Totem Animals

Page 142

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By CinnamonMoon

Ted Andrews/Animal-Speak:
Keynote: Spread of New Growth
Cycle of Power: Spring

Most commonly known as robin redbreast, this wonderful bird is a traditional herald of spring.
Although robins often migrate, they do not always need to do so. Migration occurs due to lack of
food and not to avoid colder weather as many believe. If the food supplies are beneficial, the
robin will make its home year-round. In spring, its song is often recognizable to all. in fact, few
birds outdo the robin in overall distribution throughout North America. When a robin comes into
your life, you can expect new growth to occur in a variety of areas of your life--not in just a
single area.

There exists much myth and lore around the robin. The most common legend is that it obtained
its red breast when it pulled a thorn from the bloodied crown on Christ's head while on the cross.
In the more superstitious tradition, the stealing of a robin's egg was a means to court misfortune.
Some believe that you should make a wish when you see the first robin of spring, before it flies
off, or you will have no luck for the next year.

In spite of this lore, a study of the robin can reveal much of its true worth as a totem. Robins
react to red. In males, it signals other males "to get out of my territory." The red is, of course,
connected to the kundalini. In the robin, it is more of a rust, as if it has been diluted with other
colors. This, along with the fact that it covers the entire breast area, reflects its activation in a
manner that will stimulate new growth in all areas of your life.

The song of the robin is a cheery, rolling trill. Part of its purpose is to help the robin establish its
territory. Two males in the same area will puff up and sing with all their force. Fights between
robins over territory are usually in song. Physical confrontations are more symbolic without
injury. This is very significant for anyone with this bird as a totem. It reflects a need to sing your
own song forth if you wish new growth. Any confrontations or hindrances are more show than
actual threats, so go forward.

The robin lays a distinctive powder-blue egg. This is a color that is often used to activate the
throat center in humans. This is a center associated with will, force and creativity. The robin egg
reflects the innate ability of those with this totem to assert the will force to create new growth in
his/her life. When the robin comes to you it is to help you in this process. It may reflect you have
been doing so inappropriately or ineffectually. Either way, the robin will show you how to do it successfully.

Both parents share in the feeding of the young--on the average of once every 12 minutes. This is
necessary, as the young are born entirely without feathers. Still, the robin has energy to rais more
than one brood a year. Again this reflects the activation of the creative life force, reflected within
the red coloring. It is the heart of the robin that gives it this ability.

*Mary Summer Rain/On Dreams:
Robin emphasizes a rebirth of some kind.

*D.J. Conway/Animal Magick:
Originally, the name given in England to the redbreast. In North America, this name is applied to
the thrush, turdus migratorius, a species related to the Old World blackbirds. On the American
robin, the top and sides of the head are black, the upper parts slate gray, the throat white streaked
with black, and the breast red. It has a beautiful song. The robin is mentioned in several cultural
mythologies, but in a vague sense. In Norse legend, however, this bird was considered to be a
storm creature and was sacred to the storm god Thor.

Robins are very combative in the spring. One year we watched a robin fight his reflection in the
car's hubcap for several days before he gave up.

Superstitions: The Irish say that if you kill a robin, a large lump will grow on your hand, making
it impossible for you to work. In Yorkshire, they believe that if you kill this bird your cows will
give blood milk. If you break one of its wings, you will break your arm. If a robin taps on the
window of a sick room, that person will die. When you see the first robin of the year, make a
wish before it flies away. Then you will have good luck for the next 12 months.

Magickal attributes: Happiness, new beginnings. For guidance in beginning a new cycle of life.

*Bobby Lake-Thom/Spirits of the Earth:
Robin is a good singer. She brings happiness, good health, and love to families. It is good to have
Robins around. Remember the old saying "The early bird gets the worm"? We can learn good
behavior and values from the Robin, such as being industrious. If you want to learn how to be a
good singer, ask Robin to help you. Robin is a proud bird, clean, and well dressed. She is
industrious, cheerful, and family-oriented. She is a good reminder of virtues worth emulating and
a good role model for humans.

*Patricia Telesco/The Language of Dreams:
As a harbinger of spring, the robin nearly universally represents renewed hope, fresh beginnings,
reversals in negative attitudes, and a dawning light being shed on difficult situations. In England,
an emblem of fertility, especially if one comes pecking at a window.
*Lady Stearn Robinson & Tom Gorbett/The Dreamer's Dictionary:
One of the most fortunate omens you could dream up; great happiness is sure to follow.

*Wordsworth/Dictionary of Phrase and Fable:
The tradition is that when Our Lord was on his way to Calvary, a robin picked a thorn out of his
crown, and the blood which issued from the wound falling on the bird dyed its breast red.
Another fable is that the robin covers the dead with leaves; this is referred to in Webster's White
Devil, V, i (1612): "Call for the robin-red-breast and the wren, Since o'er shady groves they
hover, And with leaves and flowers do cover, The friendless bodies of unburied men." And in the
ballad of the Children in the Wood (Percy's Reliques): "No burial this pretty pair Of any man
receives, Till Robin-red-breast piously Did Cover them with leaves.

*Zolar/Encyclopedia of Signs, Omens, and Superstitions:
According to a Breton tradition, when Christ was hanging on the cross, a robin plucked a thorn
from His crown and pierced its own breast; hence, the red-breast color long associated with this
bird. According to Welsh legend, the robin flew with a drop of water to a land of woe and fire in
an attempt to quench the flames. In so doing, its feathers were scorched; hence, the "scorched
breast." In France it is believed that the robin singed its breast fetching fire from heaven. in the
Inner Hebrides, it is said that, when the Christ child was born, the fire in the stable almost went
out. The robin fanned the embers back into flame, but, in so doing, burned its breast feathers.
In Western France, on Candlemas Day, a robin's body was spitted on a hazel twig and set before
the fire. Since hazel was a magical tree for the Celts, the origin of this ceremony is no doubt preChristian.

In Germany it was believed that a robin could avert lightning. In the 16th century,
robins were believed to cover dead bodies with moss. Commonly accepted is the tradition that
various ills will befall anyone who injures or disturbs a robin's nest. Should one rob a nest in
Suffolk or Bohemia, belief holds that a broken limb may be the penalty.

Cows belonging to a man who kills a robin were said to yield bloody milk. An Irish tradition
holds, should one kill a robin, a large lump will form on the right hand and prevent the murderer
from working. In fact, so strong is the belief that one should never injure a robin or disturb its
nest that the following proverb is often quoted. "If a robin you should dare to kill, your right
hand will lose all its skill."

Generally held is the belief that a robin tapping three times on a window with its feet means a
member of the household will soon die. Likewise, a robin flying into a room through an open
window omens death in the house. In American folklore, a robin is thought a good luck sign if
seen in the spring and flying upward. It is held bad luck, however, should it be flying downward.
Similarly, it is very bad luck for anyone to take a robin's egg from the nest.

In yet another rhyme, this time from Suffulk, the robin is given the ability to predict the weather:
"If the robin sings in the bush, Then the weather will be coarse; But if the robin sings on the
barn, Then the weather will be warm." In Germany it is seen as a good omen if a newly married
couple see a robin on their way from the church.


“Generally held is the belief that a robin tapping three times on a window with its feet means a
member of the household will soon die.”

Hmmm, that is what the robin at our home did. But it was four times at least, not three. And last
year, it was at least six times. Nobody died *phew*. I wonder though, if there is lore about Robin
tapping on windows with its feet... whether this is "common" behavior for a Robin? Why would
they do that? I wonder whether it was the reflective quality of the window... if a Robin will fight
for days with a reflection in a hub-cap, perhaps it was the Robin's perception that another Robin
was sitting by our window?


You're so very welcome! *Smiles* I was thinking about the window and a reflection too. Was it
early in the morning when the windows would show dark? You know how from some angles a
house looks all closed up in the morning with the sunshine on the other side of the house? If it
hadn't hit the window yet (the sun) then it may have acted like a mirrored surface. I'm just
speculating but it does sound territorial. At the same time, the "death" of a family member, while
feared to be physical could also be symbolic I'm sure. *Dead* back then often meant changed
and no longer the same person. So it could represent a spiritual death, an ending to a relationship,
an ending the way of a relationship...a person changing and growing or going their separate way.


It was actually around the time that the sun was setting. The window is in the South, so the Sun
would have moved to the west by then... I'd have to climb the tree around that time to see
whether the window would be reflective just before sunset.

The "death" in symbolic/metaphysical sense probably is correct. There's a lot of stuff happening
for which we haven't yet got words or even thoughts. They're happening, we can feel them, but
not much more than that yet. Certainly *change*.

Bat has been coming back to me. I've been very aware of echolocation these last two days, and
Bat came physically to reiterate that when I was outside last night. I was asking the Moon the
show me during the night ahead what needed to be brought to the conscious level... and there
was Bat. Those high pitched sounds are recognizable for me anywhere. It's been a long time
since Bat has been with me. The first time was when I was about 10 years old, just moved back
from Saudi Arabia to Holland... and I had dreams about Bat almost every night. I did my very
first paper ever on Bat then... and got some pretty high marks, LOL. I just had to know more and
more while I was learning and writing about Bat. The last time I was actively feeling connected
with Bat was in 1994, just before life as I knew it changed dramatically. So I guess that in all this
change, most of which is totally new to us, to me, Bat's echolocation skills are helping me out in
finding my way through it without losing my nerve. And Robin there with me is very reassuring.
Robin and Chickadee during the day, and Bat at night... *smile* (the Dutch word for Bat is
"winged Mouse" *smile*... and Titmouse during the day... something about Mouse all round


Yes I agree there's a lot of Mouse around you. LOL Ya gotta love it! And if Bat is back then I'm
sure it's the transformation and rebirth issues on a spiritual level emerging into conscious
awareness. You've had a tremendous year, my friend, and with all that is this any wonder now
that you're thinking of relocating too? More change.


Robins in North America are significantly larger than robins in Europe. Compare the chickadee
to a blackbird - and you'll get an idea of the difference. Anyway - based on that I did a bit of a
search and came up with some interesting information that brings the European and North

American robins back together:
“Thrush, common name applied to any of a large family of widely distributed passerine birds.
There are two major groups, the true thrushes (to which the American robin belongs) and the
chat thrushes (to which the European robin belongs). The chat thrushes are confined to Eurasia,
except for the northern wheatear, which has colonized Alaska and northern Canada. The true
thrushes are found on every continent and many islands, although there is only one native
species in Australia.

The largest genus of true thrushes, with about 66 species, is found in both temperate and tropical
areas around the world; oddly, only one species, the American robin, inhabits North America. A
strictly American genus includes seven tropical and four temperate species, among the finest
avian songsters, the most famous of which is the hermit thrush. It nests in coniferous habitats
over most of the United States and Canada. It resembles the other three North American
members of the genus in being brown above and buffy-white, heavily spotted with dark gray,
below, but is distinguished by its contrastingly rufous tail. An equally fine singer is the wood
thrush, a more heavy-bodied bird of eastern deciduous forests.

In western Europe, the ecological equivalent of the American robin is the Eurasian blackbird, in
which the male is all black with a yellow bill and the female is dull brown. It forages in parks
and gardens much as the robin does in the United States, and its song and calls are quite similar.
The name thrush is often applied to birds of different families reminiscent of thrushes in
coloration, voice, or ecological niche. Among such birds are the ant thrushes, the shrike
thrushes, and the North American water thrushes.

Scientific classification: Thrushes make up the family Turdidae of the order Passeriformes. The
northern wheatear is classified as Oenanthe oenanthe, the American robin as Turdus
migratorius, and the hermit thrush as Catharus guttatus. The wood thrush is classified as
Hylocichla mustelina, and the Eurasian blackbird as Turdus merula.”

From: Microsoft® Encarta® Encyclopedia 2001. © 1993-2000 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved

Libraries are on this row
INDEX Page 1
(Divination & Dreams, Guides & Spirit Helpers)
INDEX Page 2
INDEX Page 3
(Main Section, Medicine Wheel, Native Languages & Nations, Symbology)
INDEX Page 4
(Myth & Lore)
INDEX Page 5
(Sacred Feminine & Masculine, Stones & Minerals)
INDEX Page 6
(Spiritual Development)
INDEX Page 7
(Totem Animals)
INDEX Page 8
(Tools & Crafts. Copyrights)

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