Totem Animals

Page 37

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By StarDreamer

I was riding home with a friend of mine when 4 figures standing in a field caught my notice.
These 4 characters were each at least 4 feet tall, incredibly graceful with a huge bustle of
feathers. Red feathers on their heads and gray to brown on their long necks and bodies. Just
standing there in the field as if to say "Take notice, StarDreamer!" Half-expected one to raise a
wing and wave at me!

"What were those?" I asked my friend - I don't know how he does it, but he seems to be a
walking bird library and can spot birds where all I see are leaves. "Sand Hill Cranes," he said,
explaining that they were once going the way of the Passenger Pigeon until an endeavor to airlift
them to specific areas for re-population brought their numbers up. He can't remember his own
phone number sometimes...but bird info...there it is. Birds and military history...odd

Anyhow, I've looked up the Sand Hill Crane and cranes in general. Yes, cranes have a specific
message for me at this time. However, something else struck me. I have a preponderance of
water birds in my totem log. Heron, Egret and Crane among them. I've noticed here on this
forum, and with folks in general, how easy it is to get them confused for one another. For me,
too. The info on them crosses over and gets confusing. Hey, they are all long-necked, longlegged
birds with coloring combinations that are similar. But they are each unique and carry their
own specific medicine, including each species' uniqueness. This spoke to me a message to bring
here regarding Discernment (there's that theme of mine lately!) and Uniqueness (heeheeee -
we're working on that one in the threads, too, yes?). tPAY ATTENTION TO THE DETAILS!
you, Sand Hill Crane!


*Lady Stearn Robinson & Tom Gorbett/The Dreamer's Dictionary:
If your dream featured the crane on the wing, it is a good omen, but if it was on the ground, it
signifies troubles of your own making.

*D.J. Conway/Animal Magick:
Cranes dwell in most parts of the world, except in South America. One member of the crane
family is the tallest bird in the United States. Old World cranes have very ornamental plumes,
which at one time were sought for human adornment. The crane dances on the tips of its toes,
flaps its wings, and bobs its head when performing its courting dance. The crane was held to be
sacred in many ancient cultures. It was called a messenger of the gods, but also a weather
prophet, as it will alight on the ground before a storm arrives. The crane symbolized the spiritual
ability to enter a higher state of consciousness. The bird was sacred to the Greeks as a creature
of Apollo and an emblem of spring and light. The sacred Crane Dance, said to have first been
performed by Theseus and his fellow bull-dancers, was a symbol of the beginning of a new year.
In China, the crane had great importance. It was called the intermediary between earth and
heaven, a messenger of the gods to humans, and was said to carry souls to the Western Paradise
at death. It represented long life, immortality, good fortune, happiness, and vigilance. In Japan,
the crane had much the same importance and meaning. At one time the crane was a common
bird in Britain and Ireland. It was associated with the Scottish goddess Cailleach and the Irish
god Manannan mac Lir; Manannan made his magick crane bag from its skin. With its colors of
red, black, and white, the crane was a lunar bird, sacred to the Triple Goddess. To the Celts, the
crane symbolized both the Sun and the Underworld. It was connected with solar, healing deities,
but was also a messenger of death for Pwyll, king of the Underworld. They engraved pictures of
the rane riding on the back of human-headed horses and around magick cauldrons.
Superstitions: Cranes eat sand and small stones to give them ballast to fly in winds. You can tell
a crane's age by its color.

Magickal Attributes: Intelligence, discipline, vigilance; magick; astral travel; learning and
keeping secrets; reaching deeper mysteries and truths. Learning new types of magick. Astral
traveling, especially in search of spiritual wisdom.

*Mary Summer Rain/On Dreams:
Crane indicates inquisitiveness.

*Bobby Lake-Thom/Spirits of the Earth:
Crane or Egret. This bird is the peacemaker and fisherman. he is a good-luck sign while you are
fishing or during conflict. He brings peace, stability, harmony, and good luck. He is graceful,
tactful, and direct. The feathers from these birds are used in healing ceremonies to take away
negative energy and anger, and to bring peace and harmony to a situation. That is one reason
why our Indian people use different kinds of feathers in different kinds of rituals and ceremonies.
The symbol and inherent power of the feathers from certain birds are used to bring in specific
kinds of spirits and energies. For example, my uncle Lester had to attend a special meeting a few
years ago with the U.S. Forest Service representatives concerning joint-land-use plans and
proposals. The meeting came about as a result of conflict between different groups all wanting to
use USFS land in different ways. Uncle Les did not want to get into any heated arguments with
other people at the meeting. So he prayed on a Snowy Egret feather, asked the bird to share its
power with him, and he wore it in his hat at the meeting. The meeting became peaceful and

*Patricia Telesco/The Language of Dreams:
A messenger from the Divine, who bears intelligence and discipline on its wings. According to
Pliny, because this bird stands on one leg when it sleeps, it is actually standing watch. As such, it
represents vigilance. In Japan, this is the teacher of law, specifically governmental, mundane
law. In China, the crane intercedes between heaven and Earth. What messages do you wish for it
to take back? Longevity for yourself or a personal pet project. In the East, this bird is thought to
live for 1,000 years, so the seeds you're planting now will have lasting effects long into the

*Ted Andrews/Animal-Wise:
Sandhill Crane
Keynote: Noble and secret guardianship, the dance of life.
Sandhill cranes are waterbirds that often eat other water symbols, such as fish and frogs. All
cranes have qualities in common, and thus some study of cranes, in general, is recommended.
Sandhill cranes are high flyers, always announcing their presence with loud calls. Hence, they
are often considered noble guardians, calling out loudly to forewarn. If they appear in our life,
there is usually something we need to watch out for and attend to more carefully. Many of their
natural behaviors further reinforce the perception of them as guardians in the traditional sense.
When threatened, an annoyed crane aims its spear-like bill and rushes toward intruders,
occasionally nipping them. In their preening, they also do a bit of feather painting. Sandhills
comb their feathers, coating them with oil in the same manner as other birds and then painting
them a rusty brown with a mixture of grass and mud. This gives them a somewhat camouflaged
appearance. These behaviors convey the impression of standing guard and driving off intruders
from the environment. the migrations of sandhill cranes parallel the journeys of the sun, moving
from north to south, reminding us that there are times to change and move the guard. When
sandhill cranes appear, there is usually some hidden protection around us, energy of secret and
noble guardianship. Sometimes it's a sign we may need to be the hidden protector of someone
else. Sometimes it's a warning to watch our possessions and ourselves a little more closely. Most
photos of Sandhills reveal only the adult birds, probably because the young are often scarce and
the parents are secretive in rearing them. This further reflects the energies of protectiveness and
guardianship associated with these cranes. Extra care to protect our young--children or
projects--should be taken.

The Zuni Indian perspective further reinforces the notion of secretive guardianship. Among the
Zuni, the shandhill crane was a source of great secret magic and the feathers could only be used
by members of the "Galaxy Society." The meaning and actual use of the feathers have been wellkept,
closed secrets.

The noise of thousands of cranes together is legendary, conveying and almost ancient and
untamed quality. Their incredibly loud whoops coordinate their movements, defend territories,
find mates, and keep lifelong mates together, all functions of a traditional guard at the gates. The
sandhill crane is famous for its dancing, which is inspiring in that it seems to express a joy at
life. Around the world no dance has probably been more imitated among native peoples, who
danced in response to its migration to celebrate the seasons, for protection, and for fertility. The
sandhill crane's mating dance is very much like a ballet with three predominant displays: an
upright wing stretch, a horizontal head pump (a bowing), and what is sometimes referred to as a
vertical toss. In this display, the crane lowers its head, grabs a stick or vegetation, and then
flings it in the air as it raises its head back up. The crane then begins a bowing with a vertical
leap, the heart of crane dancing. In the spring, mating pairs perform this, but it usually inspires
all of the other cranes to participate as well. Each bird coils and then springs up, sometimes as
high as 15 feet, holding its head high and flapping its wings 4 to 5 times before coming down.
The enthusiasm among the cranes is contagious and serves a reminder that we should celebrate
and dance for what is ours. Guardianship is important, but it does not mean that we hide from
life. Life is meant to be danced and celebrated. When we are safe, then it is time to dance. When
cranes appear, it is usually time for us to join in the dance of life.

*Ted Andrews/Animal-Wise:
White Crane
Keynote: Longevity, honor, spiritual justice
"Honorable Lord Crane: is the ancient symbol of spiritual justice and longevity whose
appearance can help us to draw upon our own innate waters, our intuitive faculty, awakening
freshness within tradition for new growth. The crane is both a solar symbol and a herald for
death. This contrast is significant in that cranes teach the need for both life and death as part of
the same process. Crane always heralds the end of change of old ways so that a new expression
can be born within them. As a wading bird, white cranes can comfortably move between water,
land, earth, and sky. They can open doors between all worlds, realms, times and traditions,
stimulating new tangible, spiritual experiences, revealing how death is just a transition, not an end.

In more ancient times, the hierophants, the priests and priestesses, were schooled in walking
between worlds, with all that this implies. Because of its link between worlds, cranes can awaken
past lives, revealing how ancient we truly are and how the past is affecting our present. This can
be a new understanding of our karma, life issues, sacrifices we hae made or are making, and
how the laws of spiritual justice play out within our life.

Crane always awakens us to the ancient ones--the beings of Spirit and its various realms--
including that of the Faerie. Now is the time to draw upon ancient teachings and to find ways of
re-expressing them within the modern world and within current life. In the wild, the crane often
lays two eggs, but usually only rears one. The parents are very secretive in rearing their
vulnerable young. A crane's appearance may indicate that we are not applying the focus we
should or that we need to develop a new sense of secrecy in regards to something being given
birth to within our life. The crane can reflect for both men and women a need to give more time
and attention to the children, literally or figuratively. Crane reminds us not to scatter our
energies and to celebrate our creative resources and to keep them alive, that through proper
focus, what we give birth to will have a long, honorable life.

A crane might also reveal where we are too rigid in our beliefs and traditions, conforming to
them without knowing why or for what benefit other than "that is the way it has always been
done." We may want to examine our perspectives, viewing where we have been following the
traditions of the past that have perhaps outlived their usefulness. Or, the crane may be
reminding us that there is a benefit from following past traditions, but only when given fresh
expression and perspectives. The white crane reminds us that spiritual justice will play itself out
within the mundane world, but not necessarily according to how we believe it should. We need to
remember that justice will unfold in the time, manner, and means that is best.

*Ted Andrews/Animal-Speak
Keynote: Longevity and Creation through Focus
Cycle of Power: Year-round--during daylight
The crane was a powerful symbol to the ancient Chinese. It is a symbol of justice and longevity,
and it is one of many solar symbols. The crane is a bird of the waters, and so is one that will
often help teach you how to express your own feminine energies. The whooping crane, since the
early part of this century, has been a symbol of the wildlife conservation movement. At one point,
due to overhunting, they almost became extinct. If the crane has shown up in your life as a totem,
it could very well reflect that you are about to recover what had almost become extinct within you.

Most photos of cranes only reveal the adult birds. This is partly due to the fact that the young are
very scarce and also because the parents are highly secretive in rearing their vulnerable young.
This can reflect a new sense of protectiveness, or even a need for secrecy in regard to something
new you have given birth to or are about to give birth to. Although the crane lays two eggs but
usually only raises one, it will also reflect the importance of not dividing your attention--
especially in rearing your children, be they your actual children or symbolic children, as in the
case of special projects. Women who have cranes as totems do better to stay at home with the
children rather than to divide their time between work and motherhood. If this is impossible, as
is often the case in today's world, the crane can teach you how best to accomplish both.
The crane can also provide possible clues to past life experiences. "In China it is 'The patriarch
of the Feathered Tribe' and in Japan it is "honorable Lord Crane'. It is usually depicted with the
sun and the pine trees in oriental art. In direct contrast, in Celtic mythology, it is sacred to the
king of the underworld and heralds war and death." One of the most remarkable aspects of this
bird is its loud whooping sound. Its haunting tone is reminiscent of a primal celebration over
birth. The crane can teach you how to celebrate your creative resources and keep them alive,
regarless of the conditions in which they are manifest, both by simply having the proper focus in
your life.

The Druid Animal Oracle by Phillip and Stephanie Carr-Gomm
Crane: Secret Knowledge, Patience, Longevity
Crane brings the qualities of patience and perseverance. The crane will stand for hours peering
into the water until the time is right ofr it to dart at its prey. Combined with the ability to be
patient, the crane conveys the capacity to be focused and to be able to concentrate without
distraction. it brings an ability to guide others into the Underworld, to help them with their
transition at the time of dying, or with their journey into the inner realms. As well as conveying
an ability to work in the 'Underworld,' the crane symbolizes arcane science, or Secret
Knowledge, which in the Druid tradition is represented by the Ogham script--the tree-language
of Druidry. In its widest sense, learning this language involves learning to read the "Book of

Contrary the crane stands alone for hours on end, simply observing and patiently waiting. but it
is also able to join its colleagues to fly information or to dance together. You may need to learn
the right balance between being alone and working with others. Spending too much time alone
can create feelings of isolation and separation. Conversely, having no time to oneself can be an
avoidance of self-knowledge and the uncomfortable feelings of loneliness. Spend a while looking
at your life to see whether you give yourself enough time having both these experiences. the
'shadow' side of the crane is manifested as harshness, meanness and a nagging, complaining
disposition. If you find these qualities showing sometimes in your behavior, see if you can
experience the deeper aspects of the crane, in which it becomes an animal of the Goddess-ascrone
or wise-woman. Ask yourself to what extent you are denying the wise-woman who has a
knowledge of death and the Underworld in yourself, and to what extent your negative behavior
may be a reflection of this denial.


Yesterday, I saw a magnificent White Crane on the wing! The sun was glinting off it's back and
it mesmerized me as it flew into the Northwest. Sent chills through me. It was directly after this
that I had my confrontation with my co-worker about my cystoscopy! I have to think on what the
message may have been.


Northwest is a transition point from West to North in lessons. It's time to assimilate what you've
known so you can let go of what no longer serves you in that arena and prepare to work with
what's now come into being. The rest pertains to the emerging and sharing what you've learned
with others. Moving from West to North on the Wheel. Of course it's all tied to the issues
dominating in your life at the moment and Crane's Medicine to resolve them. *S* Hope that
helps a little.


Mmmmm...yes, it does, help Cinn. Thank you. For the first time since I've been at this job
(which hasn't been all that long) I'm seeing it as a transition point and not an ending point. I felt
when I came that I'd be here for a long time. Now I'm seeing that it is a way, an opening through
my past (within the church) to something else. It's helping me see what is no longer useful to me.
I've been shedding old beliefs and behaviors left and right. That fills me with a variety of
feelings - sadness and grief over the relinquishing of something that was so much a part of me,
excitement and trepidation over what could possibly be next. That way is being shown me almost
daily now, but it is still so amorphous in character. I am confident, however, that clarity will be
coming. *Smiles*


Yes, I'd venture to say that the North-West cross-quarter direction here is indication of a time of
confusion while that transition takes place and brings the clarity. Try not to push things too
much right now and let them settle into place. Imagine yourself in the eye of a storm where
things are calmer. As the release takes place and the merging of the new comes into being it's
like a warm front and cold front meeting...a storm erupts. Then when it passes the air is clear
and fresh again.


Just an added note of confirmation of the sharing aspect you mentioned. Sunday I was down at
the river again and was gifted once more with a goose feather! This time is was not the short,
warmer/protectors, but a beautiful, long quill! Such a blessing to see Crane and Goose working
with me like this! I sat on my bench offering thanks and honoring them both. Gotta get
writing...and that is interesting as well, when I got back to my apartment I was offered an
opportunity to express in writing my observations and opinions to an old school chum I hadn't
seen/talked to in 33 years in an area of interest to us both!


It's fun when it all starts to come together isn't it?

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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