Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Ancestral Trumpets

Through trackless forests and 

sun-ripened fields, 

Like clarion trumpets and 

rumbling drums, 

this Singer’s steady Wisdom is revealed.


They come…

“Quietly we forge our forest trails, 

Removing obstacles like waving away flies… 

our quiet ways contrasting with our strength, our power. 

Wise in council, vast in intellect, happy to advise, 

Majestic, carrying all upon our broad backs like a grand tower.

We sing of fertility, fortune, and earthly might… 

Loyal and Motherly care for Elder and Child… 

Divine blessings in sacred white.

Don’t just look straight ahead, or 

you may find yourself dangerously beguiled!

Dig deeply with ivory blade for the hidden Truth. 

Respect the bones of your ancestors! 

Patience and Remembrance are keys. 

Wisdom can be gentle or sharp of tooth.

Mighty winds created with a single sneeze! 

Life’s great circus can teach us magical tricks, 

and a thick skin sees us through many conflicts."

For those new to the game, each poem is inspired by a Teacher found in Nature; a star, stone, animal, plant etc that holds lessons of Wisdom for us. Can you guess who is singing today? Congrats to Chris Smith, Poppy, Shay, and Jan Neavill Hersh for naming this Teacher! 

“Even though you can’t see them at all … A person’s a person, no matter how small.” Horton Hears a Who by Dr. Seuss

“One morning I shot an elephant in my pajamas. How he got into my pajamas I’ll never know. " Groucho Marx


"And yet, when you see an elephant embedded in its own earth, comfortable in its own skin, carrying its great weight effortlessly along on cushioned feet, the only possible response is: ˜Of course. How could it be otherwise?” Lyall Watson, Anthropologist

There are two kinds of Elephant in the world, Asian and African. Africans have only four visible toes on front feet instead of five, and three on their back feet. They have larger ears, straighter backs, and two “fingers” on their trunk tips rather than the one on Asian trunks. Their tusks are larger and both sexes have tusks in the African species, where as Asian female elephants have much smaller tooth like projections known as tushes. African elephants stand a bit taller. Males average around 12 feet and females about half that, and Asian males stand around 10 with females half that high.

Elephant’s four legs remind us to stay grounded and in balance with the Earth. The elephant’s foot is quite interesting because so much of it is composed of fibrous fatty tissue which acts as a shock absorber. These elastic, spongy qualities enable the elephant to walk almost silently even in dense forest, to grip the ground, and allow the enormous elephant to walk even in deep mud without difficulty! The foot’s circumference becomes smaller as it is withdrawn, which reduces the suction.

Metaphorically, this makes Elephant very at home in its earthly existence, sure-footed even with the emotional element of Water added. In fact, elephant is almost at home in the water as she is on land, and all elephants use mud and earth as a protective coating for their skin! Elephants are excellent swimmers, drink between 100 and 300 liters of water a day, and love to squirt themselves with this cooling liquid. Stability, Intellect and Emotion in harmony speaks of the great heart of the Elephant, which weighs between 40-60 lbs and beats 30 times per minute! It takes a lot of heart to be the largest land mammal on Earth.

They are, of course, more well-known for their unusual trunk than for their feet or hearts. Elephants do not drink through their prehensile proboscis, but they do suck water up with it and then squirt it in their mouths or on their skin. This extremely flexible muscular organ is a fusion of nose and upper lip. It is used as a means to explore, to manipulate objects like a hand, as an aid to feeding, drinking, and a variety of playful or loving actions. Adults are capable of uprooting trees, or plucking a single blade of grass with their trunks. Even calves can lift 4% of their total body weight!

In the language of metaphors, teeth are transmitters. An elephant’s teeth, including the tusk, are very important to them. They only have a finite number of teeth to see them through life after all, much like Horse, and many an elderly elephant has starved to death because they were unable to eat enough to sustain them with the deterioration of their teeth. The tusks that are present in newborns are like milk teeth which fall out after the first year, and are soon replaced by more mature tusks at 2-3 years old. Tusks, unlike the grain-grinding molars, are used to dig up roots, tear edible bark from trees, uncover salt sources, and as a defensive weapon.

Ganesha, the Opener of Ways, Destroyer of Pride, and Lord of Success, is the elephant-headed son of Hindu gods Shiva and Parvati. Worshiped as the god of education, knowledge, wisdom and wealth, Ganesha is one of the five prime Hindu deities along with Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva and Durga. Like the sacred Cow, different parts of Ganesha represent different things. His head, for example, symbolizes the soul or atman, the ultimate reality of our spiritual existence here on Earth. The sweet so often held in his trunk is a reminder to find and savor the sweetness in atman.

His body represents the bounty of physical earthly existence. He carries a goad in one of four hand which he uses to encourage us forward or remove obstacles. He also holds a small noose with which he captures all difficulties, and an axe with which to separate us from attachments like Pride. A broken tusk in one of his four hands represents the necessity of sacrifice within our lives, although I have also seen him depicted holding a shell either empty or filled with coins, or a water lily. A snake coiling around Ganesha’s mighty girth is also common, so a quick look at Snake might also be in order as a balancing energy.

His mount, the humble mouse, also reminds us to use different perspectives when examining a situation. An elephant’s eyes are small compared to the rest of him, and their positioning makes it difficult for them to see anywhere well other than straight ahead. Elephant people can’t always believe what they see, because they often aren’t seeing the whole picture. Elephants rely on their ears much more than their eyes not only for the sense of hearing, but flapping their large ears helps to cool them!

The balancing energy of Mouse helps Elephant people look at things more closely and in greater detail. Despite many years of amusing cartoon propaganda, elephants are not at all afraid of mice, and those called by this mighty Teacher would do well to examine Mouse’s lessons too. White Elephants are considered to be especially sacred beings, often heralding the birth of a great Teacher or Boddhitsatva. As such, they who should be attended with every care. How this came to represent a purchase worth far less than what we paid for it is probably an interesting tale! Elephants have represented power, strength, royalty, wealth, success, fertility, wisdom, understanding, discernment, earthly stability as well as it’s tremors, strength, government from self to societal, faith, noble gentleness, and calm majesty. For all it’s nobility and wisdom, how did it become the animal in the corner that no one talks about? Are we being to thin or thick skinned? Are we really looking at the whole situation? How does this amazing Teacher appear in your life?

“It has always seemed miraculous to me that these colossal animals can move noiselessly through the bush, and are thus able to surround one without warning.” Joy Adamson in Born Free

“No matter how much you feed a wolf, an elephant still has bigger balls.” Popular Russian Saying, translated by Vladimir Ivanovich Shlyakov, 1993

Potential Balancing Energies: lion, eagle, mouse/rat, hawk, fly, wasp, ant, bee, mosquito, elephant beetle, lepidoptera, spider, snake, turtle, plants like caladiums, carrot, cabbage, sugar cane, bamboo and grasses, trees like acacia, banana and apple, birds like Tick birds or vulture, hyena, sea cow, hyrax

Key Concepts: Ancestoral wisdom/power, Strength/Power, Endurance, Royalty, Luck/Fortune, Sexuality, Fertility, Earth energy, Discernment, Discretion, Purpose, Moderation, Responsibility, Leadership, Natural Law, Memory, Respect for All including Self, Sensitivity, Loyalty, Familial Devotion, Co-operative effort, Compassion, Humor, Faith, Feminine energy, birth/death/rebirth cycle, Community, and service to Divine Purpose

Associated with: Ganesha, Laxshmi, Durga, Indra, Brahma, Shiva, Buddha, Alexander the Great, Hammurabi, Hannibal, Pyrrhus, Noah, Ut-napishtim

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