One thing I’ve learned to love about writing is research. If I get an idea for a character who is out of my personal experience—like being a 23 year-old guy—I have to do research. And if this 23 year-old is a zen winger who is completely in touch with his spiritual side, then I have to do a ton of research.
In The Tao of Hockey, Eric Fairburn sorts out the important people in his life by deciding what their spirit animal would be. It’s his way of determining the essence of someone’s nature.
Here's Eric explaining spirit animals to Josie:
“Okay, let’s talk about what your spirit animal would be.”
“Your spirit animal. We all have animal guides who appear to help with the problems or opportunities in our lives.”
“How do we find them?” Josie leaned forward and looked interested for the first time all night.
“Well, the best way would be for you to do some kind of physical journey, like a long meditation or a vision quest. An animal might appear to you in a dream.
“But the most important thing is being conscious of what’s around you—like animals reappearing in your life. Take a lion, for example. You might see a lion photo on the side of the bus, or when you turn on the TV an African nature show might be on.”
“I don’t have a TV,” she said.
“On your laptop. Whatever. Notice what’s around you and be sensitive to the signs.”
Josie cracked a new breadstick in two. “There is one thing that keeps appearing in my life repeatedly and unexpectedly.”
She pointed the breadstick at me. I laughed, and Josie smiled.
“If I had to guess, I would say your spirit animal is an owl,” I told her.
“An owl? I think I’m more the lion type.”
“A spirit animal doesn’t mean an animal you identify with. It’s your guide animal.”
“What does an owl say about me—that I stay up all night?”
“No, it says that you’re smart and knowledgeable, but you’re watchful. You like to look around and take stock of things before you act. Maybe a little detached.”
What do you think your spirit animal would be? If you don't want to do a vision quest in the desert, there is an easier way to find out.
Here are two quizzes to determine your spirit animal. I took them both, and I’m an owl. Just like Josie, except minus the hot 23 year-old boyfriend.
Do you agree with the spirit animal you got? Is that your personality type?