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On Leopard Print

January 3, 2012

I’ve had a “thing” for leopard (realistically any spotted cat) print for a long time.   I was still living at home so it probably started in college though high school is a possibility.  It all started with this tapestry fabric that I made into a pillow. (Come to think of it, as a child I had a thing for black panthers which are actually black jaguars.)

My first leopard print item.

This pillow has made come with me on many, many moves.  Over the years, I have collected or been given many spotted items.

The majority (maybe) of my stash.

That isn’t even all of it…after I took the picture I remembered two rugs, a comforter, a dress, a drawing and some ceramic coasters.  There is probably even more than that around this house.

So what got me thinking about this?  The last tarot reading I did that said I need to channel my inner jaguar over the coming year.  I never really thought about my love of  this print as a manifestation of my inner kitteh.  Makes some sense though.  I like wearing the print it makes me feel good.  I tend to wear it also when I’m in need of some bravado.  One does not wear this print in the urban jungle and expect to hide.  It may for the animal in the wild, but not so much in civilization.

After doing the reading I wandered into the living room to find a Smithsonian magazine I haven’t read yet.  The cover?  A jaguar.  (I’m not into animal skulls though I found myself petting this picture wishing the skull was mine…Bizarre eh?) Even funnier was the fact that there was an article inside on buntings aka sparrows…another animal from that  same section of the reading.  (They are endangered because they make their nests on the ground.  The card was about getting past one’s fear…about getting off the ground to try something new.)

I did a little searching on the symbolism behind jaguars specifically. (Partially because of the tarot card, partially because of the magazine article, partially because of proximity.)  I found a lot that entertained my imagination.

  • There is Ahau Kin, the Mayan Sun god also called the Jaguar god, Lord of the Underworld who traveled through the underworld as a jaguar so that he could rise again in the east come dawn. (this gave me a mental image of a ying yang symbol with a jaguar as the day and a panther as the night)
  • Which led me to Ix Chel an”aged jaguar goddess of midwifery and medice.  She reminds me of Hekate.  (Ix means jaguar)
  • FromJaguar, Power Animal, Symbol of Solitary Path, Reclaiming Power, Shape shifting, Psychic Vision
    • There is a myth that the jaguar used to be a yellow cat but decided to add spots to his coat so dipped his paws in mud and dappled his coat.
    • “According to Mayan beliefs, the journey of the sun across the sky and the darkness of night represented the infinite journey of human consciousness and its transformations. The midday sun’s position was compared to the Eagle, flying high in the sky, to then plunge below the horizon, just as we plunge into the dark to face our spiritual challenges and to be transformed. The hidden sun was said to be Jaguar, whose spotted skin represents the stars glittering/shining in the night sky. Hence it was called the “Jaguar Sun.” Jaguar is the earth father, holding the authority over the sacred power of and in the earth, and the animals who live upon it. The force that lives within the mountains, giving them their volcanic and transformative power, is the same underworld source of energy and power contained within the Jaguar Sun. ” (now I know I’ve seen a picture of a panther with stars spotting its coat but of course I could not find it.)
      • This description reminds me of the recent reading I did on khthonic Zeus.
  • Leopards and panthers in Dionysos’ iconography are one of the things that attracted me to him and the Hellenic path…who lead me, in a round about way, to Zeus.
    • “The jaguar, specifically panther, is linked to the Roman god Bacchus (Greek Dionysus).  Bacchus was supposedly nursed by panthers, and in some depictions he is riding a chariot pulled by the large cats.  Bacchus is often thought of as the god of wine and mirth, but he is strongly linked to the unleashing of desires.  So, the panther, too, is a symbol of subconscious urges and abilities.  This is something the Aztecs and Mayans also had a notion of.  Both peoples spoke and taught about the power of becoming half-jaguar and half-human, because a person who can do this can be rid of all of his cultural restrictions and inhibitions.  In other words, he can finally act upon his hidden desires.” From Pure
  • “The jaguar is said to possess the transient ability of moving between worlds because of its comfort both in the trees and the water, the ability to hunt as well in the nighttime as in the daytime, and the habit of sleeping in caves, places often associated with the deceased ancestors.”  Wiki
  • “When humans were weak and were unable to survive, there came the Jaguars and copulated with humans and thus a new breed was established. The new offspring had the human attributes and the powers and intelligence of the Jaguar. Since then, we look for dark spots on the baby’s skin at birth, as well as the constellations of dark (spots) moles on the face or chest. In this way we know that this child is a Jaguar child” (mama Chica, 1989).  From”Lineages of the jaguar: the mythology of the jaguar in the Americas”  (I wonder what they would make of the moles on my face/body. [grin])

Gee just more and more stuff to reaffirm my attachment to these animal spots.  I’ll stop here.  If I find anything else that tickles my fancy I’ll be sure to post it.  MUHAHAHA!

4 Comments leave one →
  1. January 3, 2012 3:36 PM

    Ha ditto! I even have jaguar spots tattooed on my upper back (I had planned more but never got it done). I have something of a spiritual connection to jaguars, and to a similar degree leopards too. Some of this stuff I have read before but I loved reading all the new stuff I hadn’t had the pleasure of. Thanks!
    (and yeah I completely understand about being a bit speckled lol)
    Cheers from one jaguar-lady to another 🙂


    • January 3, 2012 4:11 PM

      I don’t have the tattoo but I have had spots done in henna on my arms before.

      jaguar-lady…I like that! Cheers!


  2. January 3, 2012 3:40 PM

    PS to give you an idea of being a fellow long-time jaguar and leopard lover…I distinctly remember giving my stepfather a heart attack when I decided to cut pictures of the cats out of his national geographic magazine and sticking them all over my bedroom when I was 12 lol.
    Sadly my collection is not as big as yours…I did see a pair of jaguar print shoes that I lusted over though…and has dwindled over time. But I do have a clutch that has the jaguar spot motif on it 😉


    • January 3, 2012 4:13 PM

      That reminds me…there is two needlepoint bags (clutch and coin purse) that didn’t make it into the picture along with some leopard print evening gloves…I’m sure there is more that I’ve forgotten about…oh like the grocery bag…


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