“Fox can get the red potatoes jumping for sure,” said Patty just now, commenting on my latest dream of a fox. I’ve noticed that even the mention of a fox creates a stir of excitement, blended with intrigue and anticipation, laced with unease.
Fox is an edgy creature. In the ordinary world, we most often see foxes at dawn or at dusk, at the edge of woods and wild places. Fox is clearly a transformer and magician among animals. This is a canine that walks like a cat, on the tips of its paws, and hunts like a cat and has the elliptical, vertical-slit eyes of a cat. Fox is a master of camouflage and concealment. Learn from it how to vanish.
When fox turns up, in dreams or in life, we want to be ready to shift. A trickster energy is in the field. Don’t try to hoe the furrows of set plans.
I was talking to an audience about fox in my dreams last night. As a dream professor, I referred people to a book published by Princeton University Press in 1976. Waking, I’m not sure which book my dream self was quoting. Two relevant titles published by Princeton U.P. in 1976 are Jung’s Structure and Dynamics of the Psyche and Ralph Mannheim’s Dionysos, which features shamanic elements in the ancient cult of the god of ecstasy. Maybe the shelf elf will produce the specific reference.
Jung observed that “the instincts are a far better protection than all the intellectual wisdom in the world.” We need to walk with the animal spirits that seek us in dreams and sometimes on the roads of life, in order to rescue our primal instincts from the mind-traps and habits that ensnare us. Fox is uniquely able to shift us to instinctual wisdom. Canny and alert, master of ruses and disguises, fox has a flawless sense of danger, in its doubled life as hunter and hunted.
So: I honor my dream by talking about fox here. On my desk is the figure of an ancient Celt blowing a strange dragon-capped horn. Around his waist is the pelt of a red fox, head lolling at his thigh, brush hanging down his back. In my inner life, the fox often connects me to my ancestors in early Europe, and to challenges relating to the dramas of their lives.
Many years ago, I dreamed that I had a fox stuck in my throat. This coincided with a rare – and thankfully brief – period in my life when I found myself losing my voice, as if something was literally blocking my throat. Eventually I dealt with this the old-fashioned way, the shaman’s way. With the aid of the two great black dogs (both deceased) who had shared my life and my heart and remained loyal companions on the dream roads, I tracked to fox to its earth, then pursued it down what became a long tunnel that opened into a different landscape and a different time. I was now in the British Isles, apparently in northern England. I was shown an ancient love triangle, an unwilling sacrifice and a sacrifice refused. I saw a man die the triple druid death – in this case by a blow, by water and by garroting – with a burned chunk of oat cake stuck in his throat. Initially an observer, I found myself able to enter the body and perspective of one of the players, and felt myself shifting something, in his mind, towards the good. When I returned from that journey, I sought to apply the lessons in my current life. And I wrote up my adventures. Never had that choking problem again.
Now I regard the fox as a friend. I am glad to see fox on the roads of the two worlds, but rarely without a sudden intake of breath or the skipping of a heartbeat, and always with the inner alert: Look out. Expect the unexpected. Fox’s edge.