Eagles hunt with sight and sound, seeing eight times greater than humans because their eyes are closer to the front of their head. Their incredible sight and hearing makes them good at feeding themselves from the land while flying at great heights. They use their feathers as little winglets to reduce turbulence which increases lift. Eagles use there back talons to kill small prey while using their front three to grasp the prey securely. Their sharp beaks cut and tear while using their strong jaw muscles to crush their prey. Both males and females incubate the eggs. If humans encroach on Eagles’ nests or touch them the Eagle will likely abandon it.
Ducks are the largest and most diverse group of waterfowl. Frequently males and females are colored differently, the males have brighter plumes, and have different vocal sounds. They prefer being in places where they are comfortable and will return to those places. They have a strong sense of community and are social.
Duck will remind us we sometimes need to return to the parts of ourselves that need to feel safe and comfortable. It also teaches us to be graceful when handling our emotions. Duck teaches us to drink sustenance from the waters of life.
Dragonfly eggs are laid within their territory near the water. Once hatched, these nymphs will live nearly two years on the bottom of streams and ponds. As they reach adulthood an amazing thing occurs, they transform into dragonflies and ascend to the air. In the air, they travel with wings that sparkle with spectacular colors by reflecting and refracting light and other colors. No insect or bird can maneuver as well as a dragonfly. Flying up to 30 mph, they will twist, turn, move up and down, fly backwards, even change directions instantaneously and still will spot movement 40 feet away.
The power of Dragonfly lies in its ability to see around things by looking from different angles. Using its ability to transform colors and lights by reflecting and refracting them, Dragonfly shows us that life, like light, can bend, shift, and adapt in various ways, making life’s appearance never be what it appears to be. Dragonfly’s magic shows us to see through life’s illusions and find our true vision. It calls us to transform within our lives and reminds us to feel deeply so we will have the compassion necessary to help ourselves and others.
Dolphin is a beautiful, playful animal who’s freedom wanders. It lives in water but is actually a mammal that needs to breath air. It breathes air through a single nostril also known as a blowhole located on top of its head. Dolphin emerges from the water with a short explosive exhalation. Normally it reaches the surface every two minutes for air, but is capable of holding its breath for several minutes when making rapid deep dives. Dolphin is dependent on two totally different worlds.
Dolphin comes when we need to break emotional barriers and communicate truth. Dolphin will then guide us to find harmony by moving forward with our life.
Deer is a keen observer, enabled to see well in low lighting and its sensitive hearing allows it to perceive a twig snap in the distance. For the first few days of life a fawn hardly moves, hidden by the color of its coat from predators. Once it can stand, it follows its mother around to learn how to survive. The graceful movement and gentle nature of these creatures show us the innocence of nature. Deer is a messenger of serenity, can see between shadows and hear what isn’t being said. Deer teaches us to maintain our innocence and gentleness so we can share our
open heartedness with others.
Coyotes, also known as the Desert Wolf, are recognizable by their thick bushy tail, pointy nose, and ears. In the winter their coat grows thick to protect them from the harsh weather. They can run up to 30 mph, and their call will be heard up to 3 miles. Coyotes can live in urban areas as long as food and shelter is available. They form loose family groups which form for short periods of time then break apart, depending on the food supply. This large group formation will work together to catch deer. Normally coyotes hunt alone or in pairs. In this situation, one may intentionally chase small prey into the jaws of another coyote so they both can share a meal. A good way to tell a coyote apart from a wolf is its tail, which they carry low while the others carry their tails high.
Coyote teaches us to laugh at our mistakes so we won’t get mired in the pain of life’s lessons. Coyote comes into our lives when we need to understand the balance of wisdom and foolishness.
This cat goes by several names including Mountain Lion, Panther, and Puma. They are solitary cats who, unlike other cat species, are active during the day. They are also the most widely distributed cats in the Americas. These elusive hunters will pounce on their prey with a strong short burst of energy after studying its movements, never hesitating, showing none of its movement is wasted.
Cougar spirit will teach us to assert ourselves, and take control of our life so we can become leaders. Cougar’s graceful swiftness shows us how to understand the natural flow of our environment and move into a position of leadership.
Butterfly spends the first part of its life crawling the earth, before metamorphosis leads it to spin a home for stasis (known as a cocoon). After transforming, Butterfly is reborn as various beautiful colored winged creatures of the air.
This insect is extremely sensitive to the Harmony of Earth, and is the first creature to leave a damaged ecology. Butterfly’s graceful dancing-like appearance on flowers reminds us to find the joy in nature and make it a part of our life.
Butterfly enters our life as a messenger for change. If it comes to us hurt or ill, Butterfly asks us to stop keeping our joy at bay. It may take some time being alone with ourselves to listen to Butterfly’s gentle requests that we allow the natural transformation of things in our lives.
Buffalo’s humped shoulders and horns indicate stored-up power. When threatened, buffalo create a defensive circle in which cows encircle the calves, and bulls encircle the cows. When provoked, buffalo can be unpredictably dangerous.
The Plains Indians hold the buffalo sacred. Tribes would offer prayers of gratitude both before a hunt and after a buffalo was killed to honor the spirit of the animal that provided them meat, shelter, and clothing.
Buffalo reminds us to give thanks for what we have, and pay
tribute to the sacrifice of life that allows us to survive. It comes to teach us to reconnect with the Earth, respect all life, and honor our own divine essence.
The most familiar bee is the bumblebee which has a large hairy body, and a long reddish hairy tongue to soak up nectar. On their hind legs, pollen sticks to the combs and brushes located on their body which is then stored in a pollen basket otherwise known as a honeystomach. To fill this sack a bee must suck nectar from 60 flowers.
The males are known as drones and play no part in the organization of the colony. It is the queen and workers (their daughters) which create the complex social structures they live in.
These bees may have highly specialized functions such as defense, food collection, food storage, or reproduction.
Bee shows us we can accomplish what seems impossible by having dedication and working hard. It asks us to pursue our dreams with incredible focus and fertilize our aspirations. Bee teaches us to cooperate with others who have similar goals so we can learn how to help each other.
Although bears are thought to be ferocious carnivores, they are actually quite playful and eat less meat than some smaller animals — supplementing their diets with plants and fruit. Bears are astonishingly swift for their size, running 35-40 mph in short distances.
The most common bear is the black bear. This name can be misleading since some black bears are various shades of brown. The Grizzly is most famous for its ferocious strength but is not aggressive by nature. The largest bear is the Alaskan Brown
Bear who is a relatively solitary animal. The “cute” Polar Bear is the most aggressive of all bears — the best hunter and the most dangerous.
Bear teaches us to respect our natural hibernation cycles. Just as Bear rests during winter and reawakens during spring, we need spaces of rest and rejuvenation. Bear calls us to awaken the potential within ourselves and the power of our unconscious mind. Bear reminds us there is a time for playfulness and a time to be assertive.
Animals and Familiars
Power animals are & are not a part of the Wiccan or Witchcraft Traditions. They are used by Native Americans, Shamans & other tribal organizations & traditions. Covens usually have a totem animal that is only known to those within the group.
In the Astral, you can merge with your totem & become the animal with your own intelligence intact. This is called Shapeshifting. There are two ways you can meet your power animal in the astral plane & discover which animal medicine is right for you. First, you could write & perform a ritual to call the essence of the animal that would suit you best & assist you in your present magickal workings. If you are not comfortable with the ritual format you can go into the familiar meditative state, walk through the astral forest & meet the animal.
When the first technique is used, that of the ritual, you will most likely see the animal in its natural form. There may be a synchronistic conversation where the topic is of the animal, or you find a book about the animal, etc. When you catch that first glimpse of that particular medicine, you will know it in your heart.
If you meet the animal in the meditative state, converse with it. Anything is possible in the astral, right? So ask questions & get to know your new partner.
If you have seen the animal after a ritual, plan sometime to go into the meditative state to cement your relationship & get to know the animal & the essence it represents.
Now that you’ve got the animal, what do you do with it? Power animals are great advice givers, often representing our higher selves that we haven’t been paying attention to lately. In a meditative state you can ask for their assistance on problems that have been nagging at you. At times, two power animals can work in conjunction with each other, as long as they want to. Silver has had some truly interesting & fruitful conversations with hers.
Power animals can assist you in the waking state as well. Perhaps you are trying to teach someone a particular theme & they are having difficulty understanding. Ask wolf for assistance; she is the great teacher.
Remember the old adages: clever as a fox, strong as an ox, etc.? Perhaps you need camouflage – then ask Brother Fox for assistance. If you seek wisdom, ask the Eagle. the Lynx knows the art of keeping secrets & the Swan guides one into dreamtime. The Panther is a good protective animal, though she does have a sarcastic, laid back nature.
Power animals are not limited to mammals. The reptilian & insect kingdoms can be just as helpful. Children can also be taught to work with animals & have a great ideal of success with them.
Dragonfly tells us how to break through illusions & how to gain power through our dreams & goals. She teaches higher aspiration.
The act of honoring an animal is not an act of worship, but is the acknowledgment of their power & their being as brothers & sisters of the entire universe. The energy of the animals, birds & other creatures that assist us should be honored. For too long, we have subjugated these creatures who are our equals in the system of the Universe. The Native Americans leave tobacco as a gift, scattered on the ground. You could also burn incense in honor of the animal. When honoring – leave a gift of some sort. A crystal or gem on your altar is also a lovely gift.
An Animal Totem is an important symbolic object used by a person to get in touch with specific qualities found within an animal which the person needs, connects with, or feels a deep affinity toward. One can have several animal guides through out life. Sometimes an animal guide will come into one’s life for a short period of time, and then be replaced by another depending on the journey or direction one is headed toward. Our guide will instruct and protect us as we learn how to navigate through our spiritual and mundane life. When one finds an animal which speaks strongly to
them or feel they must draw more deeply into their lives, they fill their environment with images of the animal to let the animal know they are welcome in the person’s space. Animal guides can help us get back to our Earthly roots, and reconnect with nature by reminding us we are all interconnected. To first do this we need to know what our Animal Totem is.
||Age:||Four years old
William is very special to us because he’s the first dog we’ve ever owned. He’s been so patient and understanding with us first-timers that it sometimes feels like he’s training us rather than the other way around.
He is very cheeky and energetic and loves nothing more than a good game with his squeaky ball. That ball is so precious to him and he’ll play with it for as long as we let him. Every day we have to find a new hiding place for it because William has a keen nose and an even keener memory, and he thinks it’s a terrific game to search every spot we’ve ever hidden it before. He remembers where it’s hidden better than we do!
When we brought him home William was so small you could hold him in your cupped hands, but in hindsight every little quirk that made him special was already there. His personality is very endearing and he has a way of looking patiently at you when you talk, with his head cocked to the side, that makes you feel that he wants to understand. A few times he has even taught himself commands that we never set out to teach him. Saying “get it” and pointing means to get a toy and put it at our feet for throwing, but we never taught him that the way we did “sit” and “down”. He just picks up phrases if we use them often enough. We know he understands “get it” because if we point somewhere there’s no toy and tell him to get it, he’ll still run over and search in that area. I don’t know if all dogs do that, but as first time dog owners it was pretty amazing to us!
It might sound like he’s got us wrapped around his little paw, but in truth William is a pretty well behaved little guy. He’s so smart and learns fast, especially if there are food rewards, but even if there’s just a kind word and a pat on offer. He loves to cuddle and it’s so funny to see him nodding off to sleep when you rub his little tummy. He can always make us laugh.
We just plain love our little guy. William has become so special to us that we know we’ll never be without a dog again.
Feng Shui for the New Year
- Betsy Stang
A new year is like a new doorway. A new year offers a new chance to bring who we truly are into manifestation. Each turn of the wheel has its wisdom. What does the wisdom of the New Year hold for you? Your home? Are there obstacles in your way?
In the Northern Hemisphere the New Year follows shortly after winter solstice, the time of year with the longest night, the time of the Great Yin, the Dark Feminine, when the energy of all growing things goes deepest into the ground. We are each given this time to dream of what we might become as the light and growth return.
In the ancient Chinese traditions this is the time of K’un—The Receptive, Earth
The Receptive brings about sublime success,
Furthering through the perseverance of a mare.
If the superior man undertakes something and tries to lead,
He goes astray;
But if he follows, he finds guidance.
It is favorable to find friends in the west and south,
To forego friends in the east and north.
Quiet perseverance brings good fortune.
The elements of spring are sleeping in the dark with the bears and moles and many other animals. In Native American traditions this is a time for dreaming, storytelling, coming together as community and of contacting the spirits of the Earth.
This is not a time to reach outside for answers, but to go deep within.
As we go in, we notice.
Notice your home. What patterns are outmoded? Where are the obstacles to your realization of self? Look at piles of what is not being used. Is there a tool, a skill you have, clothing, computers, cameras that you no longer use? Are they outmoded? Will you use their gifts? If not they need to move along, so give those possessions away. If you are not willing to pass them along, then use them.
Do you have old obligations and debts you have not dealt with? It’s time to clear them too, at least begin to gather the information you will need. It is not possible to truly move into prosperity and abundance, until you are in full integrity with yourself.
All traditions celebrate this time as new birth and the return of sun from its journey to the southern hemisphere. Be gentle with your new beginnings they are infants and need to be nourished until the sap starts to flow in early February.
Make small movements. Allow yourself quiet time. Listen. Clear, clean, restage resting and work places of your life. And bring sustainable light into the time of dark.
In the new year, as you sit cozy in your home, remember there are always those who are cold and hungry or in the dark. Can you pass along something you no longer need to someone who may need it more? Not just people, the animals need your help now too. Can you find a way to share your wisdom and prosperity with those who have no voice? The ancient Chinese masters said: “Feed the Earth, feed the fish and the birds and your world will be abundant.”
May you be a steward of the earth and have a new year full of abundance and joy.
—The Rev. Betsy Stang