Some time between two and three years old, one day as I was strolling through a park with my mom and some friends, I was attacked by a gigantic blue peacock. No worries, there was no blood drawn. No mutilation occured. I think my mom was more scared than I was. All I remember is a flurry of brilliant blue feathers in my face and feeling the strong peacock feet pushing into my chest. Somewhere in a faint memory I recall everyone else freaking out and wondering if I should be doing the same.
In many native cultures, a shaman-in-training will be led into the forest/wilderness to confront their spirit animal. If they survive, they’ve passed a major test toward becoming a medicine/warrior shaman. If they don’t, well, they don’t.
Back to my peacock…
For awhile now, I’ve been studying totemic arts with this incredible tribe, meeting my spirit animals, healing archetypal wounds, and rediscovering hidden parts of myself. This work has taken me to the deepest places of my heart, guiding me to reclaim lost parts of my soul, and helped me to see huge reservoirs of untapped power within. I’ve been practicing extensively how to listen to and follow my inner guides to meet my animal totems and receive the wisdom and medicine they have to offer.
Often, an experience such as the one I had with a peacock can be a sign that animal is one of our totems. When Emelie first suggested peacock as a potential totem, I had MAJOR resistance. Of course resistance (or a strong emotional reaction) to an animal is another sign that animal is one of our totems.
So I started researching peacock medicine. Looking into their behavior, patterns, habits, colorings, mythology. As soon as I opened to this incredible animal I noticed their imagery was ALL OVER my Pinterest boards, articles and photos I had cut out of magazines, long-forgotten books on my shelves, jewelry, etc.
From my research I realized peacock totems are both rare and incredibly powerful medicine. That they’ve been associated with mysticism, greater vision, immortality. Like the mythological phoenix, the peacock represents the rising from ashes of that which is ready to be released and sacrificed.
And then a NEW kind of resistance came up, and that voice came in saying, “You’re not good enough for this animal.” “It’s just your ego that wants to have this totem.” “What makes you think you’re special, good, powerful enough to see any of this in yourself?” Not only was I afraid of claiming to reflect any part of this rare and beautiful bird, it made me incredibly uncomfortable to think I could contain any of that symbolism within my soul. It makes me squirm even now as I write about it.
And then I realized: Here’s the shadow side of peacock medicine. Staying small. Believing I have too much darkness inside to heal and resurrect those parts of my soul that have been torn. Afraid of proudly displaying my vivid colors, appearing arrogant or egotistical. Feeling shame around being SEEN and told that I’m too much. Scared of my own magnetism and beauty. Unworthy. Sound familiar to anyone else?
I briefly stepped back into my small self, looking to have someone outside of me validate me and give me permission to own my peacock self. To tell me that it was okay to show off my colors, to shine, to stand out and accept the power and magic that peacock medicine has to offer. I watched myself look for that external validation, realize that’s what I was doing and that ALL of my totems thus far have brought the medicine of deep listening and intuition, reflecting to me that I already have all of the answers within me. Peacock was now showing up to help me own my power, my voice, and to show off my colors. To show me that the magnetism I was afraid of was actually a HUGE ally for me!
So now, even as I feel that resistance STILL, I say to myself, “Katie, just own it.” I’m done with the “not enough” the “unworthy” the “I’m too much for people so I’ll just shut up, sit down, become invisible.” I’m done with invisible. I’m done with seeking permission to shine. I’m listening and honoring my soul’s voice and wisdom. And I’m ever-grateful to my shadow for teaching me where there’s room for growth. Where the cracks appear.