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RAM OR SHEEP MEDICINE
Keynote: Seeking New Beginnings
Cycle of Power: Late Fall and Early Winter
The ram has long been a symbol in many societies. For many it
was a symbol of sacrifice. It was
killed in ritualistic traditions for a variety of purposes.
This is found often in biblical lore. Moses
initiated Passover with the sacrifice of a lamb. It also symbolized
the quest for great rewards, as
is seen in the Greek heroic tale of Jason and the Quest for
the Golden Fleece. It is also a symbol
of great force and power. Battering rams were used in many societies
to knock down doors and
gates of enemies.
If the ram has shown up in your life, prepare to seek out new
beginnings in some area of your
life. The ram is the symbol for the astrological sign of Aries,
the first month of the astrological
year. It falls in the spring, a time of new beginnings. The
ram tells us to assert ourselves in new
In Chinese astrology the goat and the sheep (ram) are often
interchanged, representing one of the
twelve months of the year. It is a sign associated with sensitivity
and perseverance. They are
somewhat stoic, never coming out and speaking their minds directly,
and they can also have a
tendency toward impracticality in the Chinese tradition.
In real life, rams embody many of the characteristics associated
with them in mythology and
lore. Their power and strength is often depicted in nature films
where they are seen butting heads
in duels of strength.
Rams and ewes of the bighorn sheep family live above the timberline.
They eat tender grasses
and the flowers of certain herbs. Throughout the spring and
summer they build up layers of fat
and a thick coat which enables them to survive the winters.
The horns are a predominant feature of the ram. In individuals
with this totem, they stimulate
great mental activity. There is a curiosity and an active imagination
that must be constantly
fueled and that gets stronger with each passing year, just as
the horns of the ram grow larger with
each passing year.
The horns of the ram are weapons, a form of defense and a status
symbol. They grow throughout
the life of the animal, eventually forming a full curl or spiral.
The spiral is a symbol of great
creativity, and because it is associated with the head in the
case of the ram, it has even more
significance. For those with this totem, there will occur a
new stimulation of mental faculties,
imagination, and inspiration--along with the energy to act upon
Young rams often play a form of king of the mountain, testing
strength and new positions. This
is most evident in the autumn, when the pecking order becomes
more focused. There begin
challenges for the right to mate with the ewes. The rams spin,
lunge through the air and heads
crash, horns knocking together. This continues until one admits
defeat. For those with this totem,
autumn may bring a time for you to assert your strength and
move to new challenges.
A ram can live to about 14 years of age, but the life expectancy
decreases with the size of the
horns. The larger the horns the more frequent the duels. The
rings on the horn actually mark the
age of the ram.
Bighorn sheep, like mountain goats, have toes that pinch. The
hooves are covered with an elastic
material that helps absorb the shocks and aid the grip. The
joints of the sheep act as miniature
shock absorbers when they make their great leaps down. The bighorn
sheep only need a two-inch
space to get a foothold.
This is very important for those with this totem. It is a reminder
that the openings for new
beginnings may be small, but if acted upon, they can be secured.
Those with this totem must
learn to trust in their ability to land safely on their feet
as they make new moves and new
If the ram has come into your life, do some examination--but
don't take too long with it. It is
usually an indication of a time to make some new beginnings,
to initiate new endeavors--rather
than just think about it. Are you takin advantage of opportunities
that are presenting themselves?
Are you staying balanced as you make new leaps and climbs? Are
you initiating things
appropriately? Are you acting on your ideas or just talking
about them? When the ram shows up,
it will teach you to bring forth the powers of the mind and
imagination and use them to seek out
new heights and adventures.
*The Secret Language of Signs/Denise Lynn:
Sheep: This can be a sign of following without using your own
judgement, of non-thinking trust.
Objectively examine your choices in life. Are you making choices
based on the views of others
or based on your own intuition? Affirm, "I listen to my
own inner wisdom and follow my inner
guidance in every moment." This sign can also pertain to
being taken advantage of monetarily, as
in being "fleeced."
*Mary Summer Rain/On Dreams:
Sheep reveals a lack of individuality and/or assertiveness.
*The Language of Dreams/Patricia Telesco:
A symbolic representation for a passive, shy, or docile person.
A sign that you, or someone you know, are too easily led astray
by strong or charismatic people.
Black sheep represent the shadow, or feelings of isolation and
rejection. Alternatively, this may
reveal you are unafraid to pursue your own way, despite others'
Among Christians, an emblem of those saved by grace.
Hebraic: Wealth, purity, and innocence. This was the only creature
acceptable for the Passover
*Encyclopedia of Signs, Omens, and Superstitions/Zolar:
It is generally considered lucky to meet a flock of sheep when
making a journey.
Many English country folk believe that carrying a small bone
taken from the head of a sheep will
bring good luck.
Widely held by shepherds is the idea that lambing season starting
out with a pair of white twins
will be a good year.
In Scotland, on All Saint's Day (November 1) and Beltane (May
1), sheep should be driven
under hoops of the rowan tree to protect them from evil.
It is considered bad luck for a shepherd to count his animals,
as this is also being done by a wolf.
In American folklore, the expression "sheep stealing"
arose to describe a common New England
practice whereby one minister tried to win over members of another
*Animal Magick/D.J. Conway:
Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep have extremely sharp eyesight and
long-range vision. They have
an acute sense of smell and sharp ears. Their habitation is
the rugged, dangerous terrain of the
high mountains, where they gallop at breakneck speeds and negotiate
nearly impossible places.
Excellent climbers, these sheep can balance on the narrowest
Sheep as a whole are considered to represent placid stupidity,
unthinking conformity, and
timidness. The ram, however, represented virility, fertility,
and sexual prowess. The Moon was
often called a shepherd, his flocks the constellations.
Sheep in general have been sacrificed to many deities; rams
were particularly sacrificed to
phallic deities. The Greeks and Romans sacrificed them to Zeus,
Hera, Mars, Silvanus,
Terminus, and Cyprian Aphrodite. they are evil to the Hindus
but sacred to the Muslims.
Shepherds in China have a god of sheep, Huang Ch'u0Ping, who
can give them large flocks.
The ram on the other hand, has been a symbol of virility and
procreative force. In its solar
attributes it was often associated with sky gods, but its horns
sometimes connected it with lunar deities.
The Phoenician god Ba'al-Hammon wore rams' horns. In Babylon,
Ea-Oannes was often
represented by a column with a ram's head on top. In Egypt the
sacred ram of Mendes was
believed to embody the essences of Ra, Osiris, Khepera, and
Shu. Amen-Ra was called a ram,
and Khnemu was ram-headed.
In Greece, the ram was sacred to Zeus/Sabazius, the fertility
god, and Dionysus, the generator of
life force. The followers of Attis would bathe in ram's blood
as part of certain rituals during their
Mystery rites. The god Pan was closely associated with flocks
and rams. Hermes, as Lord of the
Flocks, carried a lamb. A ram was sacrificed to the house god
Lares in Roman purification rites.
In ancient Crete, Anatolia, and the Aegean, rams having wings
or three horns were often
portrayed on seals and wall engravings. Three horns may associate
the ram with the Triple
Goddess, while the wings symbolize an animal acceptable for
sacrifice to the gods.
It is the main sacrificial animal in the Islam culture, and
in India it represents the sacred fire of Agni.
To the Celts, the ram was of chthonic power and connected with
the Otherworlds. It was an
attribute of war deities, but also accompanied the Horned God.
Engravings show ram-headed
serpents and rams with human heads. Ewes and their milk were
associated with the Celtic
goddess Brigit and her Spring festival of Imbolic, which means
The Norse god Heimdall's name meant "ram"; he was
in charge of a special horn that he would
blow at the end of the world.
The term "black sheep of the family" has come to mean
a person who is different or troublesome
and goes their own way.
Except in places like Shropshire, England, the black sheep is
considered lucky. To many
shepherds, a black sheep or lamb in the flock is a good luck
sign. In Shropshire, though, if black
twins are born it is a sign of disaster.
In many areas in England, it is believed that if you take a
certain small bone from the head of a
sheep and carry it with you and you will have good luck.
In Scotland, sheep are driven under rowan hoops at Halloween
and Beltane to keep away the
Sheep bow three times to the East on Christmas morning.
some shepherds are still buried with a tuft of wool in their
coffins. This is so they can be excused
from attending Judgement Day and not have to leave their flocks.
Being able to keep your balance in precarious or dangerous situations.
Being confident of your
abilities. Ram: fertility, courage to remain in balance in an
unstable situation. Ewe: abundance,
pregnancy, new beginnings.
The Druid animal Oracle by Phillip and Stephanie Carr-Gomm
Ram: Sacrifice, Breakthrough, Achievement
The ram brings the ability to achieve a breakthrough. Particularly
attached to the place of its
birth, the ram represents connection, rootedness, stability,
and yet it also represents the power to
penetrate, overcome and achieve. Working with the ram as your
ally will help you to find the
inner strength you need to succeed. At the same time you need
not fear 'losing your head' on the
dizzy heights of success, because the ram will help to keep
you grounded, and will remind you of
the practical necessities of life. By persevering, by being
patient and attending to the needs of
your daily life as well as your future goals, you will find
the day comes when you achieve a
breakthrough--accomplishing what you have set out to achieve
and discovering that you have
also 'come home.'
Contrary, ram suggests that although a part of you may enjoy
competition--locking horns with a
friend or enemy--you may be called on to make a sacrifice. Sometimes
letting go, however
painful, can open the door to a new life that you never thought
you could achieve. Rather than
banging your head against a brick wall, see if it is possible
for you to walk around it!
Alternatively, it could be that you should be moving in a different
direction, and the brick wall is
there for a reason even if you cannot figure out why just yet.
Ask yourself the question "Where
do I feel really at home?" Follow your instincts and your
practical nature to create a home around
you that is truly comfortable and truly yours.
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