She who runs with the Foxes

She who runs with the Foxes

There are women in the world, who run with the wolves. And there are those who run with foxes. I would like to invite you on a journey that has been going on since my childhood and that is becoming deeper and more meaningful with the years.

This is a journey into the world of animals. Unfortunately it seems to me that very few people respect animals and that  animals have been misunderstood and mistreated throughout human history. They have only tried to profit from them.

I want to tell you the story of a fox named Reebus who has been my spirit teacher already 7 years and who has guided me to Cerridwen and the mystical world of shape shifting. He has  helped me understand animal spirits.

We know from Cerridwen’s story how important the animals are and how the transformation takes place through them. Looking at animals we see the dance of life and death most clearly.

Living with the fox, I have been in the shoes of Gwion and Cerridwen, both runner and chaser. I have been there when he catches mice in the field, plays with them and finally breaks them. We have run after hares, raccoons and crows, and I have felt his passion for hunting flow into me.

But we have also been in the shoes of runners. If it is a big hunting dog that we meet in the forest, or when it comes across the tracks of a wolf and a lynx, the fox panics and starts to run away. Then I have to be ready to run as fast as him.

So I have learned a lot about the life and behaviour of wild animals. And Reebus has been that teacher. But I have to start from the beginning.

Reti and Reebus

I have been in contact with animals a lot in my childhood. My grandmother had a proper farm with pigs, rabbits and many poultry, which of course were raised to be eaten later. I remember on my 15th birthday, in the month of January, where I was categorically against having roast rabbit on my party table. This meant that a couple of cute rabbits had to sacrifice their lives a few days before my birthday. I knew all the rabbits we had growing up, they all had names and when they were little cubs I would bring them into the room to play and let them sleep in my bed. But at least from now on, my birthday wasn’t connected to someone’s death.

When I turned 20, the year was 1985, I was given the skin of a wild red fox. It was a big fashion at this time, skin with head and paws, and of course the tail too. And although I was happy and proud of the expensive gift, I also felt an inexplicable sadness and guilt in my soul. And then, wearing this fox fur, earned me the nickname Dancing Fox among my friends.

And so our journey together began. A few years later, I met Rupert Flying Eagle, an American Native grandfather, who opened my eyes to the world of animal spirits, where I learned to deeply understand the souls of animals and birds and see the teachings that animals share with us, humans.

I remember, it may have been about 20 years ago, on one of the Shamanic journeys, while looking for spirit animal helpers, a red fox spirit became my companion. He told me that from now on we would always be together and that he would be my guide if I trust him.

And foxes began to appear in my life everywhere and in every possible and impossible case. Initially noticing them somewhere in the forests, then in pictures and symbols, in films and videos and in my dreams. They always amazed me in being such mystical creatures.

Very often I saw more of them along the highways, especially in autumn, when the young animals started looking for food on their own. I discovered a nice litter, a mother with her cubs, who were hanging around in a roadside ditch on dark summer nights looking for food. Over the course of several weeks, I would quietly drive up near to them on the highway, turn off the car lights, and watch them deliver, play and seem so brave. I sat and told them to be careful and better go further into the forest, because the road is very dangerous. I was a little scared every time that maybe none of them had been hit by a car. But it seems they took my advice. I was very happy about that.

However, unfortunately I also had to see dead animals that were left under the cars. Earlier, when I noticed a dead animal on the road, I closed my eyes at the place where the car passed the lifeless body. Yes, even while driving myself, I closed my eyes for that few seconds. But now I started picking them up. I couldn’t leave them flattened under the wheels. Yes, it was definitely dangerous, especially along major highways with heavy traffic. But I still did it. I always have gloves and a couple of cardboard boxes in my car to pick up and remove the animal from the road. So where do I take them…

Fortunately, we still have enough wild forests and we can stop the car at the edge of the forest and by the road or drive deeper along the forest road. And so I bury them somewhere under big trees, hidden among moss and leaves. I read a small prayer to send his soul back to the Otherworld and I ask for a blessing from Mother Earth who accepts the animal’s body. Of course I also cry a little, sometimes more.

Reti and bones

One time about 8 years ago I noticed a dead fox in a tree near my home in the woods. He had apparently been hit by a car and in a panic climbed a tree and died there among the branches. It seemed very strange, but I couldn’t find any other explanation. He hung there as if he were alive, I first noticed how his tail was flapping in the wind. At first I wasn’t sure if he was alive or dead, but then I moved closer and saw his broken head. I took him down from the tree and buried him under the leaves and soil near the same tree. I sat there under the tree for a long time, I sang to him and tried to understand what the sign was, what he wanted to tell me… while sitting there, I felt very clearly for the first time how our souls would merge and how some wild and hairy creature would take shape in me.

A few months later, while going mushroom hunting in the fall, I came across the same tree. I scraped the soil and found fox bones, they were nice and clean, everything else had rotted away and turned to soil.

By that time, I had already learned the power of animal bones and tusks and that indigenous peoples have always worn animal skins and bones to connect with them more deeply and share in the power of animals. I felt that I also wanted the energy of this fox and to be in touch with him. And so my first fox bone necklace was completed.

Reti Fox Bone Necklaces

I must say that I have also eaten fox meat. Wanting to connect even more with the spirit of the fox, I decided to do it. This poor animal had also been fatally hit by a speeding car. When I found her, her body was still warm and her soft fur was blowing in the light breeze. She just seemed to be laying there, no blood or visible injuries, it seemed like she were alive. I took her soft body and carried it to the car, we drove home. I had buried dead foxes before, but her skin was so beautiful and shiny, she was a young fox, maybe 5-6 months old, and I couldn’t imagine her rotting under the ground. I liked stroking her skin again and again. I asked a hunter to take off the skin, which I then dried and later the skin became an altar. I still have it and it smells as fresh as it did years ago.

And before I buried her body, I cut a piece of flesh from her thigh. Nor is there much meat elsewhere. Foxes are very fine-boned and slender animals. All the fluffiness is provided by their gorgeous coat. I brought my big drum and smoked the spruce branches over her, I prayed and asked for permission. And I cooked that piece of meat on the fire I had kindled in her honour. It was all a very sacred act. It was a great self-transcendence. I don’t know that anyone has eaten fox meat before. Yes, I know that bear meat, wild boar meat and other wild animals are eaten, but I have never heard of fox or wolf meat being eaten. But I ate this morsel and at the same time asked to be turned into a fox, to be given all the wisdom and skills of foxes. 

Since foxes are known as gifted shapeshifters and tricksters among Native Americans as well as in Chinese and Japanese culture, they have an important place in Celtic stories and Norse mythology, I asked for all these talents and wonderful skills for myself. That I would have a same sharp instinct and a sensitive nose, that I can follow tracks, see in the dark, hear every movement and notice danger, that I can hunt and catch prey, that I have the courage and curiosity to explore unknown paths, that I can be just as playful and mischievous when there are fox cubs and that I can retreat when necessary and attack when necessary.

For my part, I promised to protect and keep all the foxes I could. I became a scourge to hunters. Often I saw them waiting for foxes or other animals with rifles in the fields and by the forest.  I stopped the car, went out and yelled very loudly or made a fox calling noise, I had already learned it, to signal the animals in this way that they would notice and hear me and can run to hide in the forest. I told the irritated hunters that I was looking for my lost dog and that’s why I was yelling this way.

And most important, I started fighting against fur farms, which we still had in Estonia at that time. By now, they have long since been closed, thank Goddess, and now we are fighting to make the whole of Europe farm-free.

And then came the time when live foxes started coming into my life. I had seen videos of foxes going to eat in homes and people feeding them, especially in England. I learned that foxes can be raised at home and cared for and lived with. I started reading and researching everything I could about them. How they behave, what they eat, everything about their vocalizations. And I started dreaming about my fox, my real life fox.

Reebus on the look out

And of course… like I dreamed,  I got a fox in my real life. Reebus, with whom we have lived for seven years now. He was a descendant of a fox from a fur farm and was 40 days old when we met. I don’t know exactly how he was brought out of the farm, apparently it was against the law, but I really didn’t care. When I suddenly saw an ad in the newspaper that someone was selling fox puppies, it was clear that this was for me. Before Reebus appeared in my life, a wild fox wintered with me, whom I saved from hunters. But those are stories for the next newsletter.

Thank you for reading and I hope we meet again. Very soon.

Reebus the fox



Reti Toriella, Priestess of Cerridwen, Estonia

Reti Toriella

I am She who loves nature and forests, runs across the fields with the fox, paints and prays for life. Art therapist and Soul healer.


Photos by Reti

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