The Coyote holds a most unique place in the legends and folklore of North American tribes. Although intimately associated with the Great Mystery in the very act of creation, his wily descendants are both pests and relentless competitors in the serious business of survival on the Earth Mother.
One of the tribes of Old California believed that the coyotes were the first humans who ever existed. In the beginning, of course, they walked on all fours. Then, gradually, they began to grow certain human body parts-a finger here, a toe there, an ear here. Over the course of generations, they eventually became perfect humans with beautiful tails. Although the tails were handsome, they slowly wore away through the human habit of sitting upright.
To another southwestern tribe, the coyote became an early, god-like savior of humankind. Originally, so goes the old legend, the Great Sun Chief had nine brothers, all flaming hot like himself. The native people down on Mother Earth were about to wither and die under the terrible heat of ten suns burning down on them. Brother Coyote, quickly assessing the situation and immediately perceiving the answer, leaped into the sky and slew the Sun Chief’s fiery brothers, thus saving the tribespeople from baking to a crisp.
However, this problem had no sooner been solved when Sister Moon’s nine sisters, each as cold as she, began to turn the night into a freezing torment. Once again, the tribespeople were helpless, for they had no way to keep warm, and they appealed to Brother Coyote to help them lest they perish.
Coyote had to have time to think, so he retreated to the far eastern edge of the world. After a time, the Great Mystery sent him an idea. Coyote picked up his flint knife and struck it against a rock. Sparks flew into some leaves, and almost before he knew it, he had created a fire. He took a few moments to warm his paws over the flames, then leaped into the sky and slew each of Sister Moon’s frigid sisters, thus saving humankind from freezing to death. But as an aid to their keeping warm on cold winter nights, Coyote gave the tribes the gift of fire.
So it was the coyote who gave humankind the knowledge of how to make fire, how to grind flour, and how to find the herbs that would bring about the quickest cures. But Brother Coyote has a very strange temperament-or maybe he didn’t think he received enough thanks for his gifts-for he is also a Trickster. True, he brought fire and food and healing herbs to humankind, but he also brought death. The tribespeople soon learned that when you ask such a creature to grant you a wish, you had better hope that there will not be some twist attached to it.
Medicine teachers Star-Spider Woman and Rattling Bear caution that if you must be foolish enough to ask Coyote a favor, at least be very precise in what you request.
The Navajo regard the coyote as the very essence, sign, and symbol of Dark Side witchcraft. If a Navajo were to set out on a journey and spot a coyote crossing his path, he would go home and wait for three days before setting out again. Borrowing the devil from the Christian missionaries, the Navajo believe that Satan uses the coyote as his steed on evil nocturnal missions.
If you have received the coyote as your totem animal, you must first remove all negative connotations from your mind about the creature being a representative of the Dark Side of spirit. The coyote is an exceedingly resourceful animal with amazing powers of adaptability. Listen carefully to your coyote totem guide, for it will teach you the fine line between wisdom and folly.
The coyote totem spirit may well have come to you because you, too, are a survivor, a person who knows how to adapt to any situation, good or bad. Ancient wisdom lies within the vibration of this spirit helper, but to gain its greatest spiritual treasures, you must truly pay very careful attention to the essence of each and every message that your guide relays to you. This totem animal will teach you discernment, one of the most valuable of all survival lessons on the earthplane.
Your spirit helper may be preparing you for a death, a serious illness, or a dramatic change in your
The Transformative Power Of Your Personal Animal Totem
For a long time humans have been attempting to shoot, poison and trap coyote into non-exsistence. Instead, birds like the Condor have been nearly wiped out with poisoned meat, and the clever coyote may be more numerous today than ever. Despite humanities encroachment and aggression, coyote has found a way to walk its walk and survive.
Coyotes usually mate for life. They live in the sides of hills or in underground dens where the family unit is well protected. They prefer open grassland and thinly wooded brush, but can adapt to almost any environment. Because of this they have been able to survive and grow in numbers.
I once heard a story about a female Coyote who got caught in a trap and gnawed off her own paw—twice. At last report she was doing fine, hobbling around on her two front stumps, and she had borne a healthy litter. Coyotes hunt small game not with speed, but by pouncing and snapping with their jaws. She was able to do this quite well and was fulfilling her role as a mother. Those with this medicine will go to extreme measures to protect and nurture family members. Words that rip and tear another to shreds should be avoided. Sporadic bursts of energy are common and balanced action is required for ones overall well being. Excellent caretakers coyote medicine people put other peoples needs before their own. Care is advised however to give to yourself equally.
In some native tribes the coyote is referred to as the trickster. I prefer to see the coyote as cunning and clever. There are many stories about the coyote. He is known as the great one and the foolish one. Coyote does not consciously try to trick us, he mirrors our own human capacity for displaying cleverness and stupidity.
Like the coyote we can work with others to get what we want in life, or we can dive into a lake to catch a reflection. We can send troubles away or invite them carelessly. When coyote wanders into your life you are being asked to look at something you have been avoiding. Coyote is our mirror for the lessons we need to learn in order to walk a good sacred road. It will hold up the mirror relentlessly until we finally get the picture.
Call on coyote as an ally for negotiating a difficult situation. Or thank him for coming and showing you a trap that you are caught in, or a way that you are fooling yourself. Coyote is an especially powerful teacher with regard to relationships because it is when we are in a relationship that we can fool ourselves the most. Coyote is not out there to get us, but to teach us, whether we want to learn or not.