Friday, August 18, 2017

BLACKBIRD: Finding Your Inner Joy

Like all Thrushes, Blackbird (Turdus merula) is known for his singing voice. A familiar sight in the countryside of Europe, He entertains people with his melodies. Originally an inhabitant of the woodlands of Europe and Asia, Blackbird began frequenting parks in the 1800s. By the 1900s, He moved into the cities. Now a familiar sight, Blackbird makes Himself at home most anywhere.

Blackbird’s rich mellow song and striking appearance makes Him noticeable. Because of his black color and sweet song, the ancient Greeks considered Blackbird a destructive bird that led people into bad situations. Later, Christians claimed that Satan took the shape of Blackbird to tempt saints to forget their vows.

However in Druidic traditions, Blackbird is the Gateway between the Worlds of Reality and Dreams. A Sacred Bird, He is also one of the five oldest animals. Because of his sunny song and black color, Blackbird is also the Bird of the Forge. His song calls people to create lives of passion and purpose.

Singing his enchanting song, Blackbird puts people in touch with their inner joy. From this perky little bird comes a sense of contentedness about life. Listen to Blackbird’s song and discover your own inner joy.

Blackbird’s Wisdom Includes:
Answering the Inner Call of Self
Living a Life of Passion and Purpose
Being the Gateway between Worlds
Domestic Happiness
Singing Your Own Melody
Harmony in All Things
Finding Beauty in Unexpected Places
Note: Three unrelated birds are called Blackbird. Red-Winged Blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceus) and Yellow-head Blackbird (Xanthocephalus xanthocephalus) of North America are members of the Troupial Family. Blackbird (Turdus merula) of Europe is a close cousin of American Robin (Turdus migratorius).

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Clownfish: Cooperation

Clownfish belongs to a small, brightly colored Fish Family called Damselfish. Brilliantly colored Clownfish gets his name from his bright stripes, usually orange, black and white. Young Clownfish usually have more stripes than their Elders.

Clownfish is especially known for his relationship with Sea Anemone. Working with his host Anemone, Clownfish swims out in the coral reef to attract larger Fish nearby. After luring a Fish back to Anemone, Clownfish escapes by swimming inside Sea Anemone. Meanwhile, Anemone stings the preoccupied Fish with its tentacles. After Anemone consumes the Fish, Clownfish feeds on the remains.

Clownfish lives in a group inside Sea Anemone. The largest of the group is a breeding Female, the second largest is a breeding Male. Everyone else is male. Because their bodies are coated with mucus, Clownfish are immune to Sea Anemone’s poison.

As a Clownfish moves up the social ladder, He becomes larger and eventually changes sex. The younger Clownfish limit their growth to avoid the wrath of older Clownfish. Meanwhile, Father Clownfish cares for his Young until They are ready to leave the Anemone to join a new group at another Anemone.

Clownfish teach cooperation with those different from you. Clownfish and Sea Anemone live together for their mutual good. Clownfish receives food, shelter, and protection from Sea Anemone. In return, Clownfish protects Anemone by chasing away Butterfly Fish that like to bite off the ends of Anemone’s tentacles.
Clownfish’ Wisdom Includes:
Making Friends with Unlikely People
Being Flexible in Groups
How to be Distinctive and Well-Known
Being a Homebody

Friday, August 04, 2017

Chipmunk: Wise Use of Resources

The Chipmunk, a small striped-rodent, is a member of the Squirrel Family. Scientists usually divide the twenty five species of chipmunks into three groups – the Western Chipmunks (the largest group): Nectamias, the Eastern Chipmunk: Tamias, and the Siberian Chipmunk: Eutamias. The root “tamis” is Greek for steward, which reflects this species’ role in plant dispersal.

Chipmunk is named for her call – “chip-chip,” which sounds like a shrill bird-like chirp. Besides the chip-chip, She also employs a deep chuck, a trill, and a high-pitched startle call. Upon hearing her faint high chip, a dog’s ears will perk up. By the time the dog reacts, Chipmunk will be safe underground.

Living in North America and Siberia, Chipmunk is famous for her propensity to store seeds. People often see Her scurrying about with bulging cheeks full of seeds. Her cheeks can expand to equal her size. They allow Chipmunk to carry her food back to her burrow to eat. During the year, She collects and stores seeds in her vast complex of tunnels, doing most of her activity in the fall.

Besides seeds, Chipmunk will eat frogs and birds. Since She is an omnivore, She adds fungi and vegetables to her diet. Her eating habits help to spread various fungus and tree species. With the fungi, Chipmunk disperses the spores in several ways from storing the fungus to breaking it apart. By harvesting and hoarding seeds, She spreads many species of trees throughout the forest.

The underground burrow of Chipmunk has three areas for food, sleeping, and waste. Preferring sloping ground for drainage, She digs tunnels below the surface to her various chambers and for escape routes. Chipmunk can burrow through stone walls and concrete foundations, which makes Her a pest to some people. Except during mating season, Chipmunk lives by Herself in her home.

Chipmunk teaches people how to husband their resources. She stashes seeds to keep her well-supplied in food. During the winter, Chipmunk will “half-hibernate,” waking from time to time to eat. Some of the seeds, She eats right away, the others Chipmunk will save for the future. She also helps to disperse tree species, which in turn provides future sources of food. People can learn from Chipmunk how to save and when to use their various resources. 

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Frog Family: Tolerance

A Toad
We hear Frogs – their croaking at dusk and dawn, their plop as they dive into the water. We hardly ever see them because Frogs hop away faster than we can approach them. During the spring we hear male Frogs call to females in nearby ponds. To many people, Frogs mean spring and water.

Frogs are Amphibians that need water to procreate and to live in the first part of their lives. They live the adult part of their life on land. As Frogs, they must return to the water to breed.

In late spring, We see little Froglets darting about in ponds. Froglets, which many people call tadpoles (toad’s head) or pollywogs (wiggling head), are the Frogs’ juvenile forms. We see them swimming through their aquatic world, their round bodies swishing a strong muscular tail. Eventually, they will transform into Frogs, and leave the water for the land.

The entire family of Frogs is the Order Anura (tailless amphibians). The Toad family (Bufonidae), which contains the Cane Toad (Bufo marinus) and the Natterjack Toad (Bufo calamita), is one of twenty Frog families. Tree Frogs form the Hylidae and Rhacophoridae families. The Mid-Wife Toad (Alytes obstetricans) belongs to the Discoglossidae family. What people consider to be “true” Frogs are from the family Ranidae. All these scientific categories demonstrate the wide variety of the Frog family. Little wonder why people become confused over the question, “What is a frog?” The answer is, “They all are.”

Frogs demonstrate the principle of tolerance. Frogs come in all shapes and sizes. There are the tiny Spring Peepers, ugly Horned Toads, vigorous Bullfrogs, and green Barking Tree Frogs. The old song goes, “All God’s Children sing in the choir. Some sing low, others sing higher.” Listen to Frog songs, and you will here the low jug-a-rum of the Bullfrog, the rasping natter-natter of the Natterjack Toad, and the high peeps of the Spring Peepers. Together in unison, They provide a melody pleasing to the ear.

Important Frog Teaching: Empathy
“Frog has long been associated with water and fertility. Frogs have a keen sense of hearing that is unique to their species. They can hear octaves and pitch that other aquatic animals do not. The song of Frog often foretells of an imminent rain. Those with Frog Medicine are often "in tune" with the weather. They are often "charged" by a rain instead of made sleepy. Frog people tend to relate to others on an emotional level, and are great empaths. The ability to purge and cleanse negativity resides within a Frog person.” Copyright: Unknown.

Important Frog Teaching: Cleansing
“Frog holds the knowledge of weather and how to control it. Frog medicine can bring rains for every purpose – to cleanse, to heal, to help things grow, to flood, to stream. Its energies can be used to bring light showers or downpours for most any purpose.” Copyright: “Animal-Speak”, Ted Andrews.

Frog and Toad Teachings Include:
“Frog’s familiar song is associated with rain, for frogs and toads must lay their eggs in moisture. Many tribal people pray to Frog and Toad during drought. Folk wisdom tells us that dreaming of Frog means good fortune and if Frog visits your home, you will find romance. When you see or hear Frog or Toad, close your eyes and visualize prosperity. Then give thanks to Frog and Toad for calling forth the healing, life-renewing rain.” Copyright: Dolfyn.

“Frogs are good signs. The Frog is a doctor and healer, seer, and fortune-teller. The Frog is a messenger of rain....On the other hand, Toads are a bad power and bad luck. If you see Toad, then pray for protection.” Copyright: “Spirits of the Earth”, Bobby Lake-Thom.

Frog’s Advice Includes:
“Are you having difficulty expressing your emotions? Are you becoming fixated on one thing to the extent that nothing else matters? Frog Clan will help you learn to express yourself and to help you heal yourself emotionally. This is the position of slow, but steady change.” Copyright: Unknown.
Frog’s Wisdom Includes:
Joy In a New Cycle of Life
Bringing Clarity
Wisdom of the Soul
Emotional Healing

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Winged Ones: Living in the Moment

My latest post at Witches and Pagans is up.

"Birds fascinate people. Many people set out feeders to attract birds to their gardens. Others travel long distances to spot a particular bird. People watch birds fly, perch in trees, and sing to each other. What is it about birds that draw humans to them? Many will tell you they love birds for the joy they bring.

Birds teach living in the moment. A flash of brightly colored feathers, then they are gone. The sight of a condor soaring in the sky makes people pause and watch. Crows amuse on-lookers with their antics. A lonely call of the loon fills those who hear with longing. Constantly in motion, birds teach humans to live in the moment."

Read More at Winged Ones: Living in the Moment

Monday, July 17, 2017

PIG ! HOG FAMILY: Enjoying Yourself

The Family of Suidae is either called “Pigs” or “Swine”. “Pig” refers to any wild or domesticated animal in the Suidae Family. “Hog” is only used for domesticated Pigs on a farm or for Warthog of Africa. “Boar” has two uses – a male pig or the wild Pigs native to Europe and Asia.

Suidae live in forests and woodlands and are divided into five groups. They are Pigs (Sus), African Bush Pigs (Potamochoerus), Giant Forest Hogs (Hylochoerus), Warthogs (Phacochoerus), and Babirusa (Babyrousa). Suidae are native to Eurasia and Africa but not to North and South America or Australia. Wild Pigs of those places are domestic Hogs gone feral.

Surefooted and fast runners, Pigs live in tall grass or reeds. Contrary to popular beliefs, Pigs rarely overeat. They can live nearly everywhere because Pigs can find food anywhere. They root in the ground with their snouts for roots and mushrooms. Pigs also eat Worms and Snakes that They find. However, wherever Pigs are, They need water to wallow in, since Pigs have few sweat glands.

Pigs that most people are acquainted with are European Wild Boars. Domestic Hogs are descendents of Wild Boars that roam in Asia and Europe. Bush Pigs live in Africa, south of the Sahara. Like other Swine, They do their rooting after dark. Giant Forest Hogs, who have crescent-shaped growths under their eyes, also live in Africa. These Hogs were not discovered until the early 20th Century. Of course, also living in Africa are the fierce looking Warthogs, with bumps on their cheeks.

The most bizarre looking of all Mammals is Babirusa. Living in the Celebes and Moluccas Islands (of Indonesia), this Pig has tusks which grows through the roof of his snout before curving backwards. His name “Babirusa” means “pig deer”.

Among the ancient people of Britain, Pigs were important and powerful. They provided sustenance and knowledge to people. Since Pigs were incredibly fertile, people thought that They were from the Gods. In addition, ancient people told stories of how Pigs guided people to hidden knowledge such as the healing waters of Bath, England.

Pigs know how to have fun. In the mornings, They root around snorting and grunting to each other. Meanwhile, little Piglets run around and play. Later in the day, all the Pigs pile next to each other and sleep. They stretch out in their cool wallow, and snore in the warm sun. Pigs enjoy themselves and the day. Learn how to do the same from Pigs.

Pig Family’s Teachings Include:
“The Pig shatters perceptions but like a mother with a child, makes you face new and often frightening experiences in order to grow into full awareness.” Copyright: “Beasts of Albion”, Miranda Gray.

“You can open yourself to the abundance that exist through nature. Allow yourself to feast on life–to enjoy its beauties and its sensual delights.” Copyright: “Boar”, “The Druid Animal Oracle”, Philip and Stephanie Carr-Gomm.

“I like pigs. All dogs look up to you. All cats look down to you. Only the pig looks at you as an equal.” -- Winston Churchill.
Pig Family’s Wisdom Includes:
How to Nurture
Guide to Knowledge
How to Flourish
Having Common Sense
Being Intelligent
Intuitively Know How to Respond In Any Situation
Being Charge of Personal Space

Monday, July 10, 2017

The Loch Ness Monster: The “Unknown Unknowables”

Stories about monsters lurking in deep lakes abound worldwide. Noted cryptozoologists (Note 1) Loren Coleman and Patrick Huyghe have collected these stories and analyzed them. They believe that the 1933 sighting of the Loch Ness Monster (Note 2) ignited the public’s interest in Lake Monsters. Now sightings of these beasts are reported regularly worldwide. Meanwhile, “Nessie,” as the Loch Ness Monster is now known as, has entered popular culture as an endearing character.

Loch Ness is a tectonic lake that lies on the Great Glen Fault Line. Long and narrow, it was gouged deep by receding glaciers. This area is seismically active, which makes searching for any Lake Monster difficult. Add to this difficulty is the deepness of the lake that hinders extensive searches.
The Loch Ness Monster has been long known to the area’s inhabitants. The early Picts had carvings of a strange beast with a long snout and flippers. They told the invading Romans in the First Century CE that this animal was ancient.

The first written account of the Loch Ness Monster comes from the 700CE medieval chronicle of St. Columbia’s life. The history tells of St. Columbia’s efforts to convert the Scots. This Irish monk waded into Loch Ness and changed Nessie from being a man killer to a “shy beastie.” This explains why the Loch Ness Monster is rarely seen by people.

In 1933, the Spicers were driving along the lake when they encountered a strange animal. This long-necked beast waddled from the bushes, across the road, and slid into the loch. Then in 1934, Arthur Grant nearly crashed into the Loch Ness Monster with his motorcycle. Grant said that the animal looked like a cross between a seal and a Plesiosaurus. These reports made “Nessie” famous. In fact, her name (and the assumption the Lake Monster was a female) were immediately coined by the press.

Based on witness testimony and other evidence, Coleman and Huyghe say that Nessie is real. From similar reports of a nearby Lake Monster in Scotland – Maggie of Loch Morar, Nessie is a Waterhorse. In their collection of stories about Lake Monsters in Scotland, the cryptozoologists say that the majority are Waterhorses. They describe the Waterhorse to be an animal with an elongated body and neck with two sets of flippers. At close range, people have also reported a hairy body and a mane. Moreover, the two cryptozoologists noted that the folklore of the North Sea area abounded in descriptions of the Waterhorse.

Although Nessie may look like a Plesiosaurus, an ancient marine reptile, She is probably a mammal since the hair is key. Nessie could be a Zeuglodon, a genus of long, serpent-like fossil whales. The other choice is a long-necked pinniped from the Pliocene, known as the Acrophoca longirostris.

Whatever Nessie is, She has enthralled and frightened humans for more than a millennia. Nessie is an extraordinary enigma who lives just beyond human ken. She reminds humans that there will always be “unknown unknowables.”

Note 1: Cryptozoology is the study of unknown or hidden animals.
Note 2: The “manual of style” adopted by the International Society of Cryptozoology calls for capitalized forms for “Lake Monster,” “Loch Ness Monster,” and “Waterhorse.”