Badger Stories

badgers

“I would ask you to remember only this one thing,” said Badger. “The stories people tell have a way of taking care of them. If stories come to you, care for them. And learn to give them away where they are needed. Sometimes a person needs a story more than food to stay alive. That is why we put these stories in each other’s memory. This is how people care for themselves.”

– Excerpts from Crow and Weasel by Barry Lopez.

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If you have been on a workshop with me in recent times, you may have done a Meet Your Totem Animal journey with me and you may have met one of the animals that guides you on your journey.
Like they say in Twin Peaks, “The owls are not what they seem…” and it may be that the animal that frightens you the most has something to teach you… or that your totem animal isn’t the tiger or the lion you were expecting, but a shy moth, or a slug or an octopus… or a hammer-head shark!
These animals are archetype energies that you are delving into. By tuning in to your totem animal you can learn about yourself, and perhaps about the qualities that your animals have that you could enhance within yourself? It’s a journey of self discovery, with an animal to guide you at all times. At least you are not lonely!
I always bump into at least one badger before a workshop.
Once I was going to retrieve my cat from his favourite neighbour and as I walked into her garden, I walked in on a few badgers who were there, eating their dinner, consisting of peanuts and worms. The oldest went to hide. The youngest just walked towards me. He was very inquisitive and eager to find out what I was about. I could have almost touched him. I stayed still, in awe. As I leaned that little bit too close, he turned around and walked a bit further. I was so excited!Before a previous workshop, I bumped into a badger on a dog walk. A badger ran in front of us and nearly crashed into my oldest dog who didn’t really notice. The badger was running, then stopped just before actually running into my dog, and quickly turned around and changed course.

This time, on Halloween night, I took my son trick or treating in the town. On our way back we called at the same neighbour – my cat’s friend – and here they were: a gang of badgers eating their dinner. We came in her living room and watched them through the glass door for an hour. They were so close and they couldn’t see us. The flood light kept coming on so we could see them perfectly, it was such a treat.

And on the evening before the last day of the workshop, we all went out for a pizza in the village. As we were driving back to Emerson College in the dark, a badger crossed the road in front of us. We were all very excited :) It felt like an acknowledgement, a wave from one of our Animal Guides.

I always feel that my Animal Communication workshops are always blessed by the spirit of Badger. The badger is bold and ferocious and never surrenders. In many traditions Badger is perceived as the symbol of self-expression and reliance. In a few traditions, badger is connected to the art of storytelling and is represented as the keeper of stories. I read this omen as a message. To me it means stay focused, get cracking and get things done. It’s also a signal to start digging deeper to get beneath the surface of things. It’s an invitation to honour a greater connection to the earth and its animal spirits. Badger may also be an invitation to draw upon the stories that intrigued you and held you fast during childhood, which is something that we often explore with Ashley on the Storytelling side of the workshops we run together…

AshleyWorkshop photos by Vadivu Govind, joyworks.sg

We had a lovely time together. The previous Animal Communication & Storytelling workshop I ran with Ashley at Emerson was at the very beginning of June. This one was almost 6 months later, at the very beginning of November…. It’s colder, the days are shorter… and it was that time of the year when the veil between the ‘seen’ and the ‘unseen’ is so thin…

Dawn+LuluWorkshop photos by Vadivu Govind, joyworks.sg

Pictured above: Dawn & Lulu

Group2Workshop photos by Vadivu Govind, joyworks.sg

Above is the group of students who attended. It’s often the hardest thing to do… just turning up. Thank you profoundly, to all of you :) We shared laughter, we shared stories, we shared some tears… and some cake as it was my birthday ;)

group1Workshop photos by Vadivu Govind, joyworks.sg

We saw a badger on our last night. I sincerely hope that these workshops open people up and encourage them to have an enhanced and deepened connection to the natural world and the animal kingdom.

Chief Dan George said:

If you talk to the animals
they will talk with you
and you will know each other.
If you do not talk to them,
you will not know them,
And what you do not know
you will fear.
What one fears one destroys.

Take a moment to reflect on that. How many people do you know have this strong aversion to spiders and will not rest until they have squashed the poor spider who is just busy being a spider, being an important part of our ecosystem? I always encourage people to overcome their fears of animals. Wether it’s dogs, mice, spiders, birds or snakes, there is clearly something underlying there. Often we have something to learn from the animals we fear…

Where there is fear, there is no intelligence…

badger_profilePainting by C.G.Young

In Britain, The Wind in the Willows (Kenneth Grahame) has been a childhood favourite for many generations and is probably one of the main reasons why so many British people hold the badgers so close to their hearts.

Badgers are an iconic species of the British countryside and have been in the news for the last few years, given the UK Government’s controversial decision to trial a cull of badgers in the belief that this will have an impact on the spread of bovine TB (bTB)…. continue reading this blog post I wrote in 2016 here.

saveourbadgers
My son Thom, during the anti cull march in Brighton back in 2013… 5 years ago already!

5 years later and things haven’t moved forward much at all – yet more studies pointing towards the fact that poor farming practices are to blame for bovine tb… and the controversial badger cull in England has been hugely expanded into 10 new areas, with up to 42,000 animals now due to be shot in an attempt to curb tuberculosis in cattle, up from 32,500 last year….

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Henry on neighbours bed

This is my cat, Henry. If you have ever attended one of my workshops, you have probably heard all about him. I took this picture of him last week, sleeping on the Badger Lady’s bed, in her house… She lives quite a few doors down from us…. Just look at him!

Here are a few things you can do, If you want to work more closely with your totem animal(s):

  • Carry a picture of your totem animal with you
  • Wear something with the animal on it (a necklace, mittens, scarf, or any items of clothing…)
  • Spend some time researching your totem animal and get to understand their qualities and behaviour, and reflect on how you may have similar qualities or may need to welcome specific behavioural traits of this animal and how you could apply them to your life… For example: The animal might be telling you that you need to be more focused or to assert yourself more, to play more, or to be part of a community of people rather than being isolated?
  • Hang pictures of that animal around the house and place a few objects with that animal on them, as reminders to tune in with that familiar energy regularly.
  • Spend some quiet time daily, meditating and reflecting on that animal, visualise them and feel their presence, feel their energy around you.
  • Make a shrine in a quiet space with their picture on it and place offerings to honour the sacredness of your connection and to honour the animal as a spiritual friend.
  • Pay attention to the natural world around you. Look out for encounters with wild animals as they happen all the time, we are just too busy to notice! Look up from your phone and purposefully engage with the natural world.

Close your eyes, listen to the birds. Take some time to just be around trees, feel the air on your face…and you may notice a quick movement in front of you…. a rat crossing your path, or a fox, or a badger… Look up, you may be being watched by a robin!

Or it maybe that your totem animal is right in front of you, looking at you from a painting, or from your phone, or maybe it’s in the room you are in somewhere… or as a giant sculpture on top of that building you walk past everyday:

gargoyle-dragon

Gargoyle representing a dragon on Ulm cathedral in Munster, Germany. In my next newsletter, I’ll explore the path of the dragon… People tend to associate Dragon as an eastern symbol but if we look in many western ancient traditions we soon realise that dragons were charged with a lot of symbolism in Europe too! 

=> Make sure you subscribe if you want to read more about it :)

Ashley+Noemie+GroupWorkshop photos by Vadivu Govind, joyworks.sg

I’m in the middle of organising my workshop schedule for 2019. Please contact me if you’d like to organise something with me!

Ashley Ramsden & myself will run the next Animal Communication & Storytelling workshop at Emerson College, East Sussex : 23 -28 June 2019.

Bookings will be open very soon, if you want to save your space, you can email me back and I’ll make sure you are first on the list!

Write to you soon!

xxx

Noémie.

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