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THE BIRDS, Initiation of Air

Updated: Oct 3, 2022

"MYTHOLOGY tells us that where you stumble, there your treasure lies...The world is a match for us and we are a match for the world. And where it seems most challenging lies the greatest invitation to find deeper and greater power within ourselves."

-Joseph Campbell


In this post we will explore the ancient mysticism of birds, these visible signs of invisible forces, helping us to understand the divine through it's creations. To early humanity, the birds were the gods. Their feathered flights continue to stir the imaginations of humans. Their sheer ability to lift, soar, and float and their status as one of the most ancient forms of life on the planet gives us hope of rising up ourselves. As they descend out of the sky they bridge together for us heaven and Earth, the sky and the land, symbolizing transcendence and liberation. Birds reflect the achievement of full realization. Studying the unique attributes of each bird and it's totemic symbolism inspires us to seize daily opportunities to reach new heights ourselves.We hope that you enjoy this post and it helps you to feel attuned to the spiritual significance of you encounters with these majestic creatures and new faculties opened of perception, of past, present, and future. May the birds be your signs and guideposts as you make new leaps in consciousness and experiment with new expressions of your true essence.

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Family bird moments...



HUGGIN (thought) & MUNNIN (memory)

CROWS:

Intelligence, Watchfulness, Past Life Connections,

Songbirds

RAVENS:

Shapeshifting, Messenger of Omens, Blend Human & Animal Qualities

Raven is actually one of the five species of crow and is much larger. The Kwakiutly Indians offered the afterbirth of their sons to the raven so that when the men grew up the ravens would understand their cries. Playful, tool using animals, these birds are not intimidated by others teaching us hot to stir the magic of our life without fear. They are also know for their amorous behaviors, reflecting the strong creative force to which we all have access. Raven can help you to shapeshifter your life, bringing messages from the spirit realm.

CROVIDS/CORVINES

Black is the color of creation. It is the womb out of which the new is born. The night gives way to a new day. In medieval times, the crow represented "nigredo," the initial substance- unformed yet full of potential. Go into the dark and bring forth the light, this is creation.

Huginn, Muninn, thought, memory, odin, memorial art, tribute, mosaic, beadwork, sculpture, surrealism, live your myth, crow, raven, corvid, songbird, mythology, symbolism, Jonathan Livingston seagulll, Richard Bach, the birds, Hitchcock, Joseph Campbell, black, night, nigredo, ashes, fly, animal speak, totemic, spirit animal, tweet, bluebird, bts, artist process, inspiration, goose, pelican, owl, woodpecker, symbolism, heaven, divine, land, beak, flight, wing, feather, Magick, talon, swoop, nest, egg, art, messengers, rhythm, drumbeat, nocturnal, teamwork, clairvoyance, feathers, claws, represented, Athena, acropolis, male, newborn, songbird, waterbird, air, water, elements, energy, loon,
Huginn

"Behind the belly of Huginn is a locket with some of Chaco's ashes inside as well as a bit of our dog's fur. Both Muninn and Huginn are guardians for the memory of those we hold in our hearts forever..."


“Don’t believe what your eyes are telling you. All they show is limitation. Look with your understanding. Find out what you already know and you will see the way to fly.”

Richard Bach, Jonathan Livingston Seagull

"On May 17th of 2018 our beloved dog, Chaco, passed over in our backyard surrounded by loved ones. Chaco's backyard domain had always been a nursery for wildlife, and during the time of his decline in health and death, two baby crows were being raised by their parents there. Chaco was a dog who was very observant of the activity above his head. Scott carved two birds in honor of Chaco and the crows being raised in our yard. This first bird, Muninn, stands as a representation of memory. Behind the heartstone on Muninn is a chamber holding a copper vial with some of Chaco's ashes inside as well as a bit of our dog's fur. The day of Chaco's passing was filled with beautiful synchronicities amidst the sadness. We thank our beautiful boy for the gift of his life as it intertwined with ours for 12 1/2 years."

-Betsy

View more images of Muninn here


TEMPEST:

Self Sacrificing, Non-Competitive, Buoyant, Rising above Trials


See our blog post entitled, TEMPEST MONTH, for more information on the process of creation.


The lightweight birds, pelicans, who nest in bushes to avoid competition with neighbors and create more room for more of their kind, also employ teamwork in fishing, and often have difficulty taking off from the water but manage regardless. These habits demonstrate for us the correspondence between freeing oneself from that which weighs us down. The water symbolizes emotions. They take the plunge and pop up to the surface unscathed. They are unselfish & focused on the greater success of the whole.


Muninn, Huginn, Muninn, thought, memory, odin, memorial art, tribute, mosaic, beadwork, sculpture, surrealism, live your myth, crow, raven, corvid, songbird, mythology, symbolism, Jonathan Livingston seagulll, Richard Bach, the birds, Hitchcock, Joseph Campbell, black, night, nigredo, ashes, fly, animal speak, totemic, spirit animal, tweet, bluebird, bts, artist process, inspiration, goose, pelican, owl, woodpecker, symbolism, heaven, divine, land, beak, flight, wing, feather, Magick, talon, swoop, nest, egg, art, messengers, rhythm, drumbeat, nocturnal, teamwork, clairvoyance, feathers, claws, represented, Athena, acropolis, male, newborn, songbird, waterbird, air, water, elements, energy, loon, transcendence, liberation, freedom, nurturing, lucid dreams, messages, consciousness, spiritual,

"Tempest is a pelican born of a storm in honor of those affected by hurricane IDA. She is symbol of rebirth, resurrection, and perseverance. New Orleanians have an incredible ability to rebuild and find grace in the hardest of circumstances. Tempest stands as a reminder that the human spirit can triumph over nature's devastating acts."

-Betsy


See more of Tempest here


TWEETS

Some time ago Betsy began doing a batch of small birds at the end of winter as she excitedly anticipated springtime. The first ever batch was all named after ancestors of hers. She continues today to make several small birds each Spring. A small bird much like these was an early gift from Scott when he and Betsy first began dating.

Bluebirds symbolize a myriad of positive aspects. The blue is a symbol of peace. Various American Indian tribes see this bird a s a symbol of hope, happiness, and good fortune. The loving and gentle energy of the blue bird soothes the soul.


THE LOONS:

Realizing Dreams, Haunting & Eery Song, Imagination, Lucid Dreaming, Re-Awakening of Old Hopes, Dreams, & Wishes

Water of course, is the ancient symbol for the astral plane and other levels of consciousness. Much like many trance like states achieved through breath work in a slow, barely perceptible rhythm, the loon, whose bones are solid rather than filled with air like most birds, can swim underwater for up to five minutes diving and avoiding predators and boasting stronger swimming skills than even penguins. The loon teaches us new states of consciousness and helps us to deepen the ones we have already awakened. They call to us to bring hidden desires back to the surface. The loon cannot take off from land but rather may only lift up from the water, reminding us to employ our will force in our lives and pursuits.

Muninn, Huginn, Muninn, thought, memory, odin, memorial art, tribute, mosaic, beadwork, sculpture, surrealism, live your myth, crow, raven, corvid, songbird, mythology, symbolism, Jonathan Livingston seagulll, Richard Bach, the birds, Hitchcock, Joseph Campbell, black, night, nigredo, ashes, fly, animal speak, totemic, spirit animal, tweet, bluebird, bts, artist process, inspiration, goose, pelican, owl, woodpecker, symbolism, heaven, divine, land, beak, flight, wing, feather, Magick, talon, swoop, nest, egg, art, messengers, rhythm, drumbeat, nocturnal, teamwork, clairvoyance, feathers, claws, represented, Athena, acropolis, male, newborn, songbird, waterbird, air, water, elements, energy, loon, transcendence, liberation, freedom, nurturing, lucid dreams, messages, consciousness, spiritual, surface, desires, pursuits, lift, soul, grief, change,  predators, prey, penguins
Sister Loon

Sister Loon, 10 x 16 x 9". This is a very similar sister to the commissioned piece, Sister Moon. Image: Larry Sanders.


"I was commissioned to create a beaded loon, Sister Moon, as a memorial to a loved one who died of cancer on the same day that my dog Juneau had died of cancer. The man, Dr. Frederick Neidhardt, who commissioned the loon knew that my dog had died on the same day as his wife Geri, so when I made the loon for him, the hidden compartment underneath it housed a small memorial for my dog Juneau. When I meditated and pictured myself on a beach, I’d see Juneau and Geri together on the dunes. When I wrote the man a Christmas card that year, I told him about my experience and he knew exactly which sand dune without any explanation.


That's what feeds my heart and my soul, you know, more than anything else. It's just kind of the art that helps me touch the divine and let me know and everybody else know, wherever we go, it's okay and we're supported. I think we need to honor that because it's in you know, mementos, memorials, etc. And even objects, I believe that all the materials that I use, I think they have energy in them from where they came from. When I'm putting things together, I'm weaving that energy together. And that when somebody responds to a piece, they're picking up on that energy on levels that I don't even understand. It’s like I'm in the backseat, and somebody else is driving the ship, and other people respond to it." Read more

Theo's Loon was created by Betsy Youngquist in loving memory of her pet bird who passed last year at the age of 23. Always sassy, Theo was a Green Cheeked Conure who loved to cuddle and could hold her own with three larger male birds.


"Scott and I lost a beloved pet parrot of 23 years. I haven’t had any other personal losses during Covid, but I feel like there’s a lot of energy of loss in the air right now. Swimming around in my studio is a carved loon that is going to end up having an area underneath where I’m going to put some of Theo’s feathers and a picture to create a memorial shrine for our beloved lost bird."

-Betsy Youngquist


PRESS KEY


BIRDS GONE BY...



JUNE & JUPITER

Muninn, Huginn, Muninn, thought, memory, odin, memorial art, tribute, mosaic, beadwork, sculpture, surrealism, live your myth, crow, raven, corvid, songbird, mythology, symbolism, Jonathan Livingston seagulll, Richard Bach, the birds, Hitchcock, Joseph Campbell, black, night, nigredo, ashes, fly, animal speak, totemic, spirit animal, tweet, bluebird, bts, artist process, inspiration, goose, pelican, owl, woodpecker, symbolism, heaven, divine, land, beak, flight, wing, feather, Magick, talon, swoop, nest, egg, art, messengers, rhythm, drumbeat, nocturnal, teamwork, clairvoyance, feathers, claws, represented, Athena, acropolis, male, newborn, songbird, waterbird, air, water, elements, energy, loon, transcendence, liberation, freedom, nurturing, lucid dreams, messages, consciousness, spiritual, surface, desires, pursuits, lift, soul, grief, change,  predators, prey, penguins, Theo, saw, tempest, storm, hurricane, June, Jupiter, red
June & Jupiter

WOODY:

Weather Prophet, Drumbeats into other Dimensions

Muninn, Huginn, Muninn, thought, memory, odin, memorial art, tribute, mosaic, beadwork, sculpture, surrealism, live your myth, crow, raven, corvid, songbird, mythology, symbolism, Jonathan Livingston seagulll, Richard Bach, the birds, Hitchcock, Joseph Campbell, black, night, nigredo, ashes, fly, animal speak, totemic, spirit animal, tweet, bluebird, bts, artist process, inspiration, goose, pelican, owl, woodpecker, symbolism, heaven, divine, land, beak, flight, wing, feather, Magick, talon, swoop, nest, egg, art, messengers, rhythm, drumbeat, nocturnal, teamwork, clairvoyance, feathers, claws, represented, Athena, acropolis, male, newborn, songbird, waterbird, air, water, elements, energy, loon, transcendence, liberation, freedom, nurturing, lucid dreams, messages, consciousness, spiritual, surface, desires, pursuits, lift, soul, grief, change,  predators, prey, penguins, Theo, saw, tempest, storm, hurricane, June, Jupiter, red
Woody

Woodpecker, the weather prophet and oracle of Mars, is connected to the heartbeat of the Earth itself. It's black and white colorations remind us to see life's issues clearly and simply. The red found on their heads corresponds to the mental activities of the head chakra centers. The woodpecker encourages us to follow our own unique rhythms and flight and to stimulate new drumbeats to ride into other dimensions.


AMELIA:

Silent Wisdom & Nocturnal Vision, Healing Powers, Omens

Muninn, Huginn, Muninn, thought, memory, odin, memorial art, tribute, mosaic, beadwork, sculpture, surrealism, live your myth, crow, raven, corvid, songbird, mythology, symbolism, Jonathan Livingston seagulll, Richard Bach, the birds, Hitchcock, Joseph Campbell, black, night, nigredo, ashes, fly, animal speak, totemic, spirit animal, tweet, bluebird, bts, artist process, inspiration, goose, pelican, owl, woodpecker, symbolism, heaven, divine, land, beak, flight, wing, feather, Magick, talon, swoop, nest, egg, art, messengers, rhythm, drumbeat, nocturnal, teamwork, clairvoyance, feathers, claws, represented, Athena, acropolis, male, newborn, songbird, waterbird, air, water, elements, energy, loon, transcendence, liberation, freedom, nurturing, lucid dreams, messages, consciousness, spiritual, surface, desires, pursuits, lift, soul, grief, change,  predators, prey, penguins, Theo, saw, tempest, storm, hurricane, June, Jupiter, red
Saw

A symbol of the feminine moon and night, the owl has been called a cat with wings. Both worshipped and feared as an incarnation of the devil, the owl is a bird of prophetic wisdom. Athena's bird, guardian of the Acropolis, is medicinally associated with astral projection, reincarnation, and fertility. Their yellow eyes hint at the light of the sun, ever alive in the dark of night, inspiring us to see further, into the darkness and secrets held within other's souls. Their vision and auditory capabilities symbolize the metaphysical gifts of clairvoyance and clairaudience. Owls live where humans do because their favorite mean, rodents, follow the humans. They blink like we do and have a startling neck range reminding us to perceive peripherally as much as forward. They have however what is called a nictitating eyelid which moves side to side cleansing the eye, clearing the vision. They fly silently and swallow their prey whole, head first. This takes into the owl the energy and wisdom of it's prey. The consequent regurgitation represents the ability to eliminate that which was unbeneficial or unhealthy.


"This bird represents friendship. While I was working on this piece Scott befriended a very bold owl in the woods. I enjoyed seeing the little fellow close-up. It was quite a treat!"

-Betsy


“Jonathan sighed. The price of being misunderstood, he thought. They call you devil or they call you god.”

Richard Bach, Jonathan Livingston Seagull


CLUTCH

Muninn, Huginn, Muninn, thought, memory, odin, memorial art, tribute, mosaic, beadwork, sculpture, surrealism, live your myth, crow, raven, corvid, songbird, mythology, symbolism, Jonathan Livingston seagulll, Richard Bach, the birds, Hitchcock, Joseph Campbell, black, night, nigredo, ashes, fly, animal speak, totemic, spirit animal, tweet, bluebird, bts, artist process, inspiration, goose, pelican, owl, woodpecker, symbolism, heaven, divine, land, beak, flight, wing, feather, Magick, talon, swoop, nest, egg, art, messengers, rhythm, drumbeat, nocturnal, teamwork, clairvoyance, feathers, claws, represented, Athena, acropolis, male, newborn, songbird, waterbird, air, water, elements, energy, loon, transcendence, liberation, freedom, nurturing, lucid dreams, messages, consciousness, spiritual, surface, desires, pursuits, lift, soul, grief, change,  predators, prey, penguins, Theo, saw, tempest, storm, hurricane, June, Jupiter, red, clutch
Clutch

"Clutch is about personal perspectives. Is the bunny person being clutched in care and love or clutched as a victim of the larger bird?"

-Betsy


“Overcome space, and all we have left is Here. Overcome time, and all we have left is Now.”

Richard Bach, Jonathan Livingston Seagull



Feather Magick:

Lookout for a separate post on eggs as they and nests are additionally powerful symbols of divination.


Feathers symbolize the accomplishment of rising from the terrestrial world, freeing ourselves from the gravity of the mundane. They are symbols of balance in the wind and those who breathe life into humanity.


They are actually specialized skin scales with the central shaft of hundreds of filaments being held together by an intricate arrangement if barbs and scales. A single feather can be made up of more than a million parts. There are four kind: flight/wing feathers, contours, down, and firoplume. They can be further categorized from there.


Work with feathers if you'd like a direct link to air spirits who can help with understanding the working and powers of the mind. Through feathers we can learn to make our wishes a reality, empower our thoughts and through them invoke nature to confirm this link for us. Air makes possible the power of sound and the movement of thought. Landing is always more difficult than takeoff. We are to study ending stages and transitions in life. We must be flexible and strong enough to shift our energies accordingly.


For birds, a gust of wind may sway the branch or roll them completely making they legs essential for absorbing the shock of impact. No matter how good we are at flight, we must reign that in and exercise the ability to land it.


Feathers are sacred objects in which spiritual powers reside. It can thus be charged with the force which it is intended to represent. Use them as antennae and tools for connecting to etherial energies, express reverence or prayer, and employ protection and healing.


Air, essential to life, is a force when in motion. It separates heaven and Earth and thus birds are the agents of both nature and the divine. You can also find further excersises for studying the language of the birds in one of our favorite books form which we drew much information for this post, Animal Speak, by Ted Andrews.

  1. Store feathers by wrapping them in silk cloth with sprigs of sage.

  2. Sound is part of the power of air and a dynamic means of strengthening the energy of the feather. Sing or chant to your feathers, honoring and blessing it, and the feather will in turn help to carry the sound forth.

  3. Feather work can be used to form a direct connection to specific divine forces, to manifest qualities and characteristics required to face a challenge, bring omens or signs, as tools for prayers and alignments with specific natural forces, aid in reflection on new leaps of consciousness unfolding, and to call for the wings of enchane=tment to unfold in your life.

“Your whole body, from wingtip to wingtip," Jonathan would say, other times, "is nothing more than your thought itself, in a form you can see. Break the chains of your thought, and you break the chains of your body, too.”

Richard Bach, Jonathan Livingston Seagull


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