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Tuesday , December 14, 2010
nogoodforme Superlatives: A Spirit Animal Primer
I don't know how spirit animals became such a "thing" at nogoodforme.com. I have a feeling it has something to do with Keanu Reeves' reference to power animals in Thumbsucker -- one of the most gemlike performances ever in the entire Keanu canon, I may add. (He should always play a New Age orthodontist, if you ask me.) A spirit animal, in case you are too lazy to Google it, is born of a connection between human beings to the earth in which all of nature and her creatures exist within a continuum, interdependent upon one another; each animal teaches human beings their own particular type of power and wisdom. A spirit animal may make a physical appearance in your life; it can also pop up in your dreams. Either way, spirit animal wisdom says you should take all appearances of animals in your life as a sign and learn about that animal's nature and see how its lessons and values can be applied in your life. A few other things about spirit animals:
1. You do not choose them; they choose you.
2. There are four types of spirit animals: a messenger guide, a shadow animal guide, a journey animal guide and a life animal guide.
3. Spirit animals may come and go in your life, depending on your needs
In other words, you may have an entire spirit animal posse -- you could be, like, the P. Diddy of spirit animals, with a whole entourage of totems hanging out with you at any time. If nogoodforme.com were a Spirit Animal House, indeed, this would be comprise ours. (And isn't that above illustration by Tara Bursey completely dope? Hell yeah, it is!)
Wolves and horses
Wolves: I used to really hate dogs and all creatures canine-like. This is mostly because when I was four, my drunken next-door "neighbor" used to let his big German shepherd chase me when I got off my school bus, laughing uproariously as his dog used to bark, snarl and nip at my little Strawberry Shortcake sneakered heels. (Aside: I hope this neighbor rots in hell one day.) But I've come around to dogs, mostly because of an ex's gorgeous part-Akita part-wolf dog (Bella, I miss you!), and now I really am into wolves, which are the largest of the wild canines. I like wolves because they are quite misunderstood as animals: usually saddled with a vicious reputation, they are actually quite shy and secretive and stick to their own packs rather than deal with human beings. Within their packs they are highly social and very bonded to the other wolves; they all work together to hunt, tag-teaming and working in close formation, and they care for one another's young. They are highly evolved communicators, and they have incredible endurance, mostly because they rarely waste their energy on impossible endeavors (a lesson I think we all should learn nowadays.) To know about wolves is to learn how to exist as an individual within a closely bonded community, to be able to be yourself while still valuing loyalty and love and to work within that community to achieve common aims. A wolf teaches one to speak up when boundaries are trespassed, and to listen to your instincts and premonitions. Wolves find their own paths through impossible thickets and the darkest forests, are fiercely loyal to their mates, and derive strength and intelligence from being unseen and hidden away. Wolves are independent free spirits, but don't mess with them, because chances are there's more than one of them -- and they all have each others' backs.
Horses: I have to mention horses because of my great and abiding passion for riding. There's really nothing more in the world that I love to do, and my only real goal in life is to be able to have a horse farm so I can take care of as many of them as I can afford. (Okay, it's not my only real goal, but it's like the one I want when I'm a grande dame.) Lots of girls go through a horse thing when they're young, but I came back to horses after years and years of living in cities and missing a deeper connection to nature and animals. Riding is really the most Zenlike experience, and it's ten times better than Pilates in building your "core" or whatever the hell they call it. But whatever, horses are truly special creatures -- they incarnate strength, sensitivity, endurance, high spirits, speed, and power, and they teach you to run free on your own path in life. Trailblazers and others who are intensely driven and filled with great purpose and energy have horses as spirit animals, and horses give pride and fortitude to those who choose to go different routes in life, who love adventure for its own sake and who choose to live boldly in a life where nothing is certain for long. And did I mention the equestrian uniform? Nothing is ever more perennially fashionable. (Kat)
A SCRAPPY, RUNTY ADOLESCENT BLACK KITTEN-CAT NAMED KNICKERBOCKER
Any time I meet new people, I find it exceptionally handy to have the TOO GOOD FOR YOU interview questions at my disposal. They are possibly the only icebreaker in the world more engaging and efficient than the ever-hilarious "How much does a polar bear weigh?" which, let's be honest, is a downright winner. The only downside of the TGFY Qs is that they are SO awesome and incisive, certain low-confidence parties tend to flip out from internalized pressure to come up with recorded history's cleverest explanation for why they think John Lennon is a cool chap.
HOWEVER: whether they've consciously pondered it before or not, every single human on the planet instinctively knows exactly what their spirit animal is. This is because "having a spirit animal" is the most essential truth of the human condition. Just ask Philip Pullman! He's so damned obsessed with Spirit Animalism, he wrote His Dark Materials, an epic Secular-Humanist-young-adult-sci-fi-fantasy trilogy set in a parallel universe where all people are constantly accompanied by a "daemon"- a living, breathing embodiment of your soul in the form of an animal. Your "daemon", among other things, is the opposite gender of you, LOVES YOU and TALKS TO YOU and HELPS YOU THROUGH THE SHIT OF IT and HANGS OUT WITH YOU and IS YOUR BEST FRIEND but also IS YOU. Is that freakin' heaven or what?
Be it a daemon, spirit animal, messenger guide spirit animal, power animal, familiar or whatever-the-hellnimal, mine is named Knickerbocker (Jane-Faulds) and he is a SCRAPPY ADOLESCENT BLACK KITTEN-CAT. I have known this since I was a losery and highly-tortured 14-year-old Emily the Strange Incarnate, and I saw Knickerbocker (the Obvious McObviouserson runt of his litter) at a pet store, pestering the Helter Skelter out of his sisters and bros, and, in my sweet Knickerbocker, I saw myself.
WHY I AM KNICKERBOCKER, BY LAURA JANE FAULDS
1. I am a cat. I am self-involved, bored, hard to please, moody, an introvert/extrovert, mischievious, curious, and infinitely satisfied by the rewards of said curiousity.
2. My soul is decidedly pre-teenage. In feline-ebon terms: I fit in somewhere between cutesy-wutesy kitten-pie (which I was, once), and sly, dahhhhk, unfuckwithable grown black cat (I am banking on the hope that one day both Knickerbocker and Laura Jane will grow to be sexy, seductive and mysterious adults).
3. I am a scrappy alley cat. I am a dirty little fighter, and I LOVE EVERY MINUTE OF IT.
4. LJF=TRA (Total Runt Archetype). Touch as nails, goofy as sin, talks a big game, falls down a lot.
5. I physically resemble a black cat.
At some point in my life, I will settle down, and I will adopt the runty black cat of my dreams. But I won't name him Knickerbocker; I'll name him Sam the Sham. There can be no real Knickerbocker. THE REAL KNICKERBOCKER IS LAURA JANE. (LJ)
The sea turtle (or maybe a sea horse)
According to previous posts on nogoodforme, my spirit animal is either David Lee Roth or Jennifer Herrema's hair, neither of which is very much like a sea turtle. And when Kat and Laura did the nogoodforme self-portrait as power animals earlier this year at Sodafine, they made me a cute little bunny rabbit, which is awesome and adorable. In some ways, though, sea turtles are like the opposite of bunny rabbits, at least if you think about the whole tortoise-and-the-hare fable. Lately I'm trying to get more into the serene, slow-moving, go-with-the-flow sea-turtle way of life, rather than that stressy jumpy rabbit-y thing (and maybe you don't think of rabbits as very stressy creatures, but I'm mostly working with the Winnie the Pooh archetype here). Turtles are patient, which I am not in the least but certainly aspire to be. And turtles probably don't drink way too much Diet Coke and iced coffee, another quality I'd very much like to adopt (though not any time soon - at this point in my life I'm completely comfortable with my caffeine addiction). I do totally have a shell, however. I think my spirit animal's shell would be lots of lovely colors, like cerulean blue and dandelion yellow and hot-pink and emerald and indigo, all mixed together in some beautiful swirly-whirly design.
And just five seconds ago I decided that my alternate spirit animal should be the sea horse, mostly for silly reasons (e.g. sea horses are pretty; I love the song "Sea Horse" by Devendra Banhart), but also because - in the spirit animal realm - sea horses are about confidence and grace (two things a girl can never get enough of).
Oh and I'd like to point out that in that same post in which I picked David Lee Roth to be my spirit animal, I also named Logan Echolls as my patronus. So I think for nogoodforme's next big bash, the theme should be patronuses (patroni?), and we should all learn how to do the patronus charm and maybe rent out a few dementors to ward off. And we can get the Weird Sisters to play and Jarvis Cocker will become BFFs with nogoodforme and he can guest-blog for us and maybe sometimes we'll even let him fill out the Snapshot. That would be the most. (Liz)
Tags: cats, David Lee Roth, Harry Potter, horses, Jennifer Herrema, Keanu Reeves, Knickerbocker, Laura Jane Faulds, mischieviosity, Philip Pullman, scrappiness, sea horses, sea turtles, Spirit Animal House, spirit animals, wolves
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