Category Archives: Nature Symbolism

St. Patrick’s Day Symbols

st patricks day symbols

Celebrating St. Patrick’s Day Symbols





It’s been said that on March 17th, St. Patrick’s day, everybody is Irish.  That’s not too far off the mark.  At one point, Irish immigrants outnumbered any other nationality in the US. In fact, the Irish have been so influential in this country, that many Irish customs (and symbols) are embossed upon the American culture.

This Irish holiday is just as impressive with symbolic meaning. Firstly, St. Patrick was a pretty remarkable dude…and he wasn’t Irish either. He was born around Roman Britain, close to Scotland.  In a weird twist of fate, St. Patrick was captured by Irish raiders and made a slave in Ireland.  Ironic, eh? Yeah…the guy who is an Irish icon was kept a slave there from the time he was 16. After about seven years as a slave, St. Paddy was called by God to serve a higher purpose, and he ran away from his dour life of slavery.

He traveled Europe and got the education he lacked as a slave. Then God called St. Pat again, telling him it was time to do great things. So St. Patrick went back to Ireland to share his passion for Christianity. Talk about dynamic forgiveness! This is a guy captured by the Irish, yet he went back there as a missionary to talk about salvation.

St. Patrick didn’t have an easy time of it though.  He made some big social blunders.  On one occasion, Patrick lit a bonfire on what was then one of the most sacred Celtic celebrations (Beltane).

No big deal, right? Well, the high Celtic king, Laoghaire saw Pat’s fire and was enraged. Apparently, it’s not good etiquette to light a bonfire before the king lights his own first. Oopsie.

St. Patrick soothed over the hard feelings about the fire, started to make friends, and successfully shared his views about Christianity.

What I find very cool about St. Patrick is that he took a different tact than many missionaries.  He wasn’t about crushing and converting the people.  He actually meshed the Celtic/pagan beliefs in with the Christian philosophy.  So instead of obliterating Irish ancient beliefs, St. Patrick wove together the old and the new – forming a cohesion.

As he respected the old ways while honoring his own faith – I think St. Paddy would approve of this post on St. Patrick’s Day symbols.  Why? Because symbols, either ancient or new, reflect an era, a culture, a belief, etc. Check out these St. Patrick’s Day symbols…I think you’ll find they make March 17th a little more rich with meaning.



st. patricks day symbols

St. Patrick’s Day Symbols

Shillelagh: Okay, so it’s not the most sophisticated weapon, but certainly effective.  Back in Patrick’s day, there was a lot of warring for territory, and family feuds. The fighting Irish devised these clubs called shillelagh’s from oak trees as weapons. Often, a warrior would double fist their clubs, one club in one hand to deliver the damaging blow, and the other club for staving off attacks. So what makes this one of St. Patrick’s Day symbols? Over time and with the evolution of legend, the clubs turned into staffs or walking sticks.  They were considered to be a mark of wisdom and great power.  Check out any picture of St. Patrick, and you’ll see him with a staff – a mark of his esteemed position in the Irish culture.

Leprechaun: These are the wee ones in Irish lore. They are a group of fairies known as Luchorpan. The whole deal with their association with cobbling shoes points back to their name in Gaelic, which means ‘one shoemaker’.  Now, you’ve got to understand that in ancient cultures around the world, just about everything had a governing spirit (fairy, troll, goddess whatever).  There is a hierarchy of mythic beings who are in charge of certain functions in life. Leprechaun’s, apparently were the Jimmy Choo of shoes back in the day. The leprechaun is included in this list of St. Patrick Day Symbols as a nod of respect to St. Pat for keeping old traditions intact. Rather than eliminating beliefs in magical beings, St. Patrick allowed the people to acknowledge them side-by-side with the new religion.

Harp: Both a national symbol of Ireland, and St. Patrick, the harp won popularity with the Irish long ago.  This instrument was used in festivals, celebrations and just general family gatherings. Its music was said to put evil spirits to sleep, and insure peaceful dreams for children. The harp plays its way into Irish culture because it was custom for great tales and legends to be made into music.  These tales were often sung accompanied by the harp. Seeing as how St. Patrick is a living legend, it makes sense a few harp tunes were played in his honor. As a symbol of cultural heritage, St. Patrick and the harp go hand in hand.

Shamrock: This unlikely little plant set St. Patrick on the map.  It is THE symbol he is most famous for.  Why?  Because St. Pat was a clever guy.  He used the shamrock as a demonstration tool to explain the triple force behind Christianity (Father, Son, Holy Ghost).  Celts were already digging the scene of triple energy (triple gods, and goddesses) when Pat showed up, so a trinity was easy to grasp.  St. Patrick used the shamrock to show how each branch of the Christian faith stood on it’s own power, but all the leaves needed each other to live and grow.  He used the leaves to explain the individuality of each holy entity, while also explaining their dependence upon each sacred power.  Learn more about shamrock symbol meanings here.

In closing, I hope you enjoyed this brief article on St. Patrick’s day symbols and their meanings.  To be sure, there are many more icons associated with St. Patrick, as well as Ireland.  Don’t let your research stop here! Take some time to find out the symbolic meanings associated with this great time of year and the Irish culture.

If nothing else, you can impress your friends at the pub with your knowledge about Irish symbolic history!

As always, thank you for reading. And I hope your St. Patrick’s day (March 17th) turns out to be a frolicking good time.

Brightly,

Avia

If you liked this article, you might also enjoy…

Symbolic Meanings for the Month of March

Symbolic Shamrock Meaning

Symbolism of Celtic Trinity

Good Luck Symbols and Their Meanings

 

 

 

Symbolic Meanings for Today’s Holiday – March 1st

today's holiday goddess
Today’s holiday features the celebration of Roman goddesses Vesta and Juno as well as the celebration of Matronalia.

Symbolic Meanings for Today’s Holiday – March 1st




The first holiday we’ll explore for today comes from Rome. On the calends of March (calends meaning the first day of the month), ancient Romans celebrated various goddesses, and womanhood in general.  The 1st of March is the day Vesta started lighting up the sacred fire in the Temple of Vesta.  This was symbolic of the ‘lighting up’ or the ‘warming up to’ of Spring.  With the rekindling of the Vesta fire, this was also a celebration of the Vestal Virgins. These virgins were the pure priestesses who surrounded the goddess Vesta. She was a Roman goddess who stood for womanhood as well as hearth, home and earth.

Also on this day the ancient Romans celebrated the festival of Matronalia, which was associated with Juno, the goddess of generosity, love, femininity, marriage and childbirth. This festival was a celebration of women, especially wives.  Husbands and children were expected to give gifts to the women in their lives (whether mothers or wives).  Women who had servants were expected to make meals for them, as servants had the day off on Matronalia.

Today's holiday is St. David's day in Wales In Wales, today’s holiday is called St. David’s day. This celebration features leeks and daffodils

Today’s Holiday in Wales is St. David’s Day

The symbolic meanings for today’s holiday varies widely depending on nation and culture of the people celebrating.  In Wales, today’s holiday is called St. David’s Day.  St. David is the patron saint of Wales and he is celebrated today, which was the day of his death in 589 AD.

So what’s the deal with leeks and daffodils?  Well, firstly they are assumed to be symbols of St. David, but I think mostly, these two perky plants are a symbol of the first signs that Spring is coming.

Leeks and daffodils have a peculiar legend in today’s holiday for Wales.  Today also marks the commemoration of the victory over the English.  Local lore has it that St. David advised the Welshmen soldiers to wear leeks and/or daffodils on their hats during battle so they could all recognize their fellow countrymen during battle.  See more about symbolic meaning of daffodils here.

Today's Holiday in Scotland is Whuppity Scoorie Today’s Holiday in Scotland is Whuppity Scoorie

Symbolic Meanings for Today’s Holiday in Scotland

This is one of the more interesting celebrations around the world.  Why? Well, it’s a little mysterious because its origins are unknown.  Plus the festivities are a little unusual.  The name of today’s holiday in Scotland is called ‘Whuppity Scoorie’.  From what I gather in my research, it is essentially a kinda of ‘Yahoo!’ to the dying of Winter and a ‘Yeehaw’ to the oncoming Spring (I’m not sure if the Scots say yahoo or yeehaw, but you get my drift).  As legend goes, around the 19th century the church bells in the small town of Lanark ceased to ring all winter.  But on March 1st the church bells fired up after a long Winter’s spell.  The lovely sound of the bells marked the renewal of the earth and the anticipation of Spring coming.

This doesn’t seem so odd, but what happens next has me a little baffled.  At the first stoke of the church bells’ chime, all the townspeople congregate at the Lanark church.  All the children then run around the church (clockwise) three times while the adults hurl pennies at the racing youngsters.  Still…not too weird.  Where I got a little stymied was when I learned the children made paper balls with a string attached.  The kids would swing the balls over their head while dashing around the church and proceed to bonk their fellow racers on the head.  After the three laps of the race was done, the children would grapple and grab all the pennies the adults had thrown during the race. I suppose if the kids weren’t pummeled by pennies or bludgeoned by swinging balls – they could potentially bring in a small fortune.

The origins of this interesting Scottish ritual on March 1st are unknown.  However, some historical scholars claim the events on this holiday serve a purpose to scare the bejeebers out of the evil spirits, and cast away the winter doldrums.

At any rate, due to the concern for child welfare, today, Whuppity Scoorie is more of a festival of art and storytelling sponsored by the community center in the town of Lanark.


In conclusion, I hope you enjoyed these thoughts on the symbolic meanings for today’s holiday. Furthermore, I hope these holidays inspire you to create your own celebration every March 1st!

If you liked this post, be sure to check out the links below for similar articles:

Symbols for the Month of March

Understanding Symbolic Meanings of Gods and Goddesses

Symbolic Meaning of Transitions of the Seasons

As always, thanks for reading, and I hope you got some insights from this post on symbolic meanings for today’s holiday.

May all your holidays be meaningful!

Brightly,

Avia

The Symbolic Mile

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Symbolic Meaning of Travel

This post is dedicated to my bro, who at this very moment is enduring a 1400+ mile drive to visit me.  Bless his heart.  To make matters more challenging, he’s traveling with his precious kids – two furry, female beauties – a German Shepherd and a Beagle.

I’ve talked to him a couple times while he’s dealing with the drive.  There’s no bones about it…that kind of epic journey isn’t fun – and it can be arduous with dogs.  Let’s just say he’s not a happy camper. :o

I know what he’s going through.  I can’t count how many times I’ve made the same exact trip (from Texas to New York and vice versa).  It’s a colossal soul-sucker.

The drive reminds me of the freaking Odyssey.  But like that lovely Greek tale, the road kicks up some really wild, wonderful and magical dust.

Here’s where the symbolic meanings kick in….

No matter where you travel….no matter how far….how wide…how long…travel is one of the most superior symbolic lessons.  Why?  Because everything changes.  Whether by car, plane, train or boat – the scenery is always changing.  Have you ever contemplated the symbolism in that?  It’s heavy, man.  Real heavy.

With every passing mile, there is a golden opportunity to seize a symbolic lesson.  No joke.

These don’t have to be mammoth take-away moments.  I mean…my mind was blown away when I ate my first Scotch egg while in England.  Whoa!  But I tell ya – that was an eye-opener in culinary delights for me.  Who would have thought!?

Or what about driving…bleary-eyed and bedraggled into a town called Bucksnort.  What!?!?!  Yeah.  Bucksnort, Tennessee.  A gas station there has the friendliest folks and the best fried pies that I ever consumed.

But I digress.  Travel is a gateway drug for higher-mindednessTravel jackhammers holes in our hearts and minds that forces us to open up, be aware, embrace and roll with the flow.

The biggest symbolic lesson about travel (in my opinion) is this:  Surrender.

Let’s face it – no matter your mode of travel, poop will happen.  Stuff will hit the fan.  Sometimes it’s good poop.  Sometimes it’s fun and whimsical stuff (like the time I met a group of nuns in New Mexico – craziest ladies EVER!).

The point is: It takes guts to take a step out of our comfort zones.  Home is definitely where the heart is, and that’s a symbolic course that stands on its own.  But travel is crammed with big symbolic juju.

To those of you who chose to brave the great outer circle of comfort, I salute you!  And while you’re out there rambling about, consider what you run intoYou’ve got to know that no encounter or episode is random.  So when you’re driving alongside that motorcycle gang (the leader of which has a literal hog in his sidecar…not kidding…I saw it with my own eyes) consider what that means in the grand scheme of your life.

How do these sometimes bizarre or banal events reflect upon who you are and where you are right now in your life?

At least that’s what travel does for me.  It changes my mind, my heart and soul.  It re-awakens my heightened sense of symbolic meaning.  Travel is like a big puzzle.  The pieces all fit in somehow – it’s just up to us to figure out the big picture.

As always, thanks for reading!

Happy travels (and I’ll always leave the light on for you!).

Love,

Avia

Other Articles of Interest:

Symbolic Days for Best Travel

Change, and the Symbolic Meaning of Moving

Doggone Awesome Defining Moments

aviaveneficaandkip

Dogs and Defining Moments

(Kip Shown Above)

There are defining moments in every human’s life.  Moments when we decide we’re going to change our lifestyle.  Times when we realize there’s more to life than what we may have thought.  Moments in which our entire paradigm shifts.

Sometimes these defining moments are forced upon us.  Maybe we have to step up to take care of loved ones who need our help.  Perhaps a tragedy has struck and hence changed the landscape of our lives.  Faced with dire times, we have no choice but to change.

Other defining moments seem so random (but of course you know they’re not).  Little synchronicities that seem so out-of-the-blue can change our lives forever.

These are the kind of defining moments my dogs represent.  I have three now.  Each one has seemingly and randomly wandered into my life.  The choice to give them a better home has utterly transformed my entire life.

aviaveneficaandgusrev

Kissy Face Gus!

Gus (shown above) was my first defining moment.  I hadn’t had a dog in over 20 years.  I admit, I was a cat person.  It’s not that I have preference for cats – it’s just I never considered owning a dog.

Gussy came to me via a handyman and volunteer fireman who was doing maintenance around my house.  He knew I had 3 acres, and I guess he knew I was a sucker for hard-luck cases.  He called one day and told me he picked up a bone-thin, stray puppy.  He already had 7 dogs, so he couldn’t take this little guy.  When he said: “Avia, if you don’t take this pup, I’ll have to take him to the shelter – or else he’ll get hit by a car.  Well, he had me at ‘shelter’.  No way I would let Gus go there!

Then there was Kip (shown at top of post).  He’d been kept in a small area outside with access to a tiny portion of a barn.  Kippy had been in that confined space for about 9 years.  Can you imagine?  At least he had some shelter, but in 100+ degree days, that’s not saying much.  He was also being fed, but the lowest quality food ever.  Never able to bond with family, no friends, no interaction with anything or anyone.  It all broke my heart every time I passed his caged up area.  So, being the sucker I am, I asked his owners if I could take him.  They were thrilled, and Kip became mine.  He was a disaster.  Heartworm.  Massive inner ear infections.  Not even neutered!  Well, as you can see from the picture at top, Kip is a hot mess now!  Happy as a clam, and thriving!

Next up:  Penny.  I just got her day before yesterday.  She’s a 10 year old stray.  She has a heart condition.  X-rays at the vet revealed several broken bones (and she’s a gimpy thing – poor baby).  She also has major inner ear infections.  She’s got scars all over too.  Don’t even get me started on her teeth.  She’s only got 4 of ’em!! In truth, Penny looks the way I feel half the time.  Old, been-around-the-block, tough but tired.

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Happy Penny!

So what’s a sucker of a soft-hearted gal to do?  Yep.  I’m taking care of her.  Surprisingly, Kip and Gus have warmed up to her.  Maybe they sense a kindred rescued soul.  I dunno.

My point to all this story-telling is this:  The discovery of dogs was (and still is) my most defining moment.  Sure – there have been a lot of delineating points in my life.  New births, death, illness, marriage, new jobs, financial disasters, etc., etc., etc.

But by far, bringing dogs in the fold of my life has been the most major turning point.  Sometimes I have no words for how transformative these babies have been for me.

What’s the symbolic meaning behind this post?  Gee.  I suppose it’s all about never underestimating the power of those defining moments in our lives.  Whether forced upon us through unpleasant circumstances, or random visitors in our lives – we never know what’s going to sculpt our souls. Never in a million years would I have thought I’d have three dogs.  But I tell you what….those three babies are the biggest blessings and so bountiful with lessons.

As always, thanks for reading.  And thanks also for indulging.  I realize I rambled a bit.  I feel a little like a mamma who brags on her children and whips out pictures of my kids to anybody who does (or doesn’t) want to see them.  Oh well – thanks for putting up with my excessive gushing over my canine BFFs.

If you’re into dogs, and feel the same as I do, you might like these other dog-related articles:

*Dog Meaning and Dog Symbolism

*Dog Brothers and Dog Sisters (written in collaboration with Dave Crotty)

*Dog Tattoo Meanings and Ideas

Nature Is Where You Find Her

CityAndCountryLiving

Nature is Symbolic. Thankfully, Nature is Everywhere!

I was talking to a friend of mine the other day who lives in New York City.  She’s going through a hard time.  I encouraged her to tap into Nature for inspiration, renewal and symbolic insight.  She balked at me! She complained: “Avia! I live in NYC! I’m surrounded by cars, concrete and carbon monoxide! How do I commune with Nature in a space like this!?”

Easy.  Is NYC void of blue skies?  I don’t think so.  And when peering into those beautiful skies, aren’t they filled with feathered friends?  Birds are big messengers!

And what about those weeds that grow through the cracks in sidewalks.  I’m serious!  Even those determined greenies have lessons to offer.  They talk to us about willfulness and a fierce need to thrive and survive.

Heck -There are tons of bugs and beauties in NYC – I’ve been there!  I know!  Bugs are surprisingly forthcoming with powerful wisdom.  No jive!  And if nothing else, shove a few potted herbs or houseplants around the apartment! Green is good for the soul!

Granted, Nature crops up in different ways in the city than in the country.  Sometimes we’ve got to be extra-aware in the city to read the language of Nature.  But that usually makes our messages and meanings more profound!

NatureMeaningCityAndCountry

The country affords its own kind of messages.  Country living isn’t for everybody, I know.  Nature can be very intense living out in the sticks.  I’ve had toads living in my abode, lizards in my bed and scorpions snuggling in my shoes.  The bugs! Oy!  But Nature lets loose in less populated spaces.  As a result, symbolic meanings and messages abound.

Like many of you, I’ve lived in a lot of different places.  I’ve settled in big cities like Phoenix and Dallas.  I’ve also homesteaded in country backwoods.  Which is better?  Hmmm.  Not a simple answer.

Whether city or country, the Universe is bountiful in symbolic meanings and messages.   We can’t escape Nature.  She permeates every nook and cranny of our daily experience.  Thankfully, that means we can’t escape the signs, symbolism and messages Nature is always sending our way.

All we need to gain direction and insight is a little awareness.  No matter where you live, look around, ponder, approach Nature with curiosity and awe – the answers and epiphanies will come!

Wherever you live, I wish you all the delightful insight Nature so generously offers every day.

Thanks for reading!

Big and brightly,

Avia

If you liked this post, you might also like:

Symbolic Meanings in Nature

Earth Symbols

Symbolic Meaning of Trees

Getting Messages and Meanings from Nature

Ants, Agony and Answers (Symbolic Lessons from Ants)

SymbolicMeaningOfAnts

Symbolic Lessons and Meaning of Ants


Any of you sweet peeps who have followed me over the years know I’m all about having a positive attitude.

But sometimes poop happens.  It just does, and it blows.

Well folks, these last six months have been replete with messy, sloppy hip-high poop for me.  I suspect many of you may be in the same quagmire.

So what’s a human to do?  What do we do in those moments where we’ve pulled almost every hair out of our heads, wrung our hands and rendered our garments?  Those times when everything seems so overwhelming and utterly futile?

We look at the secret symbolic life of ants.

Huh?  Yeah!

In the middle of family crisis, negotiating a complicated relocation of my home/business AND experiencing a devastating blow to one of my websites….I just felt fully crushed.

Actually, I felt like that little blonde girl in pigtails in the movie E.T.  You remember the scene.  She’s up to her eyeballs in frogs, and she’s clearly lost her mind with the madness of the frog stampede Elliot let loose in science lab.  Aaaarrrgh!

But in that moment of tears, wailing and agony….I looked at the dirt.  Whoa?  Yeah, it’s a good practice.  If everything is unstable – get in the dirt.  When you’re all topsy-turvy, dig your feet in the dirt.  Press your hands into the Mother Earth.  It’s a very grounding thing.  Very therapeutic. No joke.

You see where I’m going with this.  Yep.  In my effort to find some stability within the dirt – I encountered ants.  Lots of ’em!  I’m talking swarms!  And they weren’t very happy with me.  They stung the bejeezus out of me!  Ouchie!  :o

At first I was infuriated.  That pain just added salt to my emotional wounds.  But then I started thinking…..

Yeah, yeah, I can hear the nay-saying….”Avia…how could you possibly find a silver lining in being consumed by a bunch of bitey, bitchy fire ants?!?  C’mon!”

Easy.  Those ants were bad-a*s’s! They reminded me they are not to be fooled with.  They said:  “Hey!  This is our turf!  Don’t mess with us!”  That helped me realize my feelings of helplessness are an illusion.  We all have tools to fight back and defend ourselves – even in our weakest moments.  It might be our intellect.  Maybe it’s our faith.  Perhaps we find strength in family or community.  When the going gets tough, take a bite back with what makes you feel strong and confident.

Those cranky ants taught me more than that.  After I tended to my ant bites, I went back to that spot in the dirt.  I’d messed up their home (total accident – sorry babies!).  Within 20 minutes, those ants had already reconstructed their mound.  Impressive.  That’s a lesson.  It speaks to us about teamwork.  It talks about rebuilding with ferocious determination.  That was a big lesson of which I needed reminding.

What’s more….did you know ants can lift THREE TIMES their own weight?  Yeppers.  Again – very impressive.  This smacks of big potential in the most unlikely tiny packages.  When we feel ineffectual or weak – I think we should remember what teeny weeny ants can do.  Often it’s the ‘dark horse’ that wins the race.  It’s hard to imagine the extraordinary feats of physics ants pull off – but they do – because they ban together, and they never give up.

And speaking of banning together….ants are a remarkable demonstration of teamwork and community.  If you watch them, you get the sense they work as a whole.  And they do.  They can’t build a village with a single member.  Nope.  They communicate and work together to meet their goals.  Big juju in that lesson.  At least for me.

Well, that’s my ant-insight.  I hope it brought you insight too.  Hopefully the next time you come across the deceptively small ant – you’ll realize they’re actually quite tremendous in strength, resources, defense and unity.

As always, thanks for indulging me – and thanks for reading!

May all your ant antics be inspiring!

Avia

More Articles of Interest:

Symbolic Meaning of Ants in Dreams

Symbolic Meaning of Insects