Animals in Nature as Guides and Totems

Hiking in the hills

Hiking in the hills

I have been spending time in the hills when the weather permits, not often as the weather has been quite uncooperative in terms of heavy winds, dark skies, rain or very cool temperatures.  On Tuesday I finally was able to get back into the hills to enjoy moments of sunshine, warmth and an intimate relationship with the earth and life.

It is interesting that each time I visit these hills which provide a sanctuary from the noise and the crowds, I am gifted with the presence of animals.  I don’t always take their photos, but I go get to see them and they get to see me; this Mule doe for example.  Of course, I am alone at these times, no distracting noises from other people or dogs which would break whatever bond exists.  When others are present, the animals are seen, but only in passing as they run off quickly.  When I am alone, the running stops.  And finally, when they do move away, it is not in a fear response.  I wonder why this deer stopped long enough to engage me, eye to eye over a short distance?  What was she thinking?  What was she trying to tell me?  Did she want me to follow?

In searching for answers, I came upon the following:

Just as the deer has an uncanny sense of where to find the green freshness earth provides, we can ask the deer within ourselves to seek out our inner treasures. In meditation or day dream, go on a spiritual hike with the deer. See yourself walking in the woods with the deer leading you into amazing depths within your soul. Each step you and the deer take will lead you deeper into your spiritual knowing, and to limitless treasure within.

The deer (particularly the doe, females) has the capacity for infinite generosity. Their heart rhythms pulse in soft waves of kindness. Match that graciousness by offering your trust to her. She will reward you by leading you to the most powerful spiritual medicine you can fathom. (Avia Venefica, Behind the Signs: Animal Symbolism)

Ah, that resonates even if it isn’t a Jungian who has written the words.  One of the things that I have learned is not to question the source of the words or images that resonate, but to look at the resonance itself which is tapping into one’s own psyche giving us the opportunity to discover something long hidden, something new-to-us as conscious beings.

Is she my guide or my totem?  I have to say that she is a guide for me at this moment in time, one of many guides that have made an appearance in my life, guides that have been both animal and human. human.

In Search of the Authentic Self

It isn’t often that I borrow images from others, but today’s image is one that just begged to be brought here.  I came across this image thanks to one of my Twitter friends, someone who had found the image at a site called Poor Artists hosted on Tumblr.  I then went in search of Paige Bradley’s own page where the statue is featured in four different settings. I encourage readers to check out both sites as there is so much to see.  The world is richer than one often thinks.

In a way, I find this to be a synchronistic event, the “tweet” to view the image.  I am reading Women Who Rub With the Wolves, by Clarissa Pinkola Estés.  In the book she talks about accessing the Wild Woman or La Loba:

Each woman has potential access . . . She arrives there through deep meditation, dance, writing, painting, prayermaking, singing, drumming, active imagination, or any activity which requires an intense altered consciousness.” (Estés, Women Who Run With the Wolves, p. 30)

How fitting an image to go with this ancient idea!  Yet, that is not all that was synchronistic for me.  As several of my recent posts have discussed, naturism is another current area of study, the idea of being Sky Clad as an outer expression of honesty to match the quest of discovery of the authentic self.  This image, Expansion, addresses this quest as well.  I guess I could say that I am double lucky in having this image appear in my life at this particular time.