Editor’s Note: Dr. Steven Farmer will be presenting a special workshop on connecting with your animal spirit guide on April 1. To register, call 1 (866) 809-8080, or in the Greater Twin Cities area, (763) 433-9291.
How many times have you heard, "Oh, it’s just your imagination!" implying that it’s merely some delusional artifice that holds no bearing on reality, reserved for the likes of children, artists or writers of fiction? Useful in some instances, but limited. There’s even a song by The Temptations called, "Just My Imagination," where a guy sings about his dream girl, the punch line being that he realizes he can never really have her, because "it’s just (his) imagination running away with (him)."
Yet our imagination is a much more powerful force than we typically give credit. For instance, when Joan of Arc was facing her inquisitors, she was asked if she believed she could hear the voice of God, to which she replied without hesitation that she did.
Her inquisitor then asked her, "How do you know it’s not just your imagination?"
Her reply: "How else would I hear?"
Imagination is what bridges the gap between the world of spirit and the concrete reality that we see, hear and feel within and all around us. It’s with our imagination that we can contact our spirit helpers, whatever form they may take, including our animal spirit guides. And these animal spirit guides, who love us and want to help us, can show us much about our lives and our world. With an open heart and open mind, you’ll find that you can receive clear messages and guidance from these wonderful spirit beings.
One of the advantages to working with animal spirit guides is that they can show up in concrete reality, as well as in visions, dreams and symbols. When an animal appears in an unusual way or repetitively in a short period of time, the spirit of that animal is trying to reach you, to get a message to you. When this happens, it’s important to pause and meditate on these appearances, to discern what the message is and its relevance and meaning for the question or concern is at hand.
In Power Animals: How to Connect with Your Animal Spirit Guide, I wrote:
"Animal spirit guides also teach you when they show up in your dreams, meditations or ordinary reality. When they do, whether or not the animal is your power animal, they’re attempting to give you a message. When an animal shows up in ordinary reality in an uncommon way or at unusual times, such as an owl in the daytime, a deer in your front yard or a whale out of season, this is most definitely an omen. Pay close attention to whatever’s going on and see if you can discern the message. You may have to meditate on the experience before gaining some insight as to the meaning, and it can be helpful to consult this book or other resources as to the significance of that particular animal.
"Another powerful omen is when an animal shows herself to you frequently or persistently (at least three or more times) in a short period of time, such as over a few hours. It can be the actual animal, a symbol for the animal such as a carved figure or totem, or the printed word for the animal. Pay close attention and see if you can discern the meaning. If deer shows up three times in relatively rapid succession, is this a call for gentleness with yourself or someone else? If it’s hummingbird, are you missing the joy and sweet nectar of life by your narrow focus? These signs don’t tell you their precise meaning; they’re merely trying to get your attention. The meaning is for you to discern."
The message is actually coming FROM the spiritual counterpart THROUGH the physical presence of the animal. When an animal appears repetitively or in an unusual way, he/she becomes a courier or messenger, passing along the guidance that the spirit of that animal is trying to communicate.
A friend of mine who lives in Arizona reported that a roadrunner walked up to her the other day, looked at her, then calmly walked away. She was imaginative enough to know that the roadrunner was trying to impart some message, particularly as this bird behaved in such an unusual way. I typically suggest that if you have such an experience, take a couple of breaths, close your eyes and "imagine" that animal in front of you. Then ask the animal, who is simply a representative of the essence of that entire species, what the message or teaching is.
Because my friend asked me in a letter, I did that on her behalf, and I wrote to her this response: "Roadrunner is telling you that your thoughts are racing, that you’re required to be able to shift from thoughts about this or that project. Because he approached you and wasn’t running, he’s also saying to slow down, take the time to meditate, not by sitting but by doing a walking meditation. You feel yourself running around a lot, often at top speed, and he’s suggesting to chill for a while – take in the sights. Your gift is your intelligence and power of mind, but it can also be a shadow that makes for inefficiency. Focus your thoughts on what you want to manifest, and (as you’ve so amply demonstrated!) it will be so." She wrote back and said it was right on the money.
You can do the same by simply observing those animals that come to you in any of the ways mentioned above. Use your imagination and allow Spirit to communicate through the wonderful avenues that our animal brothers and sisters provide.