Suburban Shaman, part two: Seeing

Suburban Shaman, part 2: Seeing.

Previously posted on January 31, 2010 by Whale Maiden

 

“Moth” (c) 2009 WhaleMaiden.

In an earlier post I stated I am a Suburban Shaman.  What’s that mean?  It means I watch the Earth and the Sky, and the Beings that live here.  I pay attention to very small things, and very big things.    I watch the cycles of wind and clouds and rain, to learn what will happen next.   There is a world of information happening, if we just tune into it.

I have studied and practiced “Native American” teachings and respect them very much.  Yet they are primarily based on information ‘borrowed’ from People who lived in the Northeast, or the Upper Midwest, or the Southwest.  Here I am in the Southwest of Florida.  The plants and the terrain and the climate are very different here, from the rest of North America.

And, my culture and lifestyle are different from those of The People, too.  (I mean, different from the ways of the People, when the ‘borrowing’ of their culture happened.)  I live in a house in the suburbs.  I drive a car, commute to work, and sit in a climate-controlled office all day, buy food at a grocery store.  These functions have very little to do with the Work that The People were engaged in, to survive and flourish.

So, when The People saw an animal, it meant survival.  It meant that food was available, or there was a change in the weather coming.  When I see an animal these days, it means that I am first of all, still honoring the frail connection I have to the Natural World.  It means I am looking.  It means I am paying attention to the web of life that connects us all.  It means I am seeing.

 

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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.

In which my friend meets a Florida Panther

One evening earlier this week, my friend Brizos was driving home from work.  He wrote to me,

“As I drove home from Marco Island, Florida on the causeway (951/Collier Blvd) that connects Marco Island to Naples, I had to stop in the middle of the road for a perfectly healthy, very large Florida Panther.  There weren’t many cars on the road but this guy just STOPPED… in the middle of the road. Of course being the brave and mighty Brizos, I actually was considering getting out of the truck and going up to check on him… [my friend thought better of that idea] … Anyway, this guy (yes he was definitely a boy) just stood in the middle of the road – and stared at me for a moment or two before deciding to jaunt around and head back into the wood.”

So, Brizos asked me to address the Florida Panther, and how it fits in with the Florida Earthways Path.

I directed him to the Cougar/Mountain Lion/Puma page on the wonderful website, http://www.animalspirits.com/index1.html .  It has an awesome photo of a Cougar, and a story about the Cougar from the Zunis.  According to the website, the

Cougar/Mountain Lion/Puma’s Wisdom Includes:

  • Using leadership power wisely and without ego
  • Balancing power, intention, strength
  • Gaining self-confidence
  • Freedom from guilt
  • Cunning

  In the Florida Earthways Path, the Florida Panther represents the North, the Earth. My Friend was driving NORTH on 951, through-and-into this Panther’s Territory* and he sees this Cat, (a large wild animal yet a little smaller than my friend,) the Cat’s standing there, with the attitude like he is singing “I Won’t Back Down” by  Tom Petty and  Jeff Lynne. 

  So here are some additional questions: 

    1.    Which way did Panther go, when he went off into the woods?  East or West?  That will provide us with more information.

     2.    What were you thinking about, just before you saw him? We must practice Mindfulness at all times, which isn’t easy…

 * The Florida Panther Habitat intersects with the Florida Everglades. 

What a blessing this is to you, my friend!

Watch out for this Cat and his family as you travel through this vast wet land.

 A-Ho!  (It is so!)

WhaleMaiden.

——————-

11/14/2010:  I have edited this post. ~WM~

How to clean up Fort Myers Beach from oil spill

Oil cleanup classes  

What: Ostego Bay Oil Spill Co-op Hazardous Material Technician Oil Spill First Responder Certification Class.  

When: June 15, 16 and 17, eight hours each day. 

Where: Ostego Bay Foundation 718 Fisherman’s Wharf, Fort Myers Beach. 

Cost: $200. Reservations required. 

Contact: Joanne Semmer, 765-8101 or info@ostegobay.org.

For more information, see info@ostegobay.org.