Friday, July 31, 2015

LION: Group Dynamics

Known as the King of the Jungle, Lion actually lives on the open African grasslands. Originally, He ranged from the Mediterranean Sea to Asia and south to Africa. Hunted by Romans for their Games, Lion first disappeared from Europe and Asia Minor. As Lion hunting increased, his range shrank to where now Lion lives only in Africa.

Unlike most members of the Cat Family, Lion is social. He lives in a Pride and forms coalitions with his Male Friends. In his Pride, Lionesses work together to hunt and chase off predators. Meanwhile with his Male Partners, Lion defends their territory against intruders. With his Coalition, Lion rules the Pride for a few years until a new Coalition arises. Then He and his Male Partners leave.

When Lions hunt, They form a cooperative group. Whether They are killing Seals on a beach or Cape Buffalos on the savannah, the Pride forms a plan of action. Some Lionesses wait downwind while their Sisters herd the animals towards Them. Other Lionesses travel around the prey to close off avenues of escape. Suddenly, a Lioness shows Herself, causing panic among the prey. The animals rush headlong into the Pride’s ambush.

Because Lion is yellow, and loves sleeping in the sun, He has been the symbol of the Sun for many cultures. People so admired Lion, that they thought He possessed spiritual powers equal to his physical attitudes. As King of the Beasts, Lion was wise and just.

Killing a Lion was a symbol of manhood. In Africa, young men were initiated through lion combat. The Zulu and Masai were expected to defeat a lion to become a man among their peoples. In Ethiopia, the Emperor awarded the bravest warriors with a lion mane headdress.

In China, Lion is a mythic creature, a symbol of nobility and dignity. Guardian Lion statues protect Chinese buildings. Lion Dancing, which has a very long tradition, is an essential part of Chinese festivals. The Lion Dance brings good luck, prosperity, and happiness to the people at the festival.

Lion teaches constructive group dynamics. When hunting, Everyone contributes to bringing down the prey. Working together patiently makes for a successful hunt. Even though Lions have strong personalities, They cooperate successfully. Learn from Lion how to accomplish much in your group.
a lion
Lion’s Teachings Also Include:
“We need to know how to relax when we are stressed. Lion gives us spiritual strength, he teaches us to be strong and proud and not let important things in life be taken for granted, like family.” Copyright: Rabbit’s Warren of Wisdom.
Lion’s Wisdom Includes:
Proper Use of Power and Strength
Group Energy
Roles in A Group
Balanced Leadership
Male Friendship
Conservation Note: Lions are endangered and are protected by international treaties.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Blogging on Animal Wisdom at Witches and Pagans.

Dear readers, I now have another blog, where I write about general topics on animal wisdom. I will post links to the blog here.

However, I will continue writing here as well. I have a lot to say that doesn't always fit the topic of animal wisdom.

Look for more postings on the teachings of dinosaurs next week. 

Animal Wisdom: Connecting People and Animals.  Will open in a new window.

My introduction to Animal Wisdom

Thursday, July 23, 2015

SPERM WHALE: Exploring the Abyss

The largest of all Toothed Whales, Sperm Whale can dive longer, faster, and deeper than any other Mammal. Known as nature’s submarine, Sperm Whale is well equipped to hunt in the ocean abyss for Giant Squid. Swimming in total darkness, He uses his echolocation to locate Squid. His huge head, which makes up a third of his total body length, houses the wax-filled spermaceti organ that helps Him to dive deep. With steady clicks, Sperm Whale approaches his Prey, then surprises Giant Squid with a sonic scream, disabling Him.

Among Whales, Sperm Whale has a unique social life. Elder Mother Sperm Whale governs his Nursery Pod. In the tropics, Sperm Whale Mothers, Females, and Young Males live together. When Sperm Whale reaches maturity, He leaves and joins a Bachelor Pod. Together, He and his Friends roam from the Polar Seas, where Squid lives, to the Tropics where the Nursery Pods are. When He is older, Sperm Whale will navigate the oceans by Himself.

Diving vertically into the abyss, Sperm Whale searches for Giant Squid. Using echolocation, Sperm Whale clicks until He sense the outline of Squid in the murky depths. No one knows what exactly happens in the murky depths; only that Sperm Whale is usually victorious. Like this extraordinary Whale, you can explore the Abyss. Just remember to surface from time to time.

Sperm Whale’s Teachings Also Include:
“There is more character in the Sperm Whale's head. As you behold it, you involuntarily yield the immense superiority to him, in point of pervading dignity. In the present instance, too, this dignity is heightened by the pepper and salt colour of his head at the summit, giving token of advanced age and large experience.” – Copyright: “Moby Dick”, Herman Melville

Sperm Whale’s Wisdom Includes:
Being Comfortable with Your Own Self
Being Comfortable with Your Own Sex
Diver of the Deeps
Lord of the Seas

Conservation Note: Sperm Whales are endangered, and are protected by international treaties. Because of extensive hunting, numbers of Sperm Whale Males are seriously low.

For reading on the teachings of Moby Dick, the most famous sperm whale of all: Moby Dick (opens in new window)

Thursday, July 16, 2015


Southern Right Whale
The largest Animals that have ever lived on earth, Baleen Whales depend on tiny organisms (Krill) for food. They strain the Krill (Norwegian for ‘whale food’) through bristly baleen plates in their mouths. Since Baleen Whales have no teeth, They swallow or gulp their food whole.

Each Baleen Whale has their own type of baleen and style of feeding. Bowhead Whale, who has the largest baleen, feeds yearlong in the Arctic. Meanwhile, Right Whale cruises with her mouth (which is full of finely fringed baleen plates) open. Swimming on his side, Gray Whale stirs up sediment in the shallow waters with his head. Using his tongue, Gray Whale pumps the sediment into his mouth, strains out the dirt, and eats his prey.

Songs of the Whales” made Baleen Whales famous in the 1970s. Unlike Toothed Whales, who communicate with clicks, Baleen Whales use vocal sounds. Forming a language, these complex songs, which can last for 15 minutes, travel long distances through the ocean depths. Blue Whale uses the lowest sound on the bass register. Fin Whale also emits bass-frequency grunts, but not as low as Blue Whale. Among the Whales, Humpback Whale sings his famous songs during mating season.

Besides their songs, Baleen Whales are also known for their long migrations. Many spend summers in the food-rich polar waters, and move to warmer waters in the winter for breeding. Baleen Whales in the Southern Hemisphere migrate from the Antarctic to New Caledonia. Meanwhile, in the Northern Hemisphere, They go from Greenland to the West Indies. As They go on their epic migrations, Baleen Whales live on the energy stored in their bodies. Although Many Baleen Whales are not sociable, as a rule, They will travel in small groups to their winter and summer grounds.

Baleen Whales are great travelers. On their annual migrations, Some Whales cover a distance almost equal to half the earth’s circumference. Long journeys do not seem to faze Them. “Come see the world,” the Baleen Whales call to you.

Families of Baleen Whales (Mysticeti):
Rorquals (Blue, Fin, Humpback, Minke, and Sei)
Right Whale
Pigmy Right Whale
Gray Whale
Bowhead Whale

Note: Baleens are thin, long, triangular plates of keratin (same material that human hair and nails are made from). These plates grow down from the Whale’s gums, covering the upper jaw.

Conservation Note: Baleen Whales are seriously endangered, and some species may not recover. They are protected by international treaties. Moreover, many countries have restrictions on whale watching to keep the whales safe during breeding seasons.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Runes: "Double Chevron" Spread

An explanation of Runes (opens new window)

For the third reading, I used another spread from Krasskova’s book. The Double Chevron spread, which consists of two intertwined “V’s,” helps people to look into the Well of the Wyrd and uncover any spiritual influences that are in their lives. In this spread, Runes 6, 7, and 8 intersect Runes 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 at Runes 2 and 4. The corner Runes 1, 5, 6, and 8 are the external influences on the questioner. The interior Runes 2, 3, 4 and 7 are the internal influences coming from the questioner.

 My question for the Runes was “Do you have any guidance for me about my brain injury.” I am at a crossroads on what my direction in life should be now. I felt the need to consult the Runes about this.

 For the external influences, I drew (1) Dagaz, (5) Eihwaz, (6) Perthro and (8) Thurisaz. (Their traditional meanings are “day,” “horse,” “dice” and “thorn.”) Dagaz said to me to expect rapid change, and Eihwaz pointed out that the transformation will come from the Worlds. Perthro indicated that that source would be the Well of the Wyrd, whilst Thurisaz counseled that this would be a focused change.

 The internal influences were (2) Fehu, (3) Algiz, (4) Isa and (7) Hagalaz. (Their meanings are “wealth,” “elk,” “ice” and “hail” respectively.) Fehu told me of the connection from the Gods, one of which is protection (Algiz). Isa, to me, represented the dynamic interactions that are provided by having boundaries. Hagalaz told me again of the descent into the Realms of the Dead. As I go into those places, I will be protected with gifts from the Gods, which also includes firm boundaries.

From the entirety of the reading, I see that my injury placed me between the Worlds of the Dead and the Living, where I have a foot in both. My injury has transformed me and I must embrace it, instead of fighting it. Since public blogging is now an aspect of my new direction, I can be a voice for all the animals.

Thursday, July 09, 2015

Runes: Three Rune layout, "Hammer Spread (9 Runes)"

I usually do my divination in the afternoon after I have my tea. The ritual of afternoon tea puts me into a reflective frame of mind. After tea, I would cleanse my divination space, lay out my cloth, put crystals out for clarity of signal, and finally light a candle. After doing the Hammer Rite for protection, I arranged myself to do Runic divination. After asking my question, I would pull each Rune out of the bag. When I laid them on the cloth, I would ask the Norns to bless my reading.

 For the first divination, I did the Three Rune drawing. I asked, “What guidance can you give me about having a high profile blog?” I was nervous about blogging about animals on a public platform.

As I was shuffling the Runes in the bag, Uruz jumped out. I put that Rune aside; then I drew out Eihwaz, Gebo, and Kenaz. To interpret the Runes, I consulted Galina Krasskova’s book, “Runes: Theory and Practice.” The standard meanings for Eihwaz is “yew,” Gebo “gift,” Kenaz “torch,” and Uruz “strength.” Going deeper into the Runes themselves, Eihwaz became for me the Yggdrasil, the axis mundi of the Worlds, the World Tree itself. Gebo, then, is the gifts from the Gods, with the “X” indicating that we are acting in a partnership. Kenaz is now the spark of the Divine leading me. Uruz is important since it grounds these other Runes by establishing boundaries for Them to work in.

From these Runes, I formed the sentence for my reading: “From the World Tree, I am given the gift of connection with the Divine. Therefore I can write knowing that there are firm boundaries to protect me. The Runes answered my deeper issue of being able to deal with the public.

For the next two divinations, I used two spreads featured in Krasskova’s Rune book. However, now, I set up a small altar in my divination space. The Runes informed me that They were more than simply divination tools, and wanted to be accorded the proper respect. To explore in depth, about being in the public eye, I used the Hammer Spread. I asked, "What spiritual challenges are there for me for being so public." The Hammer Spread has Runes 1, 2, 3, 4, and 9 in a vertical line with Runes 5, 6, 7, and 8 crossing at Rune 4. Runes 1 through 4 are the spiritual lessons for me to learn, Runes 5 through 8 are the physical manifestations of this spiritual lesson. Rune 9 at the top is for anything else that the Runes may have to say.

The Runes detailing the spiritual lesson were (1) Wunjo, (2) Hagalaz, (3) Othala and (4) Algiz. (The traditional meanings for these Runes are “joy,” “hail,” “family estate” and “elk” respectively.) Wunjo, for me, is the mystical Tree working through me whilst Hagalaz is the shadow work with the Dead. (After my brain injury, I have been blogging about extinct animals.) Meanwhile Othala becomes the protective boundary that the Ancestors surround me with, strengthened by Algiz, for things of the spirit. These Runes are telling me that the Great Tree will bring forth my work with the Dead (including animals), with the protection of my Ancestors.

For the physical manifestations of this lesson, I drew Thurisaz, Ansuz, Gebo, and Uruz. (Traditional meanings are “thorn,” “God,” “gift” and “strength.”) I interpreted Thurisaz to mean swift and contained fortitude, with Ansuz, opening my voice. Gebo gives balance for my struggle, whilst Uruz gives me strength to transform. With fortitude, my voice will become balanced and strong.

 For Rune 9, I drew Tiewaz (“Tyr”), which means for me, “moral clarity.” When I blog, I should be scrupulous in what I write. The Hammer Spread helped me to gain insight in what was bothering me about blogging. I was counseled by the Runes to forge ahead in this endevour.

Friday, July 03, 2015

Tarot: Tarot of the Animal Lords: Daydreaming (2 of 2)

XIV. Temperance
(This shows a flamingo pouring water from one pitcher to another. Meanwhile a grebe nests at her feet.) 

As I watched Temperance, the Flamingo, pour her water, I noticed her wistful watching of the migrating Mallard Duck. I kept thinking that she seemed restless while waiting for Mother Grebe to hatch her eggs. Perhaps pouring the water back and forth, steadied her, and helped to her to be balanced for the moment. For Temperance knew that once the eggs were hatched, she could leave. “Temperance” taken to the extreme meant to me the inability to move. 

XVIII. The Moon

(This card features an owl and a cat ascending a stair way to the crescent moon. They are taking a crab with them.)

 Walking up the staircase, I marveled at the Moon, who invited me to sit on it. The Owl and Cat told me that they were going taking Crab home. As the trio set off, riding on the Crescent Moon, Crab explained that he needed to return to his lady friend, before the Full Moon. Watching this surreal scene, I felt that I had entered a dream world of moon glow and mystery. Perhaps I did, with the illusions taking me on a confusing magical trip.

 XX. Judgement

(A crocodile sits on a mangrove tree root holding a stick. A plover perches on his open mouth.)

 Drifting in a canoe in the swamp, I stopped to ask the Crocodile where I was. He told me it was hard to talk with a plover in his mouth, whilst the Plover merely grunted at me. After picking off the leeches from the Crocodile’s mouth, he explained that they lived in balance, taking and giving. The Crocodile smiled, telling me that Plover was his dentist. He said that he gets clean gums, whilst Plover gets a meal. As I pondered the pair, I realized that one aspect of judgement was knowing when to enter the Crocodile’s mouth.

Thursday, July 02, 2015

Tarot: Tarot of the Animal Lords: Daydreams (1 of 2)

When I meditated on the various cards with the "Tarot of the Animal Lords", I would enter the landscape of each card. Sometimes the characters would speak to me. At other times, I would join them in their activity. What I learnt from doing this exercise was the shadow side of the cards.

To see The Fool (opens in new window)

0.The Fool.
 Standing in the snow, I asked The Fool if he was freezing, as the Magpie, perched in the nearby tree, laughed. After walking to a nearby small cave in a hill, we made a cozy fire inside, Sitting in the warmth, The Fool told me that he was taking his friend, Puffin, home to his family in the Arctic. He was ready for this adventure, but was unsure if he made the right decision. However, he was with his friend and that was what mattered to him. This made me see The Fool as someone who did things, without much thought. But this Fool did know what was important.

To see The Emperor (opens in new window)

IV. The Emperor.
 As I was walking on the African veldt, The Emperor stopped and challenged me. He roared at me that I was trespassing in his kingdom. This was his land as far as the falcon flew, and the source of his power. Startled, I asked for permission to enter his kingdom. He allowed me in as long as I understood that the trappings of power did not matter, only the wielding of power itself. His savageness made me pause about the nature of power and its uses.

To see The Hierophant (opens in new window)

V. The Hierophant
The Hierophant greeted me with a traditional greeting of peace. Also, he noticed that I kept staring at the cardinal perched on his antlers. Laughing, The Hierophant told me that whimsy in life is important or everything will become stagnant and hidebound. What he taught me was that play was as necessary to the Spirit as was discipline.

XII. The Hanged Man
 (This card depicts a bat hanging upside down, whilst the full moon shines down on him. Below the bat are two mice, with skulls, sitting around a pool of water.)

 I stepped into the pool, accidentally splashing The Hanged Man, and woke him up. Amused, he saw how confused I seemed. The Hanged Man told me that he liked hanging upside down in the full moon, since it gave him a sense of peace and quiet. Then as I tried to leave, I got stuck in the pool, and the Mice had to pull me out. The Hanged Man taught me that it is good to pause and wait, but not too long, or one will get stuck in the mire.