Humans have long since embraced the concept surrounding the spiritual energy of animals without the foreshadowed complications of religion. Throughout the history of humankind, people have observed the spirit, or essence, of animal traits and incorporated these interpretations as a guidebook for living. Attention to animal attributes has served humans well as a key towards survival, as well as providing the opportunity for emotional and intellectual growth. In turn, many people have a fundamental bond to the animal kingdom and correlate select personal attributes back to these vital elements of nature. Through this association, people find strength, courage, wisdom, and cleverness when it is most needed.
Roots to Big Cat Connectivity
Mayans associated the jaguar to the sun. The Jaguar Sun refers to the sun's ability to move east to west and hide in darkness. The stars served as a reminder to people that the jaguar was ever-present by displaying his spots for all to see. Through centuries of storytelling about the jaguar, people formulated the understanding that the perception of acting all-powerful is a weakness, and without tapering inner strength with wisdom, creates a fool. The philosophy of the jaguar was used to create a balance between nature and humans, thereby mitigating the negative attributes of greed. Although people have evolved their understanding of the universe, this should not nullify the lessons learned from the jaguar. Such association helps to keep people grounded, maintain balance, and understand their purpose to the world.
Zuni mythology teaches that the cougar is the link between evolved intelligence and its application towards a meaningful physical existence. People observed this animal to possess a natural heroism, balance towards nature, and the ability to incorporate critical thinking. Storytelling taught others the importance of caring for one's territory, understanding boundaries, taking responsibility, and warding off intruders with intellectual prowess. The lessons learned from the cougar include increased self-awareness, the futility of guilt, and the necessity to lead without ego.
The tiger is one of the oldest and most revered animal totems throughout ancient history. The ancient Qiang and Rong tribes facilitated the use of tiger totems to offer protection to the young and as spiritual guides for the dead. Folklore and artifacts depict the tiger as the master of emotional control and military prowess. People observed that tigers are remarkably patient and stealth when hunting. They are not driven to strike out of hunger or urgency. Rather, they take the tactical approach of patience, keen observation, and timing. These stories taught people that emotional control, cunning, and attention to details were key elements for survival.
Much of human wisdom and the roots of higher contemplation can be traced back and directly linked to the observations of animals. This would indicate that at the core construct of humans, people rely upon nature to find their bearings and equilibrium in the world.