I've been studying shamanism for a few years. I don't have a teacher or anything. It's just self-directed study. A big part of what I've studied, as I referred to in the Totem Hoe post, is animal medicine. By medicine I mean the symbolism and messages they bring us. I try to be in harmony with the world around me and when you do that you can see that we all, even plants and animals, are connected. I know this might sound way out there, but these ideas and practices have been around longer than most organized religions.
For some reason I feel the need to discuss a particular kind of animal medicine. Perhaps someone out there needs to hear this message. I don't know. Maybe I just want to write about it for my own benefit. The reason doesn't ultimately matter though. The animal I want to talk about is the Skunk. Yes, laugh if you like, skunks are funny little creatures. But their medicine is just as valuable as any other's.
Skunk represents reputation and sexuality. One of my favorite movie quotes is from Gone With the Wind when Rhett Butler tells Scarlett, "With enough courage, you can do without a reputation." That can easily apply to the stinky little skunk as well as to people. But Skunk medicine is more complex than that. We all know that the skunk can spray its scent in defense, and it's an effective defense at that because it has such a distinctive and permeating odor that the primary reaction to it is to run away. This makes us give great respect to a skunk. But it's message isn't to bully people around with a stink to make them respect you. Skunks are peaceful and shy animals. They always give ample warning before spraying. Their lesson is for us to learn how to manage the energy we sent out to the world because that is what gives us our reputation. If you sent out negativity then people will think of you as a stinky person they want to avoid. But if you sent out positive energy then people will be drawn to you.
That brings us to another lesson of Skunk. We must be careful about the kind of energy we send out because it is possible to manipulate or mislead others. Sometimes people with strong Skunk medicine are what we would consider very sexy and alluring because they exude that kind of energy. They send it out and it permeates like the skunk's scent. Scent is very closely related to sexual responses. It can become easy for someone to abuse their Skunk medicine by luring people with the promise of something they don't plan on delivering. That kind of deception is the result of low self esteem. People must learn that they are valuable to others in more ways than the sexual. But I'm not saying that sexual energy is a bad thing. It's not. It's a great thing. But we must be careful not to use it to manipulate others.
Well, that's just a basic description of Skunk medicine. So the next time you smell or see a skunk (and you'll almost always smell one before you see it) think about your reputation and how it's determined by the energy you send out to others. And to paraphrase Rhett Butler, with courage you can deal with whatever reputation you have or you can change it.