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 Running Elk

My given native name, Running Elk, was bestowed in 2008 as I took my first steps as a fully fledged Medicine Man of the Zuni tradition. A most unlikely candidate for the role, my journey as a healer began some four years prior. The detour onto the shamanic way was most unexpected, yet has been one of the most rewarding challenges to date.
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26 Responses to An Early Ally

  1. 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…

  2. prewitt1970 says:

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

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

    • 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… 😉

  5. 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. 😉

  6. Sue Vincent says:

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

  7. 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.

  8. stevetanham says:

    Just read this again. Fascinating insights.

  9. Running Elk says:

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

  10. Pingback: A confusing statistic… | Shamanic Paths

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

  12. Pingback: HBO October schedule causes chaos | Shamanic Paths

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