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  • Writer's pictureSarah Dresser

The Different Meanings of Spirit Animals

You may feel that each spirit animal has just one identity or one major quality. The animals you meet may at first seem to be either a direct reflection of your own qualities or the opposite to you. But every animal has more than one facet, as do you.

In my Spirit Animal Meditation, I guide you through a session in which you meet many different animals, each of which gives you insights into yourself, your needs and your hidden strengths.

Actively put aside prejudice and meditate in their presence. You may notice some small details that reveal greater insights into yourself, and give you a greater appreciation of the spirit animal.

All of them have something to teach you about yourself and it may not be what you expect.

Read on to learn more.

The Different Meanings of Spirit Animals

Spirit Animal Archetypes


The butterfly in nature represents delicate movement and beauty. As a spirit animal it is perhaps the most powerful symbol of transformation.

As you meditate, rather than simply visualize a butterfly emerging from a cocoon, imagine embodying this new form and a higher level of being. What would it feel like to experience flying for the very first time? As well as new abilities, how would it feel to embody a new form?

But change is not just external. As a spirit animal, the butterfly represents not just outer change but also inner growth and transformation.

The transformation of the butterfly reminds us to challenge the belief that what we can see is all that can be

As you meditate on the butterfly's transformation, does this reflect back to you that your own life has become too routine? As you meditate, the experience from the perspective of the butterfly may inspire you to look for opportunities for change in your own life.

Perhaps their presence serves to spark a light of renewed faith that you are capable of making positive changes in your own life, reminding you that it is never too late.

The transformation of the butterfly reminds us to challenge the belief that what we see is all that can be. Does the butterfly prompt you to overcome your own perceived limits and remind you of your own potential?

Butterfly emerging from a cocoon


The bee as an individual has become a symbol of our ecosystem. Without the bee there can be no plants, no animals, no life on earth.

As a spirit animal they are the symbol of tireless hard work, and work with a greater purpose. As an individual they embody mission-driven work. But each bee also belongs to a bigger community. As a collective, the bee colonies only succeed because of their collaboration, sacrifice and dedication to a collective goal.

Honey bee covered in pollen

As you meditate in the presence of the bee, observe the energy they emanate as they move without rest from flower to flower. Notice how their energy resonates with your own energy.

Do you feel calmed by their presence or motivated into action?

The bee's energy may remind you of the need to delay instant gratification. Perhaps their tireless energy revitalizes your own determination to achieve a goal.

Or, perhaps, as you observe them working industriously, you realize that you have done enough and now is the time to rest and enjoy the results of your hard work.

As you visualize one bee and then the colony, they may remind you of how together we can achieve a level of greatness that is simply not possible when working alone. This may also serve as a gentle reminder that focusing on self is not the only way to achieve satisfaction and fulfilment.

The bee's simple act of moving from flower to flower has a profound impact on all of us. They also are the symbol of our interdependence. We are all connected.


The hummingbird is small but mighty and has many different meanings according to different cultures and throughout the world. Whatever the meaning, the hummingbird is universally admired the world over.

In some cultures, the hummingbird is considered a messenger from heaven.

In other cultures, the hummingbird is considered to embody the spirit of warriors who lost their lives in battle. Although small they are mighty. Their tiny frame and size does not shrink their courage as they are both fearless and also fiercely territorial. So perhaps they serve to remind you that courage is a mindset that all may embody, however great or small in physical size.

And despite their small frame and a weight of just a few grams, twice a year they journey thousands of miles, and in doing so demonstrate incredible resilience and determination.

Rufous hummingbird outside our home
Hummingbird outside our home.

Perhaps you resonate with the vitality of the hummingbird and absorb their energy to fuel your own determination.

Or maybe they represent a combination of fragility and ferocity and remind you that apparently opposite qualities can co-exist in harmony. We do not need to choose one or the other.

Or maybe their presence simply sparks joy and serves to remind you that there is beauty in a world that can sometimes seem to be nothing more than chaos and darkness.

As you meditate on the brilliant colours of the hummingbird, their speed, and energy, notice what they convey to you. And give yourself a few moments to allow their energy to uplift and inspire you.

A Calliope then a Rufous hummingbird outside our home.


The raven is an incredibly intelligent and observant bird. They are also creative problem solvers and are fast learners.

They demonstrate ingenuity in being able to defend their resources using smarts instead of strength. They will often choose to confuse rather than confront an animal that they perceive as a threat.

As a spirit animal they often represent a connection between the afterlife and this earthly life. Perhaps they are a messenger from a loved one passed on.

Or they may be a symbol of some other form of ending in your life and manifest to show you what has already ended, to remind you to let go, move on and begin a new chapter.

Or perhaps the raven serves as a reminder to examine your own shadow self.

Raven in profile with one bright eye

As you meditate on the raven, actively put aside any prejudice. Connect eye to eye with the raven and notice what you see of yourself reflected back to you. Do they bring a message about yourself, your stage of life, or do they bring you news from the other side, the afterlife?

Or do they lead by example in their creativity? Do they help inspire you to get creative in solving a problem in your life?

Notice how their energy, their colours, and their presence resonate with you and allow yourself to receive the message waiting for you.


While the fox has, at times, had a negative image in mythology and literature, being labelled as sly or untrustworthy, as a spirit animal the fox embodies opportunity and resourcefulness.

In my meditation, even before the fox makes their presence apparent to you, they have already noticed you. They are always one step ahead, eager and alert. Every new moment brings a new opportunity.

As you meditate on the fox, perhaps their keen awareness reminds you to see your own life through fresh eyes. Perhaps their presence prompts you to get creative in finding new ways to approach an age-old problem.

The fox may also remind you to remain alert, to think on your feet, and seize new opportunities, to be more of an active participant rather than waiting for opportunities to be offered to you.

Fox stretching and sticking his tongue out

As you visualize the red fur, bright eyes and curiosity as the fox works its way along the banks of the creek, notice their watchfulness and appreciate their agility.

Allow the fox's energy to guide you. Notice what you appreciate about them and what they draw out in you. Perhaps it is their playfulness, watchfulness or their ability to find opportunities that no-one else sees.


The eagle symbolizes freedom and courage. The eagle as a spirit animal inspires us to rise above challenges and gain a broader perspective. They serve as a reminder to never lose perspective.

As an eagle's eyesight is so much more powerful than human sight, the eagle may also represent the ability to lock in to a goal or target and remain single-minded and determined.

Eagle sitting on a post at sunset

As you incorporate the eagle into your meditation or hypnosis practice, visualize the eagle's presence and elegant movement. As with the butterfly, perhaps you can even visualize taking on the viewpoint of the eagle as it soars to greater heights.

As you see the eagle fly higher, perhaps this prompts you to take a step back from your own life and regain perspective.

Viewing your own life from a sky high view, may remind you to let go of the small stuff that has no impact on your long-term life. You may find that their presence prompts you to cut out distractions and time wasting and commit to a greater focus on bigger goals.

Notice if they influence your vision for your future, your emotions, or help you regain perspective on your own life. This will indicate why the eagle is present and their meaning for you.


The deer is often seen as gentle, shy and sensitive but most certainly not weak. In my latest Spirit Animal Meditation, I chose to include the deer with her fauns to emphasize their qualities of nurturing protection and, at the same time, their vulnerability.

Remember that vulnerability is not weakness. Just as the listener may hold prejudices about the bear, wolf or fox, you may also underestimate the protective spirit of the deer. A mother deer will always defend her fauns.

As you observe the mother as she remains alert while the fauns drink from the creek, notice what she evokes in you. Notice whether you resonate most with her grace, her maternal spirit or her vulnerability.

Perhaps her parental protection evokes a sense of admiration for her loyalty and reminds you of who matters most in your own life. Who do you defend and put first in your own life?

As she does not hesitate to put her babies' needs first, perhaps she reminds you of the need to consider others' needs as well as your own.

Or maybe her presence reminds you that there is no true connection with others without vulnerability. Allow the mother deer's presence to cultivate compassion for yourself and for others.

Notice what you respect and appreciate in the deer and which of their qualities you would like to emphasize more in yourself.



Like the fox, the wolf is a much maligned figure in both children's and adult literature. But I included the wolf in my script specifically to challenge the listener's prejudices and fear.

As a spirit animal, the wolf represents loyalty as every wolf in a pack, not just the parents, takes responsibility to feed and guard the cubs (a fact that I learned from the team at the Northern Lights Wolf Sanctuary.)

As you see the lone wolf appear in my meditative journey, notice your first impressions of their presence and energy. Observe your initial reactions to the wolf and suspend judgement.

They are wild, as is every animal in this meditation, but wild does not equal savage or cruel. The wolf is both cautious and alert. Notice how they carefully assess every move they make.

Wolf looking forward

The wolf moves with levity and grace. As you meditate in their presence, look beyond the surface appearance to perceive the true spirit of the wolf.

They are attuned to their environment and rely on all of their senses to remain alert. As you observe them, and they watch you, perhaps they remind you to reconnect to the wisdom of your primal instincts.

Even though the two of you cannot communicate through speech, there is still an exchange of energy. Through this connection the wolf may serve to remind you of the wisdom within each of us, the guidance of intuition that speaks from the body rather than the mind. Perhaps this reminds you to tune in to your intuition when making decisions and meeting new people, and to not rely on rational thought alone.

After some time the call of the pack guides the wolf home. The presence of the wolf may help you connect to your own sense of belonging with your community or family of choice.

Whether a reminder of your own inner wisdom, or the need for each of us to belong, notice what the energy and presence of the wolf evokes in you, even after they have left and returned to the protection of their pack and the forest.


As a physical presence, the bear's formidable size represents power and confidence.

As a spirit animal they are also seen as symbols of leadership and courage in some indigenous cultures.

The bear also represents a deep connection to the earth. Their winter-long hibernation can represent the change of seasons in our own lives. Each of us needs time for healing, rest and introspection.

In my meditation, I purposefully wrote the bear's arrival as a peaceful presence. They embody power but are an animal that should be respected, not feared. As the bear emerges, I encourage you to put prejudice to one side and truly appreciate the bear's energy.

In this meditation, the bear sees you and shows no signs of fear. They are certain of their own strength and do not waste effort on false displays of bravado. They even turn their back on you. As the bear swims in the creek, they immerse themselves in the present moment as they enjoy the cool relief of the water.

Notice what resonates with you about the size, energy and qualities of the bear as you sit in their presence.

Do they show you that true confidence can speak silently from presence alone? In their deliberate movements they emanate a quiet self-assurance.

As you see them enjoying a swim in the creek, do they serve to remind you to slow down and take time out to enjoy the simple pleasures of life?

Or does their energy remind you of the importance of remaining connected to the earth?

As you meditate in their presence, do you question humankind's prejudices about the bear? Their presence may also encourage you to question other judgements you have formed about yourself or others. Sit in peace in their presence.

Mother bear and two baby bear cubs playing

Final Thoughts

My Spirit Animal Hypnosis session (linked below) was inspired by my own personal experiences living in rural British Columbia, Canada after moving out of the city in 2021. Our very first visitor was the bear pictured below, who visited us in the first week after moving into our new home.

Grizzly bear about 150 metres from our front door
This bear was the first neighbour we met (at a distance).

I've aimed to outline the many different meanings of each spirit animal. But ultimately, much like dreams, the interpretation is your own. I intend for each animal to help give you helpful insights into yourself, both your innate character and your needs.

Repeat the hypnosis session to experience the presence of each animal without pre-formed ideas. With this in mind, as you listen to my Spirit Animal Hypnosis, suspend judgement. As each animal enters the scene, simply observe and connect with their energy as you meditate. You may find that, with repeated listening, new meaning emerges from the presence of each animal.

From the energy of each one you may find resonance and balance with your own. And from the eyes of each animal you may see reflections that give you new insights into your own strengths.

Remember that all messages are for your own good and all spirit animals are here to help you in some way.

And I hope that the journey as a whole serves to remind you that we are all connected.

As always, I am here to support you. Sarah

Thank You for Reading

My name is Sarah Dresser and I am the creator, author and narrator of over 200 hypnotherapy, meditations and affirmations on the Unlock Your Life Youtube channel.

As a Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist, my mission is to make hypnosis and hypnotherapy mainstream. My work centres around the belief that therapy and support should be available at no cost or low cost to everyone. You can read about my journey here.

Sarah Dresser Clinical Hypnotherapist and Coach

You can access my hypnotherapy, meditations and affirmations sessions at no cost on my Youtube channel here.

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