Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Goat Family (3)

Because Goats have rectangular pupils in their eyes, They reminded many Christians of the Devil. Also because They were associated with Pagan fertility Gods, Male Goats (Bucks) became Christian symbols for lust. According to Christians, in the Final Days, Christ will come to separate the Sheep from the Goats. The Sheep will go with Him, while the Goats remain behind to perish.

However, many Christians held a different view of Does (Female Goats). These Goats represent the Seekers of God. As She climbs higher, Doe Goat could see farther and clearer. She would continue up the mountain until She spied God.

Goats offer a solid foundation in becoming more confident. As They climb higher, Goats become more surefooted, thereby gaining more self-assurance. They teach that with practice comes more solid achievement, which leads to more self-confidence.

Wisdom of the Goat Family Includes:
Going To New Heights
Play and Exploration
Thriving in Adverse Conditions

Science Notes:
1. Members of the Goat Family (Capra): Ibex, Markhor, and Wild Goat. (Domestic Goat is a subspecies of Wild Goat.) Mountain Goat of North America (Oreamnos americanus) is a goat-antelope, not a goat.

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Copyright: Virginia Carper, Animal Teachers, 2008

From Universal Class, fun self-paced classes taught by me:

Finding Your Animal Teachers

Animals For Everyone: Mammals

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Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Goat Family (2)


(Photo from freefoto.com)

With their Herd Queen leading Them, the Goat Flock climbs hills in search of tasty shrubs. As the Queen directs Them, the Flock guard their browsing territory from predators and other Flocks. As the oldest female, the Queen grooms her Heir, who in turn protects Her. The Flock relies on these two Goats for their survival.

Because of their ability to thrive anywhere, Goats have come to symbolize fertility and abundance. Among the Norse, two Goats pulled the chariot of their God of Thunder (and Fertility), Thor. Still, another Goat supplied mead to the heroes of Valhalla. Meanwhile, in Wales, Black Goats, friend of the fairies, guarded treasures.

Some Near Eastern peoples thought of Goats as redeemers of their people’s sins. To absorb its diseases and bad luck, a village would keep a Goat. Then, they would send this Goat, called a “Scapegoat“, away carrying the bad luck of the village with it.

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Copyright: Virginia Carper, Animal Teachers, 2008

From Universal Class, fun self-paced classes taught by me:

Finding Your Animal Teachers

Animals For Everyone: Mammals

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Monday, December 29, 2008

Goat Family: Be More Confident (1 of 3)




Called the “poor man’s cows”, Goats were domesticated over 10,000 years ago in the Near East and Iran. Since then, They have provided many people with meat, milk, hides, and other necessities for life. Masters at survival, Goats are easy to raise in dry, rocky areas. Small and hardy, They can live where cattle are unable to. Because of this, Goats are popular worldwide as livestock.

Curious and intelligent, Goats quickly explore new things. With their upper lip and tongue, They taste and touch things They encounter. Contrary to popular belief, They do not eat cans. Fussy about what they eat, Goats browse for prized berries, nuts, and roots. Using their tough pad on their upper lip and strong lower jaw, Goats grab and chew bark from trees.

Since They love to climb, Goats will stand on their hind legs to strip the bark off trees. Also, Domestic Goats will test their enclosure fences as well. In their King of the Mountain Game, They climb up and playfully butt Each Other off the top of the hill.


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Copyright: Virginia Carper, Animal Teachers, 2008

From Universal Class, fun self-paced classes taught by me:

Finding Your Animal Teachers

Animals For Everyone: Mammals

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Sunday, December 28, 2008

Color and Birds


In nature, birds use color in many ways. Color helps to identify the bird and its gender. For example, the males are generally more colorful, while females are drabber. Cardinals of North America have red beaks, but only the male cardinal is all red. If a male cardinal sees another cardinal, he will know what gender the other bird is. A male he chases away; a female he courts. 

In addition, birds use color for camouflage. Mother Pheasant looks like the brush she nests in. Meanwhile, penguins, in their black and white colors, blend into the ocean. When a fish looks up, they see the sea but not the penguin.

Birds also use color to identify each other. Canada geese have black and white neck stripes that are as individual as people’s fingerprints. One goose can tell whether the other geese are a part of their flock. They keep their flock together in this way.

Sources:
_______, “Book of North American Birds”, The Readers’ Digest, Pleasantville, NY, 1990.
_______, “The Sibley Guide to Bird Life and Behavior”, Sibley, David Allen, ed, Alfred A Knopf, New York, 2001.

Ehrlich, Paul, David S. Dobkin, and Darryl Wheye, “Color of Birds”, 1988, 23 Dec. 2008,

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Copyright: Virginia Carper, Animal Teachers, 2008

From Universal Class, fun self-paced classes taught by me:

Finding Your Animal Teachers

Working with Your Animal Allies, Teachers, and Totems

Animals For Everyone: Penguins

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Monday, December 22, 2008

Reindeer: Travel


CARIBOU ! REINDEER: Travel

Of all the members of the Deer Family, Caribou shows the greatest adaptation to life in the Arctic. To carry Him over deep snow, Caribou has the widest feet of any Deer. With his Herd, Caribou migrates long distances during each season. He goes to windy plains in the summer to escape the Flies. In the winter, his Herd goes to the tundra. There, Mother Caribou gives birth with little threat from Wolves.

In Lapland and Russia, people domesticated Caribou to provide transportation, food, and clothing. First herded by people over 3000 years ago, Reindeer (domesticated Caribou) is the most northern of Domestic Animals. As beasts of burden and providers of milk, Reindeer remains a pivotal element in the culture of the Sami (Lapps of Finland).

Gregarious, Caribou joins with thousands of other Caribou to wander long distances. His Herd moves quickly to summer and winter grounds. Each time, They follow the same pathways, wearing grooves in the landscape. Using traditional routes, Caribou ford and swim great rivers.

Caribou encourages travel. He shows that being a nomad can be a good thing. Methodical in his travels, Caribou moves from favorite place to another, never overstaying his welcome.

Caribou! Reindeer’s Teachings Also Include:

“Caribou take care of their feet because they are walking people. The Creator’s message to caribou is that it is to be main source of Dene (Dogrib). Meat must be shared because Caribou is a spiritual gift that must not be used for personal gain.” Copyright: Dene Kede Education: A Dene Perspective.

Caribou ! Reindeer’s Wisdom Includes:
Being a Wandering Soul
Creating Pathway Through the Wilderness
Learning Social Skills
Going Where You Want To
Living A Traditional Life


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Copyright: Virginia Carper, Animal Teachers, 2008

From Universal Class, fun self-paced classes taught by me:

Finding Your Animal Teachers

Animals For Everyone: Mammals

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Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Treeshrews: Living In Fragments


(From America's Zoo)

TREE SHREW FAMILY (SCANDENTIA): Living a Fragmented Life

With their long, bushy tails and black button noses, Tree Shrews resemble Squirrels. However, They are neither Squirrels nor Shrews. As the subject of intense scientific controversy, Tree Shrews were thought first to be Insectivores, and then early Primates. Finally zoologists placed them in their own order: Scandentia.

Extremely active, Tree Shrews forage all day, resting every hour for a few minutes. In their forests in Southeast Asia, these nervous and inquisitive Animals bounce around like pinballs from branch to branch. Tree Shrews live hard and fast lives. As Louise Simmons who studies them says, “They work 12 hours a day, 365 days a year. They live on the edge.”

Not much is known about these fast-moving, elusive Animals. However, scientists have discovered that Tree Shrews care for their Babies in an odd way. Every two days, Mother Tree Shrew returns to her nest to feed her Babies for about two minutes. Then She leaves only to return in another two days. While alone in the nest, her Babies nuzzle next to Each Other to keep warm.

Scientists recently discovered that Pen-tailed Tree Shrews drink the equivalent of ten glasses of wine a night. Living in the rain forests of Malaysia, these Animals suck on the fermented nectar of the Bertram palm nightly. But, They get never drunk or become inebriated.

For people who live a ‘pinball’ life, let Tree Shrews be your guide. They parent their Babies and defend their territories, all at the same time. Plus, They never get drunk, while doing it. Let Tree Shrews show you how to live your fragmented life effectively.

Wisdom From Tree Shrews Include:
Living Hard and Fast
Becoming Self-reliant
Keeping Your Head and Not Panicking

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Copyright: Virginia Carper, Animal Teachers, 2008

From Universal Class, fun self-paced classes taught by me:

Finding Your Animal Teachers

Animals For Everyone: Mammals

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Monday, December 15, 2008

Ivory-billed Woodpecker: Elusive Hope


Ivory-billed Woodpecker (Campephilus principalis)

In 2004, news broke that the nearly extinct Ivory-billed Woodpecker was sighted by a kayaker in the Cache River National Wildlife Refuge of Arkansas. As this electrifying news spread, everyone wanted to go there to see the “Lord God Bird”. But, after a few tantalizing glimpses, the Ivory-billed Woodpecker became elusive again. Meanwhile, naturalists began sighting this bird in the panhandle of Florida and in South Carolina. Frustrating to scientists was that no clear photos or nests were ever presented by anyone.

Once plentiful in the Southeastern U.S., Mexico, and Cuba, Ivory-billed Woodpecker gradually disappeared as the old growth Cypress trees were cut down. By the 1940s, many naturalists regarded this bird extinct. However people still reported hearing its loud drumming, and continued to find various feathers of the Ivory-billed Woodpecker. Moreover, many field guides still featured this bird.

Then, in 1986, a group of naturalists searched the jungles of Cuba for Ivory-billed Woodpecker. One of the expert birders, a friend of mine, told me that the rugged terrain hampered their search for this elusive bird. However, his fellow naturalists did glimpse the bird, and he also heard its drumming.

Searching for Ivory-billed Woodpeckers is problematic because of the remoteness of the regions that he can be seen in. The Cache River Refuge covers a huge area, which is aomost impassible. Also, the areas in Florida and South Caroline are swampy, with few clear passageways.

Since scientists need proof such a nest, a dead bird, or a clear photo, they cannot declare the Ivory-billed Woodpecker found. Like UFOs, about ninety-five of the sightings can be explained by something else - usually a Pileated Woodpecker (Dryocopus pileatus), leaving only five percent unexplainable. In cryptozoology (the study of hidden animals), stories of the imagination need to catch up with the pragmatism of scientists before they can be declared real. Such is the case of the Ivory-billed Woodpecker – many stories but scant proof.

To me, the Ivory-billed Woodpecker is real. Too many people tell of their glimpses of this bird. Also, no one really wants to declare the bird extinct. Instead of being lost to us, many people hold out hope that the Ivory-billed Woodpecker can still be found.

But, Too many variables exist to pin down this bird. Perhaps, Ivory-billed Woodpecker only exists in our imaginations. Our dearest wishes and desires holds the bird to our reality. Since we have not given up on the Lord God Bird, we work to restore it to its former glory. Meanwhile, Ivory-billed Woodpecker has not given up on us. Somewhere in the swamps, an Ivory-bill Woodpecker drums loudly and waits for a friendly human again.

Sources:
Conversations with Donald B. Adams, 30 Sept., 2008.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Southeast Region, U.S. Department of Interior, “Ivory-bill Woodpecker”, 28 Nov. 2008

NOVA: scienceNOW, “Ivory-billed Woodpecker”, 28 Nov. 2008


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Copyright: Virginia Carper, Animal Teachers, 2008

From Universal Class, fun self-paced classes taught by me:

Finding Your Animal Teachers

Working with Your Animal Allies, Teachers, and Totems

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Sunday, December 14, 2008

Eastern Grey Kangaroo: Effective Communication


EASTERN GREY KANGAROO: Effective Communication

More abundant than Her Close Relative, Red Kangaroo, Eastern Grey Kangaroo lives in the forests of Australia. Unlike other Kangaroos, She breeds only in the spring and early summer, instead of breeding continuously. However, this has not affected her numbers and, in fact She is a nuisance in some areas.

Often seen with Magpie Lark and Willie Wagtail in her ears or on her back, Eastern Grey Kangaroo rests in the heat of the day. As the Birds pick out Parasites and Insects off of her, She grazes in the cool of the early morning. Eating as She walks on all fours, Eastern Grey Kangaroo uses her large tail for support.

Socially inclined, Eastern Grey Kangaroo holds conversations with her Friends by clucking. Talking with her Joey (Baby), She squeals and clucks. However, when She is alarmed at something, Eastern Grey Kangaroo stamps her feet, and coughs loudly.

Lulu, an Eastern Grey Kangaroo, saved a farmer’s life. Knocked unconscious by a falling tree limb, Mr. Richards lay dying. Lulu tipped him on his side to keep him from choking. Then She hopped to the family’s home. Banging on the door and barking, Lulu alerted the family. Because of Her quick action, Lulu was awarded the National Animal Valor Award.

Eastern Grey Kangaroo demonstrates effective communications. She tells her Mob of impending danger by stomping her feet, and calls to her Joey by coughing. Lulu banged on her friend’s family door to save him. Communication is more than words, it is also actions.

Teachings of the Eastern Grey Kangaroo Include:“So long as the Grey Kangaroo was there, the people knew they would never know hunger or suffering. Its mere existence promised true abundance.” Copyright: “Animal Dreaming”, Scott Alexander King.

Wisdom of the Eastern Grey Kangaroo Includes:
At Peace with One’s Self
Making a Place of Calmness
Ensuring Abundance

Science Note:
1. Western Grey Kangaroo (Macropus fuliginosus) is a different species of Kangaroo from Eastern Grey (Macropus giganteus). They are not regional variations of the same species.

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Copyright: Virginia Carper, Animal Teachers, 2008

From Universal Class, fun self-paced classes taught by me:

Finding Your Animal Teachers

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Lessons of the Kangaroo Family: Be Fearless (2 of 2)



The Aboriginal Peoples of Australia named Kangaroos by color, size, sex, and habits. The English word “Kangaroo” is the corrupted form of the Guugu Yimidhirr word “gangurru” for Eastern Grey Kangaroo. Meanwhile, “Pademelon“, the name for a small shy kangaroo living in the wet forests, came from the Dharuk word “badimaliyan”. Important to these peoples, Kangaroos feature widely in their sacred art, and are totems for some of their Tribes.

Among Australians, Kangaroos are both treasured and despised. One of the living symbols of Australia, Red Kangaroo is on the Australian Coat of Arms. Meanwhile, an Eastern Grey Kangaroo was awarded the RSPCA National Animal Valor Award for saving a farmer’s life.

However, many ranchers regard Kangaroos as pests because They eat scare resources meant for Cattle and Sheep. Many roads have Kangaroo-crossing signs to warn motorists. In addition, many cars have ‘roo bars’ to minimize any damage caused by a collision.

Not afraid of danger, Members of the Kangaroo Family hop everywhere over the Australian countryside. Tree-kangaroos leap across the rainforest canopies, while Rock-wallabies ascend up rock faces. Be fearless as Kangaroos are, but watch where you leap or you may get hit by an on-coming car.

Wisdom of the Kangaroo Family:
Leaping Over Obstacles
Let Your Instincts to Guide You
How to Conserve Energy

Kangaroo Family: Macropodidae
Subfamily: Sthenurinae Banded Hare-wallaby
Subfamily: Macropodinae
Dorcopsis
Dorcopsulus
Hare-wallaby
Wallaby and Kangaroo
Nail-tail Wallaby
Rock-wallaby
Quokka
Pademelon
Swamp Wallaby

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Copyright: Virginia Carper, Animal Teachers, 2008

From Universal Class, fun self-paced classes taught by me:

Finding Your Animal Teachers

Animals For Everyone: Mammals

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Friday, December 12, 2008

Lessons from the Kangaroo Family: Be Fearless (1 of 2)




KANGAROO FAMILY: Be Fearless

When people think “Kangaroo”, they often imagine a large deer-like Mammal hopping around like a Frog on two legs. Of course, the Kangaroo must have a large pouch with a Joey (Baby) sticking out. Rounding out this picture would be two Kangaroos off boxing each other.

Also, in the popular imagination, Kangaroos live only in Australia. On the contrary, They also live in New Guinea. Transported to New Zealand in the 1870s by Sir George Grey, Swamp and Parma Wallabies flourish on Kawau Island. Escaping from a British zoo, a group of Wallabies now have small established territories in Scotland and England.

This large and varied Family of Marsupials ranges from the large Great Kangaroos to the small Rat-kangaroos. The scientific name for Kangaroo, Macropodidae, is from Greek for “long foot.” With their muscular tails for balance, They hop with these long powerful hind feet.

The stereotypical Kangaroos are the Great Kangaroos -- Greys, Reds, and Wallaroos. The largest of all Marsupials, Great Kangaroos can travel distances without expending much energy. Using the strong tendons in their hind legs, They effortlessly bound across the Australian countryside.

Besides balancing and resting, Kangaroos use their tails in other ways. Rat-kangaroo (Potoroos and Bettongs) use their tails to gather nesting materials. Meanwhile Nail-tail Wallabies have a horny spur hidden in the hair at the tip of their tails. Among the Forest Wallabies of New Guinea, Dorcopsis only touches the tip of his tail on the ground while resting to keep it out of reach of Leeches, unlike Pademelon, whose tail becomes leech infested from lying on the swampy ground.

The most specialized of Kangaroos are Rock-wallabies and Tree-kangaroos. Rock-wallabies can leap up sheer rock faces, and then jump from ledge to ledge. Using their tails for balance and their short toenails for gripping, Rock-wallabies hop up tall rock cliffs.

Meanwhile, Tree-kangaroos live in the rain forests. Although They have the large hind legs of “regular” Kangaroos, Tree-kangaroos also have very long tails for balance, and strong forearms for holding onto branches. Bold and agile, They leap from a high tree to the ground or to another tree further away.

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Copyright: Virginia Carper, Animal Teachers, 2008

From Universal Class, fun self-paced classes taught by me:

Finding Your Animal Teachers

Animals For Everyone: Mammals

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Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Reiki and Animals

In addition to our physical bodies, we have energy bodies. Sometimes negative energy from elsewhere will enter these bodies. When this happens, we feel out of sorts and blah. Just as we feel low, so do our dear animals. Since they too have energy bodies, our pets also experience this negative energy.

As a form of living spiritual energy, Reiki can clear out this negative energy. Not only that, this intelligent, warm energy will rejuvenate and realign your energy centers. Many people report that a Reiki treatment is like having a warm hug from someone you love.

Imagine giving a warm emotional hug to your dear pet. Since both of your energies are connected in a wholesome way, Reiki deepens the bond between you and your pet. You and your animal friend will become active partners in both of your healings.

What happens during a treatment? First, distance Reiki is sent to your animal friend. Many animals need to become acquainted with this energy. Once your pet has evaluated the energy, they will decide what to do next. Your dear animal will guide me in the areas they need the most healing. As an animal becomes more accustomed to regular Reiki treatments, they will relax.

For healthy animals, Reiki will enhance their emotional and physical well-being. For ill animals, Reiki attends to their healing at deep levels. By receiving Reiki treatments, your pet will experience fewer fears and anxieties.

Reiki is a safe complement to standard medical treatment. In addition, this holistic treatment is a highly effective method, providing gentle comfort to your dear animal. Moreover, Reiki helps to reduce the side effects of other conventional treatments.
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Copyright: Virginia Carper, 2008

Animalteachers @ gmail.com

To help you and your pet, I offer friendly and compassionate readings. In my readings, you will find out what is on your animal’s mind. After the reading, you will foster a deeper bond between you and your special animal.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Our Dear Animal Friends




Most of the time, we know what our animal friends need and want. Moreover, we appreciate their special personalities. For example, Henry, my turtle, was a quiet soul, who loved nothing more than to watch the world go by. Meanwhile Tiny, my small dog, loved to chase chipmunks. Even when she was old, her ears would perk up when one came around.

However, sometimes our pet’s behavior baffles us. What is my cat trying to tell me? Why does my dog whine all the time? Was my parrot frightened by something? Why is my ferret moping around? Perhaps, your dear animal is simply misunderstanding the humans around them. Also, negative energy and chaos can cause sensitive pets to become emotionally upset. Sometimes, they simply want you to know that they love you. At other times, they would like you to understand what is bothering them. However, by communicating with them, we can learn how to help our animal companions.

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Copyright: Virginia Carper, 2008

Animalteachers @ gmail.com

To help you and your pet, I offer friendly and compassionate readings. In my readings, you will find out what is on your animal’s mind. After the reading, you will foster a deeper bond between you and your special animal.

What happens at a reading? I will ask you a few questions about you and your dear pet. Because animals think in pictures, I will need a picture of yours. Then I will communicate with your pet. I will help them answer your questions and tell you what they want you to know. Afterwards, I will offer helpful feedback and suggestions.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Energy Streams

The universe is made up of energy, which flows through all of us. Within the Sacred Circle, energy moves from one being to another. In fact, we are all interconnected to the Spirit by that energy which pulsates through us.

However, when our energy centers become blocked, we become disoriented and confused. We may feel our life light burning low. Although, we want to accomplish much, we are too tired to get up out of our beds.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Brief: Mana Cards: Hawaiian Oracle

"Mana Cards: The Power of Hawaiian Wisdom" : by Catherine Kalama Becker



(God of War/Goddess of Healing) (God of Ocean and Ocean Winds)



Mana Cards will connect you with the wisdom of the Hawai’an myths. According the Hawai’ians, mana is the spiritual power that flows through the universe. When you possess mana, you radiate health and energy. You feel alive with the Spirit. Through the wisdom of this strong, oral culture, you receive guidance in your life from an empowering perspective.




(Owl: Guidance)

From Mana Cards: “Hawaiians have many stories about ‘auma-kua in the form of a pueo, the owl. The theme which underlies all of them is rescue. Pueo often indicates that one is in danger. Therefore Pueo may appear to tell you to seek guidance.”



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Thursday, December 04, 2008

Walking Pinecone: Pangolin: Self-Defense

(Mother and Baby)

PANGOLIN: Self-defense

Looking like a pine cone with legs, Pangolin is often called “Scaly Anteater”. However, He is not related to any other animal, Anteaters included. Living in Africa and Asia, Pangolin waddles about sniffing out Termites and Ants. Usually solitary, Pangolin sleeps during the day in his burrow and roams at night looking for his favorite Termites.

With his sharp claws, Pangolin will excavate termite mounds. Then with his long sticky tongue, He collects the victims. A selective feeder, Pangolin uses his acute sense of smell to locate his favorite termite species.

In his travels, Pangolin is protected by his suit of armor made of sharp-edged scales. When threatened He will roll Himself into a tight ball. Usually, this acts as a deterrent. However, when Jackal tries to bite through his armor, Pangolin will wrap his prehensile tail around Jackal’s throat, and choke the attacker.

Local Africans tell of seeing Pangolin taking an ‘ant bath’. He settles into an ant nest, raises his scales, and allows the Ants to crawl underneath. Then Pangolin lowers his scales, crushing the Ants, and goes into the water. After raising his scales, the dead ants float out. People believe that this is how Pangolin cleans his scales.

What people admire most about Pangolin is his ability to defend Himself. Sometimes, Africans bury pangolin scales near their homes to keep Lions away. Pangolin is well-suited for self-defense with his scales and grasping tail. You can learn self-defense from waddling Pangolin.

Wisdom from Pangolin:
Focused Living
Practical Solutions
Creative Thinking

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Copyright: Virginia Carper, Animal Teachers, 2008

From Universal Class, fun self-paced classes taught by me:

Finding Your Animal Teachers

Animals For Everyone: Mammals

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Symbols: Lamb and Ram

LAMB

To Christians, Christ is the Lamb of God. As Christ is victorious over death, the lambs of spring signify victory over the darkness of winter. Moreover, the deeds of the Saints are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.

RAM

Because of their massive horns, Rams became the symbol of strength and power for many early peoples. Also, they considered these animals to be the wild and procreative forces of nature. Because Rams usher in the coming season of plenty in spring, the familiar cornucopia (horn of plenty) was originally a ram’s horn.

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Copyright: Virginia Carper, Animal Teachers, 2008

From Universal Class, fun self-paced classes taught by me:

Finding Your Animal Teachers

Animals For Everyone: Mammals

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

The Kindness of Sheep


In an ancient Scottish tradition, Sheep once had the gift of speech. Before They left for Paradise, Sheep asked the people not to burn their bones. Instead, when people killed One of Them give their bones to a diviner to read what They wanted to say to people.

When people think “Sheep”, they certainly do not think about Sheep guiding humans. Instead, people regard Sheep as conformists who following others without question. “Sheeple”, a portmanteau, was coined for placid groups following a dominant leader.

Because Sheep are prey Animals, They flock in huge numbers for safety. When a Predator appears, an Ewe will bark a warning to the Flock. Then Everyone flees zigzagging so They can see their backsides (and hence the danger) as They run. Because a downed Sheep is easy prey, Anyone in pain will keep on running.

Gregarious to a fault, They flock in groups of 100 individuals or more. Within each Flock are lots of families. Ewe will remain with her Mother’s group and work together as one unit.

Meanwhile when He are about two years old, Ram leaves his Mother’s flock. Separated by size and age, Ram will practice battling Other Rams by charging, pushing and shoving. To rule a Flock eventually, Ram needs to defeat his Competitor.

Domesticated about 9,000 years ago in the Middle East, Sheep quickly became important to people. Wool was the first commodity to be traded internationally. To fund the Spanish voyages to the New World, Queen Isabella used the income from the Spanish wool trade . In the 1700s, American colonists listed as one of the grievances against the British Crown, the prohibition to raise sheep for wool.

From the time of the Assyrians to today, Sheep have been a part of human civilization. Besides providing meat, milk, and fiber, Sheep are quite effective at pest and weed control. We may laugh at Sheep but we need Them in our lives. Look deeper and discover their kindness to us. Be kind to each other as Sheep are.0

Wisdom from Sheep Includes:
Support Each Other
Warmth and Comfort
Conformity

Science Notes:
1. Sheep are the Genus Ovis. This includes domestic, argali, bighorn, Dall’s, mouflon, and snow sheep. Barbary Sheep are the Genus Ammotragus.

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Copyright: Virginia Carper, Animal Teachers, 2008

From Universal Class, fun self-paced classes taught by me:

Finding Your Animal Teachers

Animals For Everyone: Mammals

Monday, December 01, 2008

Red-shouldered Hawk of North America




Identifying a Red-shouldered Hawk takes practiced observation. My first sighting of one was confirmed by a troop of Boy Scouts, at Sky Meadows at Shenandoah Virginia. The “red shoulders” of this hawk is actually the russet coloring on his wrists. Similar to Red-tailed Hawk in coloring, Red-shouldered Hawk has a longer tail. A compact flyer, his flying silhouette is also trim. These subtle characteristics help to differentiate Red-shouldered Hawk from Red-tailed Hawk.

A quiet elusive bird, Red-shouldered Hawk spends his time perched on a low tree branch, carefully scanning the ground for prey. Living near rivers and streams, Red-shouldered Hawk prefers pouncing on insects, frogs, mice, and snakes to hunting other birds. Unlike other hawks, he hunts from his tree branch.

However, during the spring, Red-shouldered Hawk makes his presence known to all. Crying “Keeah!” he soars the sky, filled with the exuberance of the coming spring. He is celebrating winter being finally over. Calling to his far-off mate, he cries, “Come join me! This is still *our* territory!” Together, the two soar in their dance, making broad circles in the sky.

After mating, the two hawks construct a stick nest in their tree. Often they will reclaim last year’s nest with a bit of greenery like a sprig of violets. Barred Owl, the nocturnal counterpoint to Red-shouldered Hawk, shares the same territory. Often if the hawk’s nest lies unclaimed, the owl will take it.

To steal his food, American Crows will mob Red-shouldered Hawk. But then, he pursues them for their food. However when Great Horned Owl, ruler of the forest, appears, then the crows and hawk will team up to fight off this owl.

Found in Eastern North America, Red-shouldered Hawk, for some inexplicable reason, has a colony in California. In addition, scientists believe that Ridgeway’s Hawk on Hispaniola was a subspecies of Red-shouldered Hawk that filled the niche of Board-winged Hawk. Outside of Jamaica, Hispaniola is the only island in the Caribbean that lacks a population of Broad-winged Hawks. (However, because of severe habitat destruction, Ridgeway’s Hawk is gravely endangered.)

What is baffling to naturalists is why Red-shouldered Hawk’s numbers are declining in the East. Habit destruction is offered as one reason, but hawks in old-growth forests are also becoming scarcer. Perhaps the decline has to do with toxic chemicals in their environment.

Meanwhile, Red-shouldered Hawk in California happily thrives nesting among the eucalyptus trees. Perhaps he is telling us to take up our courage and leave our comfortable homes. Instead of remaining where we are, we should go and embrace the new. Leave the past behind and create our own future, for if we do not leave, we will be poisoned. Red-shouldered Hawk will guide us to our new life if we let him.

Sources:

Dunne, Pete, “The Wind Masters”, Houghton Miffin Co, Boston, 1995.

Johnsgard, Paul A, “Hawks, Eagles, and Falcons of North America”, Smithsonian Institution, Washington D.C., 1990.

Scott, Sir Peter, ed., “The World Atlas of Birds”, Gramercy Books, New York, 2006.

Snyder, Noel and Helen, “Raptors of North America”, Voyageur Press, St. Paul, MN, 2006.

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Copyright: Virginia Carper, Animal Teachers, 2008

From Universal Class, fun self-paced classes taught by me:

Finding Your Animal Teachers

Working with Your Animal Allies, Teachers, and Totems

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Brief: Celtic Wisdom Tarot


Celtic Wisdom Tarot by Catleen Matthews

Celtic Wisdom Tarot is based on Celtic myths. The Major Arcana are the Celtic gods, while the Minor Arcana are based on the Four Treasures of the Celts: the spear, stone, sword, and cauldron. By traveling the path of the myths, the Soul gains wisdom to embrace the world.

In Celtic Wisdom Tarot, the Major Arcana are called Wisdom Cards. Through them, you will receive the Seven Candles of Wisdom. For example, there is the Candle of Will. This candle is represented by the “Three Unfailing Ones.” They are the Decider, whose words never fail, the Empowerer, who will never fail the Soul in deeds, and the Challenger, who will never stop questioning the Soul.

The Minor Arcana are the story cards. Representing the aspects of the Four Treasures, they are Battle, Skill, Art, and Knowledge. The Court Cards are Woman, Warrior, King and Queen. These cards exude qualities that are important to the Celts of the Iron Age and to us in the modern world

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Choose a Reading from Me: Three-card spread: $U.S. 15
Virginia Carper, Animal Teachers, animalteachers @ gmail.com

Friday, November 28, 2008

More on Ma'heo'o Reiki


Ma'heo'o, a Cheyenne word, means Great Spirit, Great Creator or Great Mystery. This system of energy combines the elements of Earth, Air, Water and Fire with the Great Spirit to effectively promote and activate healing. Through the use of healing light and color, Ma’heo’o Reiki promotes calming, peace and relaxation.

This system combines the gentleness of Reiki with the raw power of the Earth elements. This unique style of Reiki beautifully combines the healing energy of Reiki with the ancient wisdom of the Native American peoples. Ma'heo'o Reiki was created by Rev. Sheryl “Rain” Carter, and employs symbols derived from the Native American Peoples and Mother Earth.

In Native American spirituality, the Great Spirit is manifested in all things. When an Indian Doctor heals someone, they first ask the Great Spirit to help in the healing. Meanwhile, Reiki is the application of Universal Life Force Energy. The healing energy of Reiki is transferred by one person to another.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

What Is Ma'heo'o Reiki?

The tern Ma’heo’o Reiki is pronounced Mah-hay-oh-oh Ray-Key. Ma’heo’o is Cheyenne (a Native American language) for Great Spirit, Great One or God. Ma’heo’o Reiki combines the elements of Earth, Air, Water, and Fire with the Great Spirit to activate and promote healing. Simple yet powerful, this system can be used by anyone. Ma’heo’o Reiki combines the core teachings of Reiki with the Earth-based techniques of the Native People of our lands. It focuses on restoring balance to all of the natural elements within our bodies to that of Mother Earth and Great Spirit.

There are seven symbols that are incorporated into this healing system. The first four represent the four elements, thereby enabling us to connect with and channel Mother Earth’s energy. Combined with (and activated by) the last three symbols of Great Spirit, this becomes a very powerful system. It allows for a great energy channeling ability utilizing healing, light and color. Ma’heo’o Reiki promotes a higher intellect, grounded-ness, sense of calm, peace and relaxation. This system combines the gentleness of Reiki with the raw power of the Earth elements. Ma’heo’o Reiki can bring you into contact with your Spirit Totems, give you your sacred name and balance your body with the four elements of Earth.

There are 3 attunements involved in Ma’heo’o Reiki. The first two enable a better connection and a heightened sense of the elements through Mother Earth. Not only do the symbols allow harmony of the elements of Mother Earth, they also extend to the human condition. The third is the Master level which connects with Great Spirit. This enables you to harness the power of Earth and Spirit to effectively promotes your healing from within.

From “Ma’heo’o Reiki: A Program of Spiritual Healing, Growth & Development” by Sheryl “Rain” Carter.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Lessons of the Purple Finch


Purple Finch (Carpodacus purpuieus)

Found in the Northeast and Southern United States, Purple Finch is a stout bird. Unlike House Finch, he can lift his feathers into a near crest. Also his raspberry coloring on his head, breast, and rump distinguishes Purple Finch from his fellow finches.

Living in coniferous forests and in open pastures, Purple Finch forages for seeds and berries. During the winter, He often visits local bird feeders for sunflower seeds and millet. Fond of salt, Purple Finch appreciates the human who sets out a salt cake. Loving water, He will use a birdbath in the winter.

Purple Finch carefully weaves and lines her nest with animal hair and soft grasses. Her cuplike nest can be found in the front of conifers. So carefully constructed are these nests that Purple Finches will use them for generations to come.

Aggressive in defending his territory, Purple Finch is no match for House Finch and English Sparrow. These two invaders have driven Purple Finches out of many nesting places. The State Bird of New Hampshire, Purple Finch is loosing out to these introduced birds everywhere.

Will this bird of glorious song disappear from the American landscape? Will the time come when people will not witness Purple Finch tenderly offer his mate a stick for their nest? As Purple Finch weaves her nest for posterity, so do we weave the web of our world. This bird gives us pause for thought.

Sources:

Roth, Sally, “The Backyard Bird Lover’s Field Guide”, Rodale Inc, New York, 2007

______, “All About Birds: Purple Finch”, Cornell Lab of Ornithology, accessed 17 Nov 2008

______, “Bird Web: Purple Finch”, Seattle Audubon Society, accessed 17 Nov 2008

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Copyright: Virginia Carper, Animal Teachers, 2008

From Universal Class, fun self-paced classes taught by me:

Finding Your Animal Teachers

Working with Your Animal Allies, Teachers, and Totems

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Spotted Hyena: The Power of Women

SPOTTED HYENA: The Power of Women

A gregarious Mammal, Spotted Hyena lives a socially complex life. Her Clan is ruled by the fiercest of the Females. Queen Hyena leads her Clan in chasing down prey. Within their Packs, Young Females inherit their Mother’s position. (Clans are broken into Packs ruled by Females.)

The most successful of large Carnivores, Spotted Hyena will gang up on Lions for their Kill. And, She will fiercely defend her Pups from Adult Male Hyenas. As a Mother, She nurses her Young until They are about 18 months old.

Spotted Hyena has a rich repertoire of calls. Whooping, She tells her Clan, “Here I am.” Her giggling and laughing tells Them that She is afraid of something. With loud grunts, Spotted Hyena warns Others. But most importantly She communicates to Her Friends by her rich scent. Her Clan marks their territory with scent, telling Other Hyenas to stay away.

Her Pack hunts different Animals using different methods. For example, to hunt Wildebeests, One Hyena will charge the Herd. The Rest watch for a slow Wildebeest and run after Them.

Spotted Hyena demonstrates the power of women. With great stamina, She brings down Zebra. With her Clan, She can challenge the mighty Lion for his kill or charge a Wildebeest Herd.

Wisdom of Spotted Hyena Includes:
Living a Complex World
Many Methods of Communication
Mothering

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Copyright: Virginia Carper, Animal Teachers, 2008

From Universal Class, fun self-paced classes taught by me:

Finding Your Animal Teachers

Animals For Everyone: Mammals

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Hyenas: More Than You Expect



HYENA FAMILY: Do Not Overgeneralize

Hyenas (Hyaenidae), large doglike Mammals, are related to the Viverridae family of Civets, Genets, and Mongooses. Thought to be scavengers, Hyenas are actually skillful hunters. This small family of Carnivores are remarkable in their ecological and social diversity. Although Hyenas can be defined as Carnivores with jaws that can crush bones and teeth, They cannot be generalized as a group.

For example, Aardwolves of Africa are Hyenas that have specialized in eating Termites. While Aardwolf eats only Termites, Spotted Hyena challenges Lion for her kill. Striped Hyena scavenges but also eats fruit and insects. Meanwhile Brown Hyena scavenges and feeds on melons and ostrich eggs. Because of their eating habits, Hyenas produce the riches milk of carnivores.

Hyenas demonstrates the rich diversity of societies. Brown Hyenas live in a small society where the Natal Mothers will nurse Each Other’s Young. Meanwhile, Aardwolves live in monogamous pairs. While Striped Hyena lives only in a clan of a Female and several Males, Spotted Hyenas live in large female dominated Clans.

But, people only see Hyenas as one thing - vicious laughing scavengers. In Africa, legends of Were-hyenas abound. In Mali, They hunt people, Meanwhile in Ethiopia, people who were hereditary blacksmiths (known as bouda) became Were-hyenas at night to rob graves.

Hyenas teach us an important lesson of overgeneralization. This diverse group has became lumped together and then transformed into terrifying Were-hyenas. People need to look beyond first impressions to find the truth.

Wisdom of the Hyena Family Includes:
Finding the Truth
Embracing Diversity
Finding Your Place

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Copyright: Virginia Carper, Animal Teachers, 2008

From Universal Class, fun self-paced classes taught by me:

Finding Your Animal Teachers

Animals For Everyone: Mammals

Friday, November 21, 2008

Finding Balance: Animal Oracle Cards


Earth Mother and Sky Father Spread

Finding Balance

(Two Cards)


For people familiar with the Tarot, working with animal wisdom cards is another way to find balance in your life. With the Earth Mother and Sky Father spread, you learn to balance your maleness with your femaleness. Think in terms of giving and receiving when you are shuffling and dealing the cards. In traditional cosmology, Sky is dominant and giving, and Earth subordinate and receptive.

Use your dominant hand as Sky Father and your other hand as Earth Mother. Right-handed people would have the right card be Sky Father while left-handed people would have Sky Father as the left card. Pull one card with each hand and place them side-by-side. Right-handed people will have Sky Father-Earth Mother; Left-handed: Earth Mother-Sky Father.

When reading the two cards, notice any special relationship of the animals such as predator-prey or alliances. Do the animals belong to the same species group? Do they live in the same environment? These are clues as to what is out of balance in your life. Ask the animals to help you regain your balance.


SAMPLE READING:

Deck: “Druid Animal Oracle” by Philip Carr-Gomm, Stephanie Carr-Gomm, and Bill Worthington

This deck contains twenty-five animals important in Celtic Lore. Using this desk will restrict you to only animals of the British Isles. Therefore, you will need to look for more subtle clues in the cards.

After shuffling the cards, you draw Badger as Sky Father and Owl as Earth Mother. What do you know about this pair? They are different species, but both are warm-blooded carnivores. However, one prefers life on the earth, while the other prefers the skies. Badger lives in setts dug into in the ground; Owl lives in stick nests fashioned in trees. However in Celtic lore, Badger is the Keeper of Traditions, while Owl is one of the sixth Oldest Animals of the world. Seemingly opposite animals are subtly joined as one under Celtic traditions.

What is interesting is about this pair is that a land mammal is Sky Father; a bird is Earth Mother. What is significant is that they are warm-blooded carnivores that possess ancient wisdom. Badger and Owl suggests that perhaps you have been in one place too long in your life. It is time to move on. Use the wisdom of Badger and Owl to decide where your life path needs to go.

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A Note On Handedness and Cards

Most people think in terms of “right” as dominant and male. Since “right” is traditionally associated with sun and light, people see “right” as the ‘yang’ side. “Left” is associated with darkness and night, and is the ‘yin’ side.

However, in using objects such as cards, handedness does matters. A left-hander goes to the left and sees the left as natural. This runs counter to traditional thinking, which labels left as “sinister”. However, left-handed people give with their left and receive with their right, which is the opposite of right-handedness. If you think in terms of receiving and giving, then handedness matters. In two and three card spreads, this is something to be considered, especially when direction matters. The hand you use is the dominant male hand.

In many cultures, left-handedness is viewed as a bad omen. In many places, the use of the left-hand is taboo. Left-handed people are forced to eat and write right-handed. In Tarot cards, the Devil is left-handed symbolizing Western cultural view on “left”.

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For a two card reading ($US 15) : contact me at animalteachers @ gmail.com.

Copyright: Virginia Carper, Animal Teachers Enterprises, 2008

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Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Symbols of Bull and Cow

COW AND BULL

Because of people’s familiarity with Cattle, they have labeled many Hoofed Mammals as “Bull” and “Cow”. Elephants, Moose, and even Seals are referred to in these terms. In addition, “Bull” is often used for powerful Males of other species as well.

BULL

As the King of his Herd, Bull rules absolutely, representing temporal power. In addition, for many ancient Europeans, He represented the Sky Gods. In Ancient Egypt, Apis Bull (a black Bull) was the incarnation of the Creator God Ptah. Now a force of nature, Bull becomes the fertilizing power of the heavens.

Ancient peoples often sacrificed Bulls for religious purposes. In the Cult of Mithras, Roman soldiers baptized their initiates in Bull’s blood. In the 1500s, Charles V, of Spain and the Holy Roman Empire, celebrated the birth of his son, Philip II, by killing a Bull. To stop the Black Plague in 1522, Pope Leo X allowed Bulls to be sacrificed.

Christians also had Bull represent aspects of their beliefs. A Bull being lead into an arena symbolizes Christ being led to the Cross. A kneeling Bull is a symbol of St. Silvester. To prove that Jesus Christ is the God of Life, St. Silvester brought a Bull back to life. Meanwhile, St. Luke’s attribute is a winged Ox (castrated bull).

COW

Cow converts plants into food, thereby providing nourishment for humans. For many people, She is the productive power of the earth. Hindus have Kamadhenu, the Cow of Plenty. Among the Celts, Faerie Cattle (Crodh Mara) were the embodiment of plenty.

Cows offer connections to various Gods. In the Vedic tradition, when people die, Celestial Cows guide them along to the Kingdom of the Blessed. In the Norse Sagas, Audhumla licked the ice and freed the Elder Gods. She nursed Ymir, who formed Buri, the first Man. Ancient Egpytians used Red Cows to pull the dead to their tombs. Among Jews, a Red Cow was sacrificed for the sins of Israel.

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Copyright: Virginia Carper, Animal Teachers, 2008

From Universal Class, fun self-paced classes taught by me:

Finding Your Animal Teachers

Animals For Everyone: Mammals

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Cattle: Many Gifts




(Uruz, Fehu)

COW (Bovine Family): Many Gifts

Wild and Domestic Bovines have provided nourishment for people’s minds and bodies since Prehistory. These large Cud Eaters are at home nearly everywhere. Relatively low maintenance, Bovines breed well in captivity. Moreover, They can convert plants into nourishment for Themselves and people.

Providing milk, meat, hides and fuel, Bovines formed the foundation for many civilizations. Domestic Cows not only supplies meat and milk to people, but homes and fuel as well. In treeless areas, cow patties are used for fires. Meanwhile, Oxen plow fields and pull carts. Mongolians rely on Yak for everything. The Masai say that all Cows were given to them from N’gai, the Great God. Hindus see Zebus (Tropical Cattle) as “Second Mothers”.

Early Europeans tested their strength against Aurochs, the ancestor of today’s Domestic Cattle. Paintings of powerful Aurochs decorate caves of European Prehistory. Once roaming all of Eurasia, the last Aurochs became extinct in Poland in 1620. Aggressive and powerful, Aurochs became the Norse idea of strength (the Rune Uruz).

The closest relatives to the Aurochs today are the White Cattle of Chillingham. In his Herd, Bull rules his Harem like royalty. Only when He dies does a new King emerge. Meanwhile Cow leaves her herd to have Her Calf. When She is ready, Bull will escort Her and Her Calf back and introduce Them to the herd.



Because of what They have provided humans, Bovines are considered a symbol of wealth. In the Norse Runes, Fehu (cattle) meant wealth. Therefore cattle stealing became a crime worthy of death and of warriors. In stories of the American West, rustlers were hung. Ancient Greeks sang about the boldness of Hermes (Mercury) stealing the Cattle of Apollo (God of the Sun). The Cattle Raid of Cooley (Ta’in Bo’ Cuailnge) was the central epic in the Ulster Cycle of Irish literature. Stealing Cows from other tribes became a part of Masai culture.

Bovines offer people many gifts - of material wealth and of the imagination. The humble Cow feeds people meat and milk. Wild Aurochs feed the imagination of daring and courage. Together, They offer people the gifts of life.

Wisdom of the Cow Family Includes:
Strength
Interspecies Cooperation
Foundation of Life
Nourishment

Science Notes:
Wild Bovines includes: Gaur (Bos gaurus), Banteng (Bos javanicus), and Aurochs (Bos primigenius).
Domestic: Cattle and Zebu (Bos taurus), and Yak (Bos mutus)

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Copyright: Virginia Carper, Animal Teachers, 2008

From Universal Class, fun self-paced classes taught by me:

Finding Your Animal Teachers

Animals For Everyone: Mammals

Monday, November 17, 2008

Lessons from the Willow


Willow: Enchantment

As a tree of enchantments, willow was connected to love, magic, and the moon. Poets and seers would sit under a willow to gain eloquence and prophecy. Because the willow grows near water, the Celtics associated this tree with the lunar rhythms of life. In the Celtic Tree Alphabet (Ogham), willow (Saille) governs February, the fourth month of the Celtic calendar.

There are over 100 varieties of willows in North America. Most are only shrubs, but about forty attain tree size. Since willows like damp, wet places, they help in saving stream banks from eroding. Their strong roots seek water and hold the soil. Unlike oaks, willows are fast growing and short-lived trees.

Willow provides for people in many ways. The bark is used to bring down fevers. Not only do people make use of the bark, but they also cut the willow's supple branches for basket weaving. In early spring, people cut branches of pussy willows to decorate their houses.

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From “Whispers from the Woods” by Sandra Kynes: “Willow can teach you to go with the flow of life and be flexible.”

From “Nature-Speak” by Ted Andrews: “Willow alerts us to new opportunities to learn and explore.”

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Copyright: Virginia Carper, Animal Teachers, 2008, animalteachers @ gmail.com

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Sacred Baboon (Hamadryas): Many Aspects of Male Power


SACRED BABOON (Hamadryas): Many Aspects of Male Power

Living around the Horn of Africa and the Red Sea, Sacred Baboon has been a part of the religion of the Ancient Egyptians since the Predynastic period. Because the ruling Sacred Baboon has a silver-grey mane, the Kings of Predynastic Egypt were referred to as the “Great White One”. Since Sacred Baboon barks at the sun at dawn, Ancient Egyptians also associated Him with Ra, God of the Sun.

However given Sacred Baboon’s aggression towards other Baboons, He is also Babi, the Devourer of the Souls of the Unrighteous. Babi controls the darkness, and opens the doors to Heaven only for the King. Since He kills people on sight, Babi is a dangerous God.

Unique among Baboons, Sacred Baboon lives in a patriarchal system. Bull Sacred Baboon has distinctive silver fur, marking his status as the Ruler. Larger than the other Baboons, He fiercely fights to keep his Harem.

Moreover, Sacred Baboon lives in a four-level social system (called fission-fusion). First level is a Harem of Bull Sacred Baboon and his Females. Second level is a Clan of two to four Harems. Third level is a Band of two to four Clans. The last level is a Troop of several Bands.

Life for a Troop consists of rising at sunrise and foraging for food. They rest at noon, and then are off for more foraging. At dusk, Sacred Baboon leads his Troop to a cliff ledge to sleep and to be safe from Leopard.

Sacred Baboon demonstrates the many aspects of male power. As an attendant of Ra, He greets the Sun. As Hapi, He is One of the Four Sons of Horus who guards the organs of the deceased. However as Babi, Sacred Baboon murders humans. Choose carefully which aspect of maleness you want to employ at what time.

Wisdom of Sacred Baboon (Hamadryas) Includes:
Touched by the Divine
Reconcile the Positive with the Negative
Effective Social Organization

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Copyright: Virginia Carper, Animal Teachers, 2008

From Universal Class, fun self-paced classes taught by me:

Finding Your Animal Teachers

Animals For Everyone: Mammals

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Tree Dassies

Tree Hyrax (Tree Dassie): Setting Boundaries

One of the dominant arboreal Mammals in Africa is Tree Hyrax. Living high in the tree canopy, Tree Hyrax has a small area of the forest that is His, usually a single tree. Contorting his body, He navigates the “branch ways” of the rain forests with great agility. In the upper levels of the African jungles, He lives quite comfortably.

What people notice the most about Tree Hyrax is his screaming match with other Tree Hyraxes at night. Starting at dusk, He calls from his tree, using a low ringing sound. Repeating this sound, Tree Hyrax’s calls become louder and harsher. Finally, He screams out unearthly sounds, which resembles metal scraping against metal. Then silence falls in the jungle. After awhile, other Tree Dassies answer Him. As the night deepens, silence once again covers the forest.

Tree Hyrax screams out for all to hear, “This tree belongs to *ME*!” Then, Other Tree Hyraxes return with their screams, “This is *my* tree over here!” Together, They establish their boundaries without trouble.

Wisdom of Tree Hyrax Includes:
Being Agile
Effective Use of Screaming
“Walking on Air”

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Copyright: Virginia Carper, Animal Teachers, 2008

From Universal Class, fun self-paced classes taught by me:

Finding Your Animal Teachers

Animals For Everyone: Mammals

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Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Rock Hyrax: Being Helpful

Rock Hyrax (Rock Dassie): Being Helpful

Moving with great agility among the rocks, Rock Hyrax has feet that act like suction cups. Often seen sunning Himself on the rocks, He spends a lot of his time in large huddles with other Hyraxes. What makes Rock Hyrax unusual among Mammals is that He will share his rocks with Bush Dassie. These two Animals can be seen using the same sleeping areas as well. (Only Forest Monkeys will share their trees with other Monkeys.) Rock Hyrax grazes on grasses, while Bush Hyrax feeds on trees and bushes.

For such a small Animal, Mother Rock Hyrax has a very long pregnancy– about seven months. (Scientists believe that Rock Hyrax was once the size of an Ox, hence the long pregnancy.) Another unusual aspect of Mother Rock Hyrax’s life is the ‘dassie kindergarten’. While the other Mothers forage for food, one Mother Rock Hyrax will watch over Everyone’s Youngsters in a kindergarten.

In spite of being so unusual, Rock Hyrax has been apart of people’s lives for a long time. Described in Jewish and Christian Scriptures, as ‘Coney’ or ‘Rock Badger’, He referred to as ‘an unclean animal’. However, Rock Hyrax produces large quantities of hyraceum (dung and urine mixture), to make into epilepsy medicine for people today.

Rock Hyrax demonstrates how to be helpful. He shares his home with Bush Hyrax. Through his efforts, people with epilepsy have medicine. Meanwhile Mother Rock Hyrax runs a “day care” center for her Friends. These are examples in real helpfulness.

Wisdom of Rock Hyrax Includes:
Caring for Children
Sharing
“Live and Let Live”

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Copyright: Virginia Carper, Animal Teachers, 2008

From Universal Class, fun self-paced classes taught by me:

Finding Your Animal Teachers

Animals For Everyone: Mammals

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Tuesday, November 11, 2008

From Out of Africa: Dassies (Hyraxes)



HYRAX (DASSIE) FAMILY (HYRACOIDEA)
Look Deeper

Often seen sunning Themselves on rocks, Hyraxes were first called by Europeans ‘rock rabbits’. In addition, Afrikaners named these Survivors of an ancient order of Mammals, ‘Dassies’, which means “Badger”. Eventually, biologists placed Hyraxes in their own order – Hyracoidea.

What are these confusing Mammals? Very adaptable Animals, Hyraxes live in habitats ranging from dry savanna to dense rainforest. There are three families of Hyraxes – Rock, Bush, and Tree. Among the rocks and brush, Rock and Bush Hyraxes live together and have Kindergartens for their young. Meanwhile, Tree Hyraxes are known for their screaming matches conducted at night.

What makes Hyraxes relatives to Elephants are their toes. Like Elephants, Hyraxes have toes tipped with rounded nails. Hyraxes have surprises that people find fascinating, defying everyone’s ideas about Elephants. These rabbit sized Animals with short tails and peculiar hind feet are the closest relatives to Elephants.

Look deeper counsels Hyraxes. Neither Rabbits nor Badgers, They are relatives of the mighty Elephant. Expand your knowledge and see beyond the surface.

Wisdom of Hyraxes Include:
Solving Puzzles
Be Surprised
Expand Your Horizons


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Copyright: Virginia Carper, Animal Teachers, 2008

From Universal Class, fun self-paced classes taught by me:

Finding Your Animal Teachers

Animals For Everyone: Mammals

Monday, November 10, 2008

Teachings of the Oak Tree



Oak
Strength and Warmth

Regarded as a symbol of strength of character, the oak has been the most widely revered of all trees. The oak hosts different forms of life in its branches, trunk, and roots. Because of this, oak is an emblem of hospitality and protection. In addition, many peoples have regarded oak groves to be sacred places.

In Maryland (USA) grew the famous Wye Oak, which had been the largest white oak in North America. In 2002, a wind blew down the 500-year-old tree. But before the tree fell, various people cloned the tree and saved acorns from the tree. One clone of the tree is growing at Mount Vernon, George Washington’s home.

When the tree died, people came from miles around to say good-bye to an old friend. The State of Maryland wrote this about Wye Oak, “The tree became more than just a living symbol of the State Tree. It stood to represent time passed and time to come, the generations of people it witnessed in life, and the perseverance of man and nature.”

From “Celtic Messages” by Joules Taylor: “The massive, sturdy Oak was the Tree of Life, sacred to the Druids. Its roots went deep into the Underworld, while its branches brushed the vault of the sky.”

From “Nature-Speak” by Ted Andrews: “The oak tree provides strength to everyone and reminds us that true strength is also gentle.”

Resources:
“The Quiet Giant, The Wye Oak” , http://www.dnr.state.md.us/forests/trees/giant.html
“Oak Trees Stories and Pictures” , http://www.arcytech.org/java/population/oak_stories.html


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Copyright: Virginia Carper, Animal Teachers, 2008, animalteachers @ gmail.com

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Lessons of the Starlings




Endemic to Eurasia, starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) are incandescent purple and green birds. Called “the poor man’s Myna”, starlings have a gift for mimicry and song. When they call to each other, starlings use their musical language. Their complex and varied calls include “flock”, “threat”, “attack”, and a host of others.

Flocking in the thousands, starlings will clean out fruit in orchards and seed sown in fields. As generalists, they can live anywhere except in dense wet forests. Moreover, these aggressive birds will chase other birds out of cavity nests, and take over.

Gathering in the thousands, starlings in flight are an awesome sight. In March, at Jutland Denmark, many starlings congregate in anticipation of their spring migration. As they rise as one, the birds blot out the sun. People call this gathering of the starlings: “Sorta Sol”, the Black Sun.

Introduced in North America and South Africa for their beauty, starlings now crowd out native birds. Meanwhile in Australia and New Zealand, they have not stopped the crop pests they were released to control. In contrast, starlings are almost extinct in their northern European range. (Large industrial farms have caused this decline.)

Starlings’ impact on their environment is complex. Because they flock in the thousands, starlings leave their guano everywhere. This is good for seed dispersal but creates health problems for humans. Also, by roosting in the thousands, starlings short out power stations.

Released in 1890 by Eugene Scheiffelin (of the American Acclimatization Society for European Settlers), starlings have spread from New York City to Alaska by 1970. In 1920, the starling population exploded in Ohio (which now hosts the largest breeding population of starlings in North America). By 1950, they ranged from Oregon to Florida.

Some naturalists have suggested a link between the extinction of the Carolina parakeet and the explosion of the starling population in North America. Living in similar regions, both species flocked in the thousands. Already in decline, Carolina parakeets were driven out by the aggressive starlings in some regions. By 1920, the parakeets were gone and starlings took over the niche of huge flocks of birds.

Starlings teach us the Law of Unintended Consequences. Before we do something, we need to be prepared for the ramifications of our actions. If we forget to do this, the starlings will remind us..

Sources:
Adeney, Jennifer Marion, “Introduced Species Summary Project: European Starling (Sturnus vulgaris)”, Columbia University, October 18, 2001, accessed 7 Nov 2008,

Withers, David Ian, “Origins of the European Starling in the United States”, Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation. March 1, 2000, accessed 7 Nov 2008

______, “European Starling”, National Invasive Species Information Center , U.S. Department of Agriculture, May 15, 2008, accessed 7 Nov 2008,

______, “Starling Fact Sheet”, Gulf States Marine Fisheries Commission (GSMFC), June 10, 2008, accessed 7 Nov 2008


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Copyright: Virginia Carper, Animal Teachers, 2008

From Universal Class, fun self-paced classes taught by me:

Finding Your Animal Teachers

Working with Your Animal Allies, Teachers, and Totems

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Saturday, November 08, 2008

Teachings of the Apple Tree


In the myths around the world, apples are symbols of choices and the giving of love. In many stories, people chose between innocence and knowledge. Furthermore, they must decide between the beauty of life and the beauty of youthfulness. Often times, people use apples as a symbol of love. Bobbing for apples was a folk custom to discover who your suitor would be.

In North America, the native apple tree is the crab apple tree. The fruit bearing varieties of orchards are from Eurasian trees brought over by early. However both species of tree are member of the rose family. Wild apple trees have thorns similar to roses.

Although apples stood for choice in myths, people used apples for medicine. Applesauce is easy to digest, and is often given to sick children. Even today, apples are used for diets of people with internal disorders, such as constipation. The saying of “an apple a day keeps the doctor away” has a basis in folk medicine and in fact. Apples contain much nutrition, aid in the digestion, and provide for tooth health.

From “Celtic Messages” by Joules Taylor: “The apple has long been regarded as a magical fruit, the fruit of gods, gifting the eater with immortality.”

From “Nature-Speak” by Ted Andrews: “The apple is a tree that awakens true desires of the heart.”

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Copyright: Virginia Carper, Animal Teachers, 2008, animalteachers @ gmail.com


Friday, November 07, 2008

Nature Spirituality



My belief system is nature spirituality or what is known these days as “Eco-spirituality” (a movement that started in the 1980s). Nature spirituality is one of the oldest of the religions, and also one of the newest. In eco-spirituality, to experience nature is to experience the Divine.

In a nutshell, nature spirituality is about having an intimate relationship with nature. In this earth-based spirituality, people gain inner wisdom, balance, and healing through their personal experiences with the natural world. The goal of nature spirituality is to revere the interconnectedness of all. We live in a Sacred Circle of Life. We do not consider ourselves above others but instead regard the animals, plants, and rocks as our relations. We all share the same Mother Earth and Father Sky.

In their respective belief systems, many indigenous people honor nature. The people care for the earth, which cares for them. The earth offers her wisdom to those who are willing to receive it. The concept of interconnectedness is expressed as a circle also commonly known as a “medicine wheel”. All life exists in an interrelated system of harmony and balance that reflects the continuous flow of the Great Mystery between each being.

The salmon best symbolizes this interconnectedness. Salmon spawns in the clear inland pools. Growing, they swim to the seas where they live their adult lives.Then, the salmon return to their original spawning grounds to procreate and die. The dying salmon provides food for other animals. Or their bodies sink to the bottom to provide nutrients to the next generation of salmon.

Included in nature spirituality is the sense of “natural justice”. Since we are all related, what harm I do, will return to me. Also the concept of reciprocity is a part of the Sacred Circle. As we give, we receive; as we receive, we give. The circle ebbs and flows as in the Wheel of the Seasons. Life is never static, but always dynamic, always returning to the beginning.

“Mending the Sacred Hoop” is a Native American concept. It means to heal the broken places of the earth and all her children. This includes ridding the landscape of toxic waste, preserving natural places, and helping people to connect with their ancestral roots. To mend the Sacred Hoop means to restore respect for the Mother Earth and all things in the Universe.



Resources:

"Spirit Animals & The Wheel of Life: Earth-Centered Practices for Daily Living", by Hal Zina Bennett

"Earth Medicine", by Jamie Sams

Spirit Wolf’s Pagan Path: “Wheel of Life” http://www.paganspath.com/magik/wheel.htm

“Understanding Death from A Nature-Spirituality Perceptive”

Thursday, November 06, 2008

White Elephant

Southeast Asia is known as the “Land of the White Elephant”. People there consider it an high honor to be compared to White Elephant. As a symbol of power and good fortune, White Elephant brings prosperity to those who respect Him. According to Buddhist scriptures, White Elephant presented Lord Buddha’s mother with a lotus flower to announce His Birth.

White Elephant’s Teachings Include:

“This was set out in a Buddhist text, the Three Worlds says: ‘The magnificent king has seven things: a perfect wife, and able treasurer, a wise chief minister, a swift horse, a wheel of the law and a precious gem to guide his actions: and the most noble of white elephants.’” - Copyright: “Talented Thai Elephants” website.
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Copyright: Virginia Carper, Animal Teachers, 2008

From Universal Class, fun self-paced classes taught by me:

Finding Your Animal Teachers

Animals For Everyone: Mammals

Monday, November 03, 2008

Teachings of Cheetah



CHEETAH : Learning the Lessons of Overspecialization

Since the time of the ancient Egyptians, Cheetah has been a part of royalty. Called the Pharaoh’s Leopard, this speedy Mammal hunted game for Egyptian and Assyrian Pharaohs and Kings.. Genghis Khan and Charlemagne kept pet Cheetahs. Moreover, Jahangir, the Mughal Emperor of India (1605-1627) had a thousand Cheetahs for his hunting trips.

Built like a Greyhound, Cheetah is the fastest Mammal on land Unlike Horse, all of Cheetah’s feet leave the ground during his running. Cheetah’s major advantage for speed is his long flexible spine. His unusual body has baffled scientists about Cheetah’s “catness”. Finally, they placed Him in his own Cat Family (Acinonyx jubatus).

Widespread before the last Ice Age, now only a handful of Cheetahs survive today. Some scientists believe that all modern Cheetahs are descended from one Mother Cheetah. However, many do agree that there is little genetic diversity among Cheetahs. In fact, long before people started hunting Them, Cheetahs were in decline.

Known as the Spotted Wind, Cheetah does one thing and only one thing supremely well - chase down fast prey. However, this ability does not always help Him. While He is resting, Lions and Vultures can force a Cheetah to leave his kill. Instead of perfecting your running, perhaps you need to work on other skills. Learn the lessons of overspecialization from Cheetah.

Teachings of Cheetah:

Quick Decisions
Being Speedy
Flying While Grounded.


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Copyright: Virginia Carper, Animal Teachers, 2008

From Universal Class, fun self-paced classes taught by me:

Finding Your Animal Teachers

Animals For Everyone: Mammals

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Sunday, November 02, 2008

Asian Elephant: Close Friendships



For thousands of years, Asian Elephant has been a part of people’s lives. She has carried people, their burdens, and cleared their lands. Revered by Hindus as the God Ganesha, Asian Elephant represents wisdom and strength. Meanwhile, Buddhists see Her as a symbol of peace.

Once ranging from Iraq to China, Asian Elephant now lives wild in only a few areas. Led by an elderly Matriarch, Her Herd follows the same path through the jungles as their Grandmothers. Her Herd’s paths are known as “Elephant roads”, and are also traveled by people.

In her Herd, Asian Elephant forms fast friendships. If She becomes separated, She will emit a grumbling purr. Her low calls are heard by her Friends, who answer Her back. With her Friends, Asian Elephant is never alone.

When Asian Elephant is ready to deliver her Calf, She finds Her Best Friend. Together, They go off alone to deliver her Baby. Her Friend helps Asian Elephant in her time of need, and stands guard over her Calf, as well.

Asian Elephant Values close friendships within her Herd. They look out for Each Other and help with their Calves. Surrounded by loved ones, Asian Elephant the value of demonstrates close Friendships.

Asian Elephant’s Wisdom Include:

Wisdom of Grandmothers
Service to Others
Being Respected and Loved

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Copyright: Virginia Carper, Animal Teachers, 2008

From Universal Class, fun self-paced classes taught by me:

Finding Your Animal Teachers

Animals For Everyone: Mammals

Friday, October 31, 2008

Flying Lemurs




FLYING LEMUR (COLUGO) FAMILY (DERMOPTERA)
Listen to Your Inner Voice

Despite their name, Flying Lemurs neither fly nor are Lemurs. They have long, pointed snouts and large protruding eyes. Flying Lemurs do look like Lemurs but are more closely related to Bats. Master gliders, They are classified in their own order called Dermoptera, which means “skin wing”. Gliding from tree to tree, They scramble up trunks to gain height before launching off into another glide.

Found in Southeast Asia, Flying Lemurs are fond of fruit, young leaves, and flowers. Although Flying Lemurs are placental, They suckle their young in a “protective hammock” similar to a marsupial’s pouch. Like Sloths, Flying Lemurs spend much of their days upside down.

Known also as Colugos, Flying Lemurs are solitary nighttime feeders. Because They are solitary and shy, not much is known about these strange Animals. However, most scientists agree that Flying Lemurs are the best adapted to flight after Bats.

As an Animal of mystery, Flying Lemurs have their quirks. From hanging upside down to nursing their Babies in a skin hammock, Flying Lemurs listen to their inner voices. Superbly suited for gliding, They are a walking parachute. In a single leap, a Flying Lemur will sail 330 feet (100m) from tree to tree for They know their abilities. They listen to their inner voices, and you should too.

Flying Lemur (Colugo)’s Wisdom Includes:

Leap of Faith
Sailing Through Life’
“Going Your Own way”

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Copyright: Virginia Carper, Animal Teachers, 2008

From Universal Class, fun self-paced classes taught by me:

Finding Your Animal Teachers

Animals For Everyone: Mammals

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The Elephant Family: Reconnect With Your Past

ELEPHANT FAMILY (PROBOSCIDEA)

Reconnect With Your Past

At one time, the earth was filled with trunked Mammals (Proboscidea), but now there are only two left – Asian Elephant and African Elephant (who are not close relatives). Although the Asian Elephant (Elephas maxims) and the African Elephant (Lexodonta African) are the only remaining Members of the Proboscidea Order, They are not close relatives of Each Other. The Asian Elephant, which is closer to Mammoths, evolved as a separate Asian species. African Elephants have larger ears and a sloped head, while Asian Elephants have a domed head.

Originally from Africa, Elephants spread across the earth. However, African Elephant remained close to his ancestral home. Now, only two Elephants remain along with their close relatives: Sea Cows and Dassies (Hyraxes).

Beings from the past, Elephants come to show us the way home. Once these ancient Beings covered the earth, now the One who survived retain the old memories of their home. Go back in time with Elephants and see the world when it was new. Reconnect with your past. Come home.

Wisdom of the Elephant Family:

Ancient Wisdom
Strength
Coming Home

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Copyright: Virginia Carper, Animal Teachers, 2008

From Universal Class, fun self-paced classes taught by me:

Finding Your Animal Teachers

Animals For Everyone: Mammals

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Sengi (Elephant Shrew): In A Class By Yourself




ELEPHANT SHREW (SENGI) FAMILY (MACROSCELIDEA):
In A Class By Yourself

Neither Elephants nor Shrews, Elephant Shrews are now called Sengi, their Bantu name. Since They have large, powerful hind legs, Elephant Shrews were also called “jumping shrews”. Because they look like Shrews with long elephant trunks, scientists had problems placing them with other Animals. Eventually, biologists placed Sengi in their own order – Macroscelidea. However, they are believed to be distant relatives of Elephants.

With their long trunk-like snouts, Sengi probe the ground for Insects and roots. Finding a tasty Insect, Sengi digs it out with their long claws. Using their long tongue, Sengi flicks the small insect into their mouth. Even though Sengi have good eyesight and hearing, They prefer sniffing out food with their elephant-like noses.

One of the few Mammals who live in pairs, the two Sengi actually spends little time with each other. After mating, Mother Sengi raise their Youngsters alone. Meanwhile, Father Sengi continues to patrol their small territory. After the Youngsters are grown, Mother Sengi joins in fending off other Sengi from their territory.

Confusing at first to many people, Sengi are unique Mammals. These rodent-size Mammals are related to the larger Elephants and Sea Cows. Small but mighty, Sengi are in a class by themselves. Like Sengi, you can be in class by yourself. You can follow your own way to excellence.

Wisdom of Elephant Shrew / Sengi

Being Small But Mighty
Fidelity
Teamwork

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Copyright: Virginia Carper, Animal Teachers, 2008

From Universal Class, fun self-paced classes taught by me:

Finding Your Animal Teachers

Animals For Everyone: Mammals