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?
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About This Blog
To learn all about how this blog was born and reborn--its vision and definitions of key terms used, visit the Happy Rebirthday post from June 17, 2009.
Writer and Astrologer, Joyce Mason, has been typing up a storm ever since finding her first pen pal at age ten. That’s how she started sharing her unique insights about human nature. Along the way, Joyce realized that her inklings, intuitions, and the “signs” she saw everywhere were real. They color her unique view of life, one that encompasses both deep living and every aspect of light, especially “lightening Up.”
Soon the inkling part was literal. She had the grand aha that these topics are what she had to write about! Originally a baby boomer blog, Hot Flashbacks, Cool Insights has morphed to a salon on spirited living by playing the symbols. That includes those found in astrology, dreams, oracles, synchronicities, fortune cookies—or even the graffiti on the bathroom wall. Guidance is everywhere!
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