In the final installment of this series, we’re going to finish up the animal kingdom with insects and mammals. These two vastly different groups have much to lend to our magic. The similarities and differences between these two types of critters and ourselves can illuminate many of our own strengths, weaknesses, and abilities within the craft. I enjoyed this project so much, and I hope all you animal-loving witches out there find it helpful!
Beetles can be solid black or iridescent and metallic colors, hiding a set of wings under their protective armor. Although they spend much of their time combing the earth, they can fly when they need to escape or travel great distances and so embrace both earth and air elements. Most notably, the beetle is a hard worker, toiling with a task until it’s completed. For the particularly unmotivated witch, the beetle or scarab will be a champion for them when they need help finishing a job, and a shiny reminder that you can often find joy in simply completing a job well. Beetles also happen to be great at using their environment and “recycling” elements, so they can be a power animal for any eco-friendly witches.
Seen as a guide or a sign. The dragonfly may come to you when you least expect it, but it means it’s time to do some soul searching and that someone or something is trying to send you a message. Notice the dragonfly’s colors, which way it flies, if it leads you anywhere and where you are when you see it. These are all clues to the inward journey you need to take to unlock some hidden potential or steer your course. Whatever you do, do not harm the dragonfly!
If a grasshopper or cricket jumps out of your path, this is a sign of luck and means you should take a risk. If it stays put, it means you should be more grounded and changing things up is not a good idea right now. Although annoying to some, the grasshopper plays a “song” by rubbing its back legs together, so this creature symbolizes being proud of being yourself and “singing” loudly, without shame! Wear the symbol of the grasshopper as a lucky charm or whenever you feel you’re losing your sense of self.
Scorpions are ancient guardians, guiding souls to the afterlife. In places where poisonous scorpions flourish, people are afraid to even say their name for fear it may call the critter forth. Although not inherently wicked, the scorpion is aggressive when challenged and should be called on when you need to bring out the big magical guns to protect yourself. Use the scorpion symbol with caution — this is an animal to use when you want to burn bridges, so don’t use when just a little sting will do.
Creatures of the night, forever searching for the flame. The moth can symbolize a disturbed soul, lost in darkness, hunting for enlightenment and ready to sacrifice itself in the heat of the light. Although similar anatomically to butterflies, moths are considered the opposite symbolically — restless, unhappy, and confused. A good animal to use in curses when you want to upset and confound an enemy and send them reeling from their path.
On one hand, spiders are masters of construction and organization. A spider’s web is a thing of beauty and can be baffling to behold. On the other hand, spiders are seen as devious, pulling the strings from hidden safety and ensnaring the unsuspecting. The spider can be used as a divinatory guide for you, showing how all the strands of the web are connected and where there are holes or mistakes that need to be fixed. I suggest astral travel as well and using spider imagery to get to the root of problems.
Great & Small
An intelligent, huge mammal that lives within a matriarchal society where mama calls the shots. This is an animal for witch mothers and witches seeking to honor their mothers. Elephants, for some reason, are often portrayed as gentle giants but do not be fooled. They can go into rampages and kill with ease, especially when it comes to protecting their families. Matriarchs guide their herds based on centuries’ worth of knowledge, all of which is passed down from mothers to their daughters. Invoke this animal whenever you’d like to honor the sacrifices of your ancestors or when you feel you need extra strength or wisdom.
This striking animal is all about the sweet life! Living easy, living comfortably, and just doing whatever comes naturally. In Asian cultures, the panda is revered as a symbol of luck, but also peace, and it’s easy to see why. Pandas do seem lucky, spending all their time munching on bamboo and enjoying shady forests. Whenever you need to de-stress, focus on this animal, draw black and white circles, and meditate on small things that bring you joy.
Buffalo & Bison
A symbol of abundance and earth. These animals depend on the herd to survive, so are natural symbols of family and grounding. Native Americans hunted the bison for meat and their pelts provided warmth and protection, and so they are seen as an animal with great spiritual importance. Life itself. Call on this generous animal for protection, as a connection to the earth and whenever you perform abundance spells.
Sacred in Hinduism, and a guide for mothers struggling with fertility issues. Cows provide milk and meat and are seen as extremely maternal. While it doesn’t seem like a very majestic animal, we depend on the cow for so much (just like our mothers!), and this is a great symbol to turn to when you need a little nurturing yourself. This animal can be called upon when you need advice and cow’s milk can be offered to patrons and spirits.
Like the fox, the coyote is seen as a trickster but is also associated with the moon (in the Southwest you’ll often hear them howling in the middle of the night). Coyotes are sly and can convey messages in different ways — often through games — and only the wisest can decipher the coyote’s meaning. Pay attention if you see the coyote in dreams and take note of its actions, but don’t be fooled by it! This animal can be used in magic as a guide when you’re doing spirit work or communicating with ancestors. Draw the image of the howling coyote on yourself during the full moon to learn secrets.
Animals that live so closely with humans always have varied and rich symbolism, but almost universally the dog is seen as a powerful and loyal guardian. Draw paw prints on your feet and snip a little hair from the tail of your dog to carry in your wallet as a talisman against any enemies.
As a symbol of virility and lustiness, you’ll be hard pressed to find a more robust animal than the goat. The word horny originates with the goat and with good reason. Horns feature prominently in fertility rituals around the world, and horns are seen as symbols of great abundance (the Horn of Plenty, for example). Use the goat’s image or a pair of ethically harvested goat horns in spells and rituals to spice up your sex life!
Shapeshifter, associated with the moon. The jaguar kills with one blow, and was revered by the Mayans, who wore their skins and erected temples in their honor. The jaguar is an animal to be respected and its spirit can be called on to give one stealth and the ability to throw enemies off their tracks. They are also guides, and can be paired with moonstones whenever you need help or extra power during spellwork.
The ultimate animal symbol of the sun. The male of this species is draped in a crown of golden hair and is the king of the savannah. Naturally, this animal symbolizes strength and can be called on during any trying situation. The female of the species does most of the hunting and caring for the family, in cooperation with other members of her family, so the symbol of the lioness can be used in spells focused on teamwork or overcoming conflict with sisters or female coworkers. I suggest also using the lion symbol in curses when you’d like to damage someone’s pride.
These creative, intelligent, happy creatures are perfect animals to call on when you need to laugh. Monkeys are also highly tricky, and evade their enemies by deftly flying through the treetops, swinging from branch to branch. They are depicted in stories as mischievous and make excellent symbolic companions for witches who like to play games with their magic. Keep an image of a monkey on you before a night out with your friends to ensure you all laugh with abandon.
A symbol of quiet, and in some cases, death. People fear mice; they are seen as dirty and riddled with disease. I see the mouse as a survivor though. She evades predators, follows humans around because they drop food, and adapts to life all over the globe. Invoke the mouse when you need to move in secret and when you crave quiet. A lot of witches are sensitive to sound and introverted witches find peace through silence. Use the mouse as a guide and a symbol during meditation to focus your stillness and calm.
Despite what you might have heard, pigs are clean, smart, and form strong family bonds. It seems quite unfair that we use the word “pig” as a derogatory term, when these animals are actually creatures of abundance and joy. Use the pig symbol in your magic to bring happiness and extra wealth to your piggy banks.
Deer & Stag
This is a deeply spiritual animal and is believed to guide searchers of truth on quests of enlightenment. This animal is associated with herb magic, so all witches who use herbs would do well to honor this animal on their altars in some way. Particularly useful animals in astral projection, meditation and spirit work.
The lion’s equivalent in Eastern cultures, the tiger is the king of beasts. Many tales describe the tiger as wildly angry and fierce. This animal is also the symbol of nobility and, horribly, killing a tiger was a way men showed their dominion over nature — by destroying the most powerful animal out there. Instead of trying to tame the tiger, I suggest witches try to embody its best traits: Finding beauty in solitude, moving with grace, and protecting yourself when threatened.