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 – or 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. 🙂

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

 

 Tomorrow: Earthworms!

 

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.

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 – 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! 🙂

 

photo credit: by Tambako the Jaguar 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.

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)!

Did you enjoy this post? Anne

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!

Did you enjoy this post? Anne

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!) 🙂

What have you done to ground yourself today?

Did you enjoy this post? Anne

Bee in your Heart (Chakra Meditation)

New painting…

Bee Heart Honeycomb Because our  new hound dog, Melvin, has not come howling up with a stinger in his nose, I am guessing that my recent bee visitor is gone for good.  However, she did bring an invigorating infusion of Bee energy into the studio. It’s quite the buzz!

I’ve been playing with the idea of the Bee as symbol for the Power Center, or solar plexus chakra, and have been wanting to get it down as a painting. Today seemed like the day to do it.

So I grabbed a little watercolor board and got to work. (This painting is quite small – just 4″x4″. It seemed about right for a bee.)

The Power Center grooves on yellow and gold – fitting, because gold also represents money, power in its abstract. This is probably why so many spiritually conscious people have issues with their Power Center. It’s easy to look at the way power is abused in the world and not want a thing to do with it.

But really, that’s kind of a backwards way to look at it. Abuse of power – whether you are the abuser or the abused – is simply a symptom of imbalance of personal power. NOT claiming your true inner power will not fix it.

Of course, money is optional where true power is concerned. It’s just one way in which power expresses itself. It also happens to be extremely convenient, so why not be open to manifesting it when appropriate? Being well funded can certainly help you live your dreams.

Which, if your Power Center is well-balanced, shouldn’t lead to abuse. And, if your heart is in the right place, it will likely bring good fortune to others as well.

Speaking of hearts…

Somewhere in the middle of painting this piece I began to feel something else was needed. The bee was taking form nicely atop the cells of golden honeycomb, but it just seemed…ungrounded. It seemed like it needed something to tie it together.

Perhaps an oval shape framing the bee? No, that wasn’t quite it. Then I held my hands in a heart shape over the bee. Ahhh. That felt right. And a bit of pinky purple was just right to balance out all that yellow.

Once the heart was in place the meaning was clear…

True power is centered in the heart!

 

For more information about Bee in your Heart, click here.

Did you enjoy this post? Anne