Intermission & Snapshots

Hello! Happy belated mother’s day! I am blessed with so many mother figures in my life.

I needed a break, so I painted a rock for the kindness rock garden at the park.

While waiting for a restaurant table, I listened to my boyfriend chat about a sibling and past hurts while watching the clouds.

1 hour later I encounter lovely flowers!

A friend created these lovely figurines from scratch!

My plants are well!

Cool hair! This duck is strutting his stuff!

A beautiful tree!

A2Z 2021 – Birds – Magpie

Featured Image by 👀 Mabel Amber, who will one day from Pixabay

  • Physical Description: A striking bird, the magpie has the deep, glossy black plumage of a crow or raven, with a white chest and white blazes across the top of the wings. The primary flight feathers also have white on them, as can be seen when the magpie flies. It measures approximately 20 inches long (almost half of which is the magpie’s long tail), has a wingspan of approximately 23 inches, and weighs about 6 ounces.
  • Geographic Distribution: Magpies are found in western and central Canada and the United States.
  • Environment: These birds are found in open woodland, meadows, and grasslands. Magpies are very comfortable in residential areas and around people

Myths, Folklore, and Cultural Associations

In China and Korea, the magpie is said to be a bird of good luck and happiness. If a chattering magpie is observed, it means guests will arrive or other good news is on the way. If you hear a magpie when you’re setting out, your errand will be blessed with good luck. However, in Western symbolism, the magpie is more often considered a thief or a wastrel, and a symbol of bad luck, much like crows and ravens. In England, it is considered unlucky to see a single magpie, and to offset the bad luck you must take off your hat, make the sign of the cross, or cross two sticks on the ground.

Magpies are attracted to shiny objects, and will often filch pieces of tin foil, glossy ribbons, and small coins to hoard. This has given rise to the casual terms “magpie syndrome” or “magpie mind, “which describe people being drawn to shiny, pretty things or ideas that distract them from what they should be properly focusing on.

In some American folklore, if a magpie lands on the roof of a house, it is a sign that the house is sturdy and will not collapse or be destroyed in a storm. In other folklore, a magpie landing on the roof or flying past a window means the imminent death of one of the inhabitants.

A commonly known folk rhyme lists the symbolism associated with the number of magpies seen. It is also applied to other corvids such as crows and ravens, and has a few different regional variations. Here is one of the most common versions.

One for sorrow, two for mirth,
Three for a wedding, four for a birth,
Five for silver, six for gold,
Seven for a secret not to be told.
Eight for heaven, nine for hell,
And ten for the devil’s own self.

In Greek mythology, the nine daughters of King Peirus of Emathia (Macedonia) challenged the Muses to a singing contest. When the sisters lost, they were punished by the Muses for their presumption by being transformed into nine chattering magpies.

A Chinese festival called The Night of the Sevens or the Magpie Festival is celebrated on the seventh day of the seventh lunar month. It is a celebration for lovers, something like the Western Valentine’s Day. At this time of year the stars Vega and Altair are high in the sky, and in the story these stars represent two lovers, a princess and a cowherd, who were separated forever by the Milky Way. On this festival, all the magpies in the world, out of pity for the lover’s separation, rise up into the sky and form a bridge with their wings so the lovers may spend one night together.

Omens and Divinatory Meaning

The magpie may be telling you to look for the shiny things around you, to enjoy the bright attractive things in your life. Alternatively, it may recommend that you look at how you balance your love of shiny things with the more serious things in life. Are you too often distracted by the glittery things in life?

The magpie can also represent destructive habits; too much hoarding, gossip, idle chatter, or loud talk can harm you or others. But the magpie’s black-and-white coloring makes it a symbol of balance, and seeing it can remind you to maintain balance in your life.

Associated Energies: Hoarding, distraction, communication, balance between extremes
Associated Seasons: Spring, Summer
Element Association: Air
Color Associations: Black, White

REFERENCE: Birds, a Spiritual Field Guide, Explore the Symbology & Significance of These Divine Winged Messengers by Arin Murphy-Hiscockv

Reflections

I enjoyed learning about Magpie folklore. As for balancing the shiny and the serious, I feel like I have done this often in my life on here on my blog. While I like to contemplate serious topics that impact humanity, I can’t help but be attracted to sparkle of all sorts from time to time. 🙂

Many people consider the magpie to be among one of the smartest animals. They are highly sociable and have fascinating communicating patterns. I’ve watched many videos of the magpie, and it was interesting seeing them interact with other birds.

I saw a video of one imitating human speech and being ever so loving, one of two magpies getting territorial and harassing hawks, foxes, rats, another one of magpies attacking people. In Australia, it’s called swooping season! Below is a magpie mourning the death of a loved one.

Apparently, they can serenade you too! I was also fascinated by the Magpie Whisperer!

A2Z 2021 – Birds – Lark

Featured Photo by Dimitris Vetsikas

  • Physical Description: The horned lark is a small brown bird with a buff chest, a black mask, and a black patch surrounded by pale yellow on its throat. This bird has two small feather crests on either side of the top of its head, giving rise to its name. Larks are small to medium-sized birds, about 8 inches in length, with a wingspan of approximately 12.5 inches. They weigh about 1.5 ounces
  • Geographic Distribution: The horned lark is the only true lark native to North America. It is found from northern Canada and down to the southern United States and Mexico
  • Environment: This bird favors grassy, open plains.
Horned Lark Image Credit: Pinterest

Myths, Folklore, and Cultural Associations

Folklore tells us that the lark sings and flies as close to heaven as possible to demonstrate its joy at being alive, something we evoke when we say that someone is “as happy as a lark.” The collective noun for a group of larks is an “exultation,” a beautiful reminder of the joy associated with this bird.

Larks were once considered game birds, and were eaten as part of luxurious feasts. The cheery French-Canadian folksong “Alouette” is about plucking a lark, a fact that astonishes many people when the words are translated for them.

A “lark is a term for a playful romp or fun activity, often perceived as irresponsible in some way. The word lark is also used to describe a person who functions best when he rises early in the morning and goes to bed early.

The Colorado state bird is the prairie lark bunting, which is actually a member of the sparrow family. The meadowlark, the state bird of Kansas, is not a true lark either; it belongs to the Sturnella genus, which also includes some blackbirds.

Omens and Divinatory Meaning

If you see a lark, it could be telling you to cast off the shackles of responsibility for a bit and go on a figurative lark. Play hooky; visit the zoo, the aquarium, or the museum. Get some ice cream, or treat yourself to a new book and a full-fat latte. Do something out of the ordinary, something you’ve always wanted to do but felt wasn’t dignified enough, or something you couldn’t possibly do because you were too grown up.

The lark can also be telling you to experience more joy in your life. Are you working so hard that you’ve forgotten how to have fun? Think of the image of the skylark, flying as high as it can while singing in sheer exultation. You can figuratively sing out to celebrate the things you love in your life. The lark may be reminding you that you do, in fact, have things to sing about.

Associated Energies: Joy, celebration, playfulness
Associated Season: Summer
Element Associations: Air
Color Association: Brown, beige

REFERENCE: Birds, a Spiritual Field Guide, Explore the Symbology & Significance of These Divine Winged Messengers by Arin Murphy-Hiscock

Reflections

I know the author of this book said that her book wasn’t meant an exhaustive reference, but I realized the focus of her geographic distributions is limited to the North America region often. I know that there are larks all throughout the Middle East, Asia, and Africa.

There are so many different types of larks out there. I thought this Magpie looked like a skunk! 🙂

Magpie Lark Image by picman2 from Pixabay

Yes! I’ve been working very hard as of late. My face is breaking out as if I was a teenager again. However I’m planning a trip to the Natural Bridge Caverns with some friends for my birthday in a few weeks. It’s been a long while since I went spelunking in a cave. I’m also looking forward to a live Q&A session with the author of the book, The Midnight Library.

“The joy of life comes from our encounters with new experiences, and hence there is no greater joy than to have an endlessly changing horizon, for each day to have a new and different sun.”

Christopher McCandless

I think of how fascinated I am by so many pictures and angles of sunsets and sunrises even though it’s just one sun. In “The Midnight Library”, there’s was a quote about fish that makes me think about how important it is for us to have fresh experiences.

“Fish get depressed when they have a lack of stimulation. A lack of everything. When they are just there, floating in a tank that resembles nothing at all.”

Haig, Matt. The Midnight Library (p. 83). Penguin Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

Maybe the sound of wood larks would help me mediate and relax a bit, before I take on my next assignment. 🙂

A2Z 2021 – Birds – Kingfisher

Image by Timo Schlüter from Pixabay

  • Physical Description: A small bird with a long pointed beak, the belted kingfisher has a slate-blue head with a crest, a slate-blue back, a white front, and a white collar around its neck. The female has additional rust-colored markings along her chest and sides and is more brightly colored than the male.
  • Geographic Distribution: Most kingfisher species are found in the Old World, but the belted kingfisher is found throughout North and Central America.
  • Environment: The belted kingfisher lives near bodies of water such as rivers, streams, ponds, and lakes.

Myths, Folklore, and Cultural Associations

In general, the kingfisher is seen as a symbol of protection and a good luck charm. Legend has it that the Old World kingfisher had more muted colors than the belted kingfisher of the Americas. Supposedly the belted kingfisher received its beautifully colored plumage when it was the first bird released from the Ark after the flood waters were confirmed to have receded, and therefore was the only bird to catch the final rays of the setting sun on its breast and the blue of the twilight sky on its back.

One family of the kingfisher suborder is named Halcyonidae, derived from the same root as our word “halcyon,” meaning idyllic, peaceful, or nostalgic. Greek mythology gives us the story of Alcyone, the daughter of Aeolus (king of the winds), who drowned herself in grief when she discovered that her husband had drowned.

Herbert James Draper – Alcyone searches for Ceyx

The gods rewarded her devotion by turning her into a kingfisher, and Aeolus forbade the winds to blow during the halcyon days (the seven days before and after the winter solstice) so that the kingfisher could lay its eggs. The fabled “halcyon bird” was said to build its nest on the water itself, something that could only be done during the halcyon days when the seas were calm.

In old Europe, carrying a kingfisher feather was thought to provide protection from misfortune. Hanging a dead kingfisher by a string was thought to serve as a wind indicator, as the bird’s beak was said to point in the direction from which the wind would come

Omens and Divinatory Meaning

Sighting a kingfisher is, in general, a lucky thing. Noting which way the kingfisher was facing may be valuable, as this may be the direction from which good news or an opportunity will come to you.

The kingfisher may bear the message for you to be the one who calms troubled waters, as the legendary halcyon bird was said to do. The halcyon is also said to have possessed the ability to calm winds – you may be the one with the power to clear up muddled communication that’s dogging a particular situation in your life.

The halcyon connection may also be a message to evoke some wonderful memories of your past in order to enrich the present.

Associated Energies: Precision, timing, good fortune, peace, calm
Associated Season: Summer
Element Associations: Air, Water
Color Association: Grey, blue, white, rust, green, red

REFERENCE: Birds, a Spiritual Field Guide, Explore the Symbology & Significance of These Divine Winged Messengers by Arin Murphy-Hiscock

Reflections

Wow, I love this kingfisher’s hair do! It’s like a mohawk! 🙂 The featured photo also reminds me of a picture that a fellow blogger features, Christine Bolton at Poetry for Healing.

“…evoke some wonderful memories of your past in order to enrich the present.”

Last night, I was hooked on reading a book to the very end. It’s called the Midnight Library. It’s made me think of all my own experiences in my life that has led me where I’m at today.

“you may be the one with the power to clear up muddled communication that’s dogging a particular situation in your life…”

There’s some things I want to take initiative on soon amongst my friends and family!

A2Z 2021 – Birds – Juan Fernandez Firecrown

Featured Photo by Héctor Gutiérrez Guzmán 

  • Physical Description: The male is 11.5–12 cm long and weighs 10.9 g. Its color is mostly cinnamon orange, excepting dark grey wings, black bill, and iridescent gold crown. The female is 10 cm long and weighs 6.8 g. Its underparts are white with a dappling of very small green and black areas; the crown is iridescent blue, and upperparts are blue-green.
  • Geographic Distribution: Found today solely on Isla Robinson Crusoe, one of the three-island Juan Fernández archipelago belonging to Chile
  • Environment: Inhabits forests, thickets, and gardens
Female Juan Fernández Firecrown by Fabrice Schmitt

Myths, Folklore, and Cultural Associations

The English name “hummingbird” comes form the hum created by the rapid speed at which the bird’s wings flap. John James Audubon called hummingbirds “glittering fragments of rainbows,” and they have also been called flying jewels. The sheer beauty of the hummingbird is insprirational.

Urban legend tells of hummingbirds hitching migratory rides on the backs of larger birds such as geese, for it was believed that something so tiny could not possibly fly so far on its own.

A Mayan legend tells that the Creator, after making all the other birds, had a pile of small colorful scraps left over, and fashioned a tiny bird out of them. Being made of leftovers is hardly a handicap, however. The Aztecs honored the hummingbirds as a symbol of vitality and energy. The Aztec hummingbird god Huitzilopochitli was associated with war and the sun, and the Aztecs believed that warriors would be reincarnated as hummingbirds. Dead hummingbirds were carried as talismans for good fortune in war, or to enhance a warrior’s battle skill.

In Central America, the hummingbird is seen as a symbol of sexual energy and, by extension, a symbol of love and attraction. In the American Southwest, the hummingbird was associated with brining rain and much-needed water. The form of the hummingbird was sometimes used as a decoration on water jars, and the hummingbird is part of ceremonial rain dances in both the Hopi and Zuni tribes, symbolized by a dancer dressed as a hummingbird who dances to summon rain for the crops.

Trinidad and Tobago calls itself “the land of the hummingbird.” The hummingbird is featured on the country’s coat of arms and the penny; it is also the mascot of the Caribbean Airlines.

Juan Fernandez female Firecrown feeding. Photo by Kevin D. Mack

Omens and Divinatory Meaning

If you see a hummingbird, chances are good that the message is somehow connected with vitality. The hummingbird may be telling you to watch your energy and not squander it. Although a hummingbird has plenty of vitality, it is carefully apportioned for survival. The hummingbird does not have time or energy to play; it is focused on its basic needs.

What are your basic needs? Are you dividing your energy and attention among too many things, as enjoyable as they may be? Take stock of your commitments and your extracurricular activities, and prioritize them. Make sure to prioritize those things that encourage relaxation and renewal, as well as work- and family-related responsibilities.

In addition to warning you to watch how you spend your energy, the hummingbird reminds you to take joy in the simple things, to literally slow down and smell the flowers. Bury your nose in a branch of a flowering shrub, or walk among the paths of a public garden to refresh yourself. You need to feed your emotional and spiritual selves as well as your physical being. The hummingbird, with its love of bright, sweet things and its colorful, iridescent plumage, gently scolds you to nourish that side of yourself as well, and to embrace joy.

The frequency with which the hummingbird must eat also reminds you to take plenty of small breaks to restore and maintain your energy. Ignoring your basic needs is self-destructive in the long run.

The hummingbird’s message can be summed up as urging you to live life to the fullest within your means; don’t hold back. Give it your all, but remember to relax and sip the sweetness along the way. Make sure to balance all your commitments in order to best apportion your energy.

Associated energies: Joy, energy, energy management, sweetness, vitality
Associated seasons: Summer
Element association: Air
Color associations: Green, Red, White

REFERENCE: Birds, a Spiritual Field Guide, Explore the Symbology & Significance of These Divine Winged Messengers by Arin Murphy-Hiscock

Juan Fernandez Firecrown Hummingbird Critically Endangered

Reflections

Poor endangered Firecrowns! It’s sad that native cats eat them and rats eat their eggs! If only falcons could be their friends if they weren’t birds of prey.

“Lack of time is actually lack of priorities”

Timothy Ferris

Today’s divinatory meanings have really been hitting home with me! What do I have to say no to in order to say yes to something else? Where have I been spreading out too thinly? I feel that this is one of my major vices and something I can improve upon. Perhaps I experience FOMO (fear of missing out) to a high degree. I think about the time I spend here on this blog and your time spent here with me. Thank you, I hope you are getting as much value as you can from my posts.

“Your life will be a blessed and balanced experience if you first honor your identity and priority.”

Russell M. Nelson

But perhaps, my priorities are often murky because I feel like my identity isn’t set in stone? Am I still exploring aspects of myself that I’m blind to and that are unknown to me? Is it hard for me to develop strong roots or depth in an area because I enjoy a variety of experiences?

Often I think of bloggers who make it their priority to post as often as they do. These bloggers sound like the real deal. How often do bloggers reevaluate their priorities? Spend more time with their families in person, work on things in their real world. Place your time where it’s important to you.

A2Z 2021 – Birds – Ibis

Image by ❤️A life without animals is not worth living❤️ from Pixabay

  • Physical Description: The ibis is a wading bird with a long narrow neck and head, and a downward-curving thick beak measuring an average of 26 inches long. The ibis shares visual similarities with the heron, but the ibis’s beak is curved, whereas the heron’s is straight. The white-faced ibis has dark feathers with a burgundy sheen and a white mask around the eye area. It measures roughly 20 inches long and weighs approximately a pound.
  • Geographic Distribution: The whit-faced ibis, the most common species in North America, is found in the central and western United States, down through Central America, and into the southern part of South America.
  • Environment: The ibis is found in coastal regions as well as swamps, marshes, and wetlands.
Image by Scottslm from Pixabay

Myths, Folklore, and Cultural Associations

Folklore says the ibis is the last bird to take shelter before a hurricane strikes, and the first to emerge once the danger has passed.

The ibis was a sacred bird in ancient Egypt. The ibis family name, Threskiornithidae, is Greek for “sacred bird.” The Egyptian god of knowledge and writing, Thoth, is portrayed as having the head of an ibis.

The American stork is sometimes called “wood ibis,” as settlers confused the New World herons and storks with the Old World ibis.

Image by mollyroselee from Pixabay

Omens and Divinatory Meaning

Because the ibis is connected to knowledge and writing, seeing this bird can mean that you need to address the process of learning in your life. Have you been struggling with your methods of learning? Try something different. If you’re usually an active learner who absorbs information through hands-on learning, try a visual-based learning style, or a verbal style.

Did you abandon your studies at some time? Perhaps it’s time to go back to school. If you cannot attend full-time, then perhaps take a course here or there to refresh your skills, or catch up on new information available in your career field.

Associated energies: Wisdom, knowledge, communication via writing, connection to the sacred
Associated seasons: Spring, Summer
Element association: Water, Air
Color associations: White, Black, Red

REFERENCE: Birds, a Spiritual Field Guide, Explore the Symbology & Significance of These Divine Winged Messengers by Arin Murphy-Hiscock

Reflections

“Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.”

Mahatma Gandhi

Boy, does the divinatory meaning really speak to me! Perhaps, I need to switch gears and discover a new method of learning. I do enjoy the process of learning something new. Gandhi’s quote makes me think of all the libraries in the world, and how I would never be able to read all these books within my lifetime. I enjoy gleaning from other’s experiences and book reviews. Roy’s quote brings some dimension to the phrase, “you live and learn.” You gain experience, and learn from it. Repeat. Constantly entering a different place or phase in your life so long as you continue to try out new things.

“The past is a place of reference, not a place of residence; the past is a place of learning, not a place of living.”

Roy T. Bennett, The Light in the Heart

A2Z 2021 – Birds – Goldfinch

Featured Image by Michael Murphy

  • Physical Description: The goldfinch is a small, stubby bird measuring about 4.5 inches long, with a wingspan of approximately 8 inches and a weight of roughly .5 ounce. The bird’s plumage is mostly bright yellow, and it has a black blaze above the beak, black wing edges touched with white, and a white rump. The female is a duller color in the summer, but in the winter the male dulls whereas the female brightens slightly.
  • Geographic Distribution: The American goldfinch is found across southern Canada in the summer, in the northern United States year round, and in the southern United States and eastern Mexico in the winter. The European goldfinch is found across Europe, North Africa and western and central Asia. It has been introduced to other areas, including Australia, New Zealand and Uruguay.
  • Environment: The goldfinch’s preferred environments include meadows, fields, open woodland, and floodplains. This bird is very comfortable in cultivated and urban residential areas.
Photo from Pennington

Myths, Folklore, and Cultural Associations

The word carduelis in the European goldfinch’s name (Carduelis carduelis) means “thistle-eating,” and goldfinches love weeds such as thistles, particularly milkweed and other plants that produce flossy or fluffy seed heads. The goldfinch eats the seeds of these plants and uses the silky fluff of the plant to line and weave into its nest. The European goldfinch was sometimes called “thistle-finch:, and this bird is the distelfink seen in Pennsylvania Dutch folk art and lore. The distelfink represents happiness and good fortune to this community.

The gold color of this bird connects it with wealth. If the first bird a girl saw on Valentine’s Day was a goldfinch, she would marry a wealthy man. The goldfinch was also believed to be a symbol of protection against the plague in medieval times.

The American goldfinch, or eastern goldfinch, is the state bird of Iowa, New Jersey, and Washington. Goldfinches are sometimes casually referred to as ” wild canaries”.

The collective noun for a group of goldfinches is a “charm,” which is a lovely word suggesting the bird’s association with luck, health, joy and love.

Photo from Pennington

Omens and Divinatory Meaning

Yellow is a color of joy, cheer, and health. Seeing a goldfinch can be a boost to your general well-being. It may also be a sign to consciously introduce more joy into your life by engaging in what you love to do more than you are currently doing.

The male goldfinch’s bright colors fade after the summer and become a more subdued olive brown, whereas the female’s plumage brightens in the fall. This can be a reminder that you can choose your season to shine. Not everyone can be in the spotlight all the time; it can be draining and unhealthy. But by choosing your time carefully, you can make a significant impact. Just remember that in order to balance that season of shining, you need to retreat again and allow others their time in the light as well.

Associated energies: Joy, happiness, health, abundance, prosperity
Associated seasons: Summer
Element association: Air
Color associations: Yellow, black, brown

REFERENCE: Birds, a Spiritual Field Guide, Explore the Symbology & Significance of These Divine Winged Messengers by Arin Murphy-Hiscock

Reflections

Every time I hear Goldfinch, I think of Crushed Caramel’s love for a wonderful man. Crushed Caramel is a bright and beautiful blogger here in the blogosphere sharing inspirational posts on love and life.

Photo from Pennington

If the sight of the blue skies fills you with joy, if a blade of grass springing up in the fields has power to move you, if the simple things of nature have a message that you understand, rejoice, for your soul is alive.

Eleonora Duse

It’s National Walking Day! The other day I took a afternoon walk at this national historical site I frequently visit, and I was overwhelmed with such a joyous feeling deep in my heart. The blue skies were vibrant. The sun was shining. The grass was growing. I was so appreciative of this gorgeous day. It could be the fact that my state is no longer a frozen, bleak landscape. I couldn’t help but smile from ear to ear. I felt free. The fact that I was cooped up for the majority of last year while death and discord surrounded me was suffocating. I didn’t realize how it impacted my ability to do A2Z last year. I’m just so grateful for the littlest of things. I’m grateful to see and visit my loved ones more often.

“Walk as if you are kissing the Earth with your feet.”

― Thich Nhat Hanh, Peace Is Every Step: The Path of Mindfulness in Everyday Life
Photo from The Spruce

A2Z 2021 – Birds – Falcon

Featured Photo by Viktor Jakovlev on Unsplash

  • Physical Description: The falcon has a curve at the end of its beak that is sometimes referred to as a hook. Peregrine falcons average 17 inches in length, with a wingspan of about 42 inches and an average weight of about 2.5 pounds
  • Geographic Distribution: Falcons are found on all continents except Antarctica
  • Environment: Falcons are found in mountainous areas and open woodland, though they are at ease in urban areas and often substitute skyscrapers for cliffs.
Image by Miles Moody from Pixabay

Myths, Folklore, and Cultural Associations

One of the older names for falcons was tiercel, meaning “third”, as it was thought that only one egg in three hatched a male bird.

The falcon was one of the forms associated with the Egyptian god Horus, the god of war and hunting, and the Eye of Horus talisman (correctly known as the Wedjat) which represents the all-seeing eye of both the bird and the god. The hieroglyph of a falcon refers directly to Horus and means “that which is above.”

Ancient Egyptian God Horus
Photo by Aruna

Freya, the Norse goddess of love and sexuality, owned a falcon-feather cloak with which she shapeshifted and flew.

Deviant Artwork by flaming-wave666

Falconry, the sport of hunting game with trained small birds of prey, was an enormously popular social sport in medieval Europe. The falcon is sometimes used as a symbol of freedom from bondage or slavery, referring to a falcon that escapes the keeper’s hand and flies free, never to return. Likewise, the falcon can symbolize unfettered or passionate love, building on the image of a tamed falcon, once unhooded and untied, bursting forth in pursuit of its goal.

Omens and Divinatory Meaning

The falcon is power in a small package. These birds move efficiently in more than one sense of the word, wasting no energy of motion. How is your efficiency these days? You may need to work on your split-second decision making.

“Peregrine” means wanderer. If you see a peregrine falcon, it may be reminding you that movement is important. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re about to pull up stakes and move to another place (although it might), but it may suggest that changing to the familiar can be limiting. Being too comfortable and not seeking to expand your horizons can have a negative impact on your potential. Try pushing yourself outside your comfort zone in order to expose yourself to new ideas and concepts.

The falcon can be seen as a diurnal symbol, as it is generally associated with the sun. Remember, though, that the Egyptian god Horus had two eyes. One was the sun, but the other was the moon. Thus the falcon can be a symbol of balance and completion too.

Associated Energies: Perception, efficiency, power, balance
Associated Seasons: Summer, fall
Element Associations: Air, fire
Color Association: brown, buff, cream, rust

REFERENCE: Birds, a Spiritual Field Guide, Explore the Symbology & Significance of These Divine Winged Messengers by Arin Murphy-Hiscock

Reflections

Wow, I’m just in awe of the falcon’s sheer speed. 200 MILES PER HOUR. They’re incredible! You do not want to get on their bad side. Intelligent and razor sharp, figuratively and literally!

A few nights ago, I chatted with a friend and he shared with me a link about being more efficient in life. Saving money on food ($1.50/day) , 2hr/week workout, etc. (https://efficiencyiseverything.com/)

I was first intrigued by industrial engineering when I first read about Lillian Gilbreth, an extraordinary lady. She applied psychology to time-motion studies and helped industrial engineers understand the psychological dimensions of work. She was an industrial engineer, psychologist, consultant, and educator, and raised a large family.

Her son wrote a book, “Cheaper by the Dozen” which later inspired a modern day film. It was fascinating reading about how her kids developed ways to save money and be more efficient in their morning routine. I only know three women in my social circle who decided to have 12 kids outside of Lillian. One being my grandmother, the other two women in their 40s-50s. Imagine giving each child the time and attention he/she deserves. So much can go on in their lives. Kudos to mothers who do so much for their kids!

Gilbreth Family photo on Pixels

A2Z 2021 – Birds – Dove

Featured photo by Sylvia Maulding

  • Physical Description: Doves are medium-sized birds with short stout bodies, short necks, and short beaks. Size varies according to the species as does coloring. The mourning dove, the most common species in North America, measures about 11 inches long, with a wingspan of 18 inches and a weight of approximately 5 ounces.
  • Geographic Distribution: Doves are found worldwide except in the high Arctic, Antarctica, the Sahara Desert, and other harsh places. most live in tropical or subtropical climates.
  • Environment: Doves prefer woodlands, forested areas, and fields.

Myths Folklore, and Cultural Associations

Stereotypically, the dove is portrayed as white and gentle, sweet, and loving. The dove is a symbol of the Holy Spirit in Christian iconography. Some iconographers show Mary being blessed by a dove at the moment of Annunciation, and Jesus was blessed by the Holy Spirit in the form of a dove at his baptism. The dove is said to be so pure that it is the one form into which Satan cannot transform himself. Doves and pigeons were the only birds suitable for sacrifice by the Hebrews, as stated in Leviticus 1:14. the dove appears as a symbol of purity on the Holy Grail in Malory’s Morte d’Arthur. In Muslim lore, a dove murmured the words of God into the ear of Muhammad.

Today the dove is a symbol of peace, often portrayed with an olive branch in its mouth. This iconography is taken from the story of Noah releasing the bird to bring back proof that there was land again somewhere and that the floodwaters were receding. The dove is also seen as representing love; it was a symbol of Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love, and of Venus her Roman counterpart. Lovers are said to “bill and coo” like doves. The dove is a monogamous bird, which may be the source of its connection with romantic and eternal love.

In Slavic folklore, doves were believed to conduct the souls of the dead to heaven. For the Celts, the mournful call of a dove meant the peaceful passing of someone.

Omens and Divinatory Meaning

Doves call you to regain your serenity. Do you feel off balance, or out of step with the world? Are you harried or frazzled? The dove reminds you to take a deep breath and release all your tension and stress.

The dove also urges you to look at your relationships with your partner(s), romantic, work related, or otherwise. Are you in harmony with them? Is there friction? Reach out and smooth over any rough spots. Seeing a dove may be an omen of a new relationship, or a shift in an existing one.

Doves are associated with purity and innocence. Do you feel as if life has jaded you? Try to recapture a sense of innocence, of wonder and love for the world around you. Operating constantly with a cynical worldview is exhausting. In a situation that is frustrating or upsetting to you, a dove may be encouraging you to wipe the slate clean and start again.

As a symbol of the holy Spirit, the dove is associated with the mystical fifth element of spirit. Let you sighting of a dove remind you to reconnect with the spiritual aspect of your life; accept it as a blessing.

Associated energies: Peace love, serenity, blessing, patience, grace, hope, marital happiness, purity
Associated seasons: Year round
Element associations: Air, water, earth
Color Associations: White, ivory, buff, brown, grey

REFERENCE: Birds, a Spiritual Field Guide, Explore the Symbology & Significance of These Divine Winged Messengers by Arin Murphy-Hiscock

Reflections

Image by Gerhard G. from Pixabay

“A dove struggling in a storm grows stronger than an eagle soaring in sunshine.”

― Matshona Dhliwayo

This quote makes me reflect on how adversity can either make you or break you. It also makes me think of the beguiling saying, “The weak shall lead the strong.” The eagle is such a powerful bird and yet bald eagles for instance have been under the protection of the Endangered Species Act. Doves are also in danger from hunters who hunt them for sport. It’ll be a scary day when they rise up and attack back.

“When all kinds of trials and temptations crowd into your lives my brothers, don’t resent them as intruders, but welcome them as friends! Realize that they come to test your faith and to produce in you the quality of endurance. But let the process go on until that endurance is fully developed, and you will find you have become men of mature character with the right sort of independence…”

– J.B. Phillips, a British Bible translator, translates James 1:2-5

What does endurance look like?

That past snow storm in February made me wonder how the wildlife was going to survive. I think those from Canada or Norway have looked our situation and said, “That did NOT look like a lot of snow. Negative degree weather during the winter is rather normal for us.” 🙂 Many people have died due to the extremity of conditions they were not used to in my area. Others have demonstrated their resiliency and were resourceful, adapted, and survived the ordeal. As I’m typing this though, I hear the birds chirping outside my window and the previously dead trees sprouted new leaves. The Gulf Center for Sea Turtle Research was able to rescue the turtles. Sometimes, we need a little help from each other.

The other day I received a comment a collared doves, and I was so curious to listen to them. They have such a calming coo. With all the things going on in the world and my busy schedule, this is just a nice step away from any sort of stress build up!

A2Z 2021 – Birds – Cardinal

Featured Photo by Christy Mesker

  • Physical Description: The northern cardinal is a mid-size songbird with a distinctive crest on the head. The cardinal measures approximately 8.5 inches long, weighs approximately 1.5 ounces, and has a wingspan of about 11 inches. The male is slightly larger than the female and is a vibrant red with a black mask on his face that covers his eyes and throat below the beak. The female’s plumage is a dull red-brown and she has a grey mask.
  • Geographic Distribution: The cardinal can be found in southern parts of eastern Canada and down through the eastern part of the United States from Maine to Texas. Its range also extends west and south through Mexico to Guatemala and Belize.
  • Environment: The cardinal prefers woodland, residential areas, and swampland.

Myths, Folklore, and Cultural Associations

The cardinal is easy to spot due to its coloring. It is one of the most popular birds and easily identified by birdwatchers and non bird watchers alike.

Like the robin, whose plumage also features a distinctive red patch, the cardinal is often associated with Christmas and the winter season. The color is bright and cheering. The cardinal’s presence year round and its appearance at backyard bird feeders may also contribute to this association.

The cardinal’s name is derived from the high-ranking clerics of the Catholic Church who wear rich red robes. The term cardinal is used to denote something with primary or essential qualities, such as a cardinal direction. The word comes from the Latin word, cardo, meaning hinge. Something that has cardinal qualities is so important that it functions as a keystone or axle; other things hinge around it.

The Cherokee believe that the cardinal is the daughter of the sun. Legend has it that if you see a cardinal flying upward, toward the sun, you will have good luck. Conversely, if you see if flying down toward the earth, watch out for bad luck.

“Then the Redbird, the beautifully singing bird, came up: “Let people have faith in me. I want to be able to sing joyful songs when it is going to rain.” So he was given that power. That’s why the old Cherokees believe that when they see this bird singing atop a tree it will rain. That’s all the power he was given.”

The Thunder Nation and the Eagle, Cherokee story

The cardinal was the first bird to given state recognition. In 1926, it was made the state bird of Kentucky. It’s also the bird of six other states (Illinois, Indiana, North Carolina, Ohio, Virginia, and West Virginia), making it the most popular state bird. It is also the name of the St. Louis professional baseball team and the Arizona Cardinals professional football team, and is the mascot of numerous university athletic teams, including the Stanford Cardinal, the Louisville Cardinal, and the Wesleyan Cardinal.

Omens and Divinatory Meaning

Examine the areas of your life in which you are, or should be, a leader. Is your confidence shaky? The cardinal tells you that you can handle it, and to believe in yourself.

It is important to be proud of yourself for your abilities or for the things you have achieved. The cardinal’s bright red feathers and cheerful song call attention to him wherever he goes. If you see a cardinal, it may be telling you to stand up, lift your head high, and take pride in yourself. Accept compliments that come your way, and acknowledge your achievements.

The cardinals bright red plumage also calls you to open yourself to creative energy. Have you been feeling blocked or dull lately? Are you looking for a new way to express yourself? Call on the cardinal to help you open up and get your creativity flowing again. The red feathers link it with fire, the element of activity, vitality, and passion. If you are feeling lethargic, the cardinal may lend you its energy to help you get back on your feet. Likewise, it can be a good bird with whom to work if you are struggling to handle depression.

If you are having difficulty dealing with anger, however, seeing a cardinal may remind you to take a step or two back. Red is the color of the root chakra, the energy center associated with stability, survival, and security, and feeling unsettled in any of these areas may be influencing your anger issue. Examine the areas of your life connected to these subjects for clues to the source of your emotional state, and move to make them better.

Associated energies: Leadership, self-worth, confidence, creativity, vitality, activity
Associated seasons: Winter
Element associations: Air, Fire
Color associations: Red, Black

REFERENCE: Birds, a Spiritual Field Guide, Explore the Symbology & Significance of These Divine Winged Messengers by Arin Murphy-Hiscock

Reflections

I’ve enjoyed a few cardinals in my area. One wintry day, my sister and I got to see a cardinal up close right outside her bedroom window. The cardinal was hanging out in our bushes alongside the fence. We were awestruck by its beauty. It was rather magical to watch it chirp for a few minutes checking out its environment.

I once bought a journal that had a picture of a cardinal on it. It was my theme and my lucky muse for that year. Sometimes, I may get stuck in a rut or routine and need to infuse some vitality and passion into my day.