A catch-all phrase used to describe the many different types of myths, phantasmic visions, and totems across multiple cultures and languages across the world, such as the Alebrijes of Mexico, or the Chiwara of African tribes in Mali. The Spirit Animals across all cultures share a common theme of embodying various animals, or animal-like creatures, that represent or help educate a human being through characteristics of that animal or mythical creature. The term has been a curious flashpoint in recent years due to an erroneous belief that the phrase belongs solely to Native Americans, who although they have their own mythology surrounding animal-like entities, are not the only culture to document or claim these types of beings. In fact, there is no such term as "Spirit Animal" actually found in any historical Native American language -- the phrase was only applied generically in more recent, modern language, and adapted. Though, perhaps we can all agree the world needs fewer every day morons tweeting that a certain celebrity or pop icon is their 'Spirit Animal'.
In the Pixar movie COCO, Imelda's Spirit Animal was an alebrije
named Pepita. After helping save the day, Dante the street dog became Miguel's Spirit Animal as well.