Thursday, July 26, 2012

Totems & The Messages They Brought To Me Tonight

The baby long-legged bat I encountered tonight.

A few months ago wild animals began appearing in my life. It started with a bald eagle I spotted perched on top of a tall pine tree in the parking lot at work. I snapped as good of a photo of it as I could with my iPhone, then stood there and watched it as it looked for prey. It was, quite literally, awesome. I could almost feel it's strength and spirit.

After that encounter, I began to wonder if there was a message in there for me. Even though I wasn't raised in the Native American culture, I do have Cherokee blood from my birth father's side and I've studied a bit about totems and traditions of the Native American people. Seeing the eagle made me wonder about it's meaning within that culture and whether or not that meaning had a Universal message.

At the time, I was struggling with my photography and had very low self-confidence around it. I hadn't picked up my camera in quite a while, to be honest. After looking up the meaning of the eagle totem I found the message of “not allowing the illusion of limitation to ground us in our flight”. I took it to heart and picked up my camera once again.

A month or so later as I was driving home from work late at night, I crossed paths with a raccoon. He was almost instantly in front of my car in a dark stretch of highway and in a place where I was absolutely unable to avoid hitting him. I felt horrible when it happened and still do. The rest of my drive home was filled with tears and apologies and heart ache. I have never hit an animal and now know how traumatizing it is. I am still so sorry.

A week or so after that I noticed a deer on the side of that same freeway. She was feeding on leaves about 50 feet from the freeway. After I passed her I silently asked her to stay away from the road. 

Last night on my way home from work on that same freeway I passed the body of a mountain lion that had been hit. I regret not stopping and going back to it, but what would I have been able to do? It wasn't moving so I assumed it was killed on impact. Again, I felt horrible. Even though I wasn't the one who hit it, I felt horrible for being a part of the same species that killed it. I shed some tears and sent a prayer up into the Universe for it's smooth transition into the next life.

While I was at work tonight, on my lunch break, my co-worker called me over to his work area and pointed at something on the floor. It was a baby long-legged bat. The only other time I've ever seen a bat was when I visited family in Massachusetts while still a teenager so I was awestruck. The little guy was trying to find it's way out of the warehouse, I assumed, so I quickly found a clear bowl in the kitchen and led him inside of it then covered it so he wouldn't try and fly away until I got him outside. I took him to the back of the building where there are a few trees and nothing much else around, hoping he'd find his way and be safe. After putting him down he quickly found the wall of the building and started to climb it. I wished him luck and watched him for a few moments.

After going back to work tonight I started thinking about all of these encounters and sort of putting them together. When I came home tonight I had to sit down and research each one of their totem meanings.

The eagle is about not allowing the illusion of limitation to ground us in our flight.
The raccoon is about cleverness, adaptation, leadership in groups, empowerment of others, and the masks we wear.
The deer is about seeking out our inner treasures.
The mountain lion is about courage, power, patience, decision and intuition.
Finally, the bat is about the ability to see through illusion or ambiguity and dive straight to the truth of matters. It is also a symbol of rebirth.

When I put all of these things together, I am clear that the path I am on with my new project and my new business is the path that I am supposed to be on. For that message, I am truly grateful.

Just to note, even though I am grateful, my heart is sad for those beautiful animals. We, as humans, don't tread lightly on this Earth and that affects every single one of them. My respect for this planet and the creatures that inhabit it is great and I do my best to live peacefully, compassionately and respectfully.


  1. Beautiful post. When you start to notice, you see more.

  2. I agree with Amber, when you start to notice, you see more. My teacher has always encouraged me to go beyond the metaphysical meaning or message of wild animals and study how they live, eat, survive, and reproduce to deepen my understanding of the place of their medicine in my life. She has also encouraged me to consider putting myself in the place of each animal when I encounter it - so you are the bat in the warehouse, the raccoon not making it across the road, etc. I don't believe it is a stretch to feel that raccoon offered itself to you for a purpose. What have you killed or released? Perhaps when you can answer that question, the sadness will subside. (Even though on a practical, physical level I would feel the same way. It's hard to see beyond that, especially when you are so connected to nature and animals.)

    I admire how you are walking your path right now - so much courage and confidence. It's amazing and wonderful, and I'm not surprised one bit. You have always had this in you. :)



    1. Thank you. (: I knew it was there but was so fearful of it, to be perfectly honest. I am still a wee bit terrified but that feeling is less and less with each passing day.

      You're right. It isn't a stretch to feel that raccoon offered itself to me for a purpose. I can see it in that perspective, even through the sadness. What immediately comes to mind is killing off the masks I've worn. Perhaps as I think about it more other things will make themselves known, as well.

      Thank you. Thank you for being in my life and understanding these things. I appreciate you, LW. <3

  3. What a beautiful post, Wendi. The insights you have gained from these experiences, and those you will continue to gain, will serve you well as you continue on your path. All of nature conspires to teach us well. Our task is to be teachable. You do all of that so well.

  4. I loved this post..thank you for sharing! Wildlife is so mysterious and beautiful, but I didn't know that it had such a deep philosophical meaning to our lives.. I think I will see things a little differently now..

    1. You're welcome! I'm so glad my words can help you see things a little differently!