Friday, November 21, 2008

~ Beyond a Dream ~

This blog is dedicated to our dog hero D.J. who crossed over on November 21, 2008. The Ojibway believe that when we cross over, our pets are the very first to greet us! Until then D.J. be happy and at peace 'Beyond a Dream.'

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

80. ~ Vulture ~

Vultures are relatives of eagle, hawks and falcons. The turkey vulture has a small bald-red-head. It has large legs and feet. The middle toe is very long. Their wings are long and their wingspan is great. Vultures are capable of soaring to great heights. Their plumage is very dense. They do not kill their own food. They feed on prey that is already dead. They sit and watch the approach of death while anticipating their next dinner. These large birds are able to perform elaborate aerial acrobatics. They often fly in groups. To some people they are called 'peace eagles'. Vultures can see eight times better than humans. Their unique digestive system is a thousand times higher in resistance to botulism. They will make a hiss noise by forcing air through their bill, abut they do not have a true voice of their own. The turkey vulture or buzzard has a long tail. They are graceful when in flight. They will dry out their wings in the sunlight by spreading and stretching them out wide. They especially prefer to do this in the morning sunlight. When a vulture soars, they do so for hours without ever having to flap their wings. They are one with the wind. They are Earth Mothers's greatest housekeepers, and they're very good at it. Vultures do not display the bold courage of eagles and falcons.


There may be an important three month journey ahead for you. It may be a physical, spiritual, mental or emotional one. Vultures also tell us that sacrifice and suffering are a natural part of life, but that it is always only a temporary condition. Vulture medicine teaches you can stomach much more during tough times than you believe is possible. They teach us to keep our spirits up. They tell us our time is soon to come, but for now we must be one with the winds of change for a while longer. Vulture medicine teaches us to use our sense of smell, eye sight and our body language to communicate with. Vultures teach us that actions can and do speak louder than words. The message of the vulture is to make the best we can out of a bad situation. It also teaches you may be or go into a career that most people could not tolerate.
79. ~ Wolf ~

Wolves can eat up to ten pounds of meat at one time. They can also go days without food. March is their mating season. Cubs are born deaf, blind and helpless. They usually live in family packs. A lone wolf will mark its unoccupied area with its scent and then attract a mate to start a new pack. Wolves travel and work in small packs. The wolf pack's code is survival. Wolves will disrupt the herd by working as a team to take down the weakest link. Wolves are experts at working in a group. They know cooperation equals making a living. In general, this animal rarely encounters humans. Wolf language is very complex. They use barks, gestures, and growls. Lesser members cringe or will lie on their backs in a sign of their submission. Despite this behaviour there is little friction. The arctic wolf is part of the grey wolf family. Other families are part of the timber wolf. A standard life span is eight to sixteen years. Their call is a 'choir of howls.' Typically they can weigh up to one hundred and seventy-five pounds. The two dominant wolves in the breeding pair are known as the alpha male and the alpha female. There are three main species of wolves. A wolf will howl when it becomes separated, or to warn other members, and also for bonding purposes.


To Indians the wolf is a brother. Therefore it is said, when there are no more wolves, they will be no more Indians. Wolves teach us to be loyal and to always cooperative with one's family. They teach us that traditions should be honoured. The wolf teaches us to protect the things which are true and sacred to us. They tell us we must guard our home and family. The medicine of the wolf tells us to know our path and to follow it. They remind us of fidelity. They teach us to avoid flirting with another's mate. Wolves are great teachers. They teach us to maintain a loving side to our nature. They teach us to be respectful. Wolves teach us to share responsiblilities. They tell us to have a true fee spirit. They say we should go out of our way to avoid fights. They remind us that body language speaks volumes. Wolf medicine says to trust our sense of intuition. They teach us the importance of listening and to only howl when it is truly necessary. The medicine of wolf says remember to walk in harmony and in discipline with our brothers and sisters.
78. ~ Turtle/Tortoise ~

Turtles can grow to be fifty to four hundred pounds. They are relatively solitary reptiles. They might live to be forty to sixty years of age. Water species can grow to be more than six feet in length. Hatching time takes two to three months. A turtle's shell is thinner than a tortoise. Their head cannot be retracted into their shell. Humans are the turtle's biggest foe. Turtles basically eat whatever they can catch. They can swim long distances under water, but they must surface in order to breathe. Some species can go up to five hours without having to surface. Water is also their mating ground. Out of the forty to a hundred eggs they lay, few of them survive. Turtles date back one hundred to two hundred million years. To Native Americans they have long represented Turtle Island in tribal legends. Turtles can survive the cruelest conditions. Tortoises live on land, and turtles live in the water. To Native Americans they also represent one's female energy. The turtle's shell is called a carapace. Some species have thirteen sections etched sections on their shell. There are thirteen moons in a calendar year. Turtle's have acute hearing. The turtle is a favourite food for the raccoon. The legs of a turtle are attached within their ribs. They have no teeth, but they do have a strong, horny kind of bill. I remember as a young girl getting wet and muddy as I clammered around the banks of the pond behind our house, searching for turtle eggs like I was on an Easter hunt. I remember gently squeezing them, and learning that they would dent, but not break if you were careful. They remind me of small plastic golf balls. The Iroquois told stories that when Mother Earth cracks it means the turtle is stretching.


A turtle is a symbol of stability and sensible thinking. Turtles represent slow and steady workers. Turtles teach us it is time to be dependable. They teach us not to be overly stubborn. The turtle teaches us about great sacrifice, about being willing to give. The medicine of a turtle is a gift of great wisdom and sound advice. They represent longevity and abundance. They tell us it is time to nurture, protect, and to slow down. Too much, too soon, upsets one's balance. The medicine of the turtle tells us to be sure to get enough vitamin D, and take time out four our self. It asks if you are moving too fast. It says to awaken our physical and spiritual senses. Turtle medicine is extremely healing! Turtle rattles are used in several native ceremonies. Turtles help us to balance heavenly and earthly things. Turtle medicine reminds us to look after Earth Mother as she is our Keeper. If we look after her, she will take good care of our future generations, just as she did for our ancestors. Turtle medicine teaches us to learn to adapt to our surroundings, and to follow our inner instincts and intuitions.
77. ~ Turkey ~

Turkeys have a bare head. The neck wattled and bill area of a male is surmounted with a conical fleshy caruncle. This may sometimes be erect or sometimes elongated and looking like a pendulous growth. The bill itself is rather short, curved and very strong. They have a tail which is long, broad and rounded. Turkeys can erect their tail and spread it out like a giant fan. Wild turkeys roost on trees. The feed on a variety of grain, seed, fruits, grass, insects and even on lizards and small frogs. The great taste of turkey makes this bird a prized-eating-poultry. The young hens or the older gobbler makes for the best eating. The males are called Tom Turkeys or Gobblers. A domestic turkey might weigh twice what a wild turkey does. Many domestic ones become so plump they are unable to fly, or at least very far. Female turkeys may incubate eighteen or more eggs at a time. These females are called hens and their babies are poults or chicks. One Indian name for them is 'firkee.' When a turkey is frightened, it sounds a "turk, turk, turk, noise. When turkeys walk, they make a short, jerky movement. Native peoples refer to turkeys as 'earth eagles' and they consider them special animals.


Turkey medicine teaches us to be proud of who we are, and that under the right circumstance it is okay to 'strut our stuff!' Turkeys teach us to sacrifice and give for the benefit of others. Turkey medicine teaches us to study 'crow' medicine as well because turkeys are afraid of crows. Turkeys remind us to gather with our family, especially during the holiday season. Turkeys teach us we can learn from both our elders and the youngsters around us. The turkey says to use good taste in our dealings with others. Turkey medicine to Native Americans is the spirit of freely giving to others.
76. ~ Toad ~

The shape of a toad resembles that of a frog, but they are generally thicker and more awkward. They have short hind legs so they don't hop as much as they crawl. The texture of their skin is warty. These warts can produce a milky substance. It has been reported they can live to be forty years old - hence the phrase "an old toad!" They mainly eat insects and slugs. You can locate them in shadey spots. Adult toads live more on land then in the water. Toads will lay long jelly chains of eggs in a pond or lake. Their babies are called tadpoles, and soon after their birth they lose their tail and gills. Toads aren't very pretty to look at. Many toads smell bad. The being said, the toad's greatest feature is its beautiful big eyes. During the winter the toads live in a dormant state. The male toads have a darker throat. When raining, the males will make a trilling call. Male and females have an inflatable sac in their throat which produces strange sounds. Toads are amphibians, meaning they can live in and out of the water.


Toads teach us to see people from the inside out. To be aware of one's inner beauty and to not get bogged down by outer appearances. Toads teach us that beauty is always in the eye of the beholder. The toad tells us we may have a chain of events to go through before we achieve our ultimate goal. Toad medicine predicts we may experience an ugly and awkward moment, or dreaded situtation. Therefore, the toad teaches us to keep our eye's open, and to keep moving forward with caution in order to avoid a slimy situation.
75. ~ Swan ~

Swans have a bill about as long as their head and of equal breadth. The nostrils are placed about mid way up the bill. They have a long neck with twenty-three vertebrae. Swans have fully webbed front toes, but the hind toe does not have any membrane. The keel of the breastbone is very large. They chiefly feed on vegetables, fish-spawn, roots, and the seeds of aquatic plants. Their average size is five feet in length and they weigh roughly thirty pounds. They can be located on ponds, lakes and rivers. The swan is the most beautiful, and graceful of all creatures. The trumpet swan has fluffy white feathers and a long, elegant, arched neck. Swans have very short legs. They are extraordinary graceful swimmers. They seeming glide across the surface of the water like Barbara Ann Scott ( a Canadian Olympic Gold ice skater). One cannot help but appreciate this waterfowl. These large beauties are a little piece of heaven here on earth. Swans are very powerful birds, and live a long life of up to eighty or ninety years'. Swans have an extra sensitive bill. Their wingspan is between seven and eight feet. The male is called a cob, and a female is called a pen. Baby swans are called cygnets.


Swans teach us to be sensitive! Swan medicine encourages us to gracefully engage in life. They tell us to exhibit a gracious presence. They teach us to love with unabashed feelings. They tell us to be of long commitment to our life partners. Swans say, remember to be spiritually strong and empathetic when we or others are swimming the waters of bereavement. I believe that swans can sense when a human has lost the life of a beloved one. They remind us to move on in our life, but in the same breath to seek out and hold on to our wonderful memories and the wonder of the world around us. Swan medicine teaches us to give warmth to those who are encountering cold waters of life. (I have personally encountered an amazing experience with two Canadian swans which I named Melody and Harmony. These two swans swim together, watching over all of those who visit and lay to rest at a cemetery.