Been doing quite a bit of reading, and with the power outages, the tornadoes, the hail and winds it has been a humbling time. Several tornadoes have touched down within the past few days alone. Hearing the wind howling and the hail as I turned the page, reading by a hurricane lamp because the town lost power – really connected me to times gone by. I had been working with wind magic, and trance work in the Upper world – but I was not expecting the weather to drop by!
But, here are my notes thus far; I have found numerous blogs and articles on ravens, crows, owls, eagles, etc. But what about songbirds, geese, ducks, and other not so popular birds such as turkeys?
Associated with the Celtic Mars, it is a bird that is tied to war due to the Celts noticing their watchful and aggressive temperament (how many of us have been attacked by geese in a park?). Also, of the ‘wild goose chase,’ because as a hunter myself – geese are notorious birds that can out-fly, outwit, and even trying to capture domestic geese is a monumental challenge. Because the lead goose ‘cuts,’ the air for his fellow flyers the goose’s connection to war, and the martial arena is deepened by the role of leadership.
Many dieties have ties to the goose, from war gods to Mother Goose. It is said that when Hulda shakes her bed it causes snow. With my own tradition, the goose is associated with society, the home, and marital fidelity. Hanging goose feathers or sleeping on a bed or pillow filled with their down feathers can bring fertility and fidelity to a couple (geese mate for life). The Avian one protects the township, the home, and the family unit itself. Also, geese are representatives of wealth, and comfort (hence why the ‘christmas goose,’ is a hard engrained tradition for many families) and was an offering to Thor and Odin for a successful harvest. Serving stuffed fowl at Yuletide is a long standing tradition, not just geese, but turkeys, ducks, and yes even peacocks. In my house, goose is served to bring in health, wealth, and (hopefully) wisdom. Geese have been associated with the Wild Hunt (Thanks Dver for reminding me!) due to the connection of the baying geese with the hounds of the Hunt itself. The Märchen, or fairytale, or fable behind it, has the baying being explained as the migration of geese.
The goose is also connected to traveling (physical and otherwise), the journey, and one’s own spiritual path (migration). With the weather in mind, geese are associated with winter prognostication: a red or dark breastbone means a stormy winter; a light colored one foretells a mild winter. Also, how they waddle across the yard, east to west means storms, north to south means sunshine.
This bird earned it’s name by a variety of ways, from being mis-identified to slurs in Native language. In Native folklore they play the role of the overly proud trickster, as well as being shy and elusive. Male turkeys gobble, females emit this ‘clicking,’ noise. Ben Franklin called this bird ‘the bird of courage,’ who thought that this bird should be the national bird, not the eagle. This bird is associated with usefulness, every part of the bird has a purpose. They are tied to the oak tree, their varied diet has a large intake of acorns. Because of that turkeys are connected to wisdom, adaptability, and finding hidden wisdom.
As a water bird, not only fresh but salt water these birds are in our imagination from folklore, to movies, cartoons, and then some. In folklore, the duck is often the fool. They fall for the trickster’s tricks, they have a good heart but usually are gullible. A famous fable is the ‘Ugly Duckling,’ remember that one? The Celts were known to keep chickens, geese, and ducks for their eggs. But wild ducks (along with geese, and swans) were hunted frequently.
Ducks are pretty frequent in sacrificial offerings in several temples for the Celts, as evidenced with archeology. Ducks (like many water birds) are associated with the spirits of the dead, because they are water, land, and air creatures they tie the living with the dead. Duck motifs have been found on horse harnesses, as well as many drinking vessels (and bowls) show rows of ducks, sometimes with solar symbols, sometimes not.
Ducks, like most water birds, have ties with our own emotions, as well as community. As a migratory bird, they too can be guides and aids on our own path, or in trance work. And, the phrase “Like a duck to water,” is used as an omen (from what I’ve learned) in augury for a sign that we’re doing or going somewhere we were meant to.
Nightingale: The bird of the Poet, the myth of Philomela and Procne is connected to the Nightingale, as well as the bird associated with love (not always with a happy ending).
Robin: Usually called the RedBreast, and the rhyme :
“The robin and wren
Are God’s cock and hen.
The spink and the sparrow
Are the deil’s bow and arrow.”
The spink is possibly the chaffinch. In British mythology the robin is not to be harmed, and if a robin dies in your hand, that hand will shake uncontrollably. This bird is keenly tied to thunder and is sacred to Thor (and in my tradition The Avian One as well), and is very popular in iconography around Yuletide. The first robin of the season can grant one wish – but make it quick otherwise it’ll take your luck with it for twelve months!
Throughout history this bird has been associated with charity, compassion, good luck, as well as fire and death. It is said that if the robin raps at your window then death will follow soon after. However, it is extremely unlucky to kill a robin, and to do so invites the shakes, fire to one’s home, or bring lightning to you. Breaking a robin’s egg is to have someone or something dear to you be broken in return. Rain is said to follow a robin sheltering in one’s home or nearby tree, or the chirping calls in mild weather.
It’s a start, and I’ll post more the more time I get to read. I will be associating the summer thunder with the robin, and the winter storms with the goose, that’s to be sure! There are several robins nesting in the ash tree next door!