Author’s note: This document isn’t actually finished. In fact, it’s really just a compilation which, instead of “finishing”, I simply stopped adding to when I got tired of it (after I realized just how many spirit animals there are). Even more, this listing is the reader’s digest version of my Spirit Animals compilation.
The Sentinel’s Spirit Guides
I originally decided to list all the Animal Spirit Guides and their symbolism for my own reference in writing Sentinel stories. However, I have discovered that there are so many (one site boasts 300 of them), that I changed my mind and decided to just list the ones I needed. I decided to put it up on the website for the edification of other readers (and writers) who may also wish to know more about Spirit Guides in relation to Sentinel stories.
Here, then, first, are Jim Ellison’s and Blair Sandburg’s Spirit Guides, followed by Alex Barnes’s, then others as indicated:
Detective James Ellison’s Spirit Guide:
Black Panther (Panthera Pardus)
Black or melanistic leopards are commonly called “Black Panthers”. (Jaguars may also be black and are called Black Panthers, however, technically, a Black Panther is more usually a leopard. [The “regularly-colored” leopard is sometimes confused with the South American Jaguar, although the Jaguar is stockier, with larger rosette markings which have internal spots.]) Frequently born in the same litter as normally marked cats, black panthers also carry the rosette markings, but masked within the darkness of the fur. However, the black panther is more generally found in dense, wet forested areas of India and south east Asia. In fact, the more moist the area, the darker the leopard is likely to be. This coloration seems to aid in camouflage and hunting in these regions. Black Panthers are strong animals, frequently carrying 150-pound prey 20 feet up a tree.
Symbol of the feminine
Understanding of death
Reclaiming ones power
Ability to know the dark
Death and rebirth
Or, if you believe Ellison’s Spirit Guide to be a Black Jaguar instead of Black Leopard:
Keeper of the circular time continuum
Gatekeeper to the Unknowable
wisdom listed for Jaguar (under Alexis Barnes’s Spirit Animal)
Blair Sandburg’s Spirit Animal:
Gray Wolf (Canis Lupus)
The Gray Wolf used to range all over the northern hemisphere. It is now restricted to the extreme northern United States, Canada, and some parts of Asia. The male is larger than the female, but both have very strong jaws. Gray Wolves are mostly gray, but may vary considerably in color from almost white through red and cream to black. The Gray Wolf is a pack animal with a complex social structure: The largest male leads the pack, followed by younger and senile males, the leader’s mate, the rest of the females, and then pups. Whenever a pair goes out hunting, their pups are looked after by the rest of the pack.
Facing the end of one's cycle with dignity and courage
Death and rebirth
Guidance in dreams and meditations
Instinct linked with intelligence
Social and familial values
Ability to pass unseen
Skill in protection of self and family
Taking advantage of change
Alexis Barnes’ Spirit Animal:
Jaguar (Panthera Onca)
The jaguar is the only member of the panthera family in the Americas and is by far the biggest cat on the continent. The Jaguar’s range, which once extended from the southern United States down to the tip of South America, now centers on the north and central parts of the South American continent. The jaguar is generally a forest dweller, usually in the lowland rain forests of the Amazon Basin, but it can also inhabit dry woodland and grassland areas, although it is rarely found above 8,000 feet.
Seeing the roads within chaos
Understanding the patterns of chaos
Moving without fear in the darkness
Facilitating soul work
Moving in unknown places
Captain Simon Banks’ Spirit Animal:
Cougar (Puma Concolor)
Several fan fiction writers have speculated that Simon’s Spirit Animal is the Cougar. One look at it’s symbolism tells you why. Here, then, are some facts about the many-named Big Cat:
The cougar is also known as the Panther, Jaguar, and Mountain Lion, although “Puma” is actually probably the most accurate name. Although most know the yellow-buff color, it can also be slate grey to light reddish brown. It’s habitat stretches from the southwest of Canada, down western North America, and throughout most western parts of South America. In the northern areas and higher mountainous regions, the puma’s coat is longer, to provide protection against temperature extremes.
The Puma has a small, broad head with small, rounded ears, a powerful body comparable to the Panther’s, and has long hind legs and a long tail tipped with black.
Using leadership power wisely and without ego
Balancing power, intention, strength
Freedom from guilt
I have also listed here all the feline and canine Spirit Guides I’ve seen because some fanfic writers have come to the conclusion that, since Jim’s and Alex’s Spirit Guides are feline, that all Sentinels’ Spirit Guides are. And, since Blair’s is canine, all Guides’ Spirit Animals must be canine, too. It seems a bit hasty to base such a conclusion on such a small available sampling, however, since Mr. Bilson and Mr. DeMeo were making things up as they went along, and since they have made conflicting statements in public forums about what they intended, I doubt it would help to ask them about this. My own personal opinion is that the choice of Spirit Guides for Jim and Alex was as symbolic as the Spirit Guides themselves. I believe that making Jim’s a Black Panther and Alex’s a Jaguar symbolized how well matched they were. Both matched against each other in combat, and matched to each other genetically (in regards to the mating drive they both were succumbing to). There are, however, plenty of Spirit Animals outside of feline and canine which would be perfectly good Guides for Sentinels and Guides.
I have listed canines first (just ‘cause “C” comes before “F”) and each is in alphabetical order:
Adults have a grizzled buff grey coat with the outer ears, forelegs, and feet brownish or yellow. The throat and belly are light grey to white; a grey-black band, sometimes very faint, runs down the mid-back.
Widely distributed throughout all of the United States and all of southern and south-central Canada, south through Mexico into northern Central America. Northward expansion of coyotes may be the result of wolf removal, as their range is expanding in areas where wolves have been eliminated for more than a century.
Understanding that all things are sacred--yet nothing is sacred
Teaching that only when all masks have fallen will we connect with the Source
Singing humans into being
Childhood trust in truth
Teaching us how to rear our young
Ability to laugh at one's own mistakes
Placing the North Star
Teaching balance between risk and safety
Dhole/Asian Whistling Dog:
A fairly large, doglike canid, with rounded ears and a long, moderately bushy tail. Legs are rather short, pelage is evenly tawny or dark red with a slightly darker tail and lighter underparts
The dhole has historically occurred in the forest areas of the Indian peninsula, though it was seldom reported in northwestern provinces. Its range also included Malaysia, Java, Sumatra, Burma, and northwards into Korea, China, and eastern Soviet Union. In the Soviet Union, the dhole has been found at 54'N in the Pamir region, but it is believed extirpated in these northern regions.
Use of voice
Ability to remain unique
(Canis familiaris dingo)
The coat is usually ginger, but varies from a light, sandy colour to a deep red-ginger. Irregular white markings are found on the feet, chest, and the tip of the tail. The tail is and bushy. Dingoes can be distinguished from the domestic dog (Canis familiaris familiaris) and dingo-dog hybrids by their larger canines and carnassial teeth, differences in skull bones, and the pattern of breeding
Found throughout mainland Australia except where excluded from sheep grazing areas by a dingo fence in the east and the west. Also found in the islands and mainland of southern and southeast Asia including Papua New Guinea (formerly C. hallstromi), Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Burma, Thailand and southern China.
Reborn Human Soul
Assistance in hunting
Finding warmth in cold situations
Finding the truth
Willingness to follow through
Correct use of intuition
Heals emotional wounds in humans
Understanding of the duality of doubt and faith
Knowledge of all things sensual
Ability to smell trouble from a distance
Various breeds of fox are found pretty much everywhere. From the commonly known Red Fox (Vulpes vulpes) A medium-sized canid, the largest fox in the genus Vulpes. Large bushy tail, often tipped in white. Ranges in colour from greyish and rust red to a flame red, usually reddish-brown. Black backs to ears; lower limbs often black. Distributed throughout the northern hemisphere from the Arctic Circle to north Africa, Central America, and the Asiatic steppes excluding Iceland, the Arctic islands, some parts of Siberia, and extreme desert. European subspecies introduced into Eastern states (e.g. Virginia) of North America in the 17th Century, and mixed with local subspecies then moving southwards as habitat changed (forest clearance); also introduced to Australia.
The Bat-eared Fox (Otocyon megalotis) and Cape fox (Vulpes chama) in the Sub Saharan Africa, the Grey Fox (Urocyon cinereoargenteus) in South America and southern North America, the Island grey fox (Urocyon littoralis), Swift fox (Vulpes velox), Kit fox (Vulpes macrotis) in the United States and Arctic fox (Alopex lagopus) in the Arctic Circle. There is also blanford’s fox (Vulpes cana), Ruppell’s fox (vulpes rueppelli) and Fennec Fox (Vulpes zerda) in North Africa and the Middle East. And in South and Southeast Asia and Australia are the Bengal fox (Vulpes bengalensis), Corsac fox (Vulpes corsac) and Tibetan fox (Vulpes ferrilata).
Ability to observe unseen
Knows the secrets of the wild
Understands how to control epidemics
Perseverance in hunting
Understanding the value of cooperation
Connection to the Vulture
Defense of boundaries
Communication in dark spaces
Singing ones soul song
Understanding the value of community
Accessing past lives
Connection to the constellation Orion
Understanding the use of opportunity
Ability to see in the dark
Connection to the Pyramids of Egypt
Connection to the full moon
Versatility of habitat
Ability to see in low light
And here’s felines:
The Bobcat, although it does not bare the family name is a distinct species in the Lynx genus. However although the canadian lynx and the bobcat share some of the same territory, the bobcat is perhaps more closely related to the Eurasian and Spanish lynx , having spread into North America from Asia earlier than its canadian relative. It is thought that the original bobcats were much larger than at present and have perhaps reduced in size as a result of competition with early puma species, so as to now take advantage of a different niche in the predatory food chain.
In comparison with the canadian lynx the bobcat is generally smaller and although it shares many of the common lynx characteristics, it can be differentiated from the lynx in a number of ways. The bobcat has less pronounced ear tufts and cheek ruffs, a dark tip covering only the top of its 'stumpy' tail, much smaller feet, and a generally more patterned and varied coat coloration. Ground fur colour ranges from light grey, through yellowish brown to reddish brown and markings vary from 'tabby' stripes to heavy spotting. In general, bobcats found in the southern parts of their range are darker and smaller, whilst cats in the north are usually paler and larger.
Clear vision in dark places
Seeking ancient mystical mysteries
Ability to live in solitude
Ability to see through masks
The Cheetah in many ways is peculiar amongst the many cat species. In both looks and physical mobility it resembles a large muscular greyhound - its long streamlined body is carried on long, thin but powerful legs, which endow it with great speed in the chase. A fully-grown cheetah can reach speeds in excess of 60 mph and can easily outrun any animal over short distances. Its paws too, are almost dog-like, narrow and hard padded they sport only slightly retractable claws, the only of its type amongst the species of cat, and offer the cat extra grip in its high-speed pursuits. The cheetah unlike other 'Big Cats' does not roar, however it does purr and other vocal sounds range from high pitched yelps and barks to longer chirruping sounds.
Once the cheetah's range ran from India, through the Middle East and extended to the very south of the African continent. Today, to the north, the Asian cheetah, A.j.venaticus is almost extinct and can only be found in a few remote areas of Iran and Afghanistan. In Africa, with the spread of the human influence and exploitation in hunting, the cheetah's range has shrunken dramatically - now only the grasslands and plains of east and central Africa are home to its dwindling numbers.
Ability to focus intently on something for a short period of time
Seeing the unseen
Allows us to dream its dreams
Assists in meditation
Ability to fight when cornered
Although no other wild cat has such a wide spread range and diverse prey base as the leopard, it is still under threat in many regions. Once common in all parts of Africa apart from the deserts of the Sahara, it has now gone from most parts of northern Africa, apart from a few widespread areas of the Atlas mountains and is scarce in the extreme west of the continent. Subspecies of the leopard once common in the middle east, P.p.nimr and P.p.jarvisi are now all but extinct, as is the Persian leopard (P.p.saxicolor). In south east Asia and India its numbers have dwindled mainly due to hunting for its prized fur and through loss of natural habit due to the spread of the human population. The Korean Leopard (P.p.orientalis), also known as the Amur Leopard are extremely rare in the wild, suffering extensively from habitat loss.
Sensitivity to touch
Approaching someone unseen
Movement in shadow worlds
Communication with plant kingdom
There are a couple of sub-species of Leopard that have their own symbolism. They are included here:
The clouded leopard is sufficiently distinct from other members of the Felidae family, due mainly to the unique shape of its skull, to be placed in a separate genus - Neofelis. Outwardly the cat is immediately recognisable by its distinctive coat patterning. The base colour of the fur is pale yellow/brown and is marked on the body by large irregular shaped markings, each dark brown/black around the edge and lighter in the middle and it is this 'cloud' pattern that give the cat its name. The undersides and short, stout legs are usually spotted and the head and neck streaked with black/dark brown. In overall size the clouded leopard is similar to that of a small leopard, reaching up to 38 inches in body length, whilst having an extremely long tail, measuring up to nearly 3 feet on the largest of the species. The clouded leopard also has the largest canine teeth in proportion to its body size of any of the cat family.
Native to South Eastern Asia, the habitat of the clouded leopard is generally that of dense tropical forest up to a height of 7,000 feet, however recent reports indicate that the cat may also inhabit more open forested terrain and swamp margins. A distinct sub-species known as the Formosan clouded leopard (Neofelis nebulosa brachyurus) is reported to be found only on Taiwan - however lack of recent sightings suggest that the loss of natural habitat and decline of its prey base may indicate that this sub-species may now be extinct in the wild.
Effective use of the power of seclusion
Ability to hide family secrets
Understands the perils of beauty
Although sharing its name with the common leopard, the snow leopard is not believed to be closely related to the Leopard or the other members of the Pantherine group and is classified as the sole member of the genus Uncia uncia. Due to the under-development of the fibro-elastic tissue that forms part of the vocal apparatus the snow leopard cannot give a full, deep roar and this along with differences in skull characteristics help to separate it from its fellow 'big cats'.
In appearance, the snow leopard is strikingly different from the common leopard. Although it has similar rosettes and broken-spot markings, they appear less well defined and are spaced further apart. The fur is long and woolly and helps protect the cat from the extreme cold of its generally mountainous habitat. The general ground coloration of the cat is predominantly grey with brownish/yellow tinges on its flanks and lighter, often white fur on its belly, chest and chin. The head, which sports small ears and a distinctive heavy brow, is rounded and comparatively small for its body size, which can be up to 1.3 meters length and weigh up to around 70kg. The long tail, which can measure as much as 900cm, helps the cat balance as it moves over rugged and often snowy terrain. The powerful limbs of the snow leopard are relatively short for its body size and are supported by large, powerful paws.
The snow leopard is to be found in the mountainous regions of central Asia, ranging in the north from Russia and Mongolia down through China and Tibet into the Himalayan regions of Afghanistan, Pakistan and India. Although the total area of its range is extremely large the actual areas in which the cat is found are relatively small and notably fragmented. This has led to disagreements amongst experts as to the subspeciation of the snow leopard. The cats found in the north of the range are generally classified as Uncia uncia uncia whilst those in the south, Uncia uncia uncioides. However some suggest that due to the fragmentation of the species within those broad areas, genetic differences may exist and further subspeciation may well be necessary.
Understanding one’s shadow side
Trusting one’s inner self
Ability to stalk
Understanding the power of silence
The lion is to be found in parts of eastern and southern Africa and is commonly protected in reserves, although hunting is still common. The Asiatic Lion (P.l.persica), once to be found throughout India, the Middle East and Southern Asia, is today, only to be found in the Gir Forest National Park in Gujarat, western India, where the population is estimated to be in the region of 290. The male of the Asian species has a less prominent mane compared to that of the African male and both sexes display a long fold of skin that runs the length of the belly which is not found on the African species.
The lion stands out from the other 'big cats', not only in its distinctive appearance but also in being the only felid that lives in organised social groups. In appearance the lion is a powerfully built, muscular cat. The fur is short and generally uniform in colour, ranging from grey/buff to reddish brown in coloration with the exception of the undersides which are often white, especially in females. The back of the ears and tip of the tail are dark brown or black. However the most distinctive feature of the male lion is its mane, a ruff of thick, long fur.
Letting go of stress
Strong family ties
Canadian Lynx (Lynx canadensis)
As in common with lynx in Europe and Asia the Canadian lynx inhabits mostly forested areas, but can be found in scrub land and tundra to the north. The lynx is distinctive in appearance - with its triangular shaped, tufted ears, thick set body, long hind legs, a short, stumpy tail and large fur covered paws which help carry the cat over deep snow , which is common in much of its range. The body size of the canadian lynx can vary quite considerably - from a little under 2 feet to in excess of four - the canadian species though, as a rule is smaller than the Eurasian Lynx. The coat is spotted, but in the Canadian species, the markings are less distinct than in European and Asian varieties, being almost masked by the thick tawny to grey coloured fur, which is often seen to have a 'frosted' appearance due the white tips to its fur.
Eurasian Lynx (Lynx lynx)
The Eurasian or Northern lynx is generally much larger than its Canadian counterpart and in coloration and marking, more noticeably spotted - although this varies extensively with its location. The Eurasian lynx was once found in the forested areas throughout most of Europe, the Middle East and Asia. However today the range of the cat has been drastically reduced in Europe and they are only to be found in some of the northern countries, parts of Greece and Czechoslovakia. Recently the cat has been reintroduced to parts of Germany, Switzerland and Austria, where it is beginning to re-establish.
Spanish Lynx (Lynx Pardina)
To some the Spanish lynx is not a valid species but a sub species of the Eurasian lynx, however they are generally smaller than their northern counterparts and their yellow/brown coat is lighter in colour and the spotted markings more noticeable. The main prey of the spanish lynx is, as with its canadian counterpart, various species of hare and rabbit, although deer and wildfowl are also taken.
Less successful than their close neighbours, the Pardel lynx, as it is sometimes known, is now threatened with extinction in its wild habitat. Hunted heavily for its coat and as a predator of livestock, the Spanish lynx is extremely rare and on the Iberian peninsular can only be found in and around the Cota Donana reserve in the south of Spain and in very isolated parts of Portugal
Developing psychic senses
Keeper of all secrets and mysteries
Movement through time and space
There is a sub-species of Lynx with it’s own symbolism:
Caracal/Desert Lynx/Red Lynx:
The Caracal in appearance resembles the Lynx in having characteristic dark tufts on its large, pointed ears and is indeed often referred to as the African Lynx or Desert Lynx, however the caracal is not closely related to the true lynx species. Extending the visual comparison, the body of the caracal is slimmer and less stocky, its legs are thinner and its tail longer than the Lynx. It can grow up to 3 feet in body length and sport a tail about a third of its body size. Its coloration is generally yellowish brown to a darker red/brown, with the undersides of the cat, areas around the eyes and under the chin being white. The backs of its ears are black – the name Caracal is derived from the Turkish word 'karakulak', meaning 'black ear'. Melanistic or all black caracal have also been reported.
The habitat of the caracal varies depending on the location within its range, which spreads from Central and Southern Africa (excluding the areas of dense tropical vegetation along the equator), through parts of the Middle East and Southern Asia across into India. The cat is found in dry savanna and woodland areas, scrubland and rugged terrain in mountainous regions, where it is known to live up to 3000 metres. Like other cats found in dry, arid or semi-dessert locations the caracal can survive for long periods without water, instead obtaining its requirement form the metabolic moisture of its prey.
Expert hunter of birds
The fur of the Ocelot, with its dark brown irregular shaped spots and stripes, edged with black on a yellow/tawny background give this lithe, medium size cat a most distinctive appearance. It is grouped, along with the Margay, Tiger Cat into the sub-genus Leopardus. The cats underlying coloration varies with its habitat, with the base colour of its fur being a rich yellow/cream in more arid areas to a darker yellow/brown in forested habitats. The slender body of the ocelot can measure up to four foot and weighs in at twice that of a large domestic cat.
Once found in many areas of southern North America, Central America and much of South America, today the animal has almost disappeared form its range in the southern states of North America. One particular sub-species, pardalis.albescens is threatened by the conversion of large areas of plain into arable farm land - it is reported that as few as 120 ocelot survive in Texas today. In Central America and the northern countries of South America the ocelot is still to be found in forested areas but is at risk through hunting for its fur and also through trapping for the pet trade.
Regeneration through solitude
Connection with physical and spiritual worlds
Ability to be in two places at once
Connection to the unseen
The male Siberian or Amur Tiger, with a total body length in excess of 10 ft and weighing up to 300 kg is by far the largest and most powerful member of the cat family. - however overall body size varies considerably throughout the five sub-species - the female Sumatran being almost 3 ft smaller. With exception of the Lion the tiger is probably the most easily recognised of all wild cats - its fur which ranges from orange to brownish yellow with a white chest and belly is covered with broken vertical black/dark brown stripes. The length of the fur is longer in the Amur tiger which inhabits the colder forested regions of eastern Russia and northern China. However, seasonal variation occurs throughout the species, with the winter markings often being paler and less well defined in the longer winter coat. Males of all sub-species also exhibit longer fur in the form of a 'ruff' around the back of the head, this is specially pronounced in the Sumatran male.
In general the tiger is a forest dweller but can also be found in grass land and swamp margins beyond woodland areas - they are never far from a source of water, are strong swimmers and have a particular love of bathing in pools and lakes in hotter regions. Principally, tigers are nocturnal hunters although in protected areas away from human intervention the animal is often active during the day.
Strength and will-power in the face of adversity
Acting in a timely manner
Action without analysis
Big Cats Online at http://dialspace.dial.pipex.com/town/plaza/abf90/bco/ver4.htm
Canids at www.canids.org
Symbolism of Spirit Animals at www.geocities.com/~animalspirits/indexlist.html
De’s Sentinel Page