What's up with all the cats?

If you follow me on social media, I'm sure you have seen me post about "the black cat" or cats in general. Some might automatically assume something negative -about cats and especially black ones, but the cat symbolizes a much deeper meaning for me and the black cat initiated me into something I could never turn back from.

I decided that this blog post was a necessary one, but I'm not quite sure where to start. As a child, I had very bad experiences with cats. Particularly, this one black kitten named Feo, who would literally pounce on me every morning before school. It was my first interaction with an all-black cat and my last one for a long time after Feo pounced on me one day and stuck its claw into the side of my face. Yes, you read that right. Feo hung from my face as I ran around screaming for mercy. Even though Feo, only being a kitten, gave me a slight terror for cats, I had a great obsession with an animated one... Hello Kitty :). I loved the little character and anything with Hello Kitty on it was something that I wanted. I never had a pet cat and my family and I was always dog people. But, out of my control, cats seemed to always be attracted to me.

Late one summer night, I sat on my deck with my sister to enjoy the late-night ambiance in Suffolk, Virginia. Out of the dark, appears a big, furry cat. It walked up the steps of our deck and approached us as if it knew us. The cat jumped up on my lap like a begging dog and consumed my affection. This was, by far, one of the most unexplainable, liberating experiences for me, but it wasn't the first or the last time a cat liberated me. Another time, while on a bike ride with my roommate at the time, we passed a cat sitting outside it's home on the porch. We stopped and I jokingly 'meow'd' at it. The cat immediately starts walking towards me and my roommate and I look at each other in shock. While thinking, "Is this happening?", the cat took a seat next to me and my bike. I felt honored. (Pictured to the left or above). After many occurrences, I accepted that this was just something I was going to have to deal with. Everywhere I would go, leaving it to coincidence, there was a cat around and every so often it would do something abnormal.

The symbolic meaning for the cats and I was always recurrent, but it was always surface level. I began to consider myself to be a cat goddess and I was a female lion with a mane (because of my big hair). I took on this energy and merged myself with cats, lions, and even Bastet, the Egyptian goddess. It became a staple for me, my art, and my being.

Coming from a fierce pack of mothers and daughters, I enjoyed the kitty attention and resonated with them. Things didn't become deeper for me until the kitties entered my dreams and they didn't add to a pleasant slumber. Instead, they were an addition to the many nightmares I would have on the regular. Aside from the fear, these kitty dreams lead to one of the most intense breakthroughs in my spiritual journey. (My dark night of the soul aka the shadow journey). As I rested one night, one of the terror images that played went a little like this:

I laid on my bed, sleep in the night. My fireplace illuminated my room of bright red. I entered into sleep paralysis and my body was paralyzed. All of a sudden a small black kitten jumps on my bed and it frightens me. Still unable to move, the cat creeps up on me and I try my hardest to fight the paralysis. I tried so hard that I'm finally able to speak but in a distorted voice. I yell out in a deranged way, "YOU BLACK CAT!". The cat is frightened, backs off of me a little, but fears me no more and creeps back on me. 

This dream haunted me for weeks, not in fear, but reason. I needed to know what was the reason for these cats. What was the world trying to tell me? That cat dream wasn't the first and if I couldn't learn the reason I knew it wouldn't be the last. So my quest had just begun...

"The Black Cat", self portrait

With dream interpretation, the symbolic meaning can take as long as it needs to

become clear and direct. I searched and opened my mind to the endless symbolic possibilities. I googled for many days and even weeks, but my answers did not come. Through my research and living day to day ongoing my healing journey, I had about 3 more black cat dreams. They crawled out of my walls and ceilings, they ate my candy, and almost always caused me sleep-paralysis. After so many dreams and real-life experiences of seeing them everywhere, I finally got a new suggestion.

It was to research the Native American meaning of the black cat, so I did. This was the first time I had clarity about these black cats. Every other meaning I looked up did not make sense to me and my life. The Native American symbolism of the black cat was to recognize my personal need to balance out the dark aspects of myself. I needed to recognize the fact that we all have a light and dark side and mine needed balancing. This resonated with me so much because, before these dreams, I decided that I would start a personal quest to find my ego. I wanted to become more grounded within myself, more powerful, or, I could say, tap into my inner Beyonce. (If you know what I mean, and no, I am not apart of the beehive, but still, my love and grace goes to her being). I needed and wanted to be a 'bitch' sometimes. You have to have a little bit of that to be a solid leader and being a leader (a great one) is a goal of mine.

Before I had any idea of what the ego really consisted of, I felt the need to find mine. I'd always been a nice person, sometimes too nice. I ran a business and I knew that I needed to be more grounded in my approach to dealing with people. Growing up, I had slight anger issues. Not a short fuse, but when I would blow up, I would BLOW UP. I learned where the anger stemmed from and it changed my entire life. It led me in a more positive direction. I was all light and positivity from that moment on. After my introduction to the black cats and finding my clarity, life sent me on a 3-year journey- A journey away from the light and through the dark. It was scary, it was deep, and it was every bit of dark I could ever imagine. I'm still going through it, but alas, I am in the light again, this time more balanced and more grounded.

"Rooted In" a self portrait

The dark night of the soul journey will not be for everyone, but if you are on a spiritual journey and you are asking to transcend and reach ascension, you can probably assure that God and the universe will push you through it at some point. It will be for the betterment of you. If you are in it, recognize that we need the balance. The direction we should always go in (most of the time) is the one that we are most afraid of. I should express that my journey was not smooth. I experienced my darkest depression during these times. I was afraid of the dark (literally), I couldn't sleep, and I even had thoughts of not wanting to be alive anymore (this feeling was out my control - completely). I was afraid of the devil and demons and I just knew these entities were after me. The last experience that turned this experience back towards the light was a quote that I heard, "The devil disguises himself as the angel of light". It made me realize that searching for the light in the midst of my dark times was not the way I needed to go, but instead, I needed to go right towards what I was running away from - the dark.

Spirit animals, insects, synchronicities, dreams, and even random messages and people that we come across are all around to help us in this physical life. They pop up to confirm an energy that we are in, moving towards or moving away from. It helps to pay attention to these gifts, especially those thoughts that whisper to us. It whispers until too much time has passed, then it starts to scream. When the screaming happens it can cause confusion and even destruction. We have to remember that we are connected to everything around us and this connection is divine. Everything is here to help us on our life journey whether good or bad, light or dark.

I thank the black cats for initiating me into my shadow journey. They were around since I was a child, and they always crept up in the background of my life, but once I was ready, or once I asked, they finally, and truly, showed themselves. I now utilize both aspects of light and dark in life and myself, daily. I feel more grounded in my being. I feel now that I am truly at home. What this shadowed journey taught me most was, but not limited to:

The ego hides.

• Life is not all light and positivity and believing this will leave you blind. Instead, life needs and IS a balance between light & dark. (Too much light ain't right and too much dark will leave you stuck.)

• Having a balance between our inner light and inner shadows is a sure way to access our divine powers and allow us to utilize them properly with compassion, but also allow us to not be walked over.

• The dark side of life is what strengthens us. It consists of our inner demons, but these should not be looked at as being bad. Instead, recognize them and look at them in another light. Our demons made us who we are, if we love ourself (which we should), we should be able to love our demons. It is the only way to conquer them.

• Earth is dark, femininity is dark, strength is dark, and so is power. It is the sun that illuminates us, but realize the sun is SO BRIGHT that it is actually dark (Sun gaze at sunset to understand this ;) ).

• Fear shows us the direction we should go in. What we fear, when conquered, strengthens us.

I hope you enjoyed reading this. Please leave me feedback in the comments. I am open to all questions as this post only scratches the surface of the topic at hand. Love you <3.

Perla Woods

Chase your fears and express yourself

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