Wednesday, 18 February 2015


Living in Western Canada gives many opportunities for encountering the spirits of the Land, Trees and Animals. We are blessed with an abundance of wild animals which are a joy to see, and on the very rare occasions, an absolute gift to commune with.

Imbolc weekend saw the family and I out to Kananaskis Country for an evening supper picnic. The picnic area was deserted and we had some quiet family moments at the magical time of sunset.

As we sat around the fire, a little fox walked out of the underbrush right up to the little picnic site! Here was a rarity - we see them from a distance, but I had never experienced a wild animal benignly walking directly up to us.

I felt that it was likely a "she" despite everyone calling it "Mr. Fox" and she was clearly used to either being fed from picnickers or foraging for the careless leftovers. Either way, she skirted the site, but never very far. If we just stood watching, she'd approach sniffing around. The kids soon lost their fascination (particularly when we wouldn't let them closer to pet it[!!]) and went back to playing in the mud and snow. My husband gently but insistently chased her off.

A bit later, after it was darker, she snuck back to the site. I heard and felt her before I saw her - she was sitting in a leafless shrub waiting again. This time, she looked so like a dog begging for food it was comical. But once again we wouldn't let the kids feed or go near her.

The fact I felt her before seeing her told me there was more than meets the eye to this encounter and that night read up on the Fox, Sionnach, in the Druid Animal Oracle.

The guidebook for the DAO is written with cartomancy in mind, and so there is a bit of interpretation needed. I can neither draw the Sionnach upright nor reversed, so I read through each of the descriptions.

If I hadn't thought this was an Otherworld moment, the first thing to reach my eyes sealed it: "There is a folk saying [in Scotland]: 'When the Feast of Brighid (Imbolc) is past, the fox won't trust his tail to the ice'" (p. 34). She had indeed come out of a boggy area that could have been frozen but the recent warm weather also made it unlikely to be safe.

"Working with the power of the fox, you will know when it is time to come out into the open and be counted." My recent Druid Grade initiation and first steps along the path of Druid, brought me out into the open just that very afternoon. I was meeting a potential new member to our small community and it was a freeing experience to speak of my life and path openly.

Positive Sionnach attributes include knowing also when to keep your own counsel and being diplomatic.

Just as these positive aspects were heartening and encouraging, the reverse opposite energy needs to be understood and integrated just as thoroughly. The "fox-power" can easily turn cleverness to dishonesty.  "Knowing and kenning can easily become cunning and conning".

When drawn as a card in a spread, a reversed Sionnach could also mean coming into contact with that part that feels a victim. While that may not be applicable to me personally at this moment, it did inform my earlier meeting and reinforced the advice I gave: we each need to take care of ourselves in the way that is the most appropriate at the time... Just as a fox "lies low" for a while.

Beannachtaí /|\