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Getting to Know An Animal Guide: The Fox

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Note that there are many terms for animals that join us on our spiritual journeys, but using “totem” or “spirit animal” can be seen as cultural appropriation. For my own practice, I refer to them as “animal guides”.

A photo of books, cards, ceramic figures, and crystals depicting foxes

When a beloved animal guide insists upon making itself known, how can you say no? So let me tell you about foxes. 🦊

I’ve loved foxes since I was a young girl fawning over an anime character’s fox spirit form (90s anime had a HUGE IMPACT on my life, and I am not ashamed). Youko Kurama from Yu Yu Hakusho (also known as Ghost Fighter here in the Philippines) was depicted as sly, powerful, and notorious thief, and this DOES tie into some of what foxes signify.

Animated gif of Youko Kurama sneering in the Yu Yu Hakusho: Meikai Shitō Hen - Honō no Kizuna film
Youko Kurama from Yu Yu Hakusho

Foxes as Tricksters

Foxes are renowned around the world as tricksters. Reynard the Fox is a prime example of the Trickster trope, with most of his stories involving charming and deceiving others to put himself at an advantage or get himself out of trouble.

Illustration of Reynard the Fox, or Renart the Fox, by  Ernest Henri Griset
Renart (Reynard) the Fox by Ernest Henri Griset

Foxes as Guardians

But beyond this mischievous aspect, foxes are also depicted as wise, adaptable, and faithful guardians. This is especially seen in Japanese lore, where the kitsune are not just tricksters — they’re revered as loyal messengers of Inari, a deity whose domain includes fertility, agriculture, industry, and prosperity.

Photo of Japanese kitsune or fox spirit statues
Japanese kitsune (fox spirit) statues from Wikimedia Commons

Because they are clever tricksters, foxes can help you see through others’ trickery and deception. They can help you quickly think of the best way to navigate a situation that could potentially bring you harm… or help you stay one step ahead so you don’t get yourself tangled up in the first place.

Foxes as My Personal Animal Guides

Photo of the "Vulpecula" card from the Golden Constellation Oracle Deck by AlbaBG
The “Vulpecula” card from the Golden Constellation Oracle by AlbaBG, published by Liminal 11

When I first drafted this post in July 2021, I had some foxes visit me in a dream. One of them hopped out of the enclosure they were gathered in, following me and running circles around my feet as went on my way. Then when I recently adopted the Golden Constellation Oracle from a friend, the first card I drew was Vulpecula — the “Little Fox” constellation. It made me realize just how strong my connection with this animal guide is! ❤ They may not be as big or intimidating or fantastical as some of my other animal guides… but I’ll always be glad and grateful for their presence. 🙏

This was originally posted on my Instagram account on July 14, 2021.

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