THE EXTINCTION OF the thylacine was the tragic climax of a clash between Tasmania’s European colonists and an ecosystem they seriously misunderstood. Conventional wisdom has it that by 1803, when the first settlers arrived on the island, thylacines had already been extinct on the Australian mainland for some 2000 years.
Nick Mooney, a wildlife officer for the Tasmanian Parks and Wildlife Service until 2009 and now an independent wildlife biologist, estimates there were about 2100 on the island, and colonists didn’t come into contact with them until 1805 when a pack of dogs killed one.
From then on this so-called Tasmanian wolf or hyena instilled an irrational fear in residents, mostly arising from their total ignorance of the animal. They saw it as a mortal danger both to livestock – mainly sheep – and themselves. So they began savagely evicting it from its ancient habitat – shooting, snaring, poisoning and trapping it. (source: Australian Geographic)
Some years ago, when I was working with a group rewriting myths, I wrote a not so happy story, in which Little Red Riding Hood colluded with her grandmother and contributed to the extinction of the Tasmanian Tiger.
Today three Thylacine have come bounding in, seeking to be heard. They caution about the threat our fast-paced modern society poses to the creative impulse. Tasmanian Tiger is advising us to act with caution, become a little elusive, and not put ourselves out there, for everyone, quite else too freely.
Allow yourself to slip into the background and become invisible for a while. Observe from the outside, looking in.
If you have Thylacine as your guide:
“People with this animal as a guide will often manifest traits similar to the animal itself. I work on the philosophy that we only have one guide, and it teaches us lessons as well as representing the core aspects of our personality. Therefore –
– Thylacine people tend not to be open-books, they innately keep parts of their lives secret, while exposing other parts of their lives that they have become comfortable with or recognise as being ‘safe’ for them to expose. While they may think of themselves as open, they are inaccessible, but in such a way that many other people often want to discover more about them. They invite inspection and scrutiny from others but very rarely satisfy.
One of the main lessons of thylacine people throughout their lives is to negotiate what needs to be open, what shouldn’t be open, and to understand that there are parts of themselves that they may never understand. They teach this energy to others, often through trial and error, perhaps by accidentally revealing too much of themselves and showing others by example, or being able to talk from past experience. The secrets of opening up, and clamming up, are both the lessons of, and medicine of, thylacine people.
– Thylacine people are secret keepers. There’s something about them which tends to invite people to open up, and in most cases, the thylacine person is trustworthy. Thylacine people struggle and come to piece with their secrets over and over again, this is an evolutionary progress. They assess the unknown parts of themselves over time and reveal themselves in stages. This is a very important medicine, it is the medicine of knowing. Knowing what to reveal, self-knowing, and knowing what kind of world we live in, and what sort of people are our friends, in order to know what is ready to ‘come out’ and what isn’t.
It is an important wisdom, and one people tend to forget in this day and age where everything is exposed, and people seek to make taboo topics no longer ‘taboo.’ Everything becomes fine to talk about, sexuality, crime, religion, politics…but thylacine people question whether being open about everything is actually wise. It might not be a conscious process – especially if they don’t consider themselves spiritual – but it is something that becomes the focus of their lives. Their own secrets, the secrets of others, and the secrets they may come to understand (if spiritual) in the spirit worlds.
There will be other ways your guide manifests, and you will recognise them with awareness and communion”. (By Ravenari Wild Speak)
Sherry Turkle challenges us to keep things in perspective and make sure that technology is not changing our lives in ways which we will come to regret.
♣ In your journal work with what you feel these thylacine have come to tell you.
♣ Have a conversation about where our infatuation with technology is taking us. Consider the changes that have come since the inception of the internet and aggressive social media channels.
Jaun Enriquez points out in his Ted Talk that we need to be careful how we walk and stop to consider how we are identifying ourselves and leaving permanent traces behind.
♣ The Australian Geographic website has an interesting collection of pieces about this unique animal. Perhaps you will take the time to learn more about this beautiful creature.