If you never read The Golden Compass as a kid or heard the pickup line, "So what's your spirit animal?" then this might be a new concept to you. Spirit animals, also referred to as power animals, are part of the shamanic belief that everyone is linked to the energy of a certain animal that can guide them through life and protect them from harm or illness. Through this belief, humans are inherently connected with the Earth even when we so often feel detached from it in an urban environment.
If your spirit is an elk this could imply a connectedness to home even at far distances, a sense of power and protection while wandering, and retention of one's power in group situations. A hippopotamus spirit animal does not mean you are overweight, but instead suggests that you channel the animal's energy and move gracefully through emotions, are capable of aggression when necessary and are very protective over family.
According to this shamanic belief, you can seek out your spirit animal in a dream, or it can present itself to you randomly as you go about your day. Check this list to explore which animal you most closely relate. So, maybe it's not such a cheesy pickup line after all - it could incite a pretty interesting conversation.