This morning when I went to the kitchen to create the day’s smoothie, my eye caught something large quickly moving about the back perimeter of the yard by Gaia’s Tortoise home that I’ve kept out there in reverence to her and the sanctuary she loved.
I then realized that it was an opossum pacing back and forth, just as Gaia did, in the same area she used to. Immediately, of course, it made me miss Gaia. But it also put to light the paw prints I see on the deck all the time, which I hose down every few weeks. I thought they were raccoon paw prints, but now I see who they really belong to.
This opossum was no little one either. She is quite large with a body that looked like that of a pig’s, but with little feet and long pink tail, and quite a large pointed-nose face.
When she turned towards me, her face showed these big black eyes and her presence was very interesting and quite a different energy. Since they are nocturnal animals, mostly sleeping during the day, it is a bit unusual to have seen her and of course that made me take note.
I did not get the chance to get any great photos of her, as she moves rather swiftly and didn’t stay still much, except when she was trying clumsily to climb up the tree. She was quite large and so it seemed she was having trouble climbing, falling down once on her first attempt.
Eventually she got up the tree and climbed up over the fence and was gone. Since this seems to be her route though, hence the paw prints on the deck we find all the time, I’m sure she’ll be back, although it’s usually at night when everyone else is asleep.
Of course that made me want to explore some more about opossum to see if something in particular stood out in her message and animal totem medicine that might be enlightening and supportive.
Opossums are extremely versatile masters and use non-confrontational problem solving and strategic planning, rather than arguing and fighting. This makes them cunning strategists for being able to get out of situations not to their liking or to their survival advantage. This says to us that we should always have back-up plans, and be open to and creative with multi-possibilities to achieve an outcome we desire.
They are good at the art of acting in order to project appearances to their advantage. So if they show up it could mean either we need to shift and become more adaptable to be productive and sustain our well-being, or perhaps there is something in our experience that is not necessarily what it it appears to be, asking us to look deeper for the hidden meaning.
Opossums teach us to use all of our senses, and not just go by what we we think we “see”. This ability is cultivated within them from birth, as they are born blind and hence need to develop a greater connection, trust, and attunement to all other senses they have.
In this way they can be spirit guides reminding us and helping us to look for and bring forth our unseen gifts and the inner wisdom within us, while also getting to the heart of the matter, as they are skilled at uncovering the truth, and revealing the lies.
Opossums have short lives because so many seek to do them harm, so they have had to adapt in ways to survive. So they have learned to play dead, which is a self-induced state where they zone out, their pulse becomes minimal and heartbeat slows, while a musky death scent releases and creates the appearance that no one lives there anymore. This is a state they can enter in and out of at will very quickly, enabling them to escape.
This teaches us flexibility, quick wit, mutability to shift and adapt, keeping our cool in any situation where staying calm, centered, and in control will be of benefit, without letting fear take over. And with this skill also comes the skill at knowing when others are putting up fronts or deceiving us. Opossums teach us to use these skills to recognize and be highly aware of what’s really going on, as well as how we can use our skills for the greatest benefit.
Diversion strategies are survival instincts, speaking to our core and Root Chakra energy. Learning to look fear in the eye and be able to adapt ourselves, knowing we have the skills to get us through anything, and that we are safe even in the face of fear, is powerful. And also knowing when we need to adapt our ways and behaviors, rather than holding tight to rigid ones, will support greater potentials.
That said, we must also be aware of when we might be deceiving ourselves, self-sabotaging, or acting in less-productive ways.
Opossums can also herald a time to keep our spidey senses about us – don’t let others divert our attention by the flashy hocus pocus tricks and masks they may be pulling.
They support us in strengthening how we project ourselves, may be saying it’s time to let go of the old ways and develop new strategies, and to learn how to “be” with realism to create magick.
The way they play dead is also like zoning out, which symbolizes for us a time period where we can remove ourselves from things that are not beneficial to us, or even threatening and potentially dangerous. Perhaps heralding a time in our lives to go within, let things incubate, pull back, withdraw, extract ourselves fully even, and for the time being, be a remote island for a while – all done very intentfully, skillfully, discerningly, and in alignment with the bigger picture of our lives.
By doing so, renewal is at hand with more energy than you ever had. You will be recharged and ready to go and get ‘er done, no matter what the cost.
Since opossums are marsupials that carry their babies in sacks in their bodies, this adds the symbolism of only keeping that which is most valued to you, close to you (letting go of all the rest) and be willing to stand strong for what that is. Opossums will fight ferociously if need be. They also like to hide and hoard, so be mindful of what you might be hiding and hoarding and let those things go that aren’t necessary.
Opossums may represent a time for adaptability, incubation, protection, unpredictability, mothering, and connecting to your own wild/feral nature in productive ways.
There are a few things in opossum’s message that stand out and spoke for me. How about you?