The Animal World, also called Sweet Medicine, offers an abundance of gifts that help us to walk in harmony, balance and naturalness. Every species has its own special attributes. Each animal shows us a different way to be in right relationship with Grandmother Earth.
The swimmers teach us to move through life with grace and ease, and how to negotiate the many streams of our lives. The crawlers- snakes, lizards, turtles, etc. They live with their bellies upon the earth. They help us to find our intimate connection with Grandmother Earth. The four-leggeds show us how to be in harmony and alignment with the world; they remind us to be fully present, to wake up and be aware on our journey through life. The winged ones instill a desire to rise above it all and soar to the heights of our own potential. The mythological animals carry the myths and legends of all cultures, and stretch the limits of our imagination.
We can look to the animals to learn more about ourselves- especially those to which we are attracted. Sweet Medicine teach us to accept ourselves as we are. Animals don't feel sorry for themselves if they're having a bad day! Can you imagine an eagle being envious of a fox because he has a big bushy tail? It just doesn't happen! Their naturalness offers many opportunities for us to learn and grow.
In tribal times, when an animal was hunted, all parts of the animal were used for food, clothing, shelter and tools. Utilizing every aspect of the animal honored the "giveaway." This "giveaway" is its medicine, its power, its essence. Today we may engage with animals in other ways, like food you purchased at a market, leather goods you wear, or perhaps you've successfully hunted game. However you do so, the animal presents you with the opportunity to discover how you carry its medicine inside of you. If you wish, this gift will guide you to be more deeply connected and more fully in your own naturalness. When you choose to 'feed yourself' and appreciate the animal's medicine, you are honoring its giveaway.
There are many ways to connect to an animal and its medicine. Here's some suggestions:
Learn about its habits. Much of the animal's medicine is reflected in its habits. As you familiarize yourself with its gifts, you awaken those gifts inside your being.
how does it hunt, is it a predator or prey or both?
What does it eat, does it hunt in the day or the night?
What environment does it thrive in?
Does it mate for life? etc.
Observe the animal in nature or in a wild life park.
Watch nature programs and read about the animal.
Some suggested books and references:
o Animal Speaks by Ted Andrewso Animal-Wise by Ted Andrewso Medicine Cards by Jamie Sams & David Carson
The following books are also great guides to help connect us to our animal, plant & mineral totems, based upon the month we are born.
o The Medicine Wheel- Earth Astrology by Sun Bear and WabunoThe Medicine Wheel of Self: The Star Maidens Circle by Mary Flaming Crystal Mirror
Fetishes embody the spirit of the animal.
Fur, feathers, claws and teeth where possible - these hold within it the essence of the animal.
Take moments in your day to appreciate all the ways animals give to you, from the shoes you may be wearing, to the food you are eating. Ever mindful that life is truly a circle.