adventures in dysthymia

Friday, June 17, 2011

The Guide

There are totem animals and then there are the animal spirit guides. I wouldn't know about having a totem animal. That is something one inherits through ones clan, like a coat of arms or a tartan. I have a tartan, thanks to my Anglo-Irish Brooke ancestors.

On the other hand, a spirit guide comes to you. It chooses you but you must choose to allow it to lead you. It appears, usually, in the form of an animal, at least in shamanistic cultures. These days, we civilized Euro-Americans are probably finding our spirit animals via Native American traditions.

That's not necessary, of course. There are spirit guides of some sort in pretty much every culture. Not always animals, though.

I found -- or was found by -- my animal spirit guide nearly twenty years ago. He is a woodpecker. A pileated woodpecker, to be precise. Life was too busy before that to go looking for him but once I moved to Steinhatchee that changed. He came to me, laughing as woodpeckers will, to let me know.

Picus, the woodpecker, is also a minor god in the Roman pantheon, a companion of Mars and the god of manure! I suspect he's keeping a watch on my compost heap. :)

A woodpecker is a searcher. He digs into trees, looking for his meals. Spiritually, he digs through the layers searching for knowledge.

He is also a musician, obviously. A drummer, a dealer in rhythms, rather than the sweet songs of some other birds. Attuned, perhaps, to cosmic rhythms or so we might hope!

Do I believe there is an actual spiritual being out there in the guise of a woodpecker? Yes and no. I have created him out of myself and out of the universe. He is part of me but I am part of everything so I am also part of my spirit guide. I accept his existence on a mystical level.

Physically, a woodpecker is a woodpecker. His guidance must ultimately rise out of my own experiences and insights. He acts as a symbol, a tool for seeking within myself. And I will let him keep hammering away through all my dead wood.

I suspect there's quite a lot of it.

SB June 2011

addendum: By the way, in Christian tradition , ones Guardian Angel would qualify as a spirit guide. And they have wings, just like my woodpecker.

Wow, I just got online at 48.0 -- that's the fastest in over three months! Am I finally back to normal...or will it log me on at a tenth of that again next time?

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