Monthly Archives: April 2013

Making handles for smudging feathers

Grenwinae worked on our feathers and made these beautiful handles for my gifted, Vulture feathers. Since one feather was left handed, and the other right, I wanted to keep them as individuals, not made into a fan. Here they are shown with the tops facing up.

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They were wrapped with dark brown deer lacing. The black and white beads are from Africa and have a large enough opening you could pull the leather through. On my Vulture feathers he put glue down the quill shaft to keep the leather in place while he wrapped it. Here you can see the difference in coloring from the top (dark brown to gray-brown) vs. the bottom (light gray) of the Vulture’s feather.

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My Vulture feathers are a bit battered – they have lived real life! They come from a bird that does an unpleasant job and is sometimes little appreciated for it. Vulture is about inner qualities and not accepting outward beauty as a standard of worth. Turkey Vulture and Black Vulture, ride the thermals, high in the sky and trust in the wind to take them where they are needed and to reveal what they need.

Vulture is about the end of the journey and the final step. Vulture is about transformation, taking the physical and releasing the energy to spiritual form; preparing the body for its next journey; and serving as guide to the spirit’s final transmutation. I found a real connection to these feathers, more than I did to Turkey, during our Owl Ceremony.

Turkey is about generosity and blessings, giving and protecting; in other words a perfect feather for Grenwinaes’ personality! I’ve posted more details about these feathers in an earlier post.

My large beaded handle is a little heavy and Grenwinae wanted his own Turkey feather to be lighter in weight. Turkey feather is wrapped with white deer leather, and the beads are African, with the addition of some silver beading. On his Turkey feather, he used a drop of glue to keep the leather knot at the base of the feather’s quill from coming undone. I love how the pattern on the feather is mimicked by the striping on the beads.

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If you do an Internet search for “smudging feathers” there are some great websites giving various directions. Most stone, glass or ceramic beads will have too narrow a thread opening so check before you purchase that it will serve.

We will be making some smudging fans later.

Coming to grip with Cooper’s Hawk

Because Cooper’s Hawk seems to be very active in my life, I’ve been doing some online research and have come up with disappointment. Most of the online websites just copy information out of Ted Andrews Animal Speak or Animal-Wise books, or steals information from D.J. Conway or Steven Farmer’s books.

(Why I write steal is because these websites are quoting passages that far exceed the fair use policy of quoting a copyrighted work. Personally, if I was one of these authors I would be rather angry about it. Okay but that is neither here nor there on what I was going to write about.)

Ted Andrews provides information about common animals but he also states that you have to develop a relationship with that animal. At first, the tease in his book about this irritated me. I just wanted to know HOW and WHAT I should be doing!!

However, the more I’ve thought about it, the more I realize that it will be my personal viewpoint, and how I view the connection to my personal power animal that will shape the relationship. For example, how I approach my work with Owl and Hawk is very different than how Grenwinae does his work with Spider and Swallow.

When Cooper’s Hawk flew over Grenwinae’s head last weekend, at the time we just admired his beauty. The following Monday, Grenwinae had an “out of nowhere”, Blitzkrieg attack from a concealed foe upon his work. I got to thinking about Cooper’s Hawk camouflage which is counter shading: the bottom is light, the top is dark. This disguises his presence in the forest, as it fools the eye into not seeing the object as a shape (a “real” object would have light on the top from the sun and be dark on the bottom).

Were we being given a precognitive warning? Or, after the event, looking back, did Cooper’s Hawk give me insight into the prey and predator dynamic? Either could be valid. Cooper’s Hawk is not only about what I can become (disguising myself, striking the target, relentless win attitude) but what could happen to me (attacks from a well concealed foe). His essence is to connect me with the primal forces of nature that repeat themselves in my human life.

I’ve also had a mulling over about what I hope to achieve from my own spiritual quest. My interest does not lie in Wicca. Nor does it actually lie in Druidism. I have no interest in worshipping deities or praying to them; I actually find that very uncomfortable because I do not believe that the Universe was created by some conscious entity that directed the whole process.

For me, I am far more comfortable with the belief of natural forces, many too vast for our human comprehension, that (as humans) we have to put a face onto that speaks to our psychological and unconscious minds.

It doesn’t make them any less meaningful, mysterious or spiritual. Actually, I consider Nature to be the wellspring of All.

Red Ribbon Daughter Dream

I had a dream about our daughter. When I woke up it was with her name firmly in my mind with the image of drawing a red ribbon in a large space around her for protection (?). I told her about it and she laughed it off. Two days later she came to me and confessed some stuff, crying. I think I knew subliminally that something was wrong and maybe Spirit just nudged it to the surface.

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I’ve felt for some time that daughter was not adjusting well to this move. My first impulse was to tell her (and I did) to suck it up. We had moved and I was tired of having to adjust MY life to kids and what they wanted.

However, as it drew closer to the end of the year, I just kept feeling in the back of my mind that she was not adjusting and her unhappiness was deepening. This dream was the unconscious, or whatever part is my Owl-sense, to let me know that she was definitely in trouble and I, as mother, would need to figure out what we could do to provide her what she needed.

Spirit makes Itself Known

The last weekend was very busy with Spirit. Coming home Thursday, I passed two spiraling hawks over a grove of woods. I think they were Cooper Hawks.

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The back of the property is a boundary area between the house and the back 60 acre wood. The leaf litter had been left for so long it was about calf to knee high. It presented a large fire hazard and I could either mulch or burn it. With the recent heavy rain it was safe to do a controlled burn and so we started last weekend.

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If I have a covenant with the Birds, we are developing one with the Forest. If we remove, we must replenish.After cutting down several trees last weekend that were diseased or ill placed, we bought several native bushes which is beneficial to wildlife.

On the way home from the plant stores, we first had to slow down to let a Wild Turkey cross the road. We told him that hunting season had begun and he needed to be careful. He got agitated, turned back and then flew back into the woods where he emerged.

Turkey’s message was probably for Grenwinae as he seems to be connecting with him more. I reminded Grenwinae that he needed to do a protection ceremony for Turkey.

Than we passed four, Black Vulture’s roosted in a tree on the left side of the road. Since the Black Vulture isn’t supposed to be in this area, I turned around and did another pass through. Sure enough they were four Black Vultures. Juvenile Turkey Vultures have a gray head but a brown to black body and these were a deep black. The Black Vulture relies upon eyesight rather than smell like the Turkey Vulture. He is more social and likes to live in a community, preening and roosting together.

Black Vultures message: reminding me to seek out community support (or family) from those seeking or believing the same. The number 4 relates to stability.

Back home, while working in the backyard area, I kept thinking I saw movement out of the corner of my eye. As I bent over to twist on the hose, it seemed like something touched me on the back of my left hip; the sensation was so strong that I yelped and quickly stood up. Grenwinae told me later that last weekend he had some of the same experiences of seeing something out of the corner of his eye but didn’t say anything as he thought it might be his imagination.

When we finished a ceremony for Cardinal and buried him under the newly planted Hazelnut bush we headed back up to the front deck. While sitting there, relaxing, I spotted a hawk in the woods across the road. I’m pretty sure it was a Cooper’s Hawk as he had the dark blue gray back and striped tail feathers.

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Sunday, while working in the back, a Coopers’ Hawk flew over our heads, landing in a tree close by before circling southward around the house.

Druid Animal Oracle Deck

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I’ve been researching a new Tarot or Oracle deck. I wanted one with animals and after reading a lot of reviews at Amazon.com and other websites, I chose the Druid Animal Oracle. After getting it home, and opening it up, I have to write it’s fantastic.

The cards are beautifully illustrated and one reason I chose this deck as it had animals familiar to my North American area. I really didn’t want to pursue a deck with giraffes and zebras for instance, as I wanted to connect with animals that I had the possibility of seeing.

The cards were larger than I was expecting and comes with a dark blue cloth, imprinted with a border design. It also gives you three blank cards which would be cool to add any personal animals not in the deck.

From the amazon reviews some people complained about the Druid commentary in the accompanying book. I actually didn’t find this an issue – I mean what would you expect from something called the Druid Oracle? Also, the myth discussion just added an extra layer to animal meanings.

Red as Blood

Leaving the house this afternoon, found a dead male Cardinal on the front porch. I placed him in a box for later burial. His plumage was brilliant red and I’m not sure if he died hitting the glass of the window (unlikely as the windows are not very see through with blinds etc…) or succumbed to something else.

When I got to town a message on my machine about another, possible job. I hope the Cardinal wasn’t a sacrifice towards that happening but if he was, I will accept and praise him.

 

Building Rabbit a Force Field

After the dream of Rabbit being served up for lunch, and knowing I was re-entering a hostile work environment again, I decided Rabbit needed some protection.

I decided to do a meditation – visualization exercise: I imagined a spherical force field surrounding Swamp Rabbit. Rabbit could move, hop, eat, run or do whatever Rabbit wanted but anything destructive or aggressive would not be able to enter. Arrows bounced off. When hurtful words touched the field, they burned up. Rocks turned to water.

Anything beneficial could easily enter the field: food, sunshine, etc…

I imagined myself outside of the ball and it looked like a soap bubble with some iridescence. I imagined myself inside, looking out and there was a clear view, with just a glimmer of iridescent shine. Kinda like a hamster ball for Rabbits!

In the morning, I touched Owl’s rock and imagined myself sinking into the ground: stable and strong.

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Yesterday, there was a fracas at work. I took a deep breath and just offered my opinion. Things worked out and everything calmed down. I’ll continue to do this meditation daily – centering myself in the force field bubble and grounding myself.

P.S. A great book I got Grenwinae you might like to check out is Psychic Protections by William Bloom. This book is open to all paths and doesn’t deal with spells but more about energy, meditations, and visualizations to empower yourself.

Keeping Covenant with my Birds

Part of my covenant with Owl is that I serve all our feathered friends. One way I do this is I donate money to wildlife care. Another way is that I have been putting up some bird feeders.

These two feeders are out my back window. These are American Goldfinch, male and females eating from feeders I bought from Wild Birds Unlimited. The green feeder is a no-squirrel one, and the yellow is a finch feeder. Both were rather pricey but the quality will give me years and years of service and they are easy to load and clean.

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The front yard feeder is attracting the White Breasted Nuthatch and the Tufted Titmouse. Noted arrival yesterday of the Indigo Bunting.

Another Dream: Rabbit is Devoured

In real time, I’ve been called back to my old job to fill in temporarily. I had quit because I felt like the job was very destructive and I was being eaten alive by uncaring people. The night of Owl’s ceremony I had another dream. It was an average dream but I think the symbolism is important enough a message from the unconscious to post it here for remembrance.

I was back at the job. Instead of a vet clinic, it was a fast food diner. I was taking orders, checking people out at the register and I also had to cook! This was a reminder of how the job was an intense juggling act of multitasking. Almost an impossible job!

A couple, man and woman, had brought in a rabbit (who looked just like Swamp Rabbit) and wanted us to butcher and cook it for them!

Dr. H did butcher it and prepare it for them.

In reality, this would never happen, but it serves as symbol.  I need to be aware that my soul can be sacrificed! I need to keep Owl’s boundaries up, remember Owl’s lessons of silent strength and protect my Rabbit’s soul.

Owl Lesson

I had found a dead, Barred Owl on the side of the highway at least two months ago. I stopped to take the remains home with the intention of disposing of Owl through Ceremony. But I kept putting it off: it was too cold; the job was too unpleasant, I didn’t want to think about the smell, the destruction, the broken body hit by a car.

Time passed and I knew that I was putting off an unpleasant but necessary chore/job. I didn’t want to face the consequences of my actions that had started with good intentions but had petered out without proper carry through. How many times has that happened to any of us?

As time passed, and I continued to procrastinate, I finally realized that Owl was teaching me about letting go and what happens when you hang on far too long.

I’ve held on far too long to patterns of resentful thinking that were destructive to myself or to my relationship with Grenwinae; I’ve held on to disgusting jobs far too long, causing me to leave angry; and I’ve held onto preconceptions of who I was and my place in the world because they gave me sad comfort or allowed me to nurse a grudge.

There is much I need to learn from this lesson and I thank Owl to bringing it to me.

Death brings an end, thus starts a beginning.

Flesh decays to replenish the Earth.

Soul releases to purify and returns to Spirit.

Thus Life renews itself with Life.

Grasped too hard, from misplaced needs,

Allows no movement of the Spiral –

Leads only to corruption and stagnation –

Brings no peace to living or dead.

A Winter, with no Spring,

Starves the World.

Last night we sent Owl’s physical body back to Spirit. The moon was waxing, but just a crescent, and the sky was filled with stars. Due to recent snow and rain, I knew we could have quite a bonfire without endangering ourselves or the property. The day had warmed so being outside at a late hour was doable.

We had gone through the house and removed a sacksful of old paper work. Paperwork filled with typed words and numbers of past bills, obligations, issues that are now gone but have caused us to suffer, still weighed our minds and emotions down.

We’ve gone through a huge financial crisis that lasted at least 10 years which is now nearing an end. I’m in a huge transition of trying to find new, meaningful work; still needing to let go of past expectations and sorrows about working/not working. Grenwinae had to address how it loves to stay in a rut at work, despite signs it is unproductive.

The paperwork lined the circular, fire pit that Grenwinae had built last winter from stones found on the property.  A stacked layer of small dry sticks and branches were topped with chunks of Pinion wood and acorns. Homemade firestarters were sandwiched underneath to help start the blaze.

Set on top was Owl’s box containing his body. We broke dried Sage leaves on top for purification. Through the night we tossed eastern red cedar (harvested, with permission, from a tree on the west property fence) upon the blaze – their prickly and sticky branches (akin to troubles, said Grenwinae) took brightness from the flames, burning into a dark, delicate skeleton pattern before being fully consumed.

We sent Owl’s remains back to Spirit, smoke to sky and ashes to earth, ringing bells, crying our grief and release to the night sky and the stars.

Owl answered, joining song to our own, answering our need to heal our own Spirit.