Squirrels and Wisdom
Like all animals, squirrels have the ability to bring wisdom into our lives, if only we pay enough attention to their guidance. Squirrels remind us of the importance of fun and play. They teach us that growth and personal development is as much a result of the work we put in as it is a result of the laughter that we share.
Squirrels are often used to represent preparedness. The ways in which squirrels store food ahead of less plentiful seasons is connected to the importance of saving and investing in the future. Squirrels teach us the value of saving up for a rainy day!
For this reason, squirrels can be connected with prudence, sound financial decision making, security, industriousness, and patience.
Squirrels are also known for their energy and playfulness. They are often seen scurrying up and down the trunks of trees chasing and squabbling with playmates and rivals. For this reason, squirrels can be connected to light-heartedness, fun, friendship, laughter, and mischief. Squirrels are reminders that being productive and prepared is important, but that having fun and letting loose is important too!
All in all, squirrels represent the importance of priorities. When necessary, squirrels prepare for the future and get their work done with energy and vigor. However, these magnificent creatures also know not to take life too seriously. We only get one life. As much as we must make the most of our lives, the squirrel reminds us that we should also savor and enjoy our time whenever we can.
In Nordic mythology, the squirrel named Ratatoskr is the messenger between two powerful forces of nature. This mischievous creature scurries up and down Yggdrasil, the “world tree,” sowing chaos and inciting conflict between the dragon that lives in its roots and the eagle who lives at the top of its branches. (7)
In Hindu mythology, squirrels play a very important role. They supposedly helped Lord Rama, the Hindu God, cross the ocean between India and present-day Sri Lanka to help bring back Rama’s wife. Rama’s wife was kidnapped by the brutal and terrifying ten-headed demon-king Ravana. Lord Rama then blessed the squirrels by touching them on their backs and that is why squirrels have stripes on their backside.
“Squirrels gathering nuts in a flurry will cause snow to gather in a hurry.” This verse is used to predict the weather. It is a common belief that furry and thick-bushy-tailed animals like squirrels and bears can help indicate whether harsh weather is coming. This particular adage asserts that squirrels can sense cold weather before we can, and thus we should copy them when they begin their preparations.
In many American folk stories, you will find a story on “How the squirrel got its stripes.” They tell the story of a stripe-less chipmunk that teased a bear, was chased by it and was clawed down the back of its hide leaving permanent marks. The story ends with the fact that the chipmunks of today still have stripes on their backs as a reminder not to tease other animals.
In Japan, the Ainu tribe believed that the squirrel was the discarded sandal of God Aiona. Malaysians believed that squirrels were produced like butterflies from cocoons.