Thursday, April 5, 2012

When Animal Totems Appear: Working with the Cougar

So, I continue processing the work I did with T. Thorn Coyle at the Self-Possession: Activating the "I AM" workshop she taught in DC the weekend before last. Needless to say working with these energies has been very powerful and the changes are real and immediate and sure to be ongoing for a long time.

During one working, we were given the opportunity to ask for information and guidance. So, I closed my eyes and and asked. The face of the cougar appeared before me. This happens to me a lot. Animal totems appear to give me information I need when I need it--both in meditation and the real world. And I must say, I prefer when animals like wild cats, tigers, and cobras appear in meditation because otherwise it would be a little strange and probably dangerous.

I have my personal totems that are with me all the time, but when a new animal appears, I pay attention. I meditate. I do my research. The cougar was reinforcing a message and bringing it home. I know what I need to do--my spiritual guides on this plane and the others have made it quite clear for some time. I've mentioned previously that I always have a problem with the "how" in both my mundane and magickal lives. Now, the cougar has appeared to show me how.

“If a cougar shows up in your life, it is time to learn about power. Test your own. Most young cougars learn how to use their power through trial and error. It strengthens them and hones their skills. When a cougar shows up as totem, much of the trial has been worked through. Now it is time to assert.
"People may not like your asserting. They may try and keep you in the category they have always kept you. You can choose to remain so, or you can stretch your muscles and show your capabilities. Those with the cougar medicine fall easily under attack, especially by those who have grown comfortable with the status quo and do not wish to truly see you grow. Remember that there will always be some who will not wish to see you come into your own power or will ever acknowledge that you have. If cougar has shown up, there is a choice to be made, and it should be made quickly and strongly. A cougar leaps at its opportunities."
--“Cougar” entry from Ted Andrews’ Animal Speak

I can see I've been through trials lately and I've also seen the resistance of others. They say encouraging words, but there back-handed comments and actions say other wise. But the cougar can show me how to deal with those too.

I also find it extremely interesting that my birth totem, the deer, is on the top of the cougar’s list of prey. This explains why exerting personal power is so difficult and terrifying for me. I’m so afraid I’m going to lose myself and everything I have. I am positive that when I step up and out, my shell will not only crack, I believe it will shatter into a gazillion pieces--flying far and wide. I also do not equate my actions of assertiveness as me being in my power, but of me just being a bitch or an asshole in a situation. Assertion is something I definitely need to learn, because a deer is really good at camouflage, its ability to blend into the tree line is its greatest defense mechanism. I hide behind my perceptions of how others will view me. Yes, I did say MY perceptions of how others will view me. I will own that. It’s totally mine. However powerful that lesson is, the true lesson is in how I integrate my powerful Cougar with my lively, gentle deer without harm to others and to my self.
“The deer is the cougar’s favorite prey…One of the qualities embodied by the deer is gentleness. For those with the cougar totem, remember that power can be asserted gently. There is strength and power in gentleness. It is also a reminder that there are times to be gentle and there are times to assert your power forcefully. This is part of what the cougar teaches.”

The second favorite prey of the cougar is also interesting. The porcupine, with all its quills.
“The cougar is one of the few animals that is capable of killing a porcupine without harm to itself… The cougar has developed the ability to flip the porcupine upon its back, exposing it vulnerable underside.” That’s powerful. I definitely can see people’s vulnerabilities and I currently do everything in my power to excuse and compensate for others--which doesn't do either one of us any good, and is more often to the detriment of my self. This about me not being harmed by others as I step into my power, and if I have to use their vulnerabilities to protect myself and my power before others can shoot their quills, then that's what I have to do. I'm not a megomaniac. I'm not going for world domination--though if it happens, it happens and I will do my best to rule fairly. Seriously, this power is about me and not others. When others make my power about them, that's when I need to defend myself.

Basically, the cougar is telling me, "It is time!" Time for me to stop being afraid of my power. To stop futzing around. To believe I have that power. To step up and be who I'm supposed to be.  The cougar has taught me how.  And I am doing it and it's working.

“The cougar teaches decisiveness in the use of personal power. When it attacks, it does not hesitate. When threatened, it goes for the most vulnerable place. The cougar can teach you how to bring your power and fill your heart with it in a manner that will enable you to take charge of your life. You will find you can use it to defend yourself or to attack—with equal effectiveness. Cougar teaches you how to take charge of your life and your circumstances most effectively.”

Okay. I can handle that! And if you can't, best you git out my way!


  1. My absolute favorite cat. Rock on with your bad self, Lady! I feel like this was the part of the balance you had been missing.

  2. Great post. I was looking up info about Cougar totem meditations, and stumbled upon this. The deer is ALSO my most prominent spirit animal! I recently did a spirit animal meditation to meet my animal(s), and I met both Deer and Cougar. A difficult combo, indeed.