In this episode we explore one of the most exciting aspects of the intuitive journey through animal communication - meeting your animal spirit guides!
Different cultures and traditions call these non-human guides by different names - animal totems, spirit animals, power animals, animal angels, spirit pets.
In this episode, animal communicator Shannon Cutts walks you through five different types of animal spirit guides and five different creative ways you can discover your personal spirit animal!
As mentioned in this episode, the Why You Pick Me free tool can help you as well: https://www.animallovelanguages.com/wypm
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Welcome to let's Talk to Animals. My name is Shannon Cutts. I'm an animal intuitive and sensitive and reiki master practitioner for pets and their people and an animal communication teacher, and I'm also your friendly neighborhood host for the Let's Talk to Animals podcast, the podcast where we do our utmost to de-woo, to demystify the language of all creatures, the language of universal communication, the inner species language, which we all have equal access to. Some are just more aware of it and more practiced in using it than others. So over our four seasons thus far, we've tackled so many topics related to animal communication, interspecies communication and energy healing. Today one of the topics that is nearest and dearest to my heart and I'm finally just making my way down the list and getting to it to really share personal, behind the scenes, as well as universal understandings of what it means to have an animal spirit guide, an animal totem, an animal helper, an animal mentor, an animal teacher, and how you can find yours. So this feels like a particularly appropriate topic for this time of year. Perhaps I'm a little biased because I'm a December baby, but definitely December, at least here where we're having winter in the Western hemisphere has always felt like a real time of mystical unfoldment. It's a time to take shelter, to go within, to cocoon a little bit, to take stock, to rest and even brumate, if you're a reptile or a hibernate, if you're a mammal, and just take note of what worked for the year just passed, maybe what didn't work, what felt good, what didn't feel so hot, and discard the latter and bring forward the former. And if you've been craving more intuitive connection in your life, more of a sense of feeling able and equipped to befriend yourself and to feel friendship from the unseen aspects of life, or should I say the less seen aspects of life, to befriend your vibes, your gut instincts, your aha moments, your hunches, your spidey sense, whatever you want to call it, your angel encounters, your paranormal experiences, then finding and meeting and welcoming in your spirit animal is a great way to continue your exploration. So first I want to just kind of start out by chatting about what is a spirit animal or what is an animal guide, or what is a spirit animal guide or what is an animal totem. We have all of these different ways to explore and explain the concept, the mental concept of non-human animals as being helpers and encouragers and mentors and teachers to be human animals. Take this with a nice hearty grain of salt. If anything I say doesn't resonate with you or what you've already experienced, what you've already understood, what feels true to you, then of course just disregard it. Perhaps there's something that I can add to your understanding or to your experience of animals, of non-human animals, as helpers, as encouragers, as mentors and teachers in your own life. So this is just my own understanding from my own experiences, not just in my professional life as an animal sensitive and intuitive or a Reiki master for pets and their people, but also just my personal experiences at a very intimate level of my own animal spirit guides, my own animal mentors, my own animal teachers, of course, having a lifelong love of animals and experiencing all of the ways that animals have been there for me and continue to be there for me in my life Well, to celebrate joys and successes and also to help me stay steady and forward thinking when life gets tough, as it does for all of us. So let's just start there with what do I personally and professionally mean when I share information about spirit guides or animal spirit guides or animal totems? What I mean is an animal that comes into our life, whether figuratively, in the form of a symbolic animal, maybe a mythical animal, maybe an animal that's considered imaginary or made up, or an animal that's flesh and bone standing right in front of us. This animal comes into our life as a mentor, as a teacher, as a healer, as an encourager, as a friend, as family. So many times, for so many years and really so many decades throughout my life, I have often felt closer to non human animals than I have to my own species. So there can be so many aspects. If the connection itself so this is kind of the thing to anchor back to if the connection itself, if the reference, if the association itself brings with it a positive aspect, an aspect of learning, of personal growth, of encouragement, of furthering your purpose, your reason for being here, then you can know that at some level this is a spirit guide in non human animal form for you in your life. And keep in mind that this is very, very personal. You do not have to believe in fairies or dragons to have an animal spirit guide that takes shape in one of these forms. You do not have to believe in anything in order to have an animal spirit guide or an animal helper in your life. In fact, these are the kinds of experiences that transcend our logical, rational, literal, western left brain cognitive thought processes, and we talk a lot more about that when I teach my intuitive animal communication adventure courses. The left brain mind has its place, it has its vital and irreplaceable role. We need it. If we understand what it's there for, we learn to love it. But picking up on the unseen and the unthought, if you will, the sensed, the felt, the known, without knowing how or why we know it and not being able to unknow it, that is not the realm of the cognitive left brain mind. And so just keep in mind that your rational, logical left brain mind does not have to agree with any of this in order for it to be authentic and real in your personal experience, in your felt and sensed experience. So here we're really talking about an animal that is in your life that brings some kind of benefit. Now, I would say, in my personal experience as well as in my professional experience, at least 95% of the cases, the animals that come into our life that are serving in roles of a spirit guide or an animal totem or an animal helper or an animal protector, these are positive associations for us. So this is like 95% of the time, we're going to see an animal that makes our heart sing, an animal that helps us stay strong, that encourages us, that gives us courage, an animal that sets a good example for us, an animal that inspires us to transcend our limitations, including our limited responses to tough times in life. Now, 5% of the time, however, it's an animal that really provokes us. Maybe it's an animal that repels us, maybe it's an animal that we really dislike or we fear for some reason. And these animals, too, can be animal spirit guides for us. They can be mentors, they can be teachers, because they can encourage us to look behind the fear, behind the revulsion, behind the dislike or this distaste, to find out what aspect of us we may be not liking or outright rejecting or judging or criticizing, and encourage us and invite us to make friends with those aspects within ourselves. So, spirit animals, animal totems they're often, almost always, reflective of us in some inner way, in pointing out areas of ourselves that maybe we've disowned, maybe we have rejected, maybe we are constantly trying to amend or erase or change in some way in order to feel more whole or more worthy or more accepted or more belonging and a part of rather than distant or ostracized or rejected in some way. And then let's shift over to when we're looking at our personal pets. The ratio flips on its head, because so often when we're looking at spirit animals in our own inner species family, we're looking at animals who come into our life, who may be very challenging and they may push a lot of buttons for us. And the incentive is that if we unfold this relationship, if we really dig in our heels and we push beyond our comfort zone and we bust out all the stops and we try all the things that we said we'd never try and we really make changes to either accommodate that animal's needs or to adjust to the challenges that are cropping up with health or behavior or inner family aggression or whatever's going on, then on the other side of that we discover that we've become an entirely new being in the process and that we have a relationship with our animal or so-called problem child that becomes deeper and more unconditionally loving than we ever dreamed possible. So all of these are different aspects of an animal spirit guide or a spirit animal totem or a sole contract that we have with an animal, whether in real life, in our dreams, in our imagination even that challenges what we think we know and who we think we are or are not, and invites us to push past those limitations and discover a whole new us, a whole new level of closeness and relationship with them, a whole new way of life. I've kind of loosely categorized five different types of spirit animals. That is not to imply on any level that there can't be other types or more subtle nuances within these five general categories. This is just especially for you, if you're new to animal spirit guides or animal totems or spirit animals or animal mentors or teachers, to kind of give you a framework. I don't know about you but for me, when I'm learning something new, I like to learn a little bit about the road that's been paved ahead of me and I like to gather some insights from others who've studied or experienced that same area that I wanna study and experience more and kind of try on some ideas for size and helps me get my bearings a little. So take this exploration of these five general types in that spirit, not to limit you in any way, but just to give you a sense of a place to start, some ideas or some experiences to play with in your consciousness. Maybe it will even jog some memories for you of dreams or waking life experiences or associations or chance encounters where you'll start to be able to put the pieces together in your own life about maybe who some of your the major players, if you will in your own animal spirit guide family happen to be. So the first type of animal is what I call the why you pick me animal. In fact, I've got a tool on my website over at animallovelanguagescom backslash free tools, and you can take it for a test drive yourself and you can learn about some of the soul lessons that different animal species, different companion animal species in particular, tend to bring into our lives. I'm gonna use myself as a guinea pig here. I have always had a natural affinity for birds. In fact, the very first bird bird I use air quotes, if you're listening to the audio version that I fell in love with was actually a helicopter. I guess it must have been the first bird that I saw. I know I was really, really young and then I had an encounter with a flock of pigeons. I was eating bread with my grandpa one morning and these pigeons were hungry and they surrounded me and I was feeding them bread and I just was so overcome with awe that these beings with wings who could go anywhere, who could easily lift up out of my reach, out of harm's way, down on the ground where we humans dwelled, and they actually chose to come and sit with me and surround me and take bread from my hands and trust me so easily. I felt like I'd done nothing to earn their trust or particularly to deserve it. In fact, I dedicate a whole chapter about this experience to the pigeons in my book, my Memoir of Life with my Soulbird Pearl, called Love and Feathers. What a Palm-sized Parrot has Taught Me About Life, love and Healthy Self-Esteem. Reading that story in the book can also be a good way to explore some, maybe some real life or some dream encounters that you've had with specific animals that really just opened your heart, just really warmed your heart and just were really deeply, deeply meaningful to you, even if you're not really sure why or how. Yet the meaning is there and it's there for you to unpack it and explore it and have your own aha moment experiences from it. So this is really the first kind of spirit animal guide that you might encounter. I started begging my parents for a parrot when I was seven, when I was eight, I got Perky, and Perky and I were instant besties. Perky was a green and yellow parrot key I write about this in Love and Feathers the book as well and Perky and I were just joined at the beak and ever since I have had one parrot, and I've had one parrot at a time. Some parrots have been with me for a long period of time. Others have left in rather dramatic and even catastrophic ways, but I've always kept company with one parrot and I feel like I've only got one lung when I don't have a parrot in my life. In another podcast episode I talk about the experience of waking up this past January and discovering that my soul bird Pearl had passed on the floor of his cage at the age of 24 years, just right after his 24th birthday, and it knocked the wind out of me. I was not prepared, at least not on a conscious level, and I literally felt like I only had one lung, I only had one arm, I only had one leg. This is one way when we're drawn to a particular animal species or a breed over and over again and we feel like we're just not whole, we're just not ourselves without this animal in our life. That's how you can identify a lifelong spirit animal helper in your life. I have the same type of affinity with turtles and tortoises and from a very young age I have rarely spent any significant time without keeping company. Right now I have an eight and a half year old red-footed tortoise named Malty and a two and a half year old three-toed hybrid box turtle named Io, and they teach me every day. They're just so wonderful and I feel more fully me more fully alive in their company. So that's another way to identify. So if you're not sure and, by the way, you can have more than one, you can have more than two, you can have more than three, you can have as many as are called into your life. But you might wanna head over to animallovelinguagescom. Back slash free tools. Check out the why you pick me tool it's right at the top, totally free and it'll give you some more insights about perhaps who your primary animal spirit species or breed may happen to be and some of the soul lessons that they bring into your life. Another type of spirit animal or an animal spirit guide that you might discover you are keeping company with is an animal that just holds deeply significant meaning to you. For some reason I'll give you an example I wasn't raised to value my intuition. I wasn't raised in a family or a community or through an educational system, or definitely not a workplace training system that placed any emphasis or significance on intuition, and so it was something that I've always had, looking back in hindsight, and it was always trying to get my attention. It was always trying to work for me, on my behalf. I was pretty oblivious for many, many, many moons. I'm turning 53 and I really feel like my intuitive awakening did not really kick off until I was in probably my early 30s. So I spent a great many years just bumbling around, and even after I started to become aware that there was this whole other community and this whole other way of life that resonated quite a bit more with me on a deep, deep level. It took me a long time to transition from the way of life I had come to know so well, no matter how uncomfortable it felt at the time, and the people that had gathered around me, or the people I had allowed to gather around me, that did not value intuition, did not see it as something that was real or worth any kind of credibility, if you will. And so really, it's only been in the last decade or so when I've really started to feel like my intuitive systems, as they were always designed from birth to work, have really started to come online. The reason I share this is because for many years, quite literally, there were only two ways that my intuition, or that animal spirits, helpers from a deeper place, a deeper realm, could get in touch with me and get my attention, and the first one is through ladybug messengers. I have always loved ladybugs anything that's around and cute, with little dots on it and tiny little wings oh my goodness, adorable, and I would find these little buggers in the strangest places. I remember at one job I had for about a decade while I was running my charity, mentor Connect and that was a previous iteration of my career life, and I was working three jobs trying to make ends meet while I was running my charity in kind of in my spare time, if you will. Every chance I got I was working on Mentor Connect behind the scenes, and I was at one of my many temp jobs one day feeling utterly miserable. I was inside of a building. Inside the interior it was like a building within a building. We had an office suite that was fully enclosed inside of another building that also had different floors, with other offices on it, and there was an interior staircase that was unique to just this suite, this multi-level suite of offices, and the reason I share that is because it was like it wasn't just double walled, it was like quadruple walled and there was absolutely no way that a ladybug could possibly have found its way inside it. And yet, as I was walking up this interior staircase in this completely insulated building within a building, there was a single ladybug crawling up the banister as I walked up the stairs and I was the only one who saw it. I've had so many encounters like this. I remember one retreat I was on when I was working as a traveling singer-songwriter and I was just thoroughly miserable and I felt really burnt out. And again, I was working so many different jobs and just trying to find myself, so to speak, and I remember being so worn out after singing my heart out and going over to my guitar case and opening the lid and there was a single ladybug crawling inside the guitar case. Another experience that I had with ladybugs is I got sick one year and I had this tradition that I would get sick every December because it was the only time I ever had any time off, and so my body would wait all year long until it knew that I was going to have two or three weeks off, and then it would just crash. And I remember being so sick and just thinking I can't even start another year. I don't have it in me. And I laid in bed for three days and, I kid you not, there was a single ladybug that lived on my comforter with me for that whole period of time, and I don't know how I'd roll over and squash it, but every time I woke up it would be in a slightly different position on the comforter, or I would turn back the comforter and it would come crawling out. It was the darndest thing. It was so amazing, and I came to associate these ladybug visitors with the universe saying to me hang on, it's going to get better. So that's another example of different ways. If you just have these random encounters. I met a woman while I was running my charity who'd lost her daughter to bulimia, and she saw dragonflies everywhere only after her daughter had passed, and they became deeply significant when my father passed two and a half years ago, I asked him to send me his favorite bird other than the cockatiel, which was an owl. I had never seen an owl in my life until dad passed. And after he passed, all of a sudden an owl started to roost in the tree outside the home I was living in at the time and would hoot at night, and then another owl came and joined this owl and then they both started hooting. And then one night I was out and one of the neighbors spotted a pair of owls up in this tree. It was just getting dark. It wasn't dark enough so that all you could do to find the owl was to follow the hoots and kind of peer up into the blackness and try to make out a shape. We could see them flying around. It was pretty remarkable. So these are just some examples. If you have these encounters every so often, and they seem to coincide with periods in your life where maybe you're either flying high or you're just scraping by and there just seems to be meaning there. Maybe you're not sure what it is, but that's not the point. You don't have to know, you do need to notice, and so that's really what we're aiming for here. Another example of this is an animal that repeatedly comes to you in the dream state If you're a dreamer and not everyone is. I mean, everyone dreams but not everyone is seems particularly programmed to remember their dreams. I have always been a Technicolor 5D dreamer. My life is much more exciting when I'm asleep, let's just put it that way, and if I took time to dream journal every morning when I wake up I wouldn't get anything else done. So I've learned to kind of pick through all of the processing from the day just past and even invite my dream guides to share kind of a theme Like what's the big message here? I didn't understand any of that, what's the big message? And often I'll get a little download after that, kind of giving me a theme or something to contemplate. But one thing I noticed over the years is how often I will see my childhood, my very first bird, perky, my parakeet, and how often I see my own animals in waking life in my dreams. And often they're not in good situations in my dreams. And I used to find this really disturbing, and I still do. To be quite honest, I don't love it and I wish it would stop, and in fact it's really on my mind because it happened again in my dreams last night, and when I asked my dream guides this morning, tell me why this keeps happening, they reminded me of something that I really should know by now, which is that every time I see my beloved animals, whether animals that have passed into spirit or animals that I'm keeping company with in conscious, waking life now that these animals represent aspects of me. Not saying that, if you see animals that you've loved in the past, who are now in spirit, or animals that you keep company with now in your regular daily life and they're in your dreams, I'm not trying to suggest that they represent aspects of you. I'm more encouraging you to ask. Ask your own dream guides, ask within yourself, ask your higher self, ask your intuition, what the meaning is or what the teaching is, or what the meaning is what your attention is being drawn to for your highest and best good, and see what unfolds for you. So just take this as an example of what I've learned seeing my animals in my dreams. Yet another way that I have discovered animal spirit totems or animal spirit guides over the years is having what I call wild encounters. These would be encounters like finding a specific type of feather from a specific bird, but you've never found one of these before and I'll give you an example. Not too terribly long after my dad died, my mom had a catastrophic freak fall Broker left femur, shattered her left wrist and could no longer cope with caring for her doxin flash gordon and taking care of this house all by herself. And one thing led to the next and I ended up giving up my little classa and moving in here. And right after not too terribly long after I moved in here, I found a hawk feather. And then I found another hawk feather. And then mom came home one day and she said there are hawk feathers on the neighbor's sidewalk. I do have an animal spirit deck, an animal card deck that I'll run to sometimes if I'm curious, but to me I have kind of more wire to just look within and ask what is the meaning? Is animals multile feathers? Yes, it's a biological process. It happens. I keep company with feathers. I know I've got falling feathers all around me all the time. But where and when they molt, especially these big tail and flight feathers, they can be significant if we choose to allow it to be. And these big flight feathers matter to these birds, these aeronautic beings who depend on them to reach sanctuary, to catch their food, to live their life. I don't take it lightly when I find one of these massive feathers and I realize, oh my goodness, that really left a big hole in its former owner. In fact, the whole process of growing feathers is not to be taken lightly and can be quite painful to the bird growing them, and I see this day in and day out, and I have for many decades. And so when I picked up these hawk feathers and handled them, the message that came through is one of incredible courage and strength, wanting to share some of that with me. It just so happened at those particular moments I really needed a little extra strength and courage. I was going through a lot of changes too. My family was going through a lot of changes. I didn't know which end was up and just handling these feathers and feeling the amount of courage and strength that felt like going to a support group, like a grief and loss support group, and hearing these brave stories from these other souls in my support circle and leaving the group and feeling so inspired and thinking, well, if they can get through the day with everything they've lost and everything they've gone through, I can be brave enough to do it too. And so if you have encounters like these, if you have experiences with certain animals again and again and it doesn't have to be something that feels more dramatic like that, it can be something light we just came home from dinner with neighbors and they were talking about squirrels, backyard squirrels and some of the crazy stumps they will pull to get Birdseed or bark butter or nuts left out by mistake on the patio table. And we were talking about a video where one tech genius set up this huge squirrel obstacle course in his backyard and the squirrels that were able to get through it he rewarded with like the best nuts, like a really really good and fatty, juicy nuts. So it can be an animal that you encounter regularly that brings you so much joy or makes you laugh just at the moment you thought you would never laugh again or you'd never be able to lighten up again. Or it breaks a mood when you're with your partner or with your sibling, or with your parents or with your boss and it's not going well and you encounter this animal. Maybe you're out at lunch, maybe you're in a meeting, maybe you're on a walk, and they just make you laugh or they just teach you something or they make you wonder and they silence your mind Long enough for you to take up breath and re-center yourself and refocus on what matters most. Oh, my goodness, I'm breathing. That means I'm alive. That means there's always hope. Progress is happening right here, right now. Nothing can stop it, not even my gloom and doom left brain mind. So that's another way these wild encounters that we have Scales that send us signs, like feathers. Or if you go to the beach and you find crab shells or those beautiful little I've always loved those little tiny clam shells where they're hinged together. If you're watching the video version, you're kind of seeing my hands hinged together right below the thumbs and they form little wings or a little heart or sand dollars. There's certain signs that are quite symbolic and they can be really instructive, really enlightening. We can take the time I've done this with several of the signs that I've gotten over the years to just go and read a little bit more about the life of the animal that left that aspect of themselves there. I've always been fascinated by the little saltwater hermit crabs and I've even studied that. I've spent enough time with them. I've seen them fighting for shells and mates and going through their daily lives, and I've gotten curious enough to research a little bit about who they are and how they live and what we as humans have learned by observing them. And that can be another great way to first of all notice, become aware of an animal spirit guide in your life and invite their wisdom into your life and learn more about them. And you never know when you're going to read something and be like, oh my goodness, I get it now, I just get it. So, whether it's signs or it's these wild encounters, I used to go out during college when I would have a break between classes and there would be these flocks of local wild doves or pigeons or grackles or crows, and it was a pretty lonely time for me. I did not flow through my college years. I had a lot of false starts, I guess, you would say, and often didn't feel like I was really with my people. And so I would go outside and I would find a flock of birds or I would go to the local lake or the on-campus pond and I would find a group of turtles and I would sit with them and I felt their acceptance so much more deeply than I felt accepted by my own species most of my own species at that time. So that's another really good way to identify spirit animals or animal spirit guides or totems in your life. And finally, another possible way to identify your animal spirit guides that might not be quite so obvious at first is you just know, another animal that's become a real symbol and an instructive mentor in my life is the piping glover. And here's another it's kind of a subtler nuance here of the animal that we don't typically like very much, maybe the animal we even have distaste for. My father had a really negative experience when they were up on Cape Cod and they were walking through miles of soft sand which was not his favorite looking for a piping plover nest and it became kind of a running joke in our family and it wasn't anything I really thought too much about until dad passed suddenly and now it has become so deeply significant to me. Whenever I see any reference to piping clovers I can just feel his presence so strongly. So it can be an experience where somehow you just know. So now I want to shift gears just a little bit and talk with you about some additional creative ways that you can start to explore or to discover your personal animal spirit guides. This is really the part where I'm going to ask you to allow the doors of your mind, especially your left brain, rational, logical, analytical mind, to remain open. If you don't particularly resonate with any of these suggestions or prompts or ideas, then allow your mind to play with other ways, even if you catch your mind going, no, I would never do that, I know that wouldn't work for me. Then prime the pump by asking yourself okay, that's great, you know what wouldn't work for you, what will, what would work for you, and see what arises and play with that instead. One of my favorite ways to discover animal spirit guides is to simply ask. It's so easy for us to forget when we're working in what I call the unseen realms, or more of the felt or sensed realms, rather than what we see so readily with our outer eyes all around us. We forget that we can just ask. One of my intuitive mentors, sonia Choket, talks about how, at any given time, we have as many as 33 guides and mentors and teachers and angels surrounding us at all times, just waiting for us to ask them for help, because even though they're ready, willing, they're all signed up with bells on. We still have free will, and we must ask as a way to convey that we're open to receiving their assistance, their guidance, their help, their friendship, their encouragement, their love and support. And so this is something great to do, and I like to do it right before I drift off to sleep, because this way my left brain mind isn't as tempted to try to insert itself into the mix, like one of those party crashers who comes in and interrupts everybody's conversation and starts talking off topic, or the meeting disruptor. We don't want any of that action here. It's great to simply ask Show me who you are. I would love to meet you and learn a little bit about you and then drift off into the dreamland and see what arises and just stay attentive during the next several days. Even if maybe it doesn't come to you in the dream, you might just simply notice that when you're going about your daily life and totally occupied in something that doesn't have anything to do with spirit animals, you will suddenly discover something that maybe you've known all along but just never drew your attention to what happens to you? I'd love to hear about it. So please do drop me a comment and let me know. Another way, as we've touched on previously, is to notice repeat encounters. You have the same types of encounters with a particular species of animal or a particular breed of your favorite animal or one of your many favorite animals. We tend to have lots of favorites around here. Let's talk to animals. Notice if you're having repeat encounters. You can ask the spirit or the essence or the collective consciousness of that animal species or breed or group. What message do you have for me? And see what arises and open up this two-way dialogue, this relationship, invite a relationship into your life and see how it unfolds. And just be mindful that for most of us we're not going to get these big, booming voice in the sky experiences. It's not going to be like one of those old school blimps with a big, long advertising banner trailing behind it. It might be, but for most of us it's going to be a little subtler. And we do need to bring our awareness and our attention, along with our willingness, to the table and just kind of up our intuitive radar a little bit, just amp it up, just turn up the volume a little bit and see what we start to notice. Another very, very common way that you may begin to discover your spirit animal guides is by recognizing the impact that your own inner species family is having on your life right here, right now, day in and day out. Our own pets they tend to be first in our heart and last in our intuitive awareness in terms of could they be possible spirit guides in my life? Absolutely. I've noticed that the humans who approach me for animal communication sessions or to learn animal communication tend to be the most curious to learn if they have a soul contract with their animal Spoiler alert yes, you do and also to learn more about what it is. But whether you're particularly drawn to having an animal communication session or learning how to use your inner species communication conversational abilities or not, you can still initiate a deeper exploration of why your pet, why your companion animal, is in your life. In fact, I talked a few podcast episodes ago about the moment when I realized that the Google definition of the word pet as we use it today to denote an animal companion or a companion animal, an animal whose primary job description and often their sole reason for being is to just keep us company all day, every day, and I just didn't really like the Google definition. It kind of related to several iterations back of different languages and amounted to something that was of little consequence other than ornamental value. And I was like, yeah, that doesn't describe the animals in my personal family. And so I decided I was going to ask the animals, the collective consciousness of the companion animals, what does the word pet mean to you? Why do we use it? And they immediately responded with. Pet means partner, empathic, friend and teacher. If that isn't an animal spirit guide, I don't know what is. So explore this a little more deeply. If you haven't started this process already, maybe it's time to give it a deeper look. Ask your animals how are you mentoring me? What is our sole contract together? If you're interested in exploring this more formally, I would love to help you with this. You can book a session and we can talk with your animal and learn more about why you, out of all the human animals in the universe, why you? Why did they pick you? Wonderful you, and we're going to find out. There's some very specific reasons, but even at a very general level, to just start opening up your awareness to this possibility and just notice what unfolds, because I've noticed that the more our animals realize we're onto them at a heart level, at a sensory level, at a spirit to spirit level, the more openly they will share their messages, their encouragement and their wisdom with us. Another way we can notice, we can start to discover our animal spirit guides, is when we have either a strange or an unexplainable affinity for a particular animal or animal representation. And by that I mean perhaps a cartoon character, perhaps a mythical creature, perhaps an animal in the movies who is deeply meaningful to us in some way. But when we just have an affinity for a particular animal or animal representation, this can be a finger pointing hey, that's an animal spirit guide or an animal mentor for you personally in your life. And I'll give you an example of this. Ever since I can remember, I've loved to read, and when I got old enough to start choosing my own books on my own of course I lived at the library. And I discovered one day, as I was browsing through all of those old school shelves with their wonderful, musty, dusty books, I discovered this wonderful series written by Anne McCaffrey about dragons and their writers. Oh, my goodness, how I wanted a dragon of my very own. And I read these books for years and I treasured them and I had all the collections of all the different series you wrote, I was just fascinated by dragons and fire lizards and for so many years I thought that this was just kind of an offshoot of my lifelong love of birds and specifically parrots. Until this year I went on a retreat in Sedona and this was not my first visit to Sedona, arizona. I have been there before. It has always been a very powerful, very mystical place for me. But in this particular retreat I met a woman who had a dragon spirit guy. This wasn't the first time I'd met someone who said they had a dragon or another mythical being, a fairy or a unicorn, in their spirit team and their light team, but for some reason her story when she told our group her story, it struck a chord in me at a deeper level and I opened my mind. I opened my awareness at a different level because I remembered reading that book series so many years ago and I started wondering, just wondering, getting curious and wondering and asking myself could it be that I have a dragon animal spirit guy? So I decided to ask and the moment I asked I got a visual and it's not the first time I've seen this visual, but it was this visual of this shimmering blue being. So I asked who are you? And I got the name Serena. And then I got the name Serenity and I got really confused and I said are you male, female, indeterminate? And the being said we are she. And I said how many? And she said three. That's when I realized Serena, serenity and Shannon, which is my name and means symbolically, wisdom. We're a trio, the divine number three, and that I too have a dragon spirit guide. This blew my mind. Even as an animal communicator, believe it or not, sometimes we find our own stuff pretty wooed too. And so as I evolve as an animal intuitive, as I evolve as a human animal and a spirit connected to a soul and a physical body with so many aspects of me, I learn every single day, and this learning is triggered by becoming more and more open and then correspondingly more and more aware. So if you've ever kind of wondered about those other people who say they have unicorns or fairies or dragons or whatever fantastical beings you maybe have been unwilling to take seriously, maybe now is a good time to revisit this and to play. Remember when we were children and nothing was off limits because we weren't old enough for anyone around us to take it seriously enough to tell us that couldn't possibly be true, that couldn't be possible. And this was really this whole process for me, going back to when I was young and I was in love with the dragon riders of Kern and with their little cousins, the fire lizards, and I just thought that was the coolest and why couldn't that be real, to have mine melds with dragons and look what I grew up to do for a living. Anything is possible if we're willing to consider it, if we're willing to open the door and consider it. And so consider it. Just open that door a tiny crack and think back to when you were young. What were you passionate about? What did you love to read about or watch on television or dream about or draw or act out or make? And what is there for you that's still waiting to be explored? What encouragement, what self evolution, what gift is there still waiting for you to unwrap it? And the last way that you might want to explore meeting your own animal spirit guides is through animal communication. One of the principle ways I have had encounters with animals who have joined my light team, my spirit guide team, is through becoming an animal communicator and facilitating sessions for other humans and their companion animals and I've had two animals from my human clients who have jumped on board my animal spirit team, my light team, just from meeting them during animal communication sessions. One is a German shepherd named Chief and when I first met him in spirit he was already in spirit. He started jumping around and barking and waving his paws and arching his back and wagging his tail and he asked me how many languages do you speak? And I'm looking at him in the inner space and I'm going what the heck are you doing? He said I'm teaching you German, shepherd. And he made such an impression on my heart. And not only did he instantly join my animal spirit guide light team, but there have been a few times moving forward where I have had a really difficult animal client where I wasn't really able to make a connection at the deep level that I normally do, and I've invited Chief to be a part of that conversation and he has been such a huge help. We have all the help we need to connect at the deepest level. It's just knowing that we have this help and then remembering to ask for it. I have another animal who joined my light team from an animal communication session. I did. He is a Chumini, a Chihuahua doxin mix, named Ori. He has a very strong personality and he will show up in my animal communication classes as well as in sessions with other animals as one of my helpers. And Ori's personality is so strong that he often doesn't even really wait for me to ask, he just senses into it and just bounces it. It's pretty remarkable, just like we're never going to meet anyone new if we never leave our house. It's pretty hard to meet our animal spirit guides if we don't step outside of our comfort zone, of the sometimes too narrow or too restrictive inner world we dwell within. So this is your invitation If nobody's ever invited you before to open those doors a little wider, to open up your windows, to let the fresh air into your inner space, to consider whether having an animal communication session for your pet who's with you now in body or in spirit, to consider beginning to learn animal communication for yourself. Or to consider whether those encounters you keep having out on the front lawn or when you're going about your day to day life, you keep seeing a reference to a certain animal, you keep finding a certain sign or a wonder of the animal you keep dreaming about when you close your eyes at night. Maybe that animal holds a great deal more significance to you than you've previously allowed yourself, permitted yourself to consider. So consider this your invitation to do just that. Maybe, before you fall asleep tonight, just send up a query into the inner sphere of whatever it is that binds us all together, that which always seeks always and only seeks our highest and best good with individually and collectively, and just simply ask who is my animal spirit guide. Send me a sign, send me a dream, get my attention in some way and let me know that you're here. I'd love to start a relationship with you, I'd love to get to know you, I'd love to learn from you, with this open, humble heart that comes with an empty cup, ready to be filled with insights, with guidance, with wisdom, with support, with encouragement, with laughter and with love, and I would love to hear who you meet, looking forward to seeing you back here in two weeks for another fresh new episode of let's Talk to Animals. Okay, on my life, bye. 're PLAYING THE MAKE OF you.