Scratching and clawing is never a good start to a new beginning. I mean, maybe for badgers. But it seems that their claws are heading towards something, whereas human claws are chasing away from something, holding onto something, like a concrete weight of the past, or clenching some indigestible truth, or maybe just distressing the Earth beneath without purpose.
Talk about one fierce bite.
This enables the badger to maintain its hold with the utmost tenacity, but limits its jaw movement to hinging open and shut, or sliding from side to side without the twisting movement possible for the jaws of most mammals.
Twisting movement. Side to side. Flexibility.
Funny thing about the jaw, the mandible. Hugh Milne, Visionary Craniosacral Therapist, says that it is the “bone of the visuddha, the throat soul, which represents both expression and absorption” (192). Milne continues to explain that it is the bone most “associated with the individual’s sense of who [s]he is” (192).
What about that badger? A one-purpose life to the chagrin of honeybees and English archeologists. Apparently, "a lovely manmade mound is just perfect for [badgers], so they're actually attracted to ancient monuments,” including Stonehenge. See, badgers have been digging holes, big holes, such that the professionals are afraid that they are destroying the value of the sites, and quite literally causing safety hazards because they are creating holes so large that the structures could actually collapse. The badger doesn’t stop its path because of the past. Even a really cool past that humans revere.
Maybe the badger’s job isn’t about being flexible, but teaching humans the same. Things change. We know this, and are still shocked when they do. Pillars of thought and expectations can crumble like a sandcastle on the sand, just ask the Romans or American Homeowners, and we can dig against the tide or we can dig on. Like the badger.
It’s the movement of our life that trips the script. The “I just got here’s” and the “Where did these come from’s?” that take the wind out of our sails, or the spunk out of our recreating of meaning, one pawful of dirt at a time.
In animal translation, meaning metaphors or emotional tones an animal may carry, some credit badger with being the representation of a tenacious healer, or a dictator that will suffer no ends to meet with justice or reparation; others say that badger can speak to the need to cultivate a tenacity to fight for your dreams while “aggressively removing the barriers that don’t grow corn” (Sams, Carson, Werneke).
Perhaps badger isn’t a great representation of flexibility, as his jaw is so powerful and straightforward, but he is a great reminder of moving through staleness that prevents growth; of a tenacity we all carry that moves us through, clears the field for the new, clearing a landscape for Self expression.
How are we ever expecting to be nourished if we simply gnaw on the same piece of deadwood? That powerful jaw and those determined claws are for movement, for moving on. That’s what the badger does. Do you?
Perhaps scratching and clawing is a good way to a new beginning, as long as our claws aren’t collapsing the walls around us, fighting momentum with inertia. Perhaps Longfellow knew it; it’s not that you are happy or unhappy, but further than yesterday. Perhaps that is what we need to unclench our taste for the easy and light, and take hold onto the grit of our growth:
Life is real! Life is earnest!
And the grave is not its goal;
"Dust thou art, to dust returnest,"
Was not spoken of the soul.
Not enjoyment, and not sorrow,
Is our destined end or way;
But to act, that each to-morrow
Finds us farther than to-day.
“The more disoriented you are, the more you know you are growing,” a coffee compadre told me of his new business, now standing on the molehill of his success. The only movement is forward, remembering that Nature moves in spirals. So as you dig and as you claw, give yourself the space to breathe, to rest, to renegotiate and to turn around, smelling into the moment when you again stand, stretching into the new horizon of you.
In Inspiration from and Gratitude to Emily & of course the badger