Your Totem Animal
A Soul Guide
In the Eye of the Storm
An individual response to the Global Crisis
April 16, 2020
Ashok Bedi, M.D., Jungian Psychoanalyst
Robert BJ Jakala PH.D., Jungian Psychotherapist
In a storm, the safest place is in the eye of the storm. My colleague BJ and I will share our daily reflections on this centering process from an Analytical perspective, sharing from the repertoire of our personal and professional experience. BJ is a psychologist and a photographer and will pick an image of the day that catches him in this collective crisis. I will amplify it from a Jungian Analytical perspective. We hope that this may offer you a baby step on the path to your own unique response to this chaos.
Modern investigation of animal instinct, for instance in insects, has brought together a rich fund of empirical material which shows that if man sometimes acted as certain insects do he would possess a higher intelligence that at present. (Jung, 1960b, p. 349)
As I stand near a pond to admire the beautiful setting, I notice the variety of dragonflies. I watch their wings glisten in the sunlight as they dart over the pond and into the grasses. With a careful eye, I notice the scene is not random or chaotic. The dragonflies appear in community. I do not see disputes or territorial squabbles anywhere. It seems like there is respect for each other’s space.
This one catches my eye in flight, and I look for it to land. I follow its lead several times and walk around the pond to discover the afternoon perch. There is a slight breeze to sway the grasses while it holds on. It flies off and then comes back to this exact blade many times. I do not know why it left, but I do see it come back every time. It found a home base for the afternoon.
Roughly 4,500 species of dragonfly exist. Fossil evidence has shown they’re amongst the oldest insects on Earth, and existed more than 300 million years ago. They may have managed to survive on this planet for so long due to some of their many adaptations.
Well known for their speed, dragonflies can move forward at a rate of roughly 100 times their own body length each second, sometimes reaching speeds of around 55 miles per hour. Their speed and agility mean they can quickly zoom away from and outmaneuver any potential predators. It gives them an advantage when hunting for prey, too.
When it comes to eating, dragonflies have a number of adaptations that help them out. They’re generalist feeders; Since they’re not fussy, there’s more food available to them. Dragonflies have extremely large eyes for their size, covering the majority of their heads. They’re thought to be able to see in color and have a 360-degree field of vision. They use their stereoscopic vision while hunting, to estimate their distance from prey. Their sharp eyesight may also help them avoid predation.
The wisdom of our Dragonfly ancestors can be a great asset to us in our present crisis. We need to adapt speedily to the new circumstances to avoid the predatory virus. We must have a 360-degree, color vision rather than a myopic, black and white view of the situation. We must be humble rather than fussy in our consumer habits. The Dragonfly honors the Safe at Home approach and honor their Community. We must learn from other creatures of nature that Synchronistically appear in our life space as Soul Guides. Each one of us will meet their unique Totem Animal when we need them to guide us. Animals are the Watchers of our Welfare and carry the timeless wisdom of the Collective to guide us in sickness and in health, in good times and bad times, to amplify our joyful moments and comfort us in painful moments.
Animals have Theriomorphic dimension, i.e. the deity manifesting in human form. The insect, bird and animal form symbolize our superhuman wisdom. They represent the magical powers beyond the bandwidth of our human consciousness. In fairytales, we encounter helpful animals.
Some Points to Ponder:
- How do you find comfort in your daily routines?
- What adaptation have you made with Covid-19?
- When do you rest?
- How do you go out and come back to the same spot psychologically?
- Have you met up with your Totem Animal: either in your dreams or Synchronistically in your life at crucial moments in your life?
- What have you learned from your Watcher Animal to guide your path in troubled times?
Photo taken in Los Angeles, CA
Jung, C. G. (1960b). The structure and dynamics of the psyche. New York: Pantheon Books.
Jung, C. G. (1969). The archetypes and the collective unconscious, Volume 9 – Part 1 (2d ed. Vol. 1). Princeton: Princeton Univ. Press.
© Ashok Bedi, M.D. and Robert BJ Jakala, PH.D.