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Gentleness in word, thought and touch - Ability to listen - 
Grace and appreciation for the beauty of balance - 
Understanding of what's necessary for survival - 
Power of gratitude and giving - Ability to sacrifice for the higher good - Connection to the woodland goddess - Alternative paths to a goal


    Back when the world was young, the humans and the animal people could speak to each other. 

     At first they lived in peace. The humans hunted the animals only when they needed food or skins to make clothing. 

     Then the humans discovered the bow and arrow. With this weapon they could kill many animals quickly and with great ease. They began to kill animals when they did not need them for food or clothing. It seemed as if all the animals in the world would soon be exterminated. So the various animals met in council. 

     When the bears came together and talked about what the humans were doing, they decided they would have to fight back. 

    "How can we do that?" said one of the bear warriors. "The humans will shoot us with their arrows before we come close to them." 

     Old Bear, their chief, agreed. "That is true. We must learn how to use the same weapons they use." 

     Then the bears made a very strong bow and fashioned arrows for it. But whenever they tried to use the bow, their long claws got in the way. 

    "I will cut off my claws," said one of the bear warriors. 

     He did so and then he was able to use the bow and arrow. His aim was good and he hit the mark every time. 

    "That is good," said Old Bear. "Now can you climb this tree?" The bear without claws tried to climb the tree, but he failed. Old Bear shook his head. 

    "This will not do. Without our claws we cannot climb trees. Without our claws we will not be able to hunt or dig for food. We must give up this idea of using the same weapons the humans use." 

    So the bears gave up their idea of fighting back against the humans with weapons. 

    One by one each of the animal groups met. One by one they came to no conclusion. It seemed there was no way to fight back. 

    But the last group to meet was the deer. 

    Awi Usdi, Little Deer, was their leader. When all were gathered together, he spoke. 

    "I see what we must do," he said. "'We cannot stop the humans from hunting animals. That is the way it was meant to be. However, the humans are not doing things in the right way. 

    If they do not respect us and hunt us only when there is real need, they may kill us all. 

    I shall go now and tell the hunters what they must do. Whenever they wish to kill a deer, they must prepare in a ceremonial way. They must ask me for permission to kill one of us. Then, after they kill a deer, they must show respect to its spirit and ask for pardon. 

    If the hunters do not do this, then I shall track them down. With my magic I will make their limbs crippled. Then they will no longer be able to walk or shoot a bow and arrow." 

    Then Awi Usdi, Little Deer, did as he said. He went at night and whispered into the ears of the hunters, telling them what they must do. 

    The next morning, when they awoke, some of the hunters thought they had been dreaming and they were not sure that the dream was a true one. 

    Others, though, realized that Little Deer, Awi Usdi, had truely spoken to them. They tried to do as he told them. 

    They hunted for the deer and other animals only when they needed food or clothing. They remembered to prepare in a ceremonial way, to ask permission before killing an animal and to ask pardon when an animal was killed. 

    Some of the hunters, though, paid no attention. They continued to kill animals for no reason. 

    But Awi Usdi, Little Deer, came to them and, using his magic, crippled them with rheumatism. Before long, all of the hunters began to treat the animals with respect and to follow Little Deer's teachings. 

    So it is that the animals have survived to this day. Because of Awi Usdi, Little Deer, the Indian people show respect. 

    To this day, even though the animals and people no longer can speak to each other as in the old days, the people still show respect and give thanks to the animals they must hunt. 
    The deer is gentle and strong. She can leap gracefully and quickly up the mountainside but more often she prefers to graze on the tender shoots and grasses.

She teaches us to be gentle with ourselves and to honor our heart. 

In the South American Huichol tradition, the deer spirit leads the shaman through the "doorway of the heart" and gives him information on how to live in balance. 

Allow the deer to show you a gentler and more peaceful way to live . She will help open your heart. 




Dogs What Else? 
Source - Unknown


Heals emotional wounds in humans - 
Understanding of the duality of doubt and faith - Companionship - Unquestioned loyalty - Love - Knowledge of all things sensual - 
Protection - Ability to smell trouble from a distance

An Ojibwa Story


    Two Ojibwa Indians in a canoe had been blown far from shore by a great wind. They had gone far and were hungry and lost. They had little strength left to paddle, so they drifted before the wind.

At last their canoe was blown onto a beach and they were glad, but not for long. Looking for the tracks of animals, they saw some huge footprints that they knew must be those of a giant. They were afraid and hid in the bushes. As they crouched low, a big arrow thudded into the ground close beside them. Then a huge giant came toward them. A caribou hung from his belt, but the man was so big that it looked like a rabbit. He told them that he did not hurt people and he like to be a friend to little people, who
seemed to the giant to be so helpless. He asked the two lost Indians to come home with him, and since they had no food and their weapons had been lost in the storm at sea, they were glad to go with him.

An evil Windigo spirit came to the lodge of the giant and told the two men that the giant had other men hidden away in the forest because he like to eat them. The Windigo pretended to be a friend, but he was the one who wanted the men because he was an eater of people. The Windigo became very angry when the giant would not give him the two men, and finally the giant became angry too. He took a big stick and turned over a big bowl with it.

A strange animal which the Indians had never seen before lay on the floor, looking up at them. It looked like a wolf to them, but the giant called the animal 'Dog.' The giant told him to kill the evil Windigo spirit. The beast sprang to its feet, shook himself, and started to grow, and grow, and grow. The more he shook himself, the more he grew and the fiercer he became. He sprang at the Windigo and killed him; then the dog grew smaller and smaller and crept under the bowl.

The giant saw that the Indians were much surprised and pleased with Dog and said that he would give it to them, though it was his pet. He told the men that he would command Dog to take them home. They had no idea how this could be done, though they had seen that the giant was a maker of magic, but they thanked the friendly giant for his great gift.

The giant took the men and the dog to the seashore and gave the dog a command. At once it began to grow bigger and bigger, until it was nearly as big as a horse. The giant put the two men onto the back of the dog and told them to hold on very tightly. As Dog ran into the sea, he grew still bigger and when the water was deep enough he started to swim strongly away from the shore.

After a very long time, the two Ojibwa began to see a part of the seacoast that they knew, and soon the dog headed for shore. As he neared the beach, he became smaller and smaller so that the Indians had to swim for the last part of their journey. The dog left them close to their lodges and disappeared into the forest. When the men told their tribe of their adventure, the people though that the men were speaking falsely. "Show us even the little mystery animal, Dog, and we shall believe you," a chief said.

A few moons came and went and then, one morning while the tribe slept, the dog returned to the two men. It allowed them to pet it and took food from their hands. The tribe was very much surprised to see this new creature. It stayed with the tribe.

That, as the Indians tell, was how the first dog came to the earth.



The dog is the symbol of unconditional love and loyalty. And yet he reminds us that loyalty to others must be balanced with loyalty to ourselves. You can best serve the world when you are happy and healthy first. 





Stubbornness - Ability to make decisions - 
Refusing to move when you know it isnt right - 
Saying "no" to others - Ignoring others opinions  

    There was a chief's daughter once who had a great many relations so that everybody knew she belonged to a great family. 

    When she grew up she married and there were born to her twin sons. This caused great rejoicing in her father's camp, and all the village women came to see the babes. She was very happy. 

    As the babes grew older, their grandmother made for them two saddle bags and brought out a donkey. 

    "My two grandchildren," said the old lady, "shall ride as is becoming to children having so many relations. Here is this donkey. He is patient and surefooted. He shall carry the babes in the saddle bags, one on either side of his back." 

    It happened one day that the chief's daughter and her husband were making ready to go on a camping journey. The father, who was quite proud of his children, brought out his finest pony, and put the saddle bags on the pony's back. 

    "There," he said, "my sons shall ride on the pony, not on a donkey; let the donkey carry the pots and kettles." 

    So his wife loaded the donkey with the house-hold things. She tied the tepee poles into two great bundles, one on either side of the donkey's back; across them she put the travois net and threw into it the pots and kettles and laid the skin tent across the donkey's back. 

    But no sooner done than the donkey began to rear and bray and kick. He broke the tent poles and kicked the pots and kettles into bits and tore the skin tent. The more he was beaten the more he kicked. 

    At last they told the grandmother. She laughed. "Did I not tell you the donkey was for the children," she cried. "He knows the babies are the chief's children. Think you he will be dishonored with pots and kettles?" and she fetched the children and slung them over the donkey's back, when he became at once quiet again. 

    The camping party left the village and went on their journey. But the next day as they passed by a place overgrown with bushes, a band of enemies rushed out, lashing their ponies and sounding their war whoop. All was excitement. The men bent their and seized their lances. After a long battle the enemy fled. But when the camping party came together again -- where were the donkey and the two babes? No one knew. For a long time they searched, but in vain. At last they turned to go back to the village, the father mournful, the mother wailing. When they came to the grandmother's tepee, there stood the good donkey with the two babes in the saddle bags. 





Stamina Strength - Sensual passion - 
Honoring those of your gender - 
Ability to pace oneself in tasks  

    In the days of our grandfathers, a young warrior named Plain Feather lived near Mount Hood . His guardian spirit was a great elk.

    The great elk taught Plain Feather so well that he knew the best places to look for every kind of game and became the most skillful hunter in his tribe.

    Again and again his guardian spirit said to him,
"Never kill more than you can use. Kill only for your present need. Then there will be enough for all."

    Plain Feather obeyed him. He killed only for food, only what he needed.
Other hunters in his tribe teased him for not shooting for fun, for not using all his arrows when he was out on a hunt. But Plain Feather obeyed the great elk. 

    Smart Crow, one of the old men of the tribe, planned in his bad heart to make the young hunter disobey his guardian spirit. Smart Crow pretended that he was one of the wise men and that he had had a vision.

    In the vision, he said, the Great Spirit had told him that the coming winter would be long and cold. There would be much snow.

    "Kill as many animals as you can," said Smart Crow to the hunters of the tribe. "We must store meat for the winter." 

    The hunters, believing him, went to the forest and meadows and killed all the animals they could. Each man tried to be the best hunter in the tribe.

    At first Plain Feather would not go with them, but Smart Crow kept saying, "The Great Spirit told me that we will have a hard winter. The Great Spirit told me that we must get our meat now." 

    Plain Feather thought that Smart Crow was telling the truth. So at last he gave in and went hunting along the stream now called Hood River . First he killed deer and bears. Soon he came upon five bands of elk and killed all but one, which he wounded. 

    Plain Feather did not know that this was his guardian elk, and when the wounded animal hurried away into the forest, Plain Feather followed. Deeper and deeper into the forest and into the mountains he followed the elk tracks. 

    At last he came to a beautiful little lake. There, lying in the water not far from the shore, was the wounded elk. He heard a voice say clearly,
"Draw him in." And something drew Plain Feather closer to the wounded elk.

    "Draw him in," the voice said again. And again Plain Feather was drawn closer to the great elk. At last he lay beside it.

    "Why did you disobey me?" asked the elk. "All around you are the spirits of the animals you have killed. I will no longer be your guardian. You have disobeyed me and slain my friends." 

    Then the voice which had said, "Draw him in," said, "Cast him out."
And the spirits cast the hunter out of the water, onto the shore of the lake.

    Weary in body and sick at heart, Plain Feather dragged himself to the village where his tribe lived. Slowly he entered his teepee and sank upon the ground.

    "I am sick," he said. "I have been in the dwelling place of the lost spirits. And I have lost my guardian spirit, the great elk. He is in the lake of the lost spirits." 

    Then he lay back and died.

    Ever after, the Indians called that lake the Lake of the Lost Spirits. Beneath its calm blue waters are the spirits of thousands of the dead. On its surface is the face of Mount Hood , which stands as a monument to the lost spirits. 

- Collected by Ella Clark in 1953. 


The elk is a strong animal that migrates for long distances. Call on him when you need the strength and stamina to keep going forward in your life. Elk reminds us also to "take time to smell the roses." He walks on his migrations, grazing along the way. This conserves energy and refuels him. We need to slow down at times and refill our spirits as well.





Shapeshifting - Cleverness - Observational skills - Cunning - Stealth Camouflage - Feminine courage - Invisibility - Ability to observe unseen - Persistence - Gentleness - Swiftness 



     Very long ago there were two men living together, and making maple-sugar. They made one mokok ("bark box") of sugar, and then they cached it away, burying it, and said to each other, "We will let it remain here until we are very hungry." 

    The younger man was a Fox, and he was a good hunter. Every time he went out, he brought home chickens or small wild game. The other man was a greedy Wolf, and he never killed anything, or brought anything home: so Fox thought he would play a trick on his chum for being lazy. "You ought to go over to that house," said Fox to Wolf. "Maybe they will give you something to eat. When I went over there, they gave me a chicken." So Wolf went over as he was told. When he got to the house, he did not hide himself, but went in open sight. The owner of the house saw the Wolf coming up; so he set his dogs on him to drive him away; and Wolf escaped only by running into the river. "So it is this one that takes off our chickens!" said the man. When Wolf arrived at his home, he told his younger brother, Fox, "Why, I hardly escaped from that man!" "Why!" said Fox to him. "They did not recognize you; that's why." But Wolf made no answer. 

    While they were in the house together, Fox went outside, and cried, "He!" to deceive Wolf. "What's the matter with you?" asked Wolf. "Oh! they have come after me to give a name to a child." "Then you'd better go over. Maybe they will give you something to eat." Instead of going, however, Fox went to their cache of maple-sugar, and ate some of it. When he returned, Wolf asked him, "What did you name the baby?" "Mokimon," replied Fox; and this word means to "reveal" or "dig out" something you have hidden. 

    At another time, while they were sitting together, Fox said, "He!" and "Oh, yes!" "What's that?" inquired Wolf. "Oh, I am called to give a name to a newborn baby." "Well, then, go. Maybe they will give you something to eat." So Fox went and returned. 

    "What's the name of the child?" asked Wolf. This time, Fox answered, "Wapiton," and this word means "to commence to eat." 

    At another time, time, Fox cried out, "He!" and "All right!" as though some one had called to him, "I'll come." "What's that?" asked Wolf. "They want me to go over and name their child." "Well, then, go," says Wolf. "You always get something to eat every time they want you." So Fox went, and soon returned.. Wolf asked him again, "What name did you give it?" "Hapata kiton," answered Fox; that is to say, "half eaten." 

    Then another time Fox cried "He!" as if in answer to some one speaking to him, and then, as though some one called from the distance, "Hau!" Wolf, as he did not quite hear, asked Fox what the matter was. "Oh, nothing!" replied Fox, "only they want me to come over and name their child." "Well, then, you'd better go. Maybe you'll get a chance to eat; maybe you'll fetch me something too." So Fox started out, and soon returned home. "Well, what name did you give this time?" asked Wolf. 

    "Noskwaton," said Fox; and this means "all licked up." 

    Then Wolf caught on. "Maybe you are eating our stored maple-sugar!" he cried. But Fox sat still and laughed at him. Then Wolf went over and looked at their cache. Sure enough, he found the empty box with its contents all gone, and pretty well licked


Clever fox can sneak in the hen house because he blends right in. There are times when it is wiser to hide our power rather than brag, and there is sometimes wisdom in keeping your mouth shut rather than trying to prove a point. Let fox teach you when to stand out and when to conceal your knowledge. 





Abundance Independence - Surefootedness
Removing guilty feelings - 
Understanding nature energies and beings
Seeking new heights - Agility


The goat is a symbol for perserverance and vitality. He never gives up. If he calls to you, this might be a time to pay more attention to health, food, and rest in order to maintain your stamina.



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