There is a teaching from the ancient peoples of the Americas about “the time of the black jaguar,” that seems very pertinent to the period we are living through.  We are told that at such a time there will emerge  

“The Goddess Kali Battles Demons” Hinduism and other traditions teach that we are in the chaotic end of the Kaliyuga, a ~5000+ year dark age of ignorance, corruption, and materialism. Image from the Edwin Binney 3rd Collection Accession Number: 1990.187, San Diego Museum of Art on Wikimedia Commons.

a purifying chaos in which lies are seen for what they are, and there is a collective craving for returning to the simplest truth. At this confusing time, old group and ethnic identities become debilitated, and millions of humans lack clarity about their future and their true place in the world. The social pillars and belief systems of the conservative past are broken, and the new pillars are not built yet.  

It is a difficult time but also one that “offers the most opportunities for those who seek their liberation from old mental prisons.”

Some astrologers place this time in the chaotic transition between the Piscean Ave and the Age of Aquarius. Woodcut illustrations by Alexander and Samuel Weissenhorn of Ingolstadt, from a 16th-century manuscript in the Penn Library, call #GC55 N1700 566p, uploaded to Flickr by the Provenance Online Project.

At such a moment “it is the Black Jaguar who rules” and big change happens,

so that a new time of creation may arrive and find hearts that are clean and open to see and support the unfolding of a new world, still unknown.

Many people may experience

…major losses in their lives; some are brutally taken out of their comfort zone. Many see their old life not working anymore or feel afraid when seeing destruction happen in the rest of the world. It all means just one thing: it is time to change.*   

Dark Night of the Soul. Photo by Chen YiChun on Unsplash

The “time of the Black Jaguar” sounds a lot like what the mystics call the “dark night of the soul” which I have chosen to call the “dark night of our species.” 

At such a time we are invited to face evil as the lovers and warriors we truly are.  It is a time for asking ourselves: What are the prisons holding us back?  What ways of thinking?  What toxins reside in our minds and hearts?  What attitudes hold us back?  What cleansing do we need to undergo? 

Complete dissolution: a caterpillar in the chrysalis dissolves entirely into an organic goop, within which imaginal cells begin the process of forming a butterfly. Photo by Illuvis on Pixabay

All this so that a new time of creation may arrive and find hearts open to see and support the unfolding of a new world.

This teaching is echoed in Meister Eckhart’s surprising teaching when he reminds us that “all things praise God. Even deprivations and evil bless God and praise God.”

Evil has much to teach us.  We want to learn without succumbing to fascination or becoming mesmerized by its inventiveness.  Among other things, it can teach us about ourselves by demanding more of us—more truth, more courage, more creativity, more self criticism and self awareness.  It does hold the power to purify our intentions and reason for being here.  It can render us more alive and more present and more generous.

*Arkan Lushwala, The Time of the Black Jaguar: An Offering of Indigenous Wisdom for the Continuity of Life on Earth, (Ribera, NM: Arkan Lushwala: 2012), 84-85.

Adapted from Matthew Fox, Sins of the Spirit, Blessings of the Flesh: Transforming Evil in Soul and Society, pp. xxixf.

Banner image: “Melanism in Panthera Onca” Photo by Eduardo Estrada, Wildlife & Conservation Photography on Wikimedia Commons

Queries for Contemplation

Do you sense our times as a time of a “purifying chaos?”  Can you identify with the “time of the black jaguar” as explained above?

Recommended Reading

Fox makes the point that religion has so often oversold the concept of “sin” that it has left us without language or power to combat evil. Through comparing the Eastern tradition of the 7 chakras to the Western tradition of the 7 capital sins, Fox allows us to think creatively about our capacity for personal and institutional evil and what we can do about them.

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2 thoughts on “The Time of the Black Jaguar”

  1. Carol Kilby

    Yes. How hopeful, helpful, heart- stretching is this mythology of the black cat. Also empowering is Matt’s phrase, dark night of the species. Yes, let’s have a reissue of your text on sin. Only when we stop demonizing nations and projecting evil on the leaders will we begin to embrace how each is cooped in a system that is breaking and all its jagged edges are exposed. What, I ask my own black jaguar, am I fiercely protecting? Thanks Matt for your morning ministrations

    1. Gail Sofia Ransom

      Dear Carol,
      Thank you for your thoughts. Perhaps we can all revisit the video on communicating with animals and begin to communicate with our own black jaguars – so that we can understand and own what we have been projecting onto others – until they can pace inside us, honored and content.
      Gail Sofia Ransom
      For the Daily Meditation Team

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