connect with humans on a higher level: a “spiritual” level.

They are often seen as guides or protectors.

As such, they can help us through tough times and show us new perspectives on life.

In the same way, an animal guide is often seen as a powerful being that can give us a better understanding of other cultures, and the world around us in a new way.

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A map that will not only help you define your purpose and potential, but also reveal key talents and strengths you didn’t even know you had.

Think of it as your own personal blueprint to success and happiness: a blueprint that will help you live your most amazing life. Find out more here.

Where does the term “spirit animal” come from?

The term is derived from the concept of animism, which is the belief that everything has a spirit.

In some ancient cultures and spiritual traditions, people believe that certain animals have the ability to connect with the spirit world. This connection can provide insight and guidance on your life path.

It usually refers to an animal that is seen as a natural-born leader. They are often associated with having a deep spiritual understanding.

In some cultures, it is believed that your favorite animal is intimately connected to your true nature; some types of totem poles represent this idea.

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How to find out what

your spirit animal is

Your spirit animal reveals many things about who you are as a person, and can even point to your spiritual path in life.

Fortunately, there are a number of ways to find out what your animal is.

  • One way is to think about which animals you feel most drawn to. What animals do you feel most connected to? What animals do you feel represent your personality the best?
  • Another way to connect with your animal is through meditation or prayer.
  • Close your eyes and focus on your breath. Allow yourself to relax and clear your mind.
  • Once you feel calm, focus on the question, “What is my spirit animal?” See what image or message comes into your mind. You may also want to ask your spirit guide or higher power for guidance on finding your animal.
  • Others simply ask for guidance from the universe.
  • And some people may even need to journey into the spiritual realm or consult with a shaman in order to find their spirit guide.

There’s no right or wrong way to find your animal. The most important thing is that you’re open to connecting with it.

All these feelings are spot on, and there’s a reason you’ve been having them: it’s because your spirit animal is trying to reach you.

The roots: indigenous and Native American animal spirit guides

In many Native American traditions, animals were thought to be connected to different tribes on a deeper level.

Some Native Americans would often have dreams about their chosen animal, and believe that it was guiding and protecting them through life.

For example, someone who was seen as brave and powerful might be said to have a bear as their “power animal.”

In many other indigenous cultures around the world, an animal spirit is also known as a totemic animal.

Many indigenous cultures believe that we each have a specific animal that is connected to our soul, and that this animal can teach us important lessons about ourselves and the earth.

In some of those cultures, humans are even believed to have multiple spirit animals that act as guides throughout their lives.

Nowadays, the concept has become popularized outside of indigenous cultures, and many people believe that they have a spirit animal regardless of their cultural background.

How to summon your spirit animal

When you need help from your animal, there are a few steps you can take to contact it.

First, it’s important to relax and ground yourself. This will help you to be open to receiving messages from your kinship animal.

Once you’re feeling calm, try to clear your mind of all thoughts and focus on your breath.

Next, call out to your totem animal. You can do this in your mind or aloud.

Be specific about what you need help with and why you’re summoning them.

Then, open yourself up to receiving messages. These could come in the form of a thought, an image, a feeling, or anything else.

Pay attention to any signs or symbols that you see around you, as these could be messages from your animal.

Finally, thank your animal for their help and guidance.

What does the science say about spirit animals?

As mentioned above, your guide animal is an animal that represents your personal strengths, weaknesses, and traits.

It’s also an animal that you feel a deep connection with.

One’s choice of spirit animal also depends on culture. For example, a 2019 study about spirit animals in Estonia found that the wolf was by far the most popular choice (at 75%), followed respectively by the bear, deer, horse, and eagle.

For some people, their animal is one they’ve always been drawn to. For others, it may be an animal they’ve never even seen before.

For many souls, it only takes a few minutes of reflection on their favorite animal.

To make the process easier, we’ve created a list of some of the most popular spirit animals and their meanings.

Bear spirit animal: strength, courage, and tenacity

In terms of spirit animals, the bear symbolizes strength, courage, and tenacity.

If the bear is your kinship animal, then you’re likely to be a natural leader with a strong will.

You’re also likely to be very independent and have little patience for those who can’t keep up with you.

Eagle spirit animal: freedom, vision, and courage

The eagle is often seen as a symbol of freedom, vision, and courage.

If the eagle is your chosen animal, you’re likely to be a free-spirited individual with a strong sense of self.

You’re also likely to be very courageous and have a clear vision for your life. After all, eagles are known for their keen eyesight.

Butterfly spirit animal: transformation, change, new beginnings

The butterfly is often seen as a symbol of transformation, change, and new beginnings.

If the butterfly is your spirit animal, you’re likely to be a very adaptable person who is always open to new experiences.

You’re also likely to be very compassionate and have a strong sense of intuition.

Cat spirit animal: independence, intuition, and self-confidence

The cat is often seen as a symbol of independence, intuition, and self-confidence.

If the cat is your spirit animal, you’re likely to be a very independent person who is in touch with their own intuition.

You’re also likely to be very self-confident and have a strong sense of personal style.

Deer spirit animal: gentleness, kindness, and innocence

The deer is often seen as a symbol of gentleness, kindness, and innocence.

If the deer is your spirit animal, you’re likely to be a very gentle and kind person. You’re also likely to be very innocent and have a strong sense of personal integrity.

Likewise, the lithe deer is also often seen as a symbol of intelligence and gracefulness.

Finally, the deer is your spirit animal, you’re likely to have a deep connection to nature.

Turtle spirit animal: wisdom, persistence, groundedness

Wisdom, patience, and endurance are the hallmarks of the turtle.

If the turtle is your spirit animal, you’re likely to be a very wise person who is also very patient.

You’re also likely to be very determined and have a great deal of endurance. As the turtle knows oh so well: “slow and steady wins the race.”

So bear this in mind if you’re feeling like you’re stuck in a rut: like the turtle, keep moving forward even if it’s at a slow and steady pace.

Beaver spirit animal: hard worker, determination

The beaver spirit animal is often seen as a symbol of hard work and determination.

It is also associated with family, home, and community.

The beaver spirit animal is one of the most powerful spirit animals and is known for its strength, endurance, and ability to persevere through difficult times.

You’re also likely to be very good at problem-solving and have a great deal of stamina.

Possum spirit animal: adaptability and resilience

The possum (sometimes spelled opossum) is a surprisingly popular spirit animal.

It’s often seen as a symbol of adaptability, which is associated with its ability to play dead in order to survive.

The possum is also known for being very adaptable to different environments. Possums are excellent tree climbers and are often seen hanging upside down from branches.

Possums are nocturnal animals, which means they are most active at night. They are also very good swimmers and can hold their breath for up to six minutes underwater.

The opossum spirit animal is a reminder that sometimes it is necessary to play dead in order to survive and that you should always be adaptable to changing environments.

The possum spirit guide can also help you tap into your own nocturnal abilities and swim through difficult waters.

Dolphin spirit animal: friendly and social

People whose spirit animal is the dolphin are often characterized as friendly, social creatures who are always up for a good time.

They’re often the life of the party, and they bring joy and laughter wherever they go.

Dolphins are also known for their intelligence and their ability to communicate with others.

Those with a dolphin spirit animal are often good at reading people and understanding their feelings.

They’re natural leaders, and they’re often able to see both sides of every situation.

“Dolphin people” are usually optimistic and compassionate, and they’re always ready to help out those in need.

Fox spirit animal: cunning and clever

Have you ever felt a special kinship with the sly fox? If so, then the fox just might be your spirit animal.

The fox is often associated with cunning and cleverness and is known for its trickster-like nature.

In many traditions, the fox is also seen as a guide or teacher, helping those who are lost find their way back to the right path.

People who identify with the fox as their spirit animal may be drawn to careers in writing or acting, and may be interested in exploring their creativity.

Praying mantis spirit animal: calm and spiritual

The praying mantis is often portrayed as a calm and spiritual creature, one that is in touch with the divine.

They are said to be able to teach us how to connect with our higher selves and to live in balance with the natural world.

People who identify with the praying mantis as their spirit animal may be drawn to careers in healing or teaching, and may be interested in studying meditation and other forms of spirituality.

Polar bear spirit animal: strength, endurance, and determination

Polar bear symbolism in popular cultures suggests that this rugged creature is a symbol of strength, endurance, and determination.

In some traditions, the polar bear is also seen as a protector of the weak and a guardian of the natural world.

People who identify with the polar bear as their spirit animal may be drawn to careers in law enforcement or environmentalism, and may be interested in outdoor activities such as hiking and camping.

Lion spirit animal: courage and bravery

As the veritable “king of the beasts,” the lion has long been a symbol of strength, power, and royalty.

In many cultures, the lion is seen as a guardian of the underworld, and is associated with courage and bravery.

People who identify with the lion as their spirit animal may be drawn to careers in leadership or public service, and may be interested in studying history or mythology.

Cheetah spirit animal: agility and grace

The cheetah is often seen as a symbol of speed, agility, and grace.

In some cultures, the cheetah is also associated with hunters and warriors, and is said to be a master of camouflage.

People who identify with the cheetah as their spirit animal may be drawn to careers in athletics or the performing arts, and may be interested in exploring new places and cultures.

Elephant spirit animal: loyalty, companionship, and intelligence

The elephant spirit animal is associated with strength, determination, loyalty, companionship, and intelligence.

If you have an elephant as your spirit animal, you may be someone who is strong-willed and determined to achieve your goals.

You may also be a loyal and reliable friend, and you may be very intelligent.

Elephants are also known for their huge size, which is also a symbol of strength. As such, people who identify the elephant as their spiritual animal usually have a great sense of strength and power.

However, they also know how to use their size and strength wisely, and they are not afraid to defend those who are weaker than them.

People with this spirit animal are usually very compassionate and caring, and they often put the needs of others before their own.

You may be able to see things that others cannot. And of course, elephants are known for their long lives, which is a symbol of wisdom and experience.

Tiger spirit animal: strength and courage

The tiger is one of the most popular spirit animals, and it’s not hard to see why.

The tiger is a powerful animal that embodies strength, courage, and determination.

As your spirit animal, the tiger can guide you through times of challenge and help you find your inner strength.

When you connect with your tiger spirit animal, you may find yourself feeling more confident and courageous.

You may also feel a renewed sense of determination and focus.

If you’re facing a difficult situation, your tiger spirit animal can help you find the courage to face it head-on.

And this capacity can come in handy in spheres of life such as your career, your relationships, and even your personal development journey.

Of course, the tiger is not without its challenges. As a spirit animal, the tiger can also represent uncontrolled anger and aggression.

If you find yourself acting out in these ways, it’s important to take a step back and check in with your innermost feelings.

What are you really angry about? What can you do to diffuse the situation in a constructive way?

Remember, your tiger spirit animal is there to guide and support you – so trust your intuition and let the tiger lead the way.

Wolf spirit animal: a keen sense of understanding

The wolf is often seen as a symbol of loyalty, family, and communication.

If the wolf is your spirit animal, you’re likely to be a very loyal person who values family and friends.

You’re also likely to be a good communicator.

This mysterious pack animal is also a symbol of intuition and insight. When you have a wolf as your spirit animal, it means that you are very attuned to your surroundings and you have a keen sense of understanding.

You can see things that other people can’t, and you often have a deep understanding of the world around you.

You are fiercely loyal and protective of those you love, but you also know how to have fun and enjoy life.

Much like the coyote, the wolf suggests that you are a powerful force to be reckoned with, both in terms of your physical strength and your mental prowess.

Moreover, you are confident and capable, and you always find a way to get things done.

If you have a wolf as your spirit animal, it means that you are in touch with your wild side.

You are comfortable taking risks and walking on the edge. You know how to stand up for yourself and fight for what you believe in.

You are a survivor who is not afraid of obstacles or challenges. You are always moving forward and always looking for new adventures.

Owl spirit animal: an old soul wise beyond your years

People whose spirit animal is the owl tend to be wise beyond their years.

They’re often “old souls” who have been through a lot in their previous incarnations.

The owl spirit animal is also associated with rebirth.

Owls are nocturnal creatures, so they can also represent the dark side of your personality.

If you find yourself drawn to the owl spirit animal, it may be time to confront some of your fears and demons.

The owl spirit animal is also a symbol of change and transition.

If you’ve been feeling stuck in a rut, the appearance of an owl may signal that it’s time to make some changes in your life.

Spirit animals and totem power

In sum, a spirit animal is any creature found in the animal kingdom that has been assigned personal power by an individual: if you believe that your chosen animal has a certain quality, then it does.

This assigning of personal power is often done through a totem animal, which is defined as “an object (such as an animal or plant) serving as a symbolic representation” of a certain trait, often within a certain clan.

A “power animal” is said to be a creature that “lends its special strengths to an individual.” A wild animal, on the other hand, is defined as one that has “not been domesticated or tamed.”

Spirit animals can come from any animal species, and each one brings with it ancient wisdom.

Many of these animals have a deeper meaning, supernatural powers, or spiritual understanding associated with them.

Conclusion: why spirit animals are so popular today

A spirit animal is a kind of platonic ideal; it’s the embodiment of all the characteristics that we love and admire in an animal.

For example, a dog might be our best friend because they’re so loyal and loving. We might see ourselves as more like a bear, meanwhile, if we’re independent and tough.

Spirit animals have become increasingly popular in recent years as a way to connect with nature, and they’re also seen as a way to access our own hidden potential.

What’s important is that you connect with the animal that resonates with you the most. Your spirit animal can change over time, too, so don’t feel like you’re stuck with one for life!

No matter how you find your spirit animal, the important thing is that you connect with it on a deep level.

Once you’ve found your animal, it will be with you for as long as you need, serving as a source of strength, guidance, and protection.

Thanks for reading!

Other relevant animal articles:

  • What are dreams about snakes trying to tell you?
  • A new study finds that cats and dogs living together can get along just fine, despite their (very) different temperaments.
  • How can you stop your cat from hunting wildlife? A new study shows cats hunt less when their owners feed them well and let them play.

Photos: via DepositPhotosPexelsUpsplash, and Pixabay

Animals as symbols - Presenta

The life of people from the beginning of their appearance on Earth was closely connected with the life and existence of animals. Both wild and domestic animals are of great importance in our lives. It is no coincidence that people have long tried to carefully and reasonably treat wild animals and take care of domestic animals in every possible way. Gradually, the concept of animals "our smaller brothers" entered the literature and into everyday life.
Almost all peoples of the world have animals and birds featured in beliefs, fairy tales and legends that have been formed for thousands of years. Animals entered into various religious beliefs, and some of them fell into the category of sacred. Everywhere and always they served people as a source of various signs.
By the will of the ancient astronomers, various animals appeared in the sky - more than 30 constellations, in particular the signs of the zodiac, were named after them. Not surprisingly, the term "zodiac" among the ancient Greeks meant "animal" (the word "zodiac" comes from the Greek word "zoon" - "animal").
The word "symbol" in all languages ​​of the world means "conventional sign, identification sign". And animals became symbols of gods or any qualities, alchemical or moral symbols, spiritual symbols. In many countries, animals and birds beloved by the people have become symbols of the nation, the state, and their images are emblazoned on emblems and flags.
With the help of symbols and talismans, you can attract happiness, wealth, health, develop some qualities in yourself. A detailed description of animal symbols will help you choose an animal that is close in spirit, which will bring various benefits to life and help you cope with difficulties.

A symbol of kindness, naivety, generosity, calmness, measuredness. In 1961, the image of the Panda became the symbol of the World Wildlife Fund (WWF). The panda is the national symbol of China. The Panda figurine will give peace of mind, defuse the situation, help you relax after a hard day.

A symbol of love, diligence, speed. The Dolphin figurine is given as a talisman against danger not only on the water, in the Christian tradition it symbolizes resurrection and salvation. Two figurines of Dolphins are given to preserve marital fidelity.

A symbol of goodness, wealth and dawn. He embodies such qualities as perseverance, perseverance in achieving the goal. It is also a symbol of purity and innocence. Gives the owner perseverance and purposefulness.

A symbol of courage, courage, supreme power, nobility, pride. Giving a figurine of a Lion, you emphasize the strength, courage, greatness of the person to whom you want to give a gift. The figurine of the Lion will bring success, health and will protect its owner. The figurine of the Lioness is endowed with special semantics: she is both a symbol of motherhood and an attribute of the invincible power of love. The lion is the national symbol of England, the black-maned lion is the symbol of Ethiopia.

A symbol of devotion, vigilance, courage. Man's best friend bestows on his master the emotions of joy, love, friendliness, fidelity. The dog, because of its loyalty, means the relationship that must exist between the student and the master.

A symbol of love, tenderness, sincerity. In Christianity, the symbol of the Holy Spirit. Dove and dove symbolized marital fidelity, pure love. Gives the owner a state of love, compassion, purity and health.

In Feng Shui, it is a strong symbol that protects against theft, loss, robbery and accidents. Put a Rhino in your living room to prevent people with bad intentions from entering the house or harming your family members. The presence of the Rhino figure in the car will protect you from an accident. The use of this amulet in the office at the workplace will contribute to a good atmosphere at work, as with its impenetrable armor, the rhinoceros will protect you from gossip and malicious intent of colleagues.

A symbol of courage and grace. One of the main friends and helpers of man. In heraldic symbolism, the horse combines the courage of a lion, the vision of an eagle, the strength of an ox, the speed of a deer and the dexterity of a fox. Its owner bestows endurance, courage and virtue. The figurine-talisman will contribute to the fulfillment of desires. The horse is the national symbol of Mongolia.

A symbol of strength and power, as well as good nature. The personification of memory, wisdom, longevity, fidelity, patience, compassion. The talisman with the image of the Elephant will give the owner energy, wisdom, fortitude, improve memory, help gain authority among friends and colleagues, and contribute to successful business. The elephant is the national symbol of Thailand.

Symbol of eternity, immortality, wisdom. The “serpent power”, coiled and dormant at the base of the spine, is called the energy of kundalini. Gives health, wisdom, strength, esoteric understanding of the world.

A symbol of wisdom, because it withdraws into itself and is a protection for itself. In China and Japan, it is a symbol of longevity and senile strength. The turtle gives the owner wisdom, responsibility, patience, the ability to achieve goals, career growth.

A symbol of dexterity, cunning, learning. Gives the owner diplomacy, dexterity, extraordinary mental abilities, success in business.

A symbol of holiness, independence and magical powers of Nature. It is a sacred animal of many peoples. The cult of cats - the symbol of the goddess Bast - originated in ancient Egypt. The cat creates a cosiness in the house and keeps female family happiness. Cat and Cat symbolize the greatness of the night: desire and freedom, comfort and warmth. For Feng Shui followers, the Cat is a symbol of strength and protection, including from robbers, because at night she sees everything very well. The talisman will give its owner magical abilities, protection, intuition.

A symbol of beauty, immortality and fearlessness. Hindus considered this bird sacred. To have her next to him meant to protect himself from snakes. In Greek mythology, the Peacock is a symbol of family well-being and happiness. In the Christian religion, the Peacock is a divine being. Peacock bestows beauty, a state of self-sufficiency and protection in risky ventures.

Symbol of the earth, patroness of the hearth. For many peoples, the frog acts as the creator of the universe. In Feng Shui, the frog is one of the symbols of protection. It is also a symbol of immortality. Gives the owner the protection of Mother Earth and the Cosmic Mother. Promises a good husband.

A symbol of wisdom, erudition, sensitivity, prophetic gift, moderation and melancholy. An owl is able to see at night, feel, understand and predict events. The talisman in the form of an Owl will reveal to its owner the secret knowledge and secrets of wisdom.

Symbol of dawn, rebirth, vigilance. The rooster symbolized the element of fire and was a talisman against evil spirits. His image often adorned the roofs of Slavic dwellings. Grants independence, freedom, the ability to win. It also helps to increase popularity, the implementation of plans. The rooster is the national symbol of France.

A very ancient symbol of good luck and wealth. An amulet with fish is able to support its owner in a difficult situation, improve health and give financial success. Gives a state of peace, tranquility.

A symbol of energy, strength and success, but at the same time destruction, because energy can be both creative and destructive. The owner of the amulet with the image of the Tiger, in addition to powerful protection from the evil eye and damage, also acquires the qualities of the beast - strength, power, pressure and fearlessness. According to Feng Shui, the spirit of the White Tiger is so strong that there is simply no better defense against evil. The Tiger Talisman must be used with great care, as it is a very wild beast. With an inappropriate attitude towards him, he can release his claws against the inhabitants of the house, instead of protecting them. The tiger is the national symbol of India.

As a creature that gives milk, the cow is an international symbol of motherhood, fertility, feeding and abundance, and in addition, because of the crescent-shaped horns, it is the heavenly sign of all mother goddesses, as well as chthonic personification of mother earth. For Hindus, a cow is a sacred animal that cannot be killed. The cow is the national symbol of Holland.

Solar symbol, which is an attribute of solar gods in many cultures, midday sun, spiritual beginning, height, ascension, liberation from bonds, courage, victory, pride, apotheosis, greatness, royal origin, power, strength. The double-headed eagle means the possibility of strengthening power. This is one of the most ancient symbols. A talisman in the form of an Eagle or with its image will make the owner even more noble and glorify his spirit. The eagle is the national symbol of Germany.


A symbol of calmness and equanimity in any situation. The striped figurine will become your talisman. If there are changes in life, buy a Zebra figurine - it will help you get used to a new place without any problems and easily survive separation from your past life.

A symbol of agility, the sacrifice of small things in the name of more. Gives speed, adaptability, elusiveness.

A symbol of good nature, heroic strength and clumsiness. Bear in feng shui personifies courage and strength, endows a man with energy and indomitable will. This is a great gift for a leader or head of the family. Place the bear figurine on your desktop in the office or at home and you will feel a surge of strength and energy. The bear is also a talisman that protects the house from negative energy, unkind people and thieves. This symbol is also closely associated with rebirth, change, the beginning of a new, good life, since every spring the bears come out of hibernation and begin life in a new way.

Animals and plants in Russian superstitions

Traditions section publications snakes. Kultura.RF tells about Slavic beliefs related to flora and fauna.


Irina Eremenko. World tree (fragment). 1987. Museum of Russian Lubok and Naive Art, Moscow

The World Tree is one of the central images in mythology. According to the ideas of the Slavs and many other peoples, the crown of the world tree goes to the heavenly, upper world, the roots symbolize the lower, underground world, and the trunk is the axis of the earthly space where a person lives. Real trees were also perceived as a core connecting people, underground spirits and heavenly gods.


Alexey Savrasov. Oaks (detail). 1855. State Russian Museum, St. Petersburg

Oak was the main tree of the Slavs. He was associated with the thunder god Perun and was considered the incarnation of the world tree. A cross was cut out of oak for the grave and the deck itself, which served as a coffin. This is where the expression “give oak”, that is, to die, came from.

In Slavic folklore, oak was a male tree, giving strength, health and fertility. In Belarusian villages, after bathing a newborn boy, the water was thrown out under the oak tree so that the baby would grow up as strong as a tree. Sick children were treated by “pulling through the oak tree”: parents had to pass the child to each other three times through a gap left on the tree by lightning or under protruding roots. In the Voronezh province, until the 19th century, the tradition of going around the old oak three times after the wedding was preserved as a sign of respect for this tree.


Nikolai Bogdanov-Belsky. Dreaminess among birches (fragment). 1930. Private collection

A female birch tree was a pair of oak. Some believed that the souls of deceased relatives came to the ground through the birch on the Trinity, others believed that the souls of dead girls entered the tree forever. In Central Russia, they said about a dying person: "He's going to birches" . Birch was honored on Semik and Trinity - the days of commemoration of ancestors. This ceremony was called “curling the birch tree”: the girls decorated the tree with songs and round dances, and then went around the yards, carrying it as an honored guest.

In the northern provinces, birch branches were stuck into the walls of the bathhouse where the bride was supposed to wash. They soared the girl with a birch broom, and they certainly drowned it with birch firewood: it was believed that this drives away evil spirits from the bride. The birch branches consecrated in the church on Trinity were carefully kept. Laid in the attic, they protected from lightning, hail and even rodents. And whipping with such a broom was considered the best remedy for rheumatism.


Alexander Sultan. Wheat field (detail). 2016. Private collection

In Rus' this cereal was a symbol of life, abundance and happiness. The varieties of soft spring wheat with red grain were valued above all - the most delicious bread was baked from it. The image of the yara was associated with fire: on Christmas Eve, the peasants of the Kursk province lit bonfires in the yards, inviting the souls of dead relatives to warm themselves. It was believed that ardent wheat would be born from this fire. The Christmas table was covered with ears of wheat, covered with a tablecloth and dishes were placed on top - this was how wealth was called into the family.

Wheat was also thrown into the foundation of a house under construction to appease the brownie. Ritual dishes — kolivo and kutya — were cooked from this cereal. Today, kutya is known as rice porridge, but rice was not known in Ancient Rus'. Wheat porridge was brought to the souls of ancestors at funerals, Christmas and other memorial days. She also met a newborn, according to the ideas of the ancestors, who had just "arrived" from the other world. A midwife cooked Kutya for a baptismal dinner, for which the dish was nicknamed "grandmother's porridge".


Oleg Saulov. Willows. April (detail). 2004. Private collection

Willow was considered a symbol of spring, rebirth and flowering. The feast of the Lord's Entry into Jerusalem, or Palm Sunday, was associated with it. The day before, on Lazarus Saturday, the youth went door-to-door with songs and symbolically beat the hosts with willow branches. The twigs consecrated at the festive service were kept for the whole year. They whipped households and cattle for health, threw them on the beds as a talisman against hail and thunderstorms. The blossoming willow buds were credited with a special healing power. They were baked into rolls and cookies, eaten themselves and fed to livestock. With the help of the willow, they were "treated" for cowardice. A person suffering from excessive timidity had to defend the service on Palm Sunday and bring a consecrated willow peg from the church, which then had to be driven into the wall of his house.

Read also:

  • Slavic bestiary
  • Amulets in traditional Russian costume
  • Ridiculous and useful superstitions


Alexei Vasiliev. Aspens (detail) 2007. Private collection

In the Russian view, aspen was an unclean tree. People believed that its leaves were trembling with fear due to the curse of the Virgin. And they cursed her because Judas hanged himself on her, betraying Christ. According to another version, a cross was made of aspen, on which the Savior was tormented.

This tree served to communicate with evil spirits. Having climbed into the forest on an aspen tree, one could ask for something from the goblin. Standing under an aspen, they caused damage. A driven aspen stake, considered in Western demonology as a remedy for vampires, in Russia, on the contrary, was a faithful companion of sorcerers. In the Russian North, shepherds made drums from aspen. A tree for this was cut down at night in a special place, by the light of a fire made of aspen branches. With the help of such a magic drum, the shepherd sealed an agreement with the goblin so that forest animals would not drag cattle, and cows would not get lost in the forest.


Julia The enemy. Fishing (detail). 2017. Private collection

Animals have properties that are inaccessible to humans: they can fly, breathe underwater, live underground and on trees. In the view of ancient people, this connected birds, animals, fish, reptiles and insects with the inhabitants of other worlds. They could go to places where the path is closed to a living person: to heaven to God, underground to the souls of the dead, or to the land of eternal summer Iriy - to a pagan paradise.


Ivan Shishkin and Konstantin Savitsky. Morning in a pine forest (detail). 1889. The State Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow

The bear was considered the owner of the forest, a sacred animal, "forest archimandrite". Beliefs said that sorcerers and werewolves could turn into a bear, and if you remove the skin from a bear, it will look like a person. The forest owner symbolized fertility, hence the custom of dressing one of the guests at the wedding as a bear. Bear jaws, claws and wool were considered strong amulets.

People were so in awe of this beast that they did not call it by name, but only allegorically. The word "bear", that is, "honey eater", was the same descriptive nickname as "clubfoot", "toptygin", "master". Today it is not known for certain what this animal was called in the Proto-Slavic language.

Linguist Lev Uspensky suggested that the word "bear" came from the same original name. It is related to the Bulgarian "sword" and the Lithuanian "sack", which, in turn, was formed from "mishkas", which means "forest".


Vasily Shevchuk. Wolf (detail). 2009. Private collection

The name of the wolf, just like the name of the bear, was tried not to be mentioned once again: “We are talking about the wolf, and he is towards you” . This predator was considered an inhabitant of both the human world and the realm of the dead. People believed that, like evil spirits, wolves are afraid of the bell ringing. Bells attached to the harness scared these animals off the road.

The wolf was perceived as a stranger in this world. In a wedding ceremony, a groom who arrived from afar, or his matchmakers, could be called a wolf. In the Northern Russian tradition, the bride called the groom's brothers "grey wolves", at the same time, the groom's family called the bride herself a she-wolf, emphasizing that she was still a stranger.

A gray wolf from Russian fairy tales, helping Ivan Tsarevich, possessed magical powers, was an intermediary between the living and the spirits. But in the ancient "hunting" texts, the wolf seemed naive and stupid. According to the researchers, it emphasized how much more cunning a man is than an animal - it was important to show the most terrible forest predators in a comic way. Later fairy tales about animals were born when people had already ceased to deify the world around them: the wolf and the bear turned out to be just convenient figures behind which human vices were hidden.


Elena Zorina. Storks (detail). 2017. Private collection

Birds were directly connected with the heavenly world. In the South of Russia, there was a tradition to feed birds on the 40th day after the death of a relative: in this guise, the soul of the deceased was supposed to visit the house. At the same time, as the ancestors believed, not all birds were "God's", "pure" creatures. Birds of prey, as well as crows, symbolized death, they were called "devilish". Sparrows were called thieves and pests because they ate barley in the fields. The cuckoo seemed to the Slavs the embodiment of loneliness, an unhappy fate. Hence the figurative meaning of the word "cuckoo" - "poor, live alone" .

The main "righteous" among the birds was the dove. He began to be considered God's helper under the influence of Christianity, where the dove is one of the incarnations of the Holy Spirit. The swan and stork symbolized love and a happy marriage. In different regions, they played a similar role: in the south, storks were revered, in the north, swans. The swallow and the lark, the heralds of spring, “opening the summer with a golden key,” were also considered to be the birds of God.


Vadim Zerrt. Kaa (detail). 2011. Private collection

The snake is one of the most mysterious animals of world folklore. She is a direct "relative" of the mythological serpent that drags people into the underworld. The snake was perceived as "unclean", but wise. Her element was both water and fire. The Slavs believed that the snake was descended from the devil and God forgives 40 sins for killing it. But in many houses they revered the guardian snake, the patroness of the household. This role was assigned to a domestic snake living in a barn, field or vineyard.

Our ancestors believed that a snake guards treasures and can show a person where wealth is hidden. It was also said that whoever tasted its meat would become all-seeing or, according to another version, begin to understand the language of animals and plants.

June 12, St. Isaac's Day, Russians revered as a "serpent's wedding" and tried not to go into the forest. The eve of Ivan Kupala was also dangerous, when the snakes gathered together under the leadership of the snake king. On Vozdvizhenye, September 27, "creeping reptiles" went into holes. It was believed that they, like birds, spend the winter in the mythical Iria - a warm land, which was considered the afterlife in pre-Christian beliefs.

Weasel and cat

Bukuros Ekaterina. Family (detail). 2016. Private collection

In the old days, the weasel was a favorite pet - the patron of the home and family. This animal combined the mythological qualities of all mustelids and fur-bearing animals in general: it was wise like an otter, kind like a beaver, cunning like a fox. Later, some of these qualities began to be attributed to the cat.

The cat, like the weasel, was considered the guardian of sleep, was friends with the brownie. During the day, both animals caught mice - this was their main "job". However, the cat was attributed an "unclean" origin, it was associated with sorcerers and restless souls who did not go to heaven for sins. Weasel was a "pure" animal, although endowed with dangerous qualities. For example, her bite was considered poisonous, like that of a snake, she tangled the manes of horses and strangled a person, like a brownie. In many villages, it was believed that weasel was a brownie. In order for the cattle to take root, it had to be selected in the same color as the weasel living on the farm. Otherwise, the "house-movie" animal began to run along the backs of cows and horses, scratching and tickling them.

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