"In observing the habit patterns of Skunk, it is easy to notice the playfulness and nonchalance of its natural behavior. The 'I-dare-you' attitude of this four-legged creature commands you, as the observer, to respect its space by mere reputation alone." (Medicine Cards, p65)
I love this picture of a spotted Western skunk doing a handstand, displaying its playful and daring nature. Those that identify closely with Skunk medicine "have the ability to attract others, and they are very charismatic. At the same time, the other side of their natural power is to repel those who seek to take energy from them without recycling the gifts they have taken." (Medicine Cards, p65)
"Skunk medicine! Go ahead and laugh. This furry little animal has a reputation that contains a great deal of power." (Medicine Cards, p65)
As we enter week 33 of 2019, let's take some time to reflect on the previous week of our journey and the medicine of Skunk that was by our side, guiding us on our year-long journey from heartbreak to empowerment.
What lessons can we learn from observing this small creature with a big reputation? Have we built a reputation of respect, warmth and sincerity in our lives or have we attempted to get by using fanciful words and hoping we can get by on good intentions without following through, leaving a smelly mess for others to clean up?
It is the medicine of Skunk that guides us during the relation stage of the journey and that points out the paradox that is often present as we move away from heartbreak and toward empowerment.
Our initial reaction to Skunk medicine may be to say, 'Yuk, no thank you.' Upon further reflection, however, we may find that Skunk medicine is exactly what we need.
This small creature and its distinctive markings keep much larger predators at bay with nothing more than 'hearsay'. Skunk medicine may not hold up in a court of law but it works wonders in our social interactions - "Your self-respectful attitude will repel those who are not of like mind, and yet will attract those who choose the same pathway." (Medicine Cards, p65)
In an earlier blog (Week 10, Blue Heron) I shared, "If you want to decide where you end, you better examine whether each action you take is going to get you closer or further away from that destination." We are creating our lives each day, with every decision we make or do not make. It is that simple. Once again, it is not easy. There are so many engrained beliefs, subconscious value systems that have been instilled in us during childhood. All too often we were in a situation that taught us unhealthy coping mechanisms. As children we have so little choice in many ways - we are dependent on our parents to provide a safe, nurturing environment for the most part. Even the most well-meaning, loving parents sometimes lack the knowledge and/or resources to provide an environment in which children are safe and nourished, enabling them to learn and feel supported.
I feel like I had a great childhood for the most part, all the way through High School and College. And even with a very loving, caring mother I was exposed to experiences and belief systems that created some faulty wiring and a pretty backward belief system. When voices in my head during law school started to taunt me with, "You should be barefoot and pregnant" & "You are not cut out to make it in a man's world", I was mostly fascinated and only slightly disturbed.
It was fascinating because I never consciously accepted these values and never had been overtly 'indoctrinated' into this value system but it was the subtle and powerful structures of the groups I was a part - my family, the church, even at school but much more so at church and home - that showed me every single day that a woman's role was to be in the home, to be a good mother, to serve others. To be submissive was an honored trait that was ordained by The Bible and by God himself in the religion of my youth. These are well-meaning beliefs at certain level but they did not align with my inner truth, I can assure you I was not born to submit - submissiveness is not my nature, it is my nurture. For me to move away from heartbreak toward empowerment, I had to become aware of these faulty subconscious beliefs that were directing my life in ways that I was unaware and therefore unable to manage or change.
In TKC I wrote, I am "working to expose the faulty belief system that continue[s] to obfuscate my power to build the life my dreams for as long as it remain[s] unrecognized." (p186) If we want to tap into the medicine of Skunk, we need to be aware of the beliefs we hold about ourselves and bring to the surface any beliefs that do not align with our personal truth and with living honestly as we can. We must "[u]se our medicine well, and know that [we] are known by [our] reputation. How [we] use our energy will attract either honor or disgrace." (Medicine Cards, p66)
Skunk medicine asks us "to examine what energy [we] are putting out that creates [our] present situation", or perhaps - how we perceive our present circumstances. (Medicine Cards, p66)
"The carriage of your body relates to others what you believe about yourself. There is no need to bully, aggravate, torment, or overpower other beings when your sense of "self" is intact. As with Skunk, the resonant field of energy around your body is relayed through the senses. Self-esteem permeates the body's energy, and is instantly recognized on an extrasensory level by others." (Medicine Cards, p65)
To be able to tap into the medicine of Skunk, we must first cultivate a healthy sense of self-esteem that comes from finding and living according to our personal truth. There are so many things I want in life. There are so many things I wanted and that will never be. On my inner journey I found that most of all, I just wanted to be me - all of me. I didn't want to have to hide my hurt and pain to be loved. I didn't want to pretend that I was strong and independent and 'fine' when I wasn't. I didn't want to take life on all by myself and ignore, push away all the things that hurt me and caused disappointment.
All the avoidance and denial in my life came mostly from subconscious 'survival' mechanisms I picked up when I was a child and the pain of losing my father to brain damage and my mother to the emotional overload that was caused by losing her husband with 3 young children. She did the best she could and I love my mom dearly. There is no need to place blame. The pain these traumatic losses in my childhood caused was too great for the carriage of my body. My body's inherent ability to survive/will to live created a wall within me that kept the overwhelming pain away at a time when I did not have the resources to process and manage it.
A miracle of sorts. Pretty sure every day is a miracle. We are surrounded by miracles every single day and yet it can be so hard to see them and so easy to fall into doubt and fear. Skunk medicine shows us how the accumulation of the small actions we take every day can either provide us a lovely area in the woods to play and chill out with the nonthreatening, nonchalance of Skunk - self-esteem fully intact, no need to get defensive as the wide berth of our reputation creates a safe home for us to enjoy.
When our self-esteem is not in tact, when we have not cultivated a healthy home for ourselves to enjoy and play - it is very likely that our lives or parts of our lives become very smelly. It is not fun dealing with the stench, the pain of denial and avoidance, but if we want to free ourselves from ignorance and circumstance, if we want to move away from heartbreak toward celebration and empowerment - we better start by cleaning up our own messes. Taking care of ourselves and being true to our responsibilities is a good start and Skunk teaches that by "walking your talk and by respecting yourself, you will create a position of strength and an honored reputation." (Medicine Cards, p65)
The simple pleasures and rewards that come from Skunk medicine provide us a space for laughter and give us the permission to take risks. "Does the world call you by name or are you still pretending to be less than you are?" (Does the World Know Your Name, TKC, p175)
No more hiding in the shadows, acting out of fear or doubt . . . Let your light shine from deep within and the medicine of Skunk will work wonders in your life.