As a boy I spent much time in the forests. I built numerous forts and had many a great adventure. I spent most of my free time exploring every inch of the forests. I used to even take the time to unblock streams and get the water flowing again. It was not until I was a little older that I fashioned branches into swords / walking sticks.
It was at this time that I would run about the woods fighting demons off with my wooden sword. There was no end to them, it was a cacophony of beasts and monsters. I would slay them every day and night. Until finally one night, my monstrous imagination became reality.
It was night time and I was walking down a long dock; that lead to the ocean. The cracks between the boards were huge and it worried me quite a bit. I approached the edge of the dock slowly. When out of nowhere the boards from underneath me exploded. I fell backwards. As I fell I saw the very demon, who was at the center of my battles when I was awake. The beast gave a roar as it rose up from the depths. As I hit the dock, I awoke in terror to hear the continued growling of the beast.
This simple dream would haunt me for years to come. What was it? Was my fanciful imagination just part of being young or were there in fact beasts that I battled? This very evening would be responsible for, my power animal years later as well as my continued haunting dreams.
You see after this happened my mother took me to the local shop. She told me to pick out something I felt could protect me from these monsters. As I wandered the store with her trying to find something I felt could keep me safe; my eyes landed upon a picture of a jaguar. I knew if anything could keep me safe it would be this wild cat. My mother purchased the picture and we headed home. On the ride back I could not help but think how thankful I was to have such a strong protector now. That monster could no longer bother me.
We hung the picture on the wall and for five years, a monster nor demon did not come into my life again. Save those from the stories I read. It was when I began practicing Shamanism that things came full circle. After spending months recording my dreams and diligently practicing my daily meditation at last my power animal appeared to me in my dream. The animal, a tiger, waited on my front porch for me it smiled and followed me in the house. I gave it a big hug, then I awoke.
When I awoke I could feel the tiger spirit within me; it was as if I had heightened senses ass well as the teeth and claws of the beast. In fact from this point on whenever I was in danger the tiger would let me know and take over. Looking back upon this I can say it was all just a creation of my subconscious. Had I recalled the jaguar of my childhood perhaps I would’ve realized that the tiger was not real. The tiger had helped me much like the jaguar had through many difficult times in my life. Ironically, it would be this very power animal to be exorcised from me. The very spirit that kept me safe from the demons was to be accused of being demonic itself.
Through out my youth my subconscious found safety in great cats. They strong, powerful, agile and intelligent beasts. They were far more capable to my subconscious than a rabbit, or religious icon. The mind had rejected traditional iconic archetypes in exchange to create its own. WHy wouldn’t it? Traditional deities, were a very foreign concept to me especially when raised as a Christian. The church I had gone to as a boy was very cold and intimidating. So for the mind it was only natural to choose something “natural”. When we start to recognize the cause and effects in our lives we can begin to gain more control over them. It is only through diligence, observance, patience, and practice that we can start to better ourselves. Does it make me a weaker person for utilizing animals to help me through difficult times in my life? Or does it reinforce the strength the mind is capable of in moments of great duress?