14 April 2010

Jaguar Dream

Panthera onca has returned to the jungle of my mind. I dream a lot, nowadays, for reasons I have yet to fathom...and he is there often. I love him. I fear him. I respect him.

The jaguar is not as I knew it, once and not so long ago. Instead of standing, or stalking or growling, in my dreams now it is most often lying on the ground and seemingly sleeping. Not even its favorite four-legged foods strolling by can excite it to move. It raises its head occasionally, eyes half lidded; in sleep or lethargy I cannot tell. Maybe both.

This troubles me.

My jaguar dreams of the past have been vibrant with life, power and the odd bit of of animal violence. Not the juvenile splatter of horror films, but paeans to animal nature and glory. Sudden violence for its own sake appeals to me not in the least, and I believe jaguars feel the same. The difference is, they have to kill to survive. The dreams, Day-Glo vignettes of what it means to be feared for what one can do, and respected for what one symbolizes.  In my dreams of wearing jaguar spots, it is the magic and "shadow world" aspects that stand out the most. It is no surprise to me, nor should it be to anyone, that what draws me in is the mythical existence of the jaguar, its ability to slip between the material and spirit world.

Not that I believe in spirits. No, that wouldn't be rational, would it?

But back to the troubles. The jaguar now in my dreams has lost vitality, energy, life.  It exists, but only just so. The famous roar is fading into memory, and the coat is lacking sheen. The jaguar moves so little it is acquiring a layer of dust that uncomfortably reminds me of a stuffed animal in a run-down taxidermy shop. Only once in recent weeks, in my dreams, has it even bothered to move, and that was to shuffle slowly to a nearby stream bank for a quick lapping of water.

In this dream, I was watching the jaguar from across the stream. I was hiding in the grass and surreptitiously stealing glances at it through the waving of the stalks. It was hot, humid, and the smell of wet vegetation was clogging my nostrils. The jaguar lay in some underbrush, on its side, head down and flanks heaving sluggishly in the gelatinous-seeming air. I don't know how long I stared, in dream time it is so difficult to track, but I remember getting drowsy. My head nodded toward my chest, eyes slowly closing. Then, the wind shifted to blow in the direction of the beast. I was no longer downwind.

Its tailed twitched, once, twice, three times. Small puffs of dust wafted up from where the tip struck the ground. It uttered a low growl, and the hair on my neck stood up so fast it felt like it pulled my eyes wide open. The beautiful beast raised his head, mouth agape as it scented the wind. The eyes opened wider, jewels of unearthly greenish-gold. It sniffed deeply, and those eyes locked onto me, I was sure of it. I froze.

The jaguar did not leap up, did not come charging across the stream. Instead, it stood up slowly with a languid stretch until it was fully upright. It stared right at me, and I would have been a fool to think I was unseen. The jaguar, it knew.

Three, five, seven breaths...I could see now that it was thin, the fur dull, the eyes fading. It moved slowly, almost painfully, down to the water's edge. The eyes never left my face, until it bent its weary, magnificent head down to drink. Heavy jaws, lovely in their blocky elegance, opened and the beast lapped up the water at a deliberate pace. When it was done, it raised its head and sat down on haunches gone thin from disuse or lack of food. It stared, unblinking, and began to growl softly.

I know you,  it seemed to say and I heard its gravelly rumble as the voice of an old man in my head, I know you...and as I am, you shall be. It bared its fangs.

My heart began to pound, and reflexively I wanted to run. As its jaws opened wider, I started, frightened, and I awoke to the sound of gasping breath. I was sheened with a thin layer of cold sweat, my heart was racing. It was still dark outside, some ungodly hour, and there was a low rumbling sound seeping through the windows of my bedroom. It sounded like a truck or motorcycle downshifting on the nearby business road.

At least, that is what I told myself. As I lay back against the pillows, the sound faded away, but those green-gold eyes burned as bright as ever, there on the insides of my eyelids. I did not sleep well.

Photo borrowed  from LiveScience.com


  1. You reckon the jaguar rode away on a motorcycle? Makes sense, I've always seen them as the biker type.

    Crazy dreams buddy, but at least it isn't attacking you!

  2. Too early to analyze, but wow. Yikes.

  3. I actually held my breath at one point.

  4. i'm not sure if this is a dream or story morphed from a dream, but it is awesome. And you are right, that jaguar is you. You were looking at another part of yourself.

  5. wow. And I am surprised Movie did not mention her jaguar serendipity...

  6. I think in the unearthly green-gold eyes of the jaguar, you're seeing yourself, and it's time for moseying to the stream to quench your thirst, gaze at your reflection, and . . . heal. Methinks it's worth embracing your quiet, if unsettled, self for a while.

    And hydrating. That's why you dreamed of the stream. Can't let yourself shrivel up! :)


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Don't suffer your crimes
Let the love in your heart take control..."

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