Thursday, September 14, 2017

Cold-Blooded Ones: Sensitivity to One’s Environment

My latest post at Witches and Pagans: Animal Wisdom.

The Cold-Blooded Ones are called that because they lack the ability to keep warm by using their bodies. Since these animals need to regulate their body temperatures, the Cold-Blooded Ones use their environment to help them do this. A turtle will find a sunny spot to bask in. A salamander will move under a rock for warmth. Toads will bury themselves in the dirt. Snakes prefer living in rocky dens for warmth and under leafy bushes for coolness.

Reptiles are one of the most ancient forms of life, and also one of the most adaptable. Both the turtles and crocodiles have survived the dinosaurs, while remaining the nearly same today as they were in the past. In addition, crocodiles are distant relatives to birds and dinosaurs. Snakes and lizards have expanded the ways that reptiles adapt to their environment. Snakes lost their legs, while lizards adapted to life in the ocean. Meanwhile, worm-lizards (ringed lizards) have evolved to burrow underground by using their heads.

Read the rest at: Cold-Blooded Ones

Friday, August 25, 2017

Firefly (Lightning Bug) Family: Recapture the Wonder

World-wide, people have marveled at the flashing lights of fireflies on warm nights. These beetles are called many names: blinkies, glowworms, moon bugs, and lightning bugs. All these names reflect the quality of fireflies’ bioluminescence to communicate.

These remarkable insects have the most efficient light in the world. Their “cold light” consists of the luciferase enzyme which acts on the luciferin in the presence of magnesium, ATP, and oxygen. The adults flash to speak with each other and to find mates. Even firefly eggs and larvae glow, as a warning to predators. They tell predators that they taste lousy.

Found on nearly every continent, fireflies are classified as Lampyridae in the Winged Beetle Order of Coleoptera. Scientists usually divide the thousands of species of fireflies into five groups (although these groupings are in a state of flux). Found in North America, the Lampyridinae synchronize their flashes. The Photurinae are known for the females eating the males. The largest group, the Luciolinae live in the Eastern Hemisphere. These fireflies flash instead of continuously glowing. The most primitive fireflies are called the Cyphonocerinae. The “catch-all” group of Lampyrinae have all the fireflies, who do not fit in any of the other groups.

The flashing is done by the adult firefly, who lives only to mate and lay eggs. Meanwhile, the firefly larvae can live for up to two years, eating snails and worms. Some will hibernate over the winter, others for longer. All usually will emerge during warm weather as adults.

Fireflies are disappearing worldwide. Various factors are to blame, most of them created by humans. In developing fields and forests, people have destroyed firefly habitats. The other major problem is light pollution. In many places, lights abound from headlights of cars to porchlights of houses to skylights of malls. All these lights disrupt the flashing patterns of the fireflies, who are trying to mate. (Consult Firefly.org (http://www.firefly.org/) for suggestions on how to help fireflies.)

Watching fireflies at dusk as they flash by recaptures the lost wonder of childhood. As adults, many of us are caught up in our daily activities and concerns. We forget that the world is full of wonder. Fireflies give people pause to see the beauty that is around them. Remember that the firefly is just an ugly bug who twinkles. But twinkle, is what they do well.

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:
Transformation
Joy In a New Cycle of Life
Fertility
Fearlessness
Bringing Clarity
Diversity
Wisdom of the Soul
Emotional Healing
Well-Being

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