On why I love coyotes

So I have mentioned that my friend Debz leads these wonderful guided meditation sessions where I find ways to access my imagination without thinking so much, and lately for reasons I don’t understand, Coyote keeps showing up. You may remember that in many Native American traditions, Coyote is a trickster figure who is constantly getting into trouble, and causing trouble, and getting himself killed (and then his friend Fox has to resurrect him).

Okay, if I look at it like that I can totally see why I identify with Coyote.

Anyway, I recently had a meditation where Coyote figured prominently, including a somewhat embarrassing episode of bestiality (Debz is always, “Maybe you’ll hug or kiss or make love with your quantum twin, and that’s okay” but honestly that experience was totally uncalled for. Although I do now have an idea for a new Alicia Thorne story.)

You may know that one thing Coyote is famous for is stealing fire.



(In the drawing you cannot see my beautiful pedicure but I have one.)

According to the stories, Coyote steals fire to help the humans, but as a moon god he totally sucks, pointing out all of the things that people are trying to do under the cover of darkness. He is often very silly, and frequently he tries to be things he is not, but he is also extremely powerful. Sometimes his power lectures him on the trouble he gets into, and it can’t help him at all if he gets into trouble in the water. Then he has to use his powers of persuasion to get others to help him. He drives most of the animal people crazy but somehow he manages to get what he needs.

I didn’t know any of this about Coyote until he started butting in on my meditations all the time, but now that I know it I realize he’s pretty much me, although I don’t have mange.

So my adventures with Coyote led me to a book called Coyote Wisdom, by Lewis Mehl-Madrona, which I thought was a collection of stories about Coyote lore, but which was actually about the power of narrative, and how story can be used to transform lives. Sometimes when I feel I am talking to myself, I forget this truth.

The other day, Jessica made me a Coyote totem in glass, and mentioned it to her dad, and you could tell (or I could anyway) that he was thinking, “Your mother is totally loony tunes and I am so glad that I have a more restful companion these days,” or like that because he thinks I believe in these things but I don’t.

What I believe is that symbols are powerful. Words are one kind of symbol, and Coyote another.

In a recent meditation I had a mental image of Jessica with little fox ears.



And whenever Coyote gets himself killed, Fox finds some part of the dead Coyote, a bone or a bit of skin, and brings him back to life. Coyote would have been forgotten a long time ago if not for Fox.


My collection of travel stories, Travels with Jessica, is now available! Kindle and paperback here; other ebook formats here. And I’ve published my essay “For Jessica” as a small book. Kindle and paperback here; other ebook formats here.

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