Animals are such agreeable friends - they ask no questions; they pass no criticisms.
George Eliot (b. Mary Anne Evans, 1819-1880) novelist, humanist & freethinker
today tattoo tuesday looks at animal guides or friends which adorn some of my friends' bodies.
i have long been interested in what various cultures believe about animals. i am particularly interested in the notion that certain animals have particular power and provide lessons for us if we listen. in fact the name of this blog celebrates the medicine* of one of my most enduring animal totems - the humble mouse.
the first photo is of a friend who has long had an affinity for elephants - the band which adorns his arm comes from a drawing which he did when he was young. he told me he drew it based on an image he discovered on his family crest - so it seems as if the affinity for elephants is generational!
i thought it would be fun to share a bit of the wisdom associated with each of the animals from today's tattoos; so, below each photo is a blurb summarizing a bit of the wisdom associated with that animal. by the way the blurbs were copied from various internet sources. in terms of my own printed materials, my favorite reference for animal wisdom is ted andrews book animal-speak: the spiritual and magical powers of creatures great and small (first published in 1993).
Elephant medicine is to know ourselves. Moreover, to see an elephant in Dreamtime reminds us that we need to be more patient and understanding of others. Elephant gives us dignity, grace, strength and wisdom. The key is to honor the power of our cosmic memory for elephant carries the lessons of our planet from the beginning of time. By connecting to elephant, we affect planetary healing beyond the space-time continuum.
When a bat visits us in our dreams, we are challenged to learn the power of adaptation. Bat tells us to quiet the mind and carefully listen within our hearts for a new voice of expression. Bat's spirit reminds us that the past is no longer relevant. Now, we must release old habits and seek a different way of being. The key is to bring all things into balance. In this manner, bat shows us that positive change can be our soul's greatest ally.
Wolf spirit is one of our greatest teachers. He signifies loyalty to family and friends. His gift is to find and follow our true path of destiny through an independent spirit and with trust in our many senses. With wolf, we learn to seek periods of retreat to delve into the mystery. When wolf appears in our dreams, he is guiding us to first find great Medicine through inner work, and then to return to our pack to serve as a teacher, guide and healer.
The appearance of Crow is always a message from our unconscious, for so often Crow warns us of danger, reminds us of our disappointments, and reveals the darker aspects of our character. The key is to be willing to tell the truth regardless of the consequences. Crow's gifts are his voice, his keen insight and his talent for mischief. Crow is a wonderful teacher, so be a good student... one who is prepared to see from afar and speak with great clarity.
Snake appears in our dreams to alert of us of a significant event that will soon spiral into our waking life. Snake's gifts are psychic energy and spiritual healing. Snake awakens our sexuality and brings renewal to our emotional body. His presence provides us with an opportunity for true transformation of the soul to occur. The key is to honor our friends and respect our enemies for every soul is an important teacher in Earth's School of Love.
For the dreamer, alligator spirit signifies the presence of an individual who is willing to acquire personal power through a quiet, inner patience. Alligator's gift is awareness of the dangers, lurking below the surface waters of our emotional body. For alligator, the key to survival is the suspension of judgment, even in the face of the great unknown. This is the path of ancient wisdom, for alligator recognizes that we are all seekers of the soul.
Ladybugs have tremendous symbolism from cultures all across the world. The ladybug is a common symbol of friendship because it is a natural helper in gardens, and works in harmony with nature (and gardeners). In Chinese symbolism the ladybug is very auspicious and considered very good luck. Asian lore indicates if a ladybug lands on your clothing, your true love is sure to come to call. The number of spots on the ladybug is an indication of how many months will pass until you meet your true love.
pete seeger singing the beastiary song (also known as alligator, hedgehog) - a folk classic which has been a childrearing standard at casa mouse since the early 1980s when i picked up my first recording of seeger's animal folk song (in vinyl!). this song and many other animal folk songs appear on pete seeger's album birds, beasts, bugs & fishes (little and big) which is available as a cd.
Alligator, Hedgehog Anteater, Bear
Rattlesnake, Buffalo, Anaconda, Hare
Bullfrog, Woodchuck, Wolverine, Goose
Whippoorwill, Chipmunk, Jackal, Moose
Mud turtle, Whale, Glowworm, Bat
Salamander, Snail, Maltese cat
Black squirrel, Raccoon, Opossum, Wren
Red Squirrel, Loon, South Guinea hen
Polecat, dog, wild otter, rat
Pelican, hog, dodo, bat
Eagle, kangaroo, sheep, duck, widgeon
Conger, armadillo, beaver, seal, pigeon
Reindeer, blacksnake, ibis, nightingale
Martin, wild drake, crocodile, quail
House rat, tosrat, white bear, doe
Chickadee, peacock, bobolink, crow
* Mouse medicine is one of the strongest amongst our animal allies, but is often over looked because he's small. He may not have the voice of the wolf, the eye of the eagle, or the stamina of a humpback whale. Mouse does have the ability to squeeze into impossible spaces, find all that is hidden between the walls, and see what others over look. Mouse can teach us to see the world in great detail. Because mice can only see a few inches from their noses, their world is very close to their faces. This view of life allows us to slow down and look at a situation or project from all the details verses the final out come. Mice can also squeeze anywhere their heads can fit (in most cases the size of a quarter or smaller) showing us that nothing is impossible if we look at all the possibilities. So let Mouse come into your heart today. Let him show you the forgotten details and new possibilities that dance around your feet.