Monday, March 9, 2015

Songs Heard Within My Shadow

Celestial Fire adds a hissing cymbal fill in the distance.
Steam rises with a hot suggestion of sound.
Upwards it rises now…
Beyond wind or noise…
Beyond Skywoman and Her Children…
Beyond Dreams…

We spin into the Void.
The Sun calls forth a rainbow
‘gainst an ebon shadow
as the Sun is set
…like a burning bit of amber
into an azure coronet.

“Stormbringer, Bonepicker, Trickster some call me.”
A laugh both harsh and rythmic
Childlike, they fill my shadow with their fears.
“This way, Child!
Here is the path you left behind!
Mind your ways!
Don’t just speak the truth, Fool!
Live it!”
I chuckle,
“Leave denial in the dust…
Leave pain…
Leave past…
Leave rage…
Leave lust.
Empty as the waiting vessel be!
Fill your life with Light and
Deep within your essence see
all that Creator would ask of thee.”

I sing in Dreams.
I sing of Prophecies…
of paths lost and found…
Sacred trails begun in the heart
but by Wisdom and Choice unbound.
Change and Magic…
…Shadow and Light…
Secrets and Soulful trial.
These fuel my flight!

“You are not alone in the long run.” I mutter
“Your heart knows we are already One!”

As you Dance your earthly fill,
I Soar…
and to the Winds I recklessly shrill,
Time, all unheeding flow…
Forever before and
Forever behind.

Eternally awaiting Your perception…”
for I am Warden at this Door,
and many other thresholds,
between Truth and Deception.
“I hear and remember your unspoken Vow.”

Who sings now?

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 Jaguarwombyn for naming this Teacher! 

“If men had wings and bore black feathers, few of them would be clever enough to be crows.”Rev. Henry Ward Beecher.

“We are the three young ravens whom you saved from starving. When we had grown big, and heard that you were seeking the golden apple, we flew over the sea to the end of the world, where the tree of life stands, and have brought you the apple.” Grimms fairy tales “ The White Snake”

“The universe is full of magical things patiently waiting for our wits to grow sharper.” Eden Phillpotts

Crows and Ravens are often symbolically linked when looking at Creature Teachers, so I will talk about both of these Corvids here. Both symbolize magic, secrets kept and revealed, personal integrity as law, change, wisdom, opposites crossed, dreams and psychic abilities. Crow and Raven also have a lot to do with communication, and with intuitive knowledge. These are powerful messengers who fly fearlessly into the Void to bring back the treasures of the soul hidden there. Those who feel called by Crow or Raven have high obligations, but are also well protected. There are countless stories about both of these creature Teachers from around the world.

In some tales it is Raven who stole the sacred fire and placed it in the Sky for all the world to share it’s warmth and light. In others, it is the trickster Raven who accidentally brings the human race into being, and thus must assume a certain responsibility for our teaching. It is said this is why you can find crows just about anywhere that there are people. Some stories would make these midnight messengers the bearers of bad tidings or death…but what is death to a master shapeshifter like these fine fellows? Just another turn of the Wheel and another trick to be mastered. The ultimate Change.

In the Tarot, the Death card represents Change which may tell you something about how pleasantly people tend to view that subject! Whether it is simply their coloring, their role as messengers of change, or even their simple tendency to make a meal of convenient carrion, Crows and Ravens are not typically viewed with a friendly eye. Personally, I often think that the preoccupation and fear of both Death and Change is a great waste of our time. We’re here to live and learn, not fixate on a single aspect of Life. Well balanced Crow and Raven people view the entire cycle of Life and Death with a healthy chunk of humor, which enables them to get through difficult times that might crush a more delicate person.

“He who doesn’t fear death dies only once.” Giovanni Falcone

“Death? Why this fuss about death? Use your imagination, try to visualize a world without death! … Death is the essential condition of life, not an evil.” Charlotte Perkins Gilman

“It is a fact that although the Death of the Discworld is, in his own words, an “anthropomorphic personification”, he long ago gave up using the traditional skeletal horses, because of the bother of having to stop all the time to wire bits back on.” author Terry Pratchett

The black feathers of Ravens and Crows are often seen as symbolizing their close connection to Creation, Magic, Destruction, the Void, Intuition, Death, Dreams and Wisdom. Their shifting blue and green undertones would indicate a connection to inner calm and healing, as well as their keen abilitiy as shapeshifters.

In some Native American tales, Raven is rather like Prometheus pulling off amazing tricks for the benefit of His weaker two-legged brothers. Raven is said to have placed the Sun in the Sky for all of us to benefit from and that it was this act, His nearness to the sacred creative fires of the Sun, that placed the hidden rainbow in Many-colored Raven’s wings.

When looking at crows and ravens in the wild, I become utterly fascinated by these complex creatures. Ravens are the largest in the family Corvidae or Corvini, which also includes crows, jackdaws, rooks, jays and magpies. Some representative of the family can be found just about anywhere on earth. Highly vocal and extremely social birds, crows and ravens appear to have their own language and have even been taught to speak human words while in captivity.

Crows have been known to co-operate with a wide variety of animals to achieve their own goals. Crows have teamed up with squirrels to steal food away from cats or dogs. They will warn deer of hidden hunters. They will alert wolves to prey and then hang around for the leftovers. I have noticed that Crow and Raven people often like to hang out or work with individuals who are drawn to Wolf totem.

Crows will have one mate til either they or the mate die. Ravens can live up to 30 years and crows have reached similarly long life spans. Crows have also been known to exhibit such extraordinary behavior as mourning the death of another crow, learning from observing the actions of other crows, moving back in with parents after the death of a mate, and standing watch over the sick! Crows have been known to build false nests to throw off predators and Ravens, like many raptors, will continue to build onto the same nest year after year.

Animal behaviorists and Naturalists who have studied this species have been consistantly surprised at their intelligence. It has been said that they have the highest intelligence of any of the birds, and that their cognitive abilities are comparable to that of many primates. They have used traffic lights and vehicular traffic to crack nuts. They will disturb ant nests so its occupants will douse them with formic acid which acts as a natural pesticide and keeps them free of parasites. They will make and use tools, organize group efforts, and even employ clever mimicry to achieve their ends. Aesop would hardly be surprised.

Dreams are renewable. No matter what our age or condition, there are still untapped possibilities within us and new beauty waiting to be born.” Dale E. Turner

“Dreams pass into the reality of action. From the actions stems the dream again; and this interdependence produces the highest form of living.” Anais Nin

“Your vision will become clear only when you look into your heart. Who looks outside, dreams. Who looks inside, awakens.” Carl Jung

These Teachers are the traditional keepers of secrets, wisdom, and all methods of healing. Gaurdians of liminal zones (between places), they are as often found in Dreamtime as they are laughing at the edge of a a rippling field. It was once believed that where Crows or Ravens gathered indicated an unseen opening between worlds.

They act as guides across the Void during spiritual journeys, as well as through the uncharted territory within each of us while working on our Shadow Selves. They can tell you stories that have been lost in the river of time, and teach you how and when to shift from one shape to another. They know where to find the Tree of Life, and have fed upon it’s fruit according to most traditions.

Ancient lore from around the world has given both ravens and crows the gifts of second-sight, prophecy, and magic of all sorts, as well as being greatly concerned with matters of the human soul. It has been believed that a crow or raven attends both the birth and death of humans, serving as a guide for the soul within both to and from this life.

They have been considered messengers not only of our ancestors, but of gods. Dreams are Raven’s classroom, and we would be wise to keep track of them. Well balanced Raven people have a voracious appetite for learning, are often students of a wide variety of esoteric or spiritual paths, are not preoccupied with death, change or time, and most often have such a deep understanding of the harshness in life that they can find beauty even in the midst of tragedy. All Raven and Crow people have a fondness for secrets and beautiful things.

Those who feel drawn to Raven or Crow should always be mindful of their thoughts, words, and deeds. It isn’t enough to pay lip service to the higher ideals we profess, we must live daily the beliefs we hold most dear. We, as follower’s of Crow’s path, must always strive to bring light into the darkest corners of our own souls so that we may help others to rise above the pain or resentment we collect upon the road of life.

“For in much wisdom is much grief; and he that increaseth knowledge increaseth sorrow.” Ecclesiastes (ch.I, v. 18)

“Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthed, vision cleared, ambition inspired, and success achieved.” Helen Keller

“People seem not to see that their opinion of the world is also a confession of character.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

We certainly can’t help anyone else if we are holding onto our own fears, pains, regrets or resentments! Curiousity is great, if you don’t carry it too far. New horizons and adventures beckon, but sometimes it is more important to finish the task at hand. People called by these Teachers seldom feel as if they “fit in”, even when relatively popular with others. Bitterness, isolation, avoidance of Shadow Work, hubris, depression, melancholy or plaguing sorrow are common pitfalls for Crow and Raven people. It is incredibly important for such people to be aware of their words and actions, to actively manage stress and take the time they need for themselves. Raven and Crow will see you regret your choices if you aren’t paying attention to what you do in Life!

Both Crow and Raven are Teachers capable of aiding us in tremendous healings of all sorts; physical, mental, emotional or spiritual. One of the very best examples of Crow or Raven energy that I have seen in pop culture today is the much beloved Doctor Who, good and occasionally bad traits together. The Corvid Teachers ask us to look within, to recognize and work on our Shadow Material, move beyond our fears or pride, and be willing to give up who we think we are today for who we might become tomorrow.

“Magic is believing in yourself, if you can do that, you can make anything happen.” Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

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