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Interpreting Oracles: Deceased Black Bird Tells a Tale

I received an email from a gentleman who wanted to know about interpreting oracles.  Specifically, he wanted to interpret an oracle in finding a deceased black bird on his front porch.  My response:

Dear Ornithological Ovate:

Like you, I also find symbolism in everything so there’s no need to feel akward about sending me your request for more information.  It is the most curious among us who find the brightest gifts of enlightenment.

Interpreting oracles in common (or uncommon) occurances in our lives is easier when we gather all the facts

Symoblic interpretation can be like unraveling a mystery – we observe, we look for clues, we contemplate, we experiement, we compare.  The more unorthodox and persistent we are in our research, the more profound our revelations.

In looking for clues we may consider a few of these factors (upon the time we encounter our oracle, in your case the black bird): 

  • Specific breed of bird
  • Cardinal direction (location)  
  • Weather conditions
  • Time of day
  • Day of the week or year or season
  • What was happening at the moment of the discovery?  What were you thinking? 

All of these little details (and more as you find your own) begin to add up to tell you a story.  You can then layer this story on top of your life situation like a template.  This allows you to see patterns in your life happenings against the template of this oracle. 

Ultimately, only you can determine the interpretation of your oracle because it came to you and only you.  I can give you a few ideas:

For example, if you are sure it is a black bird on your front porch, it is symbolic of your ability to find your voice in a crowd of others.  Black birds are song birds, and as such, they are symbolic of creativity, voice, and expression.  Here, the death of the bird may be symbolic of a tendency to stiffle or silence your creativity and/or freedom of creative speech.

If your bird is a crow or a magpie, we are dealing with symbolism of mystery and secrets.  Perhaps you’ve been given heavy information that must remain with you and only you.  Perhaps you’re struggling with that secret (or keeping it).  

If your bird is a raven, which is one of the Native American symbols for mystics or seers, it may be a message that an area of your spiritual realm may be coming to an end and another beginning is on the horizon.  The message here is “get ready” because the shifts in your spiritual perspective may be intense.

 Again, it’s important to take its location in consideration.  That you found it on your front porch may be indicative of:

  • Facing forward
  • New beginnings
  • False pretenses
  • External appearances
  • Preparation for company (of any ilk)

Assuming your front porch has a door is another major consideration. 

Doors are symbolic of beginnings, but also openings, arrivals, gateways (portals).  Keep this in mind as you apply the various symbolism of this bird’s appearance to your own life situation.

At its simplest, your black bird may be an oracle of a balance between endings (symbolic of its death) and beginnings (the front door).  Or, it could also indicate a need for grounding.  Birds are air animals and deal with higher thought.  Your bird has landed (indefinately in a physical sense) and this may be a sign you may need to ground your thoughts or get a little more practical.

You can see the variables are endless.  This is why only you can crack the oracle code because the details will relate to your own life experience.

I would encourage you to call upon the spirit of the black bird for clarification.  Animal energy is infinite, and incredibly generous when we are willing to learn their language. 

Meditate, be still and calm – your black bird will come to you when you are open to receive her.   Express your gratitude – for both her physical presence as a sign in  your life, and for her spiritual guidance too. 



Symbolic Meaning of Uroboros

Symbolic Uroboros by Avenefica

I’ve always marveled at the symbolic meaning of the uroboros (also spelled ourobouros or ouroboros) and have adopted it as a personal symbol – using it in meditations and incorporating its symbolic meaning into daily thought patterns where a shift is necessary.

I’ve written a bit on the uroboros on my symbolic Alchemy Animals page here, but was prompted to write more after seeing this post by Eksith Rodrigo who describes how to make your own Uroboros on this post.  

Using his instructions, I made my own uroboros (shown above).  I added a snaggle tooth & curly horns….I’ve got a thing for horns….but I digress..

The symbolic meaning of the uroboros is replete with concepts such as:

  • Cycles
  • Eternity
  • Rebirth
  • Potential
  • Perpetuity
  • Actualization

The alchemists illustrate this serpent wrapped around the cosmic egg, signifying the life span of the universe.  Furthermore, the center opening shown in typical uroboros illustrations may also symbolize the egg which speaks of :

  • Inceptions
  • Beginnings
  • Openings
  • Latent power
  • Limitless potential

This opening upon which the serpent is clenched is also symbolic of the number zero and all it implies.

The serpent itself is symbolic of regeneration and the cycle of time as we observe in the shedding of a snake’s skin.

The eating of it’s own tail declares the statement “The end is the beginning”  and reminds us of the eternal nature of energy which cannot be destroyed, only transformed. 

I rather like the implication that only by devouring ourselves can we find our true nature.  To further this point, I think of the constrictive nature of the snakes feeding pattern; its inner muscles press upon prey (in this case, itself).

This makes me think of the birthing  process of diamonds.  It takes a lot of pressure to make a diamond from coal.  Likewise, it takes a lot of constriction for our best selves to be squeezed out of our false identities.

The uroboros makes its appearance in several cultural myths.  Quickie symbolism of the uroboros in cultural myth:

  • Egyptian: Symbolic of the sun – it’s rising and setting signifying the cycle of the day
  • Gnostic: Oneness of all life, the constant process of re-recreation and the unity behind all duality
  • Roman: Eternity, time and associated with Janus the god of the new year
  • Greece: Death and rebirth as illustrated in the Orphic creation myth – another reference to the cosmic egg symbolism
  • African: Here it is known as the “rainbow serpent” or Aido Hwedo and is an emblem of sustaining life, protection and creation

The overwhelming message the uroboros provides is “all is one” – the concept of connection and the totality of all.  Other thoughts that come to mind with the uroboros include:

  • Beginnings, endings, and all that’s in-betwix
  • Life, death and what we do with ourselves in between
  • Reintegration, disintegration and the phases each of these processes undergoes

No doubt, this symbol is a powerful one – we can easily see how all of its symbolic implications can reap a dramatic effect on our thoughts.  I invite you to settle in with your own personal concepts of the uroboros, and see what kind of transformations come up for you!

Symbolism of the Pheasant

Image of Pheasant from my friend Petra

Some attributes and symbolism of the pheasant include:

The pheasant is a native bird of China where it is revered for its beauty, and thought of as a solar animal.  Indeed, the Golden pheasant’s body is a shock of flaming red; its head a ruddy yellow.  So intense are these solar colors that there is some debate as to whether or not the Golden pheasant (image shown right) may be linked to the legendary phoenix.

Whatever the case, the pheasant represents yang energy and so it carries attributes of fire, life, summer, male, and action to name a few.

Also in China the pheasant is a symbol of nobility, and is associated with high-rank in political office and civil service. 

In Japan the pheasant is a divine messenger for Amaterasu, the great sun goddess.  Amaterasu is a focal point of the Shinto pantheon.  She is the ruler of the heavens, so her association with the pheasant made this creature an important symbol of power, abundance and promise.

Native American lore considered the pheasant a symbol of protection and concealment.  Presumably because regardless of their airborne capabilities, they prefer most of their time hunkered down in tall grass, concealed from sight.  Further, unlike most winged creatures, the pheasant nests on the ground rather than trees. 

Pheasants are considered symbols of sexuality because of the amazingly attractive male.  Furthermore, the male’s appearance is quite effective, and often wins him a harem of females. 

Lastly, the pheasant is a cousin of the peacock, and its symbolic attributes are similar to those of the peacock which can be found here.

Pheasants make excellent animal totems for many reasons.  Their energy stimulates sexuality, encourages creativity, and enhances energy.  I’ve gone into more detail about the symbolism of the pheasant  (including the types of people who attract pheasants as an animal air totem) here.

Post Script: Thank you Petra for this magnificent photo!

Symbolic Meaning of Dragonfly

The symbolic meaning of the dragonfly deals with:

  • Mind 
  • Dreams
  • Balance 
  • Thoughts
  • Awareness
  • Living to the fullest

Because of it is a creature of water (which symbolically deals with thoughts, dreams and intuition), the dragonfly is a symbol of our thoughts.  We can use it as an emblem of balanced mind because the dragonfly represents the two realms of thought

The dragonfly skitters across the surface of the water which is symbolic of our “top thoughts” the daily, surface thoughts that primarily keep us in auto-pilot. 

But the dragonfly knows she is standing on the vast watery depth of endlessly profound and potentially life-altering thoughts: The murky mass of thoughts that represent our primordial divinity – a virtual powder-keg of expansive expression.

And so, the dragonfly is the fulcrum between mundane and mystical.  She is the balance keeper between the “little me” and the “God self.”  This is why the dragonfly is a perfect tool for meditation, and is often used by spiritual practitioners in meditation practices (an example of using the dragonfly in a meditation can be found here).

Additionally, as creature aof the wind, the dragonfly totem represents change. It’s iridescent wings are incredibly sensitive to the slightest breeze, and so we are reminded to heed where the proverbial wind blows – lest we run into stormy weather.

The Dragonfly lives a short life, and it knows it must live to the fullest with what it has. This lesson is huge for each of us. When you see a dragonfly, be aware of the gifts it has to offer by keeping its animal totem meanings in mind.

Dragonfly Totems Facilitate:

  • Greater attention to the nuances and subtleties around us
  • Awareness & gratitude of inner beauty
  • Awareness of outer beauty, and ability to share it modestly with the world
  • Knowledge of life’s brevity, and understanding the importance of making every minute special

It should be clear this insect totem has endless potential in changing our perspective, and enhancing our life experiences.  Take the time to connect with this and other insect totems and you will be amazed at the doors they can open for you.

Interpreting a New Language: Celtic Meaning of Raven Calls

The meaning of raven calls were interpreted by ancient Celtic people as a type of guidance or foretelling tool.

The ancient Celts were intimately connected to their environment. They understood the murmurings of green leaves as their own language. Likewise, each of the beasts in the wood had their own language too and the Celts were able to interpret these into meaningful cosmic messages.

Some of the Celtic meaning of raven calls were recorded in various medieval manuscripts. Translations and opinions abound, but here some understandings of the raven communications:

  • If a raven caws above your head – you will have company
  • If she says GRAW!” it will be unexpected company
  • If she says “GEEWAN!” it will be unwelcome company
  • If she says “BEECAH!” it will be a lover come to call
  • If she says “GRACE!” it will be someone coming to collect a debt

Additionally, the raven’s flight direction was considered a portent or warning. The direction in which a raven spoke indicated what an action, expectation or preparation to take. To illustrate:

  • If a raven calls to the East: You will be getting news you’ve been waiting for
  • If a raven calls to the North: Better attend to matters of your household
  • If a raven calls to the South: Bring your loved ones close to you
  • If a raven calls to the West: Prepare for a shift in your life

Were the Celts superstitious? Perhaps. But the raven meant big juju for the ancient Celts – not to be trifled with or second-guessed.

However, these people were so enmeshed with nature, beautifully entangled to the extent that there was no separation between man and beast. Who of us is to say that the ravens weren’t actually speaking to them and the Celts were accurately interpreting their messages?

I would encourage you to observe the ravens (crows, or magpies too) in your own life. Invest the time to really focus upon these darkly powerful birds. Over time, you will develop your own understanding of their language. Make note of this language and incorporate it into your life. See what happens. Don’t get crazy about it – just be in touch with yourself and the natural world. Astonishing discoveries are available to you when you do.

If you found this interesting, you might also want to check these other pages:

Massive Red Robin Sighting: Symbolic Interpretation

I got an email from a reader who sighted about 200 red robins at her home on March 8th.  She was curious to know the symbolic meaning of robins – and what kind of portent this experience held.  I responded thusly:

Dear Rockin’ Robin:

Wow, that’s a lot of robins!

Ultimately only you can determine the meaning of this event and how it applies to your life.

However, intuitively I would take this as:

  • new beginnings, a fresh new start
  • a sign of inspiration
  • an encouragement for creativity
  • a reminder that you have infinite resources at hand when working with matters of renewal, joy, and spiritual growth

I come to this conclusion because the robins are about happiness, satisfaction and new beginnings – I’ve written an entire page on the symbolic meaning of robins here:

The robins came to you in March – the third month of the year.  The number three deals with creativity, inspiration and spirituality.  I’ve written more on the three here:

Lastly, you experienced these robins on the eighth day of the month.  Eight deals with infinity, cycles, and opportunity.  Again, I’ve written about the eight here:

If you factor in all of these symbolic meanings you come out with an incredibly auspicious portent – a sign of promise and renewal.  Congratulations and ride the wave!

I trust this information helps you on your path.