A fine question following a soul search of sorts. The concept of animal medicine is often interpreted with a grain of superstitious salt. And of course, we would all love to identify with the power houses of the Animal Kingdom. I am a strong lioness. Or, I am an emotionally capable communicative dolphin. This is what we expect when we ask people their spirit animals. But I am compelled by a different definition. Perhaps you don’t get to choose your Spirit Animal, rather it chooses you.
I say this because I never would have chosen a rabbit. But when I was asked what was recurring for me, it was always little bunnies. I had a stuffed animal (My Bunny) rabbit since I was an infant. I had been told numerous times that my social quirk nose crinkle resembled a bunny. And most dominantly, I had bonded with a baby bunny in Santa Fe whom I named Benjamin. Each morning, little Benjamin made himself known to me by hopping (ridiculously close for a wild infant bunny to hop) next to me for a few strides. “I’m here!” he would say. And after being encouraged to tap in to my surroundings, my nature, I needed to know what in the world these bunnies, nature, the universe, God were trying to tell me.
So I researched bunny medicine, expecting something light and loving. After all, they’re just so cute! Instead :
A long time ago – no one really knows how long ago it was – Rabbit was a brave and fearless warrior. Rabbit was befriended by Eye Walker, a witch. The witch and Rabbit spent much time together sharing and talking. The two were very close.
One day Eye Walker and Rabbit were walking along and they sat down on the trail to rest. Rabbit said, “I’m thirsty.” Eye Walker picked up a leaf, blew on it, and then handed Rabbit a gourd of water. Rabbit drank the water but didn’t say anything. Then Rabbit said, “I’m hungry.” Eye Walker picked up a stone and blew on it and changed it to a turnip. She gave the turnip to Rabbit to eat. Rabbit tasted it and then ate the turnip with relish. But still Rabbit didn’t say anything.
The two continued along the trail, which led into the mountains. Near the top, Rabbit tripped and fell and rolled almost to the bottom. Rabbit was in very sad condition when Eye Walker got to him. She used a magic salve on Rabbit to heal his great pain and mend his broken bones. Rabbit didn’t say anything.
Several days later Eye Walker went searching for her friend. She searched high and low but Rabbit was nowhere to be found.
Finally, Eye Walker gave up. She met Rabbit quite by accident one day. “Rabbit, why are you hiding and avoiding me?” the witch asked.
“Because I am afraid of you. I am afraid of your magic,” answered Rabbit, cowering. “Leave me alone!”
“I see,” said Eye Walker. “I have used my magical powers on your behalf and now you turn on me and refuse my friendship.”
“I want nothing more to do with you or your powers,” Rabbit countered. Rabbit did not even see the tears his words were bringing to Eye Walker’s eyes. “I hope we never meet and that I never see you again,” Rabbit continued.
“Rabbit,” Eye Walker said, “We once were great friends and companions, but no more. It is within my power to destroy you, but because of the past and the medicines we have shared together I will not do this. But from this day forward I lay a curse on you and your tribe. From now on, you will call your fears and your fears will come to you. Be on your way, for the sweet medicines that bound us together as friends are broken.”
Now Rabbit s the Fear Caller. He goes out and shouts, “Eagle, I am so afraid of you.” If Eagle doesn’t hear him, Rabbit calls louder, “Eagle, stay away from me!” Eagle, now hearing Rabbit, comes and eats him. Rabbit calls bobcats, wolves, coyotes, and even snakes until they come.
As this story shows, Rabbit medicine people are so afraid of tragedy, illness, disaster, and “being taken,” that they call those very fears to them to teach them lessons. ”
Life, I am afraid of you. This was my lament. I had lost myself in “what if” and found no solace in the right now. But “what if” is the definition of our anxieties. What you fear most is what you will become if you are swallowed by the fear. Scared was not a word I had ever wanted to describe myself by, and yet I had most certainly been. I was terrified.
Did I find my spirit animal? No. Was I found by one? Absolutely. Little bunnies remind me always to be still and know that right now I am alright. Life does not hear me cry in fear any longer.
Banish fear. Move beyond fear’s stagnation. Listen to your heart.