My third year in college(2010) I took a sleep and dream psychology class. This was my first experience with dream work and the first time I was led through a guided meditation to find my spirit animal. I don’t remember much from the journey in class, just meeting a deer in a forest clearing; the main journey I recall happened later at home.
In my room I had a small alter. I loved reading about different belief systems and philosophies, so my alter was an eclectic mix of me, mainly honoring the elements. There was a colored candle for each direction:
- In the North, white for Air. North was the mountains to me and since the compass arrow pointed up, I’d always associated it with the sky.
- In the East, red for Fire. East was the Sunrise, the source of heat.
- In the South, green for Earth. That was simple, look down.
- Finally in the West, blue for water. I live in Cali. West is the Ocean.
I also had a talisman for each element: a feather (air), a small clay pot I had made in 6th grade Indian Education Class (fire), a pretty rock (earth), and a vile of water (water). I held all elements as sacred.
I would sit at my alter and pray to the Elements, sometimes use tarot cards, and mainly try to meditate. My mind would wander a lot (still does) but on this particular day I recall laying down after I opened my alter and easily slipping into the journey space.
During this time in my life I started each meditation by imagining dumping all of my worries and fears in a big green dumpster and locking it shut, then I would walk to a meadow in the middle of a forest and sit under a tree by a pond. There I would rest and meditate.
During this journey as I was sitting at my pond I saw a deer through the forest trees in the distance. I took this as a signal to get up and follow it. The deer trotted just ahead of me through the trees. I followed her for awhile until we eventually arrived at a cave. I stood at the entrance and looked in.
There in the center I sat in lotus position, eyes closed in meditation, light emanating from every cell in my body. Behind her to the right there I was wrapped in a flower, like a fetus in the womb, not yet ready to bloom. Behind her to the left there I sat curled in a ball, naked and crying. She held so much pain and fear, my heart ached for her. . .
This is all I can recall of that journey, but it left an impression. I journeyed to this cave many more times, observing and asking questions. At one point I saw another version of me, just in the corner of my eye running through the trees outside. She was not ready to be seen. Another time I walked to the center and sat down, becoming one with the mediating girl. I then faced all the other versions (including the running girl) and as I hugged them they dissolved into me. I was healing.
During my dark night of the soul I saw my spirit deer dead on the path. Other times I’ve had flashes of a black panther eating her flesh. For a long time I thought this meant something terrible, but I’ve come to realize that with death there is re-birth, and though I’m still learning the meaning other spirit animals have come to my side to help teach me the lesson. I seem to be connected to death, though that is for another story. For now I’ll leave it here. Until the next journey.