Spirit Animal Gazelle
Gifts: Speed. Awareness. Zigzagging. Grace. Community, safety in numbers. Seasonality.
Challenges: Exposing too much vulnerability. Stopping in your tracks before it’s safe. Getting stuck in the herd.
Gazelle offers the gifts of speed, awareness, zigzagging and grace. Gazelle moves with great speed, but its main predator, Cheetah, moves faster. So Gazelle’s greater gifts are the gifts of awareness and zigzagging. On the plains of Africa, the gazelles that escape the cheetah are the ones that zig when the cheetah zags. They keep up the swerving, not giving up hope, until the cheetah burns out and gives up the hunt.
Gazelle offers you the gift of awareness through heightened senses. In the physical world, gazelles have a wide radius of vision to be able to spot predators. Similarly, their acute senses of hearing and smell make gazelles adept at sensing danger (a stalking cheetah). You can use this gift of heightened awareness in a few ways. You can learn to trust your senses (and your intuition), having faith that you will know when danger is real and, thus, be ableto relax the rest of the time. You can also use this heightened awareness to become more aware of how your fear manifests itself in your life. When is that little voice in your head the inner critic, and when is it your inner wisdom?
Physical gazelles live in small herds that provide protection in a few ways. Gazelle teaches that there is safety in numbers. The number of gazelles living together and the fact that babies are born within a few days of each other means that each individual gazelle is more protected from predators than if it lived alone. One male gazelle leads and guards his harem of female gazelles. Now, the feminist in me certainly doesn’t like that word or the concept. But we’re talking about gazelles, not humans. The lesson for you is not to join some harem and let a man protect you. (Or, if you are a man, marry many women and be the main breadwinner.) The message for you is to find a group—personal or professional—that supports who you are and what you are doing. You’re not giving up your identity, your safety, or your responsibility to the herd. You are working within a group to provide mutual support.
When being pursued by a predator, a trick of Thomson’s gazelles is “stotting.” Stotting is when a Thomson's gazelle jumps straight up in the air while running away. This is a form of flaunting your vulnerability. It is as if the gazelle is saying, “I’m so confident in my ability to escape you that I can take time out to randomly jump up in the air.” Stotting can also be a diversionary tactic to draw the predator away from more vulnerable young gazelles. The message for you is to find strength in your vulnerability—while not being stupid about it. Unnecessarily flaunting your vulnerability makes you an easy target and can result in the criticism or ridicule you were trying to avoid.