Animals as Teachers

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Animals are powerful teachers and have much to offer us because they possess natural balance, harmony, and alignment.  They do not have doubt, blame, shame, insecurity, and all the other blocks we experience.  A wolf does not worry because it is not an eagle.  A fox does not experience jealousy because another fox is bigger and has longer, shinier fur.  They don’t yearn to be something else.  The animal simply knows what it is and instinctively knows its purpose.  Animals teach us to accept ourselves for who we are because they are so in alignment with who they are.

One way to align with and communicate with the animal world is to go to your local zoo.  Spend time with an animal that you are attracted to, particularly one of your own totem animals, for they are the key to your own unique naturalness.  Do not stare into their eyes, as that is a signal of aggression or danger; rather, gaze at them indirectly or with soft focus.  Send your energy and your communication softly, with respect and honor.  Ask that animal to receive the energy and send its energy back.  They communicate in images, so see what you get.  Observe the animal in its catness, its deerness, its rabbitness, its crowness, its wolfness.  What makes it what it is?  If the opportunity presents itself, imitate the body movements, mannerisms, and sounds of the animal, just as you did with the trees.  What does it feel like, look like, act like in your own body to be a jaguar, a bear, an eagle?

Over time, you will want to get to know your own personal totem animals.  We encourage you to explore this arena by reading Sun Bear’s book The Medicine Wheel (New York: Prentice Hall, 1986).  His sacred vision, his Earth wisdom, and the love of Grandmother Earth that Sun Bear shared during his life were instrumental in bringing back the sacred Medicine Wheels and reawakening people’s connection with the Earth Mother.

In their natural habitats, animals maintain harmony and balance.  They exhibit alpha/beta behavior and assert their territorial imperative to maintain that balance.  That same behavior is exhibited by humans as well, since we are still two-legged animals, but we don’t create balance and harmony with our alpha/beta behavior.  More often or not, we dominate and try to take control, thus upsetting the balance in the environment.  When we enter the picture, we destroy the whole balance and suffer immeasurably for it.

Read how Reintroducing Wolves into Yellowstone National Park changed the Ecosystem as an example of this harmony and balance.

Check out the Song of the Deer by Thunder Strikes with Jan Orsi if you would like to learn more.

Animal World

animal world

Animals, the third world of Grandmother Earth, are the receivers of energy.  Their gift is teaching us how to receive. Knowing how animals are receivers is probably most easily understood by those of you who have pets. You will recall the times when you were sick or just “blue” and your pet came to curl up beside you and “made you feel better.”  Animals will take on the energy of their human companion. Often people say the pet looks like or acts like their caretaker.

In our tradition, animals are known as “Sweet Medicine.” Each animal through its habits and ways carries within its being-ness a “medicine.” It is a gift of healing they bring to us if we align with them. Mostly they teach us to be who we are. You don’t see a dog wanting to act like a frog. It is content in its dog-ness. These animals are great teachers and allies.

Check out the Song of the Deer by Thunder Strikes with Jan Orsi if you would like to learn more.

The Language of Nature

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We can learn to unlock Nature’s voice, the language of life, inside us.  For most of us, however, this process entails a serious attitude adjustment.  The original Dr. Dolittle is not just a fanciful, make-believe character.  He is a role model to emulate.  As part of our attitude shift, we must be willing to become students of Nature.

Next, we must discard all the paraphernalia we drag with us that separates and insulates us from Nature.  Many of us spend our vacations in national parks and beautiful areas, but we are not in any way connected or aligned.  We are afraid of insects and snakes, startled by animal noises in the night, or irritated by both hot and cold weather.  To feel safe, we feel we need our Airstream trailer or our superdeluxe tent.  Surprisingly, even many of those adventuresome folks who trek in the wilds with just the minimal needs on their backs, while enjoying the scenery, often pass through unmentored because they are not aware that they are the student passing through the landscape of the teachers.  A disease of our society is that we have forgotten how to get below the surface of things.

To learn more, check out the Song of the Deer by Thunder Strikes with Jan Orsi

Children of Grandmother Earth, The Animal World

Each of the worlds have a wheel of their own.  Each of the directions dance with the Animal World in different ways.

In our tradition, animals are known as “Sweet Medicine.” Each animal through its habits and ways carries within its being-ness a “medicine.” It is a gift of healing they bring to us if we align with them. Mostly they teach us to be who we are. You don’t see a dog wanting to act like a frog. It is content in its dog-ness. These animals are great teachers and allies.

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In the South are the swimmers of all sizes and shapes.  They are receiver-givers. The fluidity of water has to do with our emotions. Look at the dolphin: it is a receiver by nature, but if a human is in trouble, it will give help to the human.

lizard_1280In the West are the crawlers, those who creep with their belly on the earth. The earthworms, lizards, and snakes are receiver-holders. They know the earth intimately, so from them we can learn how to be in a more harmonious relationship with her. The earth worm eats compost and changes it into soil, therefore helping the soil to hold its integrity.

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In the North are the four-leggeds, the receiver-receivers, those who run with the wind and teach us balance. Some of these animals have been willing to “receive” humans onto their backs and make our transportation easier.

 

 

 

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In the East are the winged ones, the receiver-determiners. These beings relate to our spirit (fire). The eagle is known as the “Messenger of the Great Spirit,” carrying our prayers to spirit and bringing messages back to us.

 

In the Center are the mythical animals, the receiver-transformers and catalyzers. Mythical animals have a way of stretching our imagination and teaching us in the dreamtime.  They carry truth through the myth and legends of all cultures. Also here are the two-leggeds who are not yet sacred humans. The Sweet Medicine SunDance Way speaks of unbalanced humans as “two leggeds.” They are human in form but lack the consciousness and right behaviors of what it is to be truly human. When humans become balanced, they move to their own place on the Human Wheel.

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