Red Panda – Gentleness
Being happiest when the people and community around you is content, introverted but still involved in community ventures, the value of gentleness, tree wisdom, tree related divination like ogam, the power of touch, rejuvenation when alone, providing wisdom to a community while remaining apart from it.
The red panda is an omnivorous mammal (though it mostly eats bamboo), between 55-60mm long, noted for their characteristic red and buff fur, long tail, and characteristic ‘panda’ markings on their face. Despite their name, they are not related to pandas, and belong in their own family – Ailuridae. The red panda is found in the Himalayas at high elevations, in deciduous and coniferous landscapes, where they are excellent climbers. They prefer temperate climates.
Red pandas are mostly solitary, and nocturnal/crepuscular. Their primary natural predator is the snow leopard, The red panda is also known as the Nepalese red panda, and the lesser panda. It is endangered in the wild, threatened primarily through fur poaching and habitat destruction. The red panda communicates through whistles and squeaks, and is considered a mild, and even-tempered disposition.
Lessons and Challenges:
The red panda allows us to see that – even if we choose not to be involved – we are probably happiest when the people and community around us is content. The red panda leads a stressed and fractured existence, and other species around it (notably humans) destroy its habitat to create more land and territory for themselves; because they are not content with what they already have. And very frequently, people who wish to be left alone are likewise often intruded upon by other people and communities who are also not content.
Red panda teaches us that – even if we are happiest on our own, or wish for space to ourselves – sometimes we must take a little time to see to the needs of others, if only to make sure that we can get adequate rest. So before you turn your phone off, leave your office for the day, go on holiday or try and secure some time to yourself; make sure to extend a little of your care to others. By helping the community, friends, family, or even strangers; you better care for yourself.
It is possible to be a naturally introverted person, and still be interested in community ventures. Red panda encourages you to stay involved in local charities, community groups, and local networks of friends so that you know what’s going on and make a contribution, even if you do prefer to spend most of your time on your own.
The red panda has a mild disposition, and is known in the wild, and in some zoos, as being a gentle and even-tempered creature. Red panda teaches us the value of gentleness. Sometimes gentleness can be a survival skill too. When we negotiate the world around us with thoughtfulness and care, instead of outright fear or aggression, we often make more intelligent and wise choices.
Red panda teaches the wisdom of the trees and the forests, particularly those found in deciduous and coniferous forests. When you spend your entire life amongst trees, and adapt your entire body to live within and around them, you absorb a lot of their knowledges and experiences.
Through red panda it is possible to know the forests and the individual tree spirits that live within. This can be handy for people who have problems contacting tree spirits directly. Red panda can also indicate that it is time to learn specific tree-related divinations, like the Ogam.
The red panda teaches us about the power of touch, particularly touch as a healing tool. The red panda regularly self-massages and grooms its torso and back with its paws. This is a somewhat ritualised procedure, which cleans, but also stimulates blood circulation and nurtures the body. Red panda reminds us of the value of tactile touch, whether it is getting massages from others, or learning self massage.
The red panda gains most of its nourishment while alone. It is a shy, solitary animal, capable of feeding itself and finding shelter alone. Red panda teaches us how to rejuvenate when we are alone. It can come into the lives of extroverts who can’t stand loneliness, to teach them where to find the wisdom in space and solitude. And red panda can come into the lives of introverts to remind them that there is much wisdom to be found in the quiet places, and that it’s okay to rest and seek regular time outs.
The red panda can be likened to the ‘old man on the hill,’ a beacon of wisdom that can inform and heal the community, while still remaining separate from a community. Red panda teaches us that it is possible to serve a community and live away from it or rarely encounter it. It is through skills of gentleness, understanding, active listening and friendliness that we overcome barriers and provide healing advice to many; even if most of the ‘many’ are strangers. When red panda has come into your life, it can be to suggest that even if you are not involved in a certain community or group of people, it doesn’t automatically mean you are not qualified to give them helpful advice.
The Shadow Aspects:
Those who dislike or fear red panda, may find that they have problems with the concept of gentleness. They may suppress their own urges to be friendly or gentle with others and so exhibit unnecessary hostility even to those who need help. Those who dislike or fear red panda may disrespect those who have a sweet disposition, or who are nice to most people. They may see this as a sign of weakness, instead of strength.
Red panda in its shadow aspect can also represent a total severing from society, where solitude has caused you to become a non-contributing, and non-functioning member of society. In this case, red panda challenges you to find a balance between staying involved with society and still getting a necessary amount of space and time to yourself.
Like all animal helpers, this animal will only appear when right and appropriate, and cannot be forced to visit you, commune with you, or share messages with you. Red panda is a gentle animal energy, though s/he can be forceful on occasion if you’re not getting the point! However, for those who prefer reassuring or soothing animal energies, red panda is one that could benefit you or who might respond if you reach out to them.
Red panda prefer gentle, quiet and contemplative approaches. Meditation and visualisation is effective, or finding a quiet place in a forest (if you have any nearby!) and just contemplating their nature and what you know of it can also be an effective way of reaching out. Red panda can be a very patient teacher, and is not quick to anger or reprimand, preferring gentle paths over harsh ones.