Known for his work in saving the white Rhino, Ian Player described his animal encounters as follows: “Their presence activated archetypal forces within the psyche, and at times I felt I was moving in another dimension” (3). He recognized animals as brothers and companions, not subordinates, having learnt that “If you live well with the animal world, then you live well within yourself” (3).
Ted Andrews wrote that the animal world has much to teach us – the true majesty of life, as well as the untapped potential and power in the human psyche. The hidden secrets of Nature can be revealed through a study of all animal kingdoms, their ways of adaptation, how they use their natural abilities to their advantage (the lesson of unlocking potential), the interconnected relationship between predator and prey (the lesson of life, death and rebirth) and the intricate web of Life (the lesson of responsible relationships). According to Andrews, “The animal becomes a symbol of a specific force of the invisible, spiritual realm manifesting in our own life” (1) and when we pay attention to it, we honor the essence behind it. When we are attuned to the archetypal energy of a visiting animal, we may receive guidance and understand our own lives more clearly.
According to Hillman interpretation (of a specific meaning) reduces the animal image and we may miss the message it brings. He places importance on the “psychological and imaginative work of animating the image” (2), bringing it closer through visualization, giving oneself over to the animal presence and Soul.
Written for @jungsouthernafrica
- Ted Andrews (1993) Animal Speak - The Spiritual & Magical Powers of Creatures Great and Small, p. x & p. 2
- James Hillman (2008) Volume 9: Animal Presences, p 163 & 80
- Ian Player (1997) Zululand Wilderness: Shadow and Soul, p. 65 & 185.
Image Credit: Animals paintings by Collin Bogle & Peter Stewart
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