Before I Croak
There is one sound that above all others I love to hear in the evening. As I sit outside on my porch on a summer's evening I am drawn to the cacophony of frogs croaking and gurgling their stories of the transfigurations of the day.
"Hey Kermit did you see that hottie on the lily pad this AM. She certainly made me croak."
Or, "Listen up everyone we just had our tadpoles. My wife made it through okay. This is our fifth round but still I nearly croaked when the Doc told me how many. Good little swimmers though. You can tell already. They'll go far."
I imagine these esthetically wanting creatures diving deep into the darkness of the algae free pond at the back of my house, sticking their heads out of water when they need to come up for a gulp of air or need to vault onto their next lily pad when its their time to teleport. I hear them and I am transported to childhood frolics around the streams that frequented our land in the spring. As a youngster, I used to love to catch poly wogs. I would spend hours lying on my belly by the creek scooping up these "on the way to becoming" frog critters, marveling how anything so small could be transformed into an earth leaping, water swimming, air breathing creature.
Frog Encounters of the very best kind:
In my early school years I used to catch frogs from our farm ponds in order to feed the snakes in the terrarium at the back of the science classroom. Feeding the snakes allowed me to keep them happy because if they were full I could play with them at my desk rather than listen to the minister who visited the schools weekly for our religious tutorials. I loved Thursdays with my snake.
In another youthful encounter with frog energy I was introduced to the world of literature or at least fairy tales. As I lay on a hospital bed after a tonsillectomy at age 8, I discovered that books had been written on frog princes'. Amazing how kissing something so ugly could be the necessary antidote for transforming into something so beautiful like a prince!
Eventually along my many "frogged" red road I wound up in Cameroons, Africa in a refugee camp under a forest covered mountain that housed and guarded the dictator of the time. We had travelled over some pretty rough roads with long delays trying to cross rivers that only had broken down bridges traversing their breadth so by the time we arrived in Cameroon's capital we were hungry. I mean really hungry! So we decided to trek to the village French restaurant and have a proper meal. They were serving -you guessed it- frogs legs. I mean you had to try it. We'd heard they tasted just like chicken. In fact they did. It was disconcerting however to hear them in the back ground saying their farewells to family and friends as they headed for the French kitchen and our dinner plate.
But why this sudden interest in frogs?
Saturday was the Blackfoot Moon Sweat Lodge. The community had gathered around the fire, welcomed in Creator and the spirits of our ancestors and relatives when I noticed a very small green frog at my feet. I made a remark about how adorable he was because indeed he was adorable. ( Emma, my mother once told me that 'cute' was only acceptable for toddlers or babies so a more acceptable word would be adorable) So this adorable green frog with stripes hopped around in the grass for all to see and feel his energy of air, water and earth. As it leapt amongst the twigs and soil where it was hard to even see the adorableness, it suddenly changed directions and began to leap towards the fire until it was only a few inches away. No worries. We were silently convinced that it would feel the heat and leap backwards away from the source. What happened next was something totally unexpected and breathtaking. This frog took one giant leap and purposely sprang into the marriage bed of the grandfather's and grandmother's, the stone people and the tree people and was extinguished in less than a millisecond.
Native peoples understand and embrace the Divine connection within all creation. Two legged's are one with animals, the winged ones, amphibians, creepy crawlies, the star people, Grandmother Moon, Father Sky, Grandfather Sun and Mother Earth and vice versa. So what on Mother Earth could be my/our connection to this sacrificial death by leap frog? What could it signify was the general exclamation that murmured its way through the circle of relatives and family?
While a frog that jumps into our lives may indicate that it is time for transitions and transformations what could it mean to bear witness to this self sacrifice? Frog understands what it is like to undergo growth, changes and struggles to emerge into adulthood but why the deliberate leap into that which would take its life? What did it mean? What was it about? What lesson? What did this symbolize for those of us who were present for this sacrificial offering?
According to my many sources for animal totem information and my personal experience of frog they "do indeed lay an enormous quantity of eggs and are connected in some traditions with fertility and abundance. Some cultures see frog as a symbol of metamorphosis, dreaming, healing, renewal, rebirth, and even good luck. Healing powers may be associated with the frog's connection to water and cleansing rains. Resurrection and spiritual evolution because of its 3 stages of development."
Frog has been thought in some traditions to ensure the passage of one spirit into the next spirit realm. This past week between my friends 3 dogs have made their transitions into the sand hills. May be it was a reminder of the fragility of life and one leap in the wrong direction and we return to Mother Earth. UMMM Maybe! What more however could our leaping frog signify for the participants of the Moon Lodge? Did we need to learn how to swim through tough life changes or were we being called to bring to birth something new- leaving behind the spring of warrior and new beginnings to embrace the energy of hunter, and shadow? Did we need to clear away the dross and separate it from the gold? Since it is connected to water was it a sign to develop intuition and our emotional lives by leaping willingly into the sacred flames of Creator's arms? Symbols fall to each of us individually and in community to determine their significance for our journeys along the red road. For me a leaping frog who jumps into a highly passionate fiery energy signifies a dramatic note from Creator. Something to pay attention to and grapple with for some kind of meaning.
The frog was moving toward the East and forward into the fire, the element of the South. Connected to air, water and earth frog stands in all 3 elements of Spirit and therein lies its power. For the Blackfoot Indians, furthermore small is beautiful and mighty. Take the butterfly the totem of the Blackfoot. It is small but it is powerful enough to be a totem for a tribe. Our frog was small but powerful enough to discombobulate a community of sweat lodgers who pondered and continue to ponder its meaningful action.
For me, this frog was both a note to self about living one's purpose and life by taking that leap of faith into Sacred Fire, into Creator and also a reminder of how grappling with the sometimes incomprehensible can often leave one bewildered in the Mystery, the Seventh Direction, the Within.
Each creature or creation is a living fire of Power, Sacrifice, and Love and this strange event was a vibrant spiraling medicine wheel and into its vortex do we all go when we are called by Spirit and accept the call to trust in the truth of who and whose we are. This frog channeled the path that is necessary for all to take on their spiritual quest to discover their purpose and meaning. From my perspective I see more deeply "the genesis of the ever-widening breadth of life." This frog was a bridge to understanding the nature of all living beings.
I can not determine what this leaping frog communicates/ed to others but for me this little being now augers a deeper sense of connectivity to the skies, air, life, faith and the unknown. It informs my spirit about what is contained along the red road. It is my guide and assistance in the notion and actuality of healing through risk, my breathing in and breathing out of life, my willingness to honor and trust spirit's call. It brings with its hop both inspiration, and truth. If ever I have to kiss a frog and wonder if this kiss might resurrect a prince or princess within I shall do so willingly knowing now what I know partially and "fragily" about frog. I may however never eat frog's legs again or feed them to a snake or hunt their first born. What I will do is sit in the Mystery of the sacrifice of this little one for the benefit of clarifying Creator's purpose and blessing and Mystery - before I croak! May the spirit of frog bless you with purpose filled meaning for your journey.