So alive, yet seeming dead,
Teach me wise old possum magic
That reacts from instinct, not from head.
Show me the way to slip past danger.
Fill me with earthy wisdom great,
That I might be secure and happy
Living life and trusting fate.
Diversity, Diversion, deceit, strategy, sensibility
The opossum is a crafty animal that shows us how to play different roles.
It knows when to act, when to hide, and when to show its true colors.
Opossum is a master at recognizing truth as well as falsehood.
When it wants attention it gets it.
When it wants to be left alone it plays dead.
It is a strategic animal that knows how to mold each situation according to its needs.
It has the ability to decode hidden messages and read between the lines.
A supreme actor, the opossum can be aggressive or submissive depending on the situation.
The opossum knows that each situation has commonalties as well as differences and reflects on them carefully before it responds.
This links the opossum to the energies of practicality and ingenuity.
Always full of surprises and unpredictable opossums are masters at playing dead. When the time is right they can suddenly spring back to life.
Opossum medicine requires a great deal of strategy.
Although a opossum has teeth and claws, it rarely uses them, preferring the strategy of diversion to save itself.
It plays dead until the attacker loses interest and then bolts for safety.
The Opossum teaches us to use our brains rather than our brawn.
The number 13 is very symbolic for Opossum people.
When an Opossum shows up as a totem, check appearances…
- Are there people around you putting up false appearances?
- Is your attention being diverted?
The main lesson or medicine of Opossum is diversion.
The greatest form of protection that Opossum has is to play dead. It confuses many of his predators into believing that the game has ended. It is not uncommon for the rival to walk away and then cunning little Opossum runs for safety.
There is a great deal of strategy involved with this medicine. If all else fails…play dead! This funny little creature has the ability to use its claws and teeth in a fight but rarely does so. Opossum uses the supreme strategy of diversion when things get too difficult to handle.
It confuses it’s enemies by actually excreting a musk scent of death to create the diversion.
When Opossum comes to us as a teacher it is telling us that strategy is required in a present situation.
We should rely on our instincts for the best way to get out of a tight corner. If it takes pretending to be apathetic or unafraid, then do it.
Many times in life if we refuse to struggle or show that hurtful words effect us, our taunters will leave us alone because the game isn’t fun any longer.
Native American Warriors have used Opossum medicine for centuries.
They played dead when the enemy drew near or outnumbered them.
When the enemy least expected it the Warriors would leap up and the war cry was heard creating further confusion.
These First People knew that victory was so much sweeter when won with mental strategy along with physical prowess.
The message from Opossum may be telling you to be clever in achieving your victory and to expect the unexpected. The victory could be something as simple as a nosey neighbor or a bothersome co-worker.
Pretty much this little creature is telling you to use your brain, element of surprise, and some drama to reach the progress you desire.
IN YOUR CARDS:
Contrary: In the reversed position,
Opossum may be warning you against getting caught in the high drama of your life’s present scenario.
“Close your eyes and dramatize,” may keep you from seeing the truth of a situation.
You may buy into melodrama in yourself or others.
You might as well play dead if you are justifying what you are doing with a tragic victim routine.
If this concept does not apply to your situation, take a look at the possibility that you may have recently been giving excuses for why you don’t want to do something instead of telling the truth.
In fearing to hurt someone’s feelings you may have trapped yourself in a justification pattern:
- “I’m too sick,
- I’m too poor,
- I’m watching my weight,
- I’m too short, tall, sad, busy, tired, etc.”
In having to defend yourself with excuses, you may have lost the point. You don’t have to defend your right to be!
- The exercise is in learning to politely say that something would not be appropriate for you at this time. That’s all! You owe no one an excuse.
Learn to imitate Opossum and play dead, in the sense that the best strategy is no defense.
- In assuming the viewpoint of no defense, you have chosen the right to be who and what you are with no games involved.
The proper use of diversion is to know when you do not need to use diversion at all.
- You owe no one an excuse for how you feel or what you choose to experience.
This amusing animal in a dream is reminding you that
- ignoring your problems is a surefire method of building a time bomb under yourself;
vigorous positive action is the only safe road to relief.
Opossum denotes backward or inverted views;
a caution to “stop turning things around” to suit self.
The Use of Appearances
Cycle of Power: Spring
Opossum teaches us how to use appearances.
Sometimes it is necessary to “play dead.”
Sometimes it is necessary to put up a particular front to succeed most easily and effectively.
- It also can show you when others are putting up false fronts and deceptions.
Opossum has an archetypal energy that helps us to use appearances to our greatest benefit and that helps us to recognize when others are creating false impressions.
- Opossum can help us learn to divert attention or to get attention any way we need.
- Sometimes it is necessary to behave or act in a strategic manner.
- We may need to appear fearful or fearless in spite of how we truly feel.
- We may need to show submission or aggression.
- We may need to be apathetic or extremely caring.
The opossum is a multi-faceted actor and craftsman in the art of appearances that continually changes.
- It does not allow its emotions to consume its actions and partakes in the game of life with strategic maneuvers.
- Part of what the opossum teaches to those with this totem is emotional and mental stability.
When it appears in your life it is telling you to wake up and pay attention. Things are not what they seem to be.
By observing your actions, reactions, thoughts and feelings, deeper insights emerge. This emergence leads to self-empowerment.
Opossum is the supreme actor, and those in the acting field or that need to learn something of it can do no better than to work with the opossum.
The opossum is a nocturnal animal.
It is the only marsupial on the North American continent. Marsupials are animals that raise their young in a pouch on the abdomen. When the young are born, they are blind, but they are still able to climb up into the pouch immediately after birth. There they stay for about one month.
During the spring, stop and check opossums hit and on the road. There may be young in the pouch if it is a female opossum. The young can live for a while in the pouch even after the mother has died, but only for a short while.
In the pouch are located the nipples. Most opossums have 13 nipples.
In a litter, there can be many more than thirteen young, but only thirteen will be able to survive.
This number is very symbolic.
- Although many associate it with bad luck, it is also a symbol for the one great sun around which the twelve signs of the zodiac revolve.
- It is a symbol of the sun within.
The pouch, especially in regards to the opossum’s defense of “playing dead,” links it to the ability to help us draw from our own bag of tricks that which will most benefit us.
- It can show you which appearance to draw from the pouch to use for the greatest success.
- The milk of the mother is rich in calcium, as young opossums need high concentrations of it. Those with this totem should examine their own calcium levels.
The playing dead that the possum is famous for is a self-induced state of shock. The pulse becomes minimal. The heartbeat slows. A musk scent of death is released, and for all appearances it will seem dead.
The opossum can enter and leave this state abruptly–pretty much at will.
This act serves to confuse many predators. The surprise distracts them, and the opossum is able to make its escape.
It is this kind of flexibility and ease of appearance that the opossum can teach to those with it as a totem.
When opossum shows up as a totem, ask yourself some important questions.
Are you acting or about to act in an inappropriate manner?
Do you need to strengthen your own appearance?
Are others putting up false appearances in front of you?
do you need to divert attention away from some activity?
Are others trying to divert your attention?
Is it time to go into your bag of tricks and pull out some new strategy?
Learning to pretend and act in ways and with realism is the magic that opossum teaches.
Opossum can remind how to deal with stressful situations.
How to survive in a contradictory world.
How to live with “pretenders” and trust your instincts when it comes to dealing with people.
He shows when to let go and have fun or when to hold back and say nothing.