Spirit Guides in Shamanism: Birds I
Meditation And Spirituality 8/15/10
By: Yona Williams
From the romantic associations of doves to the endurance of penguins, birds play an important role in the world of animal spirit guides. In this article, you will learn about some of the characteristics of a variety of birds that are seen as representative of common occurrences and having links to spirituality.
The physical characteristics of the wading birds known as the heron (or the egret) include long, sharp beaks, long legs, keen eyesight, and long neck. Dwelling in wetlands, they feast upon aquatic creatures. The herons are known for elaborate courting rituals, which are furthered by the plumes they grow especially for the breeding season. The majority of herons also form monogamous relationships.
The heron appears in ancient myths, including the Greek culture where the bird was seen as a messenger from the gods. The animal was also linked to goddesses, such as Aphrodite (goddess of love) and Athena. In Eastern and Egyptian cultures, white herons represented the sun.
As an animal spirit, the heron is regarded as a symbol of self-esteem, exploration, self-reliance, dignity, diversity, and the ability to balance multiple tasks.
Since the male penguin takes an active role in the parenting of their chicks, the bird serves as a symbol of fatherhood in many cultures. Because of this, some people use the bird to explore the female energy found within the male. Other associations of the penguin include patience, endurance, waking dreams, and astral projection.
The woodpecker has a connection to the earth and is also associated with thunder. The behavior of the bird is sometimes seen as a metaphor to life, where one "pecks" at deception until the truth is uncovered. Because of this, the bird is seen as being able to locate hidden layers. The woodpecker is a creature that has an understanding of circles, patterns, and rhythms.
In many circles, the dove is viewed as a messenger of love, peace, joy, and of the spirits. The bird is seen as one that can communicate between the two worlds of the living and the deceased. In times of a new beginning, the dove is seen as bringing hope. The creature is also known to stir emotion, as well as promote the tapping into creative energies.
If there is one creature that understands the value of change, some cultures make the link between the goldfinch and this characteristic. The importance and acceptance of change is often represented through this bird. It is a bird that is viewed in some circles as an encouraging spirit geared towards opening one's eyes to hidden choices. In times of family conflict, the bird can help people come to a resolution by taking a healthy approach. The goldfinch also helps one understand the power of their voice, as well as assists in obtaining a balance in dealing with different kinds of people.