A Calling of Animal Guides
15 Tuesday Jan 2013
My Animal Guides are part of my personal Dream-Speak. They belong to the collective I meet at the table of my dreams and if I am honest and open they tell me things directly and answer my questions.
Most often, the integration of their messages into my Dream-Speak is not found in resource books or even by scouring the web. It is found by asking direct questions, “What do you want?” Or “What have you come to teach me?”
Clarity is key. Animals don’t understand our wobbling. They don’t understand the inability we have to make decisions quickly and swiftly. They don’t understand why we have lost our instincts. Our Animal Guides want directness and questions that cut through the mist. And in turn, they are direct with us.
“What do you want, Crow?”
Crow is one of my personal guides. His answer came to me one Sunday morning as I was resting in that sweet spot between awake and sleep. On this Sunday, the word labor rolled through my head and then the words, “Stop struggling and just write girl – just write!”
Where I live, in the Southern Bible-Belt, Sunday is the day to stop laboring. It is the day all the shops shut down. The seventh day was the day God finished his work and rested. He looked around and said, “Oh My – Isn’t It Good!” Growing up in the south you are hard pressed to even find a shoe store open on Sunday. When I ran my garden center I thought it would be great to open on Sunday because gardening seemed like a relaxing hobby. It wasn’t work or labor, but an enjoyable pasttime. (errr…nobody came) But these are the traditions deeply embedded in our society, and that, is just the way it is.
To labor actually means to struggle to bring something forth. But what is this thing, this idea, this work that we are to stop laboring with? Stop toiling over? What are we fighting against? What are we supposed to be resting from? What is the work? But most importantly, what is the struggle?
Since the day I heard Crow’s answer roll through my head I’ve made Sunday my official day of the Crow. It is not the day I stop working, but the day I stop laboring, the day I stop struggling with my work. It is not a day I sit on my laurels. It is the day I accept what is and what can’t be changed. Crow-day is the day I find joy in my work again. I try to look around or back or up and say, “Isn’t it good!”
If I am struggling with my writing, on Crow-Day, I want to know why. I want to get back to the place where it feels right and restful. And that is why Crow’s word is law to me. He tells me to simply accept what is.
“Stop toiling and laboring,” Crow says, “And just look. Look at where you’ve been. Look at all the work you’ve done.”
Crow has been one of my closest guides since that day as he blankets me with protection.
I love the way the Crows chase the Hawks away from our property, the way they talk back and forth and hover over the Chickens. In turn, the Chickens, and especially the Roosters, listen when the Crows speak. I believe the Roosters hear the Crows calling, ‘Hawk-Hawk’ before they even hear the Hawk’s steady shrill. They listen because Crow’s word is law. (And you thought they were saying Caw-Caw?)
I don’t believe totems are one answer fits all. You can get help from books, but in the end the answers will come from your own experience with an animal. For me, the word law for Crow came from the Medicine Cards book, but the description did not connect with me until I heard that word, labor, in my head. And then everything clicked! It all made sense!
There was a shift in my writing after this day. A new perspective on the work I was doing.
Below is a short list of my personal Animal Guides and some of the things I’ve learned from them. Some of these revelations came to me with the help of books, some of them through dreams, but all of them came to me through taking the time to query and ask the most direct and simple questions, “What do you want? What have you come to teach me?”
When you ask a direct question your mind goes to work on the answer.
Armadillo – Boundaries and honoring and accepting my self imposed limitations.
Bluebird – Finding joy in my work and in all things.
Cardinal (redbird) – The awakening feminine, the creative awakening. The counterpart to Little Red Riding Hood.
Cat (domestic) – Domestic animals have deep lessons and many stories to offer. All of my cats represent different things to me, but generally they represent the vulnerabilities I try to protect. My cat Tavi, represents the Beautiful Crone. She is wise and witchy! Yet so zen and unwavering in her self confidence. I gotta’ be more like her.
Crow – Accepting what is. A shape-shifter because his word of law exists in all things. Giving up the struggle.
Cedar Waxwing – Gratitude. Learning to give and also learning to accept the gift of receiving.
Bat – Rebirth, a guide through the deeper levels of the spirit and sleep. Transcending and moving through the phases of emotion.
Bear – Presence! How am I approaching others? Am I being defensive? Am I taking things personally? Bear also has another side. A side that is a fierce mother and protector, a side of introspection and she is a master of sleep. Bear has very contrasting dark and light sides. She can mean many things so I always have to listen and watch my feet.
Dog (domestic) – Again domestic animals tell us different stories. But the dog can represent instincts, the freedom of play, the wild creative or even loyalty to a job or a calling. My dog, Mackenzie has taught me many things, but mostly she teaches me about my beliefs about protection and freedom.
Hen – Finding the mystical in the everyday. The lightnesss of feathers and moonlight.
Horse – A transporter of passion and conviction. Steadiness. Of all the animals, the Horse knows most of all when I am not being truthful or when I am being wishy-washy. I can’t hide anything from those big watery eyes.
Ladybug – A totem for luck, fame and the dual nature of the feminine. What I show and what I really believe.
Owl – Smart and Wise. (ahhh, I’ve a lot to learn from my owl) To have Owl as a guide is a high honor. I must admit I am smart and wise and maybe wise beyond my years, but I also must know what to do with my smarts. Owl visits those who are too smart for their own good. Owl visits those who need guidance, but are too stubborn to ask. Owl guides those who don’t know what to do with their smarts. Owl sees truth through lies, but it is up to me to know what to do with this truth.
Rat or Mouse – Focusing too much on the little things, navel gazing, existential angst.
Rooster – Finding the masculine voice. Speaking out for what is mine, for what is my truth. The calling of integration and poetry.
Snake – Wisdom through change and transmutation. Introspection and a need for isolation. Oddly enough, the snake is my counterpart to the Nun archetype. Snake is hard to get to know, seems cold, but makes all of her decisions based on a stern dedication to a path and to conviction. Driven by ideals and the spiritual life.
Squirrel – Prepare! But don’t prepare for doom. Prepare for the good things, for the now, for the winter cabin of my dreams. Do your homework! Do your research! But find the balance in this. Sounds funny, but squirrel visits me in the bathroom, the room of preparation.
Turkey – Selfless giving and sacrifice. What do I need to share more of? What am I holding back?
Turtle – The earth. Wisdom found in nature and self sufficiency. Don’t rush. What’s the hurry? Everything is here – now.
Vulture / Buzzard - Opportunity. Take advantage of the resources at hand.
Wren – The happy industrious work of making a home.
Again, this is a short list and I’m sure I’ve left many animals off. (I think they will forgive me for that)
When I get a message or learn something wonderful from an animal guide I call this integration. The integration is the calling of an animal onto my ark; the great raft that carries me across the waters of the collective.
Above all, it is the basic instinct of every animal to survive, and as we integrate their meaning into our lives, they teach us great things about our own survival. They teach us how to move easily through our changes and through our present situations.
I would love to hear about your animal stories.
What have you learned from a Butterfly, from a Hummingbird? From a Lion? From the Bear?!
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