The Lynx’s Tale
When Lynx comes visiting our neck of the woods we’d best be quiet and listen……..she does not always make an overt appearance, in fact, in spirit as in the wilds she is often felt before seen, if seen at all. Her energy is uncanny – she is coy, wiley and elusive, but, she has real presence. Even when Lynx remains unseen she sets a certain tone – stilling, watchfull, alert to the slightest vibration and movement. Her eye-sight is considered second to none, with a laser like clairvoyant quality that can pierce the veils of material reality and give access to the hidden world that fuels its manifestation. With enhanced awareness Lynx can help us experience the world in all its multi-layered complexity, but, all of these qualities have also made her, like the witches familiar, the target of mistrust and suspicion.
As many of the old stories will tell, when Lynx is about you’d better watch-out. But, it is an ill deserved reputation, born mostly out of fear and the threat of being truly seen that an impure heart will feel in her presence. It is also born out of ignorance, for she brings awareness to the energies that connect us all at the level of the finest vibrations, an area of experience commonly outside the everyday range of humans. This is the zone of interconnectedness through which animals sense apriori physical events in the world. And, if we follow her and allow her to inform our own inner knowing, she will be a powerful and pragmatic ally, especially if we work with her through an awareness centered within the heart. From this place we can both open out, expand and fine tune our awareness while remaining protected within seeming invisibility, seated at the core. For these qualities alone her medicines offer a balm and useful strategy amidst the unrest that is unfolding in the outer world. But, there is much more to her than meets the eye……
Traditionally, Lynx is seen as the guardian of secrets. She knows. This is a role that carries a hefty responsilibilty, that of the protection of power as it resides in the form of hidden knowledge and wisdoms. When she comes into our awareness we know that we are being given notice to look more deeply at our own responsibilities. Active and overt use of those powers is not a part of her medicine, but, for us these are crucial responsibilites which we would do well to pay good attention to in this time, and she can help us here. Through alerting us to them she can help us fine tune our own sensibilities in relation to the innate powers we carry and how we use them. She can give us insight into how others do likewise, and this makes a person with Lynx medicine seem equally uncanny, and, as a result, equally open to projection of those fears that are generated by a heart that is out of balance.
There are no flies on Lynx and very little escapes her attention – in fact she, not so much demands honesty as, requires that we and others face our own dis-honesties – sooner or later they will come out anyway as a result of her presence! She can however also help us find balanced empowerment through admitting them, one of her healing gifts. Elusive and hidden as she often-times is, Lynx can deliver the gift of responsibility without ego investment. In this she is a clarifier of the heart, a wonderous magical being bearing great gifts. And those very gifts, by their active and true nature, help us to source and generate the heart’s true power in the form of courage. It is a special kind of courage that cuts through the spells and illusions cast by the allies of the dark side, that bind us to their will. With Lynx as our ally we can free ourselves from their machinations. The knack with her medicine is to learn to ‘listen with the eyes’ as things unfold in their dance – with this kind of seeing our eyes touch the world with hidden power. She helps us cut through the fog of deception, get our feet back on our path and feel the magic again. If we are to become guardians of the earth garden this gift will be essential to us.
Lynx is also an initiator here as she can also help us evolve our own powers in relationship with those present within the natural environment, and develop our responsibilities around how we work with them. In this Lynx is also an archetype for the spiritual and ethical practice of ‘deep ecology’.
The message Lynx is delivering is always best treated with the utmost respect. She offers us an early warning system for upcoming changes, and often these turn out to be radical. If we are alert to her warnings we can take steps that keep us one step ahead, much as animals do when an earthquake is about to arrive – we too can sense intensities, microcosmic disturbances that threaten to manifest challenging changes at a macrocosmic level. With so many rapid and challenging events now occuring in our world across the board her medicine exemplifies the innate qualities and abilities that can help us begin to bring into the world, and through which we can embody, the emergent shamanic paradigm.
The drawing within the image shown here came through after my first encounter with Lynx some years back – I had been in the high mid-Pyrenean Mountains searching out the lessons of the wilds. This area borders the National Park south of the French Spanish border, one of the last remaining natural habitats in which the Iberian Lynx is found within Europe. With her formidable ability to remain unseen, we can never be entirely certain how many of her numbers, if any, remain in the wild in that part of the world. The Iberian Lynx population has been under increasing threat over much of the last century, mostly from disease and hunting, as well as encroaching human settlement and her presence has dwindled to the very brink of extinction – it is thought that at the most only a handful of breeding pairs remain in the wild, in fact, many conservationists believe the only chance for their survival may now rest with those protected within captivity in breeding programmes. Our relationship with the natural world, the fine balance in nature that our own presence can tip so easily one way or another, is exemplified by the delicate care which we must bring to the Iberian Lynx back from the edge and into the wild. We can learn from her how to be wise and sensitive as guardians of Nature.
A friend, whose partner had a shepherds hut up in the high mountains, told me that his mountain dogs often found Lynx spore, but, the presence of his hounds ensured that he himself had never seen one….I was captivated by the thought of this beautiful wild spirit and felt her presence in the forests, everything became infused with hightened sensitivity. I too never saw Lynx in the flesh while in the mountains, but, there was always the feeling of having been seen and since that time she has emerged out of the dreamtime with uncanny timing, especially in advance of threshold moments. She remains an elusive and yet powerful ally whom we can count on to connect us with the unseen when we most need it. If sylvan darkness, the inner light of the forest, be the place of mystery she is one of its prime guardians and gatekeepers. As a wise man once said ‘When life becomes darkest the eye of the soul begins to see’.
Lynx leaves the signs of her elusive presence as magical markers and, in this, she is also a reader and maker of signs, a way shower and pathfinder. Folklore tells us that where she leaves her spore we may find a hidden message. Her urine is said to turn into pearls of garnet – her whiskers, antennae of great sensitivity, are woven into medicine hats, attached to wands and fetishes, as a direct link to the subtle energies that ebb and flow around and through us. She connects us with the spirit worlds. She is an edge dweller, her spirit seeing both ways, seated always just beyond our physical sensibilities, but, calling us over into the other worlds. Her initiatic presence brings us to the inner circle of the initiation grounds, the place where we come alive with the life-force and learn of our own soul presence. Here Life, no matter where we are, can assume the shape and form of this sacred space. If we let ourselves be guided by her beyond the known and into this place of deepened learning she can energise and weave together the subtle strands of our souls innate predilictions, the talents and abilities that belong to our hidden gifts, and help us see how we can make of them a braid, our soul path. These are the very gifts that we have come here to remember and bring into the world. And, if we let ourselves be guided by her we also discover that it is those very gifts through which she speaks – hers is a mythical tongue, a language that has its roots in nature. She helps us find answers that are resisitant to the abstract and rational mentality, answers that are living, open ended and magnetic, funded with an electric current of life-force that connects us with all things in the moment. She connects us with the vast mutable everchanging network of life through which all levels and dimensions are simultaneously interrelated. Lynx sacralises our vision and brings enchantment back into a jaded world. When we learn from her how to listen with our inner eyes and discern, the world comes alive with inner meaning…..Lynx is the diviner’s ally par excellence. In a divination kit, a garnet might be the perfect signifier for her presence, symbolising the ‘eye of the soul’…..
It seems that Lynx is bringing new shoots out of the cinders of recent times….events at this end knocked Owlmirror out of action for a whole lunation, but, she did give fair warning! However, I’m happy to say that we are up and running again and Owlmirror is growing and evolving too….over the coming months we will be bringing in articles about working with and making divination kits, so, look out for garnets!
You may also have noticed that there is a new category in the offing here in the sidebar ~ “Natural Medicines” ~ this article opens a new look at the spirit medicines in nature with the animal power of Lynx, and upcoming articles will include old and new stories that will both honour and remember our invaluable and indispensible allies in the realms of Nature, especially as they pop up and help us transit our times of global transformation. Talking of stories, Lynx has a sister ally who figures strongly in both spirit and body in this path, and that is Stryx Occidentalis, the Northern Spotted Owl. You may remember her as the storyteller who brought out the tale of ‘Storyteller and the Spirit Horse’, as well as being enshrined in the ‘Owlwoman’ carving……she too is a symbol for deep ecology, and the protection of the old-growth Redwood forests…..but, we’ll catch some more of her magic next time when we look into the planetary patterns and their messages for the upcoming 10 Million Beats global healing event! In the meantime, Spotted Owl has a story to relate about Lynx and how she came to be the keeper of secrets……
“Now! There are some who believe that Lynx has a bad reputation…heh heh….isn’t that always the way of things when people let their supsicions get the better of them and start throwing their fears around…..look out when that happens, illusion is the name of the game and Mother! Lynx sure has become marked with that kind of nonsense – just like the spotted coat she wears just so, every dark spot is a place where someones pointing finger has burned its accusations into her fur. Well, there you have it, when the fingers are pointing and the tongues are wagging nobody can see whats before their very eyes or hear what the world is saying to them. But, in the old traditions those creatures who are marked with spots are connected with the star nations, the ancestral fires that fund us with the personal powers we keep in our medicine bags – dappling, like starlight and the blue sparks of spirit are a sign of magic….so, put down those fingers, quieten down those wagging tongues and listen up – heres a tale that puts that little conundrum to rights…….
Well….you see….It was once upon a time that was outside of time that everything was frozen and bound in darkness – seems like everything was standing on its head, just when it should have been warm and sunny there was snow and ice laying everywhere and nobody knew where the Summer had gone and, without the Summer, nothing would grow – everyone was starving…….Jeesh! it was madness in the forests, everyone chasing each other around and trying to eat each other, just to stay alive!! Well, there are some creatures more secretive than others and they have a knack of knowing how to survive that crucial little bit longer……some of them are well nigh invisible amongst the leaves and foliage, know how to blend in well, some of them only come out at night, have keen sight and wear a cloak of silence, and then there are others who stay underground, maybe for long time, sleeping and dreaming of better times, who knows….
….one of those dreamers, maybe the best of ‘em all, was Bear, and Bear always hibernated through Winter, as that was her chief dreaming time…..huh, but, there are Winters and there are Winters, and even a Bear must wake up sometime…..
Well, this time it was a long long long Winter, the longest anyone had ever known, and Bear had just about exhausted her supply of Winter fat – she’d run out of dreaming juice! But, nevertheless, old Bear was still asleep, that was, until Cougar, Bull-Moose, Badger, Rabbit, Mouse, Squirrel, and a whole host of animals all came scumbling by, running circles around each other, trying to evade each others teeth or escape from being trampled underfoot….and up in the air was no different. Eagle, Crow, Heron, Hawk, Goose, and a million little birds were all sweeping and swooping around in the dark grey light screeching and hollering for all they were worth, even Owl was running the gauntlet from Blackbird and Woodpecker, hooting loudly……infact, the racket was so loud, it woke up old Bear…and my, she was none to pleased…..waking up real hungry was one thing, but, being woken up by an unholy racket was another thing entirely….up she got and, pulling herself up to her full height, she let out an almighty roar…….”SHUUUUUTTTTTT UUUUUUUPPPP!!!!!!”
….it was one of those moments, when man, you wish you had a picture….heh heh heh
Everyone froze, just like magic, as if they’d been turned to stone, their medicine bags swinging against their hearts….you can see it now! All heads slowly turned in Bear’s direction…..
“Can’t a Bear have a decent sleep without the whole world going CRAZY?!….and WHAT ON EARTH IS GOING ON HERE??!! MMMMmmmm????”
Down swooped Eagle and landed between the animals and Bear……”well, Bear, its Summer, or rather it should be – it has gone and we are all getting very very hungry, so…..well, were very sorry for waking you up and all that but……we are desperate!”
Bear was a little taken back, not only by the fact that Summer had disappeared, but, that even someone as lofty as Eagle could have descended into this madness….wooooo, it must be BAD!! She thought a little and then a little more….until a flash caught the corner of her eye….even Bear was a little spooked and swivelled on her heels.
There was Lynx, perched on a rock, fixing Bear with that inscrutible flashing stare…….
“Oh, its you Lynx”, said Bear, relaxing, just a little….it was those eyes….
“Yes, and the one thing nobody has bothered to ask is where has Summer gone…mmmm?” said Lynx.
Bear nodded and turned to the animals, who all shrugged their shoulders and began looking to each other for an answer……but, Bear, being full of dreams from the long long Winter, simply said
“Right….this madness has to stop, we’re going to search for Summer right now……Eagle?!”
Eagle knew right away what to do and up he flew, as high as he could above them and slowly circled round surveying the land for miles and miles around……everyone was watching from below holding tight to their medicine bags, until, that is, Bear’s voice broke them out of their trance….
“Well?! What are you lot waiting for, you all know different places to look…..off you go and don’t come back until you’ve found out where Summer has gone!
There was a flurry of fur and claws, and a cloud of snowy fog rose up – when it settled, there was Lynx still perched on her rock watching Bear with that uncanny eye…….
“Perhaps you should ask the Ancestors”, Lynx said, and, at that moment a sudden gust of wind blew by and Lynx dissolved within another cloud of snowy fog leaving only her enigmatic smile – bear watched as even this disappeared, and, when the snow had settled once again, Lynx was gone…
Bear shuddered…..phew! spooky!!
But, Lynx had a point, if anyone would know, the Ancestors up in the star nation would, but, then, did Lynx know something that everyone else didn’t, was she keeping something to her-self – Man, it was hard to trust that one…..nevertheless……
Bear set about putting her den in order and slowly headed down the valley to see if any fish or berries could be found to quell her terrible hunger……and off she set with a grumble and a rumble of her empty stomach…you know how she is!
Well now, time passed and more time passed and eventually Bear came back to her den….and as she came into the clearing she saw Cougar, Badger, Squirrel and Rabbit waiting there…..
“Any news?” asked Bear…..the animals all looked at each other and then Badger spoke up….
“I don’t know where summer has gone”, he said, “but, I did see Lynx heading up to the ridge after I left….and, she wouldn’t say where she was going”
Then Rabbit added, “y-yes, and she came padding by me…silent as a leaf, but, s-she was definitely heading up to the ridge below the p-pass”
Squirrel was next to speak up
“I was heading that way myself across the tree tops and when I got to the ridge there was Lynx heading down the valley on the other side of the pass”
everyone looked at Cougar
….”she’s heading for the mountains,” Cougar said – “she looked like she knew where she was going, so, I followed her, as far as I could….but……I lost her at the foot of the Great Mountain”
“The Great Mountain ehh?” said Bear scratching her chin and looking towards the ridge above – “come on, that Lynx knows something we don’t…..’ask the ancestors’ she said, mmmmmm….”
Suddenly Rabbit looked nervous and started busying herself with her medicine bag……”er, I-I’ve just remembered that I m-must……” and with that she turned on her heal and shot like a bolt into a hole beneath the nearest tree……Bear sighed, “Come on, we’d better get going”
…..and so, off the four of them set, up and over the ridge through the pass, down into the next valley and off into the foothills beneath the mountains, until, they all stood at the foot of the Great Mountain. Foggy clouds swirled around its peak and shrouded it in mystery, sending fingers of mist reaching down through the forest towards them…..
….”she’s up there, I know it,” said Bear gazing into the mists……”well, theres nothing for it,” and off she strode, the three companions following on behind.
Up and up and up they went until the mist started rolling around them…..but, there was no sign of Lynx, not even a paw-print…..but, on they went…..until they broke above the tree line….still no sign of Lynx, so, on they went in the swirling mist……until, Squirrel stopped all of a sudden….
“Listen,” she said, “there, someones snoring”…..
Cougar took a couple of steps forward….”its…coming from up there,” she whispered, and they all went on tipi-toes getting nearer to the snorry sound, with Bear leading the way…
suddenly Bear froze….just ahead she could see a familiar shape, an oval head with two tufted points sprouting from the top….at that moment a flash cut through the mists as an eye opened….and the snorry sound became louder!
“Lynx!” said Bear, and strode forward with the companions close behind……
….there she was curled up on a rock, her uncanny eye fixed on the huddle of animals that were approaching….she yawned and continued her purring…
“well, I’m very glad you could make it,” Lynx said, stretching her back…..that enigmatic smile spreading across her face
Bear looked around, suspiciously…..”so, you didn’t er ‘find’ it…..Summer, that is?”
Lynx’s smile dissolved….”no, but, if we go a little higher”…….
“what was it you said Bear, about Lynx and the Ancest……of course!,” said Squirrel, “we can reach the Ancestors from up there”….and suddenly she was off past Lynx and up towards the top of the mountain
Badger was hard on her tail and suddenly Cougar and Bear were running uphill too…
Lynx watched them and slowly followed…..
….by the time she got to the top of the mountain the four companions were lying on their backs in a circle, looking up at a veiled pool of light above them…….”we found it! I think….,” said Badger, “I can see it through the clouds”…..
Bear sat up – “yes, Badger, but, how are we going to get it back down again?!”
Everyone let out a sigh of disappointment, all except Lynx….
“we can’t stay up here for ever,” said Cougar, “and, besides, theres still nothing to eat”…..they all let out another sigh of dissapointment with this realisation, all except Lynx….
….”we’ll have to light a fire and make the hole bigger,” said Badger – “that will summon a wind and blow these clouds away…”
Suddenly Bear, Cougar and Squirrel were on their feet, running around looking for kindling, but, there was none to be found!
…”what about if we all blow really hard,” said Squirrel, and suddenly everyone was huffing and puffing into the air, all except Lynx….
The four collapsed exhausted – they had made no impression on the clouds…..
“I know how to do it”…said Lynx
The four animals looked at her expectantly….
Lynx lifted a paw and pointed upwards – “you’ll have to jump up and make a hole”
That was it! Suddenly everyone, except Lynx, was jumping up on the spot as high as they could, but, to no avail!
“Me, me!” shouted Squirrel suddenly – “throw me up there, I can make a hole!”
“Ok,” said Bear, “but, its futher than it looks, take off your medicine bag so that you are lighter, and we’ll throw you up….and so Squirrel did, and they did throw her up into the clouds, only, Squirrel was too small to make a hole that stayed open and whats more, she didn’t come down again!
“mmmm,” said Bear, “you’re bigger Badger, lets throw you up”….so, Badger took off his medicine bag and up he went, but, the hole closed over again, and Badger didn’t come down either!
Cougar looked at Bear, “I can do it I’m sure,” she, said, so off came the medicine bag and up went Cougar – the hole was bigger for sure and for a fleeting glimpse Bear thought she could see Squirrel and Badger peering out of the sky…but, the hole close up again!
“well, theres nothing for it” said Bear, “you’ll have to go next Lynx,” but, when she turned around Lynx was nowhere to be seen….
Bear was disconsolate, until she heard voices above her…
“its here, its here, weve found Summer”……it was Squirrel, Badger and Cougar……if we reach down and you jump up we’ll catch you and pull you up!
Bear thought for a moment, and then another moment, but, their seemed to be nothing else to do, so, taking off her medicine bag and putting it on the ground, Bear took two steps back and….
“OOOOAAAAAOOOOOWWW”…….Suddenly there was a piercing screech and a pair of needle encrusted paws pinned themselves to Bear’s behind…..
”YYYEEEEEAAAOOOOWWWWW!!!” Bear yelped and jumped high into the air….through the clouds she disappeared, as Lynx sat on the ground holding her tail…..
Bear had stepped back and trodden on Lynx’s tail, and she was so heavy, she had broken off a piece, which Lynx was now looking at forelornly on the ground……thats why the poor old Lynx has a short tail…but, then….
…..like magic, everything started to glow with a radiant light and the fog started clearing….Lynx looked up to see a huge hole now opening up in the clouds above and the sunlight was streaming through. Everything started to become warmer, and Lynx was a little happier with this….but, where were the four companions?
Lynx waited and waited but, no-one came back down and eventually the whole sky cleared….and night began to fall….Lynx sat and looked into the night sky until the stars came out, shimmering and dancing above……Lynx knew what to do and, picking up the four medicine bags and stringing them next to her own against her heart, she headed back down the mountain.
By the time Lynx reached the clearing where Bear’s den was it was pitch dark with dappled starlight sparkling in the forest, but, she of all creatures, with perhaps the exception of Owl, was best equipped to find her way….she had decided on the way back to bring the medicine bags of each of the four companions to the place where they each had their homes and so, she stealthily crept into Bear’s den….and stopped in her tracks!
There, curled up in a mound of leaves at the back of the cave was Bear, sleeping like a baby! Lynx gently layed Bear’s medicine bag at her side and crept out…….she found all the other animals too, all fast asleep in their beds, and returned their medicine bags to each…..
When they woke up just before dawn the next morning, Bear, Cougar, Badger and Squirrel all met in the clearing – they were all exited and wanted to share their dreams…..they were amazed to discover that they had all dreamt the same thing, about losing Summer, about Lynx and the Ancestors and jumping up from the top of the Great Mountain to make a hole in the sky….but, none of them could remember what happened after that….maybe Lynx would be able to tell them, but, could they find her!?
….maybe she found out what they all have in their medicine bags……..but, she’s keeping that very close to her heart…….heh heh heh……..after all, when we see with the eyes of the heart, we touch all the world with a deeper knowing…….”