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, 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.

A few points about totems


Here are a few more points about totems.

Totems are messengers from the Great Spirit, but there is more to say here.

You may choose to enter a meditation in order to find your totem animal, but you do not choose the animal that becomes your Totem.  (There are animals that will come to you in meditation that you must avoid as totems.  In this case you are “not picking” them.  These include poisionous snakes and anything that you define as “creepy-crawlies.”  There are important Shamanic reasons for this.)

There will be many animals that become part of your totem over time. 

Totems are different from messengers.

Finding your totem animal(s)

My friend Brizos sent me a website the other day, about totem animals.  I didn’t like it as much as I like the website I always quote, so I’m not going to post it here.  But it made me think about how people find their totems.  I believe you don’t find your totem; it finds you.  I believe that when you sense the animal is special to you, then it is.   I believe that you don’t have to be in the animal’s presence, to know it is your totem.

We have many animals on our totem.  There is usually one that stands out and you know it.  Then there are other animals that have special roles and messages.

This subject is very detailed and isn’t suitable for a blog post.  Un-plug yourself from technology every so often so you can hear the Earth as she sends you messages, through her messengers.  Tap into the awesomeness of the Universe so that when Great Spirit speaks to you, you will hear it.  Meditate.  Make notes of the animals that come to you in meditations.  You’ll know when it is happening, that they are special to you.

If you don’t know how to meditate, then just go outside and explore.  Go for a walk.  Go for a swim.  Sit in a meadow.  Animals are all around us and are waiting to “walk” with us on this Earth.

Look Up! Look out! Get Balanced!

I haven’t been outside much lately.  I’ve been driving a lot again:  to Arcadia, to Clewiston, to Gainesville.  I’ve seen a lot of birds every where:  wading birds, birds on telephone wires, birds in flight, birds in trees.  But I haven’t taken the time to slow down long enough to reflect on what messages those birds have for me. 


Since Birds represent the Air (duh…) and Air represents Intellect, if the only wild life I am seeing these days are birds, one can say my life appeares to be a little bit out of balance right now.

I have to fix that.

And Roaches Can Fly

My Daughter and I were in the kitchen this evening.  I was making a salad, and she was loading the diswasher.  I took a can of black olives out of the pantry, and opened it and asked her to find me a storage container from the wall-mounted cabinet next to the stove. 

She opend the cabinet and began producing containers and lids that were either too big or too small (and of course the lids never match.)  SHe said, “I think I see a Roach in there.”  She hates roaches.

I began emptying out the cabinet, onto the stove top.  The two glass pyrex measuring cups, nested together, the green plastic stawberry basket with dried beans, I was reaching for one of the three cans of salt, when this bug flew straight towards my face,


and I ducked and screamed,


and so did my Daughter.

And the Roach began to run across the floor (and he was a large Roach) and I got him.  Then I laughed.  I told my Daughter I would have to amend my previous post, “Did you know Fire Ants can swim,” because I had written that I could muster up some unconditional love for the Roach, but not the Fire Ant.

My Daughter nodded sagely, “sounds like Conditional Love to me!”

Did you know, Fire Ants can swim

I walked across a paved parking lot this morning after a little rainstorm and stepped in a little puddle while getting into my car.  I sat on the driver seat, and then swung my legs into the car.  I put a foot down and picked it up and when I did so, I noticed that there was a large, reddish-brown ant crawling around where I was putting my feet.  It was a Fire Ant, and I squished it with my shoe.   I knew that if I didn’t kill it, it would sting me.  I knew it would not be possible to “airlift” a fire ant onto a pencil, or a finger, or a piece of paper and get him out of my car back to his “home.”  

Watch out, Fire Ants can swim.  Actually I think they sort of float on the surface of the water, on their mean little feet.  (I can muster up some [un]conditional love* for the Roach, but I have to dig way down deep to do so for the Fire Ant.) 

The Animal Medicine website,  has the following entry for Ant:

“Ant’s Wisdom Includes:

  • Patience
  • Stamina
  • Planning
  • Energy and patience needed to complete work
  • Communal living
  • Storing for the future”

I suppose this fits Fire Ants, to some extent, but there’s more, unique to Fire Ants.  Fire Ants are an imported species to Florida, and as such, have few (if any) predators here.  ire Ants are aggressive:  when you interrupt a Fire Ant, it will sting you.  So, you have to be vigilant and observant, to watch your step and pay attention to where you are going.   You have to be prepared to defend yourself or you will get stung.

[*] see next post.