Category Archives: Air Totems

Got a Squabble?


Do it.  Go for it.  But mimic your quarrels as birds do.

If you’ll notice, most birds jam up against each other – show their stuff – make their meaning known – and then they separate.

They don’t linger on conflict.  They don’t pout.  They don’t stew over who-did-what-to-whom.

Birds make themselves and their viewpoints known.  Whether it’s territory or just a bad vibe, birds let off steam.

This is symbolic…to me, at least.

It speaks to me of giving our friends, family members, and partners a little bit of space.  Let those close to us flare up (in healthy ways), and then let that quarrel fly away.  I mean…really….is it necessary to hold onto this stuff anyway?  I’m betting 90% of our squabbles are just fluff.

Clash if you must.  But do as most birds do…fly out of the storm, and rise above.

It’s a brave heart who is willing to forget, forgive, and move to higher places.

Just thinkin’.


Special thanks to Dave Crotty for the use of his photo featured in this post.

Sky Scrying and a Devotional to My Friend Ruth…


When I was a kid, I had the luxury and pleasure of running into a unique woman named Ruth.  She was regal, eccentric, highly intelligent and an over-all colorful being.  I’m grateful fate brought us together.  She gave my young, impressionable mind lots to ponder.  Many of the insights you see on were inspired by Ruth.

Ruth passed away about a decade ago.  Luckily, her tutelage and installations of wonder stuck in the awkward kid (me) she chose to befriend.  Thank you, Ruth for your kindness and for taking me under your wing.

This blog post is a bit of a homage to Ruth.  Today is her birthday.

This post is also about sky-scrying.  Ruth taught it to me.  Sky-scrying is a fancy word for looking up into the heavens and letting our imagination’s seek something wondrous.  Ruth and I would spend hours looking into the skies.  We’d point and say: “Oh lookie!!!!  A donkey! An elephant! A salamander!”

All clouds look like dragons or phoenix’s to me….but Ruth saw all manner of elegance and life.

Ruth…I love you.  Every time I look into the skies and see clouds, I think of you.  Thank you for all you taught me…especially sky-scrying.

Look into the skies.   Do your own sky-scrying.  Maybe say a good word for my fond friend while you’re up there in the ethers. :)

May all your cloud formations be beautiful and inspiring,



Other Articles of Interest:

Cloud Dispersions and Symbolic Cloud Meaning

Cloud Tattoo Ideas and Meaning

Sylphs…Energies of the Air

Peregrine Parable and Meaningful Falcon Symbolism


Very often we can glean symbolic meaning and life-metaphors from stories, myths and parables.  The falcon has tons of symbolic lessons for us.  This is a neat story to illustrate how parable and myth can serve as a powerful message.  It also illustrates how the majestic falcon reminds us of our own potential majesty.

~Peregrine Parable~

Once upon a time, in a land far, far away lived a king who received two Peregrine falcons as a gift.

This was a very honorable offering as the falcons were exquisite, and would make noble companions as the king hunted his royal grounds.

The king passed the falcons off to his gamekeeper and instructed him to train the raptors for next hunt.

The gamekeeper set about training the two Peregrine’s. One bird performed exceedingly well. However, the second bird excelled not at all. In fact, the bird never moved off its branch!

The gamekeeper was flummoxed, so he recruited the advice of an avian expert. After inspecting the bird who would not fly, the expert diagnosed it as perfectly healthy and sound. He was baffled as to why the bird would not fly.

Left with no other choice, the gamekeeper approached the king about the flightless falcon. Never turning down a good challenge, the king sent out an announcement to every village, town and rural residence within the kingdom. He set a high reward to anyone who could make his grounded falcon take flight.

Hundreds came to surmise the flightless falcon. Some tried luring the bird off its branch with bits of meat. Others chanted and sang in hopes to inspire the bird to fly. Still others poked at the bird (which was a big mistake as the falcon bit the fingers that poked at him!).

After many days of challenges and many disappointments, all attempts to prompt the raptor to fly off its branch failed.

Then came an old woman from the furthest outreaches of the kingdom. Since she kept to herself, cloistered in her small hovel, few residents in the kingdom knew anything about her. She was weathered, disheveled and smelled faintly of bog water.

As the old woman approached the falcon, she drew out a wicked-sharp blade from the folds of her garment. The crowd gasped. Would she kill the king’s falcon!?

Hardly. She used the blade to hack off the end of the branch the falcon had been stubbornly sitting upon all this time.

In a flash, the falcon’s wings unfurled, and it took off into the skies with stunning glory, grace and power.

The king marveled over the sight!

‘Woman, how did you know? How did you know my falcon would take flight if you cut the branch?‘ The king asked excitedly.

From leathery lips, the wizened woman replied:

‘Some souls need to be reminded they have wings.


A dear friend of mine shared this story with me and I loved it because it spoke to me of how certain perspectives can limit our views concerning potential.

What do I mean by that? Let me answer this question with a few other questions that may weave deeper meaning into this parable.

• Does complacency limit how far we travel?

• Are comfort zones prohibiting our expansion & development?

• What kind of reminders can we heed about our potential?

What motivates us to excel and succeed?

• What have we forgotten about our divine, authentic selves?

• How can we break the spell of lackluster limitation?

These are just a few questions this Peregrine parable prompted me to ask. What kind of symbolic messages come up for you in this story?

By the way, if the falcon really seizes your attention, maybe this regal bird can serve as a source of inspiration for you. Take flight into a few symbolic suggestions for the falcon here.

Helpful Links:

Air Totems

Nature Symbols

Falcon Meaning

Falcon Tattoo Ideas




Crow Medicine and a Good Cackle


Crow Medicine and Learning to Laugh

I was thinking about crows, and how they’re so prevalent up here in the winter, and how winter tends to correspond with the sometimes dark umbra cast upon the crow’s symbolic history.

I haven’t written a whole lot about the symbolic meaning of crows, although I talk about their siblings, ravens. I write about animal meanings when the timing feels right, and crow-time can be a challenge to pin down. :)

However, I have observed something over a few winters in the great lakes area.

Winter is serious up here, and I’ll spare you the top 100 list of reasons why.

Where I live, winter’s grip is iron-fisted, and winter doesn’t leave without leaving a few marks. It can be dark work living up north, where winters are long and commanding. There’s a reason critters hole-up, and feathered friends fly south.

Crows stay.

A crow-epiphany shot through me one day amidst knee-deep snow, treacherously slickering my way on an icy footpath, straddling too much luggage, fit-to-be-tied in serious frustration.

And then I heard laughing. Tinny, sardonic, ‘what-the-hell-is-your-problem-lady,’ kind of laughing. A posse of crows perched in a nearby tree sent peals of cackling in my direction as if in response to my own self-absorbed seriousness. And I got it.

Crows laugh at seriousness.

That is to say, in my view, crows cackle in mockery at self-inflicted seriousness.

In those circumstances, while I was up-to-my-eyeballs in seriousness, those madly mirthful crows gave me a lesson in lightening up, and I intend to retain it.

Mirth on.


Other links of interest:

Symbolic Raven Meaning

Raven Tattoo Meanings

More Crow Medicine (on discussion forum)

Winter Symbolism

Symbolism of the Seasons

Dreaming of Bird Meanings

Meaning of Black Birds



Dreaming of Animals

Dreaming of Animals
Dreaming of Animals

What does it mean when we dream of animals?  There are several explanations like:

  • Getting more connected with nature
  • Being in touch with our primal side
  • Adapting to environment
  • Following our instincts

Animals in dreams also give us messages of survival.  Animals are designed for survival and when they come into our dreams I’ve found they are communicating ways for us to adapt and adjust ourselves.  They show us to be flexible so move out of limitation and into thriving situations.

Animals in dreams are reflections of who we are.  For example, if you are dreaming of a bear, ask yourself how that bear represents who you are.  Is there a part of you that needs to go into an intense span of rest (hibernation)?  Are you a gentle giant?  Is it time to forage for new opportunities?

It’s important to take note of the condition of the animal and the habitat of dreams.  If your dream animal is healthy, shiny and brilliant – it’s a very auspicious sign – a good oracle indeed.  If your animal is being chased, or looks malnourished it’s a clear sign for personal evaluation.  This hearkens back to the theme of survival and your animal dream is telling you to take care of yourself.

Your dream animal habitat will help with your interpretations too.  Forests are symbolic of networks, communication and social connectivity.  Desserts are symbolic of isolation.  Water and oceans represent expanse, dreams and intuition.  Skies have similar meanings as water, but also deal with telepathic communication and mentalism.

Of course, the best way to interpret your dream is by the animal that surfaces in your sleeping hours.  Certain animals will have specific messages.  Here is a loose guideline for what these dream meanings could present:

  • Land mammals:  Dreaming of ground animals in the mammal class (esp. with four legs) is sign we are wanting our basic needs satisfied.  Stability, security and connection with family are the concepts all carried on the backs of mammal dreams.  The realm of matter belongs to these dream animals too.  Therefore these dream animals will clarify beliefs about home, hearth, health and money. These dream animals are a sign of a need for grounding and basic balance in our lives.
  • Uncommon mammals: Bats, whales, platypus, armadillo and other unusual creatures who have traits from other classes of animals but are technically considered mammals will offer you messages as unusual as they are.  These creatures speak to us in dreams about our ability to adapt.  Specifically, they will tell us that it’s okay to be unique and atypical – even in a world that sometimes wants us to be typical or “normal.”
  • Water animals: Creatures of the waters will be symbolic of our emotional lives.  Fish will swim into our dreaming consciousness to give us status on our feelings, and how our emotions can help us learn more about life-perception.  Sea creatures go very deep into the collective conscious and they know things about the psyche and intuitive impressions.  Sea animals will help us with our psychic ability too because water is the realm of deeper knowing.  Water creatures will also present messages of cleaning and purification.  Call upon water creatures when you are working on developing your intuition or if you need to cleanse stale emotional energy.
  • Air animals:  Birds and dreaming of animals in the skies is an oracle from the realms of intellect.  Air creatures are symbolic of higher thinking – the higher mind.  Intelligence, strategy, logic and “the bigger picture” in terms of planning are all areas air animals will assist in dreams.  Dreaming of birds and insects will help structure your thoughts.  Feathers in dreams will also speak of spiritual renewal and ascension too.

I hope you have enjoyed these suggestions on what it means to when we are dreaming of animals.  Check out the links below for more information related to this topic.

Air Animal Meanings

Insect Meanings

Land Animal Meanings

Lizard and Amphibious Animal Meanings

Water Animal Meanings

Dreaming of Animals (a list of animal meanings in dreams)

Poof! You’re a Toad (the dangers of totem-assignment)

Personal Investment is Key to Totem Identification

Don’t let the title of this blog post fool you.  I’m not waving my rowan-wood wand, turning folks into toads (yet, lol).

Rather, this post is about the tricky business of assigning animal totems to folks wanting to know.

Not a day passes when someone doesn’t send in an email with a question like: “Avia, can you tell me what my animal totem is?”

On the one hand, I’m thrilled with these inquiries.  It suggests a desire to re-connect to animal kin.  It’s a sign that folks are becoming more attuned to the wild and wonderful realms of the Mother [Nature] – and that is uber-awesome.

On the other hand, I’m often distressed by the lack of personal investment in re-connecting with our animal brothers and sisters.  Connections to our animal kin is a deeply personal act.

What’s even more irking is the idea that a virtual stranger can arbitrarily assign a totem to another person.  To explain, I’ve been known to listen in on certain radio show discussions about totems and neo-shamanism.  I’m not naming names, but I’m suspect when these totem-experts get callers on their show with the inevitable question: “Can you tell me my animal totem?” and I’m floored when the totem-practitioner pops off a critter to the caller – essentially assigning a totem to him or her in the span of two seconds.

How can that cosmic connection be gleaned from a distant second party?  It feels like “slot-machine logic” – an answer spit out at random.  I could be wrong. These totem experts could be mightily connected to their spiritual council, and so they are fed this totem information to present to the caller.  Still, I have doubts.

On my most connected days, in which unification with my own Spirit Council is super-tight, I am fed information in terms of “seeing” woodland creatures or other critters scampering around my client’s energy.  These visions give me a good idea about the inquirer’s totem affiliations.  Nevertheless, in the midst of these visions come strong admonishments from the Council.  Admonishments like: “These are the animal energies communing with the human – but he/she must establish the connection.”

Historically, shamans could succinctly identify totems to the members of their tribe/village.  There’s a reason for that.  Shamans, elders, seers, and wise-women of a tribe typically hold their positions in the group over long spans of time. They live, learn, love together in a tight-knit community, intrinsically linked to the clan members. They often oversee the birthing of new members, and are participants of that member’s life from day one.  This gives them special knowing, they see the patterns between a tribal-member’s aura, energy, personality that link to the like-energy of their totem.  Simply put, tribal shamans have had a long-standing connection with their people, and are therefore in a better position to identify the individual totems of their tribesmen and women.

So what if we don’t live in a native setting in which an Elder knows us and can help us retrieve our animal totem identities?

The onus is on us.  We must be the ones to invest the time to re-connect with our animal guides and guardians.

Asking others to identify our totems isn’t a bad thing, but I’d be leery of pat answers from virtual strangers.  Those who ask me what their totems are often get frustrated with my round-about answers.  I offer information that my Council feeds me, but not without belting out a few paragraphs about the importance of personal meditation, research and investigation into the matter.

Let’s face it.  Most of us wouldn’t ask a stranger “Who is my life-partner?” and then marry the first person named Joe or Suzie just because we’ve been given a pat answer to this question.

In my opinion, re-partnering with our animal totems is no less serious.  Our animal totems are profound partnerships – indeed, a marriage.  They deserve our time and attention to get to know them.  We deserve the investment to familiarize ourselves with our connection to them.  So, be wary of the “poof! you’re a toad” syndrome.  Pat answers to complex questions like these are to be approached with caution.