Animals have long been studied and their attributes noted, copied, and relied on. Because each animal is associated with certain traits, these can be used to give us guidance. In my experience, there are two ways to know when an animal is communicating to you: Either they show up unexpectedly or they have established themselves as a regular communicator.
Showing up Unexpectedly
Showing up unexpectedly means they appear in an unusual place, at an unusual time, or in an a way that is not their normal behavior. For instance, I’ve had an unusual relationship with hawks lately. At least one appears pretty much every time I leave the house. To see a hawk isn’t especially unique, but to see one every time I’m outside no matter where I am is unique. I wrote about another example of an ant that appeared alone, which is odd, and day after day in the same place, which is unusual, to encourage me to persevere (Ant Medicine: Lessons from the Ant).
A regular communicator is an animal that appears to you often and has established a pattern of behavior, which you know communicates certain things. Regular communicators are animals you have a special bond with. Some people refer to regular communicators as spirit animals. By observing them, you learn their behaviors. Pay attention to what occurs after you see them so you can learn to associate specific behaviors with particular messages.
Ravens have been a regular communicator to me. It started several years ago when I noticed a raven would be around whenever a significant event was about to occur in my life. The behavior I observed was the direction the raven was facing. If they were facing me, the event would be positive. If the raven had its back to me, I knew to be on alert for something negative. One example that sticks with me occurred many years ago. I was walking into a building, when a large raven landed on the ground only a couple of few away from me. Landing so close was odd behavior and, because it had its back to me, I knew I was being warned something negative was about to happen. When I entered the building, I unexpectedly ran into my boyfriend with another woman.
Whether their messages are due to divine intervention or their innate connection to the Spirit that Moves Through all Things, animals communicate valuable information to us.