Spirit (God, the Universe, Angels, Spirit Guides, etc.) and deceased loved ones often send us messages to let us know that they are near and we are loved and supported. These messages usually come in the form of feathers or coins. However, sometimes spirit will send us specific animal friends as a way of conveying an important message. Now, I’m not talking about animal totems or animal spirit guides, those are a little different and would need a separate post. I’m referring to the messages from spirit that can be fleeting and vary from day to day depending on our path and our lessons. These animals can have general or specific/personal messages for us, and those will depend on personal experience. For instance, the cardinal symbolizes fortitude and a message from a deceased loved one. But, for me, personally, I associate the cardinal with my Gram because she was an avid bird watcher, and the cardinal was one of her favorites, and one of mine, when I would watch birds with her. So, I know when I encounter cardinal, it’s my Gram telling me to ‘hang in there.’ Take your personal experience into account when receiving these messages. Here are some common animal messages you’re likely to encounter:
Blue Jay- support, message from (often male, but not always) deceased loved one
Cardinal- fortitude, message from deceased loved one
Crow- spiritual messenger, usually a symbol that we need to pursue a spiritual path
Butterfly- hope, renewal, change, transformation
Snake- primal energy, get back to basics
Deer- grace, agility in handling distressing situations
Bear- strength, courage
Not every animal encounter is meant to be a message, but you can discern for yourself based on how often these animals appear in your life. For instance, as I was hiking the other day, in an area where I often hike, I encountered more chipmunks in the first hour than I had in all the other times I’d been to that spot combined! (Chipmunk is a message of both work and play. Work/life balance.)
Things to keep in mind:
- Pay special attention to any animal that directly crosses your path.
- These animal messages often occur in areas or ways that we would not expect them to.
- In the case of birds, squirrels, and other common yard animals, they may come straight to a window or door of your home and let themselves be known.
- Not every animal message is conveyed with a live animal. Sometimes it’s repetitively seeing images or figurines etc of a specific animal.
- Pay attention to the number of times you encounter a specific animal. As the saying goes “Once is luck, twice is a coincidence, three times is a pattern.” Lately, I’ve been seeing things in patterns of 4 for some reason: four chipmunks, four butterflies, etc. (The number 4 symbolizes balance and foundation. It’s steady and even.)
- Animal symbolism contains a common thread across the board, but cultural significance can influence your perception of the message as well. For example, the dragon symbolizes good luck in China, but an obstacle to be overcome in Great Britain, but both symbolize knowledge and wisdom. If you feel drawn to any particular culture, take that context into account as well.