Cougar symbolizes one's ability to accept and direct the course of power through one's life with grace and speed. Its appearance heralds a time when we will learn to move quickly when the opportunities we have been seeking to transform our lives suddenly present themselves, especially if we are willing to claim and step fully into our own power.
Often called Puma, Mountain Lion, Florida Panther and by other names, the Cougar is one of the largest of all North American cats. Males can weigh in at 150 pounds and be up to 8 feet in length. Females are generally smaller, though still up to a good 7 feet in length and weighing in at 90 pounds. Their primary prey are larger animals such as Elk and Deer, though they will eat smaller animals if prefered food sources are scarce. For those who have this powerful animal as a totem, they too may often find that their need for protein is higher than many other people. While plant proteins can sometimes be substituted, usually the prefered source is red meat.
The Cougar both stalks its prey and keeps a sharp eye out in case a easier, tastier meal presents itself. Then it acts quickly, not stopping to ponder whether one choice is truly better than another, but trusting in its own instincts and ability to get what it wants. Then the focus of the Cougar goes straight on to the prey it is hunting, nothing distracts it from making the leap that will bring it down. So too do those who carry this medicine or for whom Cougar has appeared as a temporary totem, need to practice both the ability to stalk something that is desired and yet also be open in case something even better presents itself. If more than one choice is presented, then one needs to move with what one's instincts say is appropriate and not try to rationalize decisions. The energy needs to come from the gut, the body not the head. Our bodies are very wise and they are always sending us messages as to what we should or should not do. Its only when we try and rationalize all of our decisions and choices that we trip ourselves up and miss the target. This does not mean that the rational mind doesn't have its place! We may need to have a plan of action already in mind should our own "prey" suddenly appear so that we may follow through on the energy when it is presented to us. Cougar people often admit that they do tend to act first and then think later. This can be a great advantage to the Cougar person if they have done alot of inner work and have their minds focused firmly on their goals. Otherwise they may find themselves reacting to situations in ways that are not in their own nor others best interests.
Cougars are for the most part unrivaled in the ability to jump with leaps measuring 35 feet have been recorded. When stalking their prey, they will use foliage as a cover, staying downwind and creeping up on their target. They may also leap from tree branches, staying hidden within the leaves until its prey is close enough for them to bring it down in one fell swoop. Cougars can only run at top speed for short distances, because of this they know it imperative to get as close to their prey as possible before making a killing strike. Otherwise the opporunity will be lost and it may be some time before the next appears. In the world of the Cougar, there is no time for dalliance or hesitation! He/she who does, may not eat for the next several days. During the winter when food may be scarce, it can mean the difference between life and death not only for the adult Cougar, but for a female, her offspring as well. Many Cougar people learn this lesson in life early on and some go for years kicking themselves for not jumping on an opportunity and thus feel they have "missed out". Opportunities will come again, especially if the Cougar person is willing to go looking for them. Cougars will sometimes have a territory that spreads up to 200 miles and so too does the Cougar individual need to cast their nets far and wide if they are to find the abundance they are seeking. It is said that good things come to those who wait, but for Cougar people, they often find instead they need to keep moving and searching. When they do make a "kill" however, its likely to be a big one!
It is important Cougar people too use a cover or blind to stalk that which they are seeking. For humans, this means that we do not share with others what we are pursuing at the time (Cougars are solitary hunters and only a female with cubs to teach will allow them to go with her on the hunt) lest someone let the proverbial cat out of the bag! It may be a promotion or a new job we are seeking, a relationship or a new home, no matter what our own "prey" might be, any show of power too soon will have the opposite effect of what we are seeking. Softly, softly, catchee monkey! This also indicates that Cougar folks need to follow their own individual pursuits instead of trying to stay within a group effort. These folks tend to work best on their own with minimal distractions. For the Cougar person the motto is "Stay focused, decide what prey it is you are seeking to catch and yet be alert to something new and better be presented. When and if it is, pounce swiftly and without hesitation!"
Cougars also mark their territories and yet do allow transient Cougars of both sexes to pass through unharrased for the most part. This is also important for us to note because we too need to have clearly defined boundaries and yet also allow others to pass through our own territory unchallenged unless they are intent on trying to take over our "space". Then we need to act swiftly, standing in our own power and letting the other person know that we have established this space for ourselves and they need to move on to find their own right place! Because Cougars will remain transient until they find an abandoned territory to take over, some Cougar people may also find they too are needing to move from one "territory" to another, that they may currently be in a space as well that is already full and need to find a new niche to carve out for ourselves if they are to be successfull. Humans do have a tendency to want to jump on the bandwagon when it comes to many things in life yet too we forget at some point that wagon is going to become awfully crowded and some may start falling off!
If one is trying to move into a territory that is already heavily marked by others and finding there is little nourishment or food to be had in the situation, it may be time to let go of what one was pursuing and ask to be directed into that which wil be truly sustaining and supporting of you. We all have a niche that only we as individuals can fill, and no matter how easy another's path or territory may appear, if we choose to try and stay within that niche, we will find our energy draining and little being accomplished from the struggle. Cougars themselves are self-regulating of their populations, they will only breed when there is enough actual space within their ranges to accomodate more of their own kind. So too do Cougar people need to be aware of where they, as well as others, might be infringing on another's space (including how the expanding human population is impacting all other forms of life) and take the appropriate steps to insure that they and others are not overstepping boundaries or trying to encroach on what others are rightfully doing but to instead find their own space.
Cougar people sometimes do have to find ways to express to others that their boundaries and "territory" are sacred and rightfully theirs.. Cougars rarely fight and much of their aggression towards others of their own kind is for show. Yet if the need arises because one is backed into a corner, these Cats and the folks that carry their medicine will come out fighting with fangs and claws bared. These folks don't tend to carry a grudge, once the point has been made they simply carry on with what presents itself next in their lives. Yet heaven help anyone who is on the receiving end of their ire! Many Cougar folks will use the power of their voice first before taking any sort of other action. A Cougar's call can send a chill up one's spine! Its amazingly powerful and carries for quite a distance in the wild. So too do Cougar people find that their words have great power and meaning to those that hear them, so they best choose their words wisely! Cougar medicine does teach and can be used to teach others, that when one finds what one is truly meant to be doing and where one needs to be, that the territory that has been marked out is able to support one abundantly!
Cougar people often tend to also value their privacy highly, they often don't like to live in large cities or areas where there are many other humans because they feel infringed upon by the energy of others, though some of course do and then go to extraordinary lengths to keep the neighbours at bay. Cougar people simply need a lot of space, be it emotional, physical or mental. This does not mean that a Cougar person cannot or will not have very close, satisfying relationships, but it does mean that in order for them to do so, they need to be with people who can understand their deeper needs for freedom and their urge to go "roaming". This in turn is not indicative that a Cougar person cannot be monogamous and and in fact many are for the simple reason they don't want to become emotionally entangled with someone who cannot honour their needs. Once the Cougar person has found the mate that can allow them to be who they truly are, they are not likely to risk it on a passing fancy. Cougar has bigger fish to fry! Cougar folks may find that regardless of where they choose to live, they feel the need to move frequently. There is a restless energy to this totem that is always calling them to move on, to explore and carve out new space for themselves. Its difficult for Cougar people in our society as one is encouraged to "put down roots", especially if children are involved and one is seen as unstable or even selfish for wanting to do anything else. Yet the Cougar person and their family, (often Cougar people have Cougar offspring as well!) if they have chosen their mate wisely, find that everyone is much happier being on the move with a home being viewed more as a temporary resting spot.
Cougars follow the herds in the wild, and since many of their prey are migratory, so too does the Cougar person find they need to keep moving in order to be able to sustain themselves. This can be of great benefit to the Cougar person who will sense before many others will that an area or career or pursuit that was once abundant with reward is starting to dry up and a new path must be forged. Many Cougar people are well known for suddenly leaping into a new arena even when the old still seemed full of promise. While others may thing the Cougar person daft for making the change, eventually they too will be wishing they had followed the Cougar person's example.
Female Cougars usually give birth to two cubs. The cubs are marked at birth with brownish-black spots that fade as they grow. This symbolizes both Cougar's strong connection with the material world and its ability to find what it needs in order to grow and thrive as well as acting as camoflauge for the newborn cubs. Couger people have a strong need to feel grounded and in control of what is happening around them. They feel the most secure when they are actively pursuing goals that will bring them material benefit and yet they are not hoarders by nature. Things of the earth and this includes money are important to them because they realise its true value. They use the resources they have to sustain themselves, the people they love, (especially if they have children) and often, their own business or company. An amazing number of Cougar people I have known do own their own business and I believe in part this is due to their need to work on their own as much as possible. They don't feel the need to much to be leaders, after all the Cougar is a very solitary animal and even when living near humans, it is rarely seen. Instead, these folks have a need to set and pursue their own destiny rather than leaving it in the hands of others or taking on the responsibility for another's. Cougar knows that eventually, we all need to find our own way through life, no one else can do it for us.
Cougar also reminds us that we need to express our power actively. We must pursue those things that truly feed us from the level of the heart and soul, as well as those things that feed our bodies. When Cougar appears, we shall also be seeing more clearly how we are actually expressing our own power and energy in the world. By paying attention to how others are responding to us when Cougar appears or for those that have it as a primary totem, we become more aware of how we actually are expressing our power and energy as opposed to how we may think we are. If we are expressing our power in positive ways, others will respond in kind by honouring our energy, perhaps seeking us out from time to time for support and guidance. If we are over-expressing our power and energy, we will see that clearly as others begin to steer clear or feel inclined to try and knock the chip off the shoulder. If others seem to be constantly on the defense around us, then we know it is us who need to back off and give the other person some space. If others seem to be agressive towards us, we need to ask what sort of energy we are putting forth that is inviting such an attack! On the whole, if people are supportive and feel at ease around us, then we know we are expressing our power in positive ways and helping others learn how to do as well.
Often times, Cougar people face issues and examples of what true power is and what it isn't. True power is never about trying to have power over someone else. Power and owning one's power means one accepts responsibility for one's choices and actions, one accepts that every action one takes leads to consequences that may be positive or negative. One learns not to blame others for everything that happens but looks inside to see what sort of energy one is putting forth that has attracted the circumstances to begin with. We learn that it is not "everyone else" that have created the circumstances in our lives, but us that have put the energy forth to begin with that attracted those people and circumstances. Accepting this and working with it means that YOU have the ultimate power within you to transform your own life! Perhaps of all the things that Cougar can teach us, how to stalk and capture our goals, how to be okay with being alone if that's what we need at some point in our lives, how to use and value the resources and space we have wisely and well, this may actually be the most important. Its so easy to point the finger at someone else and make them "responsible" for how our lives are not working. Its so easy to blame circumstances or "fate" instead of calling upon our own knowing and intuition, our own inner power and setting about to "stalk" the right solutions. Its easier to sit where one is and moan rather than pick up and move on. Yet for Cougar, there is no such luxury. There is only this present moment and perhaps a cub or two to feed. Its time to get moving.
Other things that may be important for you during the time that Cougar makes its presence known to you or if you carry Cougar medicine:
Events pertaining to material gain and financial recognition for efforts.
Travel relating to business or new ventures, also possibly relating to an inheritance of some sort.
Need for patience, allowing things to unfold at their own pace until the time is right for you to act.
New and unexpected sources of prosperity may suddenly appear.
Recognizing that good boundaries allow relationships with others to fluorish.
Learning something new from a mentor or teacher will help you stand in your own power as well as reaping greater rewards for the future.
Affirmation "I am open to working with my own power and harnessing it for the abundant good of myself and all".
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