Earthworm alchemy

earthwormsWhen most people think of power animals, they tend to gravitate towards the sexy ones. Wolf, Eagle, Lion, Horse, Cat. Gentler souls will sometimes go for sweet ones like Rabbit or Deer. But I’ve never, ever, heard anyone mention worms.

Which is a shame. Because despite its humble appearance and habits (after all, it eats dirt!) Earthworm is an incredibly powerful totem animal.

The original alchemist

The biggest reason I love Earthworms so much is their feeding habits. They are basically living composting machines. They eat through all the icky, unwanted stuff no one else wants and transform it into sweet-smelling castings. Worm droppings are truly magical in the garden. They are incredibly nourishing to the soil and help plants grow like gangbusters! What a profound spiritual lesson: turning negatives into positives!

One worm, and one worm

Another interesting thing about Earthworms is that they are hermaphrodites. Each individual worm has both male and female parts (although a single one can’t produce offspring on its own.) When two worms mate, they both produce egg cocoons! Earthworms are thus a wonderful symbol of creative abundance and of harmonious integration of the masculine and feminine elements of one’s being.

If you feel ungrounded…

…there is no better animal to contemplate than Earthworm. You can’t get much closer to the earth than this little fellow! Try one or all of these exercises to help connect with Worm’s earthy vitality.

1) Worm watching I: Spend a few minutes (or a few hours) in the garden, inhaling the aroma of moist soil, digging in the dirt, and watching worms wriggle through the earth. Do it barefoot if you can. It will help you feel much more settled and peaceful.

2) Worm watching II: Start a vermicomposting bin (like mine at worm binright.) (Most people use redworms, like the ones in the picture above.) Spend time with your worms when you check up on them and feed them. Move slowly and keep the lights dim – they don’t like abrupt movements or harsh light. Watch how gracefully they move through the bedding. Enjoy the rustling sounds they make as they move through the bin. Watching the worms can be relaxing, meditative and surprisingly addictive. (Yes, I’m a geek.)

3) Earthworm visualization: If you have no access to actual worms, then close your eyes and imagine that you are a worm, sliding smoothly through a tunnel of cool, moist earth. Feel how the aura of the planet embraces you, and how everything you need is right there surrounding you – shelter, nourishment, oxygen, water. You feel safe and calm, just tunneling along at a pace that feels comfortable to you… Come out of your earthworm reverie when you are ready, shake off the soil, and slowly open your eyes. Don’t you feel more grounded now? ūüôā

The dark side of Earthworms

When I was a kid no one ever had a bad word to say about earthworms. (Unless the conversation happened over school lunch.) Worms were hailed as heros. We were told that lots of earthworms were a sign of a healthy soil, and that they were great for gardens, fields and forests alike.

Now, though, we know that this is not always true. Many forested regions of North America have no native populations of earthworms. When worms get introduced, they alter the natural balance of the forest. The invasive earthworms can make it difficult for many native plant species, including young trees, ferns, and wildflowers, to survive.

The lesson here? Dig deep, and observe what is really happening (including second and third degree connections), before you accept ‘common knowledge’ as truth. And realize, too, that ‘good’ and ‘bad’ often depend on context.
photo credit: Worm Bin via photopin (license)

Did you enjoy this post? Christie

Did you enjoy this post? If you did, you will enjoy my newsletter, too. I share positive affirmations, spirit animal information and artwork, and spiritual insights for awakening souls. You will also get a free guided meditation to help you meet your Spirit Animal! Just hit the "follow" tab in the menu up top to subscribe.

The Importance of Dogs

Girl hugging dog

You might be wondering if your pet can be a spirit guide. And is Fido really interested in helping you along on your spiritual journey Рor does he just want a bite of your sandwich?

The answer is yes, and yes! (Well, OK, and yes to the sandwich bit, too. Dogs are such positive, optimistic souls!)

Seriously, though,¬†why grudge our dogs the occasional stolen hot dog when you consider what they do for us (when they’re not barfing on the rug)?

According to Brian Hare, author of the bestselling book The Genius of Dogs, archaeological evidence strongly suggests that we didn’t really domesticate dogs. Rather, they seem to have domesticated themselves.

They Chose Us. Jasmine dog laughing

Yes, the aroma of roasting meat around a campfire doubtless helped. But I think there is more to why dogs have chosen to cast their lot in with us than food alone. Here are just a few of the ways I have observed dogs helping people on the spiritual level:

  • Dogs are¬†our spiritual guardians.¬†A protective dog will put itself between its person and danger. They do this on the spirit level, too. Research shows that people who keep dogs are far less likely to fall prey to depression. I have also witnessed dogs absorbing negative, stressful energy in a household into their own bodies in order to protect the children.
  • Dogs teach us unconditional love. ¬†Your dog doesn’t care what you look like or how much money you have in the bank. It loves you because it loves you. It will probably also love you even if you abuse it. This can be heartbreaking, and hopefully there will come a day when animal abuse is a thing of the past, but it is a testament to the incredible heart that Dog as a spirit guide possesses.

 

  • Melvin dog funny noseDogs guide us along our spiritual paths.¬†Every dog I’ve ever had has managed to help me on my way and teach me a spiritual lesson. My first two dogs helped me raise my kids. (The picture up top is my daughter with Pavlov, a rascally little fellow with the biggest heart I’ve ever met. He still visits me in dreams.) My Jasmine (the black Lab mix pictured up there on the¬†right) came along at a time when I was ready to open up spiritually. She had been abused and can’t stand even the slightest negative energy. She¬†is teaching me to center myself and not let the negative stuff throw me off course. And our newest boy, Melvin (left) – he’s trying to teach me to chill out and have more fun. ūüôā

What spirit lessons have your dogs taught you? Please share below!

 

 Tomorrow: Earthworms!

 

Did you enjoy this post? Christie

Did you enjoy this post? If you did, you will enjoy my newsletter, too. I share positive affirmations, spirit animal information and artwork, and spiritual insights for awakening souls. You will also get a free guided meditation to help you meet your Spirit Animal! Just hit the "follow" tab in the menu up top to subscribe.

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

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.

Cougar 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 Рespecially 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! ūüôā

 

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

Did you enjoy this post? Christie

Did you enjoy this post? If you did, you will enjoy my newsletter, too. I share positive affirmations, spirit animal information and artwork, and spiritual insights for awakening souls. You will also get a free guided meditation to help you meet your Spirit Animal! Just hit the "follow" tab in the menu up top to subscribe.

Animal totem art reading: Fox and Spider

This is another art reading I did for a fellow writer. Interpretation below (edited to protect her privacy)!

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This is another art reading I did for a fellow writer. Interpretation below (edited to protect her privacy)!

Fox totem animal reading

This little fellow took a LONG time to decide to show himself. Foxes are considered tricksters in many traditions, but I think that comes from their intelligence and ability to disappear into their environment in the blink of an eye. Not being noticed can sometimes be an advantage, and foxes are able to choose to be highly visible or invisible as the occasion calls for. In your own life, you can use this to your advantage as well. Sometimes it pays to watch from the shadows, or “shapeshift” – blending into your surroundings or into whatever society you are in at the time.

Fox  & Spider animal totem reading
This is the drawing I did during the original reading.

This fox is at home in its den. Home is very important to foxes. Once they leave the nest, young foxes will wander – sometimes for hundreds of miles – until they find a territory of their own. Then they stay in that home range for the rest of their lives, raising their young underground in dens. It may be important for you to make your home a place of refuge, and be sure you are allowing yourself time and space to relax there.

Finally, foxes are more or less nocturnal. As a creature of the night they are associated in many traditions with feminine energy. Don’t doubt your creative power and ability – nurture and protect your creative impulses until they’re ready to bring out into the world.

Like I said, it took a very long time for this fox to decide it was safe show up here. If you are dealing with trust issues at all (whether your own or someone else’s), you may need to cultivate patience and quietude. Practices that help you do this, such as meditation, yoga, or just walking in nature, can help.

There are a couple of other animal totems in this image. The deer showed up in the beginning, and stuck around long enough for me to include her shadow on the rock wall, but then took off again. Deer have some of the same ability to quietly disappear and camouflage themselves as foxes, so I think her presence may just underscore this quality.

The spider hung out long enough to be significant (although I kept feeling that there was something more, and eventually the fox showed up). A lot of people are afraid of spiders, but I don’t get a negative feeling from this one. The spider’s web is both exquisitely beautiful and practical. I think it’s a reminder of your constructive power to support yourself and weave beauty into your life in the process.

One final note – foxes are the most feline of the dog family. If you have a dog or a cat at home, watch them and learn from them – they will teach you important lessons about how to live your life!

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Root Chakra Power Animal Meditation Painting: Badger & Snake

Another new painting in the Chakra Power Animal series:

Root chakra meditation painting

This Root Chakra Meditation Painting is next in the Power Animal Chakra Meditation Series after my Bee Power Center painting. (No, I’m not doing them in order.) It’s intended to help balance and open up your root chakra. Root chakra issues include anxiety, fear, & lack of confidence; feeling ungrounded, spacey or disconnected; and feeling insecure in your wealth/prosperity space.

The root, in its position at the base of the body, supports all the other chakras. When they are all in balance, there is a direct open line of energy from your Root all the way up to your Crown chakra (connection to the Divine) and even further, to your Higher Self. So you can see how important it is to nurture your root!

This connection is symbolized in this painting by the snake’s reaching upwards and by the white stripe running from the tip of the badger’s nose all the way down his back to his tail. Both animals hug the ground and are wonderful carriers of Root/Grounding energy. Badger especially is very secure and confident in his being. If you are unsure of yourself, it is good medicine to imagine yourself as a Badger!

Badger is also a good totem for those who live a nomadic life or who have moved a lot. Badgers keep many burrows, and unless they are raising a litter they typically spend only a night or two in any one before moving on to the next. Moving can be very ungrounding, so look to Badger to learn how to stay in your grounded space no matter where life takes you.

You might try using this image as a meditation aid along with African or Native American drumming or drum music. Imagine yourself sending your roots deep into the ground, and drawing the nourishing energy of Mother Earth back up through them. Lift your arms and let that energy flow up and through your fingertips and the crown of your head. THen imagine it falling again as rain, seeping back into the earth for you to soak up some more. Doesn’t that feel grounding and refreshing?

(Be sure to nosh on something red afterwards – beet chips or pomegranate juice would be perfect!) ūüôā

What have you done to ground yourself today?

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