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A white raven perched on a branch stretches a wing downward

Mike Yip, Photographer, Find Enclave of White Ravens on Vancouver Island

As I’m sure you’ve gathered from the name of this website (CrowSong Lodge, in case you forgot), I LOVE Crows… but, really, all corvids (the scientific family that includes jackdaws, ravens, crows, magpies, and more). And Ravens, of course, have a very special place in my heart. Crows and Ravens, especially, have long been considered by ancient peoples across the Americas and Europe to guard the secrets of magic and the afterlife, but with a certain sense of humor as well.

Mike Yip, a photographer in Canada, has discovered and taken some beautiful images of rare white ravens that seem to call the area home. Check out the link to read more about them and see some beautiful photography!

http://www.reshareworthy.com/white-ravens/

A white raven perched on a branch stretches a wing downward
White Raven by Mike Yip, Photographer

Animal Spirit Guides Meditation

Photo by: TravelingCrow @ Pixabay
Photo by: TravelingCrow @ Pixabay

Hello everybody!

Wow, we just went through a couple of intense weeks, didn’t we? We had Mercury come out of Retrograde, the Moon go into Cancer, and now the full moon is this Saturday! And that’s just the Astrology!

For me, the Brave Blogging project has come to a pause and I really put out some scary truths about myself, but I’m proud that I did it. Check out the other blog posts around here to see that! Here’s the one on Speaking Forbidden Things.

This week, I’d like to share something that’s a little more easy going, but still really powerful!

I’ve decided that my meditations are going to be free on my site so that everybody can enjoy them. More than any monetary gain, I want them to get out there and be available for people to use. So this week, I’m bringing you my Animal Spirit Guides meditation. This is the meditation I designed so that you can meet an Animal Spirit Guide. If you want to, you can specify that this will be your personal guide, your healing guide, your protection guide, and so on.

This meditation did go out free to those of you who signed up for my VIP day, so if you did that, you should already have it. But here it is for those of you who did not.

I would LOVE to hear about what you get in the comments! Let me know!

Here it is:

 

Today’s Animal Medicine – Tiger!

Photo by: Kaz @ Pixabay
Photo by: Kaz @ Pixabay

Today I want to talk about a specific totem that has been visiting other people lately, and that is TIGER. Tiger is a ferocious animal spirit guide with really important lessons to teach. Now, every animal spirit guide has several different lessons that it teaches, but the one that Tiger has been teaching lately is about using your energy.

Theoretically (there are exceptions), you only get a certain amount of energy per day when you wake up and throughout the day when you eat. Let’s say that you receive 10 energy units.

Well, going to work takes 4 energy units, studying with the kids takes 3, and taking care of the house takes 3 more. That’s all of your energy units! And that’s okay, because now it’s bedtime.

But what happens more often is that you spend 5 energy units at work, 4 with the kids, then you only have 1 for taking care of the house, and then you pass out from exhaustion.

Tiger teaches us how to use our energy more efficiently and how to use it in the ways that you want. So instead of work taking 5 energy units like it normally does or 4 energy units like it should, now you’re only spending 3 energy units and you’re getting more done with them. When you leave work, you feel MORE energetic because you have more energy! That’s what Tiger teaches us to do.

To get Tiger to teach you, you need only go into a meditative state and invite Tiger to “walk” with you. That’s a metaphor for energetically joining you on your life journey for awhile. Whenever you REALLY need Tiger medicine, you would envision your energy body taking on the characteristics of a Tiger – triangle ears, long tail, and black and orange stripes. This will rev up your engines for Tiger energy.

Working with Animal Spirit Guides is like riding a bicycle with training wheels – they hold you upright and keep you going until you learn how to balance the bicycle all on your own.

And there you have it! Your lesson for today! Say ‘hi’ to Tiger for me!

Charlene Sig

Today’s Animal Medicine: Chicken!

(Side note: I thought this was going to be an easy one, but boy was I wrong! There’s a lot of conflicting information out there!)

Photo by sk8geek @ Flickr
Photo by sk8geek @ Flickr

The modern “chicken,” or Hens, Roosters, chicks, pullets, and cockerels as they are known in their age groups, are a wide variety of different fowl birds, descended from many more ground foraging fowl, ranging from India to Southeast Asia, and Africa! Records of the “bird that gives birth every day” go back to the 18th Dynasty in Egypt, where we first here of the birds being kept for their egg-laying abilities. That’s quite a history!

That brings us to the first representation for chickens – fertility. Eggs of all species have long been associated with fertility, but chickens are a rarebreed that will lay constantly throughout the years for most of their lives. This gives them an especially fertile reputation! In fact, the Chicken will lay a nest of 12 eggs at a time before she begins to brood (incubate) the eggs, laying one or two eggs a day for up to two weeks. We’ll get back to more on that later. Chicken feathers were also commonly used in homes to insulate and pad the marriage bed, if not also the other beds in the home, and so, too, are their feathers associated with fertility. If Chicken wanders into your yard, it is highly likely that you are heading for a fertile period – whether literally or metaphorically. Get out your crafts and paints – or your bed! – and get ready to bring new creations into the world through direct action.

If the Chicken that appears seems moody or sullen, this especially signifies that you are feeling stymied and need to get back to being creative. This is most likely caused by unfulfilled plans our ideals or a sense of rejection or admonishment. If so, try your hand at something new. If you write, try painting. If you paint, try fabric arts. If you knit, try sculpting, on and on and so forth.

Once incubation begins (after the hen has finished laying her nests and actively begins the brooding process) it takes about 21 days for all the eggs to hatch. Even though it can take about 2 weeks for the hen to lay all her eggs, the incubation process is such that the earlier eggs lay “dormant” until brooding begins. Expect your creative processes to work in cycles of about 21 days – or 3 weeks. Certainly within one moon cycle. As the chicks go through several different growth stages before they reach maturation, also expect for there to be several stages of growth for your project.

Another message of Chicken is one of working in your community. Most chickens (though not all!) are very community oriented and can live in large flocks. Every hen and rooster knows his or her place in the “pecking order” of the flock and all the Chickens work together when it comes to laying eggs, raising chicks, and finding food for the flock. In fact, it is common for Roosters, especially, to find food and call to young adults of the flock to make sure they are well fed. The rooster (and the hens with their chicks) issues a low, throaty cluck to call to others to eat.

Even more remarkably, a flock only likes to lay eggs in certain prime locations – it is unnatural for each hen to have her own individual nest (although some hens can be like that). It is common for hens to lay eggs in nests that already have eggs – even when another hen is already laying on that nest! They will also move eggs out of neighboring nests and into their own in order to keep the eggs well distributed. As such, it’s pretty normal for a hen’s chicks to not be all hers – she shares the chick raising duties with her fellow hens. She is quite dutiful to the chicks that she hatches, though the entire flock looks out for the baby chicks, and will stay with them exclusively for several weeks, after which they become full members of the flock and the hen returns to her egg-laying and brooding duties, though the chicks are not considered adults until they are a year old.

If Yardbird (Chicken) has appeared to you, she may be asking you to re-evaluate your place in the “pecking order” of your Tribe. Are you fulfilling your community duties? Are you being reliable? Are you tending to others projects (“nests”) while they are away? Or are you “peckish” and prefer being a lone bird? Are you helping the younger members of your flock to grow and flourish? How can you be “of service” at this time?

Chicken may seem a rather pedestrian bird, but watch them for a few days and you’ll see a highly dynamic, well evolved community of birds that can teach us many lessons. When you see (and certainly if you eat) their eggs, remember to give thanks for the small miracles that saved our ancestors and the gift of creativity that comes with them.

What if I Don’t Want to Learn a Lesson?

Photo by jamsheed @ mF
Photo by jamsheed @ mF

Some lessons are hard. Really hard. And sometimes we feel stubborn. Really stubborn. And there are times when we just plain old do not feel like learning the lessons before us. What should you do? What CAN you do?

Well, before exploring options to get rid of your lesson (or a particular totem), I recommend that you turn your gaze inward and really think about why you’re so resistant to the lesson. I find that when I’m in this state of mind, it’s typically because there are some core beliefs that depend on my current reality. If I change that reality, then my beliefs about my world or my self will have to change as well, and that can feel pretty Earth shattering. I also find that these are the most persistent of lessons, too. That really good foundational stuff! But sometimes it can simply be because I’m comfortable in my habits. Things are simpler or easier the way I’ve been doing them and my lesson totem might be disrupting that ease and comfort.

I really encourage you to look within and discover what your resistance is and to try to overcome it. Totems come in to your life, ultimately, to make it better. And better is… well, better!

However, your life IS subject to your free will. You CAN decide that you don’t want to learn a lesson and it IS an option to out-stubborn your totems. Before you go the hard route, though, I suggest you go into your meditation space and meet with your totem and see if you can find a compromise. Maybe breaking the lesson up into smaller pieces or using a different route or methodology.

You can also request for your totem to come back later when you’re in a better space. A lot of times this will work!

Before attempting to out-stubborn your totem, which can be a very difficult route to go down, try to work with them instead. They and the Universe are open to suggestions, listening, and compromising and totems really do come into your life to make things better for you in the long run. It’s sometimes hard to see from where you are, but things really are getting better!

Power Animals Around the World

Chester ZooThe concept of Animal Spirit Guides (or, here, “Power Animals”) is not unique to any particular culture, though a lot of people will immediately think of Native American or Meso American cultures. This is where we get a lot of the neo-shamanic practices of Animal Medicine or Totem Animals, but it’s important to recognize that Animal Spirit Guides are a multi-cultural phenomenon.

Power Animals can occur in relation to a single individual, or they may be guides to an entire lineage, clan, or tribe, depending on the culture. Meso-American cultures also practice a personal Animal Spirit Guide relationship, as well as Australian Aboriginals, ancient Celts, and various African tribes. Asian Cultures, especially Indian and Japanese, often have a Power Animal who is responsible for a region or tribe of people. Sometimes, a Power Animal is responsible for a certain class of society, such as the Bear Warriors (“Berzerkers”) of Celtic culture or the Jaguar Shaman of South America.

Knowing all the different ways Animals play a role in different cultures helps to determine the kind of relationship you will have with your Power Animal. Is it a working relationship? Is it personal? Intimate? Is your family involved? Your town or city? Do you become a student of those animals? Do you Shapeshift into them?

Wherever you are in the world, is there Power Animal for your location? Responsible for your house? For your family?

Do some research, search within, and explore world traditions. You may have a totally unique relationship with your Power Animal, but learning about those other relationships will give you the tools to explore your relationships more fully. Don’t limit yourself to just one culture’s traditions, but study those from all over the world and use your own Intuition to forge your own path.

Black Widow at Moon Dark

Black Widow
Black Widow by Educated Savage (me)

So, just a couple days ago, on the night of the new moon, I felt like I needed to reconnect. That I’d grown far from my gods and from my magick and I wanted to bridge the gap that had formed. But I didn’t feel like doing a full ritual, so I settled for a prayer (which is still ritualized).

I grabbed: a tea light, a sprig of rosemary from the front yard, a stick of incense, old spells to cleanse and I wrote a new prayer/spell.

I headed out to the back porch. When I grabbed the rosemary from the front yard, I noticed it was raining, so I planned my prayer to take place on the back porch. There was a terracotta plant dish out there that I use for burning things in out there and while I had originally intended to take it under the open sky, the rain changed my plans.

I felt pleased as I gathered everything together. This felt good and felt right – like it was exactly what I was needing to do now. I smiled. It WAS good.

Whenever I do a prayer I take some time before hand to write out my prayer. I forget things if I don’t. Plus, one of my favorite ways to send my prayers to the gods is via fire, which is best done with paper. So I wrote out what was on my mind and what I was hoping to see happen over the next couple of weeks. I dug out my special sacred stationary and an envelope. I wrote of joy and resolution, of not carrying things into the future, and of relaxation. I could use a little down time – things have been far too exciting recently, and not in the best of ways. So just looking for a little reprieve and simple joys. And maybe a cookie. I folded up my prayer and put it in it’s envelope and then placed supporting runes on the envelope.

When I headed out to do my prayer, I noticed a Black Widow nearby on some pots. And I forgot my sprig of rosemary. So when I went to get the rosemary, I grabbed my camera, too – it’s my natural response to interesting bugs. But I knew that this prayer on this night with that Black Widow was all leading to something.

I started my prayer with a cleansing. I’d brought the other pages from my altar with me and said a prayer of cleansing and burned them using the tea light and placing them in the terracotta pot dish. That done, I opened my prayer that I had written, said a dedication to the gods, and read my prayer to them. When I was done, I placed the paper back in the envelope, sealed it, and lit it on fire as well, sending it to the gods. I placed the rosemary and incense on top and waited in meditation until they had burned out. I said my thank yous, a blessing for the world, and concluded my prayer.

So then I thought about the Black Widow, who had been waiting for me outside. Black Widows are dangerous, so I asked my fiance to move it to the edge of the yard to go find another home and looked up the Black Widow. Being a black spider, and it being Moon Dark, I knew I was being drawn into mystery, magic, and creation. I read up about Spiders and remembered Spider’s lesson – that we weave our own webs. Immediately, without even having said my prayer, I had already gotten a message back from the gods. Embrace my creativity. Head into mystery. Turn inwards and see what web I want to weave. Go straight for my goals, don’t go around in circles. Clean my life of everything toxic. Basically, get ready for some creative growth.

We’ll see about the other stuff later.

Confession! (Snake and Spider)

Photo by: LoggaWiggler @ Pixabay
Photo by: LoggaWiggler @ Pixabay

Like a proper tomboy, I was never afraid of bugs, spiders, or snakes. I thought they were fascinating. Beautiful, otherworldly creatures with mysterious origins. The bringers of change, strength, growth, and knowledge. Power over your world. Efficient, effective predators. We can even say they were a little sexy.

My mother even died of  complications due to a spider bite. Still, I was not afraid of spiders. They were unwelcome in my house and if they entered my domain they had to weather my wrath. But I still wasn’t scared.

The dreams started during my rebirth into shamanism. Rivers of snakes everywhere I went. Trying to get from here to there and being unable to find the floor because there were so many snakes. And not just one kind, either – boas, garter snakes, pencil snakes, cobras, rattlesnakes… they were all there.

And then there were the spiders.

In my dreams, they were as big as tanks or buildings and they shot lasers out of their eyes! I’m not sure where the lasers came from, that’s just weird. But I was always running away from them – on occasion, I would fight them, often in a spider-tank of my own, like those in ‘Ghost in the Shell.’ Curiously, these dreams never feature the spider’s webs.

For a long time, I kind of just raised my eyebrow at the spider and snake dreams. Curious, they were! The snake dreams, especially, gave me a chuckle. Here I was experiencing a rebirth and snakes represent transmutation – it seemed appropriate. And the name I took, “Nathara,” was Scottish for snake.

I actually really love snakes. Spiders I’m on the fence about, but I think snakes are absolutely beautiful.

But since I’ve been having these dreams, even looking at a picture of a snake or spider gives me goosebumps and makes my skin crawl. I relive all those moments in my dreams when I’m dodging their laser beams and trying to move through them. And it’s taken YEARS of these dreams (4 years, actually) for me to get to this place where they give me the heebee jeebees.

So, why this recurring theme? I’ve been trying to figure it out.

Snake, as an Animal Spirit Guide, is about transmutation, which is definitely in-keeping with my rebirth. And it’s possible that the dreams continue because I’m not all the way reborn yet – it’s hard to tell these things from the middle of them. Spider is about weaving your own reality and being in tune with the world around you. So perhaps there is some part of me that is afraid of moving forward – afraid of completing my transmutation and not yet ready to step up into responsibility for my world. Maybe some part of me wishes I could go back to the time Before, when everything was safe (except the dying of my soul).

I spend a lot of time sitting with Spider and Snake now. Part of it is fascination at this new fear they stir, and part is trying to understand why I dream them still. I sit with them and uncover little clues here and there, but I haven’t uncovered the major thing yet. I’m not sure what it is – naturally – but I’m sure I’ll know it when I find it.

To be clear – I still love Snake and Spider, though they haunt me now. I still think their beautiful, elegant, and efficient and I admire their wisdom more and more. I embrace my name more and more, and still look at pictures. I look for areas in my life where I can tap into their energy.

I’ll figure it out, I’m sure. But it’s going to take time. And that’s okay.

Jewelry and Where to Wear It

Photo by: PublicDomainArchive @ Pixabay
Photo by: PublicDomainArchive @ Pixabay

As a society, we LOVE jewelry. It’s one of the best ways to bring precious metals and gemstones into our energy fields, adorn ourselves and feel/look beautiful,  and express our individuality. But did you know that where you wear your jewelry effects how it’s energies influence you? It does! Today’s post is going to be a quick reference guide on where to wear jewelry for the most effect. I get this information from the wonderful book Stone Power by Dorothee L. Mella.

First of all, the left side of your body is the receptive, absorbative side of your body and your right side of the body is the outgoing, influencing, and productive side of your body. So, a quick “rule of thumb” is that if there are energies you want to internalize, you want to wear them on the left side of your body and if you want energies to effect the actions that you’re taking, then you want to wear them on the right side of your body.

Your index (pointer) finger controls expression. Wearing a stone or metal on your left index finger, you effect how you communicate with yourself internally. On the right, it effects how you communicate with others.

Your middle finger controls intuition and inspiration. Wearing a stone or metal on your either of your middle fingers will effect your intuition and how sensitive it is, so wearing a stone here should be done with caution. On the left, it affects the receptivity of your intuition, on the right, it effects the energy you put out.

Your ring finger controls your creativity. On the left, you receive creative stimulation (including love), and on the right it helps your creative expression.

Your pinkie finger (little finger) controls change and opportunities. On the left, you effect the opportunities you receive and on the right you control the opportunities you create, both for yourself and others.

In addition, there are all sorts of places on your body you could wear gemstones, metals, and other materials to gain their influence.

Photo by: shraddhaphotostories @ Pixabay
Photo by: shraddhaphotostories @ Pixabay

Your forehead or the top of your head influences your mental state and your creativity.

Your ears effect your energy and stability.

Your neck effects how you express yourself.

Your heart area effects your desires and ability to receive and express love.

Your naval area effects your vitality.

Your hips effect your actions and achievements.

And your ankles effect your support and stability.

So, as an example, if your seeking aid in staying grounded in reality, connected to the physical, and aware of your environment, you would do well to wear obsidian (grounding) on your left (receptive) ankle (support/stability).

If you want to increase your self esteem, you would do well to wear rose quartz (capacity for love) over your heart area (ability to receive and express love). A second place to wear the rose quartz would be your left wrist (receptivity). Wearing this stone on your right wrist or right index finger would help you express the love you feel both for yourself and for others.

This is not limited to gemstones and metals. You can also use herbals, other natural materials such as shells and fabrics, and talismans in this same way! Don’t be afraid to experiment moving stones around and seeing what effect they have!

Sad Stories

Dog and Parrot
Photo by: ferran pestana @ Flickr

So, the last couple of days, I’ve seen several stories on Facebook about animals being killed by police officers and other individuals of authority. According to the stories, the owners were doing all they could to save these precious animals, but the “system” is an uncaring one.

I just want to express how precious a gift an animal companion really is. Not only are they amazing creatures with personality, character, idiosyncrasies and their own little spirits, but they keep us connected to the Earth and Nature, sometimes in environments where you can’t find a blade of grass or patch of dirt to sit on. A well-matched pair, human and animal, make an incredibly powerful team and it’s something not to be taken for granted or abused.

Give your furkids a hug and a kiss and keep them safe.