I reside adjacent to the Tseycum First Nations reservation on the West Coast of Canada. The sights and sounds, including totem poles, sweat lodges and the drumming that accompanies a round dance harmonizing to the seasons and rhythms of nature are normal fare. Occasional product testing outside the fireworks store has brilliant starbursts cartwheeling in spastic sky patterns. Special times for weaving dreamy magic moments for us locals.
I hike through the heart of the reservation to the communal mailbox to fetch the mail. People may know my name through work or casual neighborly chit chat. I have never experienced anything quite like living here – I confess it does top my list of “beguiling places to live” in my soul’s adventures.
Beyond the eco-culture around me and the coastal foliage of Arbutus, Cedar, Douglas Fir and splashes of native flowers such as yarrow and bearberry there are many unseen aspirating energies that have also made the area home.
My own domicile was built just a few years ago. Having never gone through the process of having a home built from scratch, I must say it was fascinating and frustrating all commingled into one learning experience. I’ve earned a few more wrinkles. Now in saying that I also believe that, if the opportunity presents itself – everyone should go through the rigamarole at least once to appreciate the revealing process of constructing a residence. Well-meaning friends told us that “you never quite get it right, so be prepared” – were they right or were they right! We overlooked building an overhang on our west-facing deck, for one instance. I always appear sunburnt in pictures year-round. The landscaping, including the quirky black and white gravel yin/yang symbol in the front yard, has been taking shape over the last three summers. I have undertaken property clearing of my home and it has been a beneficial purge. In doing so new and clearer messages have come forth.
My inner sanctuary is an important one to me – but I am also keen to be aware of the messages my outer environment offers – having never lived in an authentic country setting before, I find the stillness makes my senses sharper.
So on the subject of messages from the environment: several times this year certain animals have shown up for me and I believe the messages that they offered were more incisive than those a therapist might give. I have had to integrate the meaning, study the subject, and, at times, imagine a dialogue with these magical totems. A select few that captured my attention and my heart over the last year. Many of them sauntered in and out of my life staying sometimes for only the span of a few hours. Others are still around as I write. I must have opened and walked through my very-berry-pink back door a hundred times to hear a kingdom of energies whisper “come let me help you, Maureen”.
Here is my list of power animals that showed up to walk me through me dealing with disillusionment, death, befuddlement, and sometimes just helping to set contemplative mood. The meanings I ascribe to them are purely my own interpretations. These interpretations felt best for me with no association of right or wrong, they just were:
Banana Slug – she showed up in early spring and seemed to favour gliding slowly along one side of our white fence. I was going through the process of making a decision and I found that I was so drawn to her. An unconventional beauty to say the least – I found her adorable. I watched her move and stay on course and she just seemed solid in herself. I liked her balance and I heard her and felt her offer that to me. Main soul offering: “Stay on course and keep in balance.”
Eagle Family – there is a host of eagles that I watched in the beginning of 2019 – they were perched 50 feet high in a Douglas Fir tree. This family, with their distinctive cries, is one that felt reminiscent of a chirpy clan of engaged personalities all talking at the same time. In a time where I was being drawn more into my own family and pondering what meaning community holds for me – I watched them attentively. Sometimes I would stop what I was doing when I heard their cries and watched them soar and swirl in the skies. Heedless of me, they climbed high and they stuck together. Main soul offering: “You can still climb in your life and have your family and community bolster you.”
Praying Mantis (see actual photo/featured image above) – a recent addition, this eat-the-head-off-your-mate-and-watch-them-die female enchants me. She sticks around our periwinkle planters. When I first met her, she was stuck like superglue on the drain-pipe outside the very-berry-pink door. She has even laid some of her eggs behind one of the planters. She let me photograph her. She can perch in the same spot for hours and hours – sometimes days in the same locale waiting for her prey. I asked her about a business decision and she stayed focused on what she was doing. Main soul offering: “Step into taking things one thing at a time; simplify.”
Garter Snake – as more of an urban woman I was surprised one day while picking up a hollow lawn ornament. I was presented the gift of a garter snake! He seemed more surprised to meet me than I was to come upon him. I saw that same snake (or a close relative) with his slithery energy all summer long. I was at a point where I was not sure how to assist a friend in need. Garter Snake was unexpected and yet refined and stealthy in undulating away without disturbing anyone or anything in his travels. Main soul offering: “Humility and grace can sometimes be so honouring to everyone.”
Grey Cat – has been a regular addition to the landscape – I am not sure if she is feral or not because she roams her little domestic short-hair bod around the neighbourhood like she owns the place. She is by the road, in the ditches, in each driveway, she just keeps on travelling looking for her next meal. I had lost someone in my life due to cancer at the time she appeared more frequently this year. Main soul offering: “You have to keep moving through life to survive, thrive, and live your fullest self-expression.”
Hummingbird: – this particular beauty queen in the very traditional sense seemed to like to hover around and suck nectar from the lipstick red flowers of a lobelia plant on my deck. I recognized her a few times because of the distinctive markings on her wing. She was a turbo-charged wee thing and made the best of the moment the few times I met her. I was contemplating some very uplifting and grateful thoughts about my life. Main soul offering: “When the going gets good, the good get going – do what you can when you can!”
These were my elucidations and interpretations. I know there are many takes on animal totems, but I have to say that I feel we all can tap into them and deduce our own special conclusions based on each of our personal circumstances – if we let the magic and our connection to the world around us flow.
I look forward to more critters showing up and I take great joy in how they adorn my biosphere and how they contribute vital nourishment to my inner world.
“Who lurks outside the very-berry-pink door today?” I ask myself. All unconditional guidance welcomed.
Who lurks outside of each of your passageways?, Do tell!