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*Jamie Sams & David Carson/Medicine Cards:
Diversion. Opossum's greatest form of protection is to play
dead. in doing this Opossum
confuses many a predator into believing that the game is over.
Oftentimes the confused rival
walks away or looks the other direction for a moment, and Opossum
runs to safety.
Opossum medicine uses a great deal of strategy. If all else
fails, Opossum plays dead. It has the
ability to fight with its claws and teeth, but it rarely uses
this form of protection. Instead, the
supreme strategy of diversion is constantly employed when things
get a little too hard to handle.
Opossum has developed an act that would receive an Academy Award
in the animal kingdom.
The musk of the death scent is excreted at will, adding to the
master play that sends enemies on
many trails of confusion.
If Opossum has turned up in your cards, you are being asked
to use strategy in some present
situation. Rely upon your instincts for the best way out of
a tight corner. If you have to pretend to
be apathetic or unafraid, do it! Oftentimes if you refuse to
struggle or show that hurtful words
bother you, your taunter will see no further fun in the game.
Warriors have used Opossum
medicine for centuries, playing dead when the enemy is least
expecting it, the war cry is heard.
The fright of this serves to further confuse the unsuspecting
opposition. Victory is sweet when
the strategy is one of mental as well as physical prowess.
Opossum may be relaying to you that you are to expect the unexpected
and be clever in
achieving your victory. This could be a victory over a bothersome
salesman or a nosey neighbor.
In essence, Opossum is beckoning you to use your brain, your
sense of drama, and surprise--to
leap over some barrier to your progress.
Contrary: In the reversed position, Opossum may be warning you
against getting caught in the
high drama of your life's present scenario. "Close your
eyes and dramatize," may keep you from
seeing the truth of a situation. You may buy into melodrama
in yourself or others. You might as
well play dead if you are justifying what you are doing with
a tragic victim routine. If this
concept does not apply to your situation, take a look at the
possibility that you may have recently
been giving excuses for why you don't want to do something instead
of telling the truth. In
fearing to hurt someone's feelings you may have trapped yourself
in a justification pattern: "I'm
too sick, I'm too poor, I'm watching my weight, I'm too short,
tall, sad, busy, tired, etc."
In having to defend yourself with excuses, you may have lost
the point. You don't have to defend
your right to be! The exercise is in learning to politely say
that something would not be
appropriate for you at this time. That's all! You owe no one
an excuse. Learn to imitate Opossum
and play dead, in the sense that the best strategy is no defense.
In assuming the viewpoint of no
defense, you have chosen the right to be who and what you are
with no games involved.
The proper use of diversion is to know when you do not need
to use diversion at all. You owe no
one an excuse for how you feel or what you choose to experience.
*Lady Stearn Robinson & Tom Gorbett/The Dreamer's Dictionary:
This amusing animal in a dream is reminding you that ignoring
your problems is a surefire
method of building a time bomb under yourself; vigorous positive
action is the only safe road to
*Mary Summer Rain/On Dreams:
Opossum denotes backward or inverted views; a caution to "stop
turning things around" to suit self.
Keynote: The Use of Appearances
Cycle of Power: Spring
A number of years ago when my workshops were just beginning
to grow in popularity, an
individual in the metaphysical field was spreading rumors about
me among certain groups, to
undermine my work. Apparently he felt threatened by the increasing
attention I was receiving.
After a workshop one evening, several people spoke to me about
what was being spread around.
I remember fuming all the way home. I couldn't believe this
person would make up stories--after
all we had done some traveling together. I knew that I was going
to have to confront this person.
When I got home and raised my garage door, my headlights flashed
on a pair of eyes in the back
of the garage. An opossum had taken up temporary shelter. I
got a broom and tried
unsuccessfully to sweep it out. Finally, I left the garage door
open, hoping it would leave on its
own and went into the house, temporarily distracted from my
About an hour later I went outside to check the garage, and
the opossum had disappeared. I
drove the car into the garage, and pulled on the garage door.
It only moved about five inches and
then locked. I pulled again and still it locked. Since it was
dark, I couldn't tell if the runners on
which it sat were jammed or what was going on. Finally I grabbed
the handle with two hands and
yanked as hard as I could. The door freed and came down. As
it did, the opossum tumbled off the
top of the garage door and fell on top of my head. I must have
jumped six feet. I don't know who
was scared worse--me or the opossum. Apparently it had climbed
on top of the garage door and
was lodged in a way that hindered closing the door.
It left rather abruptly, after bouncing off my head and hitting
the ground. It appeared just as
dazed and unhurt as I was. I tried to get my heart started.
I began laughing as I walked back into
the house. My anger from earlier that evening was dissipated.
It was then I decided not to
respond. I would just appear to play dead or ignorant to the
rumors. Within several weeks, the
rumors had ceased and numerous phone calls reaffirmed that I
had responded appropriately. No
one was believing the rumors, and my invitations to teach and
lecture increased even more.
Opossum teaches us how to use appearances. Sometimes it is necessary
to "play dead."
Sometimes it is necessary to put up a particular front to succeed
most easily and effectively. This
is what the medicine of opossum can teach. It also can show
you when others are putting up false
fronts and deceptions. Opossum has an archetypal energy that
helps us to use appearances to our
greatest benefit and that helps us to recognize when others
are creating false impressions.
Opossum can help us learn to divert attention or to get attention
any way we need.
Sometimes it is necessary to behave or act in a strategic manner.
We may need to appear fearful
or fearless in spite of how we truly feel. We may need to show
submission or aggression. We
may need to be apathetic or extremely caring. Opossum is the
supreme actor, and those in the
acting field or that need to learn something of it can do no
better than to work with the opossum.
The opossum is a nocturnal animal. It is the only marsupial
on the North American continent.
Marsupials are animals that raise their young in a pouch on
the abdomen. When the young are
born, they are blind, but they are still able to climb up into
the pouch immediately after birth.
There they stay for about one month.
During the spring, I often stop and check opossums hit and on
the road. There may be young in
the pouch if it is a female opossum. The young can live for
a while in the pouch even after the
mother has died, but only for a short while.
In the pouch are located the nipples. Most opossums have 13
nipples. In a litter, there can be
many more than thirteen young, but only thirteen will be able
to survive. This number is very
symbolic. Although many associate it with bad luck, it is also
a symbol for the one great sun
around which the twelve signs of the zodiac revolve. It is a
symbol of the sun within.
The pouch, especially in regards to the opossum's defense of
"playing dead," links it to the ability
to help us draw from our own bag of tricks that which will most
benefit us. It can show you
which appearance to draw from the pouch to use for the greatest
success. The milk of the mother
is rich in calcium, as young opossums need high concentrations
of it. Those with this totem
should examine their own calcium levels.
The playing dead that the possum is famous for is a self-induced
state of shock. The pulse
becomes minimal. The heartbeat slows. A musk scent of death
is released, and for all
appearances it will seem dead. The opossum can enter and leave
this state abruptly--pretty much
at will. This act serves to confuse many predators. The surprise
distracts them, and the opossum
is able to make its escape. It is this kind of flexibility and
ease of appearance that the opossum
can teach to those with it as a totem.
When opossum shows up as a totem, ask yourself some important
questions. Are you acting or
about to act in an inappropriate manner? Do you need to strengthen
your own appearance? Are
others putting up false appearances in front of you? do you
need to divert attention away from
some activity? Are others trying to divert your attention? Is
it time to go into your bag of tricks
and pull out some new strategy? Learning to pretend and act
in ways and with realism is the
magic that opossum teaches.
I have Opossum medicine, it's my within totem. Opossum has appeared
to me in real life to
remind me how to deal with stressful situations. He's shown
me how to survive in a contradictory
world. How to live with "pretenders" and trust my
instincts when it comes to dealing with people.
He shows me when to let go and have fun or when to hold back
and say nothing. I call him Sweet
Oliver because when I worked at the wildlife refuge there was
an in house Opossum and he used
to come out and be with me when I was cleaning the cages and
so forth. He loved chewing on my
boots thinking it was an apple or something. He was blind from
being hit by a car and has
become one of the teachers at the wildlife refuge. He likes
people now but he also likes his space
and taking naps
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