Swimming Upstream


I pulled the Salmon Medicine Card this morning. I couldn’t find the card reading to share with you this morning, but I did find another website with information on salmon medicine.

My book club just read a book about a woman who was raised by a Native American and who was deeply steeped in their ways. Her father was a psychopath, but he taught her a lot about living off the land and learning from the animals. Our world is full of different kinds of animal species who each have lessons that can teach us to survive and thrive in different situations. One of the greatest sadnesses I have right now is the consistent loss and suffering of our animal species due to our over-consumption and lack of compassion for the earth. They teach us and give us much. We should appreciate and fight for them more.

Salmon are the epitome of determination. But the lesson from salmon is much broader than that. They live much of their life swimming in ocean waters before they make the arduous journey back to the place of their birth to spawn and then die. They do this with an undeniable instinct and inner knowing that what they are doing is in their best interest. Predators, boulders, dams, and lack of water kill many but the most determined and hardy of them will make it back to the calm waters where they were born.


This journey is a celebration. It is a celebration of their life, and it is the celebration of the lives they are meant to spawn. They leap over waterfalls, jump over rocks and press against the current. They play. Salmon tells me that I should have fun and celebrate with child-like energy and enthusiasm as I manage the obstacles in my path. It is also obvious from the journey of the salmon that the destination is not the place to celebrate as the destination is my death. It is the journey that matters.

Salmon are masters of the water and water symbolizes emotions and change. Salmon reminds me to let my emotions ebb and flow and to follow the river without judgment or fear. My inner knowing and instincts are my compass. The river of life may take me on many twists and turns and erect barriers to slow my progress, but the pursuit of learning for learning’s sake is worth the effort. Salmon tells me this morning to delight in the obstacles of my life. He also reminds me that the journey is short, and I need to be awake and energetic to get the most out of it.


If I were a salmon this morning, I’d know nothing except the present moment. Breathe in…. breathe out… I’d find food for my hunger, swim against the current if necessary and enjoy the sunshine. I’d trust my strength and my instincts for each obstacle even if I’d never encountered it before. Breath in … breathe out…. I’d steer clear of bears if at all possible, hang with my shoal and linger in cooler water when I’m hot. Most of all, I would have some fun. My instincts tell me that life in the stream is short, and I have much to do. Breathe in … breathe out…

Happy swimming, fellow swimmers! Make today a day of strength and ease. 

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