Friday, November 18, 2011

Friday Night Arias

The coyote (Canis latrans), also known as the American jackal or the prairie wolf, is a species of canine found throughout North and Central America, ranging from Panama in the south, north through Mexico, the United States and Canada. It occurs as far north as Alaska and all but the northernmost portions of Canada.

There are currently 19 recognized subspecies, with 16 in Canada, Mexico and the United States, and 3 in Central America. Unlike its cousin the gray wolf, which is Eurasian in origin, evolutionary theory suggests the coyote evolved in North America during the Pleistocene epoch 1.81 million years ago alongside the Dire Wolf. Unlike the wolf, the coyote's range has expanded in the wake of human civilization, and coyotes readily reproduce in metropolitan areas.

The name "coyote" is borrowed from Mexican Spanish coyote, ultimately derived from the Nahuatl word c├│yotl. Its scientific name, Canis latrans, means "barking dog" in Latin. Preliminary genetic evidence, however, has shown that "coyotes" in some areas are, genetically speaking, 85–90% Canis latrans, and from 10 to 15% Canis lupus (gray wolf), along with some domestic dog (Canis lupus familiaris) DNA; this prompted one researcher to suggest, jokingly, that they be called "Canis soupus," as they are a "soup" (mixture) of canid species.

Coyote is also a mixture in the old stories.

I have affinity for Coyote. I love the idea of him, of his wisdom and his foolishness. He suffers from human frailties and that's dangerous for any being who possesses real power. Coyote occasionally has divine powers. Coyote is very old, but he is childlike and is often quite childish and irresponsible, inexplicable in one so ancient. The truth is coyote is born anew quite often and he may be old as hills are old and worn, as the Siberian Traps and the Deccan Traps are old and persist despite great age, but when born anew, his enthusiasm and presence are decidedly youthful. His place in the new world is shared in the old. Hermes has some of him as does Pan. Some of the others as well have some of his stuff. He is diffuse in the old world but Aesop presented stories in which other totems acted in his stead. There are times when things deserve a good howl.

In the Major Arcana Tarot card of The Fool Coyote appears in disguise. In the Rider-Waite deck, sometimes he is the little dog, sometimes the youth. That's just my opinion. There are other Tarot decks and many other opinions.

Friday Night Arias

Coyote sings moon
white songs, pale bone songs, silver
streams of young young dreams
from deep inner troves,
ancient wisdom, starry keys.

And I've heard your voice.
I commend the way
you rose from exile, new songs
near my long gray lines.

January 16, 2010 3:59 AM
Modified November 18, 2011 7:02 PM


  1. I like the Coyote-Fool connection, hadn't thought of that before. Though I've always felt a bit more attached to Crow. Wonder which one he'd turn up as.

  2. Thanks, Joseph. Crow is wise. I have never felt crow to be a clown so much as cunning at times. As such he/she might be more dangerous. Coyote has to wake up, though he can and often does, in order to get really clever. Crow operates in cleverness as a normal thing. Crow flies overhead in the fool card, I think, too clever to come down to earth, but too connected to leave entirely. The drama of the Fool is literally beneath Crow. But again, that would be my opinion, educated though it may be.

  3. Very informative post! Love it!


  4. I have missed reading you, Christopher, so very much. I've missed Coyote, too. :)


The chicken crossed the road. That's poultry in motion.

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