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.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

The Red Hawk

Message-Bringer, Visionary, Protector

Hawk is one of the most mystical of the great birds of prey. As an archetypal symbol, it is associated with the god Hermes, the messenger, healer, and psychopomp—ferrying souls into and out of the Underworld. Hawk is a communicator, bringing us messages from the Collective Unconscious-or in more mythic language—from the Underworld.

A raptor, Hawk feeds on rodents, snakes and rabbits. Those having this totem should also study the medicines of these animals. For example, those who are detailed oriented (mouse-people) can find in Hawk people the leadership they seek. Those who reach the time of their life when they are ready to leave the past behind (snake-people), find in Hawk the wings to fly. Those who fear and avoid life (rabbit-people), will find through Hawk the courage to face their fear.

Hawk rises into the air where it may witness all that happens below. At height, it can see the whole forest, but the sharpness of its glance gives it all the details below on the forest floor as well. If Hawk is your totem, you will discover that you have the ability to see what others cannot see, that you see the whole as well as the parts of issues that divide us.

I have always found Hawk to be my personal symbol of the Spirit. It is associated with the number 14 and the 14th card of the Tarot: Temperance. On the path of Temperance upon the Tree of Life, we are learning to balance between the opposites. Here, we learn to challenge our concepts of right and wrong, good and bad, winning and losing. We learn the tread the middle way and embrace faith, hope and charity. By balancing between the extremes, conflict will pass and the journeyer will discover peaceful acceptance of life.

In the Mayan Twenty Count, the Number 14 refers to the God Coatyl, who is the Blue Sky Father, the Holy Spirit, and the Spirit of the Animals. Coatyl is the teacher of Hope, Health, Happiness, Harmony and Humor. Hawk is his symbol of lightning.

In the teachings of the Quabala, the 14th Path on the Tree of Life is the path between the Moon (Yesod) and the Sun (Tiphareth). The 14th Path is known as the Desert Way, and by some as the Dark Night of the Soul: the descent of a man (or woman) into the Dark Night as the soul begins to search for the meaning of its living.

The sight of Hawk can lift our hearts and spirit when all seems lost. The lesson of the 14th Path is not that rescue will come to make our lives all right again; the lesson is to appreciate the ecstasy of being alive. The challenge of the 14th Path is to balance and tread the middle way, free from the extremes of thought or emotion, through the agony and joys of life. As psychopomp to the gods, Hawk/Hermes leads us down the pathless path into the Dark, and then back up into the Light.

In Hawk, we can see the fierceness and beauty of life as it is in the natural world. No mercy. Life and death together. Eat or be eaten. Beauty and ecstasy together.

In dreams, the appearance of Hawk symbolizes royalty and its qualities: power, authority, and sovereignty. If you are dreaming of hawk, perhaps it is time for you too to begin your journey into the dark spaces within yourself--to see who you are and what lies you are telling yourself and others about your own dark brothers or sisters.

Friday, February 24, 2006

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 life journeys as conscious beings are also gently pulled 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.