African leopard god


  • Leopard Symbolism, Meanings & Spirit Animal [+Snow Leopard]
  • Dwarfs and Divinity in West Africa
  • Creatures of the Benin Kingdom: A Tale of Mystic, Magic and the Supernatural
  • African Leopard
  • Marlon James Reclaims African Myths in Fantasy Saga “Black Leopard, Red Wolf”
  • Leopard Symbolism, Meanings & Spirit Animal [+Snow Leopard]

    Human frailty, human violence, human hope, all of these things are lent, in his work, a cosmogonal weight. Nowhere is this more evident than in his latest outing, Black Leopard, Red Wolf , the opening salvo in a mind-bending fantasy trilogy about a band of misfits hired to find and retrieve a mysterious young boy.

    The fantasy takes place in Iron Age Africa seen through a mirror darkly. Phantasm is the order of the day; or, rather, the night. The dramatis personae includes a necromancer, a shape-shifting leopard who is sometimes animal and sometimes man, bush fairies, a girl made entirely of smoke, a giant who hates being called a giant, a very smart buffalo, trolls from the Blood Swamp, a vampire lightning bird and, well, the list goes on.

    As part of this group of mercenaries, he provides a window into a world at once hallucinatory and terrifyingly real. James and I spoke over coffee and tea as he had been nursing a cold at Oslo Coffee Roasters in Brooklyn. We had first met at the Brooklyn Book Festival some years prior, I as a fanboy and he as a pre-Booker winner, and had the pleasure of appearing on a panel together at New York Comic Con a few years after, as colleagues and contemporaries.

    Our conversation ranged from the centrality of oral storytelling in non-Western cultures to Ninja Scroll, from Toni Morrison to narcocorridos, and, near the heart of it, to the obligations one had to navigate as a storyteller in the spotlight.

    Tochi Onyebuchi: So, what did your editor say when you handed in the first draft of this? Marlon James: He thought it was great! This is the thing: I was surprised at how open people are, because I expected a fight. And I expected a fight every step of the way. God bless Wakanda. Black Panther is a gift that keeps on giving. And even when they were excited about the Africanness and the blackness, I thought they would stumble on the queerness.

    They got people to read Brief History, shit! So, yeah, they were super excited about it. TO: I think anybody familiar with your work — particularly Brief History — will notice the operatic violence and the really aggressive queerness. For all sorts of reasons. And, even with all of that, I had to do some serious mental housecleaning. Because even when people write about mythology and witchcraft and so on, they still write from this Judeo-Christian point of view.

    TO: Sort of Orientalist. MJ: Right. A hex is a hex. These creatures are real. People who believe in a magic baby born in a stable got no place attacking dragons. But one of the things that really struck me about Black Leopard, Red Wolf was precisely that lack of a gulf between reality and dream, or, I guess, what we would call dream.

    It made me think of how different societies view mental illness. In the West, it seems very much a biochemical thing that emerges from a person, influenced by the environment. Demon possession. MJ: But even that is pretty new. TO: Like cheerleaders. MJ: And they can be annoying.

    The dilemma is: if you have your own personal cheerleading squad, why would you want to be cured? Judeo-Christianity comes in and says a voice is a demon. Science comes in and says the voice is a condition.

    Scientists were baffled. Could you talk a little bit about how those influences came to bear, particularly on this work? MJ: There are some obvious influences like Tolkien. The funny thing is, writing a book that is totally pulling from African mythology and history and religion and so on, but still being influenced by people like Tolkien and people even like Robert E.

    To put it mildly. MJ: Well, I stopped reading H. Lovecraft, because you gotta draw the line somewhere. But the quest narrative is not just Lord of the Rings. And you might learn something.

    At the same time, I wanted to poke holes in it. TO: Nobody in this book is like that. MJ: This fellowship breaks up from the moment they set out! Everybody else is either for the money or along for the ride. I was very interested in, knowing all of that, what would make people work together anyway. Or what would make people band together. I went back to all of it: The Odyssey, The Iliad.

    They lose sight of that or they get disillusioned by that. Or some people are more sold on the idea than others. And then, of course, people start betraying people.

    People start being human. In the quest narrative, the destination is the least important thing. TO: Even the shapeshifters. MJ: Even the shapeshifters. Most journeys are anticlimax. TO: Or people with no limbs who have to roll around everywhere. MJ: I love that kid. This was the first time in a very long time that I felt actual fear, reading a book.

    So, I was wondering if you could talk a little bit about horror versus gore in your work. MJ: Oh, God. Because the way I plot this trilogy: this one is more picaresque, adventure, odyssey. The second one is probably more historical, magical realist. And the third one is gonna be mostly horror. TO: Oh boy. One of the things about horror, as opposed to gore, is that horror is a seduction. Dracula has to lure you first. The wolfman is seductive. And horror is a seduction.

    I will lure you in and I will make you regret it within an inch of your life. But the important part is the lure. You gotta have the lure to the haunted house. At the same time, I quite like gore. I like explicitness. I like pushing on the boundaries. For lots of reasons. My violent scenes are very violent. Did you write a book with homophobes or did you write a homophobic book? I mean, Tracker is a prick. But is the behavior being called out?

    TO: And Sogolon gives as well as she takes. MJ: Precisely. To me, the solution is not to turn away from all of that horrible violence. These women exist in a capacity other than victim. I have a mother, I have a sister. And she put me on a diet of Toni Morrison. The thing is, are you giving these people humanity, are you giving these people agency, the capability of change?

    And I think if you do that, then yeah, they can do cruel, horrendous, brutal, terrible shit. TO: That reminds me of N. MJ: As the reader, you never get the opt-out clause. Which is how it should be. I learned that writing Book of Night Women, my second novel. Where my protagonist makes a lot of bad choices, which cost a lot of lives.

    But you still kinda have to root for her.

    Dwarfs and Divinity in West Africa

    View PDF THIS grotesque figure in high relief on what remains of a small shieldlike bronze plaque has certain well marked characters which, clearly brought out in the two views published here, connect it with a small group of bronzes representing dwarfs such as are known to have been maintained at the court of the king of Benin in the seventeenth century.

    The object belongs to a class of bronze ornaments one of which appears as fig. A considerable number of these ornaments is known. Though they are all evidently intended for suspension, the ground of those which have not a loop or loops for that purpose being either non-existent between or about the figures or pierced in several places, it is not known how they were worn, if, as seems most likely, they were intended for the adornment of the person. Marquart thinks, that, like the small bronze masks, they were worn at the girdle and points to figs.

    Marquart seems here to have been misled by a superficial resemblance in form between the two classes of objects. Figure of a dwarf on a small, fragmentary bronze plaque from Benin. Image Number: Although the greater part of the field or ground against which the figure stands in relief has been broken away, the curve of the margin at the right shows that this was a small plaque bearing a single figure.

    An unusual feature is the carrying up of the line of the upper margin, which is usually straight, symmetrically on both sides of the head of the figure as if to form a support—structurally unnecessary—for the head. A raised band consisting of a stripe of beaded decoration between two plain stripes forms a border which evidently surrounded the plaque, interrupted only by the head of the figure. The outer surface of the loop by which the object was suspended is divided into three slightly raised stripes.

    The loop starts at the top of the narrow retreating forehead of the figure and takes the place of a headdress. The row of eyelets on the outer edge of the border of the plaque was probably continuous along the lower, curved margin. The modelling of the figure is extremely simple, almost diagrammatic, and careless as compared with the best work of Bini sculptors. The left arm, for example, issues as it should from below the margin of the heavy, wide collar which hides the angle of the shoulder, while the right is, as it were, stuck on to the collar itself.

    In spite of this and the almost complete neglect in other respects of normal anatomical detail, the figure as a whole manages to leave a very vivid impression of deformity and also, in view of the fact that the head is actually longer, in a vertical direction, than the diminutive trunk, of dwarfishness.

    Two typical marks of the Benin people of the XVIIth century were vertical cicatrizations over the eyes and down the middle and sides of the body. These consist most often of two groups of three stripes each on the forehead and of five long stripes on the front and sides of the trunk. Sometimes, as here, there are eight stripes on the forehead and three on the body.

    Three stripes on the body seems to be the rule for figures in half, or lower, relief and is probably only a matter of convenience in representation. The collar of beadwork worn by the figure is a mark of rank and probably indicates that the wearer, in virtue of his physical peculiarities, held some official post about the court.

    Bracelets also were a mark of official or hereditary dignity. In this case each is a spiral, apparently of stout wire, of one complete and two half turns. The kilt or loin cloth is of the type worn by women of the period in question; but it is also found in contemporary representations of men. Probably it was for men the older fashion, succeeded, without being entirely superseded, by the loin cloth opening at the side and having the peculiar ornamental extension of the ends by which it was fastened that appears in so many of the bronzes.

    That this figure is not that of a woman is evident from the fact that the bare bosom does not show even the well marked development of the breasts that characterizes many of the male figures and, in the case of some of the bronzes, makes the determination of sex doubtful.

    The object held in the right hand is never, to my knowledge, represented as carried by a woman. What is this object? It is necessary to abandon the opinion, expressed in a former article, which followed that of Read and Dalton, that this cylinder between two discs represents a peculiar form of drum.

    The objects carried by so many of the plaque figures are, however, small by comparison with the known size of stools from this region, and there is a short-barrelled variety of the casket which appears unsuitable for a seat.

    But the stools of the seated figures of the bronze plaques on which Von Luschan relies for his determination of the caskets as stools are, so far as one can judge from the illustrations, certainly decisive. But, as we shall see, in Ashanti, a state which in many matters of custom and general culture closely resembled Benin, functionaries of no little importance at court carried their own stools, and this is specially affirmed of a class of functionaries who resembled our dwarf in their physical peculiarities.

    Though these objects are not drums, there is still, I think, reason to suspect that they were used, secondarily, as a kind of percussion instrument. The posture of some of the bearers of these caskets on the bronze plaques, who appear to be striking the top of the vessel or, in at least one case, 6 the side with one hand, and the posture of the individual with whom we are here chiefly concerned seem to indicate this.

    He grasps the cylinder, held horizontally, from above so as to press it against his pigeon-breast, at the same time leaving the greater part of a disc exposed and in a position which certainly gives the impression of its being presented for the reception of blows from the uplifted left hand or from something which may have been held in it—for the hand itself is missing, though from the position of the upward curving portion of the arm on which the bracelet marks roughly the place of the wrist it must have extended beyond the edge of the plaque.

    If the widely parted lips indicate, as probably they do, that he is singing or shouting, there is no doubt that his whole posture suggests the attitude of one energetically beating a drum to the accompaniment of shouts or song. Sculptors in Benin did not usually attempt to represent movement by the posture of the lower extremities.

    Though some of the bronze groups evidently picture individuals in a procession or in scenes which involve at least some degree of pedestrian activity this is certainly not as a rule suggested by the position of legs or feet.

    Is this a dwarf and is he dancing? To the second question probably a positive answer cannot be given; there is no doubt that the first is to be answered in the affirmative. They represented dwarfs typical of cretinism. They are now in Vienna. The resemblance between the profiles of the two heads is certainly striking but the conclusion drawn from this likeness is hazardous, to say the least. Such thick projecting eyelids are characteristic rather of the condition known as cretinism, a condition which is accompanied by serious mental impairment, than of rickets or achondroplasia.

    For not only the facial region proper, with the peculiarity just described, and the retreating forehead, whose abnormal height is probably due to the wish to make ample room for the forehead cicatrizations, mark the little figure as abnormal, but also it presents an exaggerated case of pigeon-breast.

    It is this feature, as strongly insisted on by the sculptor as the peculiar eyelids, which, apart from the abnormal relative proportions of head and trunk and the weakly appearance of the limbs, is most strongly indicative of the dwarfish character of the person depicted and gives the strongest clue to the nature of his deformity.

    In rickets one of the characteristic deformities affecting the trunk of the body is due to the flattening of the lateral curves of the ribs and the projection forward of the sternum. This condition is commonly accompanied and accentuated by a curvature of the spine, so that extreme cases approach, front and rear, the appearance of the genial Mr. Punch, the literary successor of the hunchbacked dwarfs who jested and capered once for European princes and nobles.

    Rickets is a disease of the bones due to faulty nutrition in infancy. Children who have had it grow up with some degree of deformity and dwarfing. Marie in vol. X , p. This pigeon-breasted condition is accompanied and emphasized in the photograph just referred to, as it is in our figure also, by another characteristic feature of rachitic dwarfism. It is no mere paunchiness that is intended to be shown here. The protrusion of the front of the trunk affects only the portion above the navel, which is represented on the steeply receding abdomen, the lower portion of which runs back almost horizontally towards the pubic region, the evident displacement backward of which is most marked.

    We have here certainly a case of rachitic dwarfism in an individual who also appears to be something of a cretin. Both of these are pigeon-breasted, one markedly so.

    Apart from the evidence of the old bronzes themselves we have, to my knowledge, only one source of information which enables us to state positively that the King of Benin kept deformed persons and dwarfs at his court.

    This information is definite, but unfortunately there is not enough of it to give us much knowledge of the functions of these unfortunate creatures at the court.

    Then the king causes some tame leopards that he keeps for his pleasure to be led about in chains; he also shows many dwarfs and deaf people, whom he likes to keep at his court. The dwarfs are close beside the king, on either side of his horse. Two, at any rate, are hunchbacks and one is pigeon-breasted. It is not to be supposed, of course, that this picture was drawn on the spot, but it is sufficiently true in other respects to known details to make it evident that it was drawn under competent direction.

    An earlier writer, also a Dutchman, known only by his initials, D. He then shows all his power, wealth, and all merrymaking things and amusements he can think of, and can bring forth. Another view of the same figure. Image Number: Further to illustrate this and thus to throw some light on the functions of dwarfs and the beliefs concerning them in Benin, a summary review of our information on this subject will be necessary. To begin with certain states of Upper Guinea, which have had a similar cultural development, and some of which are known to have had close relations with Benin: Yoruba gave to Benin some hundreds of years ago the dynasty whose last representative was deposed by England in Here persons who were physically abnormal were maintained not only in the households of kings but also of lesser magnates, as we learn from the following tradition.

    A certain King Abipa, whose ancestors had reigned at Oyo, the ancient capital of the land, was determined to make Oyo once more the royal seat against the wishes of his principal chiefs.

    The latter, despairing of turning him from his purpose by persuasion or force, resorted to stratagem. Abipa was preparing to send persons to inspect the abandoned sites at Oyo, when the chiefs, learning of his purpose, chose from among their followers a hunchback, a dwarf, a cripple, and an albino, and sent them to occupy a hill outside the old town. The king then sent six hunters, intrepid men who were not likely to be frightened by shadows. Discovering the imposture, they brought in the counterfeit spirits, who were then questioned and disclosed the details of the fraud.

    Thereupon the king invited the traitorous chiefs to a banquet and caused them to be served with drink each by his own monstrosity. Consternation of the naughty officials and triumph of the king! Further, since in Benin, the holy city of the latter kingdom, the king was in some sense a god, if the Yoruba conception of the proper functions of dwarfs survived in seventeenth century Benin, it would be peculiarly fitting that dwarfs should be servants of the king.

    Practice does not always follow theory exclusively, not excepting the practices which follow the principles laid down in myths. Perhaps these dwarfs, etc. Or, since the great chiefs were deputies of the king, he may have delegated some of his sacredness to them as sanction of their departmental acts. There is evidence of such delegation in Benin. Their presence is remarked by several European witnesses of the ceremonies.

    Benin], an incident of the Customs, F. These deformities. We repeatedly saw troops of little she-hunchbacks. A closer and more recent student of life in Dahomey throws a curious light on the subject.

    We shall return to him; for the present noting only that deformed infants were commonly exposed in Dahomey, and that a peculiar ritual in connection with their exposure was instituted, apparently to give official and divine sanction to, while controlling, a custom the undiscriminating practice of which for some reason it was felt necessary to check. Since, obviously, not a few of the deformed were spared and took a prominent part in the principal religious ceremonies of the year, I suggest that the official control of the brutal custom of exposure was instituted in order to secure a supply of hunchbacks and dwarfs for ritual purposes.

    The ghostly counterparts of these unfortunates who were left to die in prescribed localities were spirits potent for evil, a circumstance which recalls the Yoruban belief previously recorded. An offering of water was made at the Customs by the princesses of royal descent, who went in procession to secure it from the sacred ravine where the infants in question were exposed and which was haunted by these spirits.

    Among the Ibo-speaking tribes of Southern Nigeria, who are neighbours on the east of the Bini, new-born infants which are regarded as peculiar from an Ibo point of view, e. At the adore or Wednesday ceremonies when the spirit of departed rulers of the clan are propitiated, it is the time-honoured privilege of the herald to drink first from the ceremonial cup.

    He had access to the sacred groves. They were all deformed or maimed, their monkey-skin caps had a gold plate in front and the tail hanging down behind. Be silent! Be quiet!

    Pray hear! They suggest the Oyez!

    Creatures of the Benin Kingdom: A Tale of Mystic, Magic and the Supernatural

    Two, at any rate, are hunchbacks and one is pigeon-breasted. It is not to be supposed, of course, that this picture was drawn on the spot, but it is sufficiently true in other respects to known details to make it evident that it was drawn under competent direction. An earlier writer, also a Dutchman, known only by his initials, D. He then shows all his power, wealth, and all merrymaking things and amusements he can think of, and can bring forth. Another view of the same figure. Image Number: Further to illustrate this and thus to throw some light on the functions of dwarfs and the beliefs concerning them in Benin, a summary review of our information on this subject will be necessary.

    To begin with certain states of Upper Guinea, which have had a similar cultural development, and some of which are known to have had close relations with Benin: Yoruba gave to Benin some hundreds goat mating video download years ago the dynasty whose last representative was deposed by England in Here persons who were physically abnormal were maintained not only in the households of kings but also of lesser magnates, as we learn from the following tradition.

    A certain King Abipa, whose ancestors had reigned at Oyo, the ancient capital of the land, was determined to make Oyo once more the royal seat against the wishes of his principal chiefs. The latter, despairing of turning him from his purpose by persuasion or force, resorted to stratagem. Abipa was preparing to send persons to inspect the abandoned sites at Oyo, when the chiefs, learning of his purpose, chose from among their followers a hunchback, a dwarf, a cripple, and an albino, and sent them to occupy a hill outside the old town.

    The king then sent six hunters, intrepid men who were not likely to be frightened by shadows. Discovering the imposture, they brought in the counterfeit spirits, who were then questioned and disclosed the details of the fraud.

    Thereupon the king invited the traitorous chiefs to a banquet and caused them to be served with drink each by his own monstrosity. Consternation of the naughty officials and triumph of the king! Further, since in Benin, the holy city of the latter kingdom, the king was in some sense a god, if the Yoruba conception of the proper functions of dwarfs survived in seventeenth century Benin, it would be peculiarly fitting that dwarfs should be servants of the king.

    Practice does not always follow theory exclusively, not excepting the practices which follow the principles laid down in myths. Perhaps these dwarfs, etc. Or, since the great chiefs were deputies of the king, he may have delegated some of his sacredness to them as sanction of their departmental acts.

    There is evidence of such delegation in Benin. Their presence is remarked by several European witnesses of the ceremonies. Benin], an incident of the Customs, F.

    These deformities. We repeatedly saw troops of little she-hunchbacks. A closer and more recent student of life in Dahomey throws a curious light on the subject. We shall return to him; for the present noting only that deformed infants were commonly exposed in Dahomey, and that a peculiar ritual in connection with their exposure was instituted, apparently to give official and divine sanction to, while controlling, a custom the undiscriminating practice of which for some reason it was felt necessary to check.

    Since, obviously, not a few of the deformed were spared and took a prominent part in the principal religious ceremonies of the year, I suggest that the official control of the brutal custom of exposure was instituted in order to secure a supply of hunchbacks and dwarfs for ritual purposes. The ghostly counterparts of these unfortunates who were left to die in prescribed localities were spirits potent for evil, a circumstance which recalls the Yoruban belief previously recorded.

    An offering of water was made at the Customs by the princesses of royal descent, who went in procession to secure it from the sacred ravine where the infants in question were exposed and which was haunted by these spirits. Among the Ibo-speaking tribes of Southern Nigeria, who are neighbours on the east of the Bini, new-born infants which are regarded as peculiar from an Ibo point of view, e. At the adore or Wednesday ceremonies when the spirit of departed rulers of the clan are propitiated, it is the time-honoured privilege of the herald to drink first from the ceremonial cup.

    He had access to the sacred groves. They were all deformed or maimed, their monkey-skin caps had a gold plate in front and the tail hanging down behind.

    Be silent! Be quiet! Pray hear! They suggest the Oyez! Hear ye! Was he, too, a herald, and do the widely parted lips signify that he is calling for silence and the attention of the crowd to some ceremonial proclamation?

    The missionaries do not mention the deformity of the heralds, which is, however, sufficiently attested by the other witnesses. The similarity in the attitude of the people of Yoruba, Dahomey, and Ashanti towards the deformed, and especially to those of less than normal stature, and the general similarity of culture which links these states together and with Benin, make it likely that the position of dwarfs in Benin, as a result of the mental attitude of the people towards them, was substantially the same, whatever the particular office or offices which they may have held at court or juju house or shrine of the gods.

    Circumstances revealing a similar state of things are reported from parts of Guinea more remote from Benin, and indeed from still more distant parts of Africa. In Loango, in the maritime Congo region, far to the south, both albinos and dwarfs were kept at the court. The latter, however, may have been racial dwarfs, or pygmies, and a consideration of the relations of pygmies to the peoples of larger stature who are or were their neighbours, while it is of 1kz engine in connection with our Subject, would take us too far afield.

    As an interesting coincidence, however, if it is nothing more, it may be set down here that Commander Cameron, incame upon the institution of dwarf heralds, who were probably pygmies, among the Manyema in the east. Dwarfs and hunchbacks near the king, who is on horseback. Image Number: To follow the pygmies would lead us to Egypt with its two great dwarf-deities, and the dancing dwarfs, presumably African pygmies, who on two recorded occasions were brought north for the dance of the god.

    We have seen how, in Dahomey, deformed infants left to die became malignant spirits who had to be propitiated. The story is of sufficient importance, in the present connection, to be told in greater detail. The Tohosu are a particular class of spirits of the deceased. During the reign of a certain Tegbesu, a multitude of manikins, smaller than a new-born child, made their appearance.

    They ravaged the crops, caused a drought, and brought about so much distress that the people abandoned their homes and fled. They said that they were indignant at not receiving the attention of infants normally brought into the world, and that they wished to have paid to them a cult like that with which their kind were already honoured among the Mahi of the mountains north of Abomey and that of the other spirits of the deceased in Dahomey.

    After this the Dahomans returned to their dwellings and Tegbesu sent priests to the Mahi to learn the forms of the cult of the Tohosu. When a Tohosu takes on visible form he does so in order to injure men.

    They are conjured by their worshippers not to leave their own place except to enter the temples set apart for the cult. Sometimes this entreaty is disregarded and a deformed infant is born, which must then be taken back to the haunt of the Tohosu from which it issued and there sacrifices must be offered to it. The night before the beginning of the public ceremonies which followed was to be spent by the princesses apart from their husbands.

    The next morning they went to the ravine of the Tohosu and fetched water, which each princess poured into a great jar placed before the altar or tomb of the king who was her ancestor. There must be a relationship between these spirits and those reported by A. Cardinall from the Northern Territories of the Gold Coast. They must be killed. It is not easy to draw a line, if, indeed, one is to be drawn, between spirits powerful enough to be propitiated by sacrifice and gods. That Gold Coast, behind which lies the old Ashanti state, supplies several examples of dwarf-gods who seem to be quite up to the mark.

    Adzianim, a local god of the Cape Coast district, is one such, of human shape and black in colour. He is a provider of good water. Cudjo also is of diminutive stature and black. He is god of a shoal or reef near Cape Coast Castle and prevents the approach of enemies by sea. Abrokhu, the god of the surf which breaks upon the landing place, is of the colour of wood-ashes, and his form is that of a small, rotund man, with a short, broad face.

    Formerly, like Cudjo, he was malicious but is now benignant. He raises the wave that brings canoes safe in to shore. As symbols of strength, the leopard inspires us to believe that we can handle much more than we initially think we can. They are also adept climbers, with the ability to drag heavy prey up a high tree branch. In addition, leopards can run at speeds of 36 mph 58 kph and jump 10 feet 3m high. They can also leap across a distance of 20 feet 6 meters.

    Furthermore, these remarkable cats can survive in a variety of environments, from deserts to high mountains to rainforests.

    For these reasons, the leopard is a powerful symbol for staying agile in life. Envision being flexible, strong, and quick on your feet — both physically and mentally. Photo: Charles J. Like the tiger and the crocodilethe leopard is an ambush hunter. They are known to stalk their prey for extended periods, patiently waiting for the right moment to attack. In addition, unlike the lionwho is often very visible on the savannah with their pride of family members, the leopard is a loner who is seldom seen.

    Not only is the leopard clandestine in their behavior, their spots provide ample camouflage in their surroundings. As a symbol of stealth, the leopard spirit animal is also a powerful reminder that discretion is a skill and a value. In our culture of self-promotion and oversharing, the leopard reminds you that you can keep some things to yourself.

    Businesses know the importance of operating in stealth mode before a product release or other promotion. And creative people know to keep their ideas under wraps until they are ready to share them with the public.

    African Leopard

    Elusiveness Because leopards live solitary lives and operate much of the time in stealth mode, they can be quite elusive to human beings. And no leopard is as elusive as the snow leopard. The elusive leopard reminds us that being too available in situations can cause others to take advantage or lose interest. This can happen in professional, romantic, and even platonic relationships.

    Sometimes people have to work for something to truly appreciate it. Perception Leopards have strong vision. Indeed, they can see eight more clearly than we can in the dark.

    Marlon James Reclaims African Myths in Fantasy Saga “Black Leopard, Red Wolf”

    In addition, their hearing is five times more acute than our own. For this reason, leopards also symbolize perception.

    From the lofty heights of the Himalayas or a high tree branch, the leopard has a unique perspective on the world. When the leopard is your spirit guide, you are a person who notices and picks up on things that others do not. The leopard power animal inspires you to hone your gifts of perception.

    Look beyond the surface of words and actions to the underlying intentions behind them. Self-reliance Leopards are independent, solitary animals who live on their own except when they come together to mate. Then, they go their separate ways and the female raises the cubs. The cubs will stay with their mother until they are 12 to 18 months old. Then they will head out on their own.

    Because of their drive for independence, leopards are also symbols of self-reliance. The leopard power animal is a helpful symbol when you need the confidence to strike out on your own in a situation, such as a creative or business endeavor, or even an emotional one.

    Similarly, if a leopard somehow makes themselves known to you, whether in real life, the media, or in some other way, it can be a sign that you should work on building more autonomy for yourself. This might be in your person relationships, your financial situation, or even the way you make decisions and approach your life. In essence, the leopard is someone who knows who they are and where they came from.

    Thus, the leopard is a helpful totem for maintaining your sense of self. Rare Beauty Capping off their many extraordinary traits, the leopard is also extraordinarily beautiful. However, these cats are not your typical cooking-cutter beauties. Leopards are something more exquisite: they are beautiful in their own unique way. As a symbol of rare and exotic beauty, the leopard reminds you to honor your own unique traits. Those qualities that make you stand out from the crowd are to be celebrated, not adulterated.

    As Dr. Black leopards symbolize all of the qualities of lighter-colored leopards plus a few additional meanings. While they can appear totally black in some lighting, black leopards do have spots like their lighter counterparts.

    They just happen to have more melanin in their skin than lighter colored or albino leopards. The black leopard symbolizes mystery, rebellion, and transformation.

    Thus, black leopards are dynamic symbols for shaking things up when change is needed. Like the Black Panther Party of the s, which increased awareness about racial injustice, black leopard meaning includes having the strength to be who you are you and to fearlessly stand up for what you believe in. It also means having political savvy so you can be effective when you want to be a change agent.

    In fact, there are two snow leopards on the Tibetan flag. They symbolize harmony between the material and spiritual worlds. The snow leopard embodies all of the symbolic attributes of the leopard.

    In addition, they symbolize spiritual awareness and a connection to the divine. You can read more about the spiritual meanings of the snow leopard in the sections on Asia and Buddhism below.

    In Nepal and Tibet, the snow leopard symbolizes purity and a connection to the spirit world. In fact, the people of Tibet and Nepal refer to the snow leopard as the dogs of the gods of the mountains. For this reason, the snow leopard must be respected, or the gods will take revenge on the people, their livestock, and their crops.


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