Frog Medicine: What do Frog and the Dalai Lama Have in Common?

This story is a good example of tracking images through life, like a scientist or archaeologist continually collecting data with “pattern integrity” (in the words of R. Buckminster Fuller). There is a LOT of adventure in image tracking. Here is an example.

Frog. What do I know about frogs? Next to nothing. Meaningful childhood memories? None. Do they interest me? Their sounds certainly do, but not so much otherwise. I remember in high school having to dissect one, and it was nearly unbearable. Yet frog, as a symbol and image, presents itself over and over to me. What does it want me to know?

My awareness of it began on a 10-day Vision Quest that I did more than a decade ago. A shaman I was working with advised that I shave my head. I sat with this idea and finally said to myself, “Ok, I will do it, but I will spend the first 10 days on a vision quest, alone, praying for the vision that will lend meaning and strength in surviving the tsunami of my life.” Those 10 days are epic to me, in the most quiet way. One of the most clear memories is of a little frog who took up residence in the spout of the watering can that I used to bring water from the stream to clean dishes or make tea. He sat with his little head poked out, looking about, and sat there for hours, forever. He was teaching me how to be. When I had to pour water from the can I did so gently onto the ground so that he could be released. It never took too long after my use of water to look around again and find the frog back, perched. When I completed those 10 days I knew I could come back to that land, that tree, and those waters, but leaving the frog was hard. Truly hard.

Some years later at an intensive with some shamans I worked with in New Mexico, I met a doctor from Knoxville. During that time I had an extraordinary dream about a frog which I shared with the group. The doctor friend told me that he had purchased a little frog totem in a shop with no idea why he was purchasing it. He gave it to me saying that the dream I had told was the most beautiful dream he had ever heard, so he knew the totem was for me. Within a year I had a physical crisis I would have ignored except that this doctor, because he was a friend, became aware of it and intervened. His quick response, literally, without question, saved my life. The frog dream and totem had established this connection.

Some time later, the night before I left for Italy on a writing retreat, a woman who had read an article of mine on the internet hosted a visit in Chicago so that she and a friend could meet and talk with me. While at her home, she went outside for a moment and came back in with a frog which she plopped on my lap. She said that when she exited the front door she saw the frog jump, jump, jump down the sidewalk in front of the house, then turn the corner to the entrance of their home, and jump, jump, jump toward her – like the entrance of a gentleman caller. She knew the frog was for me. She picked it up and brought it to me.

A year or so later I had a dream that I went into the attic of the house where I lived as a child and found my FAVORITE toy, the one I had loved with my whole heart. In the dream it was a stuffed frog. I was extremely emotionally moved to find it. In real life, there was no such favorite toy, no such stuffed animal.

I just keep noticing, without attaching limited ideas of meaning to this. Watch, and notice, say the Zen masters.

Last week I had a dream. In it I saw my cell phone sitting off to my right. It was black, like my real phone, but with a diamond on every key. Beautiful. Right next to me on my left, was a cell phone in a package that I had not yet bothered to open. I realized I really should be using this phone as it was a gift from the Dalai Lama. I opened the package. The phone was in the shape of a frog, and covered with tiny crystals gleaming with color – at the head of it sea green; in the center yellow, and at the bottom pink – all glistening with light and beauty. The head of the frog was the hearpiece, the legs reached out to be the microphone that would pick up my sound. I thought, OK,  I will use this phone now.

Just last night I returned home from a retreat in Dahlonega, Georgia, where I did dream and oracular work for the second year running with a group of extraordinary women. I told this dream to them during dinner the night I arrived. One of the women said, “Frog Call.” I had not thought of it, but the name of that retreat place is Frog Call. The woman who owns it loves the sound of frogs at the lake so much that she named it that. Her husband when they married a few years ago had an unnamed creek that runs through their property named Frog Call, as a gift to her, which now show up on maps with that name. I had this dream just a few days before going to this place.

In books of symbolism, frogs are survivors, they adapt to new environments and know how to subsist. Their element is water. Emotions are comfortable for frog people, they know how to feel and respond to them. The frog’s call is related to Thunder, and I have also had significant dreams of Thunder. They are sensitive to sound, which I definitely am.

But that is in the books. What is this mystery? These dreams and events are so provocative. I have barely a clue how to read them. They remind me of everything about life, really. Life is so BIG, mysterious, profound and unreadable, yet so full of pattern integrity.

We look, we listen, we wait, we notice, we attend to the symbols. The mystery of life is unspeakably gorgeous. It coughs up insights and meanings at the most unexpected moments. Not when we demand them but when we wait; with respect, excitement and love.


2 Responses to “Frog Medicine: What do Frog and the Dalai Lama Have in Common?”

  1. Joy Parker Says:

    Dearest Taryria – I read your blogs every time you post one, but was moved to post a reply tonight. Did you know that in some parts of Indonesia when a woman wishes to find a good husband and marry that she goes to a body of water where frogs are singing, lights incense, and prays for a husband? I find that image so beautiful, dusk, a line of women with sticks of fragrant incense, standing next to the water, praying, listening to the sound of the frogs all singing love, love, love to each other as the night draws on.

  2. Tayria Ward Says:

    Joy, thank you so much for sharing this! I never heard it, and love the idea that the frogs are singing love, love, love, and women use this ritual to draw love into their lives. Maybe that is why frog is a totem for me, I love love more than anything. At the end of any day, the love I have shared in that day is all that matters. How are you, dear Joy? I’d love an e-mail update when you have a moment.

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