Next in line for the animals that make up the earth element in The Wild Unknown Animal Spirit deck (animals found in the forests and woodlands) is the Raccoon. For those who have been keeping track, the Raccoon (although lacking a numerological association) is in the fifth spot of rising consciousness for this element.
The first four animals were the Bear, Earthworm, Mouse, and Rabbit. If you want to read on the progression of each animal to the next, start with the Bear, and begin to follow me along in this blog series.
Taking the space of the fifth spot is significant because significance and meaning that I use and talk about when working with the tarot (and here with oracle) is that the fives speak to change, challenge, inquiry, and confronting. I say confronting not in a negative way as in confrontation or fighting (although it could be that), but confronting as in confronting something head on, meeting it where it is, and working through it.
These themes of change, challenge, inquiry, and facing up will all be seen when working with the Raccoon.
Leaning into your talents and approaching your shadow with the Raccoon
The last card (and blog post) was about approaching fears and finding foundations with the Rabbit. In that blog post, I mentioned that building solid foundations for yourself are never without fear. There is always going to be a hurdle, an obstacle, or something that could derail your grounded self from actualizing your wants and needs.
Because we are in the earth element we are working with energies of actions, spaces taken, manifestations, and how we move through this world- bringing our spirit, mind, and hearts into the physical. The Rabbit asked you to consider, “What are you putting your energy into, and how is it affecting your life?”
Are you putting all your energies into fears, doubts, or things that keep the merry-go-round of negative self-perceptions or negative perceptions of life turning? Building on those teachings from the Rabbit, we now move into the energies of the Raccoon. With the Raccoon we are now working with energies of identity, self-expression through actions, and ego.
The Raccoon is the card that asks us to confront our ego selves, our shadow selves, and the things that we do, offer, or give that speak to and from the self.
The first thing to take in when working with this animal is the archetype and symbolism of the mask. Raccoons are well-known for their iconic mask. Working with the mask gets to the heart of identity of the persona. The persona is the identity, voice, or personality that is projected into the external world. Everyone dons certain masks in their world and in their life, and this is where the juxtaposition of the mask comes into play.
The mask can conceal and hide, and this is what we often think about with masks, that they hide the “true” face of the person wearing the mask. However, the mask also reveals and expands the self. It allows the person wearing the mask to let out, act, or speak to something that has previously been kept away or rejected in other parts of life. We see this a lot at this time of year with Halloween right around the corner. Does wearing the Scream mask take your inner fears and channel them to the external? Does wearing the hockey mask of Jason allow you to suspend the rational and reasonable self and don a level of psycho-ness that is actually a little liberating? Does a costume allow you to release the tight restrictions from daily life and become someone else, even if for a night?
We see this all the time in entertainment and with artists. Just to name a few: David Bowe, Prince, Maria Brink, Beyonce, Madonna, Eminem, Andy Warhol, Slipknot, Daft Punk, Sia, Orville Peck, and many more. You will notice that some of the masks are physical, and some are allegorical, telling a story and speaking without a physical item. Maria Brink from the metal band In This Moment (a band I love), has said that her more gothic, dark, sexual, and aggressive persona is an alter ego and that in real life she is a flower child, but the alter ego allows her to speak to the parts of her life where she was screaming on the inside. Eminem with Slim Shady has said that everyone has two sides to themselves, and sometimes that other side is sinister. Orville Peck has said that his mask removes the pretense when performing that he has to perform or sing a certain way.
These are all questions that come with the mask, and that the Raccoon asks you to consider. The Raccoon says that you need to create an understanding of the masks you wear to expand and free yourself, and which ones you are wearing to hide or conceal your true self. Your talents, persona, and self-expression can speak to the most authentic parts of yourself, freeing the need to hide who you are, or they can speak to the limited roles you have placed yourself in for fear of rejection, and an unwillingness to take new risks. Only you can decide what is true by connecting to yourself in the light and in the shadow, and integrating the two with intention. The Raccoon says: your connection to self-image, success, and authentic self-expression is part of mask you wear, or the mask you remove.
Guidance from the guidebook
Some key references from the guidebook
Keywords / phrases: Talented, Shadowy, In Hiding
When in balance: Generous friend, Exceptional Artist
When out of balance: Competitive, Starving artist
To bring into balance: Making new work
Following the guidance from the guidebook, working with the Raccoon asks you to consider where you give freely and authentically, without worrying about how it will be received or perceived. This goes back to the energies of the Rabbit in many ways. The Rabbit teaches you how to build supportive foundations and be sensitive to your energies. The Rabbit teaches you how to listen for understanding, and work problems through with a keen sense of movement and mindfulness. Once you do that, you have the ability to step into your shadow self, and connect to the wholeness of yourself.
Working with the Raccoon, this card asks you to consider what talents you have to connect to yourself, or that speak to the authentic you. The Raccoon asks you to consider what parts of yourself are hidden on purpose, and which ones are hidden out of that same fear from the Rabbit. The Raccoon asks you to see how you can grow by integrating parts of yourself in the shadow that crave and need freedom.
From the guidebook, the Raccoon says that the way to bring Raccoon energy into balance is to make new work. Much of the guidebook is related to artistic and creative energies (like talked about with the various artists and their personas), but I want to emphasize that even if you are the most rational or calculating person, you can still work with this card. Making new work could speak to creative endeavors, but I read this as simply doing something new in your life. It is about challenging yourself in a new area that connects you to yourself. It is about adapting, growing, and transforming through the challenge with inquiry (just like talked about with the numerology of the fives at the beginning).
The Raccoon is the card that asks you to touch in and feel what needs to expand with curiosity and tenacity.
Don or remove the mask needed so you can be free to be yourself