Transformation Through Self-Reflection
The coyote is usually thought of as a trickster, a joker, and even a shape-shifter, but he is also revered, especially in Native American culture, as an important messenger of personal transformation through self-reflection. A coyote sighting is generally a message to take a look within, to not take life too seriously, to lighten up, and to learn to laugh at ourselves and even our mistakes. Coyotes also remind us that anything we do to others will come back to us—good or bad.
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What is a Coyote?
As we ponder the significance of a coyote sighting, it is important to remember that an animal spirit’s meaning tends to be connected to its unique characteristics. Coyotes are a member of the canine family, along with dogs and wolves. While they resemble both, there are key differences between the species: Coyotes are smaller and thinner than wolves but have longer ears. The face and body of a coyote is typically more elongated than that of a dog.
Coyotes are generally quite willing to communicate and interact with other creatures. They are not as territorial as wolves and are less likely to attack others in defense of their den. Coyotes are highly vocal and use their vocalizations to communicate greetings, warnings, and to establish their place in a social hierarchy.
A coyote “pack” is generally a family made up of a female, male, and their pups. However, other coyotes might join for companionship, and female coyotes who don’t have pups of their own may assist in raising the youngest members of the pack. This contributes to supporting the pack, leaving more time for other members to hunt. In general, coyotes hunt at dusk and in the early evening.
Coyote as Your Totem or Spirit Animal
Generally speaking, your totem or spirit animal is one who resonates with you in your mind, body, and spirit. You connect with your totem animal—when you see it or hear it, it makes you stop and take notice. It’s a feeling of having an affinity and understanding towards that particular animal or group of animals. Yes, you can have more than one animal you feel akin to in different ways.
If the coyote is your totem animal, you are able to accept and adapt to new and changing situations perhaps more easily than others. You have the wisdom of the ages, yet you know how to roll with the ups and downs of daily modern life. This is a blessing, especially in such an unpredictable and ever-changing world. Think of the many times that man has tried to rid himself of the coyote, but the coyote is cunning and able to adapt in order to survive. Coyotes are also very family and pack-oriented and they work together to live through even the greatest attempts to eliminate them.
A Shamanic View
Animals are messengers. The spirit world can send us messages through all of its creatures seen and unseen. However, it is up to us to notice when they have a message to convey, then to interpret its personal meaning. Thinking of the attributes of a particular animal may provide a clue as to how you can use that skill in your own life—patience, powers of concentration and quick thinking, to name a few.
Anyone can have a coyote sighting (or hear them) even if it’s not their totem animal. When you see a coyote, it can be a reminder to look at things you may have been avoiding. Imagine the coyote as a reflection of yourself. He says, “Look at me. I’m adaptable to my environment. I am serious and even cunning, yet playful and fun-loving.” He wants to remind you to see your full reflection and focus on your whole life instead of just one part. It’s no fun to be all work and no play, and the coyote knows this.
What is the Meaning of Your Coyote Sighting?
An encounter with a coyote is something worth pondering. This is true even if you encounter a coyote as an image or a sculpture. Spending some time in meditation or journaling can be helpful in understanding what Spirit is trying to teach you.
Coyotes are very willing to communicate with others and to form bonds necessary for survival. Are you doing what you can to make your wants and needs clear to others? Are you working to develop strong partnerships? These partnerships, by the way, do not need to be romantic in nature. However, they should be meaningful and serve the needs of both parties.
Do you feel stuck in a rut? Are you someone who takes life too seriously and does not acknowledge the lighter side of things? Even if you are pegged with burdens and responsibilities, it’s okay, and even necessary, to enjoy life from time to time. Allow yourself to be silly and show vulnerability in areas where you might usually seek perfection.
Another thing to consider is that a coyote is often depicted as a trickster in lore and legend. This is not always a bad thing, but you might want to show some caution in your day-to-day life and decisions. For example, you might want to think over major plans regarding your job, purchases, or other important issues. It may be that someone is not telling you the whole truth or is even trying to manipulate you.
Coyotes are shapeshifters in some legends, and changing the shape of your outlook on life can certainly shift your perspective overall. The coyote energy will keep showing up until you work on taking a more balanced approach to life. The Great Spirit sends us the help that we need most when we need it.
Not all Native American stories see the coyote as only good or only evil, but most believe he represents a balance. Balance cannot exist without both good and evil, life and death, beginnings and endings. We must be our true selves and embrace this natural balance to life. Ignoring such an important lesson can force a false mask. To wear a mask, to appear as we are not, or to show a false face, prevents us from connecting with God or the Creator.
The Navajo believe that if you have a coyote sighting, it is a warning to turn around; traveling on, as intended, will not lead to good things.The Shoshoni believe the coyote symbolizes endings—which make way for new beginnings. In other words, coyotes symbolize a natural balance in life. The Comanche have an ancient story about a monster who stole all of the buffalo and a young boy. In order to stop the boy from crying, the coyotes howled and, in turn, the buffalo scattered. Soon they covered the land again. Thus, the coyote saved the life of a young boy and the buffalo population, as well.
A Mirror Image
In some stories, the coyote is revered as smart, cunning and knowledgeable. In others, he is a trickster who is also sometimes silly and laughable. As humans, we are also all of these things, thus the coyote is a mirror image of ourselves. Maybe you’ll look at coyotes differently now, seeing yourself reflected in their strong attributes and cunning skills.
Do you like these animal articles? What animal would you like me to cover next? Let me know if the comments below!
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