Understanding the symbols of animals and their medicine not only helped me identify and resolve issues but better appreciate their gifts.
Ever since I heard that in the Native American Spiritual tradition the universe may be sending us a message when we have an unusual experience with an animal I saw my own significant contacts with animals in a new way.
My favorite source for verifying my experiences is Jamie Sams and David Carson’s cards called “Medicine Cards: The Discovery of Power through the Ways of Animals.” They believe that each animals’ medicine relays a life lesson.
Sams and Carson’s helped me better understand some unusual animal experiences.
My first experience involved six baby ring neck snakes that suddenly appeared in our cabin when our friend from South Africa was visiting. Since my husband and I had lived there for five years we decided it was an omen. We did a “Pathway Spread” on our friend with Sams and Carson’s animal medicine cards and learned that the snake is a symbol of change, transmutation, death and rebirth. We were stunned as she, after a two-year separation, was about to ask her husband of 29 years for a divorce.
On another occasion I heard the sneezy-snorts of some white tail deer. I looked out the dining room window and froze. Three deer snorted and pawed the ground within a couple of feet of where Lady, our golden retriever, lay in her dog pen. Sensing something was wrong I dashed over.
Lady got up, staggered and collapsed. My husband and I took her to the vet but it was too late; she died shortly thereafter. The vet said she had cancer. We were heartbroken. Wondering about the deer I consulted the medicine cards and learned that the deer is a symbol of love and gentleness. I like to think that the deer were trying to comfort Lady and alert us about her distress.
A friend and I were charmed when an otter circled our canoe on a river in Florida. We became nervous when it tried to climb the canoe’s bow and stern. I shrieked when it hoisted itself into the boat at my feet via my dry bag. Luckily my friend was able to scoop the otter out of the boat with her paddle. We were amazed when the otter chased our canoe as we raced off but ignored two other canoes a few moments later.
When I checked the significance of an otter in the medicine cards I learned that it is a symbol “woman medicine.” Sams and Carson said an otter tells us to become the playful child, to allow things to unfold, to stop worrying and to not hang on to material things that become a burden. They said the otter teaches us to look at the joyousness of the receptive side of our nature, to give freely and to move gently into the river of life, “By flowing with the waters of the Universe we balance, honor female receptive energy and discover the power of woman.”
Since I’ve been struggling to find the right balance in giving and receiving and work and play I saw otters’ medicine as a sign to be more generous and have fun.
My fourth experience involved a musk turtle that sat in one of our creek’s pools for a week. Since there was a drought and the turtle seldom moved as the water retreated I became concerned. When I told my husband at breakfast that I thought the turtle was dying we decided to relocate it in a larger river after lunch.
My husband appeared a few hours later and said, “Your ‘dying’ turtle is sitting at the front door of our cabin.” We were shocked. The turtle had climbed a steep hill and found our front door. We immediately drove the turtle to a nearby river and released it.
The medicine cards said the turtle is a symbol of Mother Earth. It asks us to honor our creative source, to be grounded, to flow harmoniously between the water and the earth and to go inside ourselves for protection.
Feeling depressed about the drought the turtle’s presence gave me the gift of gratitude.
I believe there is a presence among all of creation, the earth, people, animals and plants that is healing and draws us ever closer to God. It was said in the Book of Job; ask the beasts, and they shall teach you, and the birds of the air to tell you.
Animal Medicine and the use of the medicine cards not only helped me identify and resolve issues but better appreciate their gifts.
All I need to do is pay attention.