Animal Totems are all around

Hey there,

Animal Totems are all around – and watching.  Stay tuned.

Sitting here in the Meadowview, wrapped up in a blanket and gazing out over the still, frozen meadow.  The blue roof, which is metal, lets out a “bang” as it contracts, like a living, breathing thing.  Baby, it’s cold outside – and has been for weeks.  Winter is certainly doing its thing this year, so far, as it has only officially been Winter for less than one month.

Already the complaining.  I know, I know.  Your skin is dry, your hair is dry, some have already had the cold or flu that goes hand-in-hand with this, our most least-loved season.  Elderberry and Yarrow tea, Mint honey, Ginger and Lemon – we’ve talked about these before…

Anybody out there embrace this stuff?  Good for you!  Me?  Not so much.  Yes, I am Canadian and no, I don’t do Winter well.  Apart from the aprés sports stuff…I’m pretty good at that. 🙂  Wine, anyone?

I find myself being watched by my Animal Totem, the Red-tailed Hawks, that join me every Winter, on the coldest of days, perched in the Maple tree out by the barn.  I can see them (there are two) out of the kitchen window.  Silent and still, scanning the meadow landscape for their next meal.  They will literally sit there for hours.  So very majestic and gorgeous creatures.

Just keeping a steady eye on all things me – “careful”, they say, “she’s getting close to losing it in this bitter cold.  Someone needs to get outside for a walk”.  Soon.  All is well.  Please remain indoors for now.  Make a cup of tea.  Get out your seed catalogues.  Breathe.

The ordinary arts we practice everyday at home
are of more importance to the soul
than their simplicity might suggest
-Thomas Moore

I’ve also been joined by a couple of crows, in the same tree, but not at the same time, as the Hawks. Crows are very interesting birds.  Some find them rather ominous, but those of us that wear the pointy hats know that crows are something special.  Uh huh.  I’ll let you look that one up.

Should I back up a bit?  Anyone not know what an Animal Totem is?  Ooo, buckle up, we’re about to enter the land of all things woo woo.

So Animal Totems, or Nature Totems are basically symbols of energy.  Now everything holds energy, but this is the kind of energy we manifest and align with our everyday life.  The Totem becomes a symbol of the invisible, the characteristics and activities reveal something of our own powers and abilities.  You can also look at different parts of the animal and what that represents.  For instance, a bird with a sharp beak could symbolize someone who speaks their mind or has a sharp wit.  Perhaps too sharp and that person should think about what they say before saying it.  Or maybe they constantly bicker and pick at things.  See where that’s going?

The Totem can be animal, bird, reptile, insect.  It can be something as simple as an ant.  Think about ants for a moment.  What do they represent?  Discipline comes to my mind.  Patience, industrious, also.  Most people just find them annoying – not disagreeing with you there, but have you ever taken the time to actually watch them?  They are fascinating.  They work together, they have a purpose and goal, they march along the same path and if you disturb what they are working on, they just find another way to accomplish what they set out to do.

Now, do you think that maybe that could send a message to someone?  I do.  Perhaps that someone is having a hard time focussing, or their life has been turned upside down in one form or another.  Or they need to learn to work with others and get along.  All of a sudden, they find ants in a place they have never been before.  Maybe in their house (horrors), but those guys are sending a message…”The ants go marching one by one, hurrah, hurrah…”

When you start really paying attention to nature and what’s going on around you.  Looking at the little things, that’s when you tune in.  That’s when you hear your message.  Listen – it’s there for a reason.  That’s a large part of my woo woo.  Make sense?  Of course, you’re going to have to go outside – and probably put down your phone, to see it.  A walk in the woods can really make you see.  Just sayin’

What speaks to you?  Is there a particular animal that you are specifically drawn to?  Do you see a particular creature constantly when you are outside in nature.  Do you dream about a particular creature?  Does something call to you?  Listen.  The other thing to mention here, is that you may not always have the same Totem – depends on the message that needs to be heard.  But you might.

If all this fascinates you, and you’re interested in reading up a bit on it, or maybe figuring out what your Totem might be, I would recommend this book, Animal Speak by Ted Andrews.  Happy reading.

Even though I’m a crazy cat lady, it always seems to be the birds that speak to me.

What else in the bird world?  Well yesterday, where we set a record here in Southern Ontario for the coldest day in 60 years, a flock of Starlings decided it was a great time to come back from wherever they had been.  Somewhere warmer, no doubt. (I don’t get it either…)  Yup.  They do appear to be early.  I don’t usually see them until end of January/early February.  They can withstand Winter, obviously, but yikes!

I couldn’t fill the feeders fast enough – including the dish of cat food left out for this guy…

I currently have a stray cat that I am trying to get into the house under the blue roof.  It has been at least six weeks that this kitty has been coming by for food, regularly, morning and night.  I can’t get close enough to see if it is male or female, but it doesn’t appear to be a scrawny barn cat, it looks healthy.  It will not let me get close to it.  I feed it on the porch.  It will let me watch it through the window, but as soon as I try to open the door to get close, off it goes.  Now, it is starting to only go far enough that I can’t reach it, so there is starting to be an element of trust.  It knows that I am going to feed it.  But this kitty is out in -30 degree C weather.  It’s driving me crazy that it won’t come in.  I don’t know where it goes when not being fed.  I’m sure it’s in a barn somewhere close by, but still…I have tried setting out the food and water inside the door, with the door open, until the house freezes.  Just last night, it came in long enough to eat the food and then out it went again.  Sigh  I usually am pretty good with cats and turning them around to help them.  This one has me puzzled, but I will persevere. Maybe this, too, is a message for me.  I am listening.

A friend and reader, gifted me with a little glass black and white cat which now sits here with me on my desk as I write.  Thank you again, very appropriate!  You’re right, fits right in with my pointy hat!

I haven’t named this stray kitty yet, which is unusual, because I usually do – I name everything.  Maybe that’s another message. Hmmm  I’ve been receiving a lot of messages lately.  The night sky is telling me there are some big things coming up.  It has been an adventurous couple of years for me – still evolving, still working through, but feeling like it’s not over yet.  Good or bad.  Maybe it’s good this time.  My birth chart reading for this year tells me that once again, this is not a year where I’m just going to coast…UGH.

In the interest of plants, because I am, although there isn’t much growing here these days, there are still the evergreens that can be harvested fresh.  Pine and Spruce needles for tea, for example.  A huge dose of Vitamin C there.  What better time of year to increase your Vitamin C levels?  And what does Mother Nature provide to harvest?  Getting that?

Please keep in mind the Moon phase that you are harvesting though.  Interesting fact:  Around the Full Moon, the sap rises in trees, just as the tides in the ocean get higher and moods change.  You don’t want to harvest around this time as you could damage the tree.  When you respect nature, nature respects you and will give you the help you seek.  Very simple and logical, isn’t it?  That’s what I love about woo woo.

Speaking of the Moon, where are we tonight?  The waning Moon is in Virgo: earthy, practical, fixing and cleaning up the universe, one item at a time.  Making lists, asking questions, making things happen (this all sounds extremely familiar to me somehow…).  I’m pretty sure ants are Virgos – understood?  The Sun is still in Capricorn, another earth sign, so it’s all business today.  January is ruled by Saturn – the planet of maturity.

Today’s colour for getting things done:  blue – how conservative!

I’ll leave you to get things done under your own roof – blue or otherwise.

Until next time,

-Debra

Lucky Ralph

Ralph

Hey there,

Who’s Ralph you ask?  I’ve always loved cats and  Ralph is one of my current three:  we have Tigger, who is gaining on 22 years of age – yup, that isn’t a typo – she’s still going relatively strong and was a stray but has been with us for about 17 years.  Next, there’s Winifred, or Winnie as we call her – she’s 16, has a high maintenance attitude; she’s very smart and very pretty and she knows it.  (Might have been a “mean girl” in high school – you know the type.)  Then there’s Ralph – he’s our tom cat, also a stray, around 10 years is our best guess.  Does this motley assortment all get along?  Well, they tolerate each other.

Ralph still has a little wild in him and is an imp.  He likes to tease the girls (poke, poke, poke), and they’re old and cranky.  The girls would prefer to be left alone in their beds by the fire in these winter months.  (Seriously, wouldn’t we all?)  If there’s trouble to be found, Ralph will find it.  He’s a big guy and he’s – how can I say this with some sensitivity? – he’s not the sharpest dart on the board. 🙂  Ralph has danced (literally, blissfully) with a skunk on the front lawn at dusk and I’m quite convinced he thought it was another cat.  The good news is, the skunk was dancing too and Ralph was left un-skunked.  But he’s amusing and pretty lovable. (Eye rolls from Winnie.)

So, why is Ralph lucky?  Well, I’m thinking Ralph has used up several of his nine lives in the time that he’s been with us.  This past Friday night was just the latest…(there’s a story coming, cue music – something dark and mysterious).

He knows the rule is, when the street lights come on, you’d better get in here, Mister.  Not that there are street lights up here, but it’s the darkness thing.  Lots of wild critters out and about at night, some of them very large and with lots of teeth.  It can be tough getting him in during summer.  I have been known to stay up until I know he’s in – cursing him the whole time, but waiting up nonetheless.  Calling him, flashing the porch light.  It’s like having a teenage girl in the house again; you can’t sleep until you know she’s safely tucked in her bed.

Anyhoo, Friday night, I’m calling him and calling him and flashing the porch light all evening – no Ralph.  Now, it’s mild out for a winter’s night and Ralph gets a little stir crazy being in when it’s cold, so I’m peeved but not worried.  Finally, it’s around 11:15 pm or so and I want to go to bed.  I go outside into the stillness and the soundless night, listening – and there – what is that sound?  Something faint, but I can definitely hear him calling – he’s way out the back somewhere, and I know he’s in trouble.  When I say way out the back, I mean about eight acres back, in the field, behind the meadow, behind the tree line.  Still on our property, I hope.  It feels like rain and it’s very dark – the Moon is in her first quarter.  Back in the house – hurry; big boots, big coat, gloves, flashlight, husband.  Husband is cursing.  Don’t care – find my cat. 🙂  Out we go.  Tough slogging through the meadow, the snow isn’t too deep but it’s wet.  The farther back we go, the more we can hear him and he’s wailing.  Husband finds him first – he’s almost at the very back of the property, about 15 feet up in a big, ancient tree.  The tree, of course, is not conveniently located at the front of the hedgerow, no, it’s in behind ancient apple trees and buckthorn, and there is an old cow fence with wire and lots of old rocks that have been piled up by farmers over the decades – all under the snow, so we can’t see them.  Problem.  Now what?  I’m not leaving him up there.

Well, I’m calling him and I’ve got the flashlight on him and he’s screaming and can’t get himself loose.  Dun, dun, dun, duuuun  (Better than tv, right?  Almost better than Netflix.)  Husband makes his way back to the barn to grab a ladder.  Not hard to hear him coming back.  Breaking branches and get to tree – ladder too short.  Really cursing now.  Back to barn for bigger ladder (six acres back).  Yay, it’s now raining.  I’m waiting for second ladder (and husband to climb up it), looking at coyote tracks in the snow under the tree and listening to them howl, trying to make Ralph be quiet.  I’m looking for their eyes and thinking to myself, perhaps this isn’t the wisest thing, for me to be out here by myself, without my phone, or anyone around, looking for coyote eyes in the dark.  Too late now…here comes husband again with big ladder.  Wedging it in between tree branches, getting scratched all to crap (still cursing), up he goes.  I’m holding on to the ladder – there’s no sense in both of us going up there.  Ralph is wedged between two huge branches and can’t move.  Not good.  After several attempts to get him out, off comes the belt which is secured around Ralph and he’s yanked out and lowered down to me.  He’s shaking uncontrollably.  He’s wet.  He’s heavy – but he seems to be OK.  Husband OK too.  Bonus.

Back we go to the house.  The only one bleeding is husband.  Ralph can’t use his back legs and he’s in shock.  I wrap him in towels and heating pads.  He’s eating though, so that’s good.  45 minutes later, he stops shaking, he’s purring and he’s able to walk.  It’s 1:30 am, I’m going to bed.

He was obviously chased up that tree by coyote.  Scary stuff.  He was chased a fair way back – I know he mouses in the meadow (a rather unpleasant side effect of being a cat lover in the country – mouse bits – “here Mommy, a prezzie for you, I love you” – thanks Ralph), but he doesn’t go back that far.  I don’t know how long he was up in that tree, but it would have been hours.  His circulation was cut and his muscles stretched, which is why he couldn’t move at first.

That’s him in the photo above, as I write, perfectly fine and happy.  Chalk up another Ralph adventure (and one less Ralph life, I’m sure).

Now some may be asking why I let him out – my answer:  he’s a wild man, a stray from some distant barn, he’s a hunter (not a smart one, but a fast one!) and you can’t keep a wild guy in.  Not if you want him to be happy.

We’ll enjoy Ralph for as long as Ralph enjoys Ralph.  I’ll tell you about the girls another time (“whatever” says Winnie).  Incidentally, Friday’s colour was purple.  Blues are for psychic awareness (woo woo).

How many other cat lovers are out there?  Do you have a story?

Until next time,

-Debra