An Early Ally



In hindsight, there are moments in your life which can have significance beyond anything imagined at the time. It is often not till many years later, certainly in my case, with what I now recognise as my earliest ally, that the bigger picture suddenly becomes clear.

I must have been around 8 years old. It must have been late spring, as the garden had been turned and planted, and was just beginning to show signs of the life which were stirring under the warm dark soil. I had been despatched to collect eggs.  On entering the yard, I became aware of a high pitched screeching, and had no idea what it could possibly be. Seeking out the source of the sound, I found myself in the garden. Between rows of early sprouting greenery, a strange creature, which I initially took to be a ferret, meowled and screeched, pulling at the loose trap which my father had set to capture a rather large invasion of rabbits which had threatened to completely devour the garden that year. (Loose, because, once captured, the rabbits found themselves a new home in the high pastures, well away from the vegetables intended for human consumption).

I observed the animal for quite some time. Long, sleek body, shining coat, black tipped tail, sharp claws and teeth, and that constant indescribable cry of pain and distress. The teeth and claws concerned me. To release him would require that I get uncomfortably close to both. Taking a deep breath I reached forward, and released the trap.

I fully expected him to rush off immediately. Instead, he took but a few confused steps, turned, and looked right into my soul. He stood there for what seemed an eternity, lifting up on his hind legs at one point, trying to sniff out my essence. Finally, he shook his head, sneezed, and trotted off, turning once to have a last look at me before disappearing into the wall.

I was on a high for the rest of the afternoon. That was till my father went to check the traps… he’d been trying to catch Mr Stoat (wily egg thief – hence the reason for my rather shortened chores) for over a week. He’d heard the screeching and knew he had caught his prize. Finding the trap reset was not the best end to his day. Yet strangely, Mr Stoat never did return.

So, what significance, you may ask. Although I remained unaware of it until relatively recently, Stoat, it appears, gave me a gift that day; one which, without realising it, has affected every aspect of my personality, at some level or another. Although only those closest to me might recognise them in me, I post here the symbolic associations of stoat: in the manner of a veritable laying bare of what, somehow, became my core personality traits from that day on.


Deep, old magic of the dark,
Warrior balance of the light,
Teach that evil lies within,
Never in the day or night.

Stealth, Silent Observation

The Weasel totem family includes Ermines, Minks and Ferrets.

This totem is a difficult power totem to have.
It is a rare gift and great ability.
Weasel medicine can teach you to find out secrets through the power of silent observation.

Most Weasel people are loners, graceful, solitary and silent.   They are very intelligent.
People do not see their power immediately and often underestimate them.

Weasel totem will awaken your innate ability for observation.
Trust your own instincts and you will avoid trouble and pursue your goals to greatest success.
Use your Weasel medicine to observe what or who needs attention
and offer assistance in your quiet or discreet way.

About A Misanthropic Bear

Intermittent posting of random touchstones, memories and events. This wasn't meant to be what it would become... But then, is it ever?
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32 Responses to An Early Ally

  1. I think to become soul brothers and sisters with all the animals of the earth, be they beautiful like the Ermine, or terrifying like some snakes, is essential to becoming ultimate friends with all the peoples of the earth, regardless or their looks or languages or cultures, and religious or political beliefs. If any of us, or any creature, were not meant to be on this earth, we would not be. We are all sacred because the God or the Gods or the Universe itself put us here. Ultimately I believe our journey here on this earth is to learn to make peace with everyone and everything alive. Of course we have to eat and I know that when some wise people kill and eat their food or harvest it from the earth, they thank that creature or plant for giving to their life and so it is meaningful, and not just something people do just because they can. We have a lot to learn from creatures. They rarely kill just to be killing except perhaps during mating season, but normally they kill ro survive. We have so much to learn before we too can be considered civilized. Thank you for the excellent post.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Running Elk says:

      Hi Anne. Thank you for the excellent comment, which I absolutely love! Wonderfully expressed summary of how, and why, humanity really needs to realign to a much more naturalistic way of thinking, behaving, and living. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Appreciate your story. Ermine just introduce herself to me and gave me a powerful, helpful message. Thanks for writing this…..

    Liked by 1 person

  3. grizzlymum says:

    Hmmmmm. Returning from a First Nations feast, here in northwestern BC, last night; November 1, first day of the new year by the old Celtic calendar. It is late for a work night, I am tired and eagerly nearing home. Driving around a corner and a flash of white appears in my headlights. It has come from the right side, the river side, and runs across the road; safely into the woods on the left side. A slender, elongated form, with a short tail, tipped in black. I have seen this one before. A still form, pristine white, lying on the doorstep; seeming to be asleep but not. It is the morning of December 25, 2010. The first Christmas in our new house, here in the valley that time forgot. A gift, left by our cat. I open the door and pick up the soft body, still pliable and slightly warm. At first, it appears totally unscathed; but careful scrutiny reveals two, tiny puncture marks on it’s throat. I still have the first ermine, in a plastic bag, nestled in my freezer.
    Tonight, I search through my books on spirit guides and animals. Only weasel, can I find. It does not feel right. I know ermine is in the same family but it is not exactly the same. And so I keep looking, searching, seeking. And I find it, in the most unexpected of places. Here on your blog, which I have been following for a year or so. Another gift of synchronicity. Magic is afoot. Thank you. ❤
    P.S. – Here in this area of the Pacific northwest, ermine pelts are worn by native chiefs, as a sign of their leadership. On woven cedar hats or on a cape about their shoulders.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Running Elk says:

      Thanks for sharing, Grizzlymum.
      So often it is these moments of synchronicity which makes me realise how small our world really is, and how through the greatest distances we remain singularly connected.
      And so glad I copy pasted that information, as the website no longer appears to be active.

      Liked by 1 person

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  5. Love the story! You gained a life long friend.

    Liked by 2 people

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  7. Running Elk says:

    Thanks, Steve. Just read it again myself, now. And wonder if it reveals too much! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  8. stevetanham says:

    Just read this again. Fascinating insights.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. WordsFallFromMyEyes says:

    Wow, this is a powerful post. I can’t imagine what sound he made, and then when he stared into your soul before trotting off. I couldn’t help but release him either. I mean, we all need food, we all seek out food. He was innocent.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Sue Vincent says:

    Hmmm.. we met. Sunday. What a coincidence (wanders off choking…)

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Awesome story! 🙂 You did the right thing, Running Elk!
    When I was a young boy, I let a huge turtle go that my grandfather and father had caught while fishing. They had it nestled in a huge fishing net. I flipped the net and let it go. It never looked back at me; it ran, like lightning, back into the lake. Not all turtles are slow, especially when they are running for their life! Man, did I ever get a chewing out! But it was well worth it! You don’t run that fast, especially if you’re a turtle, unless you esteem life very highly. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  12. But this is so beautiful, Running Elk!! So beautiful it brought tears. I am so glad you released him. I know that feeling of looking in an animal’s eyes and feeling some deep communion not understood, at least by me. I look forward to more of your posts in the future and so glad to have found you– or that you found me– not quite sure.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Running Elk says:

      Thank you, Ellen. It is quite breathtaking when you are caught in that moment, isn’t it?
      That’s the problem, I suppose with meeting like minds online – there comes a moment of, “oh, how did that happen?” We’ll put it down to we found each other… 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  13. I loved reading of your early encounter with a totem animal. Amazing story. I enjoy working with totem animals and helping people connect with theirs. We learn so much about ourselves from them.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. prewitt1970 says:

    Thank you for sharing a bit of the inside here today, truly a gift to have that connection and wisdom.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. LadyBlueRose's Thoughts Into Words says:

    I am a watcher….preferring to be back in the shadows to watch life…
    sometimes the light blinds one to what is really around them….
    I like that you set him free….I would have too….(and have, though never a weasel,
    I have never seen one except in photos…
    Thank you for sharing….I enjoyed and learned something….
    Take Care…

    Liked by 1 person

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