Monday, July 12, 2010

Raccoon Medicine

© 2010 by Joyce Mason

I’ve long been familiar with the Medicine Cards by Jamie Sams and David Carson which work as a tarot of animal totems. Whatever cards you draw, you need the “medicine” associated with that animal. It’s often stunning how these cards and furry friends bring light to an issue or suggestions how to proceed on your path.

I’ve also been familiar, for a long time, with the idea that if an animal comes into your sphere on a given day, it’s the “live” version of drawing a Medicine Card. For example, earlier this year, one of the ducks from our nearby creek flew down our chimney and into the fireplace! He was stuck flitting around madly until we intervened.

The poor thing, scared out of his wits and covered in ashes, finally let me grab him around the middle, disabling his wings temporarily from mad flying. Then I could put him on the deck. He flew off into the sunset. Later, I learned from my friend Larry, who’s part Native American, that Duck is about emotional comfort and protection. Ducks connect with feminine energies, the astral plane, and emotions. They have a strong sense of community. Community has been “up” a lot for me this year, and in a way, living on a creek, the ducks are part of my community. I was happy to help him.

Larry also said ducks remind us that it’s OK to return to the parts of ourselves that feel safe and comfortable. They teach us to be graceful when handling emotions and to drink deep from the waters of life. I love this! From a more punful place, I wondered if there was something I might be “ducking.” Since the duck landed in my fireplace, I also “got” that there might be some issues of personal burnout. But one of the things I read online about Duck that hit home most of all has to do with how ducks glide with grace in the water, while their little webbed feet are pumping like crazy underneath. It reminded me how I seem like I turn out projects and writing in the world that look polished, when underneath it all, I’m working like crazy. (I suppose that’s no big secret!)

Touched by Raccoon Medicine – Part 1

Last week we mourned the cutting down of one of our beloved live oak trees. We live above a stand of them, and the tree could not be saved. It threatened to take out our deck and bedroom. I discovered the big crack in the base of the tree thanks to a friend who happens to be a forest ranger. He also found a raccoon living in it! I've been so concerned about the raccoon and how it would relocate. A friend of mine who's a professional animal communicator and psychic was even "talking" to it for me. While my forest ranger friend thought the raccoon would find many potential homes along our green belt, it refused to come out as the workers cut the tree to just above its habitat.

The tree service worker opened the hole enough to peer in more deeply. That's when he discovered not just a raccoon but several babies. She chirruped at me, as if conversing—and she never seemed afraid but held her ground.

She did get through. My heart just went out to her and her babes, and we decided we would not cut the tree to the ground at this time. Through my psychic friend, I told her, "You can live here as long as you want until your babies are big enough for you to relocate on your own."

Later, I learned that the key words for Raccoon Medicine are “generous protection.” I generously protected the mother and children as she protected her babies. It felt good, and it reflected other issues in my life where generous protection was needed.

Torn by Raccoon Medicine – Part 2

I wish I could leave this story on the up-note of  that happy ending—and I wish it had left me there, too. As a reporter on the deeper meanings of life, I have to share the sad with the happy.

A day later, I got some devastating news from my neighbor who was harvesting the wood from our tree for his elderly mother’s wood-burning stove. One of the adult raccoons had been accidentally killed by one of the tree cutters’ saws. He had crawled up into a hollow branch, apparently frightened by the noise of the saws. There was no way they could have known he was there.

I was devastated. I had asked them to be so careful, and after receiving this bad news, I bawled my eyes out for the next 15 minutes. I don’t remember when I last cried so hard. I'm sure I was mourning not just the innocent raccoon but the losses of a lifetime.

Of course, I know there is nothing I could have done. I know it was an accident. Still, human intervention left a family without one parent. My husband, Tim, feels it was the mother that survived, because she’d be the one most likely to stay in the bottom of the tree with the babies. That’s my hope, although I can’t say I feel much better about leaving a family without a father.

Painful as Part 2 of my brush with Raccoon Medicine was for me, there was much I learned from it. We can’t control everything. There’s a larger order which may make no sense to us. I like to think I can save the world. Clearly, I can’t.

I couldn’t leave a dying tree ready to topple house, people, and animals, including both the wild and domestic ones that live on my property. I’ve also, lately, had some realizations about the parallel to diseased relationships. This episode taught me that sometimes, whether we want to or not, death is part of the pruning process. When we can remove the diseased or disfunctioning part of a relationship and it survives—wonderful. When we cannot and there is loss or death, we must move on. In its own way, that’s Spirit generously protecting us.

While I wish God/dess sometimes wasn’t so graphic; this certainly makes the point. As does the positive part of the story. I will always generously protect the people I love. It’s in my make-up. The part about generously protecting myself, I’m still learning.

Leave it to the last act of a dying oak tree to help convey these lessons. The Oak is considered in the Celtic tradition the cosmic storehouse of wisdom, embodied in its towering strength.

Who knew such drama was going on just below my house?


Photo Credit: THE RACCOON by Vladvitek |


Eileen Williams said...

Your words, as always, lead me to ponder aspects of my own life in light of the lessons you provide. But now, especially, I'm thinking of you. I know you've had some recent experiences where "ducking" and a bit of raccoon medicine will come in very handy.

Your generosity of spirit is truly remarkable in its pureness. Yet, just as you needed to cut down the tree to protect your home, pruning the parts of your own "tree" that are sapping your strength is something I know you're considering.

I wish you well, my friend and hope the ducks, raccoons, and other teachers of nature will fill you with their strong and positive medicine.

Joyce Mason said...

Thanks, Eileen, for your obvious care and concern. Your comments are always good medicine! I'm on a very fast-growth summer growing season odyssey, and so far, your good wishes for me are coming true. Plus, I had a psychic reading last Saturday that confirmed that all the good I'm seeing come out of adversity isn't just my imagination!

Thanks, again, for your very poetic thoughts and loving friendship.

Pop Art Diva said...

You are the only person in the world who would have a duck fly down their chimney - Lucky Duck it was your chimney and you saved him!

I'm so sad to hear about the raccoon who didn't make it but you did save the babies!

I've never heard of Medicine Cards but I'm familiar with animal totems - I often dream of bears, especially baby bears.

I'm just trying to figure out the meaning of my ongoing trials and tribulations with Tink - though he is quite a loving little bugger when he's not being controlled by his teenage cat hormones, lol.

BTW, do insects come into play in the Medicine Card draw?

Joyce Mason said...

Hi, Pop Art! It's funny about the duck, because Duck Medicine came up in conversation last night. I taped two segments for my friend's local cable TV show, "The Paranormal Connection." Afterward, I was discussing with the crew my "comfort curve" with this kind of public speaking. Said I always "came off" well but had a lot of underlying anxiety, which I've worked on for a decade in Toastmasters and managed to lessen. One insightful woman said, "You're like a duck. You look like you're swimming smoothly on the surface, but you're paddling like crazy underneath." That really got my attention, for it's true on so many levels!

Living with 2 male kitty sons, I can tell you, feline boys will test any notions you have of control or exercising your own will. I wish you luck! :) (Maybe you could have a psychic conversation with the Lucky Duck.)

The only insects in the Medicine Card deck are Spider and Ant, but the deck has many blank cards for creating or imagining your own critters in your medicine mix. The principle is the same. Google (name of animal or insect + medicine). You'll be surprised how you'll almost always find someone who has encountered and deciphered a creature's "medicine."