India, a white tiger, resting in her home at the Exotic Feline Rescue Center (photo by Olivia)
This past weekend I was fortunate to go on retreat with eight writers from the Women Writing for (a) Change Indianapolis community. Immersed in our theme of “dreaming,” I found myself tuned in quite vividly to symbols of lost dreams, night dreams, and waking dreams.
Saturday evening, after our day’s activities were done, one of the women fanned out a deck of animal medicine cards for me. I moved my hand over the cards until I placed my finger on the one I felt most drawn to. I turned the card over and Tiger was revealed to me. The description of this card was powerful:
“Secure within her own sensuous controlled power, tiger stalks silently, invisibly through the magic of the night, securing what her heart desires…As a messenger, tiger brings you fresh adventures to change your path, new passions to awaken your heart, and endows you with her powers. Take what she offers and you can transform your life.”
The next morning I wrote this short piece about Tiger:
Dreaming Tiger Into the World
She swims languidly through ancient lakes. She holds no energy for these old waters. She swims forward, absorbing only what is needed to illuminate her current path.
She reaches the shore and, paw by paw, steps onto land. She shakes the water from her fur coat which glistens in the moonlight. The ancient waters evaporate and she is on new ground. The waters will appear again, she knows they will. They serve her when she needs to dip back in and remember where she came from.
But for now she walks slowly, intentionally toward the dreamtime, navigating the darkness. With her inner eye, she sees jewels she wants to manifest. Her eye does not rest on distractions, it seeks the truth, the North Star, her North Star. She is on a solitary journey, fed by what delights her. She is prey to very few.
Tiger then journeys into daylight, the waking dream. Here she can see her delights in full view. She does not operate out of obligation or desperation. The jewels she gathered in the darkness are with her now. She displays them with pride. They are the fruits of her efforts.
The Exotic Feline Rescue Center
As serendipity would have it, I had plans to meet my family at the Exotic Feline Rescue Center on my way home from Terre Haute on Sunday. This is a remarkable facility which provides a home for 210 cats who have been rescued from abusive, neglectful situations.
Upon entering the grounds, I was immediately in awe of two leopards and a black panther near the entrance. And this was only the beginning. We were guided on a tour of servals, cougars, lions, tigers, and bobcats. This was different from a zoo visit in many ways. These big cats were not on display; we were merely guests in their home, separated only by the enclosures that defined their living quarters.
I learned that tigers are in fact solitary animals who love the water. In one enclosure, we saw the beautiful sight of a tiger walking intently through tall grass. Others were seen soaking in their large metal tubs of water on this hot, hot day.
Some of the cats seemed to be sizing up the visitors as a potential meal. Outside one of the cougar enclosures, the guide pointed out to a young couple that the cougar appeared to be tracking their young daughter, not taking its eyes off of her. Later on the tour, a lioness closely followed our group for the length of her habitat. I was fascinated and frightened at the same time.
It was a meaningful weekend, a gift for this writer, dreamer, and seeker of adventurous learning experiences. Special thanks to Mindy Weaver-Flask for beautifully holding the writing retreat.
-- Kim for the Poplar Grove Muse