FINDING MY ANIMAL ARCHETYPES
I recently unlocked a framework to help me understand who I’m being and how I’m showing up. I’m finding it to be a very useful self-awareness tool for observing and shifting my behaviors.
I call it "Animal Archetypes" and I found mine five years ago through a Spirit Animal Meditation led by my friend Jackie.
In the meditation, Jackie asked me to go to a safe natural place in my heart. She asked me to invite the spirit animal within me to show itself. She asked me to pay attention to the animal...what animal is it? Masculine or feminine? What does it look like? What is it doing? What are the feelings that arise when you meet it?
Most people when doing this exercise see one animal. For some reason, I saw two. First, I saw a Cheetah prowling across a grassland and then the Cheetah came to a stream and I saw a red-crowned Crane.
Truthfully, I was not surprised to see the Cheetah, I thought I might see a feline of some kind, but I was shocked to see this Crane; a distinctive red-crowned one at that. I asked what to do with the two, Jackie said to have them face each other and see which is dominant. I was concerned that the Cheetah may pounce on the Crane but as the Cheetah approached the Crane, I was amazed to see him bow to her.
THE MASCULINE AND FEMININE
Recently I’ve been trying to understand and express my masculine and feminine sides. I was struggling to get beyond the traditional male/female archetypes when suddenly, EUREKA! The Cheetah and the Crane.
The Cheetah is masculine. He is a fierce protector, driver, and executor. He is an outspoken leader and community activator. He is enthusiastic, quick to act, and tends to run all over the place. At times, he can be self-important, and even self-absorbed. He is also a pleasure-seeking, playful flirt who loves to dance. He is at his best when he is manifesting and making things happen. He is at his worst when he is overcommitted, stressed, and burnt out.
The Crane is feminine. She is graceful, sensitive, and intuitive. She is highly intelligent and empathic. She has a well of wisdom and an undeniable inner power. The Crane takes time for herself. She is peaceful, spacious, and flowing. She is still. She is her most authentic self when she is being, listening, and sensing. She is not herself when she is overly passive, allowing others to overstep her boundaries and take advantage of her compassionate nature.
HOW THESE ARCHETYPES EXIST IN OUR SOCIETY
Currently, our conditioned, patriarchal society is designed for Cheetahs and other louder, more aggressive archetypes to run the show.
While there is nothing inherently wrong with Cheetah, the problem with consistently leading from that place is that it is imbalanced and a sure fire way to burn out. The Cheetah often runs around building obstacle courses, putting out one fire only to start another. He listens to the Crane intermittently but only when he’s in trouble or exhausted.
After some coaching I realized, I am most aligned when my Cheetah is in service of my Crane.
When the Crane has the spaciousness to speak she dispels great wisdom. She is grounded and connected to a higher power. She is a truly embodied feminine leader and when SHE SPEAKS and spreads her wings she is PURE GRACE.
This doesn’t mean the Cheetah is bad and the Crane is good. It means that to be in their most natural and authentic states, they need to be balanced in their best roles: the Crane leading with divine clarity and the Cheetah serving with swift action.
Divine feminine intention (Crane) + Catalytic masculine action (Cheetah) = FULL POWER MAGIC
HOW DO YOU KNOW WHEN YOU’RE BEING ONE OR THE OTHER?
For me, the easiest and fasted way to determine who I’m being is paying attention to how I’m breathing.
If the Cheetah is overdoing it, there is a sense of stress and shortness of breath.
If the Crane is present, the breathing is smooth and deep.
This metaphor has been tremendously helpful for me and I’ve found it is insightful for others as well.
I’ve recently helped uncover:
· A Lion (Inspirational) + Butterfly (Magical)
· An Eagle (Futuristic Visionary) + Lion (Grounded Leader)
· A Tortoise (Slow & Steady) + Monkey (Playful & Fun)
· A Tiger (Fierce) + Hummingbird (Optimistic) + Whale (Dives Deep)
With that, I invite you to take a moment to think about your Animal Archetypes. Animals create a visual, visceral feeling that you can really see, understand, and share with others. When you can speak objectively to these parts of you, you can concentrate on one or find ways to integrate and balance the two.
HOW DO I FIND MY ANIMAL ARCHETYPE(S)?
A few questions that may help you draw out your animal(s):
· What animal comes to mind/heart that describes who you are on the outside?
· What animal comes to mind/heart that describes who you are on the inside?
· What animal would you associate with who you’re being today?
· What animal would you associate with who you’re striving to be?
When you find your animal(s) ask:
· Who are you? What are your qualities?
· What did you come here to teach me?
· What message or wisdom do you want to share with me?
· What part of me do you represent?
· What do you need from me?
· How can I connect with you more?
Would love to hear how this resonates with you and which animal(s) you discover. Send me a message or leave a comment below.
P.S. For some animalistic inspiration, I recommend watching Artist Android Jones create "Wildlife" below.