The raccoon and his black mask and white and black striped tail conjure up various characters - bandit, carnival reveller, or actor of old. The raccoon is all these things, a mischievous master of disguise. This nocturnal scavenger also symbolizes our hidden identities, our dark side, that which we don't know about ourselves. Perhaps the perfect symbol of our "alter egos".
Raccoon comes from the North American first nations Algonqian language - aroughcoune - meaning "he who scratches with his hands". Spell it with one "r" or a "double rr", it passes equally well in the English language. The raccoon is found the length and breadth of North America, from the far north all the way to Mexico. Like another infamous 'trickster', the coyote, the raccoon has adapted well to living amongst humans as the suburbs infringe upon their natural habitat.
The raccoon may be endearing because of its mask, because, as humans, we need to occasionally change identity. There's no question but that the human psyche has many faces, without which we couldn't navigate a 24-hour day. Raccoon wisdom, then, also includes shape-shifting and secrecy. If the raccoon is your spirit guide, you would probably shine on the theatrical stage.
See also: Animal Tattoo Index.