Dream: A black panther cub

I find and help a black panther (jaguar) cub, and we develop a deep bond. I adopt it and decide to be its protector. I realize the bond will only continue to deepen, and it will be painful when the panther grows to a size where I will have to let go and find another home for it. The jaguar has some white markings like a housecat. We are somewhere in the border zone of wilderness and civilization.

This dream echoes a strong childhood dream. I was in the jungle and had a very strong bond with a large adult black panther. We both deeply belonged to the jungle and each other.

In this dream, the jaguar is very young and I become its guardian. And I know we will part ways later.

Black panthers (jaguars), and large cats in general, have qualities I would like to get in touch with and develop a deeper bond with in myself. They are deeply in their bodies, gentle, fierce when needed, deeply belong to the place where they are, deeply in touch with their animal instincts and nature. There is a graceful primal power in large cats, and I especially associate it with black panthers.

In waking life, I love cats (and other animals), and had a strong bond with a black and white cat, with some of the same white markings as the cat in this dream.

Why a black panther and not another large cat? It lives in the jungle, which is lush and full of life. I associate blackness with depth, richness, and fertility.

Why is it so young? Perhaps this is a part of me I am starting to get in touch with (again) and develop a deeper connection with? Perhaps it is, in a sense, young and needs protection – or, at least, attention.

Why will I have to part ways with it? Because it will grow up and get too big and dangerous. Also, I live in civilization and it doesn’t fit or belong there.

Why on the edge zone of wilderness (jungle) and civilization? Because that’s where I metaphorically live.

Why this dream now? Perhaps because my partner is currently visiting a place in Latin America that is profoundly sacred and is infused with a deep, sensual, feminine, earthy sense of the divine. Last night, we talked about both visiting there soon and looking into possibly living there.

Also, in general, I am exploring befriending and awakening contractions, which helps me get in touch with this side of me.

What’s the main theme of the dream? What struck me the most was the anticipation of parting. I knew that the idea of having to part in the future came from what I have heard others say and convention. Perhaps we could find a way to be together? Perhaps I could live in the jungle? Perhaps I could live on the edge of the wilderness, and it could have its wilderness life, I could have my civilization life, and we could both have that edge existence together? There are other ways. It may be too wild for conventional civilization, but I don’t have to live that life. My calling may be different.

Update: Later the same morning, I went for a walk in the forest to spend more time with this jaguar. I imagined it growing up and we finding ways to stay together.

As we heard someone approaching us, the jaguar wanted to hide in the forest. This helped me see that my mind saw the jaguar as a physical flesh-and-blood jaguar with the same behavior as these. We then had a conversation about the jaguar not being a physical flesh-and-blood jaguar, so we didn’t have to follow conventions applying to the physical world. It’s a universal jaguar. It’s part of me. It can keep the helpful and primal characteristics of physical jaguars, and leave some of the ones less helpful – like running away when we meet other people.

Update 2: It’s a few days later and I thought I would add a few things. When I wrote this post, I searched for a photo of a black panther I could use, and that prompted YouTube to show me a video of a black panther. That video and that channel were, in many ways, the answer to the dilemma in the dream. The channel is about Luna the panther, which lives with a human, even if she is now adult.

Photo: Ron SInger

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