Is Cougar Your Power Animal?

Cougar tracksLast summer I had to pick my daughter Aster up from language camp in Minnesota, and we decided to take an extra day to camp in the Black River State Forest in Wisconsin on the way back.

We did some hiking, too, and were about a mile in on a remote trail when I looked down and realized that I’d just stepped on a HUGE paw print. Aster looked around and found more. Fresh ones. They were round, with no claw marks, and about the length and width of my outstretched hand.

Cougar tracks.

Of all the times to forget my camera in the car!

We scuttled out of there and I reported the experience to the Wisconsin DNR. Unfortunately it rained before they were able to confirm the tracks, but I did learn that cougars have been sighted in the area.

I can’t decide whether I was sorry or glad not to have seen the animal itself!

North America’s biggest cat Mountain lion

Cougar, Puma, Mountain Lion, Panther, Catamount – no matter what you call it this animal is a powerful symbol of…well…power!

At 6 to 9 feet in length and typically weighing 75-175 pounds, Cougars are one of the largest animals in North America. They are completely carnivorous. Solitary hunters, they bring down deer as well as smaller animals such as rabbits, squirrels, and even porcupines!

Like all cats, cougars are supremely graceful. They are capable of making great leaps – up to 15 feet straight up or up to 40 feet forwards. They are solitary and territorial, but interestingly they don’t tend to defend their boundaries much, preferring to let other cats pass through unmolested. Cougars have been known to roam for hundreds of miles before staking out a territory of their own.

Another distinctive thing about the mountain lion is its voice. It’s been described as chilling and bloodcurdling, like a woman screaming, and can be heard from quite a ways away.

CougarCougar as a Power Animal

If Cougar has entered your life, pay close attention to your own reaction. Are you excited? Scared?

It’s pretty normal to feel fear when face to face with a large predator, but if you find yourself obsessing over the idea of cougars, or if just looking at a picture of one makes chills run up and down your spine (but at the same time you feel compelled to keep looking), it could indicate that you have not yet come to terms with your own personal power.

On the other hand, you can consciously bring Cougar energy in when you need to be focused and take swift, decisive action – especially when patience and proper timing are also required.

If you carry Cougar energy you will probably exhibit a certain amount of restlessness and wanderlust. You will probably enjoy travel, but guided group tours won’t be your thing. You’ll have more fun discovering your own secret haunts. You might end up moving a lot, or changing careers.

At work, you’ll do best when you have a great deal of creative freedom. If  a job doesn’t suit you, you’re more likely to quietly walk away than to stick it out in misery. You may even start your own business – but unless you have strong influences from other power animals you’ll probably be happier as a solopreneur rather than managing a team of people. (Or, hire a trusted person to do the managing for you.) You are capable of great leaps of insight and decisive action – but remember to be patient and look before you leap.

One characteristic of Cougar energy is quiet power. This is especially evident where communication is concerned. A few words from a Cougar person can shake mountains. Remember that old TV commercial, “When E.F. Hutton talks, people listen?” That describes Cougar energy very well. A Cougar person may not say much, but when they do open their mouth, look out. If their power is well-balanced their observations can catalyze incredibly powerful positive change in the world. If not, their words can be cutting, hurtful and destructive.

I could write a lot more, but will save it for another day. Perhaps you would like to add some observations of your own? Share your thoughts in the comment box below! 🙂

A to Z blogging challenge

photo credit: by Tambako the Jaguar via photopin (license)

Bats!

Bat upside downBats! Most people find them at least a little scary. If nothing else, it can be a bit disconcerting when one swoops close to your head from above.

But unless you go out of your way to bother them, bats are typically completely harmless.  Not only that, but they bless us with amazing gifts. Nectar-eating species are wonderful pollinators. Other species eat huge numbers of flying insects and are awesome natural mosquito control.

As a Spirit Animal, Bat carries numerous and profound messages. In fact, too many to list them all here! So I’m just going to mention a few today, but if you find Bat calling to you, know that this is just the tip of the iceberg. (You might want to try to find out about the specific Bat that has come into your life, because different ones may have different messages for you.)

Sensitivity & IntuitionBlogging from A to Z April Challenge

You probably know about the Bat’s ability to navigate by echolocation. It’s so good at this that it can actually fly through the blades of a slow-moving fan. But don’t worry – it’s also astute enough to avoid doing so when the fan is going to fast for safety. (And don’t worry about bats getting caught in your hair – they’re smart enough to avoid that, too.)

This incredible ability to find their way in the dark makes Bat a powerful totem for Intuition. Bat teaches us to trust that still, small voice within to lead us safely through, even when the way seems treacherous.

Night, Rebirth, & the Sacred Feminine

Bats are, of course, nocturnal.  As a general rule, you can count on animals of the night having a strong connection to feminine energy. Bats in particular are a great symbol for this, since they tend to roost in caves and emerge en masse into the dusk. This makes them a wonderful symbol for rebirth and regeneration.  Bat is an especially appropriate ally for women coming into their power in the second half of life. This is why they are traditionally associated with witchcraft. (It is no coincidence that both bats and women have been sadly misunderstood over the ages, leading to the terrible persecution of both.)

By the way, Bats are almost always highly social, and mother bats often help raise each other’s offspring. A symbol for how important and nurturing the deep connections women have with other women really are!

Rising above Fear

Bat in flightThere is a great deal of fear surrounding Bats. But if we listen close, Bat can help us to face and rise above our fear. And when we do, we enter a higher dimension where we can truly soar!

The Bat is the only mammal that has truly learned to fly. That in itself is an expression of faith. Bat teaches us to trust in our ability to soar above the dark obstacles in our path.

Wings, Hands, Flight of Spirit

Take a look at the wings of a bat. You will see that they are made up of thin, membranous skin stretched across fingerlike bones. Yes, the wings of the Bat are really hands, adapted to flight!

Spiritually, this is super significant. Wings indicate a connection to higher self, to Spirit. Hands as wings show us that we can connect with Spirit through our daily actions. Think of everything you do as prayer, and you will be heeding the message of Bat.

Power Animal of the Arts

Bats are an excellent power animal for artists of all kinds, who intuitively translate impulses from Spirit into the physical world through their hands and bodies.

isabella pendant by Julia LowtherMy cousin Julia Lowther, a Seattle artist who raised 2 orphan flying foxes while in the Peace Corps in Western Samoa, made this observation, which I love:

“Bats, like art, are often considered useless and expendable. Though we finally understand that the survival of South Pacific island forests depend heavily on the fruit bats, we are still trying to get a similar grip on the value of art.”

Has Bat flown into your life? Post your experiences and observations below!

Upside down bat photo credit: IMG_3718 via photopin (license)
Bat in Flight photo credit: Short-tailed Fruit Bat via photopin (license)

Did you enjoy this post? Christie

If you did, you will enjoy my newsletter, too. I share positive affirmations, uplifting artwork, and spiritual insights for awakening souls. You will also get a free guided meditation to help you meet your Spirit Animal! Just go to the "Cool Stuff" tab in the menu up top and click on "Newsletter" to subscribe.

Blogging from A to Z: A is for Animal Spirits

Boy releasing falcon spirit animal

This month I thought I’d do something fun. I’ve decided to join the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge! I’m using my other blog, Wild Woman’s Wolf Pack, as the primary blog for this, but since the theme (Spirit Animals) is so relevant to my work I’ll be re-posting here as well.

Since “animals” starts with “A” I thought I’d kick off with a few words about what spirit animals are and why they matter.

So, everything – everything in this physical world that we can see and smell and touch – has a corresponding spiritual energy.

If you’ve ever taken martial arts or done any acupuncture or energy work they’ll tell you about chi – the energy moving through the body. So we have energy always flowing through and around our bodies. As you get more attuned you can start to sense it.

But in addition there are also spiritual companions – for humans they’re called guardian angels. You have an angel that supports you. And so does each little rock and flower and tree and bird. (although they’re called different things.)

Yes, each individual animal has a corresponding spirit, but also there is a spirit governing each species of animal.

Bear in snowSo there’s the bear spirit and the mouse spirit and the earthworm spirit. And that’s what’s meant by a totem animal.

And these things are real energies in the world, but we perceive them as symbol, as archetype.

And that’s why symbols are such powerful things. When you start working with the symbols you tap into that spiritual energy that’s out there in the world, and when you align yourself with them you take on some of that power and they can support you in what you do.

Powerfully. As in getting back in touch with your inner nature. Finding your true purpose. That kind of thing. I know, because they’re doing it for me.

I could totally write a book on this (and maybe I will someday) but I’ll leave it here by inviting you to pay attention to the animals that enter your awareness. They have messages for you – they really do. And when you start listening to them and figuring out what they are telling you – look out, because they’ll totally transform your life! 🙂

Spirit Horses

Tomorrow: Bats!

 

 

Did you enjoy this post? Christie

If you did, you will enjoy my newsletter, too. I share positive affirmations, uplifting artwork, and spiritual insights for awakening souls. You will also get a free guided meditation to help you meet your Spirit Animal! Just go to the "Cool Stuff" tab in the menu up top and click on "Newsletter" to subscribe.

Student work: Learning to see

I’m delighted to have recently taken on a wonderful new student. My 14 year old niece, Jenna, is a lovely girl and an amazing little artist. She came to me with a basic background in drawing, and about 2 (maybe more) years of oil painting lessons under her belt.

Jenna does wonderful abstract pieces, but I am a firm believer that developing a solid grasp of drawing fundamentals is an essential element in any artist’s education. Being able to draw really well from life means you can realize virtually any vision you can imagine. So, we’re gearing up for a lot of still life work this semester!

still life with plate and bottleI set up the above still life about 10 feet from where Jenna was working. The goal for this session was to pay close attention to proportions. I taught her how to measure the length or width of one object using a thumb or pencil held at arm’s length, and how to use that as a unit of measure to figure out the size of a neighboring object.

1 hour still life by Jenna Martin
1 hour still life drawing by Jenna Martin

Here is Jenna’s first attempt. It took her about an hour. She did a very good job and displayed a lot of patience on several occasions when she realized that some of her proportions were off, and she had to erase and re-draw.

I have to mention that the tilted plate was wicked on my part. Jenna did an excellent job with it given her level of experience.

Next, I asked Jenna to take out a new sheet of paper, and set the timer. She had five minutes to re-draw the still life from scratch. Here is what she did:

Student still life drawing 2
5 minute still life drawing by Jenna Martin

AWESOME! Her proportions on the 5 minute drawing were actually more accurate than the one she’s labored over for an hour, with very little erasing and re-working. The difference? A huge amount of observation. Plus, the time limit forced her to work more decisively and intuitively – which she could do successfully because she’d spent so much time looking at it and analyzing it in advance.

Most beginning artists don’t spend nearly enough time observing their subjects. Once you take the time to really get to know a subject, the actual process of drawing becomes much easier, as Jenna discovered today.

I think you could extrapolate this lesson to many areas of life, don’t you?

Did you enjoy this post? Christie

If you did, you will enjoy my newsletter, too. I share positive affirmations, uplifting artwork, and spiritual insights for awakening souls. You will also get a free guided meditation to help you meet your Spirit Animal! Just go to the "Cool Stuff" tab in the menu up top and click on "Newsletter" to subscribe.