Robin Spirit Totem: Talk it Out

I’ve been seeing robins lately. For a while now…long enough for me to take notice. They are not subtle birds. They stand out. They stop. They look at me, clear and direct. I like that directness about them.

The first ones became prominent right after I’d set the intention of communicating from my heart. Does that seem like a trivial intention? It’s not trivial to me. Because sometimes it’s hard, to communicate from the heart. Harder than you’d think.

“The male American robin, as with many thrushes, has a complex and almost continuous song. Its song is commonly described as a cheerily carol, made up of discrete units, often repeated, and spliced together into a string with brief pauses in between. The song varies regionally, and its style varies by time of day….The robin also sings when storms approach and again when storms have passed. In addition to its song, the American robin has a number of calls used for communicating specific information such as when a ground predator approaches, and when a nest or robin is being directly threatened.” – Wikipedia

The robin’s song is often said to sound like, “Cheerily, cheer up, cheer up, cheer up.” This upbeat song, along with the Robin’s tendency to be one of the first birds to announce the arrival of spring, I’m seeing as encouragement to remain optimistic.

Singing is very important to the robin. In fact, territorial battles between robins are generally carried out in song. Physical confrontations are unusual and largely symbolic. Sort of like when I smack my husband for being difficult. Largely symbolic–but unlike the robin’s gestures, not too unusual and utterly ineffective.

Robin's Eggs Spirit TotemThe Robin’s eggs are a beautiful powdery blue, a color associated with the throat chakra. It’s interesting that their song is reserved for the spring, mating season, although warning calls when threatened are year round. And the poor female robins are both lighter in color and cannot sing the spring song, but do make the warning call.

There is no mistake to be made however: robins are communicators! Robins make excellent totems for writers, public speakers, and others who need to communicate with special effectiveness, or who make their living in the public eye (or ear).

Robins have notable hunting methods, too. They often hunt on the ground, with a run-and-stop pattern. Run, stop, cock their head a bit, and nab! Different sources attribute their success to visual cues of prey, listening, or using other skills. Personally, I like to think the robin is tuning in to intuition before a nab.

Robin Spirit AnimalIn mythology, Robins are frequently associated with service, sacrifice and spirituality–as when earning the red breast via injury when trying to remove the thorn crown of Jesus. Some Native American tribes considered robins to be connected to the sun because of their red breast or their brightly colored beaks, a reminder to speak only the highest truth. The white around the eyes indicated clarity of vision and prophetic ability. Robins were called upon when wisdom, understanding and clarity were required.

Robin tells me it’s time for new growth–spring IS here, and all sorts of new life is emerging. His pretty, upbeat song encourages me to remain optimistic. His emphasis on clear communication and speaking the highest truth reminds me to fearlessly do so as well. Actually, his timing is pretty much perfect. I can use both the encouragement and advice right now and am very grateful for his prescence.

Do you see robins? What do they say to you?

Zodiac Tarot Spread

Zodiac spread, 1 card for each house and an overview in the middle.

P.S. I’m still doing those Zodiac readings and have been really pleased with the results. So I probably will be adding them to the regular fare soon. They are just very, very practical and fun to do, too. If you’d like to get one while it’s still discounted, though, get on it!

Spirit Animals: Grackles

I recently retired from tech work, after…I dunno. Eighteen years? A long damn time.

When I first started, the web was still pretty new to the mainstream, and the potential got me fired up. I could help people connect, share their stories and ideas! The whole notion of global access was an utter game-changer. And I could offer this incredible opportunity to everyday people. How powerful is that?! I was excited enough I struggled through endless hours obsessively poring over code and reading technical tutorials in between waxing poetic about how cool it all was.

I was going to learn to do this and do it well.  And do it well I did.

There were no blogs back then. It was a different world. Eventually, the bar lowered dramatically for self-publishing (a good thing–usually). The work I did wasn’t as pivotal. But still, I kept learning and coding and consulting. I kept looking to serve as Virgos do, and I was good at it.

But somewhere along the way, so gradually I did not even notice, my once-mission morphed into obligation. The work became weight. I still considered myself blessed to be free the confines of a traditional office job. But I wasn’t excited about the work itself anymore. Gifted an opportunity to begin work in the Woo-Woo world, the difference became palpable.

I was enthusiastically building my spiritual practice while quietly planning my pixel-pushing escape. But even as I got close enough to sensibly make the full switch, I didn’t. Even the thought was terrifying.

What the Hell, Dixie?

It wasn’t until I actually took that leap of faith that I finally got it: web work was my last cloak of mainstream respectability. That’s perhaps an ironic admission for a pink-haired chick decked out in tie-dye. That business was what stood between me and the judgement of the mail man, the bank teller, the world at large–and yeah, the family.

Funny thing. My cloak of respectability was incredibly sheer. Three seconds plugging my name in a search engine is all it would take to see right through it…still, I spent an excruciatingly draining week to broker the hand-off of my web business. My “sanity breaks” out on the front-porch garden were well-populated by Grackles.

Hello, Grackles!

Grackles seem like they’d be related to crows or blackbirds, but they are not. They’re actually part of the meadowlark and oriole family of birds. From a distance, you can easily miss the gorgeous iridescent coloring. People often don’t see these birds for who they are. Grackle’s bright yellow eye with the tiny black pupil seemed like it could eerily pierce even intricate illusion.

Are you looking past superficial appearances to see what really is? 

Grackles are known as very intelligent, playful and happy birds. Their colors show  us emotion, the color of life. For many grackles, the lovely coloring is especially pronounced around the head.

photo by ibm4381

Are you conscious of your emotions and how much emotions color your thinking?

Grackles often congregate in large numbers before dawn or after sunset on tree branches, wires or roofs, in groups sometimes known as “annoyances.”  They may sing and caw for a long time with their distinctive calls before moving on to a new congregation. Their call is often compared to a rusty gate. But you know, even a rusty gate cannot be heard unless it’s being opened.

Are you all talk, so much that it may be annoying? Are you talking or doing?

They are known for bravery and resourcefulness, not being afraid to approach humans for food.  They may follow plows to catch  mice or wade into water to fish. They forage expertly and thrive because they have adapted to cities and humanity’s changing habits.

Are you active in solving problems and seeking what you need?

Grackles have a hard palate that helps them crack open acorns and other tough food. Even so, they have the unusual habit of dipping hard pieces of some types of food in water to soften it up before eating. They also teach their offspring to do this.

Do you attack tough problems, consciously guiding emotional states to “soften up” life’s challenges? Do you provide an example to others in doing so?

Grackles like to nest in pine trees–and the scent of pine calms emotional states. Their nests are hidden, providing safety.

Do you maintain a safe space for working through emotions?

Grackles remind us to take stock of our feelings, and question whether or not those feeling are blinding us to truth. They point out areas where we may be pointlessly rehashing woes instead of acting on opportunities for resolution. They remind us to be brave and go after what we need, while maintaining a safe, home base to process.

Grackles emphasize the impact of our own choices on joyfulness–and those who may follow our lead. They encourage us to actively take care of ourselves while adapting to changing circumstance.

They remind us–okay, they remind ME–to look for the shine and cherish with gratitude all the beauty life holds.

Thank you, Grackles.

 Do you see Grackles?

Spirit Animal Messages: Woodpeckers

Guess who’s been showing up all over the place around here?

Yep. I went from never seeing one of these little guys to having them fly back and forth in front of my face. Okay, Woody! I see you…

Woodpeckers knock, knock, knock on trees. Their knocks are reminsicent of “opportunity knocking,” and the birds are indeed considered opportunistic. Where others see dead trees, Woodpeckers see sustanance and shelter! They know when to leave a perch to catch insects in the air or on the ground. They work with what is at hand and do not easily give up.

Woodpeckers appear in many myths. They are frequently associated with weather forecasting and, not surprisingly, thunder. Between the noise and their distinctive coloring, inconspicuousness is definitely not one of this bird’s gifts!

The Woodpecker is especially connected to Mars. According to Roman lore, the twins Romulus and Remus were sons of a Latin princess and Mars, the God of War. The boys were cast into a river, where they were rescued by a she-Wolf and Picus the Woodpecker fed them. This allowed one of the brothers–after a murderous spat with the other–to found this city of Rome. Picus himself was previously a priest, especially gifted at reading the signs of birds. When he rejected the advances of Circe the witch (preferring to stay faithful to his nymph wife), Circe turned him into a Woodpecker. Crummy for him, but nice for us!

Faithfulness and feeding abandoned children could be seen as positive character traits, I reckon. Har!

Woodpeckers are usually pecking for insects under the tree bark.  Do you look below the surface, beyond the obvious?

They may hear an echo from their rat-a-tatting and create a sound wave to blast out insect prey. They expertly aim sticky tongues into the holes to harpoon dinner.  The very specific way they use barbed, sticky tongues and strong beaks as tools suggest discernment and power surrounding the spoken word.

Are you aware of the “sticking power” of what comes out of your mouth? Are your words carefully aimed?

Woodpeckers are very helpful in the natural cycle of decomposition, making dead trees accessible to foragers. So in this sense, Woodpeckers are trailblazers. The red on most Woodpeckers; heads suggest careful analysis and new ways of thinking, heightened awareness. They see opportunity where others see but dead wood and their pecking opens the field for those that follow.

Do you listen to your inner sense of what’s worthwhile? Are you brave enough to lead the way?

The steady rhythms of pecking emphasize rhythms in life, remaining in tune with natural cycles.

Do you follow the moon cycles? Seasonal cycles?

To some Native Americans, the Woodpecker is known as Earth’s Drummer. Shammanic journeys via drum rhythms may be a good option for Woodpecker people.

Woodpeckers have very powerful neck muscles and a huge amount of persistence, making it possible for them to literally carve holes in trees, thus making a home. Woodpeckers do defend their territory. They don’t actually create nests in the holes they peck in trees, but open a space and line it with bark chips to rear their young. So they use what’s at hand.

Do you aim to carve out a personal space with whatever resources are available? Are you prepared to defend your personal space?

Sharp claws let these birds scurry up and down trees. Stiff tailfeathers help them keep balance. They prop their tailfeathers against a support while shifting legs to climb up or down. The bird can move very quickly in all directions via this method, making it difficult for predators to keep up.

Are you flexible, maintaining a steady, supportive foundation? Do you remember to ground yourself? 

Woodpeckers also have especially thick skulls to protect them. I’ll leave you to ascertain what a thick-skulled, hard-headed animal totem may suggest!

Woodpecker teaches us how to lay foundations wherever we are in life. Instead of looking for their place, they make it! They act with a sense of purpose, determination, industriousness and drive that anyone would do well to copy. They remind us to stay hard-headed when it comes to trusting the inner voice, forging our own path and not being afraid of being different (or conspicuous)–while remaining mindful of the power of our words on others. They lead primarily by example, showing others the way.

Do you have a connection to the Woodpecker? What have you noticed about this totem?

p.s. If you want to talk about your spirit animal friends (or anything else), hit me up for a session!

Spirit Animals: Crows & Ravens

photo by nbphotogfy

photo by nbphotogfy

When a new animal totem shows up in your life, one of the best ways to understand their messages is to start is learning about that animal’s characteristics.

The Crow (and its close relative, the Raven–essentially a bigass crow) are among the most intelligent animals, not only able to use tools but construct them, or even use tools on tools! They show evidence of remembering things that have happened to them before. They have also demonstrated the ability to recognize faces, so if you think a particular crow knows you…well, there’s a good chance you’re right. They sometimes warn other birds of “bad humans” through loud shrieking or cawing.

Are you using your smarts and learning from past experience? Are you paying attention to warnings?

They nest up high, so they have a broad perspective of events. Their sight is keen, so they do not miss much.

Are you taking a long-range view of your situation? Are you seeing clearly?

Crows are highly adept communicators, known for complex vocalizations, sometimes in response to events in the environment. They have even been noted “talking” to other animals. As such, they are natural messengers. Odin’s Ravens brought him information from all over the worlds!

Are you communicating clearly? Are you paying attention to incoming information and messages from all sources?

Like most intelligent animals, they are quite playful.

Do you have enough fun?

Crows are extremely adaptable. Ironically, the “Scarecrow” seldom works to scare crows because they quickly see through the ruse.

Are you remaining flexible? Is anyone trying to fool you?

Crows and Ravens may team up with wolves, serving as a scout for prey in exchange for access to the leftovers. Crows in particular are extremely social, often banding together for safety or to achieve a goal.

Are you teaming up with others in mutually beneficial ways?

Consider what you’re thinking about, talking about or doing when the crow is showing up. Consider what’s commanding your attention and emotional energy. Often, the animal’s message will be related to what’s on your mind at the time. Pay attention to any symbolic gestures…what is the bird doing? Running around, flying away, cawing loudly?

Could the bird’s behavior be interpreted metaphorically?

This bird stars in many myths, very frequently associated with magic, transformation, death and the underworld. If you are exploring magic, going through a transitional or transformational period, developing psychic sight, communing with the dead or exploring your own shadow in some way, you may find the crow appearing in your life. You can honor the crow and get aquainted by learning about him, collecting representations of him, and if you don’t know what he’s trying to say, try asking! Because I hear, these crows are talkers.

Are you friends with the Crow or Raven?

Body Combat Zen

frosted rose

I have to laugh, as I look at my daily for tomorrow: Psychosomatic Illness. Funnier that it was posted early. The information needed extra air time!

See, I’ve been complaining for the last several days of being under the weather. Sinus issues, leaving me to talk a little funny and perpetually appearing to be on the verge of tears. I’m not, but my face feels like it. And my face looks like it, kind of swollen, when I can see it, between sneezing fits and rubbing itchy eyes.

I want to blame it on Reiki detox, since the second degree attunement I had on the Virgo Full moon. And maybe there’s something there. Or not, I don’t know. Even in my woo-woo world, not everything comes with a legible tag declaring it’s origin.

I don’t see physical issues in and of themselves  as”bad.” Inconvenient or uncomfortable sometimes. I’m very lucky, that’s all I have to deal with! But I’ve seen too many times when the body reacts to emotional shifts and energetic shifts physically, too many times to just judge physical anomalies as “bad.”

Sometimes, they are signs you must make a change. Sometimes, they are signs you have made a change. Either way, it’s common there is something significant happening.

Considering something as simple as a cold–all those unwelcome symptoms are doing very welcome jobs, ridding our bodies of invaders that can harm us. There are purposes served by all our experiences and I welcome the purpose even if the mode of delivery is less than charming.

Staying open to the experience, I hope to help it travel smoothly, efficiently. (Read: Quickly!) It’s like my own form of “body combat zen.” I fight by not fighting–accepting and accommodating and allowing the experience, until I no longer need it.

And having said this, my work is good still anyway–really, the connection is especially solid now. Strong enough I have to periodically remind myself to ground, grab a hunk of Hematite in each hand, and count my breathing while I sink an astral taproot to anchor. Just so I don’t float away…

But I did realize today, I’ve been handing out the same advice over and over in a short period. My 3-times rule is beyond triggered and I already realize that my people’s favorite tactic for getting a message through m thick head is to send me a swarm who need that very message.

“Carve out some time specifically for yourself, put it on your list and prioritize it.” Heard!

So from here on out, I will not be scheduling readings on Saturdays, OR on the days of New and Full Moons. If a lunar event falls on the weekend, I’ll likely take the day before off regardless of what day it is, instead of just Saturday. But in general, that’s what we’re looking at. I’ve carving out this time for personal pursuits, whether woo-woo related or not. So please be aware of that unavailability when we are working together or figuring expected response times.

And thanks for understanding.

How are y’all doing out there?

Butterfly Signs: Figure it out.

20130716_100835I’m sitting outside visiting with my daughter. She points out the white butterfly.

“Yeah, I’ve been seeing a white butterfly every single time I come outside for a while now. If I’m outside five minutes, I see him.”

“Is it the same one?” she wants to know.

“Sometimes I see a few together, so I’m figuring not. Just every time I go outside, I see the same kind of tiny, white butterfly. So I kind of think of him as being the same one.”

“It’s a sign, Mom! It’s a sign! It’s a sign!” she chirps.

I’m amused without letting on–because there was a day she would have made fun of me for saying what she just said, even though she was maybe joking. Kind of, anyway. 60% joke, or maybe it’s 40% joke. 

“What do they mean?” she asks.

“I dunno.”

“What do you mean, you don’t know?!? Look that shit up in a dream dictionary! It’s a sign, you need to find out what it means.”

“Butterflies have lots of meanings. Usually related to transformation. But I don’t know about white. Someone did tell me, sometimes it’s someone who’s passed.”

“It’s a sign, figure it out.” She must get her bossiness from her father.

I’m still seeing them. And no, I haven’t figured out what he’s trying to tell me. But I don’t mind all all. I enjoy seeing him. A friendly sign, for sure!

Do you get signs?