Foxes in Waking Life and Dreams

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.

Fox in a church parking lot
Photo by Laura K. Deal

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.

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7 thoughts on “Foxes in Waking Life and Dreams”

  1. Love the way Fox always shows up for you. I thought it was interesting the fox in your final paragraph, how he was “traversing the space between my driveway and the neighbor’s house” – another “liminal” space. Maybe this happens to show us that there’ really no space at all between us and another, even if that other has passed on to the unseen dimension…Just thinking. Thanks for prompting me to go deep into this! Love, Brenda

  2. Beautifully written! And of course because you and I have shared so many of the experiences you write about, seeing a fox has the same impact on me. <3

    The Fox at the Window

    It was in the month of May
    And the old folks they were ailing.
    We were worried and blue, didn’t know what to do
    When we saw their strength was failing.
    And we lay in bed, and we prayed and said
    “God, please send us beauty.”
    Then a fox overhead, right above our bed,
    Sang in our bedroom window:

    “Don’t be afraid and don’t be dismayed,
    Keep your ears and your eyes wide open.
    Run through the night and sing to the Light,”
    Said the fox that sang at the window.

    It was in the month of June
    And my mother lay a-dying.
    We sat by her bed and we stroked her head
    And we could not keep from crying.
    But all night long I sang her songs
    As she slipped away in her sleeping,
    For the fox’s song still kept me strong
    And the courage it was keeping.

    “Don’t be afraid and don’t be dismayed,
    Keep your ears and your eyes wide open.
    Run through the night and sing to the Light,”
    Said the fox that sang at the window.

    It was in the month of July
    And we walked in a mountain meadow
    And my mother’s voice made my heart rejoice
    As she smiled through my memory’s window.
    And the fox that we’d seen around our house
    Seemed to have gone away now,
    But the fox’s song still kept me strong
    For I knew what it would say now:

    “Don’t be afraid and don’t be dismayed,
    Keep your ears and your eyes wide open.
    Run through the night and sing to the Light,”
    Said the fox that sang at the window.

    It was in the month of August
    And the church was filled with flowers.
    And the people there came to love and share
    My mother’s sweetest hours.
    And just before the preacher spoke
    We looked out of the window…
    And a fox looked in with a foxy grin
    That said “She’ll always love you.”

    “Don’t be afraid and don’t be dismayed,
    Keep your ears and your eyes wide open.
    Run through the night and sing to the Light,”
    Said the fox that sang at the window.

    Karen Deal Robinson
    August 19, 2009

  3. Tissues, nothing, have a hanky 🙂 BTW, I’m not sure the fox in your photo is emaciated. I think they’re pretty long and lean most of the time, it’s just that in the winter they grow heavy coats and look thicker. I could be wrong. But that’s the fox in my song, with the “foxy grin”. <3

  4. Love this post Laura and what a beautiful poem Karen! When you mentioned the workshop with Robert Moss, I thought of your experience of seeing the piece of wood from a boat on the shore with the words, “Taylor Made” These signs, symbols, synchronicities are around us all time and, as Brenda mentions, I believe they are designed to pop up to remind us how connected we really are to each other and to nature and how the waking world and dream world are (as Jung often said) “Unas Mundas” (one world) It’s all endlessly fascinating!

  5. Love this definition/description!

    Unus Mundus (One Mind/One World) is a Jungian concept in which human elements are simultaneously separate and unified, eliminating disharmony on our journey to wholeness …or in Jungian terms, the pulse of the universe. The inner world of fantasy, imagination and dreams cross over into outer events. This ties into Jung’s Theory of Synchronicity as well (meaning acausal connection of two or more psycho-physic phenomena, or “meaningful coincidences,” by which the individual attains a greater understanding of self)

    (copied from )

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