The Zohar, Chapter “Tazria (When A Woman Delivers),” Item 117: We learned that there are upper spirits, from among those who were made of the spirit of the left of Adam HaRishon. Those do not cling below in this world, but hang in the air and hear what they hear from above. Some of them know other spirits below in this world, and appear to people in their dreams and alert them.
Obviously, this is not talking about people who are seeing this in their dreams. The Zohar does not say a word about our mundane reality or our world. Gradually, as we read it more and more, we begin to feel that we are inside a system that is operated by forces and desires.
When a person sees that he is connected to these forces and acts through them, he feels that he is clothed in a specific image, force, or character that is being referred to by the name of an animal, bird, or plant. These words do not refer to animals, birds, or plants that we see in our world, but to the way a person senses parts of the spiritual reality, or the spiritual forces that enliven him.
That is why The Zohar uses descriptions in this manner. In reality, this is the form closest to what we will soon begin to recognize when we start to feel the spiritual world.