Because of their high metabolism, Members of the Weasel Family hunt endlessly. Since They are long and skinny, They also lose heat in their bodies. To keep warm, Members of the Weasel Family consume a lot of food. Long-Tail Weasels kill every Chicken in henhouse for stockpiling in lean times. Least Weasels cache hundreds of Rats and Mice in their burrows. Minks hoard Muskrats and Ducks They have killed. The bodies of the killed Animals provide food and insulation for cold winter days.
Belonging to the same Animal Family as Badger and Otter, as well as being a relative of Skunk, Members of the Weasel Family have glands that produce a strong smell. In fact, people claim that Weasel musk is stronger than Skunk scent. Medieval folklore says that Weasel’s smell could kill the legendary Basilisk. Since Members of the Weasel Family prefer to live solitary lives, They leave their scent to tell Others to hunt elsewhere.
Silent and graceful, Members of the Weasel Family go unseen and unheard about their territories. They quietly observe what is happening and then discern what is important. Since Weasels move unseen, scouting out their Enemies, Native Americans sought blessings from Weasel, when going into battle.
Shamans use Least Weasels as guides to underworld realms. Their primal energy and fierce courage make Them formidable allies. As Spirit Animals, Members of the Weasel Family are not easy to work with. Minks have forceful personalities but are powerful allies in gaining good fortune.
Among many people, Members of the Weasel Family have a mixed reputation. European folklore says that if Weasel appears near a house and squeaks, death is near. Meanwhile, only royalty wore Ermine, since they thought of Her as morally pure. Even though ancient Israelites considered Weasels unclean, Egyptians considered Them to be sacred animals. In China, Weasel was one of the five animals able to hear everything said.
Various Members of the Weasel Family have a poor reputation among many people for being cowards. This is simply not true. In fact, They are bold and confident in taking on Animals larger than Themselves. Moreover, Members of the Weasel Family are tenaciously aggressive. Weasels have been known to kill Hawks, who were trying to kill Them.
Ancient Greeks said that the Goddess of Retribution, Nemesis, took the form of Weasel to pursue justice. Carpathians believed that Weasel would attack by the thousands to avenge the death of one of their own. To honor Weasel, they held Weasel festivals on St. Matthew’s Day. Medieval Christians regarded Weasel as a spiritual warrior able to defeat the Devil with faith.
Weasel was one of two animals who could kill the mythical Basilisk. (The other was Cock.) Because Weasels kill Snakes, symbols of vice, Christians thought of Them as a Symbol of Christ the Purifier. St. Jordan of Battberg had a pet Weasel that represented his attribute of vigilance and watchfulness.
Medieval Europeans claimed that Ermines would rather die than dishonor Themselves. Because their coats turn brown in the summer, White Ermines seem to die in the spring, but are reborn in winter. Christians took Ermine to be a symbol of Christ’s Resurrection.
Members of the Weasel Family do not do things in half measures. They live life with all of their heart. Ferrets race down tunnels out of curiosity, while Minks travel great distances for Fish. Folklore tells of Weasel’s ardent nature in confronting wrongs. Members of the Weasel Family put their whole being into what they do. Learn from Them to do the same. Experience life with all your senses. Live life fully but do not burn out while doing it, for Weasels have short lives.
Take time to read what the Individual Weasel Teachers have to teach.
Important Weasel Family Teaching: Quickness
“The power that weasel calls its own is quickness. Many animals are fast over distances, but few can rival the darting speed which weasel can move. If Weasel comes to you, it may be saying that you need to move more quickly in some aspect of your life.” Copyright: “Animal Energies”, Gary Buffalo Horn Man and Sherry Firedancer.
Important Weasel Family Teaching: Look at the Hidden Meaning of Things
“Because Weasel is so tiny, her abilities are often underestimated. Weasel medicine and wisdom teaches us how to look beyond the superficial to never underestimate other people or situations. She helps us to size up things accurately no matter what the appearance.” Copyright: “Shamanic Wisdom II”, Dolfyn and Swimming Wolf.
Note: The song, “Pop Goes the Weasel”, refers to a spinning or a hatters tool which is portable and able to be pawned, and not to Weasels.
Conservation Notes: Black-footed Ferret (Mustela nigripes) is nearly extinct. The United States has started a breeding program to return this Ferret to the prairies of North America. Meanwhile, American Mink is threatening European Mink in Eurasia. Weasels and Ferrets are endangering the native Birds of New Zealand.
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Weasel Painting copyrighted by Visipix.com
Photo of Black-Footed Ferret courtesy of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service