Are you a Bull, a Lion, a Fox, or an Owl?

May 21, 2020

Are you a Bull, a Lion, a Fox, or an Owl?

May 29, 2023

During the Great Depression, Mexican artist Pedro Linares became very sick and was in and out of consciousness for weeks. One day, while unconscious, he dreamt of a strange place resembling a forest. Suddenly, some peculiar animals showed up.

He saw a donkey with butterfly wings, a rooster with bull horns, a lion with an eagle head, and all of them were shouting one word, "Alebrijes." Upon recovery, Pedro began recreating the creatures he saw in cardboard and paper-mâché and called them Alebrijes. If you’ve seen the Pixar film “Coco,” you know how colorful they can be.

I’ve had dreams of being a bald eagle—a wise and independent traveler. But I’ve also had crazy visions of that bald eagle transformed as a baby chicken relentlessly flapping its wings below the stately eagle head. Whenever I have that image in my dreams, it usually means I’m trying to portray myself as a wise man when I’m really just a frenzied Chicken Little underneath it all. I’ve had a few of those dreams lately.

Since the beginning of man’s ability to create art, we’ve identified animals as guides. During the 16th and 17th centuries, animal imagery was used to characterize different age periods: the bull at 30 to represent strength, the lion at 40 to depict courage, and the fox at 50 to manifest wit, noted as a means to compensate for losses in strength. Thus, even in Renaissance times, midlife was portrayed as a period with a tradeoff between diminishing physical recognition of gains and losses, and the benefits of balancing strengths and weaknesses. Of course, the owl, my junior high school mascot, has represented later life wisdom for generations, primarily because it has the most acute sense of hearing. Knowledge speaks, wisdom listens.

What mascot or spirit animal might give you a little strength in this time of need?


P.S. There's still time to register for my free Happy Hour Show this evening. I'll be hosting with David Stewart of AGEIST with special guest Paul Hynek. Look forward to seeing everyone later today, May 21 at 5:00pm PST / 8:00pm EST. Reserve your spot by clicking here.

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