The amazing adaptability and resourcefulness of the coyote place it as powerful medicine. This medicine is based on the natural characteristics of the coyote. Coyotes have not only survived, but thrived under harrowing conditions.
“As Gabrielson (1951) recognized many years ago, no other American mammal has shown greater adaptability and stamina in the face of ruthless oppression. In spite of guns, dogs, poisons, and traps, pursued by hired hunters and carrying a price on his head, the coyote has managed not only to survive but to extend his range into new territory.”
To kill a coyote ... What started as a mysterious tagline to a dream I had so many years ago, curious yet obscure to one not versed in animal medicine, has taken on a life of its own. The coyote is rich in meaning, providing life lessons – a guide to transformation and knowledge. (p7, TKC)
Above: View approaching the beach where I took my first surf lesson on the north shore of Oahu near Haleiwa Town
The Inner Journey
There is depth in knowledge when one moves beyond the boundaries of what is expected, what is accepted. This is what coyote medicine teaches us if we are willing to be taught. Coyote forces us to look past the surface, to question appearance.
The coyote asks: How can we understand the world if we do not even know our own heart and soul? What is your greatest sorrow? What is your greatest fear? What makes your soul sing? What are your dreams?
The coyote instructs by creating and exposing illusions. If we remain unwilling to be instructed, if we choose unconsciousness, willful ignorance – we will be controlled by our commitments and we will never understand the profound impact that we can have on others and in the world. (p10, TKC)
Above: Lush Hawaiian mountains on Oahu
The striking similarity of archetypes across cultures that span the globe and the ages, reveals the universality of human experience. It is this universality that connects us all and when we reach a level of consciousness that touches upon this connection, even if only for a moment, the darkness and the heaviness begin to lift and our hearts start to open.
How each of us reaches this consciousness varies. I have found that medicine cards and animal totems help me to understand my place in the world better. The coyote has helped me move away from the heaviness and darkness toward consciousness.
Coyote has taught me that consciousness brings joy and light if that is what I choose.
The Medicine Cards list the coyote as the "Trickster." In Native American culture, coyotes are often seen as medians between this world and the spirit world; a connection to that which cannot be seen; sometimes good, sometimes bad. Other symbols of tricksters include Raven and Crow.
Odysseus is referred to as a ‘trickster’ in the Odyssey (which just happens to be my favorite book of all time). He is a hero with superior intellect and able to escape certain death and perilous traps by using his mind to gain the upper hand in situations where those less quick in their wits, and on their feet, would perish. (p5, TKC)
More Excerpts from TKC
Recently I began to ponder what the coyote represents; what does it mean to kill a coyote? I researched coyotes and learned about coyote medicine and trickster archetypes. Hindsight suggests that my dream’s tagline was neither accidental nor inconsequential.
I realize now that this tagline was calling up my coyote. This coyote that was sent to me as a tagline to my dream was a part of me – a trickster, shape-shifter, and transformer. “Coyote is about waking people from their slumber; shocking them if that is what is necessary to get them to open their eyes. Coyote Medicine is about stopping people from acting out of habit."
Having learned more about coyote medicine and the trickster archetype that it represents, I believe that my coyote was sent to me as a gentle lesson. It was formed by the knowledge of all those who have gone before that is embedded in our human bones; it was an illusion meant to expose my illusion – the illusion of life that I had created as a coping mechanism and continued to cling to subconsciously.
Above: Sunrise on Edisto Beach, South Carolina
Top of page: I have not tracked down a picture of a coyote yet so my dog, Coeus, is pictured. He is not a coyote but I am sure he would chase one if he had a chance. Similar to the coyote on my inner journey, Coeus has been my guide and companion on my Earth walk. I named him after a lesser known Greek Titan and I found out that he is a lover and a fighter - for better or for worse. Here he is enjoying time off-lead at Great Sand Dunes National Park with not another soul in sight - wide open dunes to run and explore on the cool, early morning sands. Paradise for a dog that likes to run, run, and run some more.