The Animal World
Let’s explore the Third World of Grandmother Earth, the Animals, as the receivers of energy (learn about all Four Worlds here).
Their gift is teaching us how to receive. Knowing how animals are receivers is probably most easily understood by those of you who have pets. You will recall the times when you were sick or just “blue” and your pet came to curl up beside you and “made you feel better.” Animals will take on the energy of their human companion. Often people will say the pet looks like or acts like their caretaker.
In our tradition, animals are known as “Sweet Medicine.” Each animal through its habits and ways carries within its being-ness a “medicine.” It is a gift of healing they bring to us if we align with them. Mostly they teach us to be who we are. You don’t see a dog wanting to act like a frog. It is content in its dog-ness. These animals are great teachers and allies.
In the South are the swimmers of all sizes and shapes. They are receiver-givers. (See Figure 10.) The fluidity of water has to do with our emotions. Look at the dolphin: it is a receiver by nature, but if a human is in trouble, it will give help to the human.
In the West are the crawlers, those who creep with their belly on the earth. The earthworms, lizards, and snakes are receiver-holders. They know the earth intimately, so from them we can learn how to be in a more harmonious relationship with her. The earth worm eats compost and changes it into soil therefore helping the soil to hold its integrity.
In the North are the four-leggeds, the receiver- receivers, those who run with the wind and teach us balance. Some of these animals have been willing to “receive” humans onto their backs and make our transportation easier.
In the East are the winged ones, the receiver-determiners. These beings relate to our spirit (fire). The eagle is known as the “Messenger of the Great Spirit,” carrying our prayers to spirit and bringing messages back to us.
In the Center are the mythical animals, the receiver-transformers and catalyzers. Mythical animals have a way of stretching our imagination and teaching us in the dream-time. They carry truth through the myth and legends of all cultures. Also here are the two-leggeds who are not yet sacred humans. The Sweet Medicine SunDance Way speaks of unbalanced humans as “two leggeds.” They are human in form but lack the consciousness and right behaviors of what it is to be truly human. When humans become balanced, they move to their own place on the Human Wheel.