Wednesday, December 23, 2015

EURASIAN WREN: Sacred Mysteries

The “Wren” of Europe, Eurasian Wren (Troglodytes troglodytes) is the only Wren that lives in the Old World. Known as Bran’s Sparrow to the Celts, Wren foretold the future with his songs. The Celts called their sacred Wren “Drui”, (meaning “The Druid among Birds”). Under the protection of Taranis, the Celtic God of Thunder, Wren often nested in his oaks. Killing a Wren brought the wrath of the Gods upon unwary people.

 To various peoples from Japan to Germany, Eurasian Wren is the King of the Winds. Plutarch tells the story of how the Wren became the King of the Birds. The Birds decided whoever could fly the highest to the sun would rule over Them. The Eurasian Wren secreted Himself under Golden Eagle’s down feathers. When Golden Eagle tired, Eurasian Wren flew out and ascended higher, getting singed by the sun’s rays. Returning, the other Birds proclaimed Eurasian Wren their King. Cunning and cleverness had outwitted strength.
 
During the winter, this tiny Bird lives in a communal roost with other Eurasian Wrens. To keep from freezing, They share their warmth. Just before dusk, Eurasian Wren calls to the Others. They answer and then enter their roost one by one. Many as sixty Eurasian Wrens will share an abandoned nest site.

 In British folklore (Eurasian) Wren ruled the winter and (European) Robin ruled the summer. As the representative of the Old Year, Wren was sacrificed to bring in the New Year (as represented by Robin). This ritual killing of Wren ended winter and the Old Year.

Later Christians associated Eurasian Wren with the Virgin Mary. Now the ritual killing of the Wren by the Wren Boys happened on the day after Christmas, which was St. Stephen’s Day. One theory to this ritual occurrence was that people celebrated the ending of Paganism and the coming of Christianity. Another posits that Eurasian Wren betrayed St. Stephen, the first Christian martyr.

The smallest and shiest of the Wrens, Eurasian Wren sings the loudest. Quivering and exposed on a branch, He trills his divine melodies. Except to end winter, His killing brings misfortune. With these examples, Eurasian Wren demonstrates the paradoxes of life. A sacred Bird, Wren sings as He unwraps the sacred mysteries of the universe. Spend time with Eurasian Wren to understand life’s prophecies.

Teachings of Eurasian Wren also Includes:
Being Small but Mighty
Singing Your Own Song
Cunning and Stealth

Science Notes:
1. Except for Eurasian Wren, the Wren Family lives only in the Western Hemisphere.
2. Eurasian Wren is actually a species complex with 27 subspecies.

(Note: Revision of Winter Wren blog of 2008.)

Monday, December 21, 2015

Norse Runes: Runic Engergies of Scorpions

Fehu:       The pet trade for emperor scorpions provides wealth for collectors.      
  
Uruz: As an Order, scorpions have existed on earth for at least 450 million years.

Thurisaz:    The scorpion uses its stinger to impart its venom.            

Ansuz:    Since there are almost 2,000 species of scorpions, each with its own variable venom, scientists have researched for the antidotes for each and every venom. 

Raidho: Scorpions have traveled worldwide by hiding cargo ships.  

Kennaz:   To hunt an insect, scorpions skillfully use their acute sense of smell and touch.

Gifu: Emperor Scorpions are given as pets.

Wunjo: Watching a scorpion leave its home permanently and go someplace else makes people happy.

Hagalaz:       Scorpions grab small prey with their pincers and crush their victim. 

Nauthiz:  Since they can only ingest liquids, scorpions use their venom to liquidate their prey.

Isa: Whilst hunting, scorpions remain still to detect the vibrations of their prey.

Jera: For 450 million years, the adaptable scorpion has lived on earth as an Order within the Arachnids.

Eihwaz:    Scorpions are solitary by nature.

Perthro: The variability of the venom for each species changes the probability of dying from a sting.
Elhaz: The scorpion’s stinger provides for defense against its enemies.

Sigel:   Energy occurs when a scorpion converts solid prey into a liquid pulp for digestion. 

Tyr: Since it takes weeks to liquefy its victim, a scorpion is patient and focused on the act of eating.

Berkana: A mother scorpion will protect and carry her scorplings up to 2 years. Her fertility enables scorpions to continue as an Order.

Ehwaz: Some people think that owning a fattail scorpion (one of the deadliest) enhances their status.

Mannaz: “Scorpion” is its identity with 2000 species divided into 13 families.

Laguz:          Venom flows out of a scorpion.

Inguz:  Scorpions reproduce in a spectacular mating dance.

Dagaz: The venom of the scorpion changes the prey from solid to liquid.

Othala: The legacy of the scorpion is its adaptability as one of the first land animals.

Friday, December 18, 2015

Norse Runes: Energies found in Palm Trees

By going deeper into Norse Runes, you can find their energies elsewhere. For example, palm trees.

PALM TREE

Fehu:  In ancient times, possessing a date palm tree was a source of wealth, since it provided food, clothing, utensils, oil, and wood.        

Uruz:  The durability of a palm tree is its many uses for people.

Thurisaz:         The leaves of some species of palm trees can cut flesh if the person is not careful.

Ansuz:       Palm trees have been important to humans by providing them with the means to live in arid areas and on islands worldwide. 
  
Raidho: Because dates are portable and energy dense, people carry them on caravans.    
       
Kennaz:    Since hybridization of palm species readily occur, the taxonomy of palm trees is problematic. Botanists need skill to organize them into meaningful genera, because there is flux amongst the entire group.

Gifu: The gift of the palm tree is its usefulness to humans. For example, people chew palm nuts, harvest wax, and make furniture from palms.

Wunjo:  Seeing an oasis of date palms in a dessert makes people happy.

Hagalaz: Coconuts fall from palm trees and hit the ground hard.

Nauthiz: Palm trees fill the need of hunger with dates, coconuts, nuts, and palm hearts. 

Isa: Palms are trees, and by nature are stationary.

Jera: Palm trees have contributed to mankind’s success in populating arid lands.

Eihwaz: With their shade, palm trees provide introspection by inviting people to sit under them.

Perthro: The probability of a palm tree dropping coconuts on a person depends on the wind, ripeness, the position of the person, amongst other things.

Elhaz: In South Carolina, sabal palmetto logs were used in building Fort Moultrie. The spongy wood absorbed or deflected cannonballs.

Sigel:   Palms wood is used for torches, and palm oil for cooking.

Tyr: Protecting endangered palms takes dedication since cross-pollination leads to hybrid species.

Berkana: In 2005, a 2,000 year-old date palm seed was successfully germinated.

Ehwaz: In ancient Mesopotamia, owning many date palms was a sign of status.

Mannaz: Scientists have grouped the 2,600 species of palms into the Monocot Order of Arecales. The Family Arecaceae has about 15 sub-families, with almost 200 genera.

Laguz: Palm wine, syrup and oil are made from palm trees. 

Inguz: The potential of palm trees lie in their multiple uses for people. 

Dagaz: The palm tree changed the future for humans by providing for their needs, and by being portable. 

Othala: Today, trees live in widespread places ranging from islands to deserts.
 

Thursday, December 17, 2015

WREN FAMILY: The Mysteries of Happiness

(Revised from a 2008 blog entry.)

Wrens, a family of little brown Birds, are well-known for their high energy and trilling songs. Friendly and active, House Wren is often called “Jenny Wren” in children’s storybooks. Meanwhile Carolina Wren, one of the largest Wrens, flits from perch to perch looking for tasty bugs, delighting gardeners.

Voracious in their nesting endevours, Wrens build nests in boots, mailboxes, and even car radiators. Quick and agile Cactus Wren builds his nest amongst the sharp spines of a cactus. To impress the Female Wrens, Marsh Wren frantically builds as many dummy nests that He can in the wetlands. The scientific name for Wrens is “Troglodytidae,” which means “cave dwellers.” This comes from the elaborate enclosed nests that many Wrens build. Besides housing eggs, these roofed nests also act as their communal roosts.

Although most wrens live secret lives in dense forests, Cactus Wren (Genus: Campylorhynchus) and his Friends live in the open semi-arid areas of the Americas. Gathering in small flocks, Cactus Wrens will help the Breeding Pair in feeding. One of the largest of the Wrens (the size of a starling), He is pugnacious in defending his territory whilst fending off larger birds.

Best known for their bubbly tunes, Wrens often have as many as 130 different songs in their repertoire. Although They do sing all year round, Wrens are most famous for being the joyful harbingers of spring with their trilling melodies. And, Winter Wren, a shy Bird, has the loudest songs of all the Wren Family.

In addition, Wrens’ songs have a magical quality to them. In some Native American stories, Wrens can bring the dead back to life with their powerful singing. Called the Snow Bird, Black-headed Wren is said to summon the snow. However, He does know the direction and time of the storm.

Wrens are legendary for their spiritedness. Whether defending their territory or building nests Wrens conduct themselves great zest. Let these little brown Birds induct you into the mysterious of happiness. Lose yourself in their songs, and be enriched beyond your dreams.
----------
Science Notes: 

1. Members of the wren family called the Troglodytidae. The wrens of Australia, New Guinea and New Zealand are not related and are not wrens. They belong to their own families. The New Zealand wrens are the Acanthisittidae, an ancient bird family. Meanwhile the wrens of Australia and New Guinea belong to the Maluridae Family, which includes fairy-wrens (Malurus), emu-wrens (Stipiturus) and grasswrens (Amytornis).

2. Firecrested wren is the common firecrest (Regulus ignicapillus), while golden-crested wren is the goldcrest (Regulus regulus). They belong to the Kinglet Family and are not wrens.

3. Antwrens (Myrmotherula and Herpsilochmus) are members of the antbird family (Thamnophilidae) of South America. Wren-babblers of South Asia are cupwings (the Pnoepygidae).

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Norse Runes: Energies found in Hurricanes

By going deeper into the Norse Runes, you can see their energies play out elsewhere in life. This is one example:

HURRICANE
 
Fehu:   Hurricanes blow open inlets and form channels to allow ships into inaccessible areas. They bring wealth by creating new shipping lanes.

Uruz:   Measured in strengths up to Category Storm 5, hurricanes have powerful winds that can wipe entire cities.

Thurisaz:    Hurricanes destroy everything in their paths.      

Ansuz: Since hurricanes are so powerful, they encourage meteorologists to study them intently to predict their paths.

Raidho:   A hurricane transports water and debris great distances over oceans and lands. Also, these storms cross oceans to make landfall.

Kennaz: Predicting the landfall of a hurricane requires great skill.    

Gifu: The gift of a hurricane is water to replenish lakes and streams after a drought.

Wunjo: The happiest time for a hurricane is the clean air after the storm is over. Also, when a hurricane uncovers buried treasure, people are happy.

Hagalaz: Hurricanes bring heavy, pelting rains.

Nauthiz: A hurricane creates a need to rebuild after it passes. Also, to prepare for the eventual landfall of a hurricane, people need to find a sturdy shelter, and gather with plenty of supplies.

Isa: Sometimes a hurricane will stall over an area for days. Moreover, the eye of the hurricane is stillness amidst the swirling winds.

Jera: The hurricane replaces the water table in Central America, allowing for plentiful harvests. Hurricanes have beginnings and ends.

Eihwaz: Hurricanes propel winds and water across vast distances.

Perthro: The path of a hurricane is highly variable. A storm can turn direction at any time, and come ashore at any place without notice.

Elhaz: The circular wall of the winds keeps the hurricane from falling apart.

Sigel:   Hurricanes form over tropical seas, thereby transforming the tropical heat into moist winds. They actually become moving energy.

Tyr: Hurricane prone areas require discipline of the people who live there. They have to protect themselves against potential storms, and prepare for any that are arriving.

Berkana:        Hurricanes bring water to thirsty lands to allow for new growth. They transfer seeds and whole plants from place to place in a process known as plant dispersal.

Ehwaz: The status of a hurricane rises when it breaks a record in both winds and destruction. The storm’s name is retired from regular use. For example, Katrina, which destroyed New Orleans, will never be used again.

Mannaz: The identity of a hurricane lies in how well the storm is organized around its winds. Falling apart quickly turns a tropical storm into an unorganized mess.

Laguz: Hurricanes are storms that move long distances over water. They flow across the ocean.

Inguz:    The seed of the hurricane is warm tropical water. The potential of the storm is in the strength of its winds.

Dagaz: Hurricanes change the land that they blow over. They flood cities, destroy barrier islands, create new shorelines, and move beaches.

Othala: The legacy of a hurricane lies in how it changes the land. Also, the legacy is in how people remember it like Hurricane Andrew.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Shadow Animals: terms defined: Darkness, Shadow Archetype

My latest blog at Witches and Pagans is up.
Some of what I wrote:

The term “shadow” has many connotations, depending on its use. When working with your “Shadow Animal,” you will probably want to explore what type of shadow the animal is. That will determine how you work with Them. I will define the terms: “darkness and light,” “the shadow archetype,” “nahualli,” “heyoka,” “trickster,” and “shaman’s death” in several blog postings. Finally, I will conclude with how to work your “Shadow Animals.”

Darkness and Light
In Christian thought, which permeates much of Western philosophy, is the concept of the duality of “light and dark.” Life is divided into two separate and distinct parts of light (good) and dark (evil). These two parts war with each other over the control of the universe. However neither will overcome the other, but instead remain in a dynamic balance, that shifts back and forth.

...
Shadow Archetype:
First defined by Carl Jung, the term “Shadow” describes the repressed or denied part of ourselves. Our shadows are those parts that we have split off, repressed or denied, usually the parts that we are afraid to publically show.

Read the rest at Witches and Pagans: Animal Wisdom

Friday, December 04, 2015

FATTAIL (FAT-TAILED) SCORPION: Power of Life and Death

The most dangerous of the Scorpions are Members of the Fattail Scorpion Complex (Family: Buthidae Genus: Androctonus). The toxicity of the venom from these Scorpions equals that of a Cobra, and is just as deadly. Called “The Mankillers,” Members of Fattail Scorpion Complex have the ability to paralyze the heart muscles of a person in a few minutes. Moreover, They possess extremely large stingers to inject their lethal venom with.

 The eighteen Members of this Complex live in northern Africa and the Middle East. Unfortunately for people in these regions, these deadly Arachnids like to live in brick homes, especially in the wall cracks. Other places that you will find Them are under stones or in the steep slopes of sand dunes. Aggressive and bellicose in nature, Fattail Scorpions are difficult to eradicate from human settlements. This makes Them doubly dangerous. For these reasons, people have had to abandon their homes. Moreover, local hospitals keep, on hand, the antidote for the venom of Fattail Scorpions. However, because of their fearsome reputations, foolish people want to keep these Arachnids as pets. Local authorities usually dissuade such idiots from doing so before they endanger everyone else.

In Ancient Egypt, Fattail Scorpions were representatives of the Goddess Selket (Serqet). Depicted with a Scorpion on her head, Selket helped with the rebirth of the Newly Dead in the Egyptian Underworld. She would give the “breath of life to them.” (Her name, Serket hetyt, means “She causes the throat to breathe,” thereby describing the effects from the sting of a Scorpion.) Selket was one of the Four Goddesses protecting Tutankhamen in his tomb. If beseeched, She would also protect the living from the stings of Fattail Scorpions.

A king of the Predynastic Period of Upper Egypt has been depicted with a Scorpion sigil. “King Scorpio,” as he was called, entered into public imagination via the various popular movies that depicted him. Although his actual standing is hotly debated amongst Egyptologists, they did find ivory tags depicting Scorpions. These tags, belonging to King Scorpio, seemed to be for royal purposes. His choice of Fantail Scorpion probably reflected his desire to rule over his enemies.

Because of the deadly sting of Fattail Scorpions, ancient Egyptians often asked the Goddess Isis to protect them. Since Isis had a Scorpion Escort to protect Her against the God Set, people believed that her worshipers would not be harmed. Moreover, She had healed a child bitten by one of her Escort. Therefore ancient Egyptians had spells preventing a sting from a Scorpion that included a depiction of a Scorpion without a stinger and with an invocation to Isis.

Since They hold the power of life and death, Fattail Scorpions inspire fearsome awe in people. The Ancient Egyptians understood that because Fattail Scorpions protected Isis and her Son, Horus. Meanwhile, Selket, the Scorpion Goddess, eased the transition of the Dead into their new lives in the Underworld. Remember to responsibly use the terrifying power that Fattail Scorpions possess in your life.

Fattail Scorpions’ Teachings Also Include: 
Kingship
Transmutation
Journey into the Underworld

Friday, November 27, 2015

EMPEROR SCORPION (IMPERIAL SCORPION): Defying “Common Knowledge”

When people conjure up an image of a Scorpion, they will often picture Emperor Scorpion (Pandinus imperator), the Star of horror and mummy movies. This huge black Scorpion, which is eight inches (twenty centimeters) long, has the widest pincers (pedipalps) of all the Scorpions. Shaped like shovels, these pincers have tremendous crushing power. Furthermore, his huge, long tail with its very obvious and very scary stinger inspires many nightmares.

Surprise! This frightening, creepy Scorpion would rather run away than attack. Quite timid, He prefers scurrying under a rock to facing an opponent. Besides being skittish, Emperor Scorpion has only a mild level of toxicity in his venom, lower than most other Scorpions. (A healthy person may have an allergic reaction to his sting.) Because of his shyness and calm disposition, He is often kept as a pet. (The only time that Emperor Scorpion is aggressive is when a Mother carrying her Scorplings encounters a threat.)

Besides having an amiable nature, Emperor Scorpion further defies "common knowledge," that most people hold about Scorpions. Instead of living in arid deserts, He prefers the tropical rainforests of West Africa. To survive, Emperor Scorpion requires muggy, humid conditions. He makes his home deep under the moist earth in a burrow, in a streambank, or in the forest debris. Undetected in the leaf litter, He usually lives close to people, often in a Colony with his Friends.

At night, Emperor Scorpion goes out hunting for Termites. Tunneling far down into the earth (up to six feet (two meters)), He searches for evidence of termite mounds. Besides digging for Termites, Emperor Scorpion will snatch one crawling by with his huge pincers. Termites have to beware when He is on the prowl. His digging prowess and crushing power makes Emperor Scorpion a menace to those unfortunate Insects.

Emperor Scorpion flouts “conventional wisdom” that people hold about Scorpions. Unlike his fellow Arachnids, He is quite social, living in small colonies with his Friends. Scary and big, Emperor Scorpion hides a calm and non-aggressive nature. Possessing both qualities (serene and nightmarish) allows Him to be a featured Star in horror movies. Easy to work with, Emperor Scorpion will do his part to make the movie more terrifying. When you want to declare something to be true based on what is “commonly known,” remember Emperor Scorpion. Resist the temptation.

Emperor Scorpion’s Teachings Also Include:
Calm and Focused
Holding Contradictions
Being a “Star”

Thursday, November 19, 2015

SCORPION FAMILY: Being Formidable

An Order (Scorpionida) within the Class of Arachnida, Scorpions are well-known for their predatory and deadly nature. Since the Silurian Period (about 430 million years ago), these Arachnids have lived on the earth. Today, about 2,000 living species of Scorpions are grouped into thirteen families.

Contrary to popular belief, Scorpions do live in places other than hot and dry habitats. People would be surprised to know that these adaptable Arachnids also dwell in inter-tidal zones. Found world-wide (except in Antarctica), Scorpions can live almost everywhere, except for tundra regions. They will make their homes in trees, under rocks, in sand, in caves, and on mountains. Wherever there is a construction site that disturbs their homes, They will find their way into people’s houses to live. Furthermore as commerce expanded world-wide, so did Scorpions. For instance, these Arachnids were accidentally carried in shipments of fruit to England. Now, They can be found in Sheerness on the Isle of Sheppey in the U.K.

People can readily identify Scorpions by their distinctive body shape. The segmented abdomens (opisthosoma) of these Arachnids taper into a curving tail (metasoma) with the stinger (aculeus) at the end. Although They have at least six eyes, Scorpions prefer to navigate by smell and touch. With the tiny hairs on their pincers (chelae), Scorpions can sense an Insect flying by. In addition, They have slits on their legs to pick up vibrations in the air and on the ground. To grab their prey, Scorpions use their strong front claws. Then, They suck liquid out of their prey with their “claw protrusions” (chelicerae) in their mouths. The toothed jaws of Scorpions shred their meal for their stomach to suck in the juices.

What is best-known about Scorpions is their deadly venom. Each Scorpion has as many as forty-five different toxins to use on their various prey. Hunting by smell, They search for Amphibians, Crustaceans, Insects, Reptiles, and small Mammals to eat. Grabbing the unfortunate victim, Scorpion will either crush or inject venom into It. Since it takes a lot of time to replenish their spent venom, Scorpions prefer crushing to stinging. However, only about twenty-five Species are capable of killing people. It is these few Species who give all other Scorpions their deadly reputation, whether their venom is as toxic or not.

During the Silurian Period, the first Scorpions possessed gills for living in the waters. (Even today, Scorpions can stay for long periods underwater.) They ventured onto land to become one of the first animals to do so. Since They could readily adapt from life in the shallow lakes to that on land, these Arachnids have displayed tremendous staying power. Being extremely adaptable, Scorpions have evolved into an Order of nearly 2,000 living Species.

Nocturnal and solitary, Scorpions are formidable hunters. Masters of surprise, they will wait by their burrows, hidden from view, for a tasty Insect to come by. Then in an explosive move, Scorpion will suddenly grab and crush the unfortunate victim. Using her raised tail, She injects her venom for the killing stroke.

Since Scorpions have tiny mouths, They can only suck in liquid. One use for their venom, besides killing, is to turn the Insect into a liquid. While They wait, Scorpions use their “mouth claws” to bring any available liquid to their stomachs to digest. Since this process usually takes an eternity, these Arachnids possess low metabolisms. In fact, They can go an entire year without eating anything.

Besides their venomous stings, Scorpions are also noted for their impassioned and elaborate mating rituals. When Male Scorpion begins his courtship dance, He grasps Female Scorpion and turns Her in circles. In a “promenade a deux,” the Pair gently bump into each other without stinging until Male Scorpion fertilizes his Partner. Once this ritual is finished, Male Scorpion races away, before Female Scorpion changes her mind and attacks Him instead.

Contrary to popular opinion, Female Scorpion is a good mother. After being born, her Scorplings will immediately climb onto her back. She will carry Them for at least a few weeks (up until two years depending on the species). The Scorplings stay with their Mother through (at least) their first molt, and sometimes more. When They become adults, Mother Scorpion will gently removes her Scorplings off her back with her tail. For the more reluctant Ones, She will tip Them off.

These formidable Arachnids inspire awe and fear in everyone. Aggressive in hunting, Scorpions patiently spend weeks consuming their victims. Being highly adaptable, They have forty-five different kinds of venom for use on various animals. Moreover, their well-designed body maximizes their talents of sliding under rocks to elude predators, surprising their prey, and successfully living in different habitats. Since Scorpions have honed Themselves into an Order to be feared and respected, their formidable reputation is well-deserved.

When you want to be respected and feared, look to the Scorpion Family. Adapting to nearly every habitat, They have spread across the earth. Because only a few Species are deadly, people have avoided all Scorpions altogether. Just remember not to be so venomous, that your good qualities are overlooked, such as being a good parent.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Shadow Animals (Part 1)

 My New Post on Animal Wisdom is up at "Witches and Pagans."

I discuss Shadow Animals - what they are and what they do.

"People fear snakes, and run from spiders. When we see these particular animals, we shrink in fear. Certain types of animals make our skin crawl. These animals are the “creepy crawly” ones or the ones we only see at night like owls. The ones that we feel the queasiest about are the animals that are the most alien or radically different from us.

Animals that elicit such a strong response from us are our Shadow Animals. These animals represent the part of our inner landscape that we want to keep in perpetual darkness. Shadow Animals are the manifestations of the unacceptable aspects of ourselves. They hold the aspects of ourselves that we dislike. Since many people feel uncomfortable in embracing their dark side, fear of certain animals is one way to keep it at bay. Hence, we invest our dark qualities in spiders and snakes.

What do Shadow Animals do? They give us permission to love the unacceptable parts of ourselves. When we work with Them, we take back our lost power to forgive ourselves. Once we embrace our Shadow Animals, we will be reunited with these missing parts of our being. They show us that our most hated, feared, and shameful qualities are actually our keys to living the life of our dreams. Shadow Animals call you to make peace with yourself."

Read more at Shadow Animals Part One at Animal Wisdom.

Friday, November 06, 2015

SPINOSAURUS: Riding the Wheel of Fortune

The story of Spinosaurus is one of fortune found, lost, and found again. One of the largest of the Meat-eaters, Spinosaurus captured popular imagination with his mysterious sail. However, not much was known about this popular Dinosaur until 2013, when Dame Fortune smiled on the paleontologists seeking to know more about Him.

The story of Spinosaurus began with the discovery of fossils in 1912 in Egypt by Richard Markgraf. Afterwards Baron Ernst Stromer, Markgraf’s employer, named these bones Spinosaurus aegyptiacus, “Spine Lizard of Egypt.” Spinosaurus was named for his dorsal spines, which formed into a sail shape. Returning to Germany, Stromer housed his fossil collection of Spinosaurus in a museum in Munich. This proved to be disastrous when the Allies bombed the city in 1944. All that remained as proof that Spinosaurus ever existed were a few fragments of his snout and “fluted crests” displayed in museums elsewhere. The only depiction of his sail was Strummer’s drawings, which was all that was left for paleontologists to study.

Throughout the intervening years, this Dinosaur remained a mystery. The enigma of Spinosaurus was partially solved by Nizar Ibrahim, who uncovered more fossils in Morocco. Fascinated by Spinosaurus since boyhood, Ibrahim studied to be a paleontologist. After receiving a box of bones in 2008, he tried to track down the Bedouin who originally brought him the fossils. After five years of fruitless searching, Ibrahim found the man as he walked by Ibrahim’s table at an outside cafe. The Bedouin took Ibrahim to a site in Morocco, where more fossils of Spinosaurus could be found.

From this treasure trove of fossils emerged a formable predator. Larger than Tyrannosaurus rex, Spinosaurus had sharp straight teeth housed in powerful haws. Unlike many other Dinosaurs, He could walk on four or two legs, as well as swim. In examining fossils of Spinosaurus, scientists realized that He was a fish eater in a region of rivers rich with marine life. A swimmer, this huge hunter would feast on fish.

This realization solved another mystery referred to as “Stromer’s Riddle.” The question was “Why did North Africa have more Meat-eaters than Plant-eaters.” Usually, this ratio is reversed since one Carnivore needs about twenty Herbivores in order to survive. However, the region of North Africa supported three enormous Carnivores. What did these hungry Dinosaurs eat if there were only a few Plant-eaters? One answer: Spinosaurus ate fish.

With his center of gravity structured for easily moving in water, Spinosaurus hunted underwater. He had a long narrow head and nostrils high up on his snout. Resting in the water, Spinosaurus looked like a crocodile. His dense bones enabled Him to effortlessly dive deep like a penguin. His webbed front feet and powerful hind legs were like a duck’s. An accomplished swimmer, Spinosaurus feasted on fish and other marine life. Paleontologist Paul Sereno observed, “It was a Chimera – a half-duck, half-crocodile.”

By being a swimmer, Spinosaurus changed how scientists viewed Dinosaurs. He broke through the established scientific thinking on what Dinosaurs were about. Perhaps more insights about the nature of these Animals can be made through further studies of Him.

But mystery still surrounds enigmatic Spinosaurus. What was his sail used for? Stromer struggled for years to figure out why Spinosaurus needed it. Also, he pondered whether it was a merely a hump or a large spinal fin. Amongst the Spinosaurids (the Family that Spinosaurus and Baryonyx belong to), Spinosaurus is the only one with a sail. Perhaps the dorsal “hump” was to warn others that this was his territory. When other predators saw it rising from his half-submerged body, They knew to stay away. Perhaps someday, Dame Fortune will uncover that mystery.

The history of Spinosaurus depicts how the Wheel of Fortune works. First Dame Fortune smiled, then frowned, and finally smiled again. What can be learned is to remain steadfast and patient, for Dame Fortune will turn her wheel again. What may be lost today will be found tomorrow. Along the way, work hard and be prepared for the opportunity to occur. Nizar Ibrahim continued Ernest Stromer’s work, against all the odds, and found more fossils of this Dinosaur. What chances Dame Fortune gave him, he took. Spinosaurus reminds us that luck changes, and we need to be best prepared. Ride the Wheel of Fortune with this Dinosaur.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

BARYONYX: Original Thinking

In 1983, at a clay pit at Surrey, England, an unusual dinosaur was found – one that hunted fish. William Walker, an amateur fossil hunter, found a huge claw and later the skeleton it had come from buried nearby. After his discovery, paleontologists uncovered more specimens of Baryonyx, after re-examining old fossils that had been collected years before. Because Baryonyx was a Meat-eater, her discovery was more remarkable since previous fossils from this quarry had yielded only Plant-eaters.

The most surprising about this Dinosaur from the early Cretaceous (about 125 million years ago), was the half-digested remains of fish, as well as, an Iguanodonwithin her skeletal remains. As scientists studied the fossilized bones of Baryonyx, they realized that her long slender jaws were ideal for fishing. Moreover, her front teeth stuck out from her narrow jaws. Larger than the rest, these teeth formed a rosette pattern ideal for the stabbing and retention of a struggling fish. Possessing almost twice as many teeth as Tyrannosaurus rex, Baryonyx could easily snag a fish with her small sharp teeth.

With a body similar to a modern crocodile, Baryonyx was built for swimming in swamps. Her long, streamlined body was perfect for moving about in water. With her extended neck, Baryonyx could lunge and spear a tasty fish, before It could escape. With her nostrils placed back along her snout, Baryonyx would remain nearly submerged in the water, patiently waiting for her next meal.
Furthermore, her huge claws allowed Baryonyx to fish whilst wading in streams. Standing in the water, She would wait for a fish to swim by. Because each of her first fingers was tipped with a large, barbed claw, Baryonyx could swipe at and hook fish.

At a time, when other carnivorous Dinosaurs hunted only on land, Baryonyx looked to the water. An original thinker, Baryonyx pondered other ways of getting her food. Rather than compete on land with the other Dinosaurs, She hunted in the ancient swamps and streams. Before there were Bears, She was in streams hooking fish with her claws. When faced with a baffling problem, ask Baryonyx for her insights. Since She could envision things that others could not, Baryonyx will offer you novel answers. Sort out which idea makes sense to you and go with it.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Animals of the Way

 From my blog at Witches and Pagan's Pagan Square:

"Animals who stay to help you after delivering their message are known as “Animals of the Way.” They will travel with you for a part of your life’s journey. Although these animals are not life-long companions, they may stay with you for years. Once they are no longer needed, “Animals of the Way” will leave. As with “Message Animals,” you need to accept them. Of course, find out about who they are and how they live. Enter into conversations with them, and ask how they can help you.

Sometimes you can ask a particular animal for help for temporary aid. But first, figure out whether the animal can work with you. Some animals are better equipped to help with particular problems. For example, Ferret is preferable to Sloth in increasing your physical energy. Moreover, animals that you have a relations with will be more disposed to helping you. Before asking a “strange” animal for assistance, do something to honor them first.

For example, I was grieving over the loss of a family member, and had asked the Manatees to comfort me. Since I assisted in various conservation efforts for manatees, They were more than happy to help. These friendly vegetarians know loss, for They have grieved over their fellow Manatees killed by motor boats. Soft and peaceful, the Manatees were all encompassing in giving their love to me. Through them, I was healed."

READ THE REST AT : Animal Wisdom: Animals of the Way

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Indian Flying Fox: Fearless Exploring

By Dibyendu Ash [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
One of the largest of Bats, Indian Flying Fox (Pteropus giganteus) has a wingspan of more than a child's height. During her flight, She extends her legs outward to expand the span of her wings. A strong swimmer, Indian Flying Fox crosses rivers using her wings as flippers.

Less feared than other types of Bats, Indian Flying Fox eats only fruit. Her favorite is very soft bananas which She swallows whole.  However, with mangoes, She extracts the juice and spits out the seeds. Indian Flying Fox is an important pollinator in the tropics, and a major dispenser of seeds. In certain parts of India, She is regarded as sacred.

Unfortunately for Her, her desire for fruit has led Indian Flying Fox in conflict with people. Because She causes extensive damage to fruit orchards, many farmers consider Indian Flying Fox to be a pest. Governments in South Asia have instituted kill programs to stop Her, since they consider Indian Flying Fox to be “vermin.”

Found throughout South Asia and the Maldives, Indian Flying Fox prefers living near large areas of water. She is often found in tropical forests and swamps. Once, She settles into a suitable place, Indian Flying Fox makes it her permanent Camp. (Groups of Flying Foxes are called “camps.”) Because of her strong flying abilities, Indian Flying Fox colonized many islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. Many species of Flying Foxes found on these islands can be traced to her.

Indian Flying Fox flies long distances at night to search for her food. Some of her travels have led her to distant lands. She is fearless in what She does knowing that She can navigate anywhere. A dauntless explorer, Indian Flying Fox travels to islands near and far. Traversing over vast stretches of ocean, She is unafraid of never reaching land. Indian Flying Fox is confident in her navigation skills. Because of her self-assuredness, She has become the mother of many island species. Take wing and fly. Just be care not to be a pest.

Wisdom of Indian Flying Fox:
 Strength
 Confidence
Having Adventures
Learning Not to be a Pest  

Note: Indian Flying Fox is also known as Greater Indian Fruit Bat.

Thursday, October 01, 2015

CAPE GROUND SQUIRREL: Doing What Works

© Hans Hillewaert / , via Wikimedia Commons
Living in the semiarid places of southern Africa, Cape Ground Squirrel (Xerus inauris) shades Herself with her tail from the hot sun. Active during the day, She likes to eat in the morning. Afternoons are for socializing and grooming. During other times of the day, Cape Ground Squirrel will sunbathe if the weather turns chilly.

Cape Ground Squirrel will share her burrow with Meerkats and Yellow Mongooses. In gratitude, Meerkats will call alarms to warn Her. The two mammal species will live in a mutual relationship.

Cape Ground Squirrel lives with other Female Squirrels in large underground burrows. She usually feeds on seeds, leaves, and roots. However, Cape Ground Squirrel is not above acting cute and begging from people. Her favorite haunts are the rest camps of the governmental parks in South Africa.

Cape Ground Squirrel has a unique social system for Mammals. She lives with her female Friends separate from Male Cape Ground Squirrels. In her social group, They raise their Children together. Unlike other mammal groups, the Females have no “Alpha” or Head Squirrel.

Meanwhile, Male Cape Ground Squirrels live in friendly social groups by Themselves. The Males are not territorial, and will welcome other groups. (This is unusual amongst Mammals.) The only time that the Males are with the Females is when They want to mate. Even then, when Male Cape Ground Squirrels compete for mates, They rarely injure each other. Instead, the Males hold leaping displays for the Females.

Cape Ground Squirrel teaches doing what works. She may live differently than other Squirrels but that is all right with Her. Learn from Cape Ground Squirrel to find out what works for you. Living in same sex groups and being welcoming helps Her to survive in her harsh environment.

Cape Ground Squirrel’s Wisdom Includes:
Trusting
Friendship
Living in Single Sex Groups
Hospitality

Friday, September 25, 2015

EURASIAN RED SQUIRREL Living With Both Ordinariness and Wonder

Smaller and shier than Grey Squirrel, Eurasian Red Squirrel prefers living alone in the pine forests of Europe. After searching meticulously for food, He takes his pine cone to a secure branch for safety. Holding the cone in his front paws, Eurasian Red Squirrel rotates it while biting off the scales to get at the pine seeds.

People have admired Eurasian Red Squirrel for centuries. According to the Norse of Scandinavia, Ratatosk lived in the Tree of Life. He carried messages to Eagle, perched at the top, and to Snake, coiled around the roots. For his efforts, Ratatosk enjoyed the special protection of Thor, the God of Thunder.

Medieval Christians tell the story of Eurasian Red Squirrel in the Garden of Eden. He had a long thin tail like Rat’s. One day, while sitting in a nearby tree, He witnessed Adam and Eve eating the forbidden fruit. Eurasian Red Squirrel was so horrified by the sight, that He covered his eyes. As a reward for his faithfulness, God gave Eurasian Red Squirrel a thick bushy tail.

Humble little Eurasian Red Squirrel lives in the trees, watching the people below. From his vantage point, Eurasian Red Squirrel can touch the Heavens. He is the intermediary between two worlds – the world of the ordinary and the world of wonder. You can relish the ordinary life and have time to pause for wonder.

Eurasian Red Squirrel’s Teachings Include:
“Squirrel can represent easy and free communication.” Copyright: “Beasts of Albion”, Miranda Gray.

“Red Squirrel Dreaming is a grounding force that relieves stress and anxiety caused by an unsubstantiated fear.” Copyright: “Animal Messengers”, Scott Alexander King.
Eurasian Red Squirrel
Eurasian Red Squirrel’s Wisdom Includes:
Making Mischief
Pivot of Worlds
Learning Wisdom
Feeling of Recognition and Belonging

Eurasian Red Squirrel (Sciurus vulgaris) is only distantly related to the Red Squirrel of North America (Tamiasciurus hudsonicus)

Conservation Note: Eurasian Red Squirrel is protected in the United Kingdom. The Forestry Commission (U.K.) has erected rope bridges to help Eurasian Red Squirrel to cross busy roads.

Monday, September 21, 2015

GRAY!GREY SQUIRREL: Living in the Past, Present, and Future

Agile and alert, Grey Squirrel remains active throughout the year. Chattering on tree branches, Grey Squirrel amuses people who watch her antics. What people do not know is that Grey Squirrel was a creature of the virgin forests of North America. She is one of the few Mammals who adapted to cities.

Grey Squirrel needs to eat every day even in the winter. Active at dawn, She searches for fruits and nuts or whatever is in season. In spring, She eats plant shoots. In winter, Grey Squirrel eats tree bark and nuts that She stored in the fall. She locates her stored nuts by smell. Any acorns that Grey Squirrel does not find will grow into trees for future squirrel homes.

Grey Squirrel is very expressive. She chatters and flicks her bushy tail to indicate her many moods. Relaxed, She lays on a thick tree branch with her tail hanging down. When Grey Squirrel is angry, her body becomes ramrod straight, and her tail flaps wildly. Her high voiced “Chee! Chee!” means “I AM annoyed with you!”

Grey Squirrel lives in the past, present, and future. In the summer, She also gathers nuts and acorns for the future. In the winter, Grey Squirrel looks for the nuts that She stored in the past. In the present, whatever season it is, She gathers nuts and acorns to eat today. Grey Squirrel lives in a tree sprouted from a nut that She buried and forgot about. Like Grey Squirrel, you can live in the past, present, and future.
grey squirrel
Grey Squirrel’s Teachings Include:
“As far as our noblest hardwood forests are concerned, the animals, especially squirrels and jays, are our greatest and almost only benefactors. It is to them that we owe this gift. It is not in vain that the squirrels live in or about every forest tree, or hollow lot, and every wall and heap of stones.” -- Henry David Thoreau, American Essayist.

Conservation Note: People brought Grey Squirrel to the United Kingdom and South Africa, where She does not belong. Consult the local animal authorities on how to control the Grey Squirrel population.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

SQUIRREL FAMILY Cooperation

When people think “Squirrel”, they generally think of the tree-dwelling variety. Squirrels, however, come in three main groups–Tree Squirrels, Ground Squirrels, and Flying Squirrels. The defining characteristic of a Squirrel, a Squirrel is their bushy tail. Their family name Sciuridae means “shade-tailed”.

Tree Squirrels have the bushiest tails. Tree Squirrels use their tails for balancing and steering when They jump from branch to branch. Active during the day, Tree Squirrels chase each other through the trees, look for nuts, and work on their nests (dreys). They bury nuts and seeds in the ground for future use. Any nuts one Tree Squirrel does not eat, another Tree Squirrel will eat.

Ground Squirrels include Chipmunks, Prairie Dogs and Marmots. Ground Squirrels rarely climb trees. Instead, They often live in colonies in a complex system of burrows. A Prairie Dog town contains thousand of residents living in sleeping quarters, with their own nurseries and latrines. Extremely adaptable, Ground Squirrels will live near people.
flying squirrel
The third kind of Squirrel is Flying Squirrel, who glides through the air using a flap of skin between his front and rear limbs. Pushing off from a tree branch, He stretches out his arms and legs and glides to another branch. Unlike other Squirrels, Flying Squirrels is active at night.

Squirrel Family teaches cooperation. Some forms of Squirrel cooperation are obvious such as building a Prairie Dog town. Tree Squirrels warn other Squirrels of approaching enemies. A more subtler form is Tree Squirrels burying nuts not only for Themselves but also for other Squirrels. Squirrels cooperate with each other in a variety of ways. Learn how to cooperate with others from Squirrel Family.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Understanding Animal Messengers

My new post at Witches and Pagans explores when a tarantula comes in response for your request for help. Read it here: understanding messages from animals

Friday, September 04, 2015

DILOPHOSAURUS: Keep Asking Questions

Arthur Weasley, via Wikimedia Commons

A relative of Ceratosaurus, Dilophosaurus was a primitive meat-eating Dinosaur from the Early Jurassic (about 200 million years ago). Discovered in the 1940s and later named in 1970 by Dr. Samuel Welles, Dilophosaurus became famous in the movie “Jurassic Park” (1993, Steven Spielberg). What made Her well-known was her two semi-circular crests on her head, which lead to her name “double-crested lizard.”

When She was discovered, Dilophosaurus was one of three fossil specimens. Since these were some of the most complete fossils of anyone in Her Family, much was learned about Her and Her Family, the Ceratosaurs. Despite this wealth of information, no one really knows why Dilophosaurus had a crest or what it was used for.

Who was Dilophosaurus? This speedy bi-pedal hunter was the consummate predator. With her four-fingered hand, opposable first finger and powerful claws, Dilophosaurus could grab her victim, pin him down, bite his neck and then pluck off his flesh. With her hollow bones and slender build, She was one of the fastest and deadliest Dinosaurs of her day.

The story of Dilophosaurus is one of exploration and further study. When She was first found, no one knew who she was. In 1954, She was first called Megalosaurus (who was one of the early Theropods). However, unsatisfied to what her identity was, Dr. Welles kept studying Her. By 1964, he knew that Dilophosaurus was someone else. Finally, in 1970, Dr. Welles renamed Her after her true nature.

Dilophosaurus invites curiosity and exploration. For one thing, there is no evidence that She spit poison as depicted in “Jurassic Park.” More questions await Her. Perhaps someone will figure out what her crests are for. Never be satisfied with the status quo, always be curious. Keep asking questions is what Dilophosaurus teaches.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Animal Messengers

My blog post at "Witches and Pagans" discusses how animals deliver messages.

"Sometime ago, I dreamt that I was a giant squid playing with the other squids in the blue ocean. Wiggling my tentacles, I had fun jetting from here to there. When I woke up, I pondered what Giant Squid had wanted to tell me."

 "While pondering my dream, I understood that Giant Squid wanted me to play more. Moreover, She came to remind me to be more flexible. With my brain injury, I have become a fixed thinker. Since it takes me a long time to do my chores, I tend to focus solely on getting them done. Giant Squid decided to enter my dreams to have me become more fluid in my waking life. She told me to zoom away from housework and go play."

Read the rest at Animal Wisdom: Messengers