Speaker for the Animals

We live in a rapidly changing landscape where people and urban areas are displacing the places for the wild ones to live. Who speaks for the animals? We will.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Raven - Magic & Mystery

Messenger between Heaven and Earth,
The Unexpected, An Omen of Death,
Shapeshifting, Power of Languages,
Scavenger of the Darkness (Unconscious).

Like Coyote and Mantis, Raven is an animal which frequently appears in the creation myths of the First Peoples. Raven can be wise, assiduous and heroic, but it might also be greedy, cunning and foolish. Raven is unpredictable. Raven is chaotic happenstance, change in the form of coincidence (or synchroniticity?) at the worst time. Because of Raven, we might experience catastrophe or miracles. Who can tell? Life is a constant surprise.

The Norse god, Odin, had a pair of ravens who served him as messengers. Their names were Munin (memory) and Hugin (thought). So too do our own thoughts and memories serve to link us to what is divine because our own minds are the Mind of God.

Ravens are found wherever there is death. Death in life is simply change, dropping our compulsions to constantly relive the past and repeat our self destructive beliefs, behaviors, and ways of thinking. Descending in the Underworld, while still living, is the Hero's Quest, which begins with the Dark Night of the Soul, or shamanic death, in which a person is torn apart by animals of the underworld so the he can be reconstructed or remade. Death-death is physically dying and descending into the Underworld to be eaten as are other animals; ravens are the scavengers of the Underworld and feed on the dead. They humble mankind by showing us that as we eat other beings during life, we are eaten after we die. We return to the Earth as do all other life forms. We are not the Masters of Heaven and Earth we sometimes believe we are. We are subject to the same Laws of Matter and Life as all other beings.

By showing us our light and dark sides, Raven links the Light and Dark sides of existence. Raven teaches us that life as it is—with both positive and negative circumstances—is essential. He brings messages to the dreamer from the Unconscious (as thoughts or memories), and are thereby the agents of change in our lives. Raven 's message is that mankind is not simply made to live as beings of light and happiness, but also darkness and suffering. We are not to reject our dark, unconscious, instinctual sides, but accept them as a part of who we are. Accepting this is the first step to understand the wholeness of love, for love cannot expand if we are not allowed to experience its complements: hate and indifference.

Raven is watchful for danger. It is especially watchful for Hawks and for Owls who are Raven’s enemy, for if either finds Raven’s nests, the sky will rain death. Raven will mob Hawks or Owls for miles to drive them away. Owl is a creature of the Moon, symbolizing the power of the dark feminine, while Hawk is a creature of the day and symbolizes the light masculine. If you are a Hawk or Owl person, expect Raven--chaotic happenstance--to pursue you. So fly high and silent. Once at height, Hawk ignores Raven, so take the high road to be well in this case. If you are an Owl person, you carry the power of the dark feminine, e.g. the Unconscious Feminine. You can be cruel and without mercy. In the darkness, no one challenges Owl, so open to the darkness within you. You will discover that this is only one aspect of self.

Wherever Raven is, magic is there. Magic is the ability to let go of the past and change—death and rebirth. Like the Fool in the Tarot, Raven is both foolish and wise. He is trusting, innocent, dark and magical. Raven is the flash of lightning in the dark. Who knows what will happen? He keeps life fresh and exciting with his magic of life and change.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Elephant - Symbol of the Highest True Self

Ancient Power, Strength and Royalty,
Strength of the Feminine: The Child, the Woman,

and the Wise Woman (Matriarchal Head of Family).
The Importance of Family, Fertility, Sexual Power,
Discrimination, Clouds and Illusion,
Out of Control Masculine Rage

The symbolism of Elephant is ancient. In India, Elephant was the mount of Kings. Elephant was a devastating weapon of war and would throw the enemies of the Kings of India into confusion whenever the giant animals would rush into their ranks. In the West during the Roman Empire, the general Hannibul was made famous for attempting to bring the Carthagenian war elephants over the Alps to attack Rome from the city’s exposed flanks. He failed, of course. But in India and even in the West, Elephant came to symbolize the God of Warriors. Elephant is the totem of the greatest of warriors, denoting royalty, inner strength and nobility.

The myths involving Elephant have profoundly influenced humanity through history. Dreams filled with Elephant carry messages of transformation and spiritual power. Elephant in one’s dreams can signify the emergence of one’s Highest True Self. The Self, deep within the Collective Unconscious, only emerges when one has done one’s shadow work and integrated the contents of the Unconscious with Conscious Mind. This cannot be done by oneself, but is a sign of the Grace of the Divine and gift of Love of the As Above.

Like most mythic symbols, Elephant carries both positive and negative symbolic content.

Elephants live in separate social groups of females and male. Members of the female herds care and protect their young, act together for mutual protection from predators, and maintain loving relationships across the generations. The older, experienced females act as the Grandmothers of the Herd, using their experience and wisdom to assist the mothers and calves with the problems of life. Unlike much of human society, elephant herds demonstrate how close supportive relationships can be maintain between the generations by the feminine members of family.

Elephants depend heavily on their well-developed sense of smell to stay informed on their environments. The sense of smell symbolizes the ability to ‘discriminate’ between positive and negative environments. Elephant can bring the gift of discrimination, so that if you are contemplating some important decision, you will notice if “something does not smell right” about your options, and you will take more time to find more positive solutions.

Male elephants wander with other males during much of each year, seeking food. But during breeding season, they become aggressive and go individually in search of the female herds. Once the breeding seasons are ended, they leave the females and return to their bachelor herds. In rut, the males are dangerous and so the term “rogue elephant” has become part of even the Western vocabulary. In the dark, Elephant symbolizes the abusive, enraged, out of control male.

Linked with the planet Neptune, Elephant can also symbolize illusion or fantasy. In Greek mythology, the god Neptune was the god of the oceans. The Ocean, in dreams, symbolizes the Unconscious. But then imagination is a gift of the Unconscious as well, so Neptune/Elephant can bring gifts of creativity. However, the danger of the Unconscious is the possibility of becoming lost in illusion or fantasy. The dreamer can become lost in illusion in life or escape reality into fantasy, turning ones back on the challenges and learning opportunities in everyday life in exchange for the lure of imagination and fantasy. The dreamer therefore must learn to live in the Present, using his creativity to build dreams here, instead of wandering only in the realms of the fantastic within his mind. Fantasy can also bring riches of creativity. Children often fantasize about life as a way of experimenting with solutions to problems. Adults need imagination to find solutions to life’s challenges, but too much fantasizing can lead one to withdraw from life into isolation, leading to depression and loss of healthy relationships if not attended to. If we lose the ability to play and instead start to take life too seriously however, Elephant can teach the adult how to play with others again and thereby restore lightness and laughter to his life.

Thanks to Ted Andrews’ book Animal Speak for symbolic analysis. Also, Mary Ellen Guiley’s book The Encyclopedia of Dreams for information on Jungian dream symbols.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Crocodile - Guardian of the Threshold

Guardian of the Gates to the Underworld (the Unconscious),
Guardian of Mystical Treasures and Wisdoms,
Primal Energies of Birth, Death and Initiation,
Ferocity, Fury, Viciousness, Destructive Power,
Keepers and Protectors of All Knowledge,
Primal Mother, Fertility and Power, Fecundity,

Vegetation, Hypocrisy, Insincerity.

Crocodile guards the Gateway to the Underworld of the Unconscious. Her great mouth is the entrance into the Waters of the Unconscious, which is the domicile of the Great Mother. She therefore symbolizes the unconscious aspect of the Sacred Feminine.

To be swallowed by her is akin to Jonah’s being swallowed by the Whale. Her bite is death, and in her jaws the seeker is torn to pieces so she can be reborn as a new person. This is the Shaman’s Death.

The waters of the Collective Unconscious are dangerous waters for the unwary adventurer, for many get lost here and never find their way back from the Underworld. Madness lurks there. But here is where the Seeker must venture to discover the lost aspects of her self. They are also protectors and guardians of the wisdom and treasures to be found into the dark waters of our minds and hearts.

Crocodiles are excellent mothers. They guard their young and nurture them. Occasionally however, they suddenly turn and devour their young. Unpredictable, primal, savage, and ferocious, they symbolize both Life Mother and Death Mother.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Fox - The Soul's Guardian Spirit

Feminine Magic,
Invisibility, Shape-shifter,
Protector at the Edge of the Unconscious.

Like Serpent and Dragon, Fox holds the distinction of being a negative symbol within Christianity and a positive symbol in other older and New World indigenous traditions. This paradoxical archetypal animal signifies cunning, stealth, slyness, cleverness, trickiness, and even deceit within the symbolisms of Christianity. Fox even symbolized the Devil in early Christian mythologies. Curiously, it is these same characteristics which makes Fox the ultimate survivor in Nature. For little Fox survives by escaping the notice of more powerful predators. In fact, in hunting Fox, even man has had to turn to his cousin, Dog, to overcome Fox’s talents of stealth, speed, cunning, and invisibility.

According to Ted Andrews, Fox symbolizes the feminine magic of camouflage and shape-shifting. These have to do with the energies of the aura and the Second Great Magical Law. Fox lives in the border places around us: in the instants between evening and night, between nighttime and dawn, in the auric energies around our bodies, and in the spaces between waking consciousness and deep sleep. Meeting Fox in dreams indicates a feminine power of the Unconscious has intervened in favor of your living your life well. Fox may also appear to lead you into the Deep Forest; many knights and warriors have found themselves lost in an adventure in an unknown part of the Great Unconscious, lead there by an odd numinous animal.

Both ancient Chinese myth and native American tales speak of Foxes who shape-shift into beautiful young women, who appear in the lives of lonely young men. Fox magic dreams itself into the lives of young men even today, whenever they are caught and be-spelled by the wide-open eyes of a lovely woman and are held fast. But unless he can recognize and respect the wildness and need for naturalness within his paramour, he might lose her. In many of these old tales, husbands try to tame their wives or subdue them by controlling them, only to lose their wives and happiness as the wildness rose against them. In some of these tales, the husband killed their Fox wives in fear of them. In our culture, the male of our species often fears women, as well as the feminine energies within themselves; these are the energies of the anima—the inner capability of men to feel. The man who appreciates his own inner feminine is in love with his own soul! For it is She who guards the borderland between his conscious and unconscious minds. It is She who works to make him Whole.

Although there are several varieties of foxes, the most common American Fox is the Red Fox. Its color is symbolic of the kundalini—the life force. In my own life, Fox has dreamed itself into my own life to tell me how I must avoid the depths of the Underworld. Life is to be lived in the third dimension—not out among the stars or in the depths of hell (the astral realms). Death awaits those who dive deep into those Underworld realms, for many become lost! Fox has at least on one occasion saved my life during deep dreaming by herding me back up into consciousness in time to save my life and restore my health and ability to think, create and plan!

Fox medicine teaches us how to remain unnoticed in crowds, to come and go without being remarked upon. A person can learn much by just standing in the shadows and listening. Invisibility is a powerful medicine to cultivate in life.

Fox has very acute senses of smell, vision and hearing. Smell symbolizes the power of discrimination; so Fox medicine offers us the power of clear thinking and decision-making to keep us safe, healthy, and prosperous. Fox “sight” may lead us astray if we’re looking for those entities who dwell in the ether, but then you know yourselves. But if you so choose, you may sight one or two before your life is over. And hearing? Well, there are those whose Fox magic has gifted a sense of hearing beyond the ordinary. Who knows what you might hear if you listen carefully at dusk or outside your windows at mid-night?

Although farmers tell stories of the foxes which got into their hen-houses, Fox is mostly a hunter of mice, insects and other small animals. Fox is “charming” and dainty, cat-quick, light-hearted and playful, a great parent to its cubs, and a strong teacher of stalking knowledge about life. Fox has a gift for play that captivates the attention of animals which make very good dinners, for they relax and become curious of Fox’s play when they should be fleeing for their lives. If Fox is your totem or guardian, take time to play; perhaps you too will attract an attractive guest or two—not to mention members of the opposite sex!

Fox magic can have its darker uses as well, as all the great archetypes tell us. For encountering an enemy at night has its uses. Invisibility makes for a great offense, as well as defense. Who knows who might be listening wherever we live and work?

Being cunning and deceitful with co-workers and potential colleagues might backfire. And lying can be a temptation if Fox’s needs get too strong. You’ll want to seek out Fox’s lighter aspects. Learn to be a patient hunter, to be careful and discriminating, listen before you speak, and keep your eyes open. And you too will be a Master of Natural Magic before you end this lesson. Respect Fox and Her needs, but keep your own mind! Keep in mind how there is almost always a light in the darkness however. Whatever that is, you’ll know in time.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Deer - Keeper of Magical Law

Gentle Luring to New Adventure,
Innocence, Return to the Worlds of Childhood,
Messenger of the Fairy Kingdom,
Swiftness, Grace, Love, Compassion,

In many myths of both East and West, the Deer plays a central role in luring Kings and hunters into the Deep Woods where adventure finds them. The Deer is the Keeper of Magical Law. Wherever Deer is, the Seeker will encounter the magic of the Wild Places. In the Legends of King Arthur for example, Sir Gawain found adventure after following a White Hart into the Woods.

The Deep Woods symbolizes the Unconscious Realms of our Minds, but a friendlier dimension than the Ocean as a symbol of the Unconscious. It is a place where magic can still be encountered—where the fairy kingdom and the Old Gods still live. Those of us who have to grow up lose the memory of the wonder of those fantastic realms of fantasy, where once we could see and hear the fairies, where once the birds and animals talked to us. Childhood’s time is so short, and children today must grow up so fast. The Real World of adulthood won’t tolerate fantasy or play or even the willingness to let the mind roam into unworldly possibilities. The older we become however, the more we need to recall the gifts of youth and Nature.

When we reach the point in life when our enthusiasm for life wanes, when we need to go back and rediscover what is important, Deer will lure us into our Deep Inner Woods to find those magical realms where life was once bright and new. Deer can return to us the awe and passion we once felt about Life and living here in Earth’s Light.

Because of its connection with ancient legends of kings and chivalry, Deer takes us back into the times of Romance, when Knights and Kings courted beautiful damsels, fought great battles and hunted the deer with horse and hound before the coming of Christianity. Deer takes us back to learn the ancient wisdoms of Ages past and can remind us of the times before guilt and sin was the basis for religious experience. And Deer can reawaken the spark of lost Love in the old who need to rekindle the inner fires of romance and living from the Heart.

One of the most noticeable characteristics of the Deer is the antlers of the male animal. Antlers symbolized antenna, which attune one to higher realms. If Deer has entered your life, expect new awareness of the magical realm. You should watch for the awakening of new psychic gifts and perceptual abilities of the subtle realms.

In rutting season, bucks can become very aggressive, and have been know to attack and humble human hunters. The masculine character can emerge whenever the feminine is ready to receive him. The Buck can become aggressive and masculine when the Doe accepts him.

On the feminine side, Deer may draw us away into fantasy when we ought to be grounding ourselves and facing the need to be present in our lives and face our everyday problems. Deer’s senses are sharp, and he can sense trouble when still far away. Deer runs away to hide whenever danger comes. This is understandable for children, who need fantasty to cope with harsh experiences and learning about themselves. But living in the Deep Woods, in those fantastic realms, is not good for grown men or women for long periods. It can become a habit to escape reality in fantasy if we are not very careful. There comes a time for coming out of the woods and confronting life’s issues.

Immaturity is also symbolized by the immature deer, for the deer appears a fragile and fairy-like creature. Young people for whom Deer is their power animal may fear for their safety in our rough and tumble youth cultures. Many learn to shy away from confrontation and aggressive youths to avoid hurtful situations. Middle school and high school years are difficult periods to pass through. Young bucks practice fighting with one another, separating from females and adults, and can make life difficult for many more timid boys and girls. But they should remember that maturity can bring new opportunities to discover their real strengths, and the time will come when few will dare to confront them directly. Few animals have the combination of ethereal beauty, speed, grace and strength of Deer when they grow into their maturity.