Thursday, March 29, 2007

Swan Teachings

Symbology: transformation, loss of innocence, beauty

The painting of a swan maiden represents a common motif found in the mythologies and folktales of many cultures around the globe – from Native American to Slavic. Although the story varies from place to place, the basic plot is the same: a young man finds the feathered robe or skin of a swan maiden – a goddess-like creature – which she ahs temporarily shed to assume a human form. Although the youth attempts to hide the feathers from the maiden, which allows him to possess her, the swan finds its feathers, assumes its animal form, and leaves the youth. The lost swan thus symbolizes the departure from youthful innocence and the passage to maturity. In some versions of the story, the swan dies. In Greek mythology the "swan song" is the beautiful song sung by the swan just before death.

From: Animal Spirit Knowledge cards

To the Ancients, all things in nature had a sacred or spiritual meaning. The world was inhabited by the higher beings, who took the form of fantastical creatures that were part animal, part human, and exceedingly powerful. These beings are the spirit guides who lead the departed to the next life, heal the sick, and restore balance and harmony to a troubled world. The tribal healers knew the animal spirits well. The journeyed beyond the threshold of ordinary reality to invoke the power of these great beings.


The 48 paintings by Susan Beddon Boulet (American, b brazil 1941 –1997) reproduced in this deck resonate with an ethereal energy and speak the language of the soul. Each image is accompanied by a brief description of the animals’ power and symbolism in various cultures.

Animal Spirit Knowledge Cards
Text by John Nagiecki
© The Susan Eleanor Boulet Trust
catalog number K152
Published by Pomegrante communications Inc.
Box 6099, Rohnert Park, CA 94927


Read more about the Swan Family at Animal Teachers

Friday, March 23, 2007

More Animal Predictions

Whatever occupation one has, when he hears the frogs croak for the first time in the spring, will be one's occupation for the entire year.

Make a wish when you see a spider spinning a web and the wish will come true. If you see a brown spider crawling around on any clothes in your closet, don't brush it away! The spider means you will be getting new clothes.

A bee flying into the house means a stranger is coming.

If you say "mumbly up" repeatedly over an anthill, the ants will come up out of the hole.
Saying "mumbly down" makes the ants go back down.

It is lucky to have a snake live in, near, or under your house.

When you see a crow for the first time in a new year, observe its flight-- that will indicate the distance you will travel that year. If the crow just sits there, it means no journey; if it flies out of sight, it means you'll take a very long journey.

Monday, March 19, 2007

"Plants as Spirit Helpers"

"The Shaman Way: Plants as Spirit Helpers"

By Shaman Elder Maggie Wahls

A Shaman learns to use the assistance of animals in journeying and in healing, but also enlists the power of plants - as spirit helpers. Plants are a powerful source for healing. All things on this planet garner their power from the sun and as plants live and breathe the sun, they as a whole have much to offer. Plants however live at a lower vibration than people or animals. They move more slowly and can have a much longer life than humans in some cases such as the giant sequoia. So their power is used for longer methods of healing just as the herbologist prescribes doses of tinctures for several days.

How do you choose which plants to work with?

Each plant has a particular kind of power to it. Some plants are for growth and some for retardation, some for light and some for dark. Each plant has two sides to it as well. The outer side - that which you see with your physical eyes; and an inner side which you can learn to see with your inner eyes. Sometimes the inner side is not a plant at all but an insect or some other being.

The Inner Side of Moss

I was walking in a strange forest far away from my home as a young girl enjoying the day and not paying attention to my path. Suddenly the sun disappeared behind a dark ominous cloud and I realized that it would soon be storming and worse than that, I was lost! I began to run in the direction I thought would take me home. But it just went deeper and deeper into the dark forest where the trees were now being whipped back and forth by the rushing wind. Leaves blew across my face as the sky turned darker and darker. The rain started to come down in a hard pelting that hurt my bare skin and I knew I had better take cover and try to remain calm. I found an open trunk of tree, hollowed out by a lightning strike many years before that offered some shelter now so I jammed myself inside and began to cry at my situation. I recognized the moss growing inside the tree trunk as the same moss my mother used for a soup we all liked very much. I wished I could go right now and take some of this moss to my mother and she would make us all a hot bowl of soup. I looked again and there were little green people standing in the moss no bigger than the moss itself and I told them to get my mother. I must have fallen asleep there because when I opened my eyes my mother and father were lifting me out of the tree trunk. We went home and my mother had prepared the moss soup earlier in the day for our supper. It never tasted better than it did that day!

Copyright © 2007 Shaman Elder Maggie Wahls. All rights reserved.

Excerpt from her online Shamanism course
Discovering the Shaman Healer Within: Apprentice Course.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Animal Lore

Saying "white horse" seven times will help you find a lost article.

Saying "white rabbit" on May 1st will bring good luck the rest of the year.

If when starting a journey, you see a rabbit cross your path, it will bea safe journey.

If a squirrel runs across the road in front of you, it means good luck and wealth are soon to be yours. (Be careful not to run over the squirrel. Very bad for the squirrel.)

Buzzards are a long time in between wing beats. So if you see a lone buzzard, make a wish before he flaps his wings and your wish will come true.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Courage in Norse and Roman Myths

ADF defines courage as “Acting appropriately when faced with danger.” This is more than just being brave. Courage also includes acting rationally. In Norse and Roman mythology, two similar myths show that both cultures defined courage as ADF does.

Tyr, Norse God of the Thing and Justice, lost his right hand to Fenris, the Great Wolf. An offspring of Loki, Fenris was known as the devourer. To prevent the destruction of Asgard, the Gods had to leash him. However, Fenris only trusted Tyr, and asked the God to prove that nothing awful would happen. So the God put his right hand into the wolf’s mouth. When Fenris was leashed, he bit off Tyr’s hand. Afterwards, Tyr became known as the One-Handed God for his sacrifice to the greater good.

During the Roman-Etruscan War, Lars Porsena, the Etruscan king, laid siege to Rome. An ordinary citizen, Gauis Mucius, went to the Roman Senate, and volunteered to end the siege by killing the king. Unfortunately the Etruscan king caught Mucius. To demonstrate Roman fortitude, Mucius put his hand in the fire. Lars Porsena, not only admired his courage, but was also unnerved by his actions. The king let Gauis Mucius return to Rome. Afterwards, Lars Porsena decamped, ending the siege.

In these myths, courage is tempered with reason. By volunteering for a greater good, both Tyr and Mucius both lost their right hands. Afterwards, they both had to learn to live life one-handed. They displayed quiet courage, going about their business not completely whole but coping nevertheless.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

March is a Tough Month For Wildlife

"Tough Month For Wildlife"


Copyright 2007

"March is the most difficult month of the year for birds to find adequate food to survive winter in most of North America. That’s because the supplies of natural food....last year’s seeds, fruits, berries and insect eggs and larvae...are at their lowest levels after months of birds feeding on them. March is too early for a new crop of seeds, fruits, berries, and insects to be available. Therefore, birds have to work harder to find sufficient food during a month when it is still very wintry in much of the country."

"That’s why March is the best time of the year to feed birds in the backyard. They will respond more readily to feeder foods offered in March than at any other time of the year. Isn’t it curious that in fall...October and November...when natural foods are most abundant, people take the greatest interest in feeding birds? It is in fall when there are the greatest number of bird seed sales, bird feeding seminars, bird store sales, and start-up backyard bird feeding efforts. By March, the interest in bird feeding has waned, at a time when the birds need it most.

Though birds are not dependent on feeders for their survival (studies have shown that birds glean 75 percent of their daily food from the wild, even when feeder foods are available), feeding them in March will make life a little easier for them, and under severe conditions, may even save them from starvation. "
-- George H. Harrison

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Norse Birds of Lore

Many cultures had animals as part of their lore. Here is a samply of Norse culture about birds. You can learn a lot about a culture from the animals they regard as important.

Bird : Name : Lore

Cock : Salgofnir (Hall Crower) : Wakes up the Einherjar
Cock : Gullenkambi (Golden Comb) : Informs the Gods of Ragnarok

Golden Eagle : Sits at top of Yggdrasil

Greylag Goose : Pyschopomp

Hawk : Habrok : Best Hawk
(Grimmer’s Sayings)
Hawk : Vedrfolnir (Storm-pale) : Sits on top of Yggdrasil

Raven : Hugin (Thought) : Odin’s raven
Raven : Munin (Memory) : Odin’s raven

Whooper Swan : Valkyries

Friday, March 02, 2007

Honoring Animals

Honoring Your Sacred Animal

Create effigies of your animals. Place their images in your personal areas. You are reminding yourself about the true significance of your encounter with your animals.

Nature walks. Note details about the animal.

Education. Educate yourself about these animals. Research their roles in mythology, history, and art.

Maintain an open mind. This quality is especially important when it comes to snakes. Most people either like them or feel repulsed by them.


You can find out more at my website: Animal Teachers