Answer: "Power animal" is a term that has several meanings, depending on the cultural context. In general, it is a term used by shamans or their equivalents, but for some it refers to an actual animal used as a totem or a teacher, and for others is an animal that appears as a guide or teacher in another world. Whether or not the latter really exists depends on your view of the world. If you do not believe in alternate realities, then an encounter with a power animal during meditation or dreaming is obviously a product of one's subconscious. If you do believe in alternate realities, as shamans do, then it is an experience as real as any other.