As I write this I’m preparing to host a day of meditation for a dozen people at our cabin in the mountains. Unless it rains, some of that time will be spent outdoors. At an altitude of about 3,300 feet, we’re situated in an enchanted womb of a valley encircled by densely wooded mountains, most of which are named after animals or natural formations resembling familiar shapes.
Carl Jung said, “Within each one of us there is another whom we do not know. S/He speaks to us in dreams…” This Another is our unconscious, a mixture of unknown inner characters, complexes, untapped interests and disowned emotions. At an early age our ego adapted to the life into which we were born by incorporating the tastiest of these tidbits into our conscious personality and neglecting the rest.
The death goddesses and their myths are, in part, metaphors for loss: the loss of youth and innocence, of important roles and relationships, of personal power, of fertility. In dreams as in life, death symbols point to the outworn attitudes and assumptions we need to slough off, like a snake shedding a tight-fitting skin so it can keep growing.
We are ready to leave the seductive world of dreamy irresponsibility. The dark night is upon us and if we cannot wake up and become good mothers to ourselves, each other, and our planet, we will have no new awareness to contribute to the evolving consciousness which alone can birth a new dawn.
When I bought Shadow I had no idea I had power issues, but he showed me just how shrouded in shadows this area of my soul was. Through him I saw my confusion about the positive and negative aspects of power and discovered a strong tendency to surrender my power to avoid conflict and keep peace. Shadow made it very clear to me that this was not a good thing.
The term animal medicine refers to life lessons learned from animals whose characteristics and habits demonstrate how to walk on our physical Earth Mother in harmony with the universe.