Spirit animals and aspirations

Hiking the Devil’s Path (an excellent trail if you like tough hikes) with a few close friends the other day, the topic of spirit animals came up.

“Hey, what would you say is your spirit animal?”

The answers from the others:

  • Peregrine falcon
  • Fox
  • Wolf / similar canine

So I was in pretty cool spirit company, if you ask me.

For me? I’ve identified for a while with big cats, specifically the jaguar.

The jaguar. Panthera onca, third largest of the big cats. Apex predator and keystone species. I rather liked all the associations with the jaguar, plus I found it amusingly fitting that even as I’m not the physically largest cat, I was still one of the five Big Cats.

We continued to hike. And I was struck suddenly by a different idea:

The spirit animal, at least in colloquial usage, has to do with the animal you most strongly identify with. Why was I identifying with a creature less than what I aspired to?

So I’ve changed my mind. As far as landbound creatures go, I identify more closely with the tiger than with the jaguar. That’s a more fitting comparison as far as where I see myself.

That feels right.