Spirit Animals vs. Angels: What’s the Difference?

“Spirit animals and angels, one ‘n’ the same or no? I’d like to tune more into my angel if she isn’t shaking her head and going now what are you doing lol”

A good question from a curious client! 😉 I’ll do my best to answer here, to the best of my knowledge and experience.

masculine feminine balance angelSpirit animals vs. angels: what’s the difference, if any?

Spirit animals and angels are both spirit beings. And in my experience they are both positive spirit beings (as opposed to spiritual entities with a negative or malevolent energy or intent.) Although I suppose it’s possible for an animal to get warped into something negative through the influence of some negative power, I’ve never come across it.

In my experience spirit animals range from neutral positive to actively benevolent. Angels are always purely benevolent.

The most obvious difference to me is that spirit animals are definitely ANIMAL. You can generally sense what kind of animal it is.

Angels, on the other hand, can show up in different ways. Often they appear in some sort of human form, whether it’s as a vision or in art. They can also show up as an orb of light, a feeling of warmth, unseen hands, etc. I think they take human form so often because it is so easy for us to relate to them in that form. It must make it easier for them to communicate with us that way!

Going a bit deeper, though, my sense is that spirit animals and angels have different origins.

Where do Spirit Animals come from?

I have a very strong sense that Spirit Animals are of the earth. They are creatures of Mother Earth and very much connected to Her.  You can think of a spirit animal as being the essence, or wisdom, of a particular species of animal. (Or sometimes the essence of a particular type of that animal, Spirit Buffalo with matlike a white wolf as opposed to a black wolf.)

As creatures of the earth, and as animals, they speak to our instinctual selves, our subconscious selves, our animal nature. (Or, depending on your background and beliefs, you might consider that they are a part or emanation of our own instinctual selves.)

In the shamanic tradition, the earth/nature/subconscious realm where power animals make their home is known as the Lower World.

Spirit animals teach us how to reconnect with our healthy, wild instincts. In this world of ours that is very important for coming back to a sane path of living, a sustainable path that will keep us long-term healthy both as individuals and as a society.

From whence do Angels come?

Angel painting copyright Anne C Michelsen 2015

Angels, on the other hand, come from above. That is, they are beings of the Upper World, or Heaven; Light, and pure consciousness.

Angels help us to expand our consciousness and grow and evolve spiritually towards ever higher consciousness and spiritual vibrations. It is their job and their pleasure to support us in our journey; however angels won’t jump in where they aren’t invited. Once you open yourself to their assistance, though, you will likely experience extremely powerful changes in your life.

Communicating with your Angels and Spirit Animals

You can ask your angel to communicate with you. Just intend for his/her guidance on whatever topic and tell her you’re ready and willing to hear from her, and thank her for her presence. Then stay open to guidance. It could come in the form of a dream, or a sudden inspiration, download of wisdom, message, or synchronicity of some kind. It usually happens when you’re not expecting it! 🙂

You can do the same with spirit animals. If you feel a connection with a particular animal, ask it what it would like to tell you. However spirit animals are more animal-like and may appear shy or even (rarely) hostile or sarcastic at first. I suggest doing things to honor your animal, such as wearing its image or offering tobacco. After a while if you are sincere and if it really is a match for you, it will likely come around and work with you.

Have you had both spirit animal and angel encounters? What do you feel are the biggest differences in working with them? Leave your reply below! 


Did you enjoy this post? Christie

Did you enjoy this post? If you did, you will enjoy my newsletter, too. I share positive affirmations, spirit animal information and artwork, and spiritual insights for awakening souls. You will also get a free guided meditation to help you meet your Spirit Animal! Just hit the "follow" tab in the menu up top to subscribe.

How to Tick Off the Trickster

CoyoteHappy April Fools Day!

Don’t worry. I’m not the trickster type. But many spirit animals are!

The Trickster archetype pops up everywhere, from folk tales of the world to our own lives. Often shapeshifters, Trickster characters delight in breaking the rules, creating chaos and generally shaking things up.

In many storytelling traditions, animals take on the Trickster role. Common Trickster animals include Fox (such as Reynard the Fox and the Japanese kitsune), Coyote (a well known Trickster character from Native American folklore), Wolf, Spider (e.g. the traditional African character Anansi the Spider), Rabbit or Hare (think Brer Rabbit and Bugs Bunny), and Raven.

The Trickster operates outside the rules and can really turn life upside down. While Tricksters can be highly entertaining and are often well-loved for their tricks and mischief, they have no boundaries and can be downright malicious at times.

Despite this, the Trickster has an important role to play. Tricksters show up when we become complacent, stuck in a rut, or when we are not operating in alignment with our higher selves. They also remind us that all is not always as it seems.

The chaos they bring helps to break up stuck patterns. At its extreme it can be lethal – especially for those who continue to resist. However, Trickster encounters can actually be extremely positive, even when they are painful. They can serve to shock us out of unhealthy patterns of being, if we are flexible enough to recognize and respond to Trickster energy for what it is. When that happens, the Trickster himself may end up the victim of his own cleverness, as in this tale of Anansi the Spider.

If you find yourself beset with misfortune, or if you feel like every time you start to make progress, something happens to set you back, Trickster may be at play. Trickster energy is exceptionally fluid, and opposites attract, so look for areas of rigid thinking or entrenched beliefs. (Often these will be deeply buried fears.)

In the spirit animal world, our shadow totems can sometimes appear as Trickster animals. If an animal comes into your life that is exceptionally pesky or troublesome, it may represent a part of you that hasn’t been allowed full expression or release.

One of the best antidotes to Trickster energy is to laugh! Laughter reveals the Trickster for what he is and brings his tricks out into the light. It often will also work to dissolve the underlying stuck energy that attracted him in the first place.

If you’re in the mood for some Trickster energy, enjoy this classic Warner Brothers flick, in which Bugs Bunny plays the consummate Trickster:

photo credit: Coyote via photopin (license)

“Find Your Spirit Animal” class starts beta testing Aug. 18


I know I’ve mentioned this already to some of you, but now it’s official! My 5 week class on working with Spirit Animals starts August 18!

Fiverr Spirit Animal header

Spirit Animal Alchemy: How to Find and Work With Your Personal Animal Guides will cover a ton of what I’ve learned from working with Spirit Animals over the years, including:

  • What are Spirit Animals?
  • Different types of Spirit Animals and how they can help you overcome challenges and achieve your goals
  • 3 ways to connect with Spirit Animals
  • How to find your personal Totem Animal
  • What never to do when working with Spirit Animals
  • Shadow Totems
  • and more.

I will also provide guided meditations, worksheets and exercises to help you connect and interact successfully with your power animal guides.

I will eventually be teaching this online to the general public. But first, I’d like to give it a relaxed, stress-free trial run.
In exchange for honest feedback, I am offering FREE TUITION for those who apply and are a good fit. 
I am limiting this first class to 25 participants, so if you are interested, apply here right away: http://app.getresponse.com/survey.html?u=Sh4i&survey_id=352402 

Did you enjoy this post? Christie

Did you enjoy this post? If you did, you will enjoy my newsletter, too. I share positive affirmations, spirit animal information and artwork, and spiritual insights for awakening souls. You will also get a free guided meditation to help you meet your Spirit Animal! Just hit the "follow" tab in the menu up top to subscribe.

Finding Your Life’s Purpose with Power Animals

Digital illustration girl and waspThere comes a time for everyone (whether in this lifetime or another one) when you suddenly wake up and think “Why am I here? What is my purpose in life?” 

This is a valid question. So don’t get upset with me when I say that the word “purpose” is a bit misleading.

After all, what is the “purpose” of a star? Or a cloud? Or a toad? They simply are. And that is wonderful. As Joseph Campbell said, “The purpose of life is life.”

“Purpose” is really a concept of the ego. But that’s OK. The ego has been getting a bad rap lately. Like it or not, we are ego beings. In fact, it is what sets us apart from most other life forms. And it is a sign of a mature (or at least maturing) ego to ask its purpose.

Perhaps a better way to put the question would be “How can I best support the highest good?” But “purpose” works. Regardless of the term you use, the important thing is that the ego finally realize that it is a supporting actor, not the lead.

“Finding your life’s purpose…”

…is really just a matter of uncovering your inner natural self and expressing it fully. In other words, you don’t have to find your purpose. You already have one. You were born with it. It’s just a matter of tuning into it and clearing out the blocks surrounding it.

My 16 year old daughter came home the other day with a new word. (I love teenagers.) The word is “CHILLAX.” She explained that it is a combination of “chill out” and “relax.”


But when I mentioned the word at a healers’ conference I attended recently, the workshop leader immediately saw an alternate meaning:

“CHILL” plus “AX.” As in axing out the dead wood.

I like it.

And that’s really what we need to do when we’re seeking our “purpose.” On the one hand, chill out, relax, and open to your inner guidance. And on the other hand, axe out whatever stands in your way.

Howling Wolf and Moon What do Power Animals have to do with it?

There are many ways to “chillax” into your Life’s Purpose. But I’ve always found working with Power Animals to be a great way to get into it. Why? Because…

  • They’re easy to relate to.
  • They resonate well with the physical body, which helps you stay grounded – very important for spiritual work.
  • They are excellent at showing direction and pointing the way (once you learn to interpret their messages).
  • Animals are all about ACTION, which is the third step you need to take after relaxing and clearing your blocks.

Working with Power Animals has helped me find my husband (and stay with him through ups and downs that might have destroyed another marriage), overcome depression, and find a career path that is rewarding on so many levels.

It can help you, too. If you’d like to know more, do sign up for my newsletter. I’ll send you totem animal meanings as well as other spiritual guidance, and keep you informed of upcoming workshops and events that will help you find your Life’s Purpose!

Did you enjoy this post? Christie

Did you enjoy this post? If you did, you will enjoy my newsletter, too. I share positive affirmations, spirit animal information and artwork, and spiritual insights for awakening souls. You will also get a free guided meditation to help you meet your Spirit Animal! Just hit the "follow" tab in the menu up top to subscribe.

Blogging from A to Z: A is for Animal Spirits

Boy releasing falcon spirit animal

This month I thought I’d do something fun. I’ve decided to join the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge! I’m using my other blog, Wild Woman’s Wolf Pack, as the primary blog for this, but since the theme (Spirit Animals) is so relevant to my work I’ll be re-posting here as well.

Since “animals” starts with “A” I thought I’d kick off with a few words about what spirit animals are and why they matter.

So, everything – everything in this physical world that we can see and smell and touch – has a corresponding spiritual energy.

If you’ve ever taken martial arts or done any acupuncture or energy work they’ll tell you about chi – the energy moving through the body. So we have energy always flowing through and around our bodies. As you get more attuned you can start to sense it.

But in addition there are also spiritual companions – for humans they’re called guardian angels. You have an angel that supports you. And so does each little rock and flower and tree and bird. (although they’re called different things.)

Yes, each individual animal has a corresponding spirit, but also there is a spirit governing each species of animal.

Bear in snowSo there’s the bear spirit and the mouse spirit and the earthworm spirit. And that’s what’s meant by a totem animal.

And these things are real energies in the world, but we perceive them as symbol, as archetype.

And that’s why symbols are such powerful things. When you start working with the symbols you tap into that spiritual energy that’s out there in the world, and when you align yourself with them you take on some of that power and they can support you in what you do.

Powerfully. As in getting back in touch with your inner nature. Finding your true purpose. That kind of thing. I know, because they’re doing it for me.

I could totally write a book on this (and maybe I will someday) but I’ll leave it here by inviting you to pay attention to the animals that enter your awareness. They have messages for you – they really do. And when you start listening to them and figuring out what they are telling you – look out, because they’ll totally transform your life! 🙂

Spirit Horses

Tomorrow: Bats!



Did you enjoy this post? Christie

Did you enjoy this post? If you did, you will enjoy my newsletter, too. I share positive affirmations, spirit animal information and artwork, and spiritual insights for awakening souls. You will also get a free guided meditation to help you meet your Spirit Animal! Just hit the "follow" tab in the menu up top to subscribe.