Deer, lightning bugs, and snakes

Animals are a big part of my life and show up in my dreams all the time. They usually play prominent and significant roles in my dreams and active imaginations. I struggle with the perception of animals which makes them only instinctual. I find it problematic when we don’t allow them an emotional life or say that it is only us personifying them. Jung says that, “in nature the animal is a well-behaved citizen” (p. 170). He calls it piety, to follow the laws of nature. I found that beautiful. An animal shielding its young from the weather, or playing with a member of its community, sharing a hard-won meal, correcting pack members with a sharp snap, all of these are the kind of devotion to the purpose in front of them.

We’ve recently moved into a camper on some land we bought for a farm while we build our little home and have come into close communion with its current residents. A herd of deer feast outside our door every night, the meadow lights up like glitter with lightening bugs, and we have lots of snakes. While this is only one way of seeing each of these multifaceted animals, I’ve found myself reflecting on the value of sharing in a close community of like-minded others (deer), the need for reconnecting to a sense of the magical and allowing myself to be seen in order to create (fireflies), and how any forward movement psychologically can only happen by moving sideways (my favorite and personal guide the snake). I found Russak’s statement, “with each species that disappears, our models for comparison diminish” (p. 50) profoundly moving and sorrowful, because I find myself seen most clearly through the eyes of animals, both inner and outer.

Jung, C.G. (2002). The earth has a soul, the nature writings of C.G. Jung. (M. Sabini, Ed.). North Atlantic Books.

Russack, N. (2002). Animal healing. In Animal guides in life, myth and dreams:
An analyst’s notebook (pp. 31-50). Inner City Books.

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