Fierce, secretive, and elusive, the lynx is a medium-sized cat, short of tail and long of leg, with a distinctive cheek beard and long, tufted ears.
The very name of the lynx is related to the idea of sight, and indeed, the animal’s sharp vision has been considered almost supernatural. As a result, the lynx was credited with the ability to see error and falsehood.
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The ancient Greeks, among others, believed it could see through solid objects. Perhaps for that reason, Italian scholars (including Galileo) formed the Academy of Lynxes in 1603, dedicated to searching for truth and fighting against superstition. Their symbol was a lynx battling with Cerberus, the gatekeeper of the underworld, the implication being that clear vision would triumph over lack of consciousness, ignorance, and suffering.
In northern mythologies, lynx were sacred to the goddess Freyja, in charge of love, fertility, battle, and death, and drew her chariot.
For Native Americans, the lynx is a keeper of secrets and occult knowledge, a revealer of mysteries.
The image of the lynx can symbolize vision, particularly the kind of inner sight that is associated with shamanism.
In a dream, the lynx could represent both the potential and the need for the dreamer to use a deeper and more penetrating vision in some area of his or her life. This perception could be an inner charge to see things “as they are,” to see beneath the surface, or it could be a compensatory image for an unrecognized fear, a fear of taking hold of one’s own “sight” and trusting it, while at the same time representing the capacity to do so.
The fierceness of the lynx would give the dreamer the potential to be more heroic and aggressive in standing up for his or her vision. A more negative possibility is that the dreamer could be too tenacious about his or her insight – not flexible enough to listen to another person and seriously consider his, or her perception.
Adapted from Animal Life in Nature, Myth and Dreams, by Elizabeth Caspari (Chiron Publications, 2003). Copyright (c) 2003 by Elizabeth Caspari. Reprinted by permission of Chiron Publications.
Adapted from Animal Life in Nature, Myth and Dreams, by Elizabeth Caspari (Chiron Publications, 2003).