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Elements: Spirit and Cats, Coyotes, and Wolves

Cat (Domestic): Spirit or Water

Spirit: Throughout the centuries, the domestic cat’s fortunes has risen and fallen. In Ancient Rome and Egypt, she was a goddess. Because a domestic cat symbolized the Egyptian god Bast, any person who killed a domestic cat was put to death. As the Cat-Mother, Bast embodied the benevolent aspects of Cat: fertility, love, and life-giving heat. In Rome, she represented the Goddess of Liberty. Roman legions carried images of domestic cats on their shields and standards.

In early Christian times, the domestic cat was regarded as a helper. Aboard Noah’s Ark, she kept out the Devil, who had taken on the form of a gnawing mouse. The “M” on her forehead was placed there by the Virgin Mary, in gratitude for her aid in putting the Baby Jesus to sleep. Stories of the saints featured a domestic cat killing the mice that tormented various Catholic saints.

Water: A late arrival in Japan, the domestic cat did not appear in Japanese folklore until about the 1400s. Since the Japanese believed that she brought good fortune, they made statues of this cat with her front left paw raised for good luck. In addition, Japanese sailors believed that the domestic cat kept the evil spirits away that dwelled in the sea.

Coyote

Among the Native Americans of the West, the coyote is revered for many things. The Shoshone say that Coyote and Wolf created the world. Among California Indians, Coyote taught people lessons about the mistakes they make in life.

Meanwhile among the Lakota, Coyote was a representative of Wakinyan (Thunder Beings). Those who saw the Coyote in a vision were considered Heyoka (Sacred Clowns), who taught, through example, by doing things the wrong way. Within the concept of Heyoka was an acceptance of Coyote’s innate wisdom of purposeful chaos.

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