GIFTS: Adaptability. Speed balanced with strength. Wise competition.
CHALLENGES: Paranoid isolationism. Greed. Being overly competitive or protective.
Leopard is the smallest of the Panthera species (Tiger, Lion, Jaguar, and Leopard) and the widest ranging. Physical leopard has the largest distribution of all big cats and is adapted to numerous habitats—from grassland and savanna to rainforest and snowy mountain. If you have Leopard as a spirit animal, you can harness this gift of adaptability to fit in wherever you find yourself.
Don’t let preconceived—usually misconceived—notions of your capabilities stop you. For example, if you have to be in a place you think you won’t like or are given an assignment you think you can’t do, harness Leopard’s adaptability to find a way to make the situation work. Release your fear and your limiting beliefs about yourself so you can unleash the power of thriving wherever you go, whatever you do.
Spirit Animal Leopard offers the gifts of both speed and strength. Leopard can sprint almost as fast as Cheetah, but Leopard retains the strength to pull its kill into a tree for safe eating. Use Leopard as a reminder for you to balance speed and strength. In your case, this balance may not come naturally or automatically, as it does for physical leopard. This is part of Leopard’s instinct and evolution. It is a part of your learning.
Many people confuse leopards and jaguars. But Leopard differs from Jaguar in several ways. Leopard is an Old World Panthera species; Jaguar is the only Panthera in the New World. Both Leopard and Jaguar are apex predators, but Jaguar has no competition at this top position. Leopard, in contrast, competes with other apex predators, such as Tiger, Lion, and Hyena. The message for you is to pay attention to your competition, to protect your (metaphoric) kill, to guard your spot at the top. You are not alone at the top, and you don’t have to be. There is room at the top for many. You are not pushing others off the top. You are simply standing your ground alongside them.
Many spiritual gurus will tell you that there is no such thing as competition. But in the physical world, competition is real. In the wild, Leopard preserves its kill by dragging it into a tree. The lesson for you is to keep your treasure safe. This does not mean, “Don’t share.” It definitely does not mean, “Be greedy.” It means, “Don’t flaunt your treasure where it might be taken, where you might be attacked.” For example, keep your creative ideas to yourself until they and you are strong enough to resist attack, dilution, or theft.
You can also apply this to self-care. Guard your alone time. Establish good boundaries around taking care of yourself—just like Leopard guards the food that nourishes it.
This is a very difficult lesson to learn and to master. And master it you must, for Leopard does not bestow it without your earning it. Remember, Leopard is not suggesting that you hate the Hyenas, the Lions, and the Tigers. Spirit Animal Leopard is not saying you should isolate yourself from the world, though this is a shadow side of Leopard— paranoid isolationism. Leopard is saying that you can range among your peers and your competitors without fear—as long as you do so wisely.