In Native American culture, it is believed that animals represent certain qualities. For example, ant medicine represents endurance, patience, and persistence; lizards symbolize transformation and regrowth. When an animal appears to us on a regular or synchronistic basis, it is revealing its medicine to us. In this section, we will take the time to slow down and take stock of the animal medicine that is appearing in own life, gain an understanding of what that medicine symbolizes, and how it might be applied to our life.

Pay attention to what shows up in your waking life. When Torti the tortoise came to live with us for two weeks, his presence inspired an entire philosophy of beauty that I now share with you. When an animal or insect crosses your path, pay attention and do a little research on what they symbolize in both Native American and other cultures. Paying attention to details like this helps us to be more present in our life. The medicine specific animals contain may inspire you or reveal the answer to a question you’ve been asking.


Mostly, the presence of an insect or an animal no matter how brief can be quite magical if we allow it to be. Acknowledging nature, rather than just taking it for granted as we move about our daily activities, helps us connect with and honor the beauty and wonder of the world around us. The purpose of honoring the insects and animals is to hone our own perception and, ultimately, to strengthen our intuition for clarity and self-knowledge. Nature is so much a part of our daily life, yet we have blinders on that keep us zoned in on our narrow sense of self (and in our ”smart“ devices). Once we catch a glimpse of the beauty of nature, and then another, and then get to the point where we seek it out, we will remove those blinders and expand our vision of ourself. We will experience moments of wonder. Indeed, making this connection with nature is a vital part of growing young.

The following are a few examples of animals and insects and what they represent. Should an animal or insect appear in your life that isn’t included here, a quick search from one of the following resources will illuminate their meaning: Animal Speak by Ted Andrews is an amazing reference blog to keep on hand. Online, I like,, and I encourage you to delve deeper into any animal that shows up often in your life or with which you have always felt a special connection. If there is a particular animal with which you feel connected, consider surrounding yourself with visual images of this animal and keep it close. If you have always felt a kinship with a certain animal or insect, it is definitely worth a deeper exploration to learn how their specific power or energy is meant to support you and nourish you. The following are examples of animals and their significance to get you started. Be sure to include images of creatures from the natural kingdom that ”speak“ to you on your map.


Joy, joy, and more joy! The medicine of the butterfly is all about elevation and the lightness of being. It is about being in flight with self-expression and creativity. It shows us that work, commitment, and dedication will transform into something artful and elegant.


These insects represent potential of the purest kind. They remind us that the work we are doing the preparing, the thinking, the information are all working together to soon be transformed into something completely new and colorful. We only need to have patience to make it through this gestation period before the rebirth. Be patient. Be tenacious. That is what the caterpillar is communicating.


Deer remind us of grace. Their swiftness and humility demonstrate how to even out our temperament should it be excessive in one direction. If a deer appears to you, it’s a reminder to return to love and peace, and to perform random acts of loving kindness and compassion.


When you spot an eagle, chances are it is high up in the sky. Eagle medicine is about higher thought vibrations and freedom from the mental blocks and prisons in which we trap ourself. Have you heard the expression “eagle eye”? Eagles have precise eyesight and thus remind us to stay laser-focused on what we need to accomplish. No distractions allowed!


The firefly is a magical creature that illuminates our path in the darkness. Their light bounces and dances around. When we come across fireflies, it is medicine for new ideas, inspiration, and creativity kind of like the flickering lightbulb of that new formula you’ve just discovered!


These tiny birds teach us how to tap into the infinite wellspring of joy. When a hummingbird shows up in your life, it is a reminder that joy resides within. Perhaps you have lost sight of this. If so, the hummingbird’s high vibration wing movement in the pattern of a figure eight is here to remind you to reorient yourself toward joy.


Highly sensitive and perceptive, the lizard is closely related to intuition and appears to remind you to let your intuition guide you. There are messages waiting in your dreamtime that you should pay close attention to. Lizard also symbolizes our ability to regenerate that which has been lost. Because of its tail-removing ability, it is a master at diversion when in dangerous situations. Use that technique to aid you when you are feeling threatened.


In almost all cultures, this creature is a symbol of stillness. When a mantis appears to you, it is time to retreat to a quiet place and to get back in touch with your intuition. If you have been overactive and feel unbalanced, the medicine of the praying mantis is telling you to slow down and find moments of peace and calm.


The magical raven has something to tell us about the deep mysteries of self. They are highly intelligent birds and, according to Carl Jung, their medicine represents the shadow aspects of ourself those deep, mysterious aspects we need to draw near to experience a sense of wholeness. When a raven appears, take it as a sign that an aspect of yourself that you have kept in the dark is about to be revealed.


Roosters appear as a wake-up call. Where are you asleep in your life? Time to wake up and get some work done. They are full of activity, ever watchful, and their eccentricity reminds us that it is okay to be playful and colorful.


Snakes show us how to set clear intentions for impending changes. As snakes shed their skin, so do we. We have the ability to reinvent ourself, to begin anew. A snake gives us permission to shed that which no longer serves us. It helps us tap into our energy trove, our life force, to process this transformation. When a snake shows up, it is a powerful message that a big, transformative change is possible in your life.


The sparrow represents connection with the spiritual realm. Sparrows travel in groups, so they are also representative of strength in numbers. If a sparrow shows up, ask yourself if you need to spend more time in the warmth of good friends, or perhaps to reconnect with your spirit. Sparrow is also a symbol of inclusion. In what ways have you excluded parts of yourself?


The most specific message a woodpecker has is about discrimination. Are you being discerning in the decisions you are currently making in your life or are you just jumping right in without taking the time for reflection? The woodpecker is a reminder to use your head and figure out solutions that feel right before moving forward.

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