Speaker for the Animals

We live in a rapidly changing landscape where people and urban areas are displacing the places for the wild ones to live. Who speaks for the animals? We will.

Friday, December 01, 2006

The Bull -- The Powers of Creation

Fertility, Sacrifice, the Sun and Moon,
Union of the Male and Female,
Vitality, the Powers of Creation,
Uncontrolled Violence, the
Male Combative Spirit, the Elemental
Forces within the Blood, the Dharma,
Cosmic Order, the Incarnation of
The Powers of the Underworld,
Of the Sky Gods, Fire and Water,
The Dominant Father,
The Royal Beast

The Bull, like the Cow, is a symbol of the most ancient order of man. A symbol arising out of the early cultures of herders as early as six thousand years ago, the Bull had associations with the Gods of the Sky or Heaven as the power which fertilizes the Earth with rain that she may bear her crops each autumn. Yet the Bull also carried the image of its opposite gender within, for the horns symbolize the crescent Moon and therefore the Feminine. We see this ambiguity appearing in the contrasting symbolism of Fire and Water, the Powers of both Underworld and the Sky, and the Union of Male and Female.

The Bull symbolized both royality and Divinity in many of our earliest cultures. In ancient Crete, the Bull acted the central drama of religious ritual as Cretan athletes dared death by vaulting over the horns of charging bulls. This early pagan culture epitomized in many respects the finest example of Earth centered spirituality on the planet, celebrating life and nature in culture, art, and religious expression. Here, worship of the Great Goddess was a central tenet everyday life, art and spirituality—and here we see the juxtaposition of the Bull as a symbol of uncontrollable masculine power in service to the Power of the Feminine in Nature, as personified in the Goddess Artemis.

It was in ancient Crete where the god Dionysus was said to have been born in a cave, nursed by bees, from a union between the Sky God Zeus and a human woman, Semele. Dionysus was the god of women, sexual ecstasy, the irrational feminine in the male, and the taking of sacred drugs. In Crete, the poppy was the sacred halucinatory plant. In Greece, it was wine. In the myth of Dionysus, the child god was pursued by Hera, wife of Zeus, in jealous rage at the promiscuity of her divine husband, and the child had to be hidden and raised as a girl. The confusion over his gender drove the young god mad, and from that point on, wherever the god went, his "bees" or Maenads--women who danced themselves into trance and engaged in sacred journeys into the wilderness--would fall upon his enemies and tear them to pieces with their hands and teeth.

Dionysus is the power of the Unconscious and the Irrational in Mankind.

Nevertheless, the presence of Dionysius among the archetypes of man creates a saving grace for Mankind, for it is his irrational side which saves Mankind from his arrogance and cold-blooded rationalism. Mankind cannot survive as pure rational masculine being, for man has his animal nature. It is Mankind's irrational nature which "saves him" from self-destructive cruelty.

Dionysus was also known as “the Bull God.” In ancient rituals, the sacrifice of the "bull" and later, the "goat", and even a "grape vine" represented the death of the god, who later was reborn, in the widespread "dying god" motif of mythology. Even in Christianity, Jesus Christ was depicted as "Dionysus", the dying god in many artworks of the Middle Ages.

The Bull is also the symbol of the astrological sign of Taurus, which is ruled by Venus. Like in ancient Minoa, the power of the Bull manifests under the august personage of the Goddess.

The Divine Bull is a god of thunderstorms, lightning and rain, fertilizing the earth with rain and, through his sacrifice, his blood. His raw power brings growth, the peacefulness of summer days, kindness of community, security, and abundance.

The Sacred Bull is the symbol of the King who serves his people. In many ancient cultures, a king was selected to serve his people through combat, but when he got too old, he was challenged by a younger warrior and killed. He became the "dying god" himself--sacrificed to the goddess in service to life, like the seed must die for the plant to grow. Through his sacrifice, his blood nourished his kingdom's soil, creating life in the form of new crops.

Taurus is a feminine, earth sign, and reflects the gifts of the earth goddess; gifts like abundance, security, growth, protectiveness, creativity, peacefulness, kindness. However, like all archetypes, Taurus may manifest in negative ways, like materialism, smothering love, emotional instability, restlessness, passivity, moodiness, obsessiveness, worry, and treacherousness.

Where the power of the bull is not allowed expression in our personalities and lives—which is to say, where the power of darkness, might, ferocity, wildness, and irrationality is not admitted into the psyche as an aspect of our natural expression—the power of the bull turns negative and becomes exploitative materialism rather than the natural spirituality of oneness with nature, smothering love rather than empowering love, emotional instability and rage rather than spontaneity, repression rather than full acceptance of one’s own full nature, obsessiveness rather than detachment, moodiness rather than emotional fluidity, and passivity rather than natural masculine aggressiveness.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Osprey - Guide of Lovers and the Heartsick

Symbol of Royalty and the Sun,
Illumination, Authority, Sovereignty,
Visionary Power, Vigilance, Communication,
Egyptian Symbol of the Soul,
Hermes, Psychopomp, Messenger,

The Osprey is a beautifully marked member of the Hawk family; a fisher which dives from the air directly into the waters of ocean waterways, lakes and rivers to spear its watery prey. Often mistaken for a eagle, the Osprey has nearly an all white head, but sports a mask of black across its eye. Its tail feathers are a deep golden brown, with black spots; its beast and under-wings white. In eastern North America, the Osprey is found along coasts, but sometimes ventures inland hundreds of miles.

Like all hawks, the Osprey carries the symbolisms of power, vision, and spirit; thus, its association with Hermes, or Mercurius, god of communication and messenger of Heaven. At home in the air (mind), Osprey brings us together through lies; not the lying of lower dimensions, but Great Lies that make up Creative process Itself: clever redefinitions, arguments or perspectives which free persons caught in the past from their taboos, forbiddings, or self-imposed exile from love. Free of human concepts of good or evil, Osprey finds ways for both winners and losers in life to walk away feeling that they gained something from their experiences. Thus, diplomats, businesspeople, liars and thieves all are aided by such totem animals.

A trickster, Osprey even has the power to trick humans into loving one another again. Water is also the element of our emotions; diving into our emotions opens us to new softness in relationships, opening of the heart-spaces, and willingness to take greater risks for the greater good. Osprey sells us so cleverly on our need to be open that we never even suspect he’s different from other predators. Whereas they take, he gives. While you lose your wishes, your needs, your hope, and your will, you find out later how much you’ve gained. You learn how to love yourself so you can give others the love they need!

Are you lying down on the job of developing your own potential? Have you given up on life? Osprey's lies trick us into faith that divine love will never abandon us, guiding us as the gods might towards service or some other life focus until we can re-establish our will-to-live. His mask deceives us into believing that some other gods might be here, guiding. In fact, he is the only one. He is our own unknown potential for love and majesty, hidden but manifesting lies to free us of divine illusions. He is the voices of loving self deception for purposes we might never understand. He is teaching us that we are creators, liars, losers or winners, experiencing this loving lie that is life itself. And in the end, he ensures that we understand this.

Osprey is different than other hawks in important respects. No other member of the hawk family leaves its natural element of the air (Consciousness) to enter the element of water (the Unconscious). Even fish eagles like the Bald Eagle do not enter the water, but clasp their fishy prey with their claws as they skim along the surface of the water. In fact, a large portion of the food of eagles comes from fish stolen from ospreys.

Like Hermes, the Osprey is allowed to enter the Underworld as psychopomp, guide of souls, to bring treasures back and as your totem can lead you there to find the lost parts of yourself. The Underworld is the personal and the collective unconscious, symbolized by the element of water. Entering these nether regions are often dangerous, and without the power to return the mind (air) can become lost and descend into madness. Osprey brings us back into ordinary life after our dark nights of the soul.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Weasel - Silent Observation

Sly Circumvention, Silent Observation
Ferreting out of Secrets
Totem animal of Royalty, Liars and Thieves,
Salesmen, Businesspeople, Travelers,
Diplomats, Magicians;

Solitary by nature, Weasels are small carnivores who feed upon mice, other rodents, insects, lizards and other small animals. With their short legs, taloned claws, and long bodies, weasels are fierce hunters, stalking their prey silently and stealthily until they can attack from ambush. They can follow mice and other rodents right into their holes and burrows. Most of their prey is then taken back to their dens, which are also in underground holes, where it can be eaten safely.

Weasel medicine is the ability to track and ferret out prey surreptitiously. Stealth and silent observation are the prominent characteristics of weasel people. Because they are small, sly and stay hidden, they bring people with this totem the ability to 'listen in' without being noticed by others. Such people are very good at picking up secrets others would never tell them.

Because weasels are small, they are vulnerable to larger predators, so weasels—and weasel people—should never take on more powerful competitors directly. But then, they don’t need to. Stealth, cunning and expert use of camoflage is one of the more successful survival strategies in the wild.

Society usually holds that direct confrontation is the measure of a man or assertive woman. But all too frequently, confrontation with a more powerful person leads to loss of a job, a dangerous physical conflict or loss of an opportunity. Weasel people seldom are promoted into the top positions in business or industry. They are not leaders. However, they make superb leutenants, because they will execute orders with cunning and stealth. Many are caught up in the rules of righteousness or ethical behavior. Weasel people have to rid themselves of such attitudes in organizational politics, because these attitudes expose the individual to overpowering force from more powerful forces. Weasel survives through flattery, subterfuge, lies or near lies, ambiguous answers or excuses. He may not be well liked, or even in a powerful position. But he survives when others get their pink slips.

Weasel people are often solitary, but get along well enough with everyone. The "Eddie Haskel" of the animal kingdom, they take what they need and are not ostentatious about it. They don’t poke into other’s business or step on toes. They really want no trouble from anyone, but they can deliver a ferocious “bite” if attacked. Even larger “predators” tend to be cautious with a weasel person, and if they should make an enemy of a weasel person, learn never to turn their back on them.

Weasel deals with competing animals furtively, and can dispose of their competition and provide for themselves without danger to themselves. In Nature, survival is the only criteria of success of a species, and those who would learn from nature would do well to emulate the successes of weasel, who often lives and prospers in the shadow of more powerful and dangerous animals. His survival depends on knowing when a dangerous predator is in the area as well as where to seek his own food safely.

Silently watching and listening, weasel people know who is “in” and who is “out,” which way a decision is going, and who is a critical ally in any situation, using that information to position themselves in any organization. They keep their own counsel, remain silent and uncommitted, avoid taking positions in disputes prematurely, wait to see who takes which position. Then, they make themselves useful to others so that they are seen as an ally to people on all sides of any dispute.

Monday, June 12, 2006

WHALE - The Power of Creation

Containment, Concealment and Resurrection,
The World, the Body and the Grave,
The Power of the Unconscious,
The Truth and Strength of the Inner Being,
The Descent into the Dark,
The Awakening of our Inner Depths,
The Mystic Mandorla or vesca piscis,
Creation, Practical Use of one’s Creativity.

With 90 or so different species of cetaceans or whales, the whale is the largest mammal on earth. Some whales are toothed, eating fish, seals and other marine life, while others have baleen in place of teeth, feeding on plankton and the sea life within this sea weed.

Whales have held spiritual associations and archetypal meanings for many cultures through the ages. The list above describes some of the key associations. It is an ancient symbol for creation. In Jewish and Islamic spiritual texts, the whale symbolizes containment, concealment and resurrection—as Jonah was swallowed by the whale and forced to wander in the dark of the belly for three days before being spit back up. There comes a time for each of us when we are swallowed up by the whale and descend into our dark places. In the belly of the whale, each of us teeter between heaven and earth, being both macrocosm and microcosm; at any instant, we could tip over into macrocosm and enlightenment. It is in the dark night of the soul where we meet the Creator.

In modern psychotherapy, this period of containment and imprisonment symbolizes man’s descent into the darkness of his shadow or into his Unconscious for a period of introspection and death, before being “reborn” or resurrected as a new being.

In dreams, being swallowed by a whale is archetypically the passing of the Threshold of the Heroic Quest into the Darkness of the Underworld, where the dreamer must confront his demons and dragon, find his pearl without price, and return to the World of Mankind changed, renewed and prepared to bring his gift to the waiting world. The whale is the world, our very bodies, and the place where each and everyone of us experiences the transformation of souls.

The whale swims in deep waters, and is a power of the deepest part of the Unconscious. Like Herman Melville’s Moby Dick, the medicine of whale can bring an obsessive need to be with the gods rather than be here living life as a human, or bring the need to capture and possess the love of god rather than allow Creation Its own regimes and element of existence. Whale dives deep and lives in the depths with the intent of the Creation to be innocently aware of itself and awake in the worlds of man and God. Swallowed by the Whale, Man becomes the Creator.

In general, the whale is not a predator of man. Even so-called “Killer whales” or Orcas, seldom attack men or people in the water. Recently, I have dreamed of Orca in ways which suggest that It represents the power of Creation offering itself to us in this time and age: a power of the Unconscious Sea upon which we all dwell. Creation is bringing a new Creativity to Man—a time of renewal and change is upon us all. All about us are signs of a more tangible love from the Power of Creation. These gifts of creativity should be used with wisdom and love—for both ourselves and others.

The pursuit of wisdom and spirituality must bring all peoples together rather than holding us apart, for the loss of love is deepening the needs of many for signs that they are loved here on Earth. Feelings of loss and lovelessness are driving men and woman into despair where they do harm to themselves and others. Now is the time to reach out to others, including the poor and downtrodden, those of different religious persuasions, and different social classes. Now is the time for power to be used more wisely and justly for everyone is here to be transformed.

The Needs and Wants of all beings here on Earth should be honored and respected, including the plants and animals. Life is here to be honored as sacred. Our emerging creativity must bear fruit in the form of love among all peoples, regardless of divisions of race, religion, or nationality so that peace might reign as once promised; or else it will not be continued as before.

If whale has shown up in your life, it is time to re-examine your use or lack of use of your creativity. Are you copying others and their ideas, or are you adapting their ideas to new and pragmatic uses to improve the lot of others? Each man and woman possesses this gift, to be reined in if it is not well used. Think of ourselves as the ‘prodigal son’ or ‘daughter’ who has been given priceless gifts of creativity and adaptation; how are you using your gifts? And what return will you take to the Father as you complete your assignments here on earth?

Sources: J.E. Ciriot, A Dictionary of Symbols
Jean Chevalier & Alain Gheerbrant, Dictionary of Symbols
Ted Andrews, Animal Speak
Alice Anne Parker, Understand Your Dreams

Swan - The Beauty of the Soul

From ancient times, Swans symbolized the Beauty of the Soul. Totem of the child, the poet, the mystic and the dreamer, the coming of Swan intensifies the emotions and the feeling nature within man and woman, as the Soul rises to the surface to feel its way in the Sunlight of Earth.

In myth, swans pulled the god Apollo’s chariot across the heavens, signifying that our own lower selves are pulled along in the wake of the Soul’s own journey.

The Soul’s Beauty is too great for this weary world, and she comes only occasionally, preferring—like the Swan--to remain in her own cold realms of inner conscousness. But when she does come, she is so bright, so bright, that many fall beneath Her spell. She calls many to tragic ends seeking a Beauty which is not for this world.

In ancient Greece, the Elders taught that no animal sings so sweet as the swan as she dies. In fantasy and faery, swans transformed into beautiful women, drawing men into hopeless yearning for that which could never be possessed. Swans were sacred to Aphrodite, goddess of Love. Once touched by Swan, men can feel their hearts, and the music of poetry awakens within them. Yet Beauty is also perilous, for once men have drunk of Beauty, they cannot live without it. Passion denied is the dark side of the soul’s need, for men destroy the things they love.

In the youngest children, the soul stirs and feels its “inferiority.” This is why children relate so well to the Tale of the Ugly Duckling. For in their innocence, they yearn to be loved, as does the Soul, for itself. And adults wonder about the shining eyes of their little ones as they gaze uncertainly upon the world in which they find themselves.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Badger - Keeper and Teller of Stories

Bold Self-Expression and Self-Reliance

Badger is a keeper of knowledge of the Earth and her animals. In her dens below the ground, she hears the Earth speak and knows much about Her wholeness. Badger brings these stories she hears far below the ground up into the light and tells them to the children of the Earth. She sees below the surface of life and understands what she sees and hears. So she is the Story Teller of the animal kingdom.

Badger is carnivorous and eats many smaller animals. As she takes these animals within her, she absorbs their knowledge and stories.

Incredibly tough and resilient, badger has been known to take the kill from a mountain lion. Very few animals will take on an adult badger. It is an incredibly fierce fighter.

Badger is an unsociable animal. It does not “relate” well with others-even its own kind. It looks after its own needs. Those who would feed off badger or her kills soon learn that they had better look elsewhere. One might think that an animal such as badger would be lonely, but she is quite comfortable in her aloneness, self-reliant and centered. Badger needs no one to make her happy because she is grounded and comfortable with her self.

Like other members of the weasel family, badger is cunning. Provoke her and she’ll make you sorry you did. She has immensely powerful jaws and razor sharp claws. Try to move her and she’ll dig into the Earth and not be moved.

If badger has come into your life, you should ask yourself: are you looking beneath the surface of things? Have you become ungrounded and too ethereal in your spirituality? Do you need to get grounded. Are you giving away your power to others by depending on others to meet your needs? Are you comfortable in your aloneness? Are you disconnected from the Earth and its animal spirits?

If badger is one of your totem or power animal, you are fortunate for she will help you to live in the present in your power. And when you are ready, she’ll help you tell your story to others so that they too will feel their own power, their love for themselves and their wholeness.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Goat - The Ecstasy of Nature

Fertility, Vitality
Creative Energy
Lust, Unbridled Sexual Powers
The Sin of Lust

Goat carries a number of symbolic meanings that give him both positive and negative messages. Goat has long symbolized sexual lust, but sexual energy is the very energy of life. Therefore, goat gives us vitality to live our lives with passion and enthusiasm for sexual relationships. Without the passion of sexuality, fertility is lacking, both in procreation and in creative pursuits. The body also requires sexuality to move energy efficiently. Those who become and remain celibate often “dry up” and lose energy, creativity, and enthusiasm for life.

Obsessive focus on sex however is generally considered a negative personality trait of some men, whose interest in the opposite sex is primarily focused on their need for sexual activity rather than intimacy or commitment. Women recognize such men and rightfully think of them as Old Goats!

Goat is a negative symbol in Christianity, which gives Goat an association with Lust as Sin.

In Greek mythology, the god Pan was half human, half goat in appearance. He played a flute which he used to lure the unwary into the wilderness. He was known for seducing human women into orgies in nature. Pan symbolized the Ecstasy of Nature; that Life and its Creation is sexuality. Pan draws our attention to another realm of Reality—a Realm where sex is neither immoral nor ‘good’, but simply a Law of the Creator. Sex is Sacred in this Realm of Nature of the Old Ways before Man decided to make lust and sex a sin.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Spider - Weaver of Webs (Fate or Karma)

Guardian of Ancient Languages and Alphabets,
Polarity and Balance, Creativity,
Death and Rebirth,
Magic of Writing,
Gentleness with Strength.

Spider has long had symbolic meanings in many cultures through history. To Native Americans, spider's archetypal form was Spider Woman, a trickster immortal who might help the seeker or devour her. Often, the seeker must pass a test or answer a riddle before Spider Woman decides whether the seeker is to be helped in her quest or eaten for lunch.

In India, Spider symbolized the Laws of Cause and Effect. Her webs held humans fast in their illusions (Maya) until their learned that their own actions had caused their painful life experiences. Once learned, Seekers found her need was kindness, and they discovered their Dharma.

Her eight legs speak of the Mayan Twenty Count, where Eight is the number of the Laws of Cycles and the Book of Life. When we have lessons written in our Books of Life, they are karmic requirements. So when Spider lays down the Law, we must listen and do as she tells us. The Seasons of our Lives have their time. We must accept the natural cycles of birth, existence and death.

Spider teaches us that everything we do has consequences which may carry well beyond this life. Do No Harm is Her Lesson.

Spider wove the web of the Universe. When morning first came to the Universe, the dew drops glistened on her web in the dawning sky, and the First People named the points of light in the skies “Stars.” She was called First Creator for many Aeons.

Spider symbolizes three magics: The magic and energy of Creation, the magic of writing, and the Magic of the Spiral or Labyrinth.

Spider is the Guardian of ancient languages and alphabets. In old myths, letters were created from the patterns and angles in spider webs. Spider gives the gift of writing which can catch others in their webs of thought and emotion.

Possibly because the female of the species sometimes eats the male after mating, Spider has been associated in some myths with Death and Rebirth. She is also associated with the Moon.

In her dark aspect, Spider is associated with murder and horror. Out of mankind’s primal past, an image has also come which causes both men and women to recoil in terror at the touch or close proximity of Spider. Spider reminds us how we too once were prey of animals which ate us.

If spider has come into your life, you should ask yourself: are you caught in a web of karmic issues? Do you keep holding onto the things in life you shouldn’t? Are you in pain because you can’t let go of losing and winning? Do you need to spin a new web of dreams and life directions? Do you blame others for your not getting your needs met? If so, call on Spider to aid you. To find Her, you will need to go down into dark places within yourself to find your own answers to your frustrated needs. Spider often also brings the gift of writing; do you need to write?