Kingsnake: Master of self-defense

Young Prairie King Snake.

One day when we were still living in our old farmhouse in central Illinois I saw a snake in the tall grass in back of the house.

It was large – very large. Must have been at least 4 feet long. The sinuous body was covered with shiny scales arranged in a stunning pattern of brown on tan. I couldn’t see the head but when I took a step closer the end of the tail came in sight. I froze as the tail shook and vibrated, making a rattling sound in the grass. How strange – it wasn’t much of a rattle. I wondered if something had bitten off the end of the tail.

And yes, I was freaked out.

Later I caught sight of it a couple more times and got a good look at the head. Hmm. Not your typical triangular rattler head. But it DID so resemble a rattlesnake…

Intrigued, I looked up Illinois snakes. It soon became clear that we had nothing to fear. This was a Prairie Kingsnake.

There are quite a few species of king snake, and all are beautiful. Many come in vibrant colors and

king snake
This Kingsnake closely resembles the deadly Coral Snake. Just remember: red touching black is a friend of Jack (Kingsnake); red touching yellow will kill a fellow (Coral Snake).

striking patterns. They are non-venemous, and are often kept as pets because they are docile and easy to keep.

However, the Kingsnake is no wuss. In fact, it is one of the few creatures that will routinely eat rattlesnakes. It has immunity to the venom so can swallow them fearlessly.

As a Power Animal, I can’t think of a better symbol for protection and self-defense than the Kingsnake. Like a master martial artist, it seems to have prepared itself for nearly any type of assault, judging by this list of the Kingsnake’s defensive devices (courtesy of desertusa.com):

  • Angry hiss to bluff attacker.
  • Vibrate its tail amidst dry leaves to mimic a rattlesnakes rattle.
  • Roll into ball and play dead.
  • Strike and bite (non-venomous).
  • Discharge a evil-smelling musk to discourage attacker.

And my favorite:

  • Smear fecal matter on enemy.

This guy clearly means business!

Kingsnake teaches us that when we have several defense strategies to fall back on, and are willing to take a no-nonsense attitude, we will usually pass through life unmolested.

Also, there is great symbolism in the way it eats its rattlesnake prey. The Kingsnake is a constrictor, literally hugging its prey to death. So when toxic energy comes your way, remember the Kingsnake and the power of love to negate it.

painting with snakes
This is a piece I started a while back and put aside. Probably time to dig it out and finish it, eh? The snakes featured are all venomous snakes. The Kingsnake would consider them lunch.

 

 

Prairie Kingsnake photo credit: Tsst! via photopin (license)

Scarlet Kingsnake photo credit: Kingsnake 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.

Seeking your Spirit Animal? Use the 3 “I’s!”

Many people are curious about finding their spirit animal totem or guide. But for many of us, it’s hard to know where to start. After all, it’s not something most of us are taught to do in school.

Like I’ve said in other posts, one could write an entire book on this topic. But today I thought I’d briefly introduce you to three important instruments (all, coincidentally, starting with the letter “I”) you can use to intuit your animal guide.

And good news: they won’t cost you a thing! Here they are:

1. Intention

Just setting the intention in your mind that you will open the doors to allowing your power animal to make its way to you is a powerful first step to finding your animal guide. (Notice how I phrase this – don’t think of finding your spirit animal as a hunt. Rather, it’s an invitation – another wonderful word that begins with “I”!)

2. Intuition

Think too hard, and it will elude you. Or, you’ll come up with an animal that your mind (ego) thinks is appropriate. If all you care about is a tattoo that will impress your friends, go right ahead. Otherwise, let go of thoughts and trust your intuition instead.

How do you know it’s intuition? It’s what comes to you when your conscious mind is off guard. When you’re daydreaming or thinking of nothing in particular. When you’re focused on something else. When it comes to you in dreams. Or those sudden flashes of insight, inspiration, or impulses from out of the blue. (Wow, those “I” words just won’t quit, will they?)

3. Imagination

Did you have an imaginary friend as a child? If you did, what did the adults in your life say about it? Chances are, they told you that it was all in your imagination. That is wasn’t REAL. And maybe even to shut up and stop telling LIES.

Well, if that is what you experienced, then it’s time to pull out one more fantastic “I” word: IGNORE. Sure, your childhood imaginary friend, as well as totem spirits and all sorts of spiritual phenomena aren’t on the same plane of reality as your iPhone, but that doesn’t make them any less REAL. Your Imagination is your ticket to ride when it comes to finding your spirit animals, and to exploring your Inner life in general. (As long as it’s driven by your Intuition, not your ego.)

Used together, the three “I’s” are a powerful trio that can help you discover your personal totem animal, as well as many other spirit guides. Value them, and cultivate them!

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.

Goose Power Animal Meaning

This time of year, it’s common to see geese flying overhead, returning wild goose animal totemnorth to their summer breeding grounds. There are a couple of slightly uncomplimentary sayings related to geese: “being on a wild goose chase,” and “silly goose.” But actually Geese are very respect-worthy creatures.

For one, Geese are extremely loyal. They mate for life and if a goose is injured while migrating, its mate or a family member will go down with it and guard it until it either recovers or dies. (I witnessed this a couple years ago by the river in Wausau, WI. A goose with a severely injured leg had made its way there, its companion at its side. I never found out what happened to them.)

Canada gooseCanada Geese are amazing parents and work together as a team to raise the young. The female does most of the incubating, while the male stands guard a little ways away. If you wander anywhere near a goose nest you will know it. First, the male will honk the alarm – and it is LOUD! If that doesn’t keep you away he will then hiss and flap his wings in an unmistakably threatening manner. If you are too stupid to pay attention, prepare to be attacked. Don’t laugh – geese may not look dangerous but they can bite hard and they mean business!

During incubation the male will drive away all other birds but once the goose quiltbrood of 2-9 goslings is hatched they relax their vigilance and may band together with other goose families to share the gosling care. If a goose couple is neglectful of their young a more experienced pair may kidnap the youngsters and raise them with their own brood.

Wild geese are of course best known for their migration habits. They are strong fliers and also very cooperative, drafting each other and taking turns in the lead.

So, Goose is a fabulous symbol of marital fidelity, strong family values, protectiveness, and cooperation. They also can represent teamwork and the willingness to work hard towards a common goal.

Geese are also very vocal. The Canada Goose, our most common North American native wild goose, has a distinctive white chin strap, highlighting the throat area. (In healing circles, the throat is the communication center.) Goose people are likely to be vocal, and to use their communication skills in ways that benefit society.

Has Goose flown into your life? Share your experiences in the comments box below!

 

photo credit: Lone goose 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.

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.