Power animals are spirit helpers in animal form that teach us about ourselves, help us heal and give us power and strength. Power animals are also referred to as helping spirits, totems and guardian spirits. They act as protectors, teachers, and guides who show the shaman where to find lost soul parts and answer questions on behalf of the seeker. The animal chooses you; you don’t choose the animal. They are normally wild animals, not domestic animals. Power animals represent the entire species as opposed to one specific animal. So, if your power animal is the bear, you do not have a specific bear that protects you; you have the spirit of the species of bear protecting you. Individuals who don’t know their power animals are believed to be suffering from a loss of personal power.
Each animal spirit has its own medicine, talents, power and lessons. No one spirit animal has more power than another. Mouse medicine is just as powerful as eagle medicine. Once you know your power animal, it is important to honor and respect it and learn to work with its medicine. Some animal spirits may be with you your entire life, while others come and go as they are needed. The shaman fills up with the power of its spirit animal when performing healing rituals and ceremonial work. In some shamanic traditions the shaman merges with the power animal in a practice called shape-shifting.