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Friday, October 7, 2011

Animal Signs: Coyote

Coyotes are making the news again in my part of the world. Apparently the government is extending a $20.00-per-pelt bounty for trappers between Oct. and March of next year. This program was brought in last year amid much controversy. The move was fueled by several "sightings" of coyotes in urban areas, and a lot of fear expressed by parents of young children and pet owners. I don't remember much talk about coyotes around here until 2009 when a young woman was  attacked and killed by coyotes in a Provincial Park.

I have lived in other parts of Canada where coyotes are much more a "fact of life" than they seem to be around here.  I have often gone to sleep with the howl of coyotes in the background.  In my opinion, it is both a soothing and haunting sound.

Folklore is full of accounts of coyotes, and they are considered a totem animal. The role of the coyote as both a story character and as a totem animal is often one of a trickster. They seem to have dual roles of wisdom and folly, intelligence and child-like innocence, truth and illusion. They are considered shape-shifters in their ability to walk between two worlds in this dual nature.

People that have the coyote as a totem animal tend to be full of contradiction as well.  They often have a very playful child-like quality to them but they are also prone to deep contemplation and tend towards periods of introspection. They like to be multi-taskers with a lot of projects going at the same time. When the lack of focus prevents these projects from getting "accomplished", these people can become discouraged and lose faith in themselves.

Coyote energy is said to be tied to simplicity and trust. They come to this world with a wide open heart, expecting the best of everyone and everything. This trust can sometimes get them into trouble when others aren't always worthy of that trust. This can cause the "coyote person" to sense disillusionment and become suspicious of even the most honest intentions. That wide open heart can be slammed shut as they close themselves off to their wounds. When operating in their "shadow side", the coyote can betray the faith of loved ones. The lesson of the coyote is perhaps to listen to their intuition rather than believing in either what they want to believe, or refuse to see. Once working within these boundaries, they make the right decisions and know who is worthy of their trust.

There is even opposing sides to the howl of the coyote. In some instances, it is a call of unity between family members. They cry as a means to stay in contact across great distances.  A lone coyote will howl in search of a mate beside who they will stay for the rest of their lives. The small family unit is important to coyotes.They are good parents and look after their children well. But the song can also be a rallying cry. It can be used to summon the pack before a hunt, or to chase away intruders.

People that have the coyote as a totem animal tend to feel they are on earth for a specific purpose. Despite feeling this sense of mission  they are unsure what that special purpose is and will often spend years attempting to figure that out. At times they may feel they get "glimpses" of this calling, only to have self-doubt cloud their vision once again. It is only through exploring multiple paths where they are challenged both intellectually and spiritually that they find their purpose. Once they find it, they tend to share their insights with others.  They often  become educators or writers so they can transmit their ideas and philosophy to others. It's that shape-shifting again- they bring the lessons, thoughts, or experiences from other worlds into the here and now.  Once they find their purpose they will "howl their coyote song".

There are a number of Bach Flowers that seem to be a match for the coyote as an animal sign. Wild Oat, Chestnut Bud, and Cerato all may be helpful.

Wild Oat is typically used to help people find their purpose. In this case,  is not used to prevent chasing multiple dreams, because the coyote person will need to pursue multiple avenues, but to help you use your talents to pursue more than one career, direction, or goal at the same time. The great curiosity of the coyote makes it difficult to focus and they become easily bored and distracted. Wild Oat can help encourage some discipline so their sharp intellect is used in multiple ways. Sometimes the right path may have several layers. As a shape-shifter, multiple paths become do-able.

Chestnut Bud may be helpful to those following a coyote path.  The journey is not always an easy one for the coyote. They tend to make life difficult for themselves as they continue to trust people that aren't worthy. They sometimes make their life more complicated than it needs to be and loose that ability to enjoy the simple child-like pleasures they seek. Remember Wile Coyote and the Roadrunner from the Bugs Bunny cartoons. So many times he kept making the same mistake as the roadrunner cruised right past him! Chestnut Bud can help you learn from your past mistakes and from observing the mistakes of others in the pack. With less repetitive mistakes, there is more free time to enjoy the simple life.

The coyote person is infused with wisdom and intellect. But they walk to the beat of a multiple drummers. Their path is not often understood by those around them. Society doesn't really support or approve of coyotes. We fear them for their wisdom, we ridicule their playful silliness, we punish them for lack of focus. We put $20.00 bounties on the ability to trap them.  But the coyote knows what is best for the coyote. So too it is with coyote people.  Only you know what is best for you. If you need some help to trust yourself, Cerato is the Bach Flower for you. Cerato can help you listen and trust that intuition. It can help you accept your shape-shifting, dual nature as a gift despite what others say or feel.

Maybe in this shifting time, the coyote is making it's appearance to encourage us to see through our illusions. Perhaps the coyote wants us to think about how we are reacting to nature and find new ways to sing our songs in harmony, respecting each other for their differences and fostering the development of new worlds beyond our current vision. Hmm...

Perhaps the coyote is here to show us we're under the illusion that we have far more control over things than we really do.  Maybe instead of invoking bounties and instilling fear, we should respect the coyote for it's talents, but at the same time, lighten up a bit. Maybe we could learn to trust and enjoy a simpler approach to life if we embraced the duality the coyote presents.  If nothing else, maybe we should just learn to howl at the moon!

1 comment:

  1. I know this is an old post but I have been searching for more than the same old description of the Coyote spirit. So glad I found this!!! What a wonderfully written page and will help me tremendously with this totem. I know the Coyote is one of my main spirit animals. Sounds so much like me!