When the Osprey Flew In

Honorable Shamans and Fellow Pagans, one day an Osprey flew into my life.  Or, I should say, a person,  whom I’m going to call, Osprey, flew in to my life a few years ago.  As some of you may remember,  I’ve nickname most of the people in my life, after birds.  In this case, Osprey is a guy who likes to climb trees, and to fish.

At any rate, Osprey flew in a few years ago, at just the right time, and we began our Adventures.  We have traveled all around Florida, and many other places.

We’re migratory.  We call a semi-permanent tent in a wild location, “ours.” We live there on the weekends, as much as possible.

We’re migratory because we are following the herds of animals as they make their way across Florida:  Boar, Deer, Wild Turkey, Alligator.  We are learning as much as we can about tracking animals and the cycles of plants.  What does the deer eat?  When are those plants in season? What do those plants look like, during their life cycle?  Can we eat those plants?

All of this, is expanding my understanding of the Earthways Shamanic Path, in multiple ways.  It’s amazing!  It’s magical!

Share Your Peace with Mother Earth and Father Sky and the Big Waters All Around You!

~Whale Maiden for the Earthways Shamanic Path



Kit Tan has a Birthday

For nearly a year, Honorable Shamans and Fellow Pagans, I’ve been writing about my cat. In this blog she is called, Kit Tan Who Is Six,  because Kit Tan is one of her nicknames and because she is six.  It’s also an homage to A.A. Milne who wrote a book of poetry in 1927 called, “Now We Are Six.”

Kit Tan has recently had a birthday and now she is seven.  Henceforth, she will be known as, Kit Tan The Cat.


We didn’t bake her a cake.  We gave her some tuna.

Share Your Peace with the Animals and Share Your Peace With the Earth

Waiting for Christmas

My Kit Tan Who Is Six is waiting for something, Honorable Shamans and Fellow Pagans.  My Daughter and I got the Tree out of the garage earlier this week, and set it up on a table and plugged in the lights to see… and Kit Tan hopped up on the table and settled in under the tree. This is her table, after all, her viewing perch where she watches the world go by.  And now she is waiting…

Buying Christmas Trees in Southwest Florida
Buying Christmas Trees in Southwest Florida

It can be  difficult to get into the “Christmas Spirit,” here in Florida.  It has been unusually rainy and warm here in Florida this month, so it sure doesn’t feel like Christmas.  Certainly not like the Christmases I spent as a Child.  I lived up in the Northeast then, and it snowed practically every Christmastime.  It was beautiful.

Growing up Unitarian-Universalist, and in my house, the focus at Christmas wasn’t so much about the Christ child as it was  a time of exploring Nature:  we put suet out for the birds, we walked through the woods in the snow, and we looked at the starry, nights — dark nights and the sky full of stars.  Sometimes, we would go sledding or ice skating.  We spent a lot of time out side.

Christmas was a time to decorate the house with family heirlooms:  ornaments and decorations.  Many of the decorations were animal figurines.  My sister and I would make a creche with dolls and put animal figurines on a table.  Each day, we would advance the animals towards the creche another step; by Christmas morning, they were all gathered around the manger.   My Mother used to tell me with great conviction, that on Christmas Eve, the Animals could all talk to each other.

Me and my parents and my sister and I would go in a car one evening to a place  where the Christmas trees were all standing in stands in the packed down snow.  We would all look at each tree from every angle and decide.  Once the tree was home and up, and watered, then we’d decorate. We had glass ornaments, and sea shell ornaments, and drink-stir ornaments made of glass, like ice sickles, and then the tinsel.   I think that tinsel was made from lead.  My folks were very frugal and we saved the tinsel every year, on pieces of cardboard, wrapped up with waxed paper.  Everything smelled like pine sap and history and the cold winter nights.

These days in Florida, I have a faux tree, which is reusable and comes apart for easy storage in the garage.  If I want a real tree, I hop in my car and drive a mile or two in the day time to a sandy vacant lot.  There’s a tent there, and in it are Christmas Trees.  There’s tents like this all over Florida this time of year, selling Christmas Trees.  (At other times of the year they sell:  fireworks for agricultural purposes, flowers, pumpkins.)  These trees come from Michigan or Wisconsin.  They are cut up there, and trucked down here.  I’m not sure how they keep these trees from drying out.  The tents smell of pine tree.

…And my Kit Tan is waiting for Christmas Eve, the night the Animals all talk.

Share Your Peace With Our Earth

~Whale Maiden~

~~~ ♡ ~~~

Although the Earthways Shamanic Path is based in Florida, it can be celebrated anywhere.  You just need to explore the magic of your land.  What is it saying to you?   What are the seasons, where you live?  What do they mean to you?  How are they celebrated? 

Join Whale Maiden in the discussion at the Earthways Shamanic Path – Facebook Group   

(c) 2015, Whale Maiden.  All Rights Reserved. 

An alligator in my back yard

There’s an alligator at the southeast corner of my back yard, Honorable Shamans and Fellow Pagans.  It is six feet long, vivid green, and made of pool plastic. It either blew over from next door, or my next door neighbors placed it on my yard. Either way, I see it as a protector of sacred space.

An Alligator guards the South corner of my back yard
An Alligator guards the South corner of my back yard

When building sacred space in the Earthways Shamanic Path, we work with the Four Directions, and with Animals native to our part of the world.  What are the sacred Animals, where you live?  To whom do you sing?

Here in Southwest Florida, I start by signing to the fishes and the manatee and dolphins and of course, to the Whales in the WEST.  West represents Water and emotions. We are surrounded by water here, and as I am writing this it has started to rain.

The birds fly through the air over the waters, and they see the fishes.  The song continues as the Pelicans and Ibis, Herons and Gulls fly all around.  We depend upon the  Air, and it represents the EAST, and our thoughts.

In the swamps and sloughs to the SOUTH, dwell the creepy crawlies: Dragonflies, butterflies and moths are plentiful here, as are alligators.  The South represents Fire and passion, and protection. Thus, it makes perfect sense to me, that I have an alligator resting in this corner of my yard.

The four leggeds root around in the swamps and sloughs and all the Earth here, connected to the ground — our Mother Earth — the NORTH, and take daily right action to continue their life cycles. Our Florida Panther, and the Florida Black Bear are sacred here.

Which Animals form the sacred space where you live?  What steps can you take to connect with the Sacred Animals, all around you?

~~~ ♡ ~~~

Although the Earthways Shamanic Path is based in Florida, it can be celebrated anywhere.  You just need to explore the magic of your land.  What is it saying to you?   What are the seasons, where you live?  What do they mean to you?  How are they celebrated? 

And “Let’s Share Peace With Our Earth.”

Join Whale Maiden in the discussion at the Earthways Shamanic Path – Facebook Group

(c) 2015, Whale Maiden.  All Rights Reserved. 

The Day Light Savings Rant

I’ve decided that I really don’t see the point or purpose of Daylight Savings time. (DLS) and this year, I really decided there is no Rational Nexus for switching our clocks forward or back.

And this year, I ended up changing clocks in my house, my office, my other office, two cars, and, my Fathers’ house.  And, yesterday, I found one more clock in my Kitchen, that hadn’t been adjusted yet.

But that wasn’t what sent me into a Lewis Black kind of raving-rant a few weeks ago.  No, what really sent me over the edge was that this year, when I went to set 3 clocks forward, they died.  Maybe they were set to expire now any way, and it was purely coincidental.  Or maybe, something just fried them out.  I’m not sure.

But it sent me into a odd world of not knowing what time it is, in two or three critical rooms:  my Living Room, and, my Business Office.    In the living room, I have a really nice picture frame with a clock in it.  It was a lovely gift and commemorates a very special date in my life.  A beautiful date.  A happy date.  You know, one of those rare days you want to remember for the rest of your life… The clock worked perfectly until this month.    I tried replacing the batteries.  Twice.  One day, the clock started running again… for about three hours… then it stopped…then it started up again… I tried to set it, again… and it stopped.  Now it is stuck at 9:15, which confuses me in the morning.  And in the evening (oh, its still early!  I’ll read my FaceBook posts for awhile…) then I realize it’s really more like 11PM.

I finally had to go out and purchase 3 replacement travel clocks and get them set up.  But the one I put in front of my picture frame is too fare away to read.  So I had to put it somewhere else, and learn to look THERE, to figure out what time it is.  (This is all because my husband has the remote control.  But that’s for another rant.)

We’ve heard ALL the reports about how Daylight savings is supposed to conserve fuel, and that’s just stupid.  I think it contributes to global warming, to keep changing the clocks.  I’ll have to do some research.

And, it doesn’t help the school kids:  they are getting up too early as it is, because it is all relative, isn’t it.  They have to be at school at 8:00 AM, so if they get up at 6:00 AM, it is dark, no matter what time of year it is.

But the real difficulty with the changes in Daylight Savings time is the loss of sleep.  I find it is totally disorienting no matter whether we are gaining an hour or losing an hour:  I am messed up because of  it, for days.

And it isn’t just me, (it isn’t just we humans) who have to suffer, it’s the animals we live around, care for, and particularly the ones who sleep with us.  You know: the Dogs and Cats who are accustomed to getting UP at a certain time each day, and getting their “noms” at a certain time each day, and their drinks of  water and walks that go along with it.

It is time to stop doing the Daylight Savings changes, because it is hurting out pets.  If we can’t do something to save our planet and our children, let’s at least do it to save our pets.  They depend upon us.

part three — The Frog is found…

In my last post, I mentioned that I had hospitalized a frog (probably a Cuban Tree Frog, which is an invasive species,) in a container in my kitchen over night to help him recuperate after an exciting day.  See previous 2 posts.  And I explained how I checked on him that night before I went to bed (and may not have put the lid on his container correctly.)  And how the next morning, Frog was gone.

I did not look for the Frog who I suspected was hopping about in a house occupied by 3 humans and 2 cats… because, well because.

… Every so often when I am house cleaning I will come across some dried up critter, usually always a lizard, that has wandered into my house and made its way behind a piece of furniture in the bedroom.  This is Florida and the veil between the two worlds, or “inside” and “outside” are kind of thin.  Houses are not impervious…so I figured that I would find Frog a few weeks or months from now, in a closet or behind a bookcase, all dessicated…

and I admit I went about my business that morning.  Eventually I wandered through the kitchen and happened to look down (perhaps to not step on a cat tail,) and saw the Frog, hanging onto the handle of a jug of Arizona Tea.  We keep 3 or 4 jugs stacked next to the Refrigerator.

I swooped down, picked him up, he hung onto my thumb but also started trying to Escape! and I made a beeline to the Orchid Tree:  out the sliding glass door, out the porch door and out to the Tree.  As soon as we got to where there was AIR, the Frog was so joyful/excited/anxious…

I placed him on the sunny side of the tree because there was at least a 10 degree difference between Indoors and Outdoors temperatures, and the Frog bolted off the Tree and straight out into the Sunlight!

part two- the frog escapes

Maybe you all saw this coming, but I sure didn’t!

To catch you up on our story, I found a tree frog after he’d been SCREECHING at the top of his lungs and after he fell about 15 feet out of a tree in my back yard.  He was scraped up a bit but seemed to be alive and I put him in a plastic container (the kind they put soup in at a Chinese carry-out restaurant)  with air holes in the lid so he could recuperate overnight indoors.  (The temperature dropped below 50 last night and I wasn’t sure the Frog could get somewhere to be safe and comfortable in his condition.)  I parked the container on its side on a table in the kitchen.  It had a wet paper towel in one end and a piece of cat food in the other end.  Frog was pointed nose-in to begin with.

Before I went to bed, I checked on Frog.  He had turned around so he was facing nose-out and had ‘shat,’ which I thought was a good sign.

This morning I got up early and went to check on Frog again.  The container was empty.  My husband woke up before me and was already sitting in the living room watching TV so I asked him if he had released the Frog.  He said he hadn’t.

So I have an escaped Frog somewhere in my house with two cats.

My husband points out this is probably a Cuban Tree Frog and they are an invasive species.

What would you have done?

rescuing a frog

This may be a two-part story; I don’t know yet.

I was in the kitchen working on something behind the refrigerator when I heard a “SCREECH” coming from the back yard.  A moment later, I heard it again:  SCREECH!   Thinking that it was a baby bird in distress,  noted the location of my two cats as we all went out to the porch and then to the back yard.  I strode over to the Orchid tree and stood under it and waited.  SCREECH!  Ok, I was in the right area.  I looked up, scanning the leaves and twigs to see if I saw any thing — no birds, no mice — then suddenly, it SCREECH-ed again and then something fell out of the tree and hit the ground.

My one cat sat near where I was standing, but he seemed to know to leave the critter alone.  I stepped closer and saw that it was a tree frog.  I picked up a little twig and tapped the frog on the butt, to see if he would hop.  He didn’t.

I scooped him up with my fingers and he held onto my thumb.  I looked him over closely.  He was breathing.  He seemed to have scraped the skin over the top of his left eye.  Everything else seemed to be ok.

I took him into the house and got a paper towel for him to sit on and went out to the porch and sat down.  I smoothed his scraped skin near his eye back into place with my finger nail.  I sat calmly and figured the warmth of my hand was a good thing.

My daughter has a friend who raises spiders and snakes.  We called her up.  As it happens, she was driving near our house and came over.  She looked at Frog and agreed with me that he was probably shook up and maybe a little shocked.  She said we could put him in a box of some kind with air holes and a wet paper towel and let him rest for a while.

Maybe he’d eat some cat food…

Photo later.



Ants in the bathroom

It is dry season in Florida and all creatures need water.

I have ants in my bathroom.  They make a very long trek each day, all day, every day, to climb into my house then up the smooth side of a Tervis Tumbler and then down into the waiting reservoir of cool water.  I don’t leave the water there for the ants.  I am leaving it there for my cats.

Each day, I refresh the water for my cats.  Sometimes I do this by pouring water from another cup, into the water cup on the floor.  That way, I can fill it to the rim.  Other days, I pick up the cup from the floor and rinse it out in the sink and start over with fresh water.

Every day, I rescue the ants.  They can’t help it if they are thirsty.  There’s usually a line of ants along the edge of the glass where the water meets the glass.  I rescue these by putting my thumb under the lot of them and raising them up like a mini-tsunami.   And there is always a group of ants swimming together in the middle of the cup, holding each other up. 

I rescue the ants, and put them on terry cloth towels to dry out.  I ponder the confusion the ants must experience when they are placed down on the towel, far away from the scent of their path, their line of previous ants and wonder what they will do when they encounter the loops of the terry cloth.

Vultures are Balance

My Dear Daughter Agatha (*) and her friend, Jacqueline went to a festival this weekend and when they returned, Jacqueline mentioned that she had seen three sets of Vultures.   I reached for one of my reference books on Animal Medicine to quote from, “Medicine Cards” by Jamie Sams and David Carson with illustrations by Angela Werneke, but it was silent about Vultures. I looked at another book, “Power Animal Meditations” by Nicki Scully (also illustrated by Angela Werneke), which has a meditation about Vultures (“Intuitive Wisdom,”) but none of us were ready to go there just yet.

The Girls wandered off like Girls do, to the next thing and the teaching moment passed.  I should really be able to tap into my own inner wisdom by now. 

So I was thinking about Vultures.  We have Turkey Vultures here in Southwest Florida.  Vultures ride the thermals, looking for bodies that are not moving.  “A thermal is an area   of rising air in the low heights of the Earth’s atmosphere. Thermals are created by uneven heating of the Earth’s surface from solar radiation, and an example of convection. The Sun warms the ground, which in turn warms the air directly above it.”  

Vultures see a potential prey and swoop down to investigate.  They are large birds, really much larger than you are prepared for them to be.  They are tall with about a 32″ wing span.  You don’t want to get too close to them while they are feeding.  They don’t have feathers on their faces, which helps them to keep their faces clean.  If Vultures didn’t do the work of picking up all the dead animals, there would be all kinds of critters in various stages of decay, all over the place.  (Pewie.)  Vultures help take care of the ecosystem.  They maintain the Balance.

When you see a Vulture, what are you doing, to maintain the Balance in your life?  Are you working too hard or not enough?  Are you in right relationships?  Are you eating right?  Are you getting enough exercise?  What changes do you need to make, to establish better balance in your life?

The other resource I use, the website “Shaminism Working with Animal Spirits” at http://www.animalspirits.com/index9.html, notes that Vultures represent, among other aspects, issues involving  death and rebirth.  In terms of Balance, what habit or behavior can you let go of, to achieve greater balance in your life?

(*) My Dear Daughter Agatha wants to point out that she adores Vultures.  And, she pointed out that what Vultures may mean to Jacqueline, might be different from what they mean to me.  That may be true in some cases.  The work I am doing here, is more archetypical rather than specific to any one person.  If you have a specific encounter with any specific animal, then you have to take that into consideration next time (and any time) you see that animal again.

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