Many years ago when I first discovered the concept of totem animals, a shaman warned me about Coyote Totem, the trickster. I had asked her how I could trust the information that was coming through my guides in the other worlds (when I journeyed into these realms via the shamanistic highway). Needless to say, I said I knew for certain that Coyote wasn’t one of my totems. However, when I bought Jamie Sams’ medicine cards used and divined my seven totems, Coyote came up with his smirking dog face. Oh, great, I thought, this is going to be a fun ride.
It’s no wonder to me that Warner Brothers created a cartoon about Wiley Coyote up to his own tricks that always (except for the last episode when he finally kills and eats the Road Runner) backfired on him. Is he a wise fool or just fool, I’ll let you decide. The American Southwest Indian tribes tell Coyote stories too in which Coyote plays the role of the trickster. These stories are only told during the winter months and provide as much education as hysterics.
The same shaman who warned me about Coyote totems and their messages (long tales with tails in my estimation), also warned me never to get involved with a man who has a Coyote totem. I’ve met several of these men, and she’s right, I don’t trust them since they can weave tall tales and make a woman believe anything she wants because they prey upon the ego.
Coyote Totem reminds me of Mercury Retrograde from astrology or The Fool card in the Tarot deck. But Coyote is also the village fool who has a few words of wisdom up his sleeve. He’s the Joker card, the wild card, the other trickster planet, Uranus. He’s Aquarius, smart as a whistle, and so clever that he and his coyote brothers and sisters have survived living among humans who just view him as a pest. But Coyote is like wolf, the call of the wild. He’s that wild itch inside us, that little primeval person screaming to get out of a sanitized and proscribed life. She’s the woman who can’t keep her mouth shut, who blurts out the truth about a friend or enemy at a snobby dinner party. She’s the woman who trips on her heels in public, tucks her skirt into her panties and walks around like she’s hot stuff while people snicker behind her back.
Coyote represents comedians, the uninhibited, romantic comedies and romantic comedy actresses such as Meg Ryan with her fake orgasm scene in “When Harry Met Sally”. She’s Bridget Jones sliding down the fire pole with her skirt revealing her undies to the public. She’s Bridget Jones showing up at a lawn party dressed like a Playboy Bunny because no one told her about the costume theme change. Coyote is the woman who guffaws with gusto and laughs at her own foibles, even if her skin burns with humiliation.
In essence, we all have a little Wiley Coyote in us, and it’s called ego. Any time we’re full of ourselves, Coyote comes along. I will tell you about a few Coyote moments in my life and if you feel like sharing your own do so in the comment section. After I turned 16 and I had a car, a new guy showed up at our school and I immediately developed a crush on him despite he wasn’t my type at all (did I have a type yet?).
I offered him and a woman student a ride home, but when I dropped the guy off, I forgot to put my car in neutral or park, so I dragged the guy along a few feet as he tried to get out of the car. It was a slow and tiny car so no one was injured. However, that guy wasn’t going to date me, and in fact, he started dating the woman student who sat in the backseat in horror over what I had done. LOL
Another Coyote moment, I was strutting around, full of myself, this time at a train station in Bath, England. People looked at me funny, askance, suppressing giggles, but I didn’t know why until I approached a full-length mirror and noticed that I had tucked my skirt into my tights! Fortunately, I had done that recently and so I hadn’t walked around the whole day like that.
Another time I was dehydrated having run a long race under the hot sun, then sat in the nose bleed section at the Kingdom watching the Seattle Mariners lose another game, I started suffering from nausea. By the time I was dragged to Jack in the Box (bad enough place in itself), I vomited in front of not only the people inside the fast food restaurant, but also in front of everyone enjoying the University District Street Fair. Word got around the high school and it took me two years to live down that embarrassing episode. And actually, when you think about it, perhaps my stomach was predicting the e-coli breakout through Jack in the Box that would happen a decade or so later. Okay, so that one isn’t that funny. But who is foolish enough to eat at a fast food restaurant with a trickster image as its symbol? Hello!
Coyote doesn’t let us forget our embarrassing episodes either. They appear in our thoughts at crucial times such as when we prepare to give a speech or perform in public. Or worst, we recall those embarrassing moments when we go on a date with someone for the first time. Don’t even get me started on dating foibles. And the only way to make peace with this foolish yapping dog, is to have a sense of humor. Coyote comes around when we need to lighten up and not take ourselves too seriously.
After all, Coyote doesn’t take him or herself too seriously. Humans keep trying to wipe this creature off the face of the earth, but Coyote keeps breeding. And in the end, who is really the top dog, humans who build nuclear bombs and nuclear power plants, choke their air with heavy metals, and eat food produced in a science lab, instead of grown on the earth as intended, or Coyote who has outsmarted us every step of the way and given us something to laugh at too? I place my bets on Coyote, who will survive all of us.