Frogs carry an ancient mythology about them. They are often associated with the magic of the elements, the gift of rain, and lunar energies. Frogs have been known to be heralds of abundance and fertility. If a frog comes into your life, it may mean you need to call forth new rains to cleanse old energy or old ways. The frog is a totem of metamorphosis, and always has connection to the creative force from which it came.
• • •
“The imagination is a power of the mind to create and work with images,” wrote author and teacher Ted Andrews. “It is this ability which can open us to other realms, assist us in healing, help us to discover lost knowledge and to open to higher vision.”
In his book Animal-Speak, The Spiritual & Magical Powers of Creatures Great and Small, Andrews refers often to imagination and creative spirit, images and symbols.
As a writer and artist, there is a constant overlap of the story I need to tell, and the images and symbols I use as tools to do so. Often, these are simple literary techniques—allegory and analogy and metaphor—applied in layers to give depth to my work. But on occasion, I have the opportunity to dig deeper, to look for one image or symbol that carries the weight of the story. An image that blankets the narrative and tells my audience, THIS IS WHAT I AM.
It’s no surprise, really, that I am intrigued by Andrews’ assertion that SEEING images in everyday life can create new layers as well; that these symbols can bring new meaning to what we do and how we interpret the world around us.
I first “met” Ted Andrews, or was introduced to his work, one morning several years ago. I had called my friend Martha to tell her about the wild turkey I saw in my yard.
“A turkey?” she asked, as I heard pages turning in the background. “The turkey is sometimes called the earth eagle,” she said, reading from a book. “It has a long history of association with spirituality and the honoring of the Earth Mother.”
As she continued to read about the turkey “animal totem” from Andrews’ book Animal-Speak, I began to find suggestions and guidance, much in the same way one might with a horoscope or psychic reading. For me, they are tiny whispers of wisdom, “think about this” and “consider that.” Gentle nudges from the Universe that softly point me in a direction, or turn me around to look another way.
“We can use animal imagery and other nature totem images as a way to learn about ourselves and the invisible world,” explains Andrews.
“When we pay attention to and acknowledge a nature totem we are honoring the essence that lies behind it. We are opening up and attuning to that essence. We can then use it to understand our own life circumstances more clearly.”
Over the years, Martha and I have wondered about a number of animal totems as they crossed paths with us—a mouse, a bee, a ladybug, a frog. It is a fun connection for us, a window into each other’s lives and journeys. But it also fuels our imagination—what does that mean? what is that about?—and feeds our creative work.
“As you begin to identify and recognize your animal totems, you will begin to understand your life more effectively,” Andrews explains. “You will find yourself filled with new inspiration, and…more creative within your life.”
• • •
“If we had x-ray vision…could we see what someone is really made of?,” ©2010, Jen Payne. Mix-media collage: acrylic and watercolor paints, image transfer, gold wrapping paper, laser print.
(Copies of Animal-Speak can be purchased here.)
©2010, Jennifer Payne