Possums are animals that are famous for playing dead.
But did you know that they don’t have control when playing dead? In fact, they can’t control how long it will take for them to rise from the “dead”. Well, that’s because “playing possum” is an involuntary reaction triggered by stress.
When a possum is attacked by a predator, it experiences intense fear as it knows that its life is in danger. When that happens, it stiffens up and falls to the ground with its teeth showing and tongue sticking out. It enters into a comatose-like state which makes it appear that it has just expired.
But the convincing part is that it secretes a foul-smelling liquid from its anus enough for predators to lose their appetite and look for a better meal. And with that, the possum lives to see another day.
Symbolism and Meaning
Since possums are great at “playing possum”, it symbolizes a cunning, crafty master trickster. It also gets a symbolism for being a problem-solver.
While it does seem a less courageous animal for its tendency to “drop dead”, make no mistake, the possum will fight especially when it has to defend its young.
The possum in its early life needs to learn to adapt to survive. It cannot see at birth that why it develops and hone its instinct for survival. And so while the possum may not look impressive on the onset, it adapts to its environment and shows a strong spirit to survive in the wild.
Here are the symbolisms for the possum:
- Calm and Sensible
- Sensual Acuity
- Good memory
Possum as a Spirit Animal
When possum comes to you as your spirit animal, prepare for some self-assessment. It will help you get in touch with your inner spirit, and discover skills and aptitudes you never knew that you had.
You may find yourself more open to opportunities, but aside from relying only on your instinct, you tap into your intelligence to always look beyond not only what is laid in front of you.
Possums possess good memory especially when it comes to food. Studies have shown that it performed better than dogs and cats in remembering which pathway the food can be found.
Your spirit animal enhances your protective nature especially to people that mean the most to you. Like a possum that will defend its nest where it keeps its young, you are equally defensive of your loved ones.
As a Totem Animal
As a totem animal, possums possess cunning and problem-solving skills. You know how to accomplish your set goal, and how to navigate your way through obstacles that are in front of you. You know when to keep your cards to your chest, but you also know when to lay it down.
You also manifest your possum intelligence, which allows you to have a better read of situations involving people around you. You know when to “play possum”, and when to fight to achieve your goals. You understand that not all battles are worth fighting, so you learn to choose which ones are worth it.
And when you summon your totem animal, you will find yourself in a calm state, with peace of mind, and fully focus on what you need to do next. And when things are not going your way, you have the spirit of a survivor and a never-give-up attitude. Quitting for you is never an option.
Possum as a Native American symbol
In Native American culture, the possum is used as a clan animal. The tribes of Yuchi and Mohegan both have possum clans. Native American warriors have been known to imitate the cunning abilities of possums. They have learned to play dead and surprise the enemy with fierce attacks when they get close.
In Central America and parts of Mexico, a possum is symbolized as a cunning animal hero that escapes tight situations by using its wits. In some South American tribes, the possum is seen as a very important symbol as the fire-bringer.
Members of Nahuatl women have used a drink with a possums tail as a folk medicine to ensure successful childbirth. In some Mexican tribes, possums are symbols of fertility.
Symbolisms and Dreams
When a possum appears in your dream, it means you are in a very vulnerable situation. It could be in a personal relationship or a business deal that have you exposed. It’s important to act fast or you may suffer a huge loss.
If you’ve just made a big decision, you may need to think hard and re-evaluate your position, and do the necessary action. Something is blinding you and you need to summon your spirit animal to see through the haze.
When you see a possum that plays dead in your dream, you may find yourself in a position where you either need to back out and walk away. When you see a possum attacking an animal, it means that the time has come to implement an idea or plan that you’ve been holding off for some time.
The possum is a creature that is resilient and knows how to survive in life. While it may seem cowardly to play dead in the face of great danger, it’s an instinct of self-preservation that makes them do it.
As we have learned, possums will fight to death especially to protect their young. That is real courage as they are willing to sacrifice their lives to protect those that they love. Possum shows us that in life, you always need a plan and strategy to get out of sticky situations and save yourself from a lot of trouble.
It’s not always easy for people to read other’s true intentions. Possums have a great instinct to understand what is going on around them. You will encounter people that will try to take advantage of you whether in your personal life, career, or your business dealings.
Summon your possum spirit animal to give you the wisdom to see through the façade that people put up. After all, it’s hard to trick a master trickster, and a possum has no equal when it comes to that.