This little robber-barron of the woods is comfortable in disguises and teaches us how to relate to ourselves and others with an air of mystery rather than certainty.
Who’s behind Raccoon’s mask? Is he a tiny bear? A giant mouse? A fox? Or is he some strange, unnamed creature we’ve never met? When Raccoon goes home to his family, are there lots of masks on hooks by the door? How comfortable are you in letting down your guard to those who are close to you? Raccoon teaches us that in order to know who you really are, you need to let someone else see you. We all wear masks to play the roles life presents. Have you become the role? Or can you take that mask off, and try a new one for the fun of the adventure?
If Raccoon is rummaging about in your life, there may be someone near by who is not what they seem. Or perhaps you are creating a few illusions of your own.
How well do you know the people you have surrounded yourself with? How well can anyone ever really know anyone? Behind Raccoon’s mask is the true nature of his being which is ever changing and never completely knowable. You are a mystery. When we try to hold fast to notions of identity we resist the flow of change that is the reality of life. Let go of who you think you should be to be ‘good’ and allow who you are to inform you that you are inherently good. When this medicine shows up in our lives, we are being asked to expand our capacities to endure uncertainty and respond in the moment to what we are perceiving, not what we are anticipating or expecting. Anticipation is our brains way of coping with the excruciating pain of uncertainty. To ease the pain of the unknown, we guess, we try to sooth the dread of chaos with a hypothetical scenarios which ultimately influences the outcome of that unknown situation. What we expect is often what we receive. Self-fulfilling prophecies are avoidable when we keep in mind that not knowing something is not as dangerous as our brains may think. We can change our relationship with the unknown and develop a larger capacity for managing the Mystery of life.
Not knowing what’s next is a cruel reality we are all subject to multiple times a day. Do they love me? Will I get the job? Can I do the job… Are they safe… Have I done everything I can… To counter the agony of endless questions about the uncertainty of life, we sometimes, (understandably) allow ourselves to step into a perspective of certainty. Certainty has its time and its place. It is not, as it might suggest, a permanent situation. It comes and goes which is annoying and confusing. But Raccoon advises a wariness of all things certain. She knows that in an instant anyone could untie their mask and reveal an unexpected aspect of themselves.
We are not who people think we are. We are not even who WE think we are. Different people bring out different aspects of our infinite personalities. Limiting ourselves to a small range of associations is limiting the experience of our own potential. Raccoon suggests we not aim for consistency in nature. There is very little about Nature that remains consistent and yet there is a balance in the swinging. Don’t be afraid to try on different masks even if some prove to contradict other aspects of yourself. No one mask will ever be the ‘true’ you because they are ALL the true you. You are an endless enigma to be discovered indefinitely, so shrug off that so-called mistake you may have made. Don’t let it define you for the rest of your life.
Talking about our frets and worries makes them less important and gets them out of the amphitheater of silence in our heads. Share what is on your mind with someone, or, hey, I know- write a blog about it. Just get the material out of the evasive silence so you can deal with it directly.
If you find yourself unable to STOP talking about some particular issue, that is an indication that you are ‘circling the air port’ on a deeper issue. The things that bother us should not do so indefinitely. Indefinite irritation is a fixation and that is unnatural and unhealthy. It is time to call on Raccoon and go raiding into that dangerous territory of your soul to locate the real source of the fixation. What are you avoiding by hiding behind the mask of complaining. Still thinking about the wrong someone ‘done you? Can you see that issue is just a mask, covering up a deeper feeling you don’t want to admit? When we can’t let something go, there is always a deeper root issue that has hold of us. Raccoon says, use the gift of gab to hone in on the real epicenter of what is bothering you. Find someone to talk to with the deeper intention of uprooting the source of fixation. There is a reason we live on a planet with billions of other people. Surely there is someone we can find who will help us untie the knot on the mask we are wearing so we can see ourselves more clearly.
Raccoon rarely roams alone. She roams in droves with lots of back up. Her medicine advises not venturing out on that next journey until you are certain you’ve got the advocates you will need to see the mission through. Where ‘going it alone’ may be brave like a Mountain Lion, it can sometimes be fool-hearted if you don’t have the connections you need. People are not in your way of achieving your goals. They ARE the way you achieve your goals. Communicating with others is how you achieve your career, obtain a skill, and find family.
We have to take off the mask of total self-sufficient autonomy and expose ourselves to needing other people. When we share with others what we want, we give them the ability to hurt us. We give them the power to withhold the job, the role, the contract, the date, the attention, the chance. To protect against the agony of this kind of powerlessness, we tell ourselves we don’t really want what we want. We don’t really need it from that person, we’ll find some other person. We isolate, introvert, protect our deepest desires from the pain of exposure.
Raccoon Medicine is an invitation to explore the woods, get clobbered, and then teach yourself how to heal from the adventure your courageous soul initiated in the first place. Are you in recovery from some rough and tumble escapade with some other mask-wearing adventurer? Call on Raccoon to send you the backup you need to heal. And in your solitude, remind yourself that no matter what the logistical outcome was, you truly did your best. Don’t think so? Well, that’s probably because you aren’t taking into account that you just learned a bunch of stuff you didn’t know before. If you’d known it, you’d have done things differently. You’ve changed and grown. Give your younger self the backup they need rather than criticize from the higher ground you achieved.
No matter where we are in relation to our goals in life, we can get to anywhere from anywhere. We can become a president from a prison cell, a homeless person to a published author.
Nothing is more gratifying than arriving at the unshakable knowing that you got clobbered and then you figured out from your wounded place how to heal and have another go at those woods. Raccoon knows when to hang back and when to go a-roving. Maybe next time you venture out you’ll ask a few friends along rather than heading out alone. Open up to the help that is all around you. It comes in many guises and masks. Drop the notions of how you think help ought to look and open up to the unexpected characters. Our human bodies are all masks which our souls wear for a time and then untie. There is no telling who the person before you now might be in the cosmic scheme of things. The clerk and the king have the same hearts in common, regardless of appearances. Treat all people and creatures with the dignity and respect for the cosmic mystery that is at the core of their inexplicable being.