Is Wolf your Power Animal?

I’ve been working on a series of Power Animal paintings in preparation for showing at the Hiawatha Music Festival Artists in the Round art & craft show next month in Marquette, MI. Thought I’d try another Wolf! Read on below for insight into Wolf as Power Animal.
Watercolor Wolf

Wolves are one of those animals that humanity both loathes and reveres. I think it’s because they represent very intense energy, which can be extremely empowering to work with but also frightening, especially if you’re not prepared for it.

Like most animal totems, Wolf has multiple meanings. Today I want to focus on Wolf as Hunter and Pathfinder. Wolf represents following your intuition and inner guidance, and taking action on it. So if you are seeking your Purpose and Wolf appears to you, pay attention!

As you know, Wolves are predators, tracking their prey by scent as well as sight and sound. They are highly intelligent animals. A pack of wolves will work cooperatively to bring down prey much larger than they are. Deer (and anything in the deer family, including elk and even moose) are their favorite prey. Deer are excellent runners. Bringing down such large animals requires speed, stamina and strategy. Once they have selected an animal to chase, they pursue it relentlessly until it is exhausted.

Wolf as a power animal can help us discover our inner Purpose, and guide us on our path towards it. One of the keys to doing so is to tap into our intuition, or inner knowing. As a wild animal, Wolf has all its instincts intact. Wolf and Dog were originally one; dogs are simply domesticated wolves. (And there is good evidence that the process of domestication was likely initiated by wolves, not humans!) If you feel a strong bond with Dogs, but are struggling with some aspect of your life, you may want to invite Wolf to walk beside you as well. Its sharper, wild instinct may help you in ways that Dog energy isn’t equipped to.

Yes, that wild instinct can be scary. As we tap into our intuition, we may find that it leads us into unfamiliar territory. In fact, it may tell us to do things that feel positively terrifying! This can make you doubt your own instincts. And in some situations, it’s possible for instincts to work against you – especially fear. In the wild, anything new is potentially dangerous. So we have a built-in distrust of change.

Wolf represents the power of tempering instinct with intellect (and vice versa). When you make a decision based on instinct, check in with your intellect first. Ask, “what is the worst thing that can happen if I do this?” Then weigh the outcome against potential benefits. You can do the same thing with your logical decisions. Check in with your gut before jumping in. Learn to trust yourself. Like a wolf crossing a river in winter, you can tune in to those red-flag feelings that tell you to beware of thin ice.

 

In the painting above, I’ve tried to capture the Wolf’s intensity of focus. The Wolf’s direct stare can be frightening, but it is also compelling. Wolf can help us zero in on our Purpose, and pursue it without allowing ourselves to get distracted. As you work with Wolf energy expect your intuition to grow stronger. You will probably become more focused on your goals and more determined in your pursuit of them.  You may find that other people in your life resist this. Be sensitive to when they are being unreasonable, and when you might be getting a little ruthless or overstepping your role. If the latter, it might help to invite some Deer energy into your life.  Gentle Deer can activate your heart chakra to balance out an overabundance of Wolf hunting energy.  Or, focus on the nurturing side of Wolf for a while. Wolves are very family-focused. They spend a lot of time nurturing, playing with, and teaching their pups. If you’ve been working intensely for a while, try taking some time off to spend with your family, or seek out a teaching or mentoring role in your work.

Speaking of which, Wolf also tells us that we are stronger and more successful when we work together towards a common goal. Whatever your goal is, look around you. You are almost certain to find someone whose goals complement yours. Why not see how you can help each other out?

 

 

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If Red Tailed Hawk is Your Spirit Animal…

Red tailed hawk with preyWhere I live in Upper Michigan, Red Tailed Hawks are a common sight. (They are probably the most common North American hawk, and can be sighted year-round throughout most of the continental U.S.) You usually see them either majestically circling on uplifts of air, or sitting in a tree or on a power line, apparently doing nothing.

Appearances are deceiving.

Unlike the Peregrine Falcon, the Red Tailed Hawk hunts by perching in a likely spot and waiting and watching for its prey. (This makes sense because Falcons prey largely on birds, while Red Tails prefer mice, squirrels and other small mammals.) It is an efficient way to hunt; allowing the Hawk to remain physically relaxed while waiting for prey to appear. However, don’t mistake relaxation for laziness. The Hawk has to remain hyper-alert. Overlooking even the slightest movement below may mean a missed meal.

So, if Red Tailed Hawks don’t hunt on the wing, why do we see them so often soaring in the skies?

Well, apparently they just love to fly! And who could blame them for taking wing in celebration after a well-earned meal? But according to master falconer John Blakeman, there’s more to it than that. He believes that a sated Red-Tail’s flight serves an important purpose: as the hawk flies above the landscape, it takes in information that could help it land its next meal.

“…(A)s our Parkway red-tails have flown around their Philadelphia neighborhood in the last year, in all seasons and weather conditions, they have been diligently recording just where they’ve seen potential prey. That’s where they are going to go when they want to hunt, when they or their eyasses are hungry. They have learned to cogently read the entire landscape the occupy, and know exactly where the next meal’s most likely to be found.”

What does Red Tailed Hawk teach us?

If you find yourself drawn to the Red-Tail, consider what it has to tell you about choosing and pursuing your goals in life.

First, Hawks in general are all about Vision. The eyes of Hawks and other raptors (birds of prey) have special adaptations that allow them to see with far more clarity and focus than we do.

When Hawk appears to you, it’s a call to pay attention to the vision you have for your life. Red-Tail teaches us to take in the whole scene first, before planning your course of action. Get a feel for the lay of the land and where the best opportunities are likely to be. Then stake out your territory.

But don’t waste your energy in mindless activity. Instead, take a relaxed position and wait and watch until something juicy comes into view. Then, don’t let it out of your sight but claim your prize quickly and decisively.

What if it’s not a Red-Tail?

The Red-Tailed Hawk is just one of many species of hawks in the world. (There are over a dozen hawk species native to North America alone.) They don’t all hunt in the same way. If you suspect that Hawk is your spirit animal, pay close attention to what particular species you are dealing with. Remember, there is more than one way to approach a goal. Studying the hunting habits of your particular hawk can help you find the style that is best for you!

photo credit: Red Tailed Hawk via photopin (license)

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New painting: Tiger Swallowtail

Tiger Swallowtail copyright 2015 by Christie (Anne) Michelsen

Tiger Swallowtail

Tiger, tiger in the sky

Flashing gold, you soar and fly

Sudden flutter softly by

Sweet and fleeting butterfly!

Butterfly symbolic meanings: Inspiration, intuition, higher consciousness, transformation, resurrection, flashes of insight, power of beauty, strength in vulnerability.

Specific butterfly species may carry additional meanings. Here are my thoughts on the Tiger Swallowtail:

Tiger Swallowtail Totem: Integrating One’s Power

Did you know that the Tiger Swallowtail has two color morphs, black and yellow? I didn’t know until recently that all males are yellow – only the females sometimes appear in black form. Also, only the females (of both color morphs) sport the beautiful silvery blue crescents on the bottom edge of their back wings.

It speaks to me of the special connection women have with the moon. And whether you’re a man or a woman, the ability to balance and honor both the solar (masculine, proactive) and lunar (feminine, intuitive) aspects of your inner being.

Yellow. The color of the sun. Warmth, light, vitality, action! Yellow is also the color most associated with the Solar Plexus Chakra, the power center of the body.

Black. The color of night. Rest, dreams, that which is hidden. This is the realm of intuition, and regeneration.

With its vivid black and yellow stripes and dots, the Tiger Swallowtail speaks to us of integrating these two aspects of our selves. Black on yellow, yellow on black, rhythmically interspersed with each other.

This is the rhythm of the universe. Day, night. Inbreath, outbreath. Wake and sleep.

Traditional cultures honor this rhythm. They set aside time to rest, time to pray, time to heal.

Our society tends to put a premium on action, at the expense of rest. It’s a 24/7 world now, and many of us push ourselves ruthlessly to keep up.

Do you find yourself running on caffiene-laced fumes? Routinely pushing through to find your second wind?

It’s good to test our limits once in a while, but we weren’t made to do it day after day, week after week, month after month, year after year. We think it’s a sign of strength. But sooner or later people who do this hit the wall. Burnout. Adrenal exhaustion.

Tiger Swallowtail reminds us to honor our natural rhythms.

Feeling blue, or in a black mood, is often just our body telling us to take it easy for a bit. If you find yourself feeling tired, cranky or sad, give yourself permission to let down for a while. Schedule “down time” into your calendar. Take an hour or a day or a week off if you need it.

No offense to men, but I think women have to be especially aware of our body’s need for rest at certain times. By honoring it, we honor ourselves.Yes, it means acknowledging that we are vulnerable.

But when we embrace that vulnerable side of ourselves, love it, and give it what it needs…

Wow! That’s allowing ourselves to tap deeply into our power to revitalize our lives…so we can take wing as the beautiful souls we truly are.

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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.

Power Animals: What does Nighthawk symbolize?

Nighthawk paintingAre you familiar with Nighthawks? If not, you probably have seen them flying overhead on summer evenings, but most likely mistook them for Bats.

Nighthawks are not hawks at all but  night-flying, insect-eating birds related to the Whippoorwill.

The Nighthawk is a wonderful power animal for many reasons, but today I’m just going to focus on one of them. If you look at a Nighthawk with its beak shut you might think it had a very small mouth, since its bill is indeed tiny. But when it opens its mouth… wow! That sucker is HUGE!

The Nighthawk feeds with ease simply by swooping through the air and opening its wide, wide mouth to scoop up insects. What a wonderful symbol of abundance!

Nighthawk teaches us that abundance results from two mindsets: taking action, and opening oneself to receiving the goods. Nice! 🙂

(This article is a sort of sneak preview. I will be sharing a LOT more about Nighthawk symbolism in an upcoming article for The Essence of Spirit, Mind, Body. If you’re not familiar with this interactive magazine, check it out – it’s awesome. You can get it on the Apple app store here.)

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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.

Mouse Power Animal Meanings

mouseWe humans seem to have a love-hate relationship with mice.

On the one hand, you have to admit they’re cute little critters with their big eyes and round ears. Then there are our beloved fictional mice such as  Mickey Mouse, Mighty Mouse, and Speedy Gonzales.

On the other hand, if you’ve ever had mice invade your home you probably agree that they are quick to wear out their welcome. (My car is a testament to that right now. We recently brought it back up from central Illinois, where it was parked outside our rural former home. Mice had made their way into the ventilation system and now we are blessed with their unique perfume whenever the vents are on. 🙁  Ick.)

Whatever your personal experiences of mice, you have to admit that despite its minute size, Mouse is a powerful totem animal.

Mouse represents the power of persistence, determination, bravery, and success against the odds. If you have a big task in front of you, Mouse can help you tackle it by showing you that even tiny efforts add up to big results when you persevere and keep taking those baby steps. (One fall I found one of my ski boots virtually full of popcorn after we had had a mouse in the house. It must have taken that little guy several dozen trips from the pantry to the attic to fill that thing up.)

Mouse is also a wonderful symbol for the “little guy.” Mice make their greatest impact when there are many of them. One mouse in your house probably won’t make too much difference, but where there are whole families of them you better believe they’ll impact your life. So if you ever find yourself in a David and Goliath situation (such as fighting corporate injustice), think of Mouse and rally yourself some support! Lots of Little Guys together can make big impact.

Finally, Mouse speaks to us of fertility and creative genius.  Rabbits have nothing on mice when it comes to rapid reproduction. Did you know that mice have a gestation period of only 21 days? And that a mother mouse gives birth to as many as 14 young per litter, with an average of 6-8? Females become sexually mature at just 6 weeks, and they happily breed through all seasons of the year.

So, if Mouse is your totem and you don’t want kids, be sure to take proper precautions! 🙂 The good news is that in humans the same energy is closely linked with creativity. (Fertility and creativity are both associated with the Sacral chakra.) So Mouse coming into your life may herald a period of creative abundance for you.

 

photo credit: Got you! 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.