This should be a good one.
I love the concept of having a spirit animal. It's been a beautiful image I've clung to through more than two decades, something whole carried over from childhood that didn't need a breaking.
I love passing this concept onto and seeing other people pass this idea around. It is a good concept because an animal is a being we can reference that is whole in itself, and that accepts and adapts to the world around it in its behaviour. A spirit animal will never age and need never die. It is an unnatural, ie: sacred concept.
Spirit animals, in my mind are what are sometimes referred to as totem animals. Your spirit animal is a symbol of beauty and wholeness that you can carry with you mentally, unchanged and perfect throughout your life. You represent it in art, or think fondly or wistfully about it, or recognize how you already resemble it and grow more confident in those respects. (You just don't gain any ability to fly or breathe in water.)
I think the idea is especially attractive in this often lonely time, when animals are symbols which appear comfortable and natural even when alone (sometimes especially). Or you've got other varieties of animal, like people with sparrow or crow energy, that work in numbers.
Sparrows are small energetic birds which are most comfortable in large groups (like several dozens). They are exciteable and they twitter and suddenly take off in a huge cloud and go somewhere they all think is cool. You get to see neat ways that simple metaphors can juxtapose currents of meaning in your mind and seem to reveal new ways of understanding people.
Crow people, you might have a dozen, or half-dozen hanging around out back somewhere, possibly somewhere gritty. Prolly oldtimers. They are cackly and cynical and beautiful and charcoaly.
I apparently have crow energy. I was told this by someone who regrettably is thoroughly dead now. His life got to be not going how he liked. :(
But it was a good, life-affirming idea, so it stuck with me.
My oldest spirit animal is the fox. I didn't ask to have such a cool one, it just happened. (No spirit animal is cooler than another one.)
Foxes are hard to see :)
I also have loved cats for my entire life, even before someone nice took me through the visualization where I found my fox. So the cat symbol is totally under my skin too.
Cats are very comfortable alone, but they are also curious or flirty attention whores, and they love when something's going on, especially if they're getting petted (: They myorl and yawl and sometimes they're total jerks.
I compare these images to events from my own life and see an amusing amount of overlap, and a certain steady sense of promise.