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.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Wolf--Teacher of the Path with Heart




Symbol of Guardianship, Ritual, Loyalty, and Spirit

Wolves are the epitome of the wild spirit. Their positive characteristics are so numerous it is no wonder that Native Americans and others practically deified them. Many believe that the true test of American’s sincerity about protecting the environment will revolve around whether or not the wolf remains protected and is allowed to be reintroduced into areas of the country where it has heretofore been eliminated. The wolf is the true spirit of the free and unspoiled wilderness.

Wolf medicine teaches you to know who you are and to develop strength, confidence and surety so that you do not have to demonstrate and prove yourself to others. Wolf empowers our voice and body to be an effective communicator. He teaches us how to be a cooperating member of our packs and how to stand up for ourselves when we disagree with others. And he leads us into true intimacy with others of our kind. Wolf can teach us our alpha male and alpha female sides and put us in touch with our primal, animal natures.

Learning to trust your own insights and to secure your attachments according is part of what wolf medicine teaches. The wolf can help you to hear the inner and guard you from inappropriate actions. It will guard you as it teaches you—sometimes strongly, sometimes gently—but always with love.

Wolf is the Teacher of one’s Path with Heart. Wolf will lead you back to your natural self, out in the wilderness where the pack runs under the full moon, running the deer into deep places within your soul.

When wolf shows up in your life, it is time to breathe new life into your life rituals. Find a new path, take a new journey, take control of your life. You are the governor of your life. You create it and direct it. Do so with harmony and discipline, and then you will know the true spirit of freedom. Where wolf leads one will also be well.

Wolf also shows no mercy and kills his prey quickly and without sentimentality. By reputation, wolf is vicious, mercenary, attacks without provocation, and is at home under Nature’s Law of kill or be killed. Wolf loves the hunt. Here, there is true wildness and wolf will bring us home to our own wildness.

With thanks to Ted Andrews, Animal Speak.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

The Bee - Power of Collective Consciousness



















Industriousness,
Organizational Efficiency,
Cleanliness, Purity,
Symbolizes the Soul, the Sun, or Christ,
The Gifts of Poesy and Prophecy,
Sexuality, the Womb and Death.


What animal archetype could be more appropriate to describe the contradictions within the Western psyche than “Bee?” For like Mankind, Bee stands between the Divine and the Mundane, the most conscious and the least, the productive and the compulsively driven!

Ted Andrews’ research maintains that bees appear in many mythologies around the world. Hinduism considers the Bee to symbolize Vishnu, Krishna, or even Kama—the god of Love. In ancient Egypt, the Bee symbolized royality. In Greece, it was part of the symbolism of the Eleusinian Mysteries. To the Celts, Bee symbolized hidden wisdom. And to Christians, Bee symbolized Christ.

In more modern times, science was for many years confounded by the bee, perceiving it as an insect that was ‘too heavy to fly’, and yet it did. It earned the reputation of being the Rocky Balboa of the insect kingdom: able to “do the impossible.” Like Rocky, Bee became an imago for all who saw themselves as facing impossible odds and yet were determined to win.

Bees are always working, going, gathering pollen and making honey. But like Man, Bee gathers and does far more than required to feed himself. Beekeepers take away much of a hive’s honey to sell, returning very little in security to their tiny charges. But Bee just keeps working, locked in its own world of prescribed roles and duties.

From the outside, Bee is the very model of duty and industriousness—all characteristics admired in western economic thought and culture. Bees are orderly and efficient, managing their hives and work schedules so effectively that businessmen and government bureaucrats might well choose this imago as an ideal model to emulate in their own realms of responsibility. They keep their hives clean and hygienic, providing an idealized model for our homemakers, religious and social organizations: doing good, keeping busy, cleaning house, caring for the children, making money, being and doing “good”, and doing one’s duty.

These qualities of Bee remind us how our modern economic system seems totally dependent upon collective effort and creativity rather than individual effort and creativity; so complex has modern economic life become that it is impossible to think of our capital and technology-driven economy remaining viable without carefully coordinated effort by many persons who possess many specialized skills. Bee does not have much of the artist or entrepreneur in it, for such energies are driven by individualized callings and passions.

But the dark side of these qualities are rigidity, inflexibility, conformity to collective order, mindless activity, and the imposition of collective values and priorities without individual rights or responsibility. Bee thus also symbolizes the compulsiveness of Man’s unconscious programming to work and unthinkingly attend to social or work duties over personal or individual need. Much of Mankind, like sterile worker Bees, spend their lives thoughtlessly leading sterile existences. Or like soldier Bees, our professional soldiers, defending the homeland against all enemies, foreign or domestic. Individual judgment and survival are not important against the needs of the collective.

As the single bee is a part of the hive, so too is the individual’s soul a part of the Anima Mundi—the World Soul. In India, the Soul is viewed as a collective entity—like the hive; Hinduism believe that all humans have a common soul. In the West, it is much more common today to visualize one’s soul as an individual part of oneself. In pre-Christian eras when paganism and the power of the Mother Goddess was supreme in the tribes of man, the soul was also seen as an elemental power—a part of Nature. Bee’s gold color linked it to the Sun and the Solar Energies of Apollo. Even today, spiritual movements such as Theosophy still refer to the soul as the Solar Angel.

The hive is populated by several types of bees. The Queen is the only female allowed to live in the hive. Whenever any bee is fed royal jelly by caretakers and is born female, the Queen will kill them if not prevented by her caretakers. Drones are males whose only purpose is to breed new queens. Soldier bees guard the hive. And workers are sterile eunuchs whose only purpose is to gather pollen and make honey.

As Queen of the Hive, the Queen Bee is the ultimate tyrant. Like many CEO’s of large corporation, She is also captive of her Hive and can never escape her duties. She is the epitome of the Earth Mother or Great Mother archetype, being both the Source of Life for her species and Death Mother of her young, as she destroys her female young as they emerge from their birth chambers. Like the Queen, Man’s business and political leaders ruthlessly cull aggressive challengers from their staffs to ensure that they are never successfully challenged, selecting eunuch-like staff who subordinate themselves to the CEO and are loyal workers.

The shapes of bee hives have associations to burial mounds. Anyone who has visited the famous “beehive tomb” in Greece will recognize the ancient association of the hive with the burial tomb. So too, in our modern organizations, Man has entombed himself in burial tombs of steel and glass, away from the sunny fields of flowers and open skies outside, so that he can attend to his compulsive duties within the Underworlds of government and business without distraction. The hive is also associated with the womb. Sex and death speak through this imago of the eternal cycle of the wheel of incarnation from birth, to death and back again into life.

Bees also have symbolism from early Christian mythologies. In earlier times, bees were believed not to birth young themselves but instead harvested their young from flowers. Thus, bees became early symbols of virgin birth and the immaculate conception. Because of this belief, they were also associated with Jesus’ birth.

Honey, the food produced by bees, was associated in earlier times with “ambrosia”—the food of the gods. As a result, they became associated with the gift of the Muse—poetry and music—and with the gift of prophecy. Priestesses of the Delphic Oracle were called “bees.” And offerings of honey and honey cakes were made on altars to the gods and goddesses of yore. Similar mentions were made in the Christian Bible; Israel’s ‘promised land’ was the Land of Milk and Honey.

Finally, bees are associated with sexuality or lust, due to their capacity to “sting.” Here, the ancient mythic connection between sex and death is imaged, for when bees sting, they die from the wound in themselves when the stinger remains behind and is wrenched out of their bodies. In this, they join the salmon, the mantis, and the black widow spider—all of whom demonstrate the closeness of sex and death in their mating and spawning.

Bee reminds us to hold on to our individuality and not to lose ourselves in collective duties or in our social programming which ties our identities, our self-worth, and our self-respect to what others ‘at work’ think of us. Life is far more than work, but work also gives meaning to life. Like all other archetypes, Bee is paradox. Bee shows us that life is both nirvana and samsara at the same time, and the fullness of our lives is all in how we look at it. Bee is therefore also a reminder to “make honey while the sun shines”, to live life fully and in the present, for tomorrow we die.

Bibliography

Ted Andrews, Animal Speak (Llewellyn Publications: 1998), page 337-338.

Rosemary Ellen Guiley, The Encyclopedia of Dreams (Berkeley Books: New York, 1995), page 166.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Great Blue Heron




















Aggressive Self-Reliance,
Self Determination


The archetype of the Great Blue Heron has been a strong factor in our own personal journey. Has it been for yours?

Heron links two worlds: the waters of life—the Unconscious, and the air—the realm of the conscious mind. He feeds on fishes, which symbolize the treasures of the Unconscious mind: spiritual nourishment for the Seeker. Yet he is also a creature of the Earth, so he is a grounding influence for people who spend too much time in their minds and who are called to ‘fish’ in the waters of the unconscious.

The legs of Heron are long to “stand” the deep waters of the Unconscious: the Waters of Lethe bring sleepiness and unconsciousness if one is not awake, aware and wary. Heron is a solitary fisher; if you call upon Heron to be your own totem, you must be able to stand alone as you seek, for there is no one to call on should you step into too-deep waters.

Heron’s strength for those of us who spend too much time ‘in our minds’ is that he brings one down to Earth. With Heron as your guide, he will bring you to ground to explore life here in the physical instead of just daydreaming or losing oneself in one’s imagination or dreams.

Since as fishers of these waters our attention is constantly drawn back to the treasures of the Unconscious, we tend to lose interest in the matters other humans focus upon. We are not the most stable workers, or attentive spouses, or normal neighbors. We tend to be more than a little eccentric, preoccupied, inwardly turned people. We’re dreamers, liars, creating things out of our discoveries, imagining new things to be and do. We’re deeply engaged with exploring our naturalness, learning to know our bodies, or exploring Divine Nature. We’re unconventional, hearing our own inner drummer. We don’t worry about ‘keeping up with the Jones’s, doing what others do, believing what others believe, valuing what others value. If there is a weakness, it is that Heron works too hard at its fishing because he is a superb ‘stalker.’ He spends long hours standing and watching for a movement in the water, and needs sometimes to ‘loosen up’ and spend more time playing, courting lady herons or just snoozing in the Sun.

Because they are unconventional people, Heron people often must learn to make their living being ‘jacks of all trades’-picking up income from a variety of jobs, projects, part-time assignments-rather than a routine, full-time job with one employer. Most people, as Ted Andrews says in his book Animal Speak, would never choose to live this way: “It is not a structured way, and does not have a stability or security to it. It is though, just a matter of perspective. There is security in heron medicine, for it gives the ability to do a variety of tasks. If one way doesn’t work, then another will.”[1]

Solitary in nature, Heron people follow their own path. They learn self-reliance. This is a valuable character trait in these times of conformity and homogenization of values. Heron people can stand alone, listen to their own inner wisdom, and go their own way when everyone else is conforming to society’s commands. In this way, they build their own ways to be as well as choose their own way of doing. They are individuals first.

On the negative side, many heron people get lost in their emotions (water) and lose the discipline of reason or will, forgetting to come to Earth to live life to its fullest, or even getting lost in that ‘vastness’ which is the realm of forgetting and dream, sentimentalizing life and its meaning rather than getting on with life as it is. Heron people occasionally have to be reminded to stay Present in their lives; that Heaven is here spread upon the Earth (as Jesus said in the Gospel of Thomas).

Footnotes:
[1] Ted Andrews, Animal Speak (Llewellyn Publications: 1998), page 156.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Bear - Great Mother


Awakener of the Power of the Unconscious
The Great Mother Archetype
The Great Sleeper-Dreamer
Raw Power, Primitive Instincts

Historically, Bear has many associations among the cultures of the Earth. One of the most consistent of those associations is the link between Bear and the Moon, which ties her with our emotions, souls and subconscious mind. She was linked with the Goddess Diana, the Huntress, and was a symbol for the nigredo of prime matter in alchemy, as well as man’s primal instincts. She represents tribal consciousness rather than individual consciousness and individuation, and awakens each of us to the power of the Collective Unconscious. Tribal consciousness has little regard for individuality in the interest of the traditions of the tribe; it is a matriarchial archetypal identity which stresses ones roles within and obligations to society, family, or clan instead of the freedom of individual expression.

Bear is a great power of the Unconscious mind who awakens and then protects us on our hero’s or heroine’s journey into the subconscious and Collective Unconscious.

She hibernates for many months during winter, spending months asleep in Her Den. While she sleeps, her little ones are born. It is in dreams therefore that She often comes to us and works with us. She is the Great Sleeper-Dreamer Teacher who protects us, her little one’s, in the dreamscape that we may stay safe in that great Unknown of the 5th Dimension.

The Den is a symbol of the womb and the Collective Unconscious. Bear symbolizes Great Mother, both archetype and personal mother, with all that implies. She therefore carries the positive power and “medicine” of the creative feminine, birth-mother, nurturer, protector and teacher. In her dark aspect, she symbolizes the death mothers who kill or abuse their young by spoiling, overcontrolling or figuratively castrating their young boys, or over-controlling, crushing the spirits of, or humiliating their daughters.

In dream analysis, Bear can symbolize resurrection, rebirth, initiation into a new life passage. Because of its seasonal hibernations, bear can symbolize the cycle of birth, death and rebirth. In alchemy, the bear has a similar meaning, representing the dark night of the soul--the darkness that occurs before spiritual rebirth or a new phase in life. And in some hero myths, the bear can represent the solar, masculine principle.

Bear creates for young males the challenge of separating from the Mother in a positive way in order that they may come into their own power. Failing to separate implies that sons forever seek to return to the womb and seek mothering from their wives and girl friends. In presenting this challenge to males however, Bear strengthens them and gives meaning to their journey through life, for it is only through struggle with opposition that men discover their inner strengths and win their way to freedom. And it is only through finding the positive relationship with women that men find meaning in their existence. For in that relationship, men discover their feminine or “feeling” sides which make them feel alive and gives purpose to their lives. For women, Bear challenges them to pass quickly through the negative aspects of the mother that they may reach the positive archetypal energies of loving protector who fights ferociously to protect their young.

Bear is a great power among the animal teachers of man. Seek Her inside yourselves and be well with this lesson.

Friday, March 10, 2006

The Eagle




Nobility, Great Spirit’s Bird,
Messenger of the Spirit, Spirit of the Sun,
Pride, Triumph, Fierceness, Power,
Liberty, Liberation, Illumination,
The Father

Eagle has so many regal associations throughout history, it is difficult to list them all. The Eagle has inspired many cultures. Kings and Religious Orders in countless cultures have used the symbol of the Eagle to symbolize that which is Spirit, Noble, and Inspiring.

In the religion of ancient Greece, the Lord of the gods, Zeus, was said to shapeshift into an eagle to control the thunder and the lightning. The Sumerians worshipped an eagle god, and the Hittites had a tribal symbol of a two-headed eagle indicating that they were vigilant. To the Romans, the eagle symbolized Jupiter and the Roman Empire. To native Americans, the eagle represented the ancient mythological Thunderbird, which symbolized punishment and reward and controlled the thunder and lightning.

There are several types of eagles, including fish eagles, sea eagles, snake eagles, harpy eagles, bald eagles and golden eagles. Each type carries unique associations in their symbolism. The only eagles on the North American continent, however, are the bald and golden eagles. The bald eagle is larger than the golden, cannot fly as high and is not so graceful as the Golden. The bald eagle is a symbol of the feminine, whereas the golden eagle symbolizes the masculine. As a fish eagle, the bald eagle symbolizes the spirit of man which reaches down into the unconscious to discover the truth about himself. The Golden Eagle is a booted eagle, possessing a mantle of feathers on its head and neck (which give them their fierce look) and feathers on its legs that look like boots.

Among native Americans, eagle feathers are used in healing ceremonies and pipe ceremonies and for war bonnets of the chief. Warriors earned their feathers, which they wore in their hair in battle and ceremony to give them a connection with spirit. In their prayers, warriors called to Eagle--Wombade, Great Spirit’s Messenger--to carry their prayers to Great Spirit and bring Visions.

In dreams, eagle symbolizes spiritual victory, the triumph of spirit in matter, the spiritual principle of humanity, illumination, nobility and mind. Jung felt that the eagle symbolized the Father God. Among early Christians, the eagle symbolized resurrection.

Those who would align themselves with the medicine of the eagle will surrender to the Will of Spirit, surrendering ego
; we are our own Spirits in this encounter with the Lord of Wind and Fire. Alignment means aligning with one’s soul force energies, balancing the masculine and feminine within, and being well with living Life as a human being on this Earth.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

TIGER - Wild Beauty and Power











Passion and Sensuality
The Master of the Life on this Earth
Intelligence

Anyone who has seen a Tiger knows that she has seen something special. Few animals possess the charisma, power and elegance of Tiger—or the deadly grace either. Today, Tiger’s numbers have been decimated by poachers, but once his range extended from Siberia down into the southeastern Asian peninsula. In Siberia, Tiger’s prey is largely wild boar; in southeast Asia, the Bengal Tiger’s prey is deer. These animals should also be studied by all who have Tiger as their totem.

Tiger is a solitary hunter. The males range over vast ranges, while the females stay in local areas, raise their kittens, and hunt at night, teaching their young to hunt. Unlike many cats, Tigers love the water, enjoying a good swim in hot weather to cool off.

Tigers are prominent in the mythologies of several eastern cultures. In India, Tiger is linked with the goddess Kali, who signifies creation, destruction, sexuality and death. Although her presentation in the West is usually as simply dark and violent, Kali is a goddess with a long and complex history in Hinduism. Her earliest history as a creature of indiscriminate violence and wrath still has some influence, while more complex Tantric beliefs sometimes extend her role so far as to be the Ultimate Reality and Source of Being. In China, Tiger is a sign of the zodiac and is an archetype in astrology indicating a personality characterized as adventurous, passionate and powerful.

Tiger is the Master of Living on this Earth; Tiger can give us all the time and lore we need to take command of our lives and live 'at the edge.' If you are dreaming of Tiger, you are being offered the opportunity to create new dreams, if... you are willing to take risks, dream big dreams, step out of old patterns of loss and victimization.

Deer people are generally gentle and compassionate people, but in the dark may become victims of more aggressive personalities. If you have deer in your archetypal matrix and dream of tiger, watch out! You may find yourself growing aggressive and charismatic as Tiger’s needs emerge. People may begin to recognize something dangerous in you and treat you with more respect.

Boar people are warriors. In history and myth, the boar is the symbol of intrepidness. A champion among wild beasts, he encounters enemies with nobility and courage, and has thus come to signify the traits of bravery and perseverance. But although he may face Tiger with courage, he is no match for this cat. Boar people who dream of being eaten by a tiger might become a Tiger.

In his dark aspect, Tiger—like Kali—can be violent and unpredictable. Tiger males are dangerous to a tigress’ kittens, and will kill and devour them if not protected. Males have been known to savage their mates. Tigresses, on the other hand, are devoted and self-sacrificing mothers, and will starve themselves if their kittens are going hungry. Tiger is one of the few animals left on the earth who will stalk, kill and devour humans. Every year in India, a number of humans are killed by tigers when they wander into tiger country.

If you have lost your dreams and your passion for life, Tiger can bring it back. Tiger is wild beauty and power beyond your wildest dreams. Tiger lives in deep woods, so if you are willing you must go deep within yourself to discover the wildness and fierceness of ancient times.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

RHINO -- Ancient Wisdom

















Rhino is a surviving animal from the age of giant mammals and the earliest times of pre-human and human existence in the dark continent of Africa. Rhino speaks to each of us from the deep Unconscious—from the times when ancient lineages of mankind hunted on the savannah in small groups and faced ferocious predators that far exceeded us in strength and ferocity.

While Rhino is today endangered by man’s predation, he still teaches us in dreams and wakening moments, when we open to the flashes of memory of earlier ages, when our senses suddenly come alert and wary at the sight of a stranger or potential danger to ourselves or our families. Rhino gives us sudden aggressiveness when needed to defend our selves and our young.

Rhino is heavily armored against predators. Still, he feels the stings of the insects and parasites of his home ranges in native Africa. Fortunately, rhino has an ally in the oxpecker bird, who is Rhino’s friend, picking parasites from his skin and relieving rhino of their painful stings.

Like rhino, modern man learns to armor himself with “thick skins”, so others cannot hurt him with their stinging comments, criticisms, or rejection. Man’s armor keeps him from feeling the pain of feeling unloved, but it also keeps him from being open to life and from feeling pleasure in his body. So one of the tasks he has on the journey of life is to put off his own thick skins and become more open to others. Man must learn that real self-love allows him to detach from others opinions and thoughtless comments so that their barbs and criticisms don’t hurt so much. Man can learn to feel love and compassion for others still armored and lost to themselves.

The name “rhino’ refers to the distinctive horn which grows from the nose of this huge ancient animal. Those who dream of rhino should contemplate the symbolism of the nose. In myth and dreams, the nose is associated with personal power, instinctive knowledge, or discriminating and intuitive knowledge. When instinctive knowledge and discriminating wisdom leads, the individual becomes a formidable force within humanity.

Rhino can teach you to be yourself. Although not a “seer”, rhino is ancient power well lead through instinct. If rhino appears in your dreams, look for the appearance of allies from the dimensions of spirit. In the same way that rhino is aided by the oxpecker bird, you too have spiritual allies, whose needs complement your own, who will aid you in dealing with parasites and biting foes.

Rhinos are solitary animals. They can teach those who must journey into themselves in search of ancient ties, past lives, or love for themselves to be alone and be well with their aloneness. Like Rhino, such persons are likely to be a solitary throwback to earlier ages, when man lived close to his instincts and to Nature.