One side effect of paying attention to the metaphors in dreams is noticing symbols and signs in waking life. Little synchronicities gain significance when they recur, just like recurring dreams. In my life, foxes show up to remind me of my mom and sister, and when I’m focused on dream reading.
During my mom’s decline, a fox came and sang outside my sister’s window one night as she grieved. An emaciated fox sat in the parking lot at the church before Mom’s memorial service, keeping vigil for a woman who had shrunk to bones and skin before died. Foxes appear in the backyard of my childhood home. We assign meaning to noticing them, and we notice them because we’ve assigned meaning to them. If I’m thinking about Mom and a fox shows up, I get the tingle that signifies I’m in touch with a more intuitive way of being in the world. And if I’m not thinking about Mom but see a fox, I think of her immediately.
Then there’s the dream reading. One winter night I was on my way to a party where I’d be expected to offer ten minute dream reading appointments for a few hours. I’d never done such a thing, and I prayed on the drive over that whatever I said would be to the highest good of the hearer. I asked to be the conduit, and keep my ego out of it. I drove down a narrow, wooded street, with houses set back three times farther than in my neighborhood. I crept along, watching for the house number. A fox ran across the road, clear in the headlights but safely far away. I took it as a good sign. The evening raced by, a sure sign that I was in the zone. After the party, on my way out of the neighborhood, I saw the fox again.
A few years ago I attended a weekend led by Robert Moss far from my home. I was eager to learn from another elder in dream work, eager to explore the shamanistic side of dreams. The first evening, I obeyed the rules of the retreat center by going out to the parking lot to use my cell phone to call home. I sat in the rental car in the parking lot under a street lamp talking with my husband. A fox sauntered into the mostly empty parking lot about ten spaces away. It sat, watching awhile, then trotted off on its next bit of business. And last weekend, I did a little dream work with a potential client and that night saw two foxes traversing the space between my driveway and the neighbor’s house.
Besides being markers of meaning in my waking life, foxes carry symbolic associations for me of trickster energy, cleverness, and wiliness. They are most active at dusk, and so represent crossing the realms between day and night, or waking and sleeping. They tend toward camouflage and the avoidance of trouble rather than fighting.