GIFTS: Seeing in the dark. Understanding and integrating the shadow. Deep personal power. Sensitivity and sensuality. Feminine energy (whatever feminine means to you). Mystical, esoteric power. Deciding for yourself when to be seen and when to be invisible.
CHALLENGES: Overly sensitive. Too empathic (confusing others’ emotions as your own). Getting stuck in the dark. Sexuality without true intimacy. Fear of intimacy. “Biting people’s heads off.” Too much aggression. Never coming out of the shadows, always being invisible. Intimidating others. Being aloof.
Spirit Animal Black Panther teaches the fear-less-ness that comes from facing and moving through the dark rather than avoiding it or denying it.
Most people are afraid to face their shadow side, the darkness that lies within them. Black Panther knows that this darkness is not bad, but rather a powerful part of True Self. Exploring the Shadow with open eyes allows for greater personal power and integration.
In the physical world, black panthers (which may be black jaguars or black leopards — if you know which yours is, learn from that one, too; if not, just stick with Black Panther) are loners, excellent swimmers and powerful sprinters. You can use these Black Panther gifts to fear-less-ly follow your own path, to navigate emotions (symbolized by water) and to make quick decisions—not in haste, but from intuition.
Spirit Animal Black Panther has great sensitivity and is known for its excellent vision and hearing. You can use these gifts to hone your intuitive and psychic abilities. Learn from Black Panther how to face your fears unblinkingly. The real gift lies in the journey through your fear and your shadow.
Black Panther is one of the few spirit animals that does not bestow its gifts upon you. It offers them and demands that you earn them. Payment involves journeying through at least one dark night of the soul. (Gift in this sense does not mean free. So perhaps we should call Black Panther’s gifts, Black Panther’s offerings or powers.)
In fact, journeying through shadows and darkness is both a test from and a power of Black Panther. When you have ventured into your own darkness—with Black Panther by your side—you may be ready to mentor with Black Panther.
Black Panther teaches you to see your way through the darkness. Will you come out into the light? Not necessarily. Black Panther makes no such promises. Nor does life. Black Panther teaches that life makes no promises of love and light. All is chosen, and choosing to live in the dark is as valid a choice as choosing to live in the light.
When you choose to do so, Black Panther can help you integrate the dark with the light. Black Panther teaches that your shadow side is an essential part of your true self, of your personal power. In spite of platitudes to erase the dark by shining a light, Black Panther knows that erasing a part of you does not lead to wholeness. It leads to disintegration. Black Panther is a fearless guide and companion through the dark, the shit, and the sludge of life. This path does not have to destroy. Quite the contrary, with Black Panther’s help, it can strengthen you.