To the ancients, all things in nature had sacred or spiritual meaning. The world was inhabited by the higher beings, who took the form of fantastical creatures that were part animal, part human, and exceedingly powerful. These beings are the spirit guides who lead the departed to the next life, heal the sick, and restore balance and harmony to a troubled world. The tribal healers knew the animal sprits well. They journeyed beyond the threshold of ordinary reality to invoke the power of these great beings. Each image is accompanied by a brief description of the animal's power and symbolism in various cultures.