Tuesday, 15 February 2011
Wise Old Bird
As is my custom, welcome to new follower Elizabeth who has already left some comments on previous blogs, may you come here often and I hope I can give you something to muse about every now and then.
You may remember I spoke recently about a dunnock singing through the night in the tree near our bedroom window?
Well last night I heard the eerie and sustained shrieking of an owl. Now this is a common occurrence, we are surrounded by mature trees in the neighbourhood and owls are regular screeching visitors around us, usually in the early hours. I have no idea what kind of owl it could be - I've never seen it but the books say it's probably a Barn Owl, 'Tyto alba.' Chaucer (the second time I've mentioned him in two days) described the Barn Owl in the 14th century as a 'prophet of woe and mischance.' A bit over the top do you think?
At the same time the owl was shrieking away (it's breeding season for them by the way) a crow lazily cawed away in clear protest at being woken up and disturbed. So three night time birds heard in recent days, one to be expected, two definitely not.
I learned, through Weaver, a exceptional and knowledgeable blogger the difference between a crow and a raven for example. The crow, not liked by some, I'm not sure why, is a most comical bird when the one who lives near us is prancing about on my neighbour's bungalow roof, rooting about in the moss on the tiles.
However in spiritual terms, the birds the owl and the crow feature large in what they represent in the animal world and how their behaviour can be attributed as signs or portents. I have some animal 'Medicine Cards' which I use in my spiritual work and here is a few thoughts about what they represent.
The crow is thought to be the keeper of the sacred law and has the ability to shape shift and be in two places at once - a keen observer of what is going on in the neighbourhood and in the universe as a whole. Crows are thought to be an omen of change and teach us to speak the truth and they teach us to be prepared to carry through on our words, in other words, don't just 'talk the talk' but 'walk the walk.' A powerful animal in medicine.
The owl is another bird of enormous power in the spirit world (remember what Chaucer said about them?) The owl is associated with clairvoyance and magic and sits in a place of illumination, hence a 'wise old bird.' Ancients thought the owl was dangerous because it hunted at night and because it was silent (both of which are true of course.) Owls are often associated with witches and sorcerers - you only have to look at how JK Rowling depicted them in Harry Potter books, as 'familiars' and messengers. They are birds of wisdom because they can see, especially at night, what others cannot. Owls are truth, intuition and keen observers.
Phew - you can breath again or open your eyes now. Strange stuff over with.
I saw an owl up in a tree,
I looked at him, he looked at me;
I couldn't tell you of his size,
For all I saw were two big eyes;
As soon as I could make a dash,
Straight home I ran, quick as a flash!
By: Edna Hamilton
I hope you enjoy the rest of your week.
Picture of the barn owl taken by [http://www.flickr.com/photos/steve_brace/ Stevie B] *Source [http://www.flickr.com/photos/steve_brace/217149481/])