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Fox Medicine: The Power of Camouflage, Shape-shifting and Resurrection

“As soon as the generals and the politicos can predict the motions of your mind, lose it. Leave it as a sign to mark the false trail, the way you didn’t go. Be like the fox who makes more tracks than necessary, some in the wrong direction. Practice resurrection.” ~ Wendell Berry

Fox is cross-culturally seen as a powerful animal-totem. In China and Japan there are myths of Kitsune foxes taking female human form. The Dogon of West Africa still practice Fox divinations today. The Blackfoot and Apache associate Fox with fire and the sun, crediting fox for stealing fire from the gods and gifting it to humanity.

Overall, Fox represents extreme cleverness and cunning which has led to the expressions, “sly as a fox” or “outfoxing.” Fox medicine involves adaptability, agility, misdirection, unpredictability, and the ability to see through deception.

It symbolizes keen observation, deep integration, and the ability to out-trick tricky situations. The shaman wielding fox medicine is a dream-catcher, a visionary able to read between the lines and invoke the abilities of adaptability, shape-shifting and rebirth.

Camouflage and adaptability:

“I am sometimes a fox and sometimes a lion. The whole secret of government lies in knowing when to be the one or the other.” ~ Napoleon Bonaparte

Fox is a master at the art of camouflage. Being a night creature, she is imbued with supernatural powers. She is in the brambles, reverse-engineering snares in the dark. Only occasionally flashing her fox-fire (will-o’-the-wisp), she is crimson and scarlet in deep shadows. The night is her canvas. Dusk is her alarm clock. Dawn is her twilight. She sees between worlds because she’s between Time and Place.

The shaman wielding fox medicine is an artist using the dreams of the collective unconscious as paint to create visionary art. She excavates archetypes while everyone else is asleep, then she puts it all together while she sleeps, awakening with chameleon magic. It’s all medium. It’s all mode. It’s all a vehicle the shaman channels into waking camouflage which she uses to adeptly adapt to almost any environment.

Shape-shifting and cunning:

“Shape-shifting requires the ability to transcend your attachments, in particular your ego attachments to identity and who you are. If you can get over your attachment to labeling yourself and your cherishing of your identity, you can be virtually anybody. You can slip in and out of different shells, even different animal forms or deity forms.” ~ Zeena Schreck

With detachment and deep intuition, the shaman wielding Fox medicine is able to step back from almost any situation and get a more holistic view of things. She transcends the ordinary. Her ability to blend has taken over to such an extent that she becomes Blendedness itself. She goes beyond labels, beyond pigeonholed egos and limited identity. She has become numinous, directly interdependent with the underlying process.

She is Fox-Woman seducing men. She is Fox-Man tricking men, but she is not foremost a trickster. She is Fox-Buffalo, Fox-Coyote, and Fox-Crow. As Ruth Brown said, “A fox is a wolf who sends flowers.” Indeed. Fox has even been known to outfox herself, stumbling into underhandedness and chicanery. But she always finds her way back to the essence of things through her cunning and wit.

She outfoxes Life as well as Death. Mortality and ashes are mere makeup. She is Hopi Letaiyo. She is Innu Fox Master. She is Kitsune whipping her nine tails at eternity, outfoxing God herself. Indeed. She is Fox-God.

Resurrection and rebirth:

“”Reality” is just a word and you shouldn’t use it without quotation marks around it anyway.” ~ Joseph Campbell

Along the human leitmotif of the life-death-rebirth process, resurrection is foremost, permeating almost all our ancient mythologies. Other than the butterfly, no other creature symbolizes resurrection better than the fox. With her ability to shape-shift into anything, there is no reason to assume she cannot cunningly shape-shift into a caterpillar, cocoon, or butterfly. Or even from death into life. In many Fox mythologies, it is believed that these powers are contained in the fox’s tail.

The tail is the most sacred part of the fox. As such, there is perhaps no more powerful and intriguing a fox myth than that of the Nine-tailed Fox. In most mythologies, these foxes gain a new tail and increase their power every 100 years until they reach the full nine (1,000 years), when they then ascend to a demigod-like status. But another way to interpret the mythology is through resurrection, where each new tail represents a rebirth from death or from a Dark Night of the Soul. As Atticus profoundly states, “Let my death be a long and magnificent life.”

The shaman wielding Nine-tail Fox medicine is a shaman who has experienced multiple Dark Nights of the Soul. She uses the energy to empower continual rebirth and self-overcoming. This medicine is also powerful in aiding shamanic transmigration between worlds and bodies, thus smoothing the crossing and re-crossing of thresholds along the ancient monomyth, making it easier to transfer otherworldly elixir (medicine) into the mortal realm.

As the German proverb states, “What the lion cannot manage to do, the fox can.”

Image source:

Fox Shaman
The Nine-tailed Fox

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  • Gary 'Z' McGee, a former Navy Intelligence Specialist turned philosopher, is the author of Birthday Suit of God and The Looking Glass Man. His works are inspired by the great philosophers of the ages and his wide awake view of the modern world.

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