Wednesday, March 06, 2013

Messages from the Universe

This winter we've experienced a curious phenomenon in our bathroom.  A phenomenon that some would not consider a sign from the universe, but rather a sign to call the Orkin man.  However, here at Faerie Gardens, where we live in a 25-year-old drafty mobile home, we've become quite used to sharing our space with even the least desirable of Mother Nature's children.

In this instance, I'm talking about slugs.  Not those giant scary looking things that destroy your lettuce and tomatoes; the slugs coming from under our tub are tiny, less than an inch long.  (And yes, for all I know they *could* grow into those giant things that destroy your lettuce and tomatoes, but they're so tiny & cute!)  They creep out a few inches on the linoleum, turn around, and head back underneath.  I am sure they are alive & awake because our house is not well insulated, and it is warm enough under the trailer; and they come up and inside because it's even warmer in here.  (That's also why we have ladybugs, stink bugs, wasps, flies, etc. inside in the early spring and fall.)

But still I can't help finding out what message these little slugs are sending me. Slugs and snails are related but snails are different in that they carry a shall, their home, right along with them, which offers them a safety that slugs do not have.  Therefore their messages are not the same...

From StarStuffs' Animal Totems Dictionary of Mollusks:
Slug teaches to smoothly move in your surroundings. He shows the art of pacing oneself and focusing on the goal along with determination, strength and persistence. He shows how to move in a slow and steady pace by grounding in attitudes and principles all the while taking small steps toward the goal. Slug teaches the power of letting go of what is not needed. Letting go of harmful thoughts, ideals and emotions, this is how to move forward! It is time to "leave it behind." He also teaches navigational abilities and agility in the dark, unknown and all that is hidden with confidence. Heightened sensitivity to vibrations, the ability to see with clarity and the tactics of reservation and withdrawal when needed. Slug will show when to move and times to rest. There is great power in this timing. Pay attention to your perceptions and senses along with your dreams for they will aid you in the direction you should be going. Slow down and enjoy the moment.

From a forum at
Slug seems very vulnerable, yet that vulnerability can be its strength and protection. Slug can curl itself up or make itself long and skinny to get into whatever space it needs at the time. Slug is a bit of a shapeshifter! Flexible and molding itself into the moment, sometimes disappearing into the woodwork if need be.

And at the same forum, this was quoted from, but the original site is gone:
Slugs are gastropods and mollusks with a soft body and no shell, or only a rudimentary shell inside the body. The Slug spoken of here is the terrestrial slug, such as the banana slug or garden slug; not the Sea Slug, which would be looked at separately. Slugs are hermaphroditic, and the gender-neutral pronouns "sie" and "hir" will be used for this page.

Slug is a very "mystical" sort of Spirit Animal. While animals like mountain lion or raccoon are very earth-based, Slug has a more ethereal quality to hir teachings. Slug leaves trails that are iridescent... seemingly magical. These trails are often interpreted to be signs and totems left by Slug, and can be interpreted. Slug is a great communicator, both mundane and spiritual. Slug is nocturnal and has ties with the moon.

Slug Medicine is in its most primal basic form that of a healer. Not too long ago, Native Americans used to let Banana Slug crawl around in their mouths when they had a toothache, because Slug's mucous is an anesthetic. Slug's wisdom includes that of healing body, mind, and spirit, and represents the connections that must be healthy between these for overall well-being.

Slug can cling to glass, upside down, yet to the touch, the "slime" is slick and is used to rid hirself of gunk... like anything wet and sliming around in the leaves and dirt would collect. It just slides off of Slug (you can see it at the end of their tails sometimes). This is another part of Slug's wisdom -- letting go, or leaving behind the "junk" and garbage of life... rumors, bad feelings, stories, material ties, attachment and so on. Slug is of balance, represented by sticky mucous to help hir hold on when it is important -- a solid base -- versus slick slime to help hir shed the trivial things.

Slug is not very connected to the physical world. Slug may lose part of hir body during mating; this is for the continuation of the species and is not mourned (it does in fact help slugs in the long run). Slug sheds hirself of all material things. Sie eats on the move. Sie shelters wherever there may be shelter.

Slug's medicine also includes incredible strength. Particularly hidden strength. It may not seem like it, looking at that little squishy critter with no bones and only a rudimentary shell inside. But Slug is almost pure muscle. Sie moves by tiny ripples of those muscles. The foot muscles are the most evidence of this... you can see them moving watching a slug on a piece of glass, from underneath.

Slug also has the Wisdom of self-protection and hiding. Slug can pull hirself almost entirely under hir mantle, protecting most of hir vital organs. Sie protects hirself from predators in this way. Sie also protects hirself from the harsh sun and dryness by hiding under a stone or piece of wood or in a crack, emerging in the gentle night.

Part of Slug's teachings include simplicity. Slugs live simply (survival -- food/shelter/reproduction) and are simple organisms.

Also, Slug's wisdom is that of seeing the world of spirit and shadow -- seeing beyond the mundane and clairvoyance. Slug can't "see" in terms of shape and color. They see in pure light and shadow.

Slug has a great deal to teach us about gender and sexuality. Slug may be considered to be a combination of both male and female, or an independent gender. They can reproduce with any other Slug (and suffer no sexism!), and also by themselves if a suitable partner can't be found. Slug, like many other living things, challenges the duality of deity. Exceptionally fertile, many slugs lay hundreds of eggs at a time.

Also from the same forum (and verified in my own copy of the book) from Ted Andrews' Animal-Wise:
Keynote: Movement to the light; increasing fertility and divination.

The slug is a member of the snail family, but without the shell. They are essentially snails that have lost or almost lost their shells. The internal organs that are usually housed in the shell of a snail are packed into the body of a slug.

The slug is an ancient tool for divination, often considered sacred. It's slimy trail was guidance in life and in decisions. When placed within a flower, it's trail was the sacred writing of a future marriage partner. It is a symbol of the male seed, the origin of life, the silent slow tendency of darkness to move toward the light.

The slug is related to the yod in the Hebrew alphabet, both being very similar in shapes. In Qabalistic traditions, the letter yod stands for the occult faculty of touch and of the sexual union. It is shaped like the sacred seed. In the Qabalistic Tree of Life, the yod is associated with the path of the Hermit, the Wayshower or the Adept.

When the slug appears as a totem or messenger, we are opening to higher vision. A new path is opening: "This path (the Hermit Path) and its symbols and imagery place before us opportunities to become a new person. On a spiritual level this path stimulates a greater commitment to the spiritual life. We are setting energy in motion that proclaims to the universe, "I am ready to accept change in my life!" {From Ted Andrews book: More Simplified Magic.} The slug's appearance reminds us that we will soon recognize and realize the illumination that is always present within us.

Slugs vary in size and they live in damp places. Some live entirely underground. They are most active at night or after a daytime shower. They move through hydraulics. This means rather than moving through the work of muscles against joints, they move through the interaction of muscles and fluid movement. The body fluids contract the muscles, causing the slug to stretch and push. As it relaxes, it becomes smaller, until the fluid advances once more through the muscles. Remember that the slug moves slowly but steadily, a reminder there are no shortcuts.

For those to whom the slug is a totem or messenger, care of the body joints will often be important. Exercising in pools and in activities that are not hard on the joints will be most beneficial. On a spiritual level, the slug is a reminder that the Biblical phrase, "Ask and it shall be given..." is active within our life. The slug reminds us that if we know the proper way to ask, we will begin to manifest that which we need or desire.

In the slug is the deception of appearances. Most slugs feed near ground level, eating decaying plant matter and even some worms. Many are excellent climbers, and this unexpected ability is a reminder that we can often do much more than what we may have thought physically and spiritually possible. Let others think what they will and then let them be surprised at what you accomplish and the heights you reach. The slug reminds you the magic to do what you wish is already present in spite of what others might say.

Slugs are hermaphrodites, containing both male and female organs, but they do require interaction with other slugs. There is a two-way exchange of sperm between the mating pairs and the eggs are laid soon afterward. The eggs hatch almost a month later.

Hermaphrodites have both male and female sexual organs. Even though humans don't have both sets of organs, we are all a combination of male and female energies on other levels. Whenever the male and female are brought together on any level, a new birth results. When we do this within ourselves, we give birth to the Holy Child within. The slug reminds us that we are on the path to giving birth to our inner Holy Child.

Ask: Are you staying cloaked, afraid to come out and express your inner talents?

Ask: Are you trying to do too much too soon?

Ask: Are we not moving out on our own path?

Ask: Are we locked into the paths of others, rather than pursuing our own?

Ask: Are we ignoring our own illuminations?

Ask: Do we need to trust in our own ability to create?

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