Three Wise Messengers: Animal Symbols

Three Wise Messengers: Animal Symbols

Some of you may be familiar with the Medicine Cards by Jamie Sams and David Carson. They are a pination system using cards depicting animals and describing their “medicine” in terms of what their symbol means and what they can teach us or tell us about our lives. The text is loosely Native American, but interpreted, and very well I might add, by the authors.

Being a big fan of animals and nature, I always found the Medicine Cards fascinating. I’ve done many readings with them over the years, for my self and for others. They are quite dissimilar from the Tarot, so they really give a different kind of perspective, which is a nice change sometimes, although I do love the Tarot.

I am also a big believer in signs and symbols. If I notice something unusual, or have a recurring dream, or have a feeling or a hunch, I always pay attention. Sometimes the meaning becomes obvious right away, and sometimes it becomes clear after a time. But the message always comes through. This is one of the main reasons that I became such an avid journal keeper. I record these events in my journals and can always refer back to them. And I have years and years of journals. I can’t tell you enough how valuable keeping a journal really is.

So now for the story. Last night was a good night for me. I spent the day doing art and attended Kung Fu Sketch Night at the studio I study at, where we got to draw a model in Samurai attire who actually is a master swordsman. It was wonderful! I went to bed in a good mood and was dead tired, so quickly drifted off to sleep, which is unusual for me. My trusty shadow, Heyu (my cat) was in his familiar protective position, glued to my ankles.

It is not uncommon for me to wake up in the very early morning, usually around three. You know, the witching hour. Often it is a strong dream that awakens me. I have abandoned worrying about it, and if I have enough energy, I usually sit up in bed and draw or write. Last night, as usual at around 2 AM I was in the middle of one of those dreams. In the dream I was in a car on a treacherous dirt road and had reached a dead end, on the edge of a cliff, no less! Yikes! I was attempting to turn my car around, in the dark, so I could drive to safety and solid ground. In dream interpretation cars often symbolize our “vehicle to move forward in life, So pay attention to those car dreams, as they can tell you things you need to know about your inner psyche and unseen elements in your energy field.

In the midst of this dream I had a funny sensation while driving my car. I felt like something was crawling on my face. In the dream, I was pawing at my face trying to get “it” off of me. And then, in that lovely, weird place between waking and dreaming, I realized that there WAS something crawling on my face! Yikes again! Still only half conscious, I started coming to and had the most disturbing sensation of something crawling into my right ear. I shot up in bed, hoping all the while that indeed, it was just a dream.

Immediately I was hit with a terrible sense of dis-equilibrium and pain in my right ear. The pain was profound and it was accompanied by a deafening pounding sound. I jumped out o bed and stumbled to the bathroom. It was terrifying. I feared that I was having some kind seizure. It dawned on me that indeed, something may really have crawled into my ear, which is disturbing enough, but I was shocked by the pain so I immediately called 911.

The firemen and paramedics arrived very quickly and I was waiting for them in my leopard bathrobe in the driveway, holding my head and howling in pain. I was lucid, so I was able to explain my situation, but they still had to ask me what city I was in and who was President. They asked if I had used any “recreational drugs,” to which I replied, “No, but if you have any I’ll take them, cause this REALLY hurts!” The paramedics soon whisked me away to the ER and help was on the way.

When I arrived at the ER I was still yowling and holding my head, so, of course, I got immediate attention. FYI, if you ever have to go to the ER and don’t want to wait around you can try this technique and I bet you’ll get right to the front of the line. A lovely, patient medical assistant sat with me and tried to comfort me while we waited for a doctor. I apologized for the screaming and cursing and told her what was going on. She grabbed one of those lighted ear-probe things and looked into my ear. First she saw some blood, which didn’t make me too happy. But then, she stopped for a second and said, “Oh my God, there is a bug in your ear!” Of course, the bug heard that, too, and the cycle of pain immediately resumed.

The doctor, a really nice guy BTW, showed up shortly thereafter. He looked in my ear and saw my little friend and said, “Hmmm. You don’t see that everyday.” Then he asked me to lie on my side and said he was going to pour some liquid in my ear. He said it would either kill the intruder, or force it to come out. I just kept thinking, “This is not happening to me, it’s happening to someone else.” The liquid went in, the interloper started squirming, and low and behold, crawled right out of my ear on to my face. Everyone applauded. I was mortified, but thankful and relieved. I almost didn’t want to know exactly what it was, but the nurse later told me it was a non-poisonous spider. Apparently, when they get in there, they don’t always know what to do and keep trying to push through and dig around, which is hell on your eardrum, let me tell you!

By 3 AM I was in a cab heading home, and in a few minutes I was back at the scene of the crime, sitting in bed wondering what the hell had just happened to me. Then, of course, just as I was at least contemplating the idea of sleep, a skunk wandered by and sprayed under my bedroom window. Thanks guys. Gosh, I just love nature, don’t you? Eventually I got over it and probably ended up with an hour of fitful sleep, waking up and feeling my face and ears every 10 minutes or so.

In the AM while taking my cat for a walk, I was thinking about the events of the evening; the spider, the skunk; and suddenly looked down and noticed there was a beautiful snake at my feet, but it had recently been killed. It shocked me, as I hadn’t noticed it right away, and I stood in reverence looking at its beautiful, lifeless form. It’s then when it dawned on me: the Spider, the Skunk, and the Snake are all Medicine Cards. And I know their meanings well. Instantly, I saw the relationship and started to see the meaning of these strange and somewhat disturbing messages. I was simply amazed, which moved me to write this story for you, in case any of you are receiving “messages” that you might need to tune in to.

Messenger # 1: The Spider: The definition of the Spider Card is too long to print here, but it has a lot to do with looking at what kind of reality your are “weaving” or creating. The quote that really rang true for me says,”The web of fate also represents the wheel of life, which does not include any alternatives or solutions. It is typically human to get caught in the polarity of good or bad fortune without realizing that we can change it at any time. If we are not decisive enough about changing our lots in life, we may end up being consumed by our fears and limitations.” This is a powerful message indeed, and just exactly what I needed to hear, as I am in a time of great change. We can all use a reminder to be conscious about the web of life we are weaving and the choices that we make in that process.

Messenger #2: The Skunk: Skunk Medicine has to do with, among other things, self-esteem and confidence. The Skunk fears no one and knows how to attract its own kind and repel those who might harm it, sometimes just on its reputation alone. Skunk energy puts us on notice to look at what messages our energy puts out to others, and who we attract based on that energy. It also points out that if we send out the wrong message, energetically, we will attract people who may take our energy, or we may simply be leaking energy and not realizing it. There is a caution to be careful not to dump your woes onto others and to avoid talking badly or criticizing others, as these behaviors could be “stinking up” your environment. This was another brilliant message for me personally, as I have been looking at all of these lessons very carefully in my own life and now had much more of a context. At the core, Skunk tells us to take responsibility for our own self-esteem and cultivate that energy actively. Then we can attract the “right” people and situations into our world. Good advice.

Messenger #3: The Snake: The Third Messenger in this strange trilogy was the snake. The key word for snake in the Medicine Cards is Transmutation. It points to a need to change ones consciousness, so a transformation can occur. When the snake needs to shed its skin it is in a vulnerable place. It goes into a state of torpor and the skin begins to die. When the snake is ready, it pulls itself together and sheds the old skin, which is no longer needed, as the snake has now grown into its new skin. Since the snake I saw was deceased, I looked that the Contrary definition of snake more carefully. The words that struck me were these: “you may have chosen to mask your ability to change. Look at the idea that you may fear changing your present state of affairs because this may entail a short passage into discomfort.” Bingo. Once again, I got a great message that was very meaningful to my current state of mind. For everyone, sometimes we do fear change, but the old pattern or “skin” may not be permitting growth. Sometimes releasing the outer skin of our present identity is the only way to get with our own true path. Definitely words to live by.

The Moral of the Story

I hope that none of you ever have a spider or anything else crawl into your ear. It’s truly horrible. Interestingly, it was my EAR, which is the sense of hearing. So, I was put on alert to listen more carefully to the messages around me and to look more deeply into what others were telling me. This even made me think about watching my owns words more carefully, especially with Mercury Retrograde around the corner!

An I certainly emphasize with any of you who have ever been skunked and hope this is not in your near future. The sense of smell is one of our oldest human defenses, related to the limbic system or “old brain.” It is in place to alert us of danger, toxicity, poison, a mate, or a good meal. The sense of smell is a survival tool, like all the senses and one that we often don’t think much about. So, I was once again, being put on notice to trust my instincts and “follow my nose” toward those things that were right and good for me.

It is also my hope that none of you have barely miss stepping on a dead snake anytime soon. This message was about seeing, as my eyes were open, but I almost missed what was right in front of me. On a literal level, our vision may been one of our most essential tools for survival. But on a figurative level, using our “vision” and paying attention to that which is all around us is also essential to our wellness as beings. Sometimes, we simply don’t want to see what is right in front of us, because it is painful or may require us to deal with something uncomfortable. So, once again, I was put on notice to us my Vision and to See more consciously so I could move forward with Awareness.

So, as strange as it might seem, I owe quite a debt of gratitude to the Spider, the Skunk, and the Snake that came into my world over the last 12 hours. As unpleasant as some of this has been, I learned a valuable lesson that I won’t soon forget. This experience helped me make sense of some difficult issues and put things into a better, and more magical context. So, if you see some kind of symbol show up in your life, even if it might be unpleasant, take a better look. The Universe works in strange and mysterious ways, and there are Messengers all around us. But it is up to us to be aware enough to read the smoke signals of the hidden, or mystical world.

This is kind of a lengthy tale, but if you took the time to read it, I sincerely hope it was meaningful to you. And perhaps, if you ask, you will get a “sign” sometime soon that will help you put some of your own puzzle pieces together. In the mean time, I’m going to buy some earplugs.