Monday, October 28, 2013

Animal Wisdom


I asked once in a blog post about what animal you would be if you were an animal. [I would be a wolf.] But today, I’d like to raise a different kind of animal question.

Is there an animal that has some special significance to you? For me, the praying mantis has caught my attention this year. As some of you know, my word of the year is Wait. I had not thought of this word in connection to an animal, but the image of a praying mantis kept popping up here and there, so I started looking a little closer.

The mantis is described as an ambush predator because it gets its food mainly by being still and waiting for something to come close enough for it to attack quickly and seize its prey. Patience is key.

Beyond the obvious connection to waiting, the mantis symbolizes stillness and inner peace, insight and divine wisdom. It is the sacred symbol of God to the African Bushmen, or San people.

So these days I have a little glass praying mantis sitting with me as I meditate. It is a reminder to be patient, alert in the stillness, waiting until it is time to act.

What about you? Any special animal speaking to your spirit these days?

30 comments:

  1. The dragonfly and butterfly are my power animals - both representing transformation and living in the moment of NOW.....focus, clarity and now....

    Thanks for sharing your animal and enjoyed your post!
    Nancy

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    1. Nancy, I share your connection to dragonflies. That's why I used one as my "photo" for so long, and still have it on my FB page. Thanks for commenting.

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  2. An interesting question! Nothing pops to mind immediately. I'll need to give this one some time to percolate! This one seems perfect for you.

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    1. Sandra, With all the exotic possibilities in Hawaii, I wonder what speaks to you! Thanks for commenting.

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  3. An interesting question! Nothing pops to mind immediately. I'll need to give this one some time to percolate! This one seems perfect for you.

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    1. Sandra, Sorry I didn't respond earlier. This comment slipped past me! Your comments are always important and appreciated. Thank you.

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  4. Oh, I'm such a cliche -- I'll stick with my trusty, lovable dog.

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    1. Tom, Dogs are definitely messengers from God. DOG=GOD! Thanks for commenting.

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  5. Hee hee, El Boyfriendo calls me Kitty. I think that's fairly accurate.

    I can see you as a praying mantis, too, but I'd better be nice to you so you don't bite my head off at some point. Shouldn't be a problem, though. :)

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    1. Jennifer, I admit that the description of an "ambush predator" gave me pause, but the rest of it sounded very relevant to my life this year! Thanks for your comment.

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  6. I would have to say a cat. Being I like my alone time and do not need much attention.

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    1. Bonnie, The felines and the canines are both popular. Thanks for commenting.

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  7. Just the one that wants his dinner early...

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    1. CW, Don't we all?! Thanks for commenting.

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  8. Mine is the red tailed hawk. Pretty common bird around my area. But one of my eariliest memories is my dad pointing one out to me, and to this day, whenever I see one, it seems to have some personal signifigance to me. But I realize it's just probably my own imaginings. A year ago, my daughter came home to visit with her new fiance. I didn't approve of him - not (as some might suggest) because he was an aboriginal Canadian, but because he carried some BIG personal issues that I rather my daughter not have to deal with. While he was visiting, I was returning from the corner store to find 5 crows (rare birds around here) sitting in a row upon my roof top. I'd never seen such a site before, and some supersticious part of me immediately thought their appearance had something to do with my future son-in-law. While I watched, a red tailed hawk swooped down and scared them all away. The fiance is now history after he was physical violent with my daughter. I still don't know what to make of the birds on my roof that day...

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    1. Kara, That is a great story! We have lot of crows in my neighborhood. I like them. But they were scarce this spring when some hawks nested in the tree out front. Thanks for sharing your animal wisdom story.

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  9. I have a couple thoughts here Galen. One is definitely a cliche - a caterpillar transforming into a butterfly.

    The other is white doves. On two occasions of late, I saw a formation of white doves flying towards me an flying back and forth several times. I thought peace, devotion and hope. It felt like a divine sighting.

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    1. Vishnu, Your comment reminded me of a quote: "What the caterpillar calls the end of the world, the master calls a butterfly."

      The doves must have been bringing you a sacred message. If you want to, you could look up doves as a totem animal and find out more. But I love your interpretation just as it is. Thanks for commenting.

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  10. I am going to get a word of the year next year. I work with sevral animals. Wolf, anteater, buck, rabbit, bear. They all help me in different ways. The rabbit, helps me get my belly close to the earth. The wolf, is my granfather spirit, very wise and good.

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    1. Jodi, Wolf has always been the animal I most identify with, but other animals have been significant in my life, too, including the bear. The wolf is constant, but others seem to drop in from time to time. Thanks for sharing your animal insights.

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  11. I have a special place in my soul for cats. I love their quiet intelligence, their grace, their ability to let things go and move on to the next thing. My cats have been my teachers through the years. Having them literally changed my life (I could write a book about it). :-) I also feel a closeness to wolves, whales, owls and butterflies. They just seem to speak to me.

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    1. Tina, Maybe you will write a book about it! We can learn so much from animals around us. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

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  12. Without a doubt, I would be a Tiger. I absolutely loves wolves, but I don't with the pack, so I wouldn't do the animal justice.

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    1. JJ, I'm not surprised. I remember the tiger icon on your blog when I first started reading it. About your wolf comment, I think animals that are not necessarily ones we would "be" can still have much to teach us. I would be a wolf, for example, and not a praying mantis, but right now the mantis is teaching me about alert stillness. Thanks for your comment.

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  13. I have always had a place in my heart for dogs. Their unfiltered love captivates me and I find they are that constant friend through good times and bad. Dogs as well as other animals have wonderful lessons to share.

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    1. Cathy, i'm a dog person, too, so no surprise that if I were an animal I would be a wolf. Each animal has it's own lesson for us, though, as you say. Right now I am learning from the praying mantis, but at another time, a different animal might have a lesson for me. Thanks for your comment.

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  14. Oh, I love this reflection upon the praying mantis and your year of "Wait." I don't have a totem animal per se, though I have always loved and admired wolves as you do. I suppose, since writing The Glade Series, my favored creature is the squirrel. :) Makes sense if you've read the books.
    Love and blessings!

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    1. Martha, Yes, I've read your books, and I can understand your affinity with squirrels. It might be interesting to look them up as a totem animal and see what they symbolize, although all that really matters is what they symbolize to you. Thanks for your comment.

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  15. Loved reading Kara's anecdote and yes, animals are interesting role models for different aspects of our lives. I have never thought about this question before but in every animal/insect/bird I tend to see something in tune with my mood and body rhythm. Thanks for another thought inducing post.

    Joy always,
    Susan

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    1. Susan, Great approach. Everything we encounter can bring us deeper wisdom if we are paying attention. Thanks for commenting.

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