Saturday, January 21, 2012

The Meaning of a Florida Panther

On a Tuesday evening, just as the sun was setting in Naples, Florida, I was blessed to have a Florida Panther cross my path.  I was in a hurry, a quick trip to the grocery store to grab something for dinner and some kitty litter. We had just moved into the home we would be watching for the next 6 months. Tonight would be our first night sleeping in the luxury of this multimillion dollar home. I didn't want to begin our time there without kitty litter (and the series of unfortunate events that could occur without it), so after getting our things settled in, off I went. As I was rounding the curve to exit past the guard gate, there she was. She had emerged from the edge of the trees walking slowly, as if she were out for an evening stroll. She was large, and heavy with muscle, and her long, dark-tipped tail moved gracefully behind her as she went. She crossed the road without a glance in my direction. Her grace and beauty slow my world, and in that moment, I knew I was in the presence of something special. I was amazed to have encountered such an animal here, just steps from grocery stores and Target.

For the past three nights, I have met a panther in my dreams. In each dream, chaos is taking place. I didn't write it down, so I cannot remember what was happening, only that it was loud and confusing and full of colors that were too bright and too many people. As I am standing in the middle of this chaos, the panther walks through. She is determined, and sure, and walks past me and down a corridor and then turns to the right and is gone. As she moves past me, and down the corridor, I am mesmerized by her strength and her purpose. I am entranced by the gentle movements of her strong tail. I am compelled to follow her, but I wake up. She seems full of purpose, without hesitation, as if she knows exactly where she is going.

So this morning, with the dream fresh on my mind, and it having been the third morning of dreaming of a panther, I looked up the "dream" meanings of panthers. Here is what I found:

When it shows up as a totem it may be time to learn about owning your own power—albeit by trial and error. This testing is what hones your skills and strengthens your inner power. Cougar is a solitary animal, and you may feel alone when going through these tests to prepare you for your ascent to the higher realms of knowledge and spirituality.

When Cougar appears, much of the trial is usually already worked through—the ground work has already been laid out; now it’s time to ascend, to assert your own power and demonstrate what you have learned from the test or trial period. Cougars may be associated with trees, as they climb to higher ground. Trees are naturally archetypal images of knowledge and growth. Cougar scales the heights to higher knowledge and security when other animals cannot. It is grounded in the Earth, but can easily scale into the loftier realms. Wolf may often precede Cougar, guiding and teaching you along the way until you have found your path. He may then hand you over to Cougar so you can now “climb” to a higher position or state.

This would be the time to break out of your shell or the “category” that you might be stuck in, or that others may try to keep caged into. It is your choice to remain as such, or to flex your muscles and reveal your newly found courage, strength and capabilities. There is a choice to be made; but Cougar leaps at any opportunities quickly and with strength. Cougar teaches to be swift and decisive about using personal power; to not hesitate either to defend or to attack—with equal effectiveness.

Interesting stuff. Wonder if she will show up again tonight. I would like to see where she goes after she rounds the corner.

Speaking of sleep, I've slept poorly the last few nights. I seem to feel  angst and worry like the princess felt the pea. Hoping that I can get a solid night of sleep tonight and not wake up in the weee early hours of the morning with nothing but my whirlwind of thoughts to keep me company