“If you were all alone in the universe with no one to talk to, no one with which to share the beauty of the stars, to laugh with, to touch, what would be your purpose in life? It is other life, it is love, which gives your life meaning. This is harmony. We must discover the joy of each other, the joy of challenge, the joy of growth.” Mitsugi Saotome “We find greatest joy, not in getting, but in expressing what we are… Men do not really live for honors or for pay; their gladness is not the taking and holding, but in Doing… the striving, the building, the living. It is a higher joy to teach than to be taught. It is good to get justice, but better to do it; fun to have things but more to make them. The happy man is he who lives the life of love, not for the honors it may bring, but for the Life itself.” R. J. Baughan “The happiness and unhappiness of the rational, social animal depends not on what he feels but on what he does; just as his virtue and vice consist not in feeling but in doing. Marcus Aurelius
The magical and delicate hummingbird delivers us a powerful message’ “Great things come in small packages”. Hummingbird, to me, is like a messenger straight from Creator’s Heart. A miracle in motion, He reminds us of the active principle of Love, and that it is a way of Life. He shows us how to slip past all the thorns, blandness, and other barriers to simply sip on the sweet nectar of Life; live for the sake of loving and love for the sake of living. Hummingbird is like pure Joy, given wings and color, a visual reminder of the many miracles of Life… Love, Joy and Creator’s Divine Love for us, much like the symbol of the Sacred Heart. Hummingbird wants teach us the language of Flowers, and how they can help us learn how to heal, create, and spread the tiny seeds of Love that will make a Garden of our World. Maybe this is why Hummingbird’s are also considered “lucky”? Hummingbirds are found naturally only in the Americas, and there are between 325 – 340 species of hummingbirds. Because they are delicate in structure, their hollow-boned wings especially fragile, hummingbirds rarely fossilize, and their mysterious evolutionary history has made study difficult. Some scientists believe that the hummingbird evolved relatively recently, and others theorize that they originated in South America. Brazil and Ecuador contain over half the known species of hummingbirds! The Ruby Throated Hummingbird is probably the one I am most familiar with, and this will be the model I use in discussing them.
An ancestor of modern hummingbirds may also have lived in parts of Europe to what is now southern Russia. Magical, mystical Hummingbird is a rare treat! Hummingbird flight also continues to be the subject of much study. Other than insects, the Hummingbird is the only Creature Teacher I can think of who has the ability to sustain a hover and fly deliberately in any direction, including backwards or vertically. Hummingbirds also have the highest metabolism of all animals, with the exception of insects. Maneuverability is a Hummingbird lesson, and an excellent Teacher to turn to if we have need of this skill.
Hummingbirds typically consume more than their own weight in food each day by traveling hundreds of times to multiple flowers, and at any given moment they are only hours away from starving! They need this incredible metabolism to support the rapid beating of their wings and a heartbeat which can reach as high as 1,260 beats per minute. Provided sufficient food and shelter is available to them, hummingbirds are amazingly hardy. They are able to tolerate temperatures down to at least -20°C (-4°F), and can also enter a hibernation-like state known as torpor, slowing down their voracious metabolism at night or any other time food is not readily available. This is where their symbolic connection to Resurrection and Rebirth comes from.
“We could never learn to be brave and patient if there were only joy in the world.” Helen Keller
“The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain. Is not the cup that holds your wine the very cup that was burned in the potter’s oven? " Kahlil Gibran
“Happiness is good health and a bad memory.” Ingrid Bergman
Love appears in many forms, and it is certainly not without it’s sorrows. Contrary to opinion, love, real love, is never blind. If anything, Love endures because it knows full well what it sees and chooses to thrive anyway. Love throws itself onto the Winds, freely and with faith, again and again. It waxes and wanes as much as our hearts can hold; stoking itself through the cold nights and rising from the ashes to grow larger than before whenever we feed it. Love is in constant motion until we pause long enough to take notice, yet it can consume us in a thousand ways. It takes tremendous energy and Courage to truly Love… and not just to love one being, not just ourselves or our blood kin, but to love All Our Relations.
Hummingbird people need fill their Life’s cup with Love quickly and often to sustain themselves, and their ability to spread and generate similar energies around them helps to keep their cup overflowing. If we don’t love ourselves and forgive ourselves for our mistakes, we’ll quickly run out of the ability to love or forgive others. Of course, focusing only on our selves will cause us to starve just as quickly as a hummingbird sipping from a man-made feeder which has been mistakenly filled with a nectar made from diet sugar substitute rather than plain water and sugar. So be ‘ware the Love with which you feed yourself and others! Take the time to sip the sweetness of life for yourself, and do something that makes you feel renewed. Love is the one thing you do have more of the more you give though. Tiny Hummingbird reminds us that Love is truly a Miracle, a sacred and divine thing. Miracles do not have boundaries or limits. “Small of stature but great of heart”, Hummingbird’s great love for Creator and Life reaches far beyond his tiny body and brilliant feathers….
“You must love the crust of the earth on which you dwell more than the sweet crust of any bread or cake.” Henry David Thoreau
“The sun does not shine for a few trees and flowers, but for the wide world’s joy.” Henry Ward Beecher
“Love denied blights the soul we owe to God.” William Shakespeare
Hummingbirds are intricately entwined with their environment. Dramatic changes in their environment will be immediately reflected in their response to these changes. Perhaps this is why hummingbird people’s loving nature extends to a great concern with their environment. Hummingbirds in balance like to go to the heart of any matter and extract all that is beneficial. They prefer to focus on what is as opposed to what was, although they carry all that they learn forward with them.
Unfortunately, a common interaction between people and hummingbirds is having one become trapped in your garage or similarly open area. Whatever may have drawn them into such an area, once inside, they may be unable to escape. Their natural instinct when threatened or trapped is to fly upward. This is a life-threatening situation for the bird as they will become exhausted and die in a relatively short period (as little as an hour!) of time due to their high metabolisms. If you should encounter this problem, simply get within reach of the hummingbird and gently catch them with your hands.
They will lie quietly within your cupped hands until released…such is the Faith of a hummingbird. Hummingbird people should likewise keep their heads about them when they feel trapped or panicky, but I think a most common failure for such people is simply throwing themselves at any issue over and over again in the same manner until they wear themselves out. Or worst of all, simply not providing themselves with all that they need to continue being well-balanced Hummingbird people!
“And because I am happy and dance and sing, They think they have done me no injury.” William Blake
I have seen many people make the mistake of thinking that just because someone is happy, they have never experienced tragedy, depression, poverty, or a thousand other ills. Worse yet, I have seen people every day who mistake such kindness, generosity, politeness and basic happiness that causes others to perceive a Hummingbird person as an “easy mark”, stupid, or weak! Balanced Hummingbird people do live their lives in a manner designed to “accentuate the positive and eliminate the negative”, but that doesn’t mean that they have never experienced tragedy, anger, fear, or any of the less attractive emotions. Nor does it mean that they are stupid, foolish or easy prey!
They will direct a great deal of energy into spreading positive constructive messages, goodwill, love, laughter, and happiness in any way that they can. They need it to survive, so why wouldn’t they want to spread more of it around? Hummingbird’s constant visits to hundreds of flowers make him a friend to Gardeners and Gardens alike as he helps to spread pollen. Hummingbird people are happiest when they are spreading the healing balm of Love and Harmony like pollen. Don’t know where to start? Smile! Even if you are in the depths of depression, acting as if you were happy will encourage actual happiness to grow.
“Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy.” Thich Nhat Hanh
“People take different roads seeking fulfillment and happiness. Just because they’re not on your road doesn’t mean they’ve gotten lost.” H. Jackson Browne
“Love is an act of endless forgiveness, a tender look which becomes a habit.” Peter Ustinov
Unbalanced Hummingbirds might fly off in any direction. Perhaps they would love too much, too often, too erratically or even spread disharmony and strife instead of love and harmony! Perhaps they may become dictatorial about others’ happiness. Assuming that since they are happy, they know best someone else’s route to happiness would be. Easy mistakes to make, and each could easily lead one to all flavors of Hell. I’ve certainly met plenty of people who think they know best how others should be living!
Can’t say this has ever made things easy for anyone though. Remember, we are only responsible for our selves; our choices and actions. Interfering with another’s Life and how they choose to walk it would be like getting between them and their Creator! I wouldn’t want to stand there, would you?!
Stop and really think about what you are doing before you plunge in headfirst. It’s great to have the will and desire to direct your energies into spreading positive constructive concepts, but sometimes it is best to allow others to move at their own pace. Sometimes a healing soul needs quiet, solitude, or just room to breathe. Sometimes our “helping” simply makes others feel smothered or criticized instead of better. Invite this Gentle Warrior into your life whenever you feel the need, or when you need guidance on how best to help others!
Ruby-throated hummingbirds are inquisitive creatures, and the males can be quite aggressively territorial. Even the females will defend a good food supply, tolerating their own young at the feeder for only a brief period after fledging before they are treated like any other rival. They quickly overcome shyness of humans though, and will hover around you to investigate if you were a bold red color, which is attractive to them. Courtship, if any, is brief and the female raises the young alone. Her walnut sized nest is built on a foundation of bud scales that it attached to a tree limb with spider silk. The outside is camouflaged with lichen or moss and the inside is lined with dandelion, cattail or thistle down. Two white pea-sized eggs will be laid which will take 12-16 days to incubate, and another, typically, 18-23 days to raise them to fledgling status. It is thought that this hummingbird might live up to 12 years, but only 3-5 years is common with all the stresses and predations they face.
Most hummingbirds are noted for their dazzling colors. The Ruby-throated hummingbird’s body is covered in brilliant emerald green feathers on top, silvery gray verging on white underneath, with the distinctive ruby red throat patch that gave it it’s name. Red is the traditional color for passion, creation and creativity, the element of fire, anger and love. Sky blue is the color for balancing the throat chakra, so this placement of brilliant red adds a sense of crackling energy, heat, and passion to this area. People called by this Teacher should be especially mindful of their vocal expressions, as their ability to express through voice is highly charged and capable of inspiring great fires in others.
Choose to express only Truth, for voicing lies will throw you significantly out of balance as this chakra is the center for our sense of Truth. The vibrant green of this Teacher indicates a vibrant ability to heal, to inspire hope, and to spread feelings of faith, friendship, and peace. Silver it the traditional color of the soul, and white is both a Divine blessing and a purifying agent. Altogether, this tiny Teacher packs a potent punch! Hummingbird asks us to not only appreciate the Beauty around us, nor to express it, but to “walk in Beauty”, to live our lives in such a way that day to day we are spreading Beauty, Light and Joy.
Well-balanced Hummingbird people tend to live in the now without dwelling on the past or worrying unduly about the future. They are talented at finding the beauty hidden in any person or situation, but must remember that although they see the Beauty and Potential, they must also acknowledge the less appealing or constructive aspects to those people or situations… or they may end up consumed by that which they have not acknowledged! Put simply, don’t believe just the good that you see in someone. Just because you see the goodness or beauty buried within, doesn’t mean that is what truly motivates them! Balanced Hummingbird people take a great deal of pleasure in spreading Joy, Beauty and Light into the cramped dark places in Life, but this also makes them tasty targets to the more predatory souls out there. So, be careful with the Light you have been given.
“Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions.” His Holiness the Dalai Lama
“Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us or we find it not.” Ralph Waldo Emerson
“Everything has beauty, but not everyone sees it.” Confucius
Adaptability & malleability are strengths given by this delicate Teacher, and such people tend to be high-energy, free-spirited individuals. Restricting the nature of such a person will most likely result in deep depression and feelings of hopelessness, both strong signs of unbalanced Hummingbird energy. Pointless activity, anxiety, pessimism, inability to let go of the past or inordinate concern over the future are all signs of unbalanced Hummingbird energy.
In Aztec mythology, Huitzilopochtli, whose name means “Blue Hummingbird on the Left (South)”, was the god of war, death and the sun. He was depicted as an armed blue man wearing a headdress of hummingbird feathers, and was highly revered. The flower loving goddess, Xochiquetzal, could also be associated with this Teacher.
Look at pictures, or read about the nature and habitats of hummingbirds. If you wish to hang a feeder be sure to provide the proper type of food. Perhaps my favorite way is simply looking for ways each day to make a positive difference in some ones life. Little acts of kindness, or small tokens to coax smiles out of those you interact with can make a huge difference to the World around you. Share a joke, leave smiles or encouraging words on post- its where others can see them. Wash off the windshields while your spouse pumps the gas. Help an elderly neighbor by shoveling the snow from their walkway or help a stranger who is struggling with their groceries.
Once you start looking, you’ll find as many ways to spread Hummingbird’s “pay it forward” attitude as there are flowers in a garden! I was thrilled when someone put up a sign on a telephone pole at a busy intersection that says simply “You Are Beautiful”. I picture the Hummingbird as a tiny Grandmother whose bravery and bold words far exceed her delicate frame. The Taino, indigenous people of the Caribbean & Florida, see this Teacher as the sacred bringer of life and a symbol of rebirth. They call their warriors Hummingbird Warriors, as this Teacher is a spreader of peace and life, but will defend it’s home with the fierceness of an Eagle. Whenever we need to get to the heart of any issue, Hummingbird can show us how to delicately part all resistance and achieve our goal. May your heart open like a faerie rose before the loving sword of Hummingbird whenever he hovers into your life! How does this Teacher appear in your life?
“A warrior does not give up what he loves, he finds the love in what he does.“ Socrates, in the trailer for Peaceful Warrior
by Priscilla Leonard
HAPPINESS is like a crystal,
Fair and exquisite and clear,
Broken in a million pieces,
Shattered, scattered far and near.
Now and then along life’s pathway,
Lo! some shining fragments fall;
But there are so many pieces
No one ever finds them all.
You may find a bit of beauty,
Or an honest share of wealth,
While another just beside you
Gathers honor, love or health.
Vain to choose or grasp unduly,
Broken is the perfect ball;
And there are so many pieces
No one ever finds them all.
Yet the wise as on they journey
Treasure every fragment clear,
Fit them as they may together,
Imaging the shattered sphere,
Learning ever to be thankful,
Though their share of it is small;
For it has so many pieces
No one ever finds them all!