bloodteethandflame

A life in threes

Category: spirit animals

Jellyfish

Lately whenever I meditate or ask the Universe about my own practice/devotionals – I get visions of jellyfish.

Though I hadn’t ever looked up what jellyfish represent (as totems/spirit animals), I decided to research the symbolism of jellyfish recently.

According to the descriptions I found on several ‘what’s your spirit totem’ websites, jellyfish symbolize a need for surrender, a spiritual nudge to go with the flow and the necessity of trusting the process.

Now anyone who knows me would know why I would be both intrigued and horrified on several levels concerning that message

as

I have always had an unreasonable fear of jellyfish.

I cannot even look at a picture of a jellyfish.

I will admit that I get uncomfortable just seeing them on TV (such as how they are prominently featured in that Prevagen commercial.)

In short, Jellyfish FREAK ME THE FUCK OUT.

And yet, I should not be surprised at the irony of this situation in that a creature that I’ve always taken great pains to avoid – the jellyfish – should be one that represents the exact spiritual concepts with which I have been struggling.

I imagine that the Universe must be having a good long laugh at my expense regarding this latest development as jellyfish and the necessity of surrender have combined to create a rather intense two-for-one push out of my comfort zone, eh?

 (NOTE TO SELF: DON’T LOOK NOW )

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      ( AAAAIIIIGGGGHHHH )

So, here’s a few interesting things I’ve learned in my research about jellyfish:

Despite being biologically and rather structurally ‘basic’ creatures, jellyfish have survived for millennia.

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Their diet consists of whatever food supply (small organisms) they come across while floating in the ocean, as they have very little mobility/agency of their own compared to most sea creatures. In this sense, jellyfish are more at the mercy of the tide and currents, the wind, or whatever gets in their way as they float in the ocean than most other creatures.

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Unimpeded, there’s a certain species of jellyfish that are practically immortal – the Turritopsis dohrnii – the immortal jellyfish [pictured above].  These jellyfish only die from outside influences (injury, being eaten, etc.), as this species of jellyfish can revert back to its earlier polyp form at any time. In this regard, it is easy to see why this jellyfish could symbolize infinity.

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As well, most jellyfish do not seem to have many natural predators. That’s right – there aren’t many creatures that hunt them/prefer to eat them. Therefore, the jellyfish population is primarily kept in check through misadventure/outside influences. In a sense, the jellyfish is symbolic of an organism that trusts and relies on the abundance of the Universe to exist.

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Coupled with that near immortal/infinite existence, jellyfish have come to symbolize vulnerability, trust, and surrender.

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So I take these visions to mean that – as much as I hate jellyfish – here’s another sign of the Universe asking for my SURRENDER.

Latest message: More let go…more give in.

*sigh*

Food for thought: a re-blog, and my spirit animals

Asbjorn Torval’s latest post on spirit animals brings up some good points regarding spirit animals, personal bias and what he terms ‘power play’ when considering why there are so many folks who choose wolves and bears as their spirit animals, and yet no one seems to choose cockroaches or rats.

Why indeed, and this post has given me much food for thought regarding my own experiences in that if I were to choose a spirit animal, I would likely choose the fox, the horse, or the raven

– and yet, if I were to be honest –

The reality seems to be that my spirit animals are

 

 

Vultures

(L-R: Turkey vulture; Black vulture)

and

 

 

Possums!

(L-R: angry possum; possum ‘playing dead’)

You see, ever since I began working with Loki – and then later (and at present) Odin – my life has become overrun with vultures and possums!

Did I expect the relentless presence of vultures and possums in my life?

Well, I cannot say that I did, and yet – much like the Gods Themselves – I find that my life is full of signs of their presence at every turn.

So what have all of these interactions with vultures and possums taught me?

As many long-time followers of this blog may recall that I have written of my mundane (and spiritual) experiences with vultures, I don’t think I have ever written about my interactions with possums.

I grew up in a rather rural town in Massachusetts.  My father had quite a sizeable garden on the 1/2 acre property, and as you might imagine, I came across possums – both living and dead – quite often.

As a matter of fact, a dead possum was likely my first childhood experience with death – when, at the age of five or six years old – I found the very much dead body of a possum under an outdoor picnic table in the backyard. I remember my father explaining to me how sometimes possums would ‘play dead’ – just like I’d seen in cartoons – but that this one was really dead 😦

As well, my siblings and I would often come across live mama possums -with tiny babies – living in our root cellar, or trying to survive the winter by sneaking under the bulkhead stairs and into our basement. (I remember my older siblings and I learning to build a (humane) catch and release trap (courtesy of a Mark Trail book) for catching all the possums and other animals that snuck in, and how aggressively we competed with each other for the exciting and very honorable privilege of being the one who help our father carry the [occupied] trap into the woods to safely release whatever animal it had caught.)

But then, once I grew up and left home, I spent many years living in suburban areas and in bigger cities like Boston, Orlando, and Newark…and I didn’t see another possum for almost 25 years.

Fast forward to 2010, when my husband and I bought a house in a large Central Florida suburb…and I am telling you, I have never seen so many possums in all of my life.

In the month of July 2013 alone, I came across eight dead possums in my backyard; I swear that the vultures were bringing them – perhaps even dropping them – into my backyard, which is surrounded by a 6 foot privacy fence.  Two of them were huge- larger than each of my three full grown house-cats – and even my 75 lb Labrador retriever was afraid to go near them. (They were very dead and very heavy – and the body of one of those particularly big ones would not fit on the scoop/blade of my largest shovel.)

And nowadays, I’ve seen a few (thankfully live) possums while walking my dogs at night, either trotting down the middle of my street, or perched on my next-door neighbor’s fence or in the tree overlooking their swimming pool.

My dogs go berserk and stand out there barking at them every time one of the possums show up- but I don’t think they even blink anymore :/

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 Most of those ‘What’s your Spirit Animal?’ websites (like this one) often portray Possum as a sort of trickster and problem solver:

  • Possum comes up with alternative plans for difficult situations that don’t require fighting/violence. They have an effective strategy – either by putting on an impressive display of ferocity or by playing ‘dead’ – and both strategies are indicative of one who is a master of projecting an impressive image of what they want others to see.
  • Possums are highly social with curious, inquisitive minds. They know when to run, when to hide, and when to move forward.
  • Possums are short lived creatures associated with youth and vulnerability. As a spirit animal, Possum assists those who are either young in spirit – or those who need to reconnect with their own vulnerability (or their inner child).
  • Possums are nocturnal creatures who are comfortable in the dark (in burrows underground) or in trees. Thus, Possum has strong element ties with the Earth and with trees. They have mastered navigating darkness and Possum serves as an excellent guide for those who seek to develop their navigation of darkness to uncover elusive truths, especially spiritual truths.
  • When Possum shows up – ask yourself if you are taking the right path toward your goals or if you have wandered off track. If the latter, Possum might be saying: ‘Be still and play dead’ and take some time to reflect and assess your circumstances. But likewise, Possum symbolizes to expect the unexpected and always be on the lookout for deception and lies. You are being called to challenge the status quo and outsmart the people who may wish to trick or deceive you.
  • Possum can indicate the need to be prepared for change – opportunity knocks! – but Possum’s message is one of caution: Not all is as it would seem. Some options will leave you exposed and vulnerable, while other options may divert you from your goals. Possums are creatures who look for the path of least resistance.
  • Ultimately, Possum is a survivor and the possum is a reminder that you will survive whatever threatens to overtake you, including your fears, doubts, or emotional trauma. Stay guarded, listen, and bide your time.

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So, considering best laid plans and all that…

Every time I see a vulture, I take it as a reminder that I need

  • to rely on the tools given to me
  • trust in the process
  • look for opportunities to transform
  • accept that what seems like an end is not the end of the world

And, oddly enough, when I see possums, I take it as a sign that I need to:

  • Be resourceful
  • Meditate on my options
  • Learn to navigate the darkness and don’t be afraid of it
  • Learn to accept that appearances can deceive
  • Be cheerful

That being said, I think Vulture and Possum are my unexpected spirit animals

…and I imagine that they are here to stay.