Listening to the Call of the Jaguar
Each of us has a life about which a story can be told. When coming up with the title for my memoir, I settled on The Necktie and The Jaguar because the contrast between the two images reflected the arc of my story: It began in the Midwest in the postwar era, continued through my ventures as a successful businessman in the oil and gas business, and then found my soul crying out for nourishment. I needed to get in touch with the self that was crying out for expression and a sense of connection to Source.
The jaguar was calling.
In Andean shamanism, which I studied and eventually taught workshops on, the jaguar represents the wild, mysterious self who is unafraid to explore unfamiliar landscapes. A jaguar can swim, so it can be found in the water, on the land, and in the trees—and is seen as a spirit animal that can travel between the visible and invisible realms, between the worlds of the living and the dead. I needed to connect with the archetypal energy of the jaguar so I could live more fully and authentically, free of the constrictions of a story of success that was written for me by my family and the community I was raised in.
Are you living according to a story written by someone else?
While I was doing a shamanic journey high on a mountain, using a ritual with the intention of calling the jaguar to come to me, the jaguar appeared—a powerful archetypal energy that demanded that I feed it. Somehow, I knew if I didn’t, it would feed on me. If I didn’t answer to the call of adventure, if I didn’t begin exploring the big questions of life—including Who am I? What am I? What is my purpose?—and feeding my soul, the constrictions of my life might lead me to develop health problems beyond the heart issues that my doctors had already discovered.
I needed to open myself up to a new destiny, to a life of moving more easily between the worlds: the hidden and the visible, the unconscious and the unconscious. By working with jaguar energy, I would transform my career and change my life in ways I couldn’t have imagined as a young man starting out on a traditional path to success as society defines it. I would discover aspects of myself I had no idea were there, waiting to be claimed.
My hope is that through reading my story in my interactive memoir The Necktie and The Jaguar and pondering some of the journaling questions in it that were inspired by my story’s themes, you can start to loosen your own proverbial necktie and connect with that part of yourself that wants to step off the familiar path.
Who might you become if you let go of fears and constrictions?
What would you free yourself to do differently?
How might your life change if you developed a different and closer relationship with Source?
What would happen if you listened to the jaguar’s call and your soul’s yearning to explore who you are and why you’re here?
Dare to ask the adventurous questions, to self-reflect and explore the invisible, transpersonal realms we all share in what Carl Jung called the collective unconscious. The wisdom, strength, and healing and peace you find there can lead to a personal evolution that brings you tremendous satisfaction.
Carl Greer, PhD, PsyD, is a retired clinical psychologist and Jungian analyst, a businessman, and a shamanic practitioner, author, and philanthropist funding over 60 charities and more than 850 past and current Greer Scholars. He has taught at the C.G. Jung Institute of Chicago and been on staff at the Replogle Center for Counseling and Well-Being.
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