The Tiger and the Butterfly Spirit Guides. Why my tattoos?

A totem animal is a spirit animal is and animal being, sacred symbol of a tribe, clan, family or individual. Tradition provides that each person is connected with up to nine different animals that will accompany him through life, acting as guides. Here’s a reflection on what I feel are my personal animal spirit guides.

“Tiger, tiger, burning bright in the forests of the night, what immortal hand or eye dare frame thy fearful symmetry?” [William Blake]

It’s not always apparent which animal totem is one’s principal spirit guide, and most people are generally unaware even of the animal symbol representing one’s spirit, soul, or true self. That was true for me, even though for years I had a special attraction for tigers and butterflies. I never thought Why? that was or even gave it a second thought, until I decided to get a tattoo. When I got my first tattoo I responded,  “A butterfly” when the artist asked me what I had in mind. My first tattoo was a very small but colorful butterfly, and over the years it faded, probably because I really didn’t take proper care of it.

Then, a couple of years ago, I noticed the guys in my gym sporting larger and multiple tattoos, and so I became interested in getting my old tattoo either removed or tattooed over with a more vibrant one. My first visit to the tattoo artist met with the same question after we discussed what to do with my old tattoo. “What do you have in mind?” My immediate answer was “I want a tiger and a butterfly, but together.” “Together? How together?” My answer sparked a surprised look on the artist’s face. “I want the tiger in the butterfly or the butterfly in the tiger, if possible both/and.” His response was, “Give me a week to figure this out.”

Two Spirit Guides:
The Tiger and the Butterfly.

I returned after a week, and he had some pictures and drawings ready for me. My attention was drawn two two pencil sketches, and I imagined what they would look like in color. They became my final choices. I left the coloration to the artist but they had to be “vibrant.”

That’s an interesting word we threw around during the sessions, “vibrant.” There are a number of meanings for the word “vibrant,” including full of energy and enthusiasm, spirited, lively, full of life, energetic, vigorous, vital, animated, dynamic, stimulating, passionate, fiery. They certainly apply to my choice of totems, and I thought, “They actually describe my personality, my soul.” As for the colors, they had to be bright and striking, vivid, strong, rich, bold. Oranges, blacks, yellows, greens taken individually didn’t do much to turn me on but then, much later, after the tattoos were finished, I noted one day when describing them to a workout partner, that they were really two poles, the warm and the cool, they were opposites working together. These two seemingly opposite animal types actually represented opposites and together worked a special dynamic.

Right Shoulder Art

As I became more fascinated by how naturally these many factors came together in a sort of symphony, conscious and unconscious, I felt I had to learn more about these symbols, which I felt were always part of me but now were physically part of me, visible for all to see, and doing their magic as part of me.

Body art is one of the earliest forms of artistic expression known to humankind. It has been used to indicate status, religious devotion, desired protection against evil and disease, and much more. At times, body art was, and in some cultures, still is stigmatized, being associated with marginal elements in society. Rightly so! Those of us who surrender ourselves to the needle and the pigment are marginal: we are in some, many ways metaphysically different.

Tattoos, I believe, are not just a way of turning your body into a living, moving billboard, and I believe that covering the body with a collage of multiple tattoos is actually ugly. I feel that quality should take precedence over quantity, and that each modification of the body should actually enhance the “beauty” of the body. Each and every modification made to our body should be done only after careful reflection and after having discerned the spiritual reason for making a permanent change to the already naturally beautiful form and substance of the body.

Left Shoulder Art

Like a jug, the container, the physical form gives shape, it’s the space within that gives it a purpose, a meaning. The same with the human being; the physical form, the shape is formed around purpose. Taking that thought a step further, it is what is within that shapes what we perceive an object or a person to be through the medium of the physical senses, but it’s not necessarily what the person in reality is in their being, their essence. Of all the many hypotheses offered by psychology and religion for Why? a person chooses to become a living palette for art one of them is older than psychology or even philosophy itself: it’s to express a certain spirituality, mysterious, wordless, powerful.

Today, people express many different reasons for getting various forms of body art. Some of them are a means of personal expression, while others continue to decorate their bodies as a means of commemorating an important event/time in their lives, or as in my case, a response to something mysterious working from within.

The Tiger Spirit Guide or Totem

The tiger is a symbol of passion, power, devotion. The tiger hunts at night, and night is the realm of the unconscious, of the deep mind, the spirit The tiger symbolizes  of sexual energies, which can be creative or destructive. But the tiger is also a fierce protector and guards the passions, allowing only the most loving sensual passions to emerge.

The tiger spirit not only produces the most loving, protective, sensual passions but also symbolizes new adventures, and the dynamic to pursue these challenges with focus and dedication.

William Blake recognized the mystique and the mystical about the tiger when he wrote, “Tiger, tiger, burning bright in the forests of the night, what immortal hand or eye dare frame thy fearful symmetry?” Blake reflects on the tiger symbolism as fiery. “burning bright”, in the unconscious realm, “in the forests of the night,” and fearsome, so much so that Blake ponders how powerful a Divine being would need to be to fashion such a creature that embodies beauty, symmetry, fierce power, awe-inspiring strength, and yet is fluid and balanced, passionate, dedicated, protective.  Metaphysical imagery frames the tiger as being associated with inner strength , and an almost predatory focus and courage.

Tiger also symbolizes a sort of unpredictability, and when the tiger is aroused and responds the results are swift, sure and decisive. Dealing with the tiger is not the time for making rash decisions or foolish moves. Choose your battles wisely, in other words.

While all of the above is certainly not negative, assuming you are respectful of the spiritual power you are dealing with, there is a clearly positive aspect: when you keep the tiger spirit close to you, in your life, the person embodying the tiger spirit can act as a powerful reminder of overcoming obstacles and fears by reclaiming a place of empowerment. The person embodying the tiger spirit has an ability to manage strong emotions effectively. There is a caveat, of course: some people would find the person embodying the tiger spirit to be unnerving, or might find themselves uncomfortable in the presence of such a person.  Such discomfort might indicate that they feel or threatened by the mystery or strength of the person or a situation, and that they might need to reassess their relationship with that person or situation.

When you encounter a person embodying the tiger as his spirit animal it is wise to treat the encounter with the utmost reverence. The tiger spirit will teach you patience – when to move, when to remain still and quiet, and in the end experience a successful “pursuit.” The tiger spirit will not tolerate carelessness or procrastination when the path is clear for the next great leap.

The person embodying the tiger spirit can provide his partner or companion with strength and support for nurturing great  spiritual growth. Watching, experiencing the man embodying the tiger spirit managing the many day-to-day challenges of life, great and small, can be likened to the tiger teaching its cubs to hunt, the challenges are learning tools. These can weary the spirit of the ordinary, insensitive person but the tiger spirit  stands ready with a raw power that urges the sensitive man forward. Just as the wild tiger in nature is known for his  amazing bursts of energy, the tiger spirit person can exploit that resource to confront any challenge.

The man embodying the tiger spirit yearns for adventure, and he can stare down a statue! There is little that can stand in his way when he focuses in on something. The tiger spirit can be overwhelming if it is not received by a partner or companion with courage and respect; while the tiger spirit is controlled and focused, moderated by a strong sense of right, compassion, empathy and sensitivity, it can roll over weaker spirits who don’t have the good sense to make way. The temptation to stand and oppose the tiger spirit, asserting one’s self for the sake of the ego, the false self, typically happens early in the spiritual relationship. As you mature with Tiger, that temptation to assert comes under greater control. In the meanwhile use a chrysoprase crystal to help cope with any anxiety or discomfort arroused in the early stages of the relationship with Tiger.

If your significant other embodies the tiger as his spirit animal your relationship and sexual expressions are or will be very intense. He will love you completely in his focused way; you will fill a very special niche in his life but don’t make the fatal mistake of expecting to fill all the niches of his life; you’ll burn out trying. He will cherish you fully for what you are, and he will have a strong desire to parent and to protect. This is why a man embodying the tiger spirit is ideal in a relationship between an older “daddy” type man and a younger “son” or “mister” type man. Tigers excel in their mentoring and protection roles and keep their partners close for sharing, intimacy, and spirituality.


The Vibrant Healing Properties of Green – The Chrysoprase Crystal

It might now be appropriate to say a word here about the chrysoprase crystal if a tiger spirit has found its way into your life. The entry of a person embodying the tiger spirit into your life will usually signal a significant change, since most people are attracted to a tiger spirit because they sense the power, sensitivity, and strength of the tiger spirit. Again, when dealing with any tiger situation, caution is advised; you can easily become a meal. When attracted to the tiger spirit, you should take it as a sign that you may be in need of and must be willing to enter into a physically,  emotionally and spiritually transformative experience. This is where the chrysoprase crystal may provide you with some energetic support.

The chrysoprase crystal is sought out for manifesting optimism, joy, and happiness; it is an effective prescription for encouraging a more positive outlook on life.

If anxiety and uncertainty roll in on gale-force winds rattling the shingles of your natural tranquility, it’s time cuddle close to your tiger spirit man and to keep your chrysoprase crystal close, reflecting on meaning meditating on the heart chakra. The activation of this energy center allows for a stronger flow of healing energy through the heart, and brings you closer to living from the heart and draws on the universal power of erotic love and inner beauty.

Chrysoprase is a variety of chalcedony, and was a favorite of Alexander the Great, who called on its spiritual healing powers during his campaigns. To me, that’s a persuasive pedigree.

The chrysoprase crystal is part of the pale blue green color ray. Imagine tropical emerald waters brushing against white sands at the edge of the forest, the abode of the tiger spirit, your protection and source of sensuality. In a meditation, let the stone transport your spirit there anytime, and you can reach out to the man embodying the tiger spirit. Let his ancient wisdom guide you to a divine light of inner truth and enlightenment as you float down a turquoise river of inner peace, illuminated with a brilliant white light, the white light of pure love generated by a pure heart.

Love means self-sacrifice, letting go when necessary, taking back control from the ego. There’s always the perception that there’s a fine line between self-preservation and letting go of the urge to control, living for the other, controlling the urge to possess; the cooling and healing properties generated by the chrysoprase crystal are beneficial for supporting the delicate balance of emotions. Forgive and learn, or be emotionally paralyzed. Chrysoprase can remind us how good it feels to be free of toxic emotions and the stresses of consumerism and materialism. The man embodying the tiger-spirit cherishes a balanced state of mind, a state of spiritual alignment, and that state is a first step towards healing your former defective spirit,

Concentrate on your pure and self-less intention, on surrender, on forgiveness, positive inner growth, or encouraging hope in your life.

The heart chakra stones such as chrysoprase, rose quartz and jade are thought to attract the abundance of Eros, which associates it closely with challenges of erotic relationships and the creative force they incarnate.

The vibrant green in the eye of the tiger is reminiscent of the chrysoprase crystal and its energies.

The man embodying the tiger spirit can be a natural guide for you in times when you feel confused, particularly morally or ethically. If he is your partner or companion, you have great wealth to draw on and the tiger man is very freely giving and generous, not looking to exact anything but your love, loyalty, trust in return.

Tiger men have an independent streak – and need periodic alone time even if his  partner thinks he understands him completely. Know from the start you can’t chain or tame a tiger, you have to let him be a tiger. Gratefully accept the space you occupy in his life, try not to be demanding, it’s not necessary. The tiger spirit anticipates and reads your needs even before you know them yourself. Do not try to change the tiger man; to change him would be likened to attempting to change the stripes on a living tiger. Do not try to cage the tiger man; he’ll break free in an instant. Be still, quiet, patient like the tiger spirit.

Wild Tigers have excellent night vision. Applied to the man embodying the tiger spirit, that spirit’s spiritual effects improve at night by the light of the moon; the tiger spirit is at home in the dark forest of the unconscious, the home of the passions. Tigers, like other cats, also respond deeply to touch; the man with the tiger spirit will place great meaning on being touched, explored, and responding with touch and exploration. The tiger spirit’s touch is not restricted to the physical but is equally at home in the psychological and the spiritual. If you’re not into touching and being touched, steer clear of the man embodying a tiger spirit.

The Tiger’s Eye

Many people embodying the tiger spirit animal carry the image of the tiger when they are embarking on a quest or an adventure or confronting a challenge! This is particularly opportune for the man wanting to immerse himself in a new environment or relationship, in studies, or in other cultures with all their novel believes and values. The fact that tigers have excellent hearing also applies to the man embodying the tiger spirit: he hears everything, even the unsaid, and is an excellent listener. A partner with keen sense of hearing and listening skills makes the experience all the more rewarding because the unsaid or innocuous small things that others might miss are picked up by the tiger man. What you might think may be on the edge of awareness will be in the tiger man’s clear peripheral vision.

Call on Tiger as your Power Animal when you need renewed confidence. There is nothing uncertain with Tiger energy and medicine – this cat is the perfect embodiment of elegant power. As Tiger energy guides she teaches self-actualization – you begin to feel comfortable in your own skin and even revel in it. That is why Tigers often come to those who have poor body images or low self-esteem. Tiger men are also valuable partners and companion to those who are addicted to consumerism and materialism, or to rivalries that sap a man’s inner and outer strength. The tiger man’s sense of balance, harmony and fluidity are a source of security to those who might feel lost, confused, drowning.

In terms of spiritual growth and awareness, Tiger is all about keeping your eye on the prize. Whatever your goals are energetically, Tiger as a Power Animal provides tireless discipline and energy. From a Shamanic standpoint Tiger symbolizes healing, the immune system and clearing environmental toxins from your system. The tiger man is an excellent detoxifier, energizer, and source of empowerment.

Butterfly Symbolism & Meaning

When a man embodying the butterfly spirit begins visiting your life, something new and wonderful is about to unfold! It’s time for personal growth and greater awareness of your mental, physical and spiritual being. Change can sometimes be challenging and confusing because it moves us out of our comfort zone but you  cannot embrace a “new” until you release the “old” you. The man embodying the butterfly spirit can show you that can fly confidently above and beyond the obstacles, physical, psychological and spiritual, that would otherwise hold you back.

The man embodying the butterfly spirit as a mentor will place considerable emphasis on movement –from one state in our physical, psychological and spiritual exploration to another, more advanced level.

The butterfly spirit helps us to turn our thoughts inward to review our character, morals and habits and to move closer to identifying our natural self, our pure self that is our unique self and not a product of what others want to make of us.

The outcome of the relationship with the butterfly-spirit endowed ally is a positive restoration to an enlightened being, relieved of excess baggage, you can dance Eros’ dance with unbridled love!

The butterfly spirit as an animal guide spirit has many appearances and attributes. Early Christians interpreted the butterfly in nature as a symbol representing the soul and its journey. Native Americans venerate the butterfly as the symbol of transformation, happiness and the diversity of nature. In Chinese tradition newlyweds were often given gifts bearing two Butterfly images to symbolize marital happiness and harmony, probably because of the bilateral symmetry of the butterfly’s wings and their rhythmic beating in flight.

The man embodying the butterfly spirit emphasizes simplicity and simplification. For the butterfly spirit it’s simple: just go back and care for the basics. The butterfly spirit doesn’t change nor does he want to change his partner. Like the butterfly in the field, he visits his partner and tastes his sweetness but doesn’t damage or change him. The man embodying the butterfly spirit tends those in his life just like the butterfly tends the flowers in the field; he opens his senses to the nectar and aroma of living in the moment and sharing that moment, reciprocally, with his partner. When possible he savors and rests; do what you can now. At other times, he lingers searching, mindful that quality learning and relationship rarely happens in one visitation. Slow, mindful changes are the ones that last a lifetime, laying the foundations for enlightenment and self-actualization. The butterfly spirit held within will emerge from its inner work when the time is right, with fresh insights and intentions to guide his partner to the next stage in his spiritual growth.

The butterfly spirit embodied in a man whispers softly of his hidden potentials but frequently these will surface on their own when needed, that is, when the time is right. We can recall the proverb that says, “There’s nothing in a caterpillar that knows it’s going to be a butterfly.” But the awesome transformation from caterpillar to winged beauty happens, and it happens quite naturally. Before this can happen, however, the caterpillar eats voraciously as only a caterpillar can do. So, too, the man embodying the butterfly spirit, while still in the caterpillar stage, feeds his soul voraciously with new  experiences, new knowledge, until it’s ready for integrating  new truths.

As the butterfly in nature is the picture of happiness and vision. The man embodying the butterfly spirit brings a spiritual lightness to being; he brings a vision that provides vital color and greater clarity.

The butterfly in nature and unusually keen visual perception and can even see wavelengths invisible to human beings, such as ultraviolet light.  The man embodying the butterfly spirit, too, has keen vision and can see colors most others can’t perceive; he glimpses angels as well as demons.

The man blessed with the butterfly spirit has a natural lightness of spirit! He loves natural beauty and the beauty of nature, and is guided by the what is morally and ethically good when it comes to maintaining balance in relationships, the environment, the cosmos.

The man embodying the butterfly spirit is by nature social, engaging, attractive and vibrant. He endeavors to live in the moment, and to live each moment fully; he celebrates life and like the wild goose in migration follows an invisible path to his destination.

Spread Your Wings!

The beauty in life is the opportunity for transformation, for movement. Every moment brings a change, we just have to be awake to take advantage of the meaning and the growth it offers. The butterfly spirit can manage radical, complete change and facilitates the process with gentleness, regenerating breezes and a kiss of beauty.

During migration, monarch butterflies will travel thousands of miles and will amazingly find their “ancestral” trees; the monarch ‘grandchild’ or even ‘great-great grandchild’ butterfly will find the exact same spot that their grandparents sheltered in after their migration.

This ancestral behavior or cellular memory of their ancestor’s behavior observed in the monarch butterfly is analogous to the butterfly spirit’s exploitation of traditional or ancestral wisdom by tapping into ancient knowledge in the repository of archetypal, collective consciousness.


I hope that this article has inspired you to look into yourself to find your animal spirit guide, and to discover how that inner power can make you a better, more beautiful person for yourself, for your partner, for the entire universe.

Namasté! Peace to you!
William
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A Prologue

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Touch is Communication, Inquiry, Exploration.

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