Jaguars and Leopards
I remember being fascinated and in love with Black Panthers, since being a very young girl. One of my secret dreams, was to find a baby jaguar who had fallen off a truck belonging to a travelling circus. Needless to say, my dream did not come to pass. I did learn the name jaguar comes from the Native American word yaguar, which means “he who kills with one leap.” These powerful hunters sometime climb trees to prepare ambushes and jump down on their prey. One reason for this is that despite jaguars being rapid runners they tire quickly, so rely on proximity rather than sustained speed while hunting. They also have the strongest jaw of all the big cats. Unlike their genetic family, the Jaguar kills by crushing its huge incisors through the skull of their prey. Other Big Cats kill by suffocating their prey, by crushing the wind pipe.
In our present day lexicon, we have used the term Black Panther to refer to any big cat with a condition of melanism. Technically, Black Panthers generally refer to Black Leopards, and Black Jaguars, are referred to as what they are. The discoloration of panthers from the typical spotted or striped fur is caused by melanism, the increased amount of dark pigmentation in the skin or hair of animals. At times, melanism may also occur not only to the skin or hair but also to eyes and to some birds’ feathers.
There is a difference between the panther and the jaguar, when it comes to the specific physical attributes. These magnificent cats, have slight differences; Jaguars usually weigh around 56-96 kilos (125-215 lbs). The panthers, on the other hand, would weigh around 75 to 114 kilos (100-250 pounds). They would also have a difference in the length. The range of the length of the jaguars would be around 1.5 – 2 metres (5-6 feet) whereas the range of the panthers’ length could go from 2 – 2.5 metres (7-8 feet), from nose tip to tail tip. One look at the Black Panther and it is obvious, these Big Cats are a study in controlled strength and will. With thickly corded muscles, long, sharp teeth and claws capable of shredding and ripping prey that may weigh up to 1200 pounds these magnificent creatures embody the essence of Power. All of this is contained within a frame that averages, (5 to 6 feet) in length (from tip of nose to tip of tail), and weighs anywhere between 75 and 160 pounds (depending upon the species of Black Panther and whether it is male or female).
Mysticism surrounds the Black Panther. For centuries our Ancestors have observed these graceful predators, prowling the jungles of their domain; slipping, black as midnight vapor, between tree limbs and vines. The Jaguar is the LEAST LIKELY of all the Panthers (all predatory animals) to attack a human. Black Panther’s has a penetrating yellow-green gaze, evoking a sense that he is capable of looking into the ~future~ hence this beautiful cat is closely linked to Seers and Prophets.
I have had the privilege of befriending people who have Black Panther as a power animal. Many of them can see quite clearly through the darkness and piercing through lies and illusions. Some also have the gift of insight into the reasoning, action and motive of others, and can appear almost prophetic when warning another of the ramifications that may befall them, should their current motives remain ulterior, selfish or evasive. If you do not wish to know the ~truth~ of what a Black Panther soul feels or believes, do not ask, for they will always “tell it like it is.”
As Black Panther often pads beside one with great inner strength, there is often evidence of personal Power within the human counterpart. The interesting thing, is watching the unfolding of that Power for those blessed with this Power animal/spirit kin.
Black Panthers and Energy Awareness
Everything about Black Panther has been geared toward a heightened awareness of his/her surroundings, and Nature has equipped this big cat well in the art and skill of survival. With ears capable of capturing the smallest of movement, eyes that can penetrate through the dark blanket of night, and a powerful sense of smell, Black Panther is able to locate and track prey with a skill matched by few predators in the wild.
Yet there also seems to be an intuitive understanding of when the best time is to strike, as often these beautiful creatures will await just the perfect moment and seize the opportunity with a lethal pounce.
Black Panther as a companion spirit will have a heightened sense of awareness. Sometimes this will manifest purely as a physical acuity and these individuals may possess an extraordinary sense of hearing, sight or smell. Yet this heightened awareness may also manifest in the form of sensitivity to non-physical stimuli, or pure energy.
Most traditions refer to a Universal energy that flows through all things. The ability to sense this connection may be present, at the moment of entry onto the physical plane, however, it may take years for the individual to nurture, hone and perfect sensing. Yet as the ability to tune into energy develops, those who has Black Panther as their companion spirit, will be able to sense the feelings, energies and intent of other individuals. This heightened awareness is not only limited to those persons whom the Black Panther soul is in immediate physical proximity, they are also excellent at long distance energy sensing and can immediately “tune in” on the condition of one with whom they are communicating, regardless of any physical distance.
In Maya civilizations the jaguar was the formidable God of the Underworld, and helped the sun travel under the Earth at night, ensuring it would rise each morning. The Olmecs understood jaguars to be divine gods possessing the ability to jump-start earthquakes.
Listen to a Jaguar:
Shape-shifting and Transformation
The Black Panther, in my journeys, is a Shapeshifter. As we shift through the various layers and permeations, of the world within and without, I feel uniquely capable of piercing the veil of darkness that dwells in the heart and mind of an unintegrated Soul. It is clear to me, there is nothing in that darkness to be feared, for the Light of acknowledgment will disperse the blackness and illuminate the Way through the jungle of unresolved issues, pain and old “programming”
The early life experiences of one with whom Black Panther walks will never be “easy,” as these souls will seem to attract and/or elicit strong reactions both within themselves and from “Others.” Early on this may tend to give the Panther soul a sense of isolation, as they struggle to find their own identity, for the way in which they view and approach life, often attracts attention and leaves them feeling as a stranger in a strange land. These individuals may engender powerful, deep loyalties and great affection from those who know them, or there will be an equally strong aversion from Others that may result in verbal and/or physical attacks against the Black Panther Soul. Perhaps part of the reason behind such ardent and dichotomous reactions, lies within the inherent Power and Awareness of these individuals.
As long as the one beside whom Black Panther journeys, operates from integration and Higher Intent, and the individuals with whom Panther interacts are also functioning from self-acknowledgment and conscious awareness, Black Panther’s penetrating gaze and direct approach will not be felt as a threat or seen as intimidation. Yet for one who is operating from selfishness, evasion or deceit, the force of Panther sou’s insight may be seen as a direct threat.
At some stage, it is imperative that Black Panther individual acknowledge their own Power (part of the process of reclaiming this gift), learn to discern when they may be tempted to “misuse” it for selfish or harmful ends, and conquer such baser tendencies that the full beauty of their gifts may be expressed. This is the highest expression of Transformation.
Other resources you may enjoy:
- Our podcast on Black Panther.
- Other shape-shifters, found in this article on tricksters and their ways, or it’s companion podcast.
- More posts about power animals can be found linked to our Medicine Wheel page.
- Looking for your own power animal? Try this lower world journey, or guided meditation.
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