Thursday, November 17, 2011

The Deer Nation

Years ago, I heard that everyone has animal protector spirits, one on the left and one on the right. Testing that hypothesis, I announced to the Universe that I wanted to know what animal spirit was on my right. "Your move, Universe," I thought.

It took the Universe about a year to convince me that the animal spirit on my right was the deer. After I announced my request, I began noticing that each time I drove out of the city, I would see deer on the right side of the road. Of course I dismissed it as coincidence, like any normal red blooded American. As time went on, seeing a deer on the right side of the road, day and night, was such a constant and consistent event that I could have bet money on it. The more I meditated and prayed about this business of an animal protector on my right, the more deer I saw, and the greater my doubt grew. Crazy that the more proof we are granted by the Creator, the more we indulge our doubt.

I went through all of the rationalizations that my society has dutifully taught me: coincidence - looking for deer when I had not been looking for them before - high number of deer in Kansas so of course I will see them everywhere - "magical" thinking - stupid to believe old pan-Indian myths.

One time I had been earnestly praying about this whole spirit business and admitting it was difficult for me to believe. Later that day, on my way to visit a friend in another town, I spotted a doe with triplets at the edge of a field in broad day light. I have never seen triplets before or since. The Universe was patiently answering my prayers but I was stubbornly dense.

In one prayer Lodge I attended, the people were taught to look into the red hot stones, the grandfathers, for messages, for help. While I always dutifully looked into the stones, I did not know what to expect. Would I see a vision, like a hologram? Would an intuitive answer arise in my consciousness? Would I hear something? I did not know, but I continued to take the elder's word and looked to the grandfathers for their help. One time I closed my eyes tightly and prayed hard about the issue of whether there really were protector spirits for people, me in particular. I earnestly prayed to be shown what my right protector spirit might be. When I opened my eyes, the pattern in the glowing red hot stones was the perfect likeness of a deer facing me. It sent a jolt of joyous energy through me, but only for a moment. Anyone can see anything if they are motivated enough, I told myself. Just as my mother had said to me a million times, "It's just your imagination." I dismissed the gift from the grandfathers like I had dismissed the deer that had been showing themselves to me, like the doe who brought her three precious fawns out into the open danger of daylight. What a dolt. Most of us are dolts when it comes to recognizing the blatant answer to our prayers, whatever they may be.

But, I was beginning to believe.

This entire lesson culminated when I received the first energy work of my life, a Reiki session. I became so deeply relaxed that I was able to still my thoughts entirely for the first time. Into that quiet space behind my eyes, I became aware of a mighty buck with a magnificent rack of antlers standing to my right. A dazzling energetic curtain separated the buck from me. It was so startling that my eyes involuntarily opened. I could still see the buck. A current of gratitude washed through me, and I opened and closed my eyes several times to prove to myself that what I was seeing was real. Whether my eyes were open or closed, I could see the deer spirit.

I wasted one of the most momentous events of my spiritual life by failing to acknowledge the spirit of the deer nation when he appeared to me. Yet, what he brought was the knowledge that the Indians know what the hell they are talking about. The thing is, we do not have to be Indians to have spirits visit us, to have our prayers answered - merely human. Our human prayers are heard and answered. The Creator of all knows our hearts.

No, I am not a deer shaman, not a deer whisperer. I cannot magically entice deer to come to my side. (You, "deer" reader, have been watching too many Hollywood movies!) I cannot call on deer to kick someone's ass, someone who pulls out in front of me in traffic, for instance, but that would be cool. Even so, this was a tremendous lesson for me. Our lives are mysterious. The world is more mysterious than even science can say. There are things we no longer understand, things we have forgotten, and things we absolutely no longer value to the detriment of all sentient beings. Thankfully, there are people who have never forgotten, and are willing to share a little of what they know.


Li'l Ned said...

I had to laugh and shake my head in amazed sympathy -- an self-recognition -- in your listing of all the deer-on-the-right denials and doubts. So familiar!

I have done a couple of journeys-to-find-your-totem-animal with shamanic guides (both of them full-blooded white Amuricans, but students of Native American teachers) and am still shaking my head an laughing at myself for my own doubt of the extremely vivid, powerful and instantaneous results, which I also instantly began doubting. It didn't help that the first time the animal that showed up was an earthworm. Huh? That's it? Other people were getting deer, bears, eagles ....... and I get an earthworm? The second time I was in a cave full of spirit animals, kind of shadowy, and the only one I could see clearly was ..... what?! a feathered serpent? They're not even real, how could that be my totem animal?

Still laughing at myself. I am half afraid to go for the 'which animal is on the right, which on the left?' question, in case one of my 'sidekicks' is a deer. You know my position on bambi. Bad attitude might have to give way to something a bit more enlightened. That would be such hard work.

Jackie said...

Li'l Ned - now we know why your gardening is so sublime! The father took the name 'Worm' after he gave the name 'Crazy Horse' to his warrior son. They say life would not be possible on earth without the earthworm. I have also heard the earthworm does not have any illness or cancer and does not carry any diseases. Surely an earthworm is a humble, enlightened being of the highest magnitude. And the feathered serpent is from the Toltecs, the South American traditions. Nemaste, my friend!

PS I don't think you have to worry about Bambi! ; )

Li'l Ned said...

I was actually quite happy with the Earthworm spirit, just a bit amused and laughing at myself. I do love worms, and welcome them in my garden. As for the feathered serpent, that journey was guided by a student in the line of South American shamans! So appropriate, I guess, that I got a S. American animal.

I seem to have a pattern of getting disconcerting answers to spiritual questing. In my initial attempts at meditating, with a guided meditation at Full Moon onetime, and again with a group, we did a wonderful journey to meet a special guide, look at 'our purpose on Earth' , receive a gift and returned to the room. Going around the circle, each person told what their guide was like, and what gift they received. The first person got a beautiful crystal, the next a jewel-bound book, the next a ring, the next a golden box...... and so on around to me. And what had I gotten? You guessed it: a head of cauliflower. Yes, cauliflower. And it was so real I didn't even doubt it. But everyone in the room kind of laughed like I had gotten a dud gift. It wasn't until years later, when I went back and read my notes about this journey, that I put it together with flower essences, which I hadn't discovered until 7 or 8 years later. Cauliflower: the birth essence! hahahaha

For years I lamented the mundane nature of so many of my spiritual insights. Come to think of it, I was better off with vegetables and bugs!