Gifts: Digging deep. Groundedness. Hibernation. Dreatime. Altered states of consciousness.
Challenges: Emerging from hibernation too soon or too late. Lack of vision. Difficulty being fully present in the now.
Groundhog teaches you to listen to your dreams, to build your power through hibernation, and to stay grounded. Groundhog is a symbol of dreamtime and altered states of consciousness. You can imagine groundhogs sleeping away during their winter hibernation, going in and out of dream after dream after dream. For you, this dreamtime represents deep imagination, creative intuition, journeying into different consciousness.
What is real, if it’s happening in my dreams or in my head, you may ask. “Of course, it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real,” Dumbledore says to Harry in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Just like when you take a guided journey to meet your spirit animal, the fact that the meeting happens behind closed eyes does not make it any less real.
Groundhog teaches that your power comes from within you. There are many realities, and exploring more than “ordinary reality” gives you a groundedness and a strength that you cannot acquire from one-dimensional thinking. Likewise, as groundhogs burrow into the earth to find refuge and strength, so you will find refuge and strength by burrowing into your own psyche and your own soul.
From late spring through the fall, I drive past an urban field that is home to several groundhogs. I love watching them search the field for food—but never straying too far from their burrows. When they are hibernating during the winter, I think of Bill Murray's metaphorical hibernation in the movie "Groundhog Day." Murray's character, Phil (a mirror of Punxsutawney Phil the groundhog), is stuck in a limbo of repeating the same day over and over again . . . until he "gets it right."
Groundhog's message can be to make use of hibernation and altered states of consciousness to help you "get it right." “Right” meaning, what is "right for you."
Groundhog teaches you to listen to the messages and the symbols of your dreams, of your altered states of consciousness. Look at the meaning behind what you see. Dreams of winning the lottery and running away with George Clooney don’t predict that you will. They reflect a deeper desire within you. And it may not always be what you think. Go inside, dig deep, hibernate on it so that the underlying meaning may emerge—like Groundhog in the spring.
Then do be sure to emerge. There is the temptation to stay in hibernation too long, never learning, never emerging, never getting it right. The purpose of hibernation is not to hide from the world but rather to gather your strength and solidify your power—then act on it out in the world. Groundhog teaches you to look inward in order to act outward.