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Keynote: Resourcefulness and Boldness
Cycle of Power: Spring
There are more than a dozen species of wren. It is a small,
stocky bird that has often been
cherished as much as the robin. It is usually brownish in colork,
and it will often @#%$ its tail
feathers up in the air. It seldom shows itself in the open.
Its feathers were considered fetishes against drowning, and
it has usually been considered
unlucky to kill one. In pagan traditions, wrens were considered
sacred to the earth gods and
goddesses. It has been thought a bird that stole fire from the
sun and brought it to earth, giving it
its short, cocked tail feathers. In medieval Europe it was considered
the pet bird of the Virgin
Mary, especially among the lower classes. This is probably due
to the fact that most often the
ruling classes were depicted in story and legend as eagles,
hawks, bears -- the greater birds and
animals of prey.
The wren is a most resourceful and adaptable bird. It will build
its nest in any convenient home.
Usually their homes are built close o the ground or even upon
the ground, especially in marshy
areas. The male wrens do most of the building and they will
build several *dummy* nests as well
as a true nest. Partly this is for protection, although some
believe it is also to entice the female.
Only after the dummy nests are built does the female settle
in and have her brood. The male will
sleep apart from the female and the young.
The wren is a bold and resourceful bird. One Native American
tale speaks of a time when the
wren tricked the boasting eagle into carrying it far into the
heavens, until the eagle could go no
higher. At that point the wren hopped off eagle's back and flew
beyond the clouds, laughing at
how much higher it was flying than the eagle ever would.
The wren has the vocal power of a bird much larger. It will
sing from daylight to dark, as if
overflowing with confidence. It is also a bit of a spitfire,
and it will not hesitate to confront any
threatening bird or animal.
If wrens have come into your life, it is time to ask yourself
some important questions. Are you
using the resources available to you? Are others? Are you not
displaying enough confidence?
Are you so wrapped up in daily worries that you are forgetting
to sing? Are you not staying
grounded? Are you not seeing the forest because of the trees?
Are you not attacking your life
with enough gusto? Wren holds the medicine for using what is
available, and can teach you the
most effective means to build within your own environment.
*Bobby Lake-Thom/Spirits of the Earth:
Our elders teach us that the Great Creator really loves the
little birds, and to each species he gave
a special power. The Black-headed Wren we call the Snow Bird.
It tells us when it is going to
snow and from what direction it will come. Some of our elders
say these many small birds are
actually our ancestors coming to visit. Their songs are good
medicine and make people happy.
My grandma used to say: "If you suddenly notice that everything
is quiet and the birds have
stopped their constant chattering and singing, then beware."
So we are taught to feed them, and it
is lucky to have them around the house.
We are also told that the Great Creator sends the little birds
around to check up on us, to evaluate
our behavior, and to listen to our prayers. If a bird flies
into the house and tries to stay in the
house, it is a very bad sign. It means that someone in that
family is going to die, unless you can
get a medicine man/woman to come and pray for the family and
use his/her power to avert the
Here is a story I heard about Wren from my wife Tela's elderly
Karuk aunt, Beverly Donahue:
One day Wren and all the other little birds went down to the
river to fight the Yurok Indians. Just
before they got there, they all stopped at Bluff Creek to eat.
This was like a dividing line between
the territories of the Karuk, Yurok, and Hupa Indians. It was
also considered Big Foot's personal
Blue Jay volunteered to cook the acorns, while everyone was
eating dried Deer meat. One acorn
kept bubbling up in the pot. Buzzard, being a curious fellow,
kept watching the acorn and
assumed it was the only one in the pot. So every time Blue Jay
turned her back he would try to
snatch it up and eat it, but the soup was too hot for him. That
is how he got a burned and bald
Soon the acorns were cooked. Blue Jay drained the hot water
off, and as it ran down the hillside,
lots of acorns rolled out. This, of course, caught the attention
of the Mice, Chipmunks, and
Woodpeckers. They began to fight over the acorns.
Hawk was concerned about the fighting, so he asked Wren to sing
him a song. Then Wren said,
"My song is not that good, so I'd better not. I don't think
it will cause them to stop fighting."
"Oh, that is all right," said Hawk. "Give it
a try anyway."
But the Wren argued back. "My song is too powerful, and
it could cause a great storm. No, I
don't think I should sing it." Hawk insisted and became
somewhat threatening. So Wren sang. At
the first note a big windstorm came up, and the first big puff
of wind blew Hawk back up the
river. That is how strong it was.
"See, I told you my song was bad," said Wren. "That
is all right," hollered Hawk. "Just keep
singing." Eventually he was blown all the way up the river
back to his home, which is what he
really wanted all along anyway. That way he didn't have to go
to war and worry about getting
*D.J. Conway/Animal Magick:
A large number of species of the family Troglodytidae, wrens
range in size from 4-8 inches.
They are related to the mockingbirds and thrashers. All wrens
are found in the New World,
except for one species in the temperate zones of the Northern
Hemisphere. They have a long
slender bill, a chunky body, and short wings and tail. Their
coloring is a combination of browns,
grays, black, and white. They prefer forests and thickets. They
are very energetic and some are
To me, wrens are the most fascinating birds, next to hummingbirds.
Consider yourself fortunate
indeed if a wren nests in your garden, for its melodious, bubbling
song is one of the most
beautiful there is.
The wren will build its nest in tiny spaces that do not meet
the requirements of other birds. it will
also dive-bomb intruders to its territory when nesting. Its
little bobbing movements when it
chirps and sings are an expression of the joy of life.
This was a very sacred bird to the Celtic Druids. They practiced
a kind of divination from its
musical notes. On the Isle of Man, the wren was a sacred bird
well before the arrival of the
Christians, while the people of Devonshire still call it Bran's
sparrow, signifying its ancient
connection with prophecy and the deity Bran who prophesied.
Superstitions: If you kill a wren or destroy their nests, you
will break a bone soon. The French
say if you disturb a wren's nest you will get pimples. Wren
feathers are said to keep you from
Magickal Attributes: A messenger from the gods. Prophecy. Living
life to the fullest. Protecting
yourself when necessary.
The Druid Animal Oracle by Phillip and Stephanie Carr-Gomm
Wren: Humility, Cunning, God
Wren allows us to glimpse the beauty of God or Goddess in all
things. He tells us that "small is
beautiful," and that self-realization lies not in grandiosity
or apparent power, but in humility,
gentleness and subtlety. cunning, if tempered with humor and
good intent, is a way of achieving
great things with an economy of effort, and a rational and honest
use of the achievements of
Contrary could mean that you need to look at whether your humility
and gentleness actually
render you invisible to others. Are they your way of defending
yourself from life and from
others, rather than facing life and its difficulties? perhaps
you also need to look at how you use
your cunning, your native wit. It is easy for the habit of building
on the work of others to become
a dishonest exploitation of others' achievements, just as it
is easy for cunning to become malign
rather than benign. Remember that the story of the wren and
the eagle can also be interpreted in a
way that sees the wren as a cheeky and dishonest 'upstart' who
naively believes he can fool
others and win status for himself through his ruse. Cleverness
and building on the work of others
require wisdom and honest skill if they are to be of value.
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