Friday, March 27, 2009

animal totems

all my life i have been drawn to skunks and have long ago accepted them as my main totem animal. someday i hope to get a skunk tattoo (one of about 3 more i want to get when time and funds allow). today, i was looking for a good picture of one to use for reference for drawing one for the cover of my next edition of herbal roots when i stumbled across this:

skunk

The skunk commands respect from humans and would-be predators alike, who give it a wide berth. It’s distinctive fur, with black and white stripes along the back and over the skull, is enough to warn others to keep their distance. And for good reason, or else.

The skunk is associated with self-respect. It meanders along at its own pace exuding self-assurance, but it can’t see clearly beyond three metres, which makes it an all too common road kill. In fact, skunks rarely live beyond three years.

As a powerful totem, it teaches fearlessness and calmness in the face of challenge. It is also an emblem of peace, since its famous last line of defence does no lasting damage. It’s solitary habits suggest self-knowledge and discernment, and avoiding others when necessary. Its silence signifies caution and discretion. Other skunky symbols are introspection, patience and gentleness.

If the skunk feels threatened, it will perform a foot-stamping ritual accompanied by a hissing sound. If that fails as a deterrent, the skunk will deploy its famous stink bomb. It lifts its tail – where the perfume glands are located on either side of the anus – and fires away with accuracy up to four metres. It’s a sulphur-based odour unmatched in the animal kingdom, and can cause temporary blindness and nausea. Due to the scent’s oily base, it’s not easily or quickly removed. Even the skunk can’t stand it.

A skunk tattoo might suggest non-aggressive self defence. But most critics are going to immediately attach the connotation of ‘smell’, and react accordingly. Another association with this cat-sized mammal is the competitive term ‘skunked’, meaning an overwhelming defeat, usually implying the loser has been kept off the scoreboard. If you identify with the skunk, you are confident, easy going, and sensual. Balance in attraction and repulsion are basic lessons offered by this striking and energetic creature.

One of the most well-known symbols of this striking little creature is the Warner Bros. cartoon, 'Pepe Le Pew', a romantically-challenged skunk who won't take no for an answer.. 'Pepe' was penned by Chuck Jones and Michael Maltese, voiced by the legendary, Mel Blanc and was a favorite of the Looney Tunes and Merry Melodies series of cartoons. Pepe appeared in 17 cartoon shorts and was awarded an Oscar from the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences in 1949 for Best Animated Short Film.

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Caution, reputation, self-esteem. Skunk people tend to garner respect, having an extraordinary sense of self-assurance. Skunk is a symbol of truth, simplicity, and the ability to follow through. Skunk medicine teaches you to have pride in your own accomplishments and the importance of self-image.

4 comments:

twofroghome.com said...

Wow, don't you just love when things "fall" together?

Gina said...

Oh, I can so attest to the temp. blindness (and the not lasting damage part); I have been sprayed twice by skunks (when I used to work in animal control)-once on the legs and the other time straight in the eyes! I couldn't see for about 5 minutes and it was scary! I did empty out an emergency room though!! the plus side to being sprayed is the smell of skunk is not at all bothersome to me, LOL!

Polar Bear and The Dodger said...

hey tansy- where should i go to order some cheese making stuff? my neighbors cow just had her baby yesterday, so we will be having lots of delicious milk again and i want to make milk stuff (especially mozzarella and also yogurt). any suggestions? thanks, you skunky lady.

tansy said...

pb&td - mozzarella and yogurt are so easy to make! here's more info on them:

to make mozzarella, you can use citric acid which you can find at a health food store. just make sure it's PURE. here's a tutorial:
http://www.cheesemaking.com/includes/modules/jWallace/ChsPgs/1Mozz/Index.html

as for the yogurt, you can buy a container of plain yogurt at the grocery store (make sure it says it contains live cultures) and use a tablespoon of the yogurt to culture the new batch. i buy a quart and freeze it in ice cube trays...one ice cube equals about 1 tablespoon. here's my how to at not dabbling in normal on how i make it: http://notdabblinginnormal.wordpress.com/2009/01/15/how-to-make-yogurt/

as for other cultures to make hard cheese, dairyconnection.com sells rennet and all sorts of cultures.

i'm so envious...one thing i miss with goat's milk is all that luscious CREAM. butter, buttermilk, whipped cream....i toy with the idea of selling the goats and getting a cow all the time just for the cream!

gina - ohhh, man, so sorry to hear about the skunk attacks! ugh!

kathie - serendipity!

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