There are a number of different perspectives when it comes to spirit animals (guides, totems, power animals -- whatever you may choose to call them). Many people that I have met have only one, or at least only one at any given time. Those who have had more than one spirit animal over time found that, as they grew, their spirit animal changed to accommodate the changes that occurred in their lives. For many years I was like those who had a single spirit animal. My spirit animal had made itself known to me before I even began following a pagan path. It was a part of me -- something that I never really thought twice about -- Wolf was just there to guide me.
Wolf started off being very archetypal (though I had no clue what that was at the time). No male/female -- always grey in color. However, at various times in my life, Wolf has changed. Instead of being an archetype she is a particular animal. She is pure white and larger than I would have expected. The only color on her is her black nose, lips, and black surrounding piercing green eyes. She appears when I need a "personal" touch -- some one-on-one communication.
But, a few years ago, my relationship with spirit animals shifted. I no longer only had one. Over a period of about a year, I was approached by three more. Suddenly, I had one associated with each of the four directions/elements. First, a Golden Eagle, next an Otter, and finally a Hare. While I have not met anyone who has a spirit animal for each direction/element, I have met a few people with more than one spirit animal guiding them at the same time -- but not very many. Most of the time, when I share this information (which I do less and less) I get a puzzled look. I know from my contact with others that my relationship with my spirit animals is not "orthodox". However, it is what has developed over the years and it works for me. Eventually, I will share more about them -- how I came to know of them and how they have helped or worked with me in the past -- but not just yet.
Do you have one or more spirit animals? How did you come to be aware of them?