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)

Dark Energy

Pleiades Woman
Whether a painting is psychically “dark” or “light” doesn’t always have to do with shade or hue. It’s more about the way the energy flows – upwards or downwards – and how it affects your own psychic energy.

Recently I went to see the movie “Interstellar” with extended family.

I hated it. In fact, I came awfully close to walking out.

It wasn’t because of the gaping plot holes or the limited character development. Or even because the characters were hard to care about (at least I found them so).

The movie actually did contain quite a few redeeming features. The acting itself wasn’t half bad, and the special effects were pretty decent. And the film did at least attempt to carry an inspiring message.

So why did I object so strongly to viewing it?

In a word, energy.

In my experience, every piece of art – including music, film, and visual art, will affect your psychic energy in one of three ways: it can bring it up, it can pull it down, or it can remain neutral.

For me, the experience of watching “Interstellar” amounted to nearly three hours of wading through a relentless morass of hopelessness, tension, and anxiety, underscored by an emotionally harrowing soundtrack played at a volume that frequently exceeded the pain barrier.

By the time I walked out of the theater, I felt like I had been dipped in psychic lead. In fact, the pall didn’t lift until this morning when I went out for a 6 mile cross country ski with my teenage son and my dog.

Now, I suspect I’m more sensitive than most, so maybe these things bother me more than they do most people. But the frustrating thing to me is not the temporary discomfort I felt while in the theater. It’s the fact that this movie is now a permanent part of my consciousness.

Think about that.

Our experiences shape who we are. Even virtual experiences.

Every violent moment you have ever witnessed on film. Every sinister image you have ever viewed. Every harrowing, stress-inducing melody. They’re all there, inside your mind.

Even if you’re no longer aware of them, they become a part of you, whether you want them to be or not. They sink, quickly or slowly, from your awareness only to crop up again at any moment, woven into fragments of dreams, splintering into your thoughts as a byproduct of coincidental or synchonistic happenstance, or more subtly, nudging into your subconscious from the misty depths of unawareness.

Fortunately, the same is true of positive experiences. Your mother’s hug. The sudden heart-lifting flash of a bluebird on the wing. A painting by Monet. The smell of damp earth and unfolding blossoms in the spring.

These things, too, once experienced, are with you forever.

And they color your world, your beliefs, your actions.

Now I’m not saying we should avoid all dark* imagery. Darkness is simply the other side of light. To deny or defy darkness is dangerous folly.

For instance, what kind of favor would I be doing my teenage daughter if I shielded her from the reality of homicide, rape, and predatory people?

Too, it is often impossible to realize new heights without first experiencing – or even embracing – the depths of darkness.

The challenge is, to keep it balanced.

And by balanced, I don’t mean equal parts negative and positive energy. Unless you enjoy stagnation.

To maintain a positive presence and realize positive growth in your life, it’s best to tip the balance of what you experience in life towards the positive.

My personal feeling is, that you don’t have to do anything special to obtain your recommended daily allowance of negative energy. It tends to bounce around pretty abundantly. In fact, I hate to say it but in our modern society we seem to be weighting our exposure in the opposite direction – more negative than positive!

Which brings me back to my experience in the movie theater. When you find yourself, as I did, overloaded with darkness and negative impressions, it’s important to seek out a bit (or a lot) of positive energy to counteract it. Getting out in the fresh air in nature with loved ones did it for me.

What helps get your energy flowing in a positive direction?

*By dark, I mean psychically or emotionally negative. For instance, a literally dark image – like my Pleiades Woman on this page – can actually feel uplifting or positive. And the opposite is also true. 

Punctuation changes everything…

Negaunee and Ishpeming are two towns in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. They are about 3 miles apart, separated largely by woods. In the winter, you can ski between them on a section of the Iron Ore Heritage Trail.

If you do, and if you look for it, as you approach Ishpeming you will see a handmade sign that someone posted next to the trail:

"god, sin, you" poster

“Holy crap!” I exclaimed the first time I saw this sign. “I think they are in need of an editor!”

Fortunately, I’ve done some editing in my day. As it turned out, all it really needed was a little help with the spacing and punctuation:

"God's in you" posterThank goodness for Photoshop! 😉

My new art website

So pleased to announce that my new art website is now live! Check it out, and if you have any suggestions for improvement I’m all ears!

Anne Michelsen artist website screenshot

So pleased to announce that my new art website is now live!

I’m using Managed Artworks, a web developer that creates sites for artists and galleries. I couldn’t be more pleased with their service and product! My site is a work in progress (aren’t they all?) :-), but they are a pleasure to work with and have thought of everything an artist might need!

Check it out, and if you have any suggestions for improvement I’m all ears!

Manifest Destiny

I read somewhere once that when a caterpillar enters its pupal state, it literally breaks down into a sort of organic goo. From there it completely restructures into the mature butterfly or moth before it breaks out and spreads its wings to fly.

Butterfly in pupa

I read somewhere once that when a caterpillar enters its pupal state, it literally breaks down into a sort of organic goo.  From there it  completely restructures into a mature butterfly or moth before it breaks out and spreads its wings to fly.

This year has been like that for me.  A year ago I felt I had come to a standstill in nearly every aspect of my life.  No matter how much I tried nothing seemed to want to break loose.

Finally, I stopped trying.  Like the caterpillar, I stopped attempting to crawl forward, and cocooned up in a safe, limited environment.  Frankly I would have liked to have gone into the forest to hibernate, but as that was not possible I followed my gut.  I stopped seeking new clients and accepted full time paid employment.

It was not my ideal job.  In fact in many ways it sucked, but it allowed me to pay the bills while I detangled the various strands of my life.  I began to realize that it didn’t matter what I did, I was still me.  That regardless of what accomplishments I achieve (or whether I achieve them at all) I am still valuable for simply being the human being that I am.

(Of course this is just as true of you, and of every human being who walks the face of the earth.  We are each a beautiful child of God, no matter how lost or frightened or alone.)

About last January or February, I decided to take a class in Reiki.  Two weeks later I took Reiki 2 and began to practice it seriously, along with daily prayer and meditation.  I began to start each day with a blessing, and with gratitude.  Rather than try to control or conquer the problems in my life, I began to ask that my problems be resolved for the highest good of all involved, and left it to the Universe to work out the details.

And from the goo of my life, a new structure began to form!  Within 5 months my husband found a new job where he finally is getting the recognition he deserves.  I have taken over managing his business for the present year, which is able to pay me on a part time basis more than I had been making full time at the job I hated – and is allowing me the time and resources to build a career based on my true life’s purpose – to use my creative talents to their highest potential.

We truly do manifest our own reality.  Destiny is ours for the choosing.  I’ve tried crawling – now it’s time to fly!