A voicehearer’s path ~

Posts tagged ‘curiosity’

Romping with Otter ~

otter_frThe Otter is considered the most playful member of the animal kingdom, and indeed, their medicine is that of balanced femininity. They are one of my favorite totems. Their “time” according to Sun Bear is January 20th to Feb. 18th. (Yeah, you might know, Aquarius, which is my North Node.)

They are carnivores with a diet of primarily fish, and are part of the weasel family, being mustelidae. It is their playfulness that most people remember once you have been around them. A friend of mine who grew up on a farm in Indiana remembers River Otters that made their home on the shore of a creek that ran through their property. She chuckles every time she speaks of them, remembering them playing in the creek and sliding down the muddy banks.

In North America, the most common Otter is the River Otter, Lontra Canadensis. Their fur is sleek and they can weigh from 10 to 30 lbs.  It is their curiosity and intelligence, being one of the relatively few animals to use tools, that makes their “medicine” so strong. Their fur was once used frequently by the Holy men and women of the Native American tribes as “medicine bags”.

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The Medicine Wheel’s South Keepers ~

coyote_roadsideI made that a plural because I know of at least three traditional keepers of the South, depending on the area of North America where the tribe is or was located. The Coyote is best known, I suspect because Old Man Coyote is a well known trickster, and learning that he is a keeper and works with the Holy Spirit (Wakan Tanka)sort of messes with people whose backgrounds are of European teachings, where the Devil is evil and there is no place on the “map” where evil and holiness meet. The
Sacred Trickster” however, is a concept that is absolutely wonderful, as the trickster teaches you when you are too stubborn to learn by gentler and kinder methods.

The South of the wheel is all about the things you need to learn to keep your body and soul together. This is where you should ideally learn to stay well grounded, learning the skills that will help you survive and even prosper. It is a time of innocence and growth, a time of wonder and of learning, lots and lots of learning.

The Porcupine is also a south keeper, more for those in the North East, I believe, note that 3822_file_porcupine_boultonwith the porcupine if you try to hurt it you will pull back a handful of quills, but if you are gentle and slow with your movements, you can pet it as long as you are mindful to go in the right direction. Innocence is the medicine of this creature, that ambles its way through life, not seeking to hurt others, but protected in such a way they can hurt themselves on it. They are a solitary creature, seldom seeking companionship, though they will accommodate when necessary. They not aggressive in any way, and their childlike curiosity is known by country folk.

mouseThe Mouse is also a keeper of the South Gate in some traditions, I believe mostly the Anishnabee tribes of the midwest. Mouse medicine is also quite curious, wanting to get up close to the things coming into it’s world, it wants to feel, taste, and touch to learn. It’s whiskers are it’s yardstick for telling it if a small space is safe to crawl into or not. There is, in mouse a child like curiosity about the world around it, which is key to it’s being a South Keeper, as it is that curiosity that helps us grow beyond our narrow boundaries. Nothing so injures the inner child so much as killing off that natural curiosity.

On most traditional medicine wheels, the South is the place of the child/young adult, a very important time in one’s life, as this is where we learn whether or not to trust those around us, and how to go about our “being”. All three of these “keepers” have a bit of the trickster in their make-up, either built in, as with porcupine’s quills or mouse’s size, or in being so smart they out smart themselves, like Grandfather Coyote. This is because growing into a strong and solid person grounded when we need to be and spiritual when we need to be, is a tricky business. Much depends on our parents and much depends on the medicine with which we were born.

The 13th Principle, oooooh bad luck?

13) Harmonic Resonance is achieved as we learn to flow with the Sacred Song. Dissonance results from resisting the flow of the song. Be certain of nothing, for as surely as you are certain, you are certainly wrong.

I have long been one of those incredibly curious people, in fact, my mother used to kid about how she should have made my middle name “Why?” I have even observed how the little ones move around in their world, and curiosity is natural, folks, it’s parents and teachers who pound it out of us at an early age. So be careful how you respond to that constant “Why?” One of my ‘why’s’ was what made people think of certain things as “bad luck”, like black cats, and the number 13.

When I found out that to the ancients the number 13 was significant of change of any kind, I realized that was it, nobody likes change, so any indicator of change would get a bad reputation. Pretty simple, eh? What about black cats? The ancients thought of them as guardians, who would warn us off of something if there was trouble down the road. So, the black cat crossing your path was warning you, not bringing the bad luck to you. That figures, we humans are good at shooting the messenger.

I always figured I was doomed to an early grave, since curiosity killed the cat, which is one of my totems, and the curiosity is still alive and perking in me, but, here I am, just turned 56 a couple of weeks ago, and still asking “why?” Well, who knows, with my heart doing puddle jumps these days, it could be anytime, but, ya know, 56 really isn’t an early grave, all things considered.

One of the “why’s” that has happened over the years is that sometimes, when I have been seeking an answer for a while, when the answer comes there will be a type of ringing in the ears that seems to indicate that I need to pay attention to what’s happening. I love that, that the universe actually will tell us when we’re closing in on one of the important things in life. It seems a shame that isn’t in some “manual” somewhere, so that more people actually know it when it happens.

And I know that almost all of my fellow travelers wish we came with a tried and true owner’s manual. There are some who believe that is the Bible. That’s fine, but there are too many man-made glitches there for me to trust it completely, and, unfortunately, any manual I have ever seen bears the fingerprints of “humans” all over it. What the hey, if it were produced by non-humans we would probably find reasons to doubt it, we are good at that. But, the warning to be certain of nothing, that holds true for almost everything I have ever run into, when you become that certain, you are certainly wrong.

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