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D A I L Y * W I L D day 15

~ your wild self… finding your animal totem

some days…ok, many days, i wish i was a wild creature. well, i am, but i mean in the true sense of the cultural definition. you know, furry, four legged, fanged, ferocious, tenacious, smart, resourceful, elusive, tricky. oh, and clever! ok, so i am all those things, i just wish i had the fur to match it. (if anyone out there makes those cute little warm fuzzy creature hats with flaps and ears…count me in. raccoon preferred, please.)

four years ago, i began a journey. one of the main focuses on this journey was to discover what my animal totem is. in reality, as i look back, it was if i couldn’t even make the first steps on my path until i knew what this primal wild creature was that infused its essence into my very being and guided me through the thick woods of my psyche.

my search landed me at Animá, Lifeways & Herbal School. (let me just add here that my funny little trickster guide appears to be at work again, as my computer screen has literally flipped upside down due to some punching of some unknown key combination & i now find myself typing upside down). my family at Animá supported me completely on this first step. as a result, i found myself in amazing ancient mountainous canyons nestled in the gifting lodge for a long 4-day retreat. i was free to explore the wilderness of surroundings as well as my own wild yet suppressed spirit. many a dream (both sleeping and waking) i had, all were profound and revealing.

but the most influential dream was that of raccoons. (whew, ok, thank you google, screen is right side up now.) i was sleeping  in the gifting lodge, and in my dream i was also in the gifting lodge. a back secret doorway (which doesn’t exist in the physical gifting lodge, only in my dream) was ajar slightly and curious noises were coming from inside the secret room. i walked downstairs (in my dream) and stood quietly in the main room, leaning on my toes trying to see what was causing all the raucous. when suddenly a large male raccoon flashed past me and out the front door. behind him were two little youngsters in tow. but that wasn’t the end of the furry four legged train. last but most certainly not least, a BIG, FURRY, mama raccoon slowly sauntered out from behind the door. she swayed her hips from side to side making it clear she was in no particular hurry. she was confident and calm. she stopped at my feet, reached up and placed her paw on my left shoulder. it was if she had seared her print on my skin and ultimately acknowledged and accepted me as kin. not to mention infusing me with the power that belongs to these ferocious, tenacious, resourceful, witty, clever, onery, creatures who sometimes find it hard to get along with others! (as so perfectly stated by Jesse Wolf Hardin in his most recent post here.)

strange as it may seem, i woke from this dream feeling complete. like the part of me that had been missing, or at least misunderstood for so long was now intact. i researched these creatures and found that many of their character traits were indeed my own. i vowed not to forget these aspects of myself and to allow this little trickster to light the way when the dark closes in.

~ raccoon tracks i spotted at Animá after discovering my animal totem

in honor of my little totem ally, i had a raccoon print tattooed on my shoulder. the same shoulder in the same spot that mama raccoon had branded me in my dream.

the paw print is encircled with sage (Artemisia~ my all time favorite wild plant ~ mother herb of women and dreaming).

when i seem to have lost my way, or i veer from living my authentic life, raccoon always seems to find its way into my waking day in some form. the little trickster pulls my attention back to what is important and demands that i pay attention…most significantly to my own follies and progresses. she reminds me to lighten up, and to also not take for granted all i have been gifted. she also asks that i honor those qualities that have helped me to persevere and survive.

~ spend some time today thinking about what wild creatures you are attracted to. go the extra mile and do some research on their characteristics. see if you resonate with them,or find a kindred spirit in one of these allies. then sit down in a quiet space and focus on this animal, interact with it in your mind’s eye and listen to all it has to reveal. welcome them into your life as an intuitive guide. maybe draw a picture or create a collage in honor of your animal guide and leave it an offering of thanks. play and be open, get creative and let go of inhibitions about your own wild freedom feels and looks like ~