A voicehearer’s path ~

Posts tagged ‘totem’

Herons ~

great-blue-heron_03Herons are the reason I named this blog the hedge. They are a strange bird, and carrying one as a totem puts you in line to work at your own pace, being patient, able to work with the group or alone. Longevity is also part of their medicine. Theirs is the power of the mystic, along with the swan. I love this bird, almost as much as I love my swan totem, these birds look just plain funky, and don’t care. That works for me. If I was long legged instead of round as a rubber ball, I’d say this was my primary totem, but, nah, I look a lot like the owl, and that has been what I have been called since childhood, a spooky ol owl.

You don’t seem to find swans or herons or even owls laughing, so I am glad I have Raven and Otter in there to balance things out a bit. There are so many of the Origin stories on the internet that, if you are interested in them, there’s lots to read. Remember your  local library, also for references. After all, your taxes pay for the community to have those books on hand for all of us, so use them, don’t misuse them.

The Heron
The heron is a long legged wading bird. There are about 60 species of heron a_heronincluding several species called egrets.  Most egrets have white plumage that is highly prized as ornaments in oriental ceremonies.
Herons are often seen standing motionless, as if in a meditative state, on its long thin legs.  This stance symbolizes its ability to maintain balance through proper focus. Its inner foundation is secure although not fixed.

When the heron feeds it stands in water.  Its neck is bent in an S shape.  The flowing pattern of the letter S reflects the rhythm of this bird.  Understanding your personal rhythm and responding to it accordingly is imperative for those with this medicine.

Water is associated with the mysteries of life.  It is connected to the emotional body of man.  When you see a heron standing in water notice how deep the water is. This depth can symbolize the depth that needs to be explored within self.  The deeper you go the more you discover.  Whatever is discovered take the time necessary to stand in silent reflection.  In this way clarity of understanding is known.

Those with this medicine have strong emotional natures. They feel things deeply and with passion. The challenge here is to keep passionate thoughts and feelings under control in order to maintain a balanced emotional nature.  The advantage of this energy indicates the passion and ambition needed to complete tasks and accomplish goals.

Herons are seldom seen flocking together.  They are solitary birds that enjoy their own company.  Heron medicine people are independent and willing to make changes when the need arises.  They do not need a lot of people in their lives.  This can sometimes lead to challenges in personal relationships especially if the other person has needs that require constant attention. Maintaining some type of social interaction and not withdrawing from others completely is helpful.

great-blue-heron_chicka-damHerons stand out in their uniqueness and know how to take advantage of things and events for their own benefit.  By observing the heron, its actions and its lack of action we learn how to perfect out personal flight through life.  Herons hold a silent power, their grace, agility and majestic presence reflect balance.  This balance is the gift they offer to all who choose to receive it.

This is from a website called Sayahda, informative if you don’t have access to totem lore from books, or better still a teacher. Learning how the animals can teach us to be truer to our own souls is fun, and Spirit honoring.

Oh, BTW, it is a hedge of herons, a counsel of crows, a lament of swans. Someone with tongue firmly planted in cheek, eh?

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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”.

Hawk Medicine ~

redframedI love the red-tailed hawk. I drew this one for a precious friend back in Indiana, I put a blue sky behind it, and then wished I had not, as I like it better plain. Have you ever taken note of how many different hawks live in our world? There are red-tails, red-shouldered, another of my faves the Cooper’s, the Sparrowhawk,  the goshawk, grey hawks, and many more! Their “medicine” among Native Americans is that of bringing messages from the Holy Spirit. (Wakan, holy, Tanka, spirit). The Eagle carries our prayers to Spirit. Isn’t that a beautiful thought? I have never had to search if I wanted to see a hawk, there have always been hawks around where ever I would look, since I was a small child. I figure it’s because I don’t listen as well as I should.

Have you ever watched a hawk on the wing? They wheel, and turn, and glide sometimes just for the pure joy of flight, many times watching the ground or air below them for game to eat or feed to their little ones. There is a sense of guardianship about them, and I have never felt alone.

Hawks piercing shriek tears through the air. In its shrill cry lies red_tailed_hawk_perched_shaan important message which represents illumination. Hawk teaches us to scope out the situation and focus on our talents, trying to draw them out. Hawk learns to see the big picture in order to understand the past, present, and future. Hawk asks us to be observant of surroundings so we won’t get distracted from our path by others. It also reminds us not to get caught up in minor annoyances so we can maintain our inner balance. from http://animaltotems.com/hawk.html

It is the medicine of hawk that allows us as individuals to rise above our circumstances and live a better life by learning to see a larger picture; not to be caught up in the little distractions and negatives that we allow to bring us down. Hawk tends to be a warning totem, letting those it works with know when NOT to move into a situation as it will bring harm to them and/or others. It is hawk medicine that lets us walk in the worlds of the mundane and the spiritual at the same time, losing nothing in the experience.

dancingwthwheelOne of the things to remember about the totems. Each of them will work with anyone sincerely wishing to work on a specific area of one’s life. One needs only ask for their help. If you wish to learn how to properly work with totems, and I have mentioned this Holy Man before, Sun Bear’s books are excellent for beginners, easily read and full of information. I have been learning from my totems for several years now, and still keep his books for reference. They are unbeatable. The thing that brought me to work with Native Spirituality, though I am not a Wichasha Wahini, and must refer you to the Original People if you wish to learn is their respect for individual spiritual growth and path work. You are not herded when you work with one of the Holy people, you are worked with through your medicines.

P.S.

I am blond and blue-eyed, and though my father was a mixed blood still looking, as one of my teachers said, like a full blood, I look like my Swedish mother for the most part. I don’t try to make like a native, leaving the dances, pow-wows, and gatherings to those with more native blood than I. One does not need to pretend to be an Indian to live a life respectful to Spirit, one needs to learn to walk with a light step and respect all spiritual paths that lead to the Holy Spirit. Since Y’shua said it was by the fruit of their lives that you would know who did that, I am certain that those whose teachings I have followed are Spirit’s own. I have never learned to respect denominations, I doubt if I shall ever manage that foolishness.

Wolf, the teacher ~

greywolf1I have been thinking about our love/hate relationship with teachers. We value them above almost any other profession, yet, they are the most poorly paid of all professionals. We send our children to school each day, for an average of 35 hours a week during their prime learning hours in the day. Many are happy with this arrangement as it gives the children quality time with adults while we go about our urban lives. Yet, there is often an uneasiness about what our children are learning and how it will affect their lives.

The totem of the teacher is the wolf, a beautiful animal that has been much maligned by farmers whose fear of the wolf resembles our fear of the teacher. wildernessThe wolf is a “Pathfinder” which means that when others cannot find a way through the “wilderness” the wolf will find it. The wolf will avoid a confrontation if at all possible, and is an animal that likes peace to reign in it’s domain.

There is somewhat to support that the wolf behaves quite differently in the wild than it behaves in captivity, so I am uncertain of some of the things I thought I knew about wolves, but much of the fear of the wolf is due to the very fact that wolves cannot be fully domesticated. They will work together with humans, and will be quite loyal to a human they have befriended, but they will not tolerate the abuse a domesticated dog will tolerate.

ptcI believe this may help us take a look at the parent-teacher relationship. The teacher has things that are to be taught the child according to the state, they may also have things they particularly want to teach the child (oops, an agenda), the parent, thinking this child is theirs and desiring certain standards of behavior is often watching from the wings. Parents that are totally involved with their child’s learning may run up against a wall that says they are “too involved”. Personally, I don’t think that is possible. It is the parent’s responsibility to see the child learns what is needed, the teacher is a professional assistant in that process.

For parents, I would say, “Learn the totem of the teacher, it may help you to understand the attitude and what you need to do to assist your child in learning.”

For teachers, I would say, “Study your totem, it may help you understand your own reactions to things said and done.”

Birthdays ~

Today is mine, making me officially 56 years of age! Gads, what an old woman I am. The raven and the crow are the birth totems of the Libra people, which is actually quite fitting, since folks either love us or dislike us intensely. That is this bird’s reputation. Trickster, clown, funny; omen of ill, morbid, dour; I am not sure whether it is that we cannot make up our minds who we are, or whether we are just so sensitive to every wind that blows as to make us unsteady in the long run.

I was quite fortunate to have parents that would not tolerate that kind of unsteadiness, and since the beaver (taurus) is my moon sign, {our inner self} I had some strength to draw from. I very much believe in free will, so do not believe the old teachings regarding the stars and their hold on us as individuals. Though I do most definitely believe that there are influences that come to play. I drew the above picture of the raven with my own totem in mind, but gave it ultimately to another “raven”, a close friend and companion.

Like the coyote, raven is a trickster, clown, who often likes to play jokes on others, though, as often as not, the jokes backfire, and it is Raven that gets kicked in the derriere. It can be fun to watch the fireworks, but watch out, the sparks may fall on you, too. If the raven learns fairly early to only put out what he or she would like from the universe, things will go much more smoothly, and Raven can learn to go with the flow. My papa was a coyote man, and could laugh at himself quite well, so there was no question I would learn that way of life, or go down trying.

Raven is a bird of portent, companion to Odin of the Norsemen, long associated with the tower of London, and one of the Native American bringers of the gift of fire, his feathers having been permanently singed in the effort. {Raven used to be white, in the “first” age, but Raven has simply played too many jokes, so now wears black most of the time.} Raven’s “planet” is Venus, so raven’s clowning will often flow over into the department of love, as well.

Raven’s lifetime struggle is to learn to find that delicate balance between what to take seriously, and what to laugh at, and Raven will ultimately serve the truth, no matter how much it hurts.  I would have to say that the lesson to learn from Raven is to never take yourself too seriously, learn to roll with the punches, and have fun while you are at it. P.S. that would include how you read this blog!

Thanks, Su

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