You can stop asking for permission

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!

peacock goddess

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.


18 thoughts on “You can stop asking for permission

  1. I. LOVE. THIS. POST. LOVE IT! Thank you Katie. This speaks so close to my heart. When you wrote:
    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 thought – YES! ME!
    For a long time, I believed in my desire to not be seen often telling myself I don’t like attention – don’t want and certainly don’t need it. Well I made a funny little realization this year. I love attention and I love shining and engaging people and laughing and smiling. But sometimes I sense it’s too much for people and so…I shrink. I shut up. I don’t smile as big or laugh as hard. I have come to believe that we as humans are meant to live large – and I suppose like the Peacock, show our true feathers and colors!!! I also think we as humans all desire attention and the ability and acceptance of doing so. There is no egotism or self-centeredness in any of it, just pure joy in allowing our souls to be seen. Love this post and the truth behind it; it may have been uncomfortable to write so thank you for owning up to your greatness and allowing others, like myself, to own up to mine!! xxoo

  2. Thank you for your wonderful post – it is just the medicine I need and have to be reminded of again and again. You are such an inspiration!!! 🙂

  3. Thank you for such a lovely beautiful piece of writing and reflection of your self. I can identify w/the peacock shadow. Who am I to…? Ah, yes, that feels familiar. And of course, who are you not to.. shine? If we all gave ourselves permission to shine the world would be an entirely more beautiful place.

    1. Thanks Kimberly! If you haven’t read Ted Andrews’ book Animal Speak, you might check it out! Lots of good animal totem info and ways to deepen your relationship with them 🙂

  4. 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.” Good for you! It takes so much courage to proclaim this, yet I love seeing you step more and more into this every post!

  5. YES! This is so beautiful, Katie! I love this: “I’m done with invisible. I’m done with seeking permission to shine.” AMEN! I’m right there with you, sister! 🙂

  6. Kate, this is absolutely beautiful and is a reminder for me to come out of my shell! Everyone’s comments have said exactly what I would like to say, especially Jamie’s. For a long time I’ve shied away from attention and have felt like I don’t need it. However, I too have realized that I do want to shine! I have amazing gifts to share and I need trust and value myself for them. I could feel part of my shine when I was performing so I want to get back to that for sure. Love to you wonderful lady!

  7. I love this, Katie! You’re a beautiful peacock and I always see you shining your colors on facebook. It’s so inspiring to see you sharing your heart and experiences with all of us.

    As I’ve gotten so busy and scattered and fallen behind, it’s stuff like THIS that reminds me to keep going and find time to sit with the animals and be. Though writing this down is a bit different than doing it. 😉 It’s been amazing watching your journey unfold during class and I’m so grateful to have “met” you! (we will definitely meet sometime soon though!)

    I was attacked/chased by a goose when I was little and stung by a yellow jacket… hmmm, I wonder if those things mean anything! Other than I was being a bother to the animals. 😉

    1. Thank YOU for seeing me, Savannah! It’s been such a gift to have connected with you and I know we’ll meet for reals soon 😉 I’ve been falling a bit behind also, plus it’s so much to absorb and I’ve really been trying to give myself space for stillness and quiet. I would DEFINITELY look into the goose and yellow jackets! Even if they aren’t totems, as Foxy reminds us they might be animal messengers with medicine for us ❤

  8. Wow. What beautiful imagery. Even in the first paragraph when you describe everyone freaking out, I could see the beauty in this animal. It’s almost like it was forcing its power upon you before you were ready for it.

  9. Peacock medicine and the peacock shadow, I love how you challenge the ego notion of you not being enough for this animal! Typical ego crap. It’s a good teacher though, the ego. Teaches us to stand up for who we are despite the judgement. I like the idea of the peacock shadow asking us if we are playing small. We need to spread our wings and delight in our own gorgeous colors and fab plume! Spread it wide!

  10. So funny how to you said you had some major resistance to it and that resistance was a sign that it was truly yours! Funny how that works in all areas of our lives?!? I love the peacock for you also in that it doesn’t have to be a larger than life animal in order to make a BIG impact!

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