GIFTS: Adapting to your environment. Using resources wisely. Being radically different and unique. Diving deep. Total commitment and perseverance.
CHALLENGES: Forgetting to take care of yourself. Sacrificing yourself for others. Not accepting nuances of life (seeing everything in black and white). Taking unnecessary risk.
Spirit animal Penguin‘s big archetypal lesson is that diving into the dark unknown of intuition, creativity, and emotion is worth the risk. What risk? Drowning. Getting eaten. Losing yourself. Not being able to come back up.
When I was a visual artist, my painting was the result of going into a deep emotional, trancelike state that gave me access to intuition and creativity. It was very effective, but the problem was that it took several days to come fully back out. My husband learned to give me a wide berth during and post-painting. But I did always worry that one day I wouldn’t reemerge. One day, I might get lost in the depths, eaten up by my inner demons.
Spirit animal Penguin teaches that you don’t have to get lost. You don’t have to get eaten up. Use Penguin’s incredible speed and swimming skills to come back out.
Is there really a risk in exploring intuition, creativity, and emotion? Yes. Penguin faces real predators in the forms of leopard seals, orcas, and sharks. You face the risk of pain, despair, depression. But Penguin gets its food from the water. If it stays on land to avoid the dangers that lie in the depths, Penguin will die.
For you this means what feels like a spiritual and emotional death if you avoid fully exploring your intuition, creativity, and emotions. Face your fear, as Penguin stands on the edge of the ice looking into the dark depths. Trust in your ability to hold onto yourself and reemerge. When you do reemerge, you will be nourished and stronger than before.
Penguin offers the gift of wise use of resources. Penguins live in a harsh environment and must be careful in how and when they use their limited resources. An important thing to remember is that Penguin does not focus on scarcity but rather on a realistic perspective of what is available. The lesson is not to be miserly or even to deprive yourself.
The lesson is to see reality and make decisions accordingly—not based on the fear of what might be, but on the reality of what currently is. The challenge is obviously to stay in reality instead of giving into fear.
Penguin uses cooperation to survive and thrive in a harsh environment, never losing sight of the greater good. With our growing environmental crises, we have a lot to learn from Penguin.
Maybe surprisingly, Penguin teaches being different. Penguins all look alike to us, but each penguin is a unique individual. Additionally, Penguin is radically different from other birds in that it swims—not on top of the water, like Goose and Swan, but deep under water, like Whale and Seal. Penguin’s integrated message to you is, “Do your own thing, and do it wisely.”