All of my selections were inherently intuitive at the time. Later, I began to research the meaning behind some of these animals and items. Websites on animal meanings, animal totems, and dream interpretations refer to some of the more common qualities and symbolism of each animal. It’s interesting how they tie together.
Edd - The Dog
Step 1 – I chose the dog as the main character for my Step 1 story because dogs evoke powerful emotions. Not many people are neutral about dogs. They are important symbols of service and protection. Dogs can be playful and good-natured. They can also be a bit headstrong and unruly, but lovable. Edd seemed to suit the part.
Carmen - The Boy
Step 2 – Enthusiasm is a word which comes to mind when I think of a boy. Enthusiasm comes from the root word ethos, which means spirit. The world of the spirit evokes the faith Carmen needed to continue on in his life. He was innocent and childlike in nature. Like all boys, he exhibited immature aspects of himself that needed to grow. I do believe humans are unique in their ability to possess faith, but I do not discredit the possibility that animals may have an abundance of this quality. We uncover more each day.
Chloe - The Cat
Step 3 – I chose a cat for my Step 3 story because cats possess an air of mystery. They are considered independent and often self-reliant. Many cats seem aloof. They certainly want what they want when they want it. Cats contain a depth of knowledge and understanding of our natural world. They are a symbol of spiritual power. They are quite resourceful. Chloe demonstrates the stress inherent in self-sufficiency when taken to the extreme.
Jonathan - The Goldfish
Step 4 – Goldfish are widely regarded as a symbol of good luck. I think of the ephemeral world of dreaming, tranquility, and wisdom. Goldfish trust in the destiny of life. The spiritual achievements of this character are profound. His courage and fearlessness press him to explore the more difficult questions of his life. I was surprised to learn goldfish are open-minded and able to change their mind.
Benjamin - The Bear
Step 5 – Bears are quiet creatures of considerable power and strength. Their gentle friendship with each other made him and Jacob the perfect combination. Bears are filled with big curiosity and circumspection. Benjamin would be ideal for being the character who just finished Step 4. It took courage and a measure of assertion to share his inventory with another bear. Benjamin demonstrated spiritual strength and power and was rewarded for it.
Willie - The Car
Step 6 – A car symbolizes power. This type of power is often associated with ego. Cars move in a specific direction, in this case, a spiritual direction. Willie was impelled toward his own personal freedom and fulfillment. He was motivated and eager, yet he had to recognize his limitations. “Who am I?” and “Where am I going?” are key questions for Willie. Perhaps Willie is on a lifelong trip.
Francis - The Frog
Step 7 – Frogs are a symbol of transformation. They go through tremendous cycles of change and regeneration. I think of frogs when it comes to overcoming an aversion and uncovering what beauty lies within. Also, the depth of her resistance made Francis an ideal choice to show the need for prayer to overcome her fear and help her be ready to change.
Billy - The Pencil
Step 8 – Writing an entire story about making a list proved challenging. A pencil is a significant form of communication. Pencils are quite common but are a symbol of accomplishment and self-expression. Pencils bring to mind a degree of cleverness and remind me of higher education. In this case, the pencil created a list that opened the door to the possibility for a new life.
Daniel - The Rabbit
Step 9 – The perfect symbol of rebirth and resurrection, rabbits can show growth and harmony. They are keenly aware and intuitive. Rabbits stand for humility and harmony. The amends process certainly calls for a strong dose of humility. I chose the rabbit because they can be playful and joyous. Adding his wings was quite a thrill.
Shelly - The Sea Turtle
Step 10 – Turtles are known for their slow and gradual movement. They are wise and cautious. Shelly seemed like the perfect character to do a spiritual search and to do it with regularity. I am awed by their route in the water and astounding ability to lay their eggs in the same location every year.
Devon - The Deer
Step 11 – What animal claims more gentle innocence? When I think of deer I think of gracefulness and peacefulness. Prayer and meditation in one’s life leads to a unity of the soul and mind. The spirituality of a deer is pronounced. They are a symbol of beauty and serenity. I particularly love their morning ritual and ability to remain still.
Sahara - The Camel
Step 12 – The symbol for dignity, sobriety, and moderation, camels possess considerable endurance and stamina. When they are unobstructed, they love to herd. They are also known for their ability to persevere. Sahara’s two humps seemed well suited for the two goals of Step 12.