hummingbird totem spirit animal

Spirit Animals: HUMMINGBIRD ELIXIR

Hummingbird Symbolism

Everywhere she goes there is this constant hum. The whiz of her wings shakes up the air. The vibration lights up her senses. She is a vibrant being of color seeking vibrant flowers. She drinks high powered nectar full of sugar. Hummingbird is energized with enthusiasm for living. Her mate rushes by in a blur of squeaks and buzzes. The flash of ruby on his throat takes her breath away. This is how it goes in the warmth of morning. By mid-day she may perch on a tiny branch to preen and rest for a bit. Then she’ll be back to the business of lighting up the world with her sound, her energy, and her love.

Hummingbird Love & Joy

We love hummingbirds. Over and over when they show up our eyes  twinkle. Our hearts unfurl one more step towards the infinite in the presence of these tiny little creatures.

If I were given only one word to describe the meaning of hummingbird symbolism, I would say, “love”. Give me two words and I say, “joy”. Love and joy can be such ambiguous answers although, especially when we don’t have access to them. Love and joy can slip through our fingers and escape the grasp of our hearts. We can’t make love or joy happen any more than we can cage the high powered, nectar fueled hummingbird.

Hummingbird spirit animal has much to teach us about the nature of love. She is not an anchored beast that has all four feet on the ground, nor is she a soaring bird of prey detached from the world below. Hummingbird spirit animal does not take a direct path. If a trail of light were to follow her wherever she goes, we’d see that she weaves through the world. The threads of love that connect us all are what weaves the world together.

Hummingbird’s wings move so quickly that we can’t decipher a single wingbeat. We can only watch where flight takes the bird. The nature of love is like this. We can’t identify where it is in time and space, but the threads of love determine the paths of our lives.

How is love changing your path right now? How can you abandon direct-line thinking and adopt the hummer-path? Where is your heart effortlessly lifting you up to? How does it feel when you are in the space of love? What makes your soul hum?

Strength of Hummingbird Spirit Animal

Hummingbird can cross a giant body of water like the Gulf of Mexico in one crossing, so it is easy to see how the strength, the stamina, the acrobatics, and the tenacity of hummingbird befuddles us. As with any great creature with abilities beyond our comprehension, hummingbird has found her way into all the great myths of the world.

Every society has a story to tell about hummingbird symbolism. In these stories, hummingbird spirit animal is associated with timelessness, tirelessness, rain, rainbows, warriors, fairies, lightness, beauty, circles, and jewels.

Hummingbirds and Immortality

Bears are omnivores, deer are herbivores, hawks are carnivores, and hummingbirds are nectarivores because they eat nectar. What a fun word – nectarivore! The word “nectar” originates from Greek words “nek” and “tar” that translate into “overcoming death”. Thus, nectar is synonymous with the “elixir of life”, a magical potion believed to make one immortal.

Not only does hummingbird drink life giving nectar, but she also literally overcomes death by going into a hibernation-like state called a “torpor” when food is scarce. Her metabolic rate is slowed to 1/15th of its normal rate. This speaks of going beyond survival.

How can you go beyond thinking only in terms of survival? Are you able to overcome your fears of failure, be that financial ruin or debilitating illness, and drink from the nectar of the Gods? What is the nectar that feeds you? Is it material wealth that you must attain or are you seeking recognition from others? Or is it the beauty of the world blossoming open in front of you?

Nectar is the literally the essence in a flower. Nectar contains a sweet scent that attracts pollinators. Hummingbird helps flowering and fruiting plants proliferate by spreading pollen about. She is the assistant in the creative power of nature. Hummingbird spirit animal goes straight to the essence, the heart, of the flower and drink up the truth that is there. By doing this she nurtures the beauty of the world.

Hummingbird animal totem can teach you how to go straight to the heart of the matter, the essence. Then you can carry that essence to other situations in your life. How will the truths you discover now result in abundance of spirit once the rains come?

Illusion and Hummingbird Symbolism

Hummingbird can hover in place, but the amount of energy and movement required to remain hung in midair is anything but still. She is a flurry of activity. Much of what hummingbird does is an optical illusion.

From one angle the black-chin of a Black-Chinned Hummingbird looks black, but in the right light it flashes a brilliant magenta. Many of the colors on male hummingbirds shimmer with a jewel-like iridescence when light skims across their feathers at the proper angle.

This is a reminder that all life is an illusion, and that magical flashes of the divine come when we’re not looking at something straight on. Our lives may look still outside, but be a blur of activity inside. In allowing the needle-like beak of the hummingbird totem animal to penetrate the opening flower of your being, nothing will ever look the same.

 

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Spirit Animals: DELICATELY DEER

Deer Spirit Animal

She nibbles grass by gathering at a few blades at a time with her gentle lips and clipping the greens into her immaculate, petite mouth. Nearby, another of her kind, a male with velvet dripping off his headful of antlers tenderly plucks leaves from a service berry bush. She senses her others also around quietly browsing, but the brush and their tawny coats obscures them from view. Everything appears halcyon, at peace, but this belies the sparkling tension in the air. With an unexpected crack from a small twig they know not to be born by one of their own, they all turn and take flight into the woods.

Deer are so commonly known in myth and in everyday life, and still there is a magic about them that startles the ordinary away. Their delicate yet tenacious manner has lead many hunter astray into other worlds and even to their death.

The Goddess Artemis & Deer

There is the myth of the goddess Artemis, huntress and protector of animals. Artemis was in a pond washing naked and swimming with her similarly unclothed nymphs one day.

A straying hunter came upon them and gawked at the site. In her anger, Artemis turned him to a stag and called his own hunting dogs upon him. He was killed by his own hunting party. Artemis was a virgin goddess and this tale reminds us of the importance of guarding our own innocence. Innocence and purity are at the heart of deer spirit animal.

Meaning of White Deer

White stags appear in legends from around the world, but most notably in the stories of King Arthur. He was never able to catch the white stag, but in his attempts to do so he was lead in to great adventures and mystical places.

By following the deer spirit animal into the woods of the mystery either within ourselves or within spiritual teachings we risk losing track of all time like the children of Narnia caught up in the wardrobe. And too we are invited into forgetting ourselves all together.

Stag Symbolism

There are three aspects to deer worth considering – stag (buck), doe, and fawn. Each has their own particular expression that is unique enough to explore independently.

Bucks are more independent traveling alone or in lose, unrelated bachelor groups. Their antlers symbolize connection to the heavens and intuition received through the mental plane. Their crown of antlers also corresponds to royalty and, thus, power. Bambi’s father was called the Great Prince or King of the Forest for this reason.

A mature buck with a 6-point rack in full rut strikes reverence in the heart of any man. There is a confidence and valor in a buck that rivals even the most fierce of predators. The biggest and strongest bucks in the forest mate with the most does and produce the most off-spring. They do so by fending off other suitors in battle. This is the quintessential Darwinian “survival of the fittest”.

Notice that for most of the year the bucks live peacefully side by side, but there is a season for competition with deer spirit animal. When in your life are you in competition? Are you able to enter into a test of strength when appropriate and then drop your weapons (antlers) and move on to coexist without strife the majority of the time? We sometimes judge against competitiveness, but there is a striving and refining that happens in these trials that carries us through tough times (winter) and births new energy into the world.

Stags can teach us that by knowing when to compete and when to drop our attachment to the game we can become the kings of our own inner wild nature.

Doe Deer Symbolism

Does stick together in groups related maternally year round. Their presence is of a drastically different measure. To understand the nature of doe energy simply think of the phrase “doe eyes”. Their eyes are big and soft, and any woman with doe eyes is known for luring you in.

There are many myths around the world of women who turn into animals or who are half woman, half beast. In some North American tribes there is a legend of the Deer Woman who is half woman, half doe. Some stories tell of how she lures men to their deaths. This relates back to the story of Artemis and how the gawking hunter lost his life. So, despite the fact that bucks are confident and courageous and does are soft and sweet, the two have a reputation for luring men into potential danger.

The masculine aspect of all of us (the animus) is our active nature, our “doing” way in the world. When we are caught up in the activity of our lives we easily go on auto-pilot. Then we are unknowingly subject to the luring energy of deer spirit animal. Before we know it we’ve wandered into an unknown part of our own inner forest and we think to ourselves, “I don’t know who I am anymore and I’m not sure where I was going.” This is when deer spirit animal magic has been at work in you.

Creativity and Deer Spirit Animal

Courtship and mating occurs in late fall, early winter (October-December) and the gestation period is 7 months. We often think of spring as the time for babies, but really fawns are not seen until summer officially arrives. This speaks to running on a later schedule than is expected, possibly even being prone to procrastination. This can also be a tendency to wait until you know what the picture is going to look like before moving forward.

By November, the deer have a good sense of how they will fare through the winter because they have seen the fall harvest and built up their reserves as best as nature will allow. The timing of their breeding depends on rainfall, temperature, and day length. Some species of deer will wait until January to breed.

In thinking about deer power animal, How are you approaching new creative projects right now? Are you holding out as long as you can to see what the environment will be like? Are you able to recognize a good or mild season when you are in one and move forward as to take advantage of the favorable conditions?

Symbolism of Deer Fawns

There is a doe that sets up residence around our house with her fawn(s) each year. As these things go, she just showed up for the first time this year, today, during the process of this writing. She announced her presence by chasing and charging our dog Diesel. Diesel was jumping and barking at her, and then she was in hot pursuit of him, front hooves lashing out.

We called him off and looked back in time to see a teeny, tiny little spotted fawn jump up and run the other way. The fawn had been laying down just feet from where we had walked. Our dog never saw her until she was on the move. By then he was back with us and stood and watched politely.

In the first three weeks of the fawn’s life, the mother leaves her young bedded down for up to 8 hours at a time while she wanders and grazes. The fawn is not yet able to run quickly enough to evade predators, so the best protection is to lay in hiding and wait until mom comes back with udders full of milk.

Deer Spirit Animal in Fight or Freeze

A combination of the defensive mother, the camouflage of a dappled coat, the ability to be completely still, and the lack of any scent is what keeps the fawns safe. The mothers clean their fawns immaculately, so no trace of a scent remains. All of these kept our keen nosed and eyed dog from spotting the little one.

Seeing how small this newborn was and thinking of it laying there frozen, waiting for danger to pass reminded me how intensely vulnerable these tender creatures are. We often think of freezing in the face of fear as a weakness, but the combination of the fiercely protective mother and the perfectly still fawn makes an incredibly strong pairing. I mentioned before that purity and innocence is at the heart of the deer totem, this is because as fawns they begin life pure (clean of scent) and innocent (unable to defend themselves or run from danger).

With deer spirit animal, what is your relationship to being vulnerable? Are you ashamed of the tender part of you that lays frozen in the brush? Do you over-emphasize the protective nature of the mother? All of this is necessary for your well being. Keep in mind a balance. Judge not your innocence, love the purity of your soul, and honor your own courageous spirit.

PHOTO CREDIT: David Anton. To view more of David’s beautiful photos visit his website: https://kitestream.wordpress.com

 

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meaning of red-tailed hawk symbolism

Spirit Animals: RED-TAILED HAWK ALLIANCE

Red-tails adapt easily to life with and around humans and, in general, are more in service to humanity than other hawk species. There is a famous red-tailed hawk that has nested on the side of a skyscraper on the edge of New York City’s Central Park for over twenty years. The male hawk, known as “Pale Male”, has an entire film documentary about him, his various mates, and his young.

It seems that the spirits prefer to send red-tails as messengers because of their gregarious and more approachable nature. In a sense, they are the labrador retrievers of the hawk world and both in spirit and in the flesh they can be our loyal best friends. The are also very conspicuous, found throughout North America in nearly every type of open or semi-open habitat. Seeing red-tailed hawks is such a common occurrence that one may miss the significance of red-tailed hawk symbolism all together, but just because a host of angels are sent to the skies above you doesn’t mean you should ignore them.

Symbolism of Red-Tailed Hawk Feathers

The red tail feathers of this hawk are extremely significant as they bring strong power in relation to the first chakra, otherwise known as the root chakra. The first chakra relates to situations and circumstances around family, friends, and community. Here is where our insecurities around being abandoned, outcast, and left alone are held. Here are our worries about being humiliated. To have red feathers at this chakra that is characterized by the color red amplifies the power of this message and demonstrates how integral these hawks can be in helping us work through healing wounds around our sense of belonging in tribes.

Red as a color relates to love, anger, and passion, matters we’d typically associate with the heart, but this is the personal heart, the one that ties us intimately with those we come into contact with on a daily basis.

If you look closely at the tail of a red-tail, you will see a thin black horizontal line running across the base of the feathers with each feather tipped by white. Red-tails are divine messengers meant to bring guidance from the heavens and ground the guidance out in the physical world. In grounding out the guidance (black line) the realms of spirit (white tip) are available even in the lowest, most mundane places. Many of a red-tail’s feathers are “barred” with multiple dark lines. This is a common feature of hawk feathers and speaks to how they are able to navigate multiple altitudes and embody many layers of understanding.

Relationship to the Tribe

Each red-tailed hawk has a unique plumage (coat of feathers), so despite the fact that they are literally one in a million of their kind, each is a unique individual with an important story to tell. In my book Gracious Wild: A Shamanic Journey with Hawks I tell the story written on the breast of my best friend, Graccia the female red-tailed hawk I worked with in a raptor education program:

I stood memorizing every single feather on her body. Each was as unique as a snowflake. Then, like peering through a looking glass, noticed a figure on one of the contour feathers among those in her belly. It was in the shape of a spirit, much like that of an angel. The spirit’s arms were straight out and it wore a long flowing robe that extended across the tip of Graccia’s feather. I took a step back and widened my focus. Before me stood a gathering of angels spanning the width of her breast. As I absorbed the entire picture I was without breath. Below the feathers painted with spirits were feathers hatched with horizontal lines. In reading the story written there, I saw that these markings represented the earth. The earth lines rose to form a fleet of spirits that looked like robed angels with arms outstretched. The spirit fleet then morphed into vertical lines, beings of light, shooting into the heavens. The pattern was so plainly written at this moment outside time. The story told on her breast was that of enlightened beings that are born of the earth and then merged with the heavens.

The fact that these stories are demonstrated on the hawk’s chests like a “shield” harkens back to family and tribal shields or coats of armor. If you had to draw the coat of armor for your family or your current tribe, what would it look like? If you are yearning for a new tribe, draw that coat of armor. Imagine what it would look like painted in cream and brown in the feathers of a hawk. Know that “your” people are out there.

The path may be to grow your own self-esteem so that you have the courage to be vulnerable with those around you. Graccia helped me open up and connect with those around me in a profound way, helping me see my tribe wherever I go now. Another opportunity may be to go out and risk making new friends and trying new things. With the image of your tribe to guide you, you will know your people when you meet them.

 

Find your spirit animal workshop. Painting of red-tailed hawk.

 

Divine Messengers

An overabundance of red-tailed hawk spirit animals in our lives can mean that our prayers are being answered… the answers are being brought to us on hawk’s wings. What are you wishing for right now? What are your dreams? Are you able to recognize the gifts being brought to you and the doors open before you?

If you are not able to see the gifts coming your way the red-tails may be coming to assist you and to CALL your attention to them. They can help you identify who in your tribe is granting and fostering these gifts. The hawks may be calling your attention to old habits, patterns, or defenses that are getting in the way of you relating to your fellow humans. Listen and be willing to let your guard down. Trust your reputation into the talons of the red-tail and you will be rewarded.

Red-tailed hawks typically hunt by either using the power of the wind to hold them aloft while they soar or by roosting on a high perch. Aloft or perched, they wait quietly and watch carefully. Once they see a mouse move below them they swoop down on their prey in a slow, controlled dive. The message here is to not waste your energy tirelessly trying to stir up the answer, but to find a high vantage and to take in the whole picture.

With red-tailed hawk symbolism, it’s time to become the observer and see things from a mystical perspective. This is not about being “better than” your tribe-mates, but about seeing things away from your ties to worry about what others will think of you. From this wide-angle view, wait to see a glimmer of movement and use your sharp, keen vision to focus in on what caught your attention. Then you can confidently dive down and grasp hold of the knowing.

Hawk spirit animals in general are about vision and the ability to shift from a wide view to a microscopic focus. It may be time for you to review your life to get in touch with a larger vision and purpose while at the same time checking in to make sure that you are focusing on key relationships. Look for the gifts of your tribe, revel in the gifts of your life, and give thanks to divine messengers. You can release your gratitude to the red-tails and they will carry the memo back to the heavens on your behalf.

gracious wild book by stacey couch

Spirit Animals: HER MAJESTY, THE COUGAR

I stayed at camp, alone, to journal and spend time by the low-flowing Gila river. The sapling cottonwoods I sat cross-legged underneath were failing to provide shade as the sun steadily moved across the sky. The round gravel of the riverbank was growing hot, and the grackles carried on in an otherwise quiet bosque. In a pause between written sentences I stared blankly off across the river and into the forest. The mosaic of green was strangely interrupted by the movement of a large beige animal. I scrambled to decipher what it may be. I ran out of time. A mountain lion walked out of the brush heading straight towards me.

How she didn’t see me I can only guess. All I know was that she had no idea I was there. Maybe she was in her own mind like I had just been, not really seeing what was in front of her. Somehow she was coming, step-by-step, closer to me. I realized she was approaching the river to get a drink of water. If she got to the river she would be just a few leaps from me. How was it that she didn’t see me? How was it that we had been brought together in this time and space?

I realized that I didn’t need to answer these questions. I needed to act. Calmly I focused on her and announced my presence. All I could think to say that would keep me from inviting any panic was, “Hey kitty, kitty I see you.” I absolutely knew she would turn and run once she heard my voice. Then the unthinkable happened. She came out of her mind, saw me , and came to a leisurely pause. That was strange.

I took in and let out a steady breath knowing that the choice I was about to make could mean life or death. The big cat was also deciding what to do about me. She was contemplating whether or not I was a meal. Her ears were forward, eyes bright and, most importantly, the absolute tip of her tail twitched thoughtfully from side to side.

“Hey kitty, kitty it’s time to go now.”

Twitch, twitch, and not a single flinch.

My focus, unwavering  remained on turning any adrenaline I might have into an intense power. Now was the time to get big and summon all courage. I rose, literally, to the occasion with stones in my hand. I was sizing her up and readying myself for a fight. Welling within me was the desire to take her head-on, but I was unconvinced I should be the one to break the tension. I knew that this was no fight I would win. Now at my full 5’2” with my arms boldly swinging out and above my head, I gave her one more opportunity to know how human I was, “Hey kitty, kitty it’s time to go now.” Mere seconds before rocks started flying from my hands, she turned and casually sauntered back into the forest.

What Does Cougar Mean?

For years I contemplated this encounter utterly unsure of what to make of it. I read about the meaning of cougar spirit animal over and over again in Medicine Cards by Jamie Sams and David Carson to absolutely no avail. “Leadership” sounded like it should make sense to me then, but on a deep, deep level I knew it didn’t.

For years, I have worked with her eminence in dreams and in journeys. Cougar spirit animal’s presence has been a constant companionship and limitless strength for me. I stopped asking what she was here to teach me and have learned to bask in gratitude of her support. Always when I remember my spiritual quest, I remember her call and I respond all over again.

 

Find your spirit animal workshop. Painting of red-tailed hawk.

How Leadership Relates to the Meaning of Cougar

Her majesty, the mountain lion is the authority of my soul. I have come to know this now, twelve years later. We so want the answers fast, but are we willing to wait for truth even if it takes an entire lifetime of listening? Are we willing to let others pose theories while our truth still eludes words? This is the essence of her grace, to hold us captive in her intense, predatory stare that strips away all thought. This is the truth of the fierce desire in our souls to live purposeful lives.

Cougars are solitary animals. The meaning of cougar teaches us that “leadership” is not out there, but in here.

Who is in charge of your actions? Your soul or your ego? Do the people you work with, your family members, and friends determine what you do? What I really mean is, are you living your life according to what they might think? Is your ego vying for attention at every turn feeding into the fear that you won’t be loved and accepted?

These are the kinds of questions you should ask yourself if cougar spirit animal has shown up in your life. Her majesty stalks her prey before she strikes. It is time to start observing yourself, not those you lead or those you follow. Now is the time to look at who you are giving your power to. Blaming others is an obstacle to your own authenticity. Feeling guilty or ashamed will also trip up the path.

The Power of Cougar Symbolism

Her eminence is extremely powerful, but she does not use her power to command a pack like the wolves do. Cougar spirit animal does not use her power to gain attention like the bison do. The meaning of cougar brings power as she moves through the world unseen, taking only what she needs, and silently marking territory so conflicts won’t be necessary. She is a ghost of the woods just like your soul is. Your soul does not thrive on accolades. Your soul thrives on silence. Your soul is not confused into thinking that community is everything. Your soul understands that ultimately we are alone in our experience, alone with Spirit.

At the time in my life that I encountered that beautiful big cat, I was right. It was not a fight I could win. I didn’t have the tools to live in my authentic self or to allow my soul to dress me in the morning. The path of cougar symbolism is not a short one with ticker-tape parades. It is a tumultuous and long path wrought with suffering and heartache, disappointment and doubt.

My ego, who ruled my kingdom then, thought the meaning of cougar’s appearance meant I was gifted and I was destined to do big things. I could never seem to define these “gifts” and “big things”. What I didn’t understand was that the validation I so longed for in her presence would not fulfill the desire of my soul. Luckily, her grace always patrolled the territory of my desire and informed my way to a greater love than my small mind could imagine.

 

 

what does seagull mean

Spirit Animals: SEAGULL

Seagull Spirit Animal

Why do you spot “sea” gulls thousands of miles from the ocean? Do you know if all sea gulls look alike or how many places on earth they can be found? Have you stopped to think where you would find a seagull’s nest or chicks? Have you considered how gulls fish?

These were all questions I didn’t have the answer to before the summer of 1999. Then I was offered the opportunity to work with a PhD student from the University of Washington. She was studying Glaucous-winged x Western Hybrid Gulls on the Washington coast.

Quickly I learned that gulls were the unseen birds in my life. I didn’t even have the basics down. First of all, ornithologists refer to seagulls as just plain “gulls” instead of sea gulls. The distinction is made because not all gulls rely on the ocean for their livelihood. Secondly, there was no one species of bird called a seagull. There are more than four dozen species with various plumages, life histories, and habits. This fact alone opened up an entirely new world to me.

Many people, young or old, who first enter into birding have this original epiphany about the nature of things. What they used to think was a “finch” now could be any number of species of finch from a purple finch to a pine siskin.

What in your life have you been glancing over with the assumption that you know what you’re looking at? Remember that just because a bird or animal or topic or activity is plain doesn’t mean it’s worth dismissing. Stop and take a look. When exploring what does seagull mean as a spirit animal, it might be time to immerse yourself in the ordinary to start to understand how nothing in life is such.

Seagull Bravery

Once I had the amazing opportunity to trap and hold a live gull in my hands I was overtaken with how magnificent he was. His white head and breast, and bright yellow beak marked by a striking blood red dot were extraordinarily clean. I felt as if I’d never seen such pure, true colors in the natural world. To see these true colors amidst the muted sky, gray sea, and beige shore made him that much more blazing. His waterproof coat of feathers was luxurious.

And, that was just his appearance. His spirit was fierce and strong. The gaze from his small but complex eye was what I would have expected to encounter from a hawk or tiger.

seagull power animal

A study conducted in 1976 confirmed that gulls are actually attracted to their predators. A colony’s alarm regarding the predators is strongest when the predators were seen previously with a dead bird [4]. The birds are able to distinguish particularly lethal threats.

I remember the experience of walking uninhabited, sandy islands in the middle of broad harbors with a swarm of gulls overhead calling the alarm. Oftentimes, a bird would fly low and look me straight in the eye. There was nothing gullible or ordinary in that glance. They were acutely aware of what I was up to and on watch for any danger I presented.

What Does Seagull Mean?

Gulls are consummate opportunists, thus the reason why we see them so often associated with human civilization. They can  hunt for their own fish and crabs or steal catches from other seabirds. Gulls will beg for crumbs from tourists and scavenge the shore for crustaceans buried in a pile of kelp. They are also relatively bold, willing to bob around in the fray of a busy feeding frenzy and snatch any opportunity that comes by even if it happens to be hanging out of the mouth of a seal. Western gulls will  steal milk from lactating seals. Glaucous-winged gulls have been seen hunting live, terrestrial prey such as rodents [1][2].

All gulls, like many seabirds, swallow their prey whole. To look at the meaning of seagull we need to understand the important relationship here between the name “gull” and the words “gullet” and “gullible”. It seems that the term gullet developed first in reference to throat with the name gull referring to the bird following a couple hundred years later.

The word gullible followed an earlier use of the general term gull which meant to dupe or sucker in reference to “someone who will swallow anything thrown at him” [3]. We have added the negative connotation to the idea of a person that believes anything he’s fed. However, we see that evolutionarily seagulls have done extremely well with this approach.

Once again, we see the theme of not taking anything for granted and not leaving any opportunity untapped. Are you passing possible opportunities by because of what others may think of you if you don’t appear discerning? Are you picking apart the divine gifts in your life because they aren’t impressive or stunning enough?

Maybe it’s time to drop the judgement for awhile and allow yourself to gulp life in. Sounds scary, I know, but with seagull spirit animal you can test this bold way of being in the world.

Gift of Being Ordinary

There is a theme of conventionality and commonality here. It’s worth challenging the parts of yourself that you consider ordinary. Being ordinary is not a handicap. Even in their abilities, gulls are pretty average. They aren’t the deepest divers, fastest fliers, or most aggressive fishermen, but because they haven’t specialized they have been able to adapt and live all over the world in a vast realm of habitats. You may want to consider stepping out of a specialization for awhile and being more flexible.

This brings me back to why I ended up working on the research project about gulls so many years ago. I had always wanted to study marine mammals, specially dolphins and whales, and despite my best efforts at specialization I wasn’t able to land an internship. So, I stepped back, let go, and decided I was willing to be a bit more ordinary if that’s what it took to be in the larger field of marine biology. Then I was able to find work and have a chance to be in the field working hands-on with wildlife like I’d always dreamed.

Most species of gull have a gray cape of one shade or another speaking to the ability to carry the “gray areas” of life with ease. If you are adept enough to know the species of gull you have sighted and are studying, take particular note of the distinguishing marks. Black caps speak to a mysterious connection to the divine realms and being willing to release your thoughts to the unknown. Black wingtips speak of slicing through the mist of confusion or illusion. A red beak speaks to passionate expression and red legs to grounded passion.

[1] http://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Western_Gull/lifehistory
[2] http://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Glaucous-winged_Gull/lifehistory
[3] http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=gull
[4] from The Birders Handbook: A Field Guide to the Natural History of North American Birds by Ehrlich, Dobkin and Wheye

 

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Spirit Animals: POLAR BEAR

Polar bear spirit animal’s world is frozen, with landmarks often hard to find. To make matters more challenging, the wind constantly moves the drifts and the floes carrying his plans and thoughts asunder. He does not have a preference for one way, the way, but rather relies on the wisdom of the ages and the abundance of the underworld to carry him through. He’s been doing this for a long time you see. He was the one who knew who we were before we did.

Polar Bear Spirit Animal’s Coat

When we see a polar bear’s coat we assume that the individual hairs are white, but they are actually clear. The translucent hairs scatter sunlight with no preference for any particular color ray and, thus, they appear white. This brings to the fore an incredible truth as the color “white” is often associated with goodness and purity, but “white light” is interpreted differently. White light is synonymous with Source, God, and divinity.

Polar bears, like the stark, snow-covered landscape they live in, reflect divine light. If a polar bear has walked into your imagination, dreams, or ordinary world , now is the time to pay homage to the blinding beauty that is the Creator. The immense size and presence of these apex predators gives additional gravity to the message.

Polar Bear as a Channel for Grace

The longer guard hairs of a polar bear’s coat are hollow as well as transparent. The hollow hairs were originally thought to conduct the sun’s warmth down to the  bear’s black skin, but this theory has proven false. Most of the heat from the sun doesn’t make it past the polar bear’s incredibly dense coat. Through the qualities of his hollow fur, polar bear spirit animal demonstrates how being a hollow reed can reflect divinity out in to the world. It is so clever that scientists used to think the hollow hair conducted the energy of the sun to the bear’s skin to warm him, and now we know this is not true.

In your own life, examine your beliefs about why you have decided to be a channel for grace. Do you believe allowing joy to move through you will bring you more joy? Are you afraid to allow the light to move through you for fear you’ll be overheated or overwhelmed? Do you spend all of your time trying to clear yourself so that you can be a channel for healing? The polar bear spirit animal has come to guide you through this process, and before we barely get below the surface we see the first set of lessons about appearances and beliefs concerning channeling divine energy. Being perfect or pure or good is not the goal, radiating the divine is.

 

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Connection to Snow Symbolism

There is a compelling parallel between the polar bear’s fur and snow. The multi-faceted ice crystals of snow flakes cause all color rays to bounce around, not absorbing or reflecting any color with any consistency, which causes us to see the snow as white in the same way we do the polar bear’s fur.

Many dream interpretation guidebooks define snowflakes and snow as “frozen emotions,” but I particularly am interested in the less common idea of these representing “spiritual truths”. The spiritual aspect coming from the white light they reflect and the truth coming from the concrete form of an ice crystal. Also, like any spiritual truth, snowflakes are temporal and infinite in nature. We all know that no two snowflakes are alike. Being of the land of snow, polar bears bring an innate ability to connect with the nature of spiritual truths.

Contrast of Scarcity and Abundance

There is intense contrast in the realm of the polar bear. He lives in a white, seemingly barren landscape, but just below the surface he has easy access to a dark, fertile underworld. The ocean that he navigates as effortlessly as the top world is teaming with life.

His own physique mirrors his outer world as his hollow, transparent fur hides a black skin covering a thick layer of blubber over 4 inches thick. He has a hard time staying cool in one of the coldest environments on earth. This shows that although you may appear to have a stark life on the surface, you hold vast resources below/within. How can you begin to see your life inside-out so you may honor this abundance more fully? Is the contrast jarring you at this time? Polar bear spirit animal has come to help you walk and swim the duality with grace.

Polar Bears in Folklore and Art

In the mythology  of the Inuit, polar bear spirit animal is known “Nanook”. Many northern tribes say polar bear is the one that taught man how to hunt and survive. In Greenland he is known as “Tornassuk” the master of helping spirits and the main agent of initiation for shamans. The Inuit too saw him as the primary guide for shamans. In many traditions, he is rumored to take a human shape, being a human while inside the igloo, which he also taught humans to build, and a bear while out on the ice.

I’d like to highlight one artist has dedicated her life’s work to depicting the white bear. I’ve known since childhood and always adored Barbara Stone. In the 35 years she’s been captivated by the polar bear’s presence, she’s traveled to the north to observe them dozens of times. Her whimsical artwork shows the bears taking baths, sitting down to tea, and out tending the garden, and readily demonstrates how these massive creatures can easily assume our form. She has tapped in to an archetypal, subconscious knowing of how we are linked with these animals.

The Polar Ice

Ice plays a critical role in the life of polar bears. Their migration follows the flow of the polar ice pack. Polar bears need the ice to ambush their surfacing prey from. When ice is less prevalent polar bears will swim hundreds of miles to new ice floes in search of hunting opportunities.

This speaks of the usefulness of having a solid, but fluctuating boundary between our outer and inner worlds, to trusting that what we need will come from the unknown of the dark depths below, and to knowing when to put in concerted effort to seek out new nourishment.

Ice being more permanent than snow, it represents frozen spiritual truths, and polar bear can show us the need to freeze some of our beliefs into the ground we walk on for a time. When the seasons change and the time comes, those beliefs will naturally break up or move on and new floes of ice will form to support us. Polar bears will fast for a time when the ice floes are absent. This is a reminder that it is okay not to have beliefs to stand on for a time, and that you have the reserves built up to last you until you are supported in freezing up a new belief system.

Association with Seals

The diet of polar bears consists mainly of seals. Seals are linked with creativity and the imagination. Thus, we see here the need to harvest the fruits of our creative endeavors rather than solely allow them to surface for breath on occasion. Time to haul that beautiful gift of yours up onto the ice and allow it to provide the sustenance you need to take you into the next length of time between projects.

Mother Polar Bear

Mother bears typically have twins which again highlights the dual nature of these white beasts. The number two is significant here and it may be worth your time to look into mythology surrounding twins. Have you given birth to two ideas at once? How will these creations co-exist? Mother polar bear may be able to help you with these questions. Just know that she does not wean her young for 2 and a half years, so this process of raising two dreams at once may take some time. As always with the polar bear spirit animal as our teacher, patience is a virtue not to be forgotten.

Spiritual Masters

It turns out these great beasts have a great amount to teach us. It is even worth looking in to what spiritual masters and mentors have made a difference in your life. Which of these teachers radiated the divine without preference for a given color, way, or understanding? Who was willing to offer guidance without attachment to the outcome, purely for the bliss of sharing? Who gave support and knowledge to you without asking anything in return? These are the polar bear spirit animals that have wandered into your life in human form. Watch carefully what they do for they will teach you how to survive in an otherwise inhospitable environment.

 

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raven spirit animal

Spirit Animals: MYSTERIOUS RAVEN

Raven Spirit Animal

This beautiful black creature brushes mountainsides with wingtips. His black eyes drink in landscapes as subtle breezes hold him aloft. Raven’s undeniable determination is audible in the whir of his heavy wingbeats. On occasion he joins with a troop of two or three others to cackle at the wind and tease the beasts on the ground below. His voice cuts through the forest’s silence. It echoes like an inside-out gurgle of water down a seep-hole. His call is an invitation to other worlds. Is he calling those worlds forth? Or is he calling us to those worlds? This is for raven to know. He is incredibly clever. We admire him for his ability to use tools and solve puzzles. The trick is we haven’t even begun to solve the puzzles he creates.

Initiation into Mystery

Bringer of hidden truths, Raven spirit animal wanders the world over probing mysteries. He contemplates the unknown as the ravens named Hugin (“Thought”) and Munin (“Memory”) – the Norse god Odin’s trusted advisers. Odin is the god of wisdom and seeking. His wisdom is owed to the help of two intelligent ravens.

Ravens help us discover the the hidden treasures within our own mysteries, lighting up the unconscious. An Inuit tale tells of a raven tricking his way into a whale’s belly where he meets the soul of the whale and eventually feasts on the rich oil inside the whale. He carries two fire sticks with him that he goes to great pains to retain. Raven’s confidence in his ability to light up the dark helps us navigate the unfamiliar in life and in ourselves.

In other myths, raven is known for birthing the human race by coaxing the first humans out of clam shells. For us, raven spirit animal draws us out of our own protective shells and guides us through the mysterious unknown “out there”. He is an opener of doors for the mind and soul.

Raven spirit animal’s intelligence was passed down to humans when he taught people how to sow seeds and hunt. He is known in the mundane world for his ability to outwit other animals, use tools, and use complex communication. If anyone is going to lead you into cloaked and uncharted territory, cunning raven is a good bet.

Raven is depicted as a hero god who either created or helped create the world in stories of the Northwest Coast of North America. On the other hand, we find associations with death in Celtic and European folklore. He is associated with the decimated battlefield littered with the corpses he feeds on. Comfortable with death and the underworld, raven spirit animal helps us enter into that Great Unknown during important life transitions.

The Trickster God

Mythology surrounding raven shows him providing aid and causing trouble at the same time. He’s a trickster who causes hardship for humans and other creatures by convincing them to do foolish things. He’s just as likely to steal the light as bring it. However, raven’s conniving can also result in him putting things right again. An example of this is the Athabaskan myth of raven stealing the sun and moon back from a greedy chief who hid them away. Trickster energy can change the course of things for good and grant us valuable wisdom.

Have you ever had something go terribly wrong and later been grateful for the detour? In looking back do you now realize that there was a Divine hand in the event? Did what you learn in this experience make you all the richer? Or did the redirect take you to place better than what you could have imagined?

Remember when considering raven spirit animal, that you aren’t looking for ways he’ll bring you material wealth or outstanding recognition. Raven helps you know deep mysteries that help you breathe into the infinite.

Ravens vs. Crows

Ravens have wedge shaped tails and long fingers on the ends of their wings. This is how even the novice can tell them apart from their close cousins, crows. Crows have square tails and rounded wingtips. It is important to know one from the other because crows carry aspects of community, civilization, and play. They understand more of what it means to be in society.
(View article on Crow Symbolism here)

Ravens, on the other hand, are closer to the heavens, to solitude, and to wilderness. They keep company with clouds, hawks, bears, coyotes, wolves, and wolverines. They scavenge carcasses of big game. Raven spirit animals relate to what we experience when we spend time alone contemplating the big game, the big questions in life, and how we relate to this mystery.

 

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Raven’s Illusions and Magic

So much is shared about this bird that engulfs mystery with his black coat of feathers. Jamie Sams and David Carson write in Medicine Cards: “If you have chosen Raven, magic is in the air. Do not try to figure it out; you cannot. It is the power of the unknown at work, and something special is about to happen. The deeper mystery, however, is how you will respond to the sparkling synchronicity of this alchemical moment.”

Ravens often come to assist me with ceremonies such as weddings and land blessings. I believe they are responding to the opening of the veil that occurs when we call in the holy. One particularly poignant raven encounter happened at a wedding ceremony I conducted for friends. As I was setting space and asking the guests to circle around the couple, two ravens flew directly overhead right through the center of the circle.

Ceremony involves working with what we call magic. Magic is simply an unseen force that adds power to a setting and it relies on the power of illusion. When magic is in the air surprising omens appear and events outside the laws of nature seem to take place.

Raven spirit animal, like a magician, weaves intricate illusions that causes us to see unbelievable things. When you have an experience you don’t think anyone else will believe, raven is often afoot. He helps shatter our preconceptions and shows us new possibilities. Raven spirit animal captivates us with tricks and causes us to question everything we once thought was certain.

Power is never created or lost. When you direct power to create the dazzling illusion, you’ll find that another area of your life seems to lose power or attraction. There is nothing wrong with this situation, just something to be mindful of.

The part of your life that now seems mind-numbingly boring hasn’t changed, but the balance has shifted. Give the illusion some time to fade away and things will seem less uneven. Ultimately, once raven comes to visit you will never be the same. Adjusting to this new world view will be your new task.

The Flight into the Dark

The path to enlightenment is the same road into the dark. Our ability to hold awareness allows us to persevere rather than tumble into suffering.

Can we tell if the darkness is our own shadow or if it the vast void stretched out before us? When does our shadow merge with the void?

How do we choose the unknown over our fear? Raven has the skill to navigate these currents, to steer through this illusory black hole, and come out more robust than before.

The next time you notice a raven in your field of view, pause to watch what he’s up to. Remember you can learn much about the illusion and the mystery of existence. If you’re luckily enough to notice and engage, raven spirit animal just might offer you some flashing insights.

For more information on raven symbolism and the spiritual path, read my article on the fairytale of “The Seven Ravens”.

 

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Spirit Animals: MAGPIE the MYTHOLOGIST

Magpie goes about her business, chattering to and fro. Both of the old world and of the new, she wears her black and white costume with her brothers and sisters going on about life as if everything were normal. Then a ray of sunshine glimmers over the tips of her wings and tail and a burst of royal blue radiates. She knows this and she is clever. She does not worry if the rain will come or go. Magpie is the rain and lightening. She is the drought and wind. She carries on as if neither were of consequence, full of joy and mirth, warning of nothing and foreshadowing everything. Magpie knows that she and her tribe are bigger, louder, and brighter than the others, and she knows stories about the others. She is an artist at knowing these stories.

The Rebel in Biblical Lore

Magpies are found around the world from the western half of the United States to China to England and Africa. Their association with humans goes back a long time as they followed nomadic people scavenging leftovers from hunts. There is a story from biblical lore that survives today that the magpie would not go into Noah’s Ark, but instead insisted on riding out the storm on the ridgepole of the boat, chattering the entire time. There are some references to the fact that the magpie either did not attend or refused to mourn Christ’s crucifixion. This pairs this cunning corvid with the archetype of the rebel.

Magpie spirit animal reminds you to ask: What beliefs did you adopt that now act as blocks in your quest to find your divine self?

Magpie Funerals

These birds are related to crows and ravens and are a member of the jay family. They mate for life and are dedicated parents. A pair can spend up to 40 days building a large covered nest and they often are seen in small groupings of 3-5 birds as they travel about in their undulating flight looking for food. “One of the most notable Black-billed Magpie behaviors is the so-called ‘funeral’—when one magpie discovers a dead magpie, it begins calling loudly to attract other magpies. The gathering of raucously calling magpies (up to 40 birds have been observed) may last for 10 to 15 minutes before the birds disperse and fly off silently.” [1] This speaks of the ability to call on the help of your tribe in times of mourning.

When studying the meaning of magpie symbolism, it may be time to watch how you congregate with your kind and remember how others can help you with a death. This could be a death of the ego, the self, a way of life or a loved one.

 

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Magpie Helps with a Healing

This September, I started to see two or three magpies with my horses on a regular basis. My horses would cock a back hoof so the magpies could clean the underside. The magpies would jump up and cling sideways to the horse’s legs to pick bugs from their fur. Other times the birds would be perched atop my mustangs cleaning bugs from their ears, manes, and backs.

Cherokee and Legend seemed to enjoy the attention. I was absolutely caught up in the beauty of the scene. I started working with what the birds’ appearance meant in my life and began to discover a link between their presence and my process of breaking down myths I held about other people. We all attach stories, judgements, beliefs and meaning as to why other people are who they are and what they represent in our lives, but ultimately these myths keep us from truly connecting with people. The myths stand in the way of us truly seeing them and truly being seen. I started to notice the birds every where: at work out the window, on my drives home, at my house, and with the horses.

Then, last week Legend, my white mare, feel gravely ill. A large portion of her colon had flipped 180 degrees and gotten stuck between her kidney and spleen. I went on a three day mission to save her life and the magpies were no where to be found. But, I felt their presence still haunting me and haunting Legend.

Magpie Omens

In British and Scottish folklore magpies are believed in different numbers to foretell death, a funeral, and bad luck. I learned the popular saying about magpies: “One for sorrow. Two for mirth. Three for a wedding. Four for death (or birth depending on the origin)”. [2] 

As is the way of things, Chinese folklore portrays magpies of omens of good luck and sometimes I had seen the fortuitous two or three birds at a time, so I tried not to be overcome with foreboding. I waged an inner battle with my fear and superstition.

Here is when I realized that my fear of my loved one’s death was keeping me from my ability to channel healing for her. I had adopted the myth that “I can’t really channel healing that makes a difference on a physical level” because I feared what would happen if I surrendered myself fully to grace and had her die anyways. I didn’t know how I would recover from that kind of grief, but I couldn’t both protect myself from utter devastation AND surrender to divine guidance. As I broke this myth down I went through waves of intense fear, doubt, and suffering. I showed up for Legend to channel the healing power of grace in a way I never had experienced before and she survived.

Less Myths and More Meaning

On the morning of the fourth day, I checked Legend over endlessly to absolutely convince myself that she was okay. A single magpie came to her corral and landed on a fence post. As the black and white bird with a long tail looked at me with her shiny black eyes, she christened me back into the world of the living, a new world with less myths and more meaning.

Seeing one magpie is supposed to be an especially grave occasion as the popular saying goes “one for sorrow”. I knew the death and sorrow had happened in me.

I was a different person now. Legend was well and healthy. I opened the gate to let Legend out onto her pasture and life went on.

The Mythologist

This is why I have come to think of the magpie as a mythologist. Magpie spirit animals can help us study myths we have about spirituality, the universe, others and ourselves. Magpies are known for eating anything as is indicated by their scientific name “Pica“, meaning to crave things unfit for food, and they remind us how we can crave and eat odd stories that aren’t true in an attempt to secure nourishment and safety or to feed the small fears that protect us from the big fears.

Ultimately it is not important to know why we adopted those myths in the first place, but to understand the role of myths in our lives and to treat them lightly. There’s no need to crawl inside the ark and hide away from the storm for the storm of fear and suffering is of our own making. We can light upon the ridgepole of the boat and find humor and humility in the art of rebelling against that which we thought we ought to always know.

I would like to finish by quoting a favorite song of mine by Neko Case that takes on a deeper meaning now. It’s from her album Middle Cyclone and is called Magpie to the Morning. I have to say that Legend was always the closest to death in the mornings…

Magpie comes a calling
Drops a marble from the sky
Tin roof sounds alarm
And wake up child
Let this be a warning says the magpie to the morning
Don’t let this fading summer pass you by
Don’t let this fading summer pass you by

You can listen to these lyrics on her website: http://nekocase.com/music/discography/middle-cyclone/

References: [1] http://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/black-billed_magpie/lifehistory [2] http://www.wisdomportal.com/MagpieNotes.html

 

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meaning of mouse spirit animal

Spirit Animals: MOUSE the MONK

Mouse Symbolism

There in the dried grass and leaves was a brown field mouse. He was only a couple steps away, nearly under our noses. Poised on the doorstep of his den, he stood twitching his whiskers at the woman and the hawk. He looked like a country mouse lost in the city of towering thistle stalks. The mouse’s brown coat blended in with the ground cover. If it weren’t for my sharp-eyed hawk companion I’d easily have missed the daring rodent. The mouse stood, whiskers waving, his black eyes fixed with ours, and then was gone down the hole.” (from my book Gracious Wild: A Shamanic Journey with Hawks)

Mouse Spirit Animal Sees Details

Mouse has only that which is right in front of his eyes. He reaches up to grab a stalk of grass and pulls it down towards him, bowing the blade. Then mouse sits for what seems like hours inspecting and picking every last morsel of seed off the stalk with his dexterous little hands. Mouse has many predators, too many to count. Rather than overwhelm himself with the complexity of watching, listening, and smelling for his enemies far and wide, he paradoxically does the opposite.

His focus comes forward and stays on what only is near, and somehow, some way, that which is near warns him of danger. Mouse is safe in the details, safe to live out his life, raise young, and make a comfortable home underground. This alone is nothing short of miraculous.

Mouse in the House Meaning

So many see a mouse in the house as a sign of living in filth. People get really, and I mean really, shook up. We must not curse his intrusion in our house and into our lives. This sweet, soft, and so very clean little creature is bringing you a message. The meaning of mouse may be the most important message you will ever receive in your life. Please, please don’t excuse it!

Now is the time to evaluate your attention to detail. Are you drowning in your own need to control every little detail of your life? Are you trying to control the details in other people’s lives? The spiritual meaning of mouse in the house is about letting go of the details. It may even be as literal as stopping your obsession over cleanliness and organization. Instead pause to appreciate the beautiful home and life you have. Start a list of things that you are grateful for. Learn to dismiss the list of details that annoy you.

Mouse spirit animal teaches us the discipline of releasing overwhelm. If you are feeling overwhelmed, realize that this could be a badge of honor for you. Have you ever felt like you were competing with your friends to prove who was the most busy or exhausted? Mouse symbolism is a stark reminder that multitasking is a sure way to find catastrophe. Stop trying to do everything at once, and focus on one thing at a time.

Mouse power animal comes to visit us to remind us that the power is the details, but not in the way we think. It is not through controlling every nook and cranny of our house and our world, but through appreciating the small things that brings us peace.

 

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Is the Devil or God in the Details?

Ever heard the phrase “the devil is in the details”? Then the details are something to avoid right? The details are something to fight and resent. We end up hating doing what has to get done. The errands, chores, and menial tasks wear at us and take precious time and energy away from what we’d rather be doing.

The phrase “the devil is in the details” actually originates from the phrase “God is in the details”. Let me say it again on behalf of our quiet-as-a-mouse little friend that doesn’t always speak up on his own behalf. God is in the details. Now sit with that. Changes things doesn’t it?

What if you started to see God/Spirit/Source in the details of things? When you stop to say good morning to your daughter/sister/friend take in the radiance of the light in her eyes. Let the moonlight capture your imagination when you take out the trash late at night. Allow the breeze to bring the scent of lilacs to you as you walk out to your car.

What if when you flung that huge desire to live a life full of purpose out to the cosmos you received an answer no bigger, no louder than a mouse? Would you notice it? Would you be grateful for it? Or, are you waiting for a wizard to come, wand in hand, and make your dreams materialize in a shower of sparks and magic?

Meaning of Mouse the Monk

Mouse symbolism serves so many. The greatest sacrifice mouse will ever make is his life. His flesh with likely turn to fox flesh or hawk flesh or snake flesh. We must not miss that key of mouse medicine. His little, seemingly insignificant life, is important. Mouse spirit animal teaches us about the power of humility.

When looking at what does mouse mean in your life, know that the little helper is here to remind us that more often than not our wishes come true in between the lines and inside the ordinary. Answered prayers are between blades of grass and inside fine heads of seed.

The universe is conspiring to shower you with tiny, quiet miracles every single moment of your life. Mouse spirit animal knows this. This is what makes mouse a monk. If only we all could know this. Mouse in his quiet, unassuming way prompts us to remember that miracles make sense in the quiet where nothing else clouds our thoughts. Miracles make sense when living a tiny life in a tiny universe. Mouse knows this. This is what makes mouse a monk. If only we all could know this. When we stop looking far and wide and outside of ourselves for the answers and, instead, truly focus on what is right here with us, we begin to see the Divine in the details.

One last message from mouse spirit animal – remember the mystical law that “what is small is really big”.

 

 

Spirit Animals: THE FROG PRINCESS

She is in the world but not of it. She senses the shifting tide of her emotions and that of her brothers and sisters singing in the marsh. She is in her feelings but not of them. She embraces the song while it refuses to define her. Water still clings to her porous flesh creating a sheen on her persona. She wiggles her toes through the dry mud on the shore. The Earth satisfies her too. She contemplates the lily pad floating by and the dry stone just a few leaps away. All of this is available to her. She must choose between being at home and answering the call. In the end, her choice has no consequence. What she needs will always be available. What she feels will always be in her experience.

Many are inexplicably drawn to the cleansing, healing power of frog spirit animal. The mystery our minds can’t solve is that frogs are creatures of the emotional realm and many of us have forgotten how emotions can heal. We are of the land, of the concrete world, and we attach our emotions to our stories, our drama, and our woundings. We surrender to the deception that we have to heal the story to heal the emotion. Frog does not have these illusions. She lives in the boarder between the concrete physical world and the watery world of emotion. She has come from the water as a polliwog, so to her the feeling comes before the happening. For us the happening causes the feeling and we try to prevent the feeling.

The lesson of frog symbolism is that in preventing the feeling we are preventing the experience of life. Frog reminds us to allow the emotions to flow through us, to boldly go as far as swimming in our emotion. It is love. It is necessary. Call on frog spirit animal to help you suspend your judgement of your feelings rather than suspending the feelings themselves. Without feeling we cannot be in the world. With feeling we are not of it. When we allow our emotions to flow like water rather than cling to them, we are healed. Using the mind to justify our hurt, our pain and our joy causes us to be stuck in the past and not live in the present.

Frogs are incredibly sensitive to environmental toxins and many cannot go too long without contact with some form of moisture be it dew, rain or stream. They have been the early warning beacons sacrificing their lives to warn humans of toxic waters. Frogs have helped call people to action on behalf of Mother Earth and helped spawn legislation to protect and clean up our waterways. When looking at frog symbolism in your life, ask yourself these questions: What warning signs are your emotions giving you about your environment right now? Are you feeling especially fearful or sad? What emotions are you avoiding? What in your life is causing you to cling or avoid your feelings? How can you shift your life so that you can flow with your heart regardless of the circumstances?

The frog princess reminds us of how to hold our emotions as both unassuming and royal. We must revere them as a pivotal aspect of our being while not identifying with them. Just as she refuses to choose the marsh, stream, or pond over the shore, mud or bank, we too must learn how to live in the space between attachment and neglect of our feelings. It is this practice that is cleansing. The ability to wash oneself clean in one moment and sink our feet into the mud the next is truly liberating because it puts us in touch with the creative life forces within ourselves and frees us from our story. So, spend a day with the princess of the marsh and learn what it means to feel.

Frog spirit animals are associated with the west on the medicine wheel. They reside in the realm of the unknown, in the void of creation. Emotions can’t be known. If they were they’d be thoughts. Allow your emotions to be without words and find the divine in the infinite experience of feeling.

 

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