spirit animal

(Sorry, that’s my best online howl.)
Coyote is my spirit animal and it seems I am always howling about something…
I howl to be heard, to make contact with the rest of my pack.
I howl because I feel hurt and I see hurt and I can’t always make it go away.
I howl because I am angry at the meanness I see in the world.
I howl because I take everything so seriously – but then – thankfully – my mischievious, playful nature takes over and my howl turns into a barking laugh.  I transform my pain into creative energy, then “go into my studio and make something!”
In Southwestern Native American stories, Coyote is the Trickster, who sees life as funny, sad, wise, and silly, all at the same time.  Like Raven in other tribe’s stories, Coyote is a shapeshifter, often a messenger the gods send to raise awareness.  In college I considered myself a socratic gadfly – always asking unpopular questions.  In my jobs over the years, I am often the one saying, “But that’s not right.”  (And being told if I can’t play along, I “can go excel somewhere else.”)  I currently work for the Department of Defense – and I drive through the security checkpoints blasting John Lennon on my CD player, “All we are saying, is giove peace a chance.” 
Coyote is open to multiplicity and paradox, always striving for the balance between risk and safety.  Coyote sees the dichotomies – and points them out.  “The Emperor Has No Clothes” could be a trickster tale.    I believe in “the wierdness of life” – and it never disappoints me! 
This doesn’t mean I always enjoy the role of outsider, of “prophet unwelcome in her own land”.  Many times I speak up, but I am trembling when I do so.  But I do it anyway because I believe, “Your silence will not save you.”   I spoke up about the family secret, my childhood abuse, and made people uncomfortable.  But, as Audre Lorde said, “When I dare to be powerful – to use my strength in the service of my vision, then it becomes less and less important whether I am afraid.”
But I am a bit of a clown, too – hopefully a wise fool.  I love stories of how people overcome pain with laughter.  I wrote a book called The Condom Queens, about HIV-AIDS education in a rural, conservative community.  On the request of one of the persons living with AIDS who provided insight, it includes lots of humor.  He said, “We may be sick, but we still like to laugh.” 

“Many native traditions held clowns and tricksters as essential to any contact with the sacred. People could not pray until they had laughed, because laughter opens and frees from rigid preconception. Humans had to have tricksters within the most sacred ceremonies for fear that they forget the sacred comes through upset, reversal, surprise. The trickster in most native traditions is essential to creation, to birth”. (Wikipedia)

Byrd Gibbens, Professor of English at University of Arkansas at Little Rock; quoted epigraph in Napalm and Silly Putty by George Carlin, 2001


I am proud to take Coyote as my spirit animal – the wise fool, the sometimes silly sage.  If you are driving along and see a yellow dog hanging her head out the window of a passing car, howling or laughing, it might be me, Coyote Kerry!



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3 Responses to “spirit animal”

  1. porchsitter Says:

    I applaud your courage, Kerry! Lies can’t live when brave people speak up. Keep the radio blaring!

  2. woodnymph Says:

    Coyota is a survivor.


  3. Jill Says:

    I am reading these entries back to front – I read Ivylene first and then came home to this hehe….wonderful, wonderful Coyote – yay you!!

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