GIFTS: Self-respect. Radical self-esteem. Sensuality. Cool confidence. Instinct. Heeding warning signals. Independence.
CHALLENGES: Inadequacy. Worthlessness. Arrogance/shyness. Difficulty communicating with others.
You may think of Lion or Jaguar as the epitome of confidence and self-esteem. But it is actually Moose and the unassuming Skunk who truly epitomize confidence and self-esteem. Yes, lowly, stinky spirit animal Skunk symbolizes unshakable self-esteem—the kind that comes from a deep unflappable knowingness of self-worth, worth that is not dependent on external values or opinions.
Where does this confidence come from? It’s not as if Skunk is safe from danger. It can literally fall prey to predators such as badgers, foxes, and wolves. Physical skunk’s confidence comes from knowing most predators will leave it alone so they don’t get sprayed. It’s not just that Skunk’s spray stinks; it is also blinding.
For spirit animal Skunk, this translates into the gift of complete and utter self-esteem. “I’m stinky. I’m scary. Everyone runs away from me. And I still love myself.”
Skunk’s confidence also comes from a sense of not having anything to lose. Jaguar and Lion have a reputation to uphold. That’s why it’s easy for people with spirit animal Jaguar or Lion to fall into arrogance.
Skunk people do have the potential of falling into the fear of being worthless. You’ll need to connect more fully Skunk’s message of radical self-love. Yes, “I’m stinky, and I know it, and I still deserve love” is indeed radical.
Where are you stinky? What have you historically seen as a flaw or weakness in yourself? What has been a source of self-loathing for you in the past? Work with Skunk to transform self-loathing into self- love. It may seem impossible right now. Don’t give up. Follow Skunk’s lead, no matter what anyone else—including your inner critic—says.
Physical skunks are crepuscular animals. That is, they are active during the hours around dawn and dusk, transitional periods of the day. Like Bobcat, this makes Skunk a symbol of thriving through transitions. You’re not just tolerating or surviving the transition. You’re coming out stronger on the other side.
As a temporary messenger spirit animal, Skunk is a great ally for actively going through a transition—such as looking for a new job or getting a divorce. When Skunk is a lifetime power animal, you can have a challenge with stability. You run the risk of seeking out change all the time. When you hit an awkward transitional stage, rather than stick it out, you may jump ship and make another change. This kind of endless pattern doesn’t lead to growth or true power. Skunk doesn’t jump ship. It stays in the moment, even the awkward ones, with utter confidence that it will ultimately come out all right.