Sunday, 14 August 2016

O is for Owl

Owls are one of the oldest species of vertebrate animal in existence, fossils have been found dating back 60 million years, showing the bird to have changed very little in that time.
Throughout the history of mankind, the owl has featured significantly in mythology & folklore. Owls are one of the few birds that have been found in prehistoric cave paintings. Owls have been both revered & feared throughout many civilisations from ancient to more recent times.

In ancient Greece, owls were often seen as a symbol of good fortune. The idea of the 'wise old owl' may have come into being from the association of the Little Owl with the Greek goddess of wisdom, Athene.

In contrast, the Romans saw owls as omens of impending disaster. Hearing the hoot of an owl indicated an imminent death, it is thought that the deaths of many famous Romans was predicted by the hoot of an owl, including Julius Caesar, Augustus & Agrippa. While the Greeks believed that sight of an owl predicted victory for their armies, the Romans saw it as a sign of defeat. They believed that a dream of an owl could be an omen of shipwreck for sailors & of being robbed. To ward off the evil caused by an owl, it was believed that the offending owl should be killed & nailed to the door of the affected house.

Beliefs on owls varied between ancient American Indian tribes. Some tribes viewed owls as harbingers of sickness & death. Other tribes saw them as protective spirits, others believed them to be the souls of living or recently departed people & should be treated with respect. Some tribes even saw the owls as earthly incarnations of their gods, the Hopis believed the Burrowing Owl to be their god of the dead. The Inuit explain the flat face & short beak of owls, in the story of a beautiful young girl who was magically changed into an owl with a long beak, as an owl, she became frightened & flew into the wall of her house & flattened her face & beak. Some tribes referred to death as "crossing the owls bridge".

Some people believed that owls were particular bad to children, in Malaya it was believed that owls ate new-born babies, the Swahili believed that owls brought sickness to children, in Arabia it was believed that owls were evil spirits that carried children off in the night.

Some people believed that owls had magic powers, in Arabia it was thought that each female Owl laid two eggs - one with the power to make hair fall out, the other with the power to restore it. In Algeria, it was believed that if the right eye of an Eagle Owl was placed in the hand of a sleeping woman, that she would tell everything you wanted to know (now that is stretching the imagination too far).

British beliefs about owls include the Welsh belief that if a owl is heard among houses then an unmarried girl has lost her virginity. Another Welsh belief is that if a pregnant woman hears an owl, her child will be blessed. In Yorkshire owl broth is believed to cure whooping cough,. Because of its ability to turns its head so far & its habit of watching things intently, it was believed that you could get an owl to effectively wring its own neck by walking in circles around it.

While there are many cultures that believe the owl to be bad (in Cameroon, it has no name, it is only referred to as "the bird that makes you afraid"), there are others that believe owls to be good. In Babylon, owl amulets were used to protect pregnant women. In the Lorraine region of France, owls are believed to help spinsters find husbands. In Romania, it is said that the souls of repentant sinners fly to heaven as Snowy Owls.

In India 'food' made from owls was believed to have many medicinal properties curing seizures in children (owl eye broth) & rheumatism (owl meat). Eating owl eyes was believed to enable a person to see in the dark, while owl meat was believed to be an aphrodisiac. There were also beliefs about events predicted by the number of owl hoots 
1 : impending death
2 : success in imminent venture
3 : woman will be married into the family
4 : disturbance
5 : imminent travel
6 : guests arriving
7 : mental distress
8 : sudden death
9 : good fortune
It is believed that over 1000 owls, including the endangered Brown Fish Owl , are killed very year during Diwali by black magicians in the hope of warding off bad luck & gaining magical powers. This is despite the fact that owls are identified with the goddess of Wealth, Lakshmi, in whose honour the celebration is held (when she travels alone, without Vishnu, she travels on an owl - when she travels with Vishnu they travel on the eagle Garuda). Amulets made from the bones, beaks & talons of owls are in great demand.

Blakiston's Fish Owl ) is one of the most important gods of the native Ainu people of Hokkaidu, in Japan. It is called "kotan kor kamuy", which means the "god of the village" or "god who defends the village".

In France owls were also considered with great esteem, with several named as dukes, for example the European Eagle Owl was called Hibou Grand-Duc & the long-eared owl was called Hibou Moyen-Duc. This probably stemmed from the custom during the middle ages that nobles below the rank of a duke could not wear a plume of feathers, hence the 'eared' owls must be of rank of a duke. Somewhere along the way though, this attitude changed, with the European Eagle Owl being classified as vermin until the late 1960's.

In China, the popular name for owls, especially "eared" owls, is "cat-eared hawk".

One of the Chinese names for owls is "xiao", these owls have the associated legend of being evil birds that ate their own mothers. The Chinese character representing "xiao" is used in expressions relating to ferocity & bravery.

In Poland it was believed that girls who died unmarried turned into doves, while those who died married turned into owls. It was also believed that owls did not come out during the day because they were so beautiful & would be mobbed by other birds out of jealousy.

In Russia, hunters used to carry owl claws, so that their souls could use them to climb to heaven when they died. The Kalmuks held owls sacred because one was believed to have saved the life of Genghis Khan.

In Welsh mythology, Blodeuwedd, the Goddess of Betrayal, is associated with the owl. According to the story in "The Mabinogion", Blodeuwedd was created from flowers by the magician Gwydion for the prince Llew Llaw Gyffes. She had an affair with Goronwy & they contrived to kill Llew. On his death, Llew was transformed into an eagle, but was healed & returned to human form by Gwydion. Llew returned to seek revenge, rather than killing Blodeuwedd, Gwydion turned her into a white owl, to haunt the night in loneliness & sorrow, saying "I will not slay thee, but I will do unto thee worse than that. For I will turn thee into a bird; and because of the shame thou hast done unto Llew Llaw Gyffes, you shall never show thy face in the light of day. And thou shall not lose thy name, but shall be always called Blodeuwedd." The word Blodeuwedd is still used in Wales to mean owl.

Saturday, 13 August 2016

P is for Panda

Panda--- Eastern hemisphere connection, understands moving at a careful and slow pace. A solitary lifestyle and happiest when living by themselves. (Relationships can be acquired and maintained but only if a partner respects the need for privacy and sacred space) 

 Being forced to rely on your own intuition for guidance. (Although the panda feeds on bamboo its digestive system is that of a carnivore and so the animal is unable to digest cellulose, which is the main constituent of bamboo.) 

Problems with the digestive system and may indicate a need to adopt a personally designed diet that provides more nutrition. Staring down an opponent in confrontations. Problems with adapting and issues related to fertility.
  • Red Panda -- Being happiest when the people and community around you is content, introverted but still involved in community ventures, the value of gentleness, tree wisdom, tree related divination., the power of touch, rejuvenation when alone, providing wisdom to a community while remaining apart from it. Studying the healing properties of plants and herbs, play more and worry less.

Wednesday, 29 June 2016


Nutcracker --Cracking open the outer shell in order to find what is hidden inside. 
Life tied directly to diet, willing to travel long distances, stay at home dad, yearning for the pine forests

Monday, 6 June 2016

M is for Magpie

 "The Cunning Prophet". Occult knowledge, can open the door to the Spirit World, use of everyday ritual, jack of all trades and master of none, witch's  familiar

The Magpie is common in European folklore and superstition. Generally speaking, the bird is associated with unhappiness and trouble. 

This may be because of its well known tendency to "steal" shiny objects, as well as its harsh, chattering call. In many parts of the United Kingdom spying a single magpie is considered an omen of bad fortune and saluting the magpie is a way of showing the proper respect in hope that the magpie won't pass on some of the misfortune that follows it. As magpies usually mate for life seeing one on its own is as sign of sorrow because it's lost it's mate, whereas if you see two it's is a sign of joy as it's with it's mate. This is why when you see a single magpie you ask after it's wife, thus suggesting it has a mate and is in fact happy. 

 -- Spiritual custodian of cultural rule and law. Home protection. Making new friends. Gossip. Attacking people behind their back. Paranoia. The beauty of song. Aggressive territoriality. Attack.

Please remember that if this animal is contacting you, it will often be the best resource for teaching you what its lessons are. What I write is only intended to be a guide, it is not absolute, nor is it infallible.

- The magpie teases eagles and other predatory species in front of its magpie friends, in order to win higher status, better mates, and sometimes simply for the risk of it. Magpie represents risk-taking for prestige and daredevilry. It might be time in our jobs or among work mates, to take risks in order to win favours. It might also be time to be a bit of a daredevil, and face the fact that sometimes we have to put ourselves on the line around others in order to grow. We can't just take risks when no one's looking.

- The magpie comes into our lives to tell us to focus on our homes, is our home protected?

 Do we have the luxury of material security? Magpie brings these aspects into focus.

- Magpie is an animal that comes into our lives to tell us that it's okay to have irrational fears. Magpie helps us confront that which we irrationally fear, and does so in a gentle and compassionate manner.

- Magpie, with their dualism of colour and representation in culture as both a good and a bad omen, represent duality and binary opposites. The specific focus on this duality tends to be on a reconciliation of emotional or spiritual opposites. It is time to balance opposing emotions, like anger and compassion, or spiritual opposites, like the mysteries life and death.

- When magpie comes into your life, chances are there are a few wights (spirits) in your life as well. Magpie represents wight-attraction, and might imply a time in your life where you might be more obsessed with faeries, and goblins, or unicorns and dragons, far more often than usual.

- The magpie has long cultural links with witchcraft and many aspects associated with this. In particular, the magpie is associated with omens, prophecy and divination. When magpie comes into your life, it might be time to start strengthening these aspects in your spiritual life, or alternatively it might be time to start paying attention to the omens, dreams and hunches you might be getting.

- Magpie comes into our lives to either represent that part of ourselves that collects and hoards bright shiny thoughts or objects, or to suggest that we might want to start collecting the things we value, instead of leaving them in shopping centres, or in books.

- The magpie is the cunning prophet who comes into our lives in order to help us to use prophecy and divination in ways which are clever and even stealthy. We are able to divine for great personal gain, and the gain of others, with magpie as a guide or a spirit guide.

- Magpie teaches us to take joy in the process of change, to recognise that it is not a laborious event, but something to look forward to as it will very likely bring a new and exciting nourishment to our spirits, that we would not have had without the change. 

Let go of the old! Bring in the new! cries magpie.

- Magpie is an excellent muse for those who are creative with words. In addition to this, magpie - with its complex language of body and vocalisation - represents the significance of voice.

 It is time to understand the impact of your voice and your speech upon others, and the impact of other people's speech, tone and words on yourself.

- Magpie is a greatly magical creature, and tends to confer spiritual protection upon you once it enters your life.

Thursday, 2 June 2016

L is for Lion

Lion -- For claiming one's deepest personal authority and spiritual power. 
Nurtures a sense of well being and strength, and supports one in connecting with the inner archetypes of King/Queen. 
Helps one to develop courage and to face fears. Nurtures and enhances self-confidence. Encourages leadership, achievement, and success

Creature of the Sun Lord, beloved of the Lady,
Reveal to me the ancient methods of magic.
Walk beside me as I grow in strength and courage.
Show me when to keep ties strong
and when to break them.
Help me to understand the times for work
and the times for rest.
Mighty lion, lend me your energies.

The Lion is the symbol of the sun and of gold. 
Medieval alchemists associated Lion with sulfur. 
A Lion totem presents a lesson in dealing with groups and your role within those groups. 
It is a totem for avoiding confrontations and for stealth. 
Take the easy way to meet your goals; do not confront them head on. 
A Lion totem tells you to trust your feminine energies –
creativity, intuition and imagination. 
But don’t be afraid to roar if threatened.
Wonder if Katie Perry has Lion as an ally? 

Are you curious about your power animal? 

(and June )
Zannie will perform a remote journey to discover your power animal