Symbols - What does heaven look like
Dark or black coloured jaguars or leopards are commonly called black panthers or simply Panthers. A panther thus acquires all the symbolic meaning of the jaguar or leopard in whichever society it is to be found.
Black panthers as animals are common in the equatorial rainforest of Malaya, for example, and the tropical rainforest on the slopes of some African mountains such as Mount Kenya.
The Panther takes on the symbolism of all animals, as such for many rain forest people, it is a means of transport. It is also a symbol of rebirth - change by quite violent destruction and transformation.
In many South American shamanic societies, both the jaguar and panther are the ultimate animal for any shaman to aspire to. A shaman who has become a jaguar symbolically, or who has his spirit helper as a jaguar, is an extraordinarily powerful man - and it nearly always is a man, for reasons which should be obvious when you read the description about the jaguar as a jungle predator.
But the Panther has the added symbolism derived from being all Black. Black and White denote the type of shaman.
Black shamans communicate with ‘evil spirits’. Evil spirits are simply the spirit beings of those things that can harm us – the spirit beings of viruses and bacteria and poisonous plants for example. So it is a dangerous job. Black shamans generally live outside family groups because the contact is dangerous.
They may also foretell the future, and undertake exploration of the spirit realm and give accounts of their journeys there. Again both are potentially dangerous.
In effect, black shamans are out of body travellers. It is important, I think to realise that a black shaman is NOT necessarily an evil shaman – black does not symbolically represent evil. The 'black shaman' is only professionally 'black', he helps men no less than the white shaman does, but he may have to deal with evil powers. For this reason, he occupies a higher position than other types of shaman because the risks are greater.
But a Black shaman turned bad, siding with the spirit beings of viruses, bacteria and poisonous plants, becomes a sorcerer and these men are really dangerous.
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