Totem Animals

Page 195

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By CinnamonMoon

Wren Medicine
Ted Andrews/Animal-Speak
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
fishing place.

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
extremely pugnacious.

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.

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
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