“A cat, I am sure, could walk on a cloud…”

Here’s the full quote from which I drew the title of this post:

I believe cats to be spirits come to Earth.  A cat, I am sure, could walk on a cloud without coming through.”

Jules Verne said that — the gentleman who wrote such classics of literature as Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, Around the World in Eighty Days, Journey to the Center of the Earth, and The Mysterious Island, among others.  Pretty keen observation on cats, and one I’m inclined to agree with, actually.  Cats seem to polarize: some people adore them (to the point that we now even have a collective stereotype of “The Crazy Old Cat Lady” who spends her declining years surrounded by, and obsessing over, her ever growing menagerie of house-cats), and some absolutely detest them, but I personally can’t say I’ve seen them inspire much in the way of bored indifference (or to put it another way, cats don’t seem to inspire cat-like responses in people all that often…).  But me, I actually kind of love them…

A beautiful little cat named Lilith, exhibiting the kind of grace, poise, and balance that we humans can only barely scratch if we've devoted our lives to things like dance, gymnastics, or martial arts...and even then, we'll generally fall well short of this...
A beautiful little cat named Lilith, exhibiting the kind of grace, poise, and balance that we humans can only barely scratch if we’ve devoted our lives to things like dance, gymnastics, or martial arts…and even then, we’ll generally fall well short of this…

My only problem with cats is that I’m cataclysmically allergic to them.  Proximity to cats for me brings on itching (in my eyes, and inside my throat, my nasal passages, and my ear tubes, as well as sometimes on my skin where I touch them), sneezing, and eventually outright wheezing and headaches if I linger too long in their cool presence.  So in this life, while I would have a cat as a pet/companion if I could, it seems that’s to remain off-limits for me.  What can you do?  I have this theory that in a past life, I actually was a cat, or a cat-person, maybe, like something you’d find in a pulp novel by Edgar Rice Burroughs or some such, and that in that life, I somehow transgressed against my own kind…and so as punishment and penance, I was doomed to spend this lifetime excommunicated from the society of cats, banned and exiled, unable to bond with them or relate in any meaningful way.  Like Tantalus seeking even one cool sip of water from the pool in which he’s been installed in the Greek Underworld of Tartarus, I can see cats all around me…but I’m to be ever denied any real and lasting contact with them…

I suspect I was like this in a past life, but I committed some unpardonable sin against my own kind, and now I wander the Earth, expelled from the realm of the cat...
I suspect I was like this in a past life, but I committed some unpardonable sin against my own kind, and now I wander the Earth, expelled from the realm of the cat…

But anyway — why all the ruminations on cats today…?

It started with a dream I had last night in which I beheld a black panther.  This isn’t the first time this has happened.  In a post from about two months or so back, I went on in some detail about a more vivid dream I’d had in which I encountered a flying panther with great, black wings.  It was a pretty fantastic dream, even if nothing much beyond the simple encounter itself took place.  Last night’s dream was much less coherent, and it had no real “plot” to speak of.  I can’t even say that I carried very much of it at all with me into the waking world when I climbed up out of it — I just knew I’d seen a rather large black panther specimen up close and personal.  There was no element of fear or danger in it, and I was under no threat from the awe-inspiring beast…we were just very near to one another, and as I would in real life, I looked upon the panther with deep, deep appreciation.  And that’s about it for the dream…

I decided, though, to write a little bit about what a cat, or even more specifically, a panther, might mean in dreams, because to be honest, that post I wrote about the dream of the winged panther remains by far one of the most enduringly popular posts I’ve yet done, judging by the statistics that the good people at WordPress furnish us users with as the days roll by, and the hits keep on coming.  People, it seems, very much like the following: cats, panthers, winged panthers (who would have thought??), dreams, dream analysis, dream interpretation, cats in dreams, panthers in dreams, discussions about spirit animals (which may appear in dreams), and discussions about Shamanism in general (with both animals and dream experiences factoring solidly into this realm)…  So last night’s dream, brief though it may have been, seemed like perfect fodder for a post.

This is pretty close to what I encountered in my dream last night...
This is pretty close to what I encountered in my dream last night…

With all that preamble thus laid down…what, then does a cat, or more specifically a panther, signify in a dream…?

As always, I stress that a huge chunk of a successful interpretation of any dream has to be drawn from the individual dreamer’s own personal inner lexicon of symbols and their meanings.  What a cat or a panther might mean to me, will possibly differ pretty greatly from what a cat or a panther might mean to you…and what they mean to the next person…and so on.

Setting some of that aside for now, though, I felt it might be helpful to at least jot down some very general meanings that dream interpreters and dream dictionaries will often ascribe to cats, and to panthers.

Interestingly, a few attributes will appear in virtually any source for dream interpretation that you consult when it comes to our feline friends: cats, it’s said, symbolize the feminine/Yin principle…they embody such concepts as grace and dexterity…and they often represent such concepts as magic/sorcery, mysticism, and spirituality.  A dream of a specific type of cat adds an overlay of meaning atop those just listed — a black panther can present extra focus on mystery, sensuality, nighttime traits, and possibly a bit of the hunter/predator air that comes with any of the big cats.  And none of this clashes with anything surrounding me of late: I’ve moved to a new home in part so that I can better focus on exactly the kinds of realms the cat and the black panther portend (i.e., the mystical and the magical, the Occult and the metaphysical), and specifically, I’ve been very aware that tonight we enter the latest iteration of a Full Moon, which is very feminine and mystical right there, and affords any practicing witchery types with a terrific opportunity to enact rituals and work various forms of mojo, so this has all been on my mind.  And should you dream of a cat, or of a black panther, some or all of this may hold true for you as well.

But here’s the bow that wraps up this edition of Arrow In Flight…  See, there’s this little cat that prowls around here, I’ve learned.  She/he (I can’t tell) initially appeared in my presence on my very first night here — I had climbed the ladder up to the roof, and was watching the sun set into the Pacific out to the west of me, when I turned and spied this little cat — blue-gray and white, with bright blue eyes — perched atop the wall behind me, just sitting there and watching me, as I was watching the sunset.  A gulf of at least several long meters separated us, with nothing but unyielding concrete down below.  I’d never attempt that kind of leap unless I was being pursued across the rooftop by a chainsaw-wielding maniac, or some other stimulus of similar magnitude, but the little cat didn’t seem to trust that, and even the slight shift of my weight and position as I turned to regard it had it tensing for flight.  I whispered a few reassuring words to it, then turned back to watch the end of the sunset.  When I made to climb back down the ladder about ten minutes later, the little cat was gone…

The cat in my 'hood looks vaguely like this, but with different coloring (photo by Chantal Laine)...
The cat in my ‘hood looks vaguely like this, but with different coloring (photo by Chantal Laine)…

Since then, I’ve seen the same little cat several times — it seems to use the corridor separating this house from the next one over as a little thoroughfare of sorts, so I catch glimpses of it through the windows in that particular wall every so often.  I believe it to be a wild cat, too, due to its skittish demeanor, and the fact that it has no tags and no collar.

But anyway, as I surfaced from my dream of the black panther, I made my way downstairs in search of morning coffee…and with my mind still on thoughts of felines, the moment I stepped into the kitchen, that same little cat popped into view in the kitchen window as if shooed onto stage by an assistant director so as to time the cat’s entrance to be perfectly in synch with my own.  The cat gave me its customary little look of fright, then bolted out of view in a flash.  But brief though this encounter may have been, it was very much as if my dream-image of a great feline (the black panther) had followed me into the waking world in a shape more suited to this stricter realm (the little local cat), but nevertheless reinforcing the idea that maybe for me, this Full Moon period is carrying with it some extra helpings of magic in the air!

And that’s it for my latest dreams and happenings with panthers and cats…I may not be permitted to commune with them in this life, but I do believe that the cats still bring me messages, and this message in part is about enjoying the Full Moon to its fullest!  Here’s hoping you do, as well…

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