Our heart breaks when we witness a wounded or abused animal. We become aware of our own vulnerability, our helplessness in the face of greater forces. At the same time, we are touched to the core when we see the tenacity and courage of creatures of nature. What was it that the Washington (DC) Zoo pandas carried for us and why were we sad when they were taken away?
Most likely you have had experiences with animals that have impacted your life in some way. And it is likely that animals have appeared in your dreams. Sometimes they are lost, sometimes aggressive, and sometimes comforting. Often there is a sense of longing when animals appear in dreams, and the image stays with us in a mysterious way throughout the day.
Is it possible that in our polarized, frenetic, violent, faux intellectual culture that we have become separated from the instinctual animal nature and the message it brings? Are we at a crossroads where the animal might be there to show us the way if we are able to see and recognize with our hearts the relevant image.
In his Structure and Dynamics of the Psyche, Jung spoke about an experience of nature that he had. He told of experiencing a violent earthquake, “I no longer stood on solid familiar earth, but on the skin of a gigantic animal that was heaving under my feet.”