Cie Simurro ~ Thunderbird Starwoman
Part 1 of 4
It is my nature to be forceful. As I swim gracefully through all barriers to my current desire, whether it is something to sustain me, nurture me, or something that I wish to draw into my realm, I put my entire self – mind, body, and spirit into it. Yes, at times I can be very aggressive. Is this not a reflection of the times in which you live? I am the perfect totem for these times, for I can help you channel your aggression into life-affirming pursuits, creative pursuits, and constructive achievements. The key is not to let the events and people that have hurt you, or damaged your world fester inside until they must explode in violence or other forms of aggression. In this seminal time in our earth’s history, let us all be healers, first of ourselves, then letting love direct energy in the appropriate way to others. Remember to consider your relations in the natural world in every decision that you humans make, for we are all in this together.
I was beginning to research and write about Shark totem. Turns out shark had been swimming around me, so I grudgingly began to feel I was supposed to make this my next totem. What do I know about sharks, I thought, except for the sand sharks that used to inhabit the beaches on the north shore of Long Island when I was a teenager? Even though sand sharks do not usually take a chunk of your leg when you’re not looking, they are still scary. Something about the way they move – and then there are those teeth! While they’re considered relatively docile, as they go about their business, any shark will attack a human if provoked.
Sand sharks a.k.a sand tiger, grey nurse or ragged tooth are some of the names attributed to this shark. The name comes from their habit of hanging out near the shoreline, trolling the bay or ocean floor. Since my friends and I were under the impression that these sharks were harmless, we were not concerned if we saw one circling our swimming area. Ha! Recently, I found out they can grow quite large (6 ½ to 10 ½ feet) and weigh as much as 200 to 350 pounds. They look ferocious, enhanced by a mouthful of teeth that would give anyone pause; sharp, needle-like teeth, pointing in every possible direction.
So, moving on - the first day of research, I find out it’s the beginning of Shark Week on the Discovery Channel – a whole week of shark documentaries. Like sharks, which always get our attention, I was focused on my research, and meditations about shark’s Medicine for long stretches – days in fact, to the exclusion of everything else I had to do. Like shark, which keeps moving to keep breathing, I couldn’t stop. Perhaps no other animal predator is more focused than shark, in capturing its desire or intention. That’s powerful Medicine. Okay, why now, and why so aggressive a totem? Read on, and you will understand.
So, how ferocious is shark’s Medicine? Any encounter with shark energy is bound to be traumatic. It either forces a healing of the pattern that caused it, or else we repeat the pattern in a downward spiral. Say for instance, someone who you had accepted as a close friend betrays your trust, after you had taken a leap to open your heart and include this person in your circle of close friends. You’ve been betrayed before, but one cannot go through life being defensive, and trying to protect oneself from getting hurt, right? Why? Because that stance shuts out life force, and all the good things that might come to a person from opening to receive. So anyway, you got fried.
The incident triggers a post-traumatic stress reaction. So then, how does one make lemonade from those lemons? Well, for one thing, it’s an opportunity to forgive, and to accept others just as they are. For another, such a traumatic event usually results in one having more time alone with oneself. Is that a good thing, you ask? Well yes, because this could be the opportunity to end that karmic pattern that’s been troubling you for lifetimes. Ultimately, we are the last one standing – throughout all lifetimes, dimensions and realities. Anything that gets us deeper into our real selves is likely to ward off more trauma. Taking the growth opportunity to “become a better best friend to yourself” means that you’re more apt to take better care of yourself, which includes resting when needed, being less likely to betray one’s own self, being more likely to find new sources for fun and enrichment, and especially, remembering to be kinder to that elusive best friend – oneself. That is, if one is willing to make lemonade, instead of smashing lemons or engaging in addictive behavior. Let yourself be curious, like shark about what alternatives to your current way of life may be out there for you. Once you’ve explored new directions, shark can deliver the ability to be very discerning and discriminating over choices. When a choice is made, it can be implemented with a ferocity that only shark energy can deliver.
Whether you have a house, outdoor, or work project, that you would like help directing your energy to, you can call on shark for help. Keep a picture of shark in front of you, or meditate with shark for its energy to come swimming in, as an assist. Got a long list of tasks that you don’t know how to find the energy to accomplish? Shark energy can give you that lift you need, and help you take a bite out of that list.
The water element plays a big part in shark Medicine. As I write this, the world is on the verge of a significant water crisis. We need to respect the element in our lives, our bodies, and on our planet. Water signifies emotion, feelings and intuition. In western astrology, the water signs are Scorpio, Pisces and Cancer, but everyone has a relationship with the element of water. If we’re too emotional, we can drown in water. Not enough connection to one’s feelings and our world dries up. Like shark with its streamlined body, the key is to use water energy to glide and slide when life gets tough, not get caught in emotional drama. Shark energy is fluid.
If you have shark as your power animal, or in certain decades of your life, you may be a world traveler. Instead of going to one place and settling in, you’d probably prefer a “round the world” tour; something where you keep moving all the time. Sharks can swim hundreds of miles in a single day. They swish their tails to move forward like a propeller on a plane. When water moves over the fins, it creates a kind of lift. Sharks like the Great white or Mako can never stop swimming entirely or they’ll sink to bottom and suffocate, because they have no swim bladder, which is what keeps other fish afloat. Some sharks can however, have active and restful periods, though you couldn’t say they sleep like humans do. Sharks have enormous, oil-rich livers, which helps them to stay afloat, when they aren’t swimming. The liver is the human organ that stores anger, so you might want to get in the habit of checking your feelings first thing in the morning or even better, last thing at night so you can sleep and dream sweetly. Here’s a simple exercise to clear negative feelings. After you have given due honor to all your feelings, be willing to move on. Picture shark gobbling up any leftover anger or resentments.
If this ever-moving creature is your totem, you will always be something of a workaholic, but even if you are, you can balance downtime pursuits with that intense work schedule. You would be well advised, not to get eaten up by problems and by stress that keeps you so busy, you never get the chance to do the things that you love to do, feed your creativity, or spend quality time with your family. It is also good to remember, that one cannot keep oneself safe through busily trying to be perfect. Have people around you with whom you can laugh over your foibles.
Here’s something of a proviso for you shark people, who have the ability, inclination and intensity to run a company, or a nation, for that matter: Curb your predatory instincts. Business schools and people in corporations have gotten and promoted the idea that to “win” in business, one has to go for the kill. That arose out of a belief in scarcity – you know how it goes – if someone else has something you want, you’d have to take it away from him, or climb over her, in order to look good yourself, or implement a takeover. That’s old news, which was never true, only commonly accepted. The combination of a career path that combines travel, constant discovery, and being near the water is heaven on earth for shark totem folks. And since everything is itself and its opposite, it behooves us to remember that all predators at some time or another become prey. Sun Bear used to say that real power is a very quiet thing. You don’t have to prove anything to anybody. The world won’t change until we foster benefits for all concerned. “People over Profit,” sets an example. So does the movement begun by Bernie Sanders, “Our Revolution.”
Cie Simurro ~ Thunderbird Starwoman has been a Healer, Writer, Minister, Advocate and Steward for the natural world for over 40 years; author of this column for 16 years. For Healing for you or your animal, Training, or her Book, Totems for Stewards of the Earth ($22 to PO 295, Shelburne Falls MA 01370), call 413 625-0385 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org