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WOODPECKER & FLICKER
Flicker/Woodpecker represents warning,
good luck, and prophecy; protection, wealth, happiness;
healing, rhythm, growth, and discrimination.
Flicker uses its head to drum into trees and sound the alarm
that change is coming. It generally
heralds the arrival of someone that will impact your life in
a positive way--usually spiritually,
physically, or financially. This can come as a visitor to your
home or a phone call. They are
messengers that foretell of storms that contain thunder and
lightning. They will grant a wish if
you see them and clap your hands three times. They are symbols
of those who are ill and will
soon be well.
The message of Flicker often speaks of increased intuitive abilities
that will help you through a
period of change affecting your life in a major way. The drumming
can transport you into an
altered state if you focus on it. This newly heightened state
of consciousness will reveal a deeper
message for you on a spiritual level. You can learn from this
teacher the method of using your
heartbeat to take you into meditation, a shamanic journey, or
state of trance. He will teach you
the rhythms of life that can be tapped for enlightenment and
spiritual growth. He teaches you
how to channel your own energies and use them for the greatest
good; or to shapeshift into that
which you desire to become. He will stimulate your mind to open
to spiritual messages. Flicker
demonstrates the ability to align the energy centers of the
body for greater centering and balance
in all that you do.
*Note: Woodpecker, Sapsucker and Flicker are often considered
the same so a study of either is
*Red Wolf/website closed:
Flicker: June 21-July 22. If you are born in this time period,
you were born in the Strong Sun
Moon, and your animal totem is Flicker. He teaches us protection,
courage, joy, rhythm,
harmony, loving and nurturing.
*Bobby Lake-Thom/Spirits of the Earth:
Woodpeckers are good signs. They are symbols of wealth, good
luck, happiness and healing. If
you hear or see a Woodpecker pecking on a tree near your house,
clap your hands three times,
make a wish, and thank him for the message and gift. He will
usually bring you good luck--a
sign that money or a gift is coming. Or if someone is sick in
the household, or even dying in the
hospital, the woodpecker is a good sign that the person will
get healed and well.
*Patricia Telesco/The Language of Dreams:
An alternative emblem of the drum because of its rhythmic pecking.
Among the English,
Babylonians, and ancient Greeks, this bird was a weather prophet.
What's gathering on the
horizon for you? Among Native Americans, the woodpecker represents
the sacred rhythms of the
earth, to which you are learning to listen. Discrimination in
what one accepts as truth. The
woodpecker uses its sharp bill to carefully reach the specific
foods it wants and needs.
*D.J. Conway/Animal Magick:
A non-singing bird, woodpeckers are related to honey guides,
toucans, and jacamars. They have
a straight, hard bill and powerful neck for hammering, and a
long, sticky tongue to lap up insects.
Their stiff tail-feathers help them keep their balance as they
hang on trees. The males all have an
area of bright red or yellow somewhere on their heads. Their
call is harsh and shrill.
A bird of both the Old and New Worlds, except for Australia,
New Zealand, and the oceanic
islands, the woodpecker was known to the romans as the bird
of the god Mars. It is constantly
digging in wood for bugs. It's powerful neck muscles and persistence
make it possible for this
bird to carve out holes in trees for nests. Its sharp claws
enable it to walk up and down trees
without a problem.
Indo-European mythology lists the woodpecker as a bird of fire
and lightning, a prophetic bird
who has magickal powers. It was also considered to be one of
the guardians of kings and trees. In
Greece and Rome this bird was connected with Ares/Mars, Zeus/Jupiter,
Triptolemus. In most of their symbols, the woodpecker represented
war, destruction, sudden
attacks, and storms.
The Germans called it the Little King in the West and the King
of the Birds. However, legend
says it won the contest of which could fly higher with an eagle
by deceit; it rode on the eagle's
back until the big bird was exhausted, then flew on by itself
to gain the victory. Sometimes the
image of a woodpecker replaced the dove as a sign of spirit,
but it was also called a witch bird.
The Druids read foretellings from its chirping, just as they
did from the wren's. The direction
from which it called was of great prophetic importance to the
Celts. The Welsh Bard Taliesin
called it one of his helping birds. The bird was titled the
Lady of Heaven's Hen in Scotland; to
kill it was extremely unlucky. Because it was associated with
the Underworld and the Winter
Solstice, it was only killed in England and France at the time
of the Winter Solstice.
In Japan the woodpecker was known as a lucky bird that brought
good fortune to hunters; people
honored it with a salute when it was seen.
The woodpecker often gives a shrill cry when a storm is approaching.
In this manner, said Native
Americans, the bird spoke to thunder.
Superstitions: The yellowhammer (a species of woodpecker) is
an ill-omened bird that is a
servant of the devil. The devil makes the mark on its eggs.
A nail will not stay in any tree where
the woodpecker builds its nest.
Magickal attributes: Warning of approaching trouble. Good Luck.
If seen in meditation, trouble
is near. Prophecy. Divination for checking a situation for problems.
*Mary Summer Rain/On Dreams:
Woodpecker relates to an effort to rid self of negative aspects.
*Zolar/Encyclopedia of Signs, Omens, and Superstitions:
To the ancients, the distinctive tapping of a woodpecker was
thought synonymous with miniature
thunder. Certainly, the bird was calling for and bringing down
rain, they thought. Hence the
belief, in the English countryside, that the calling of a green
woodpecker foretells rain.
In Scandinavia, too, the woodpecker is held as a sort of weather
prophet. Among the French, he
is often called "the miller's advocate." In times
of drought, he is thought to plead for water in
order to turn the mill wheel. In ancient Babylonia, the word
for woodpecker meant "the ax of
Istar." Ishtar was a fertility goddess. Among the ancient
Greeks the bird was believed to once
occupy the throne of Zeus. An oracle, connected with Mars, in
the Apennine Mountains it
contains an image of a woodpecker placed on a wooden pillar.
Engraved gems reveal a warrior
consulting such an oracle.
According to yet another Greek myth, Celeus, whose name means
attempted to steal honey that had nourished Zeus while he was
a baby. As punishment, the angry
god transforms Celeus into the woodpecker. Celeus, in turn,
fathered Triptolemus, who was
credited with the invention of the plough.
This connection between the woodpecker and ploughing is further
supported by a French legend
which holds that, during creation, once God made the earth,
he called on various birds to help by
digging out places that could be filled with water. Tradition
says that only the woodpecker
refused to cooperate. According to a German version of the story,
the woodpecker refused, not
wishing to dirty her plumage. For this reason, the bird was
condemned to peck wood and drink
nothing but rain.
*Lady Stearn Robinson & Tom Gorbett/The Dreamer's Dictionary:
To hear or see him at work forecasts family squabbles due to
immoderate attitudes or behavior,
so guard your tongue and watchs your step; admittedly it's an
uncomfortable position to maintain
but try it for the time being.
Keynote: The Power of Rhythm and Discrimination
Cycle of Power: Summer
The woodpecker is one of those birds whose history is filled
with myth and lore, much of it in
connection with its most notable characteristics--the drumming.
It is a relative of the flicker and
they share many of the same qualities and characteristics.
In the European folk tradition, the woodpecker was often considered
a weather prophet, its
drumming indicating forthcoming changes. It was even believed
by some to be a thunderbird. In
Babylonia, it was considered the ax of Istar and was associated
with fertility. In the Greek
tradition it occupied the throne of Zeus, considered sacred
to this god of thunder. It was also
considered the oracle of Mars, again because drumming was often
used to accompany battles.
The Romans also had a legend of the woodpecker. The powerful
enchantress Circe fell in love
with the woodland god Picus. When he rejected her love, she
turned him into a woodpecker.
In the Native American tradition it is a bird connected to the
heartbeat of the Earth itself. This
drumming has many mystical connections, from new life rhythms
to applications of
shapeshifting. Many shamans learn to ride drumbeats into other
There are, of course, different kinds of woodpeckers, each with
their own unique qualities. Most
are black and white, and some have red upon the head. The black
and white reflects the need to
see issues and aspects of life clearly. It reflects that things
are fairly clear if we look closely.
The downy woodpecker is the smallest. It is also the most common
and most friendly member of
the woodpecker family. The pileated, found most often in forests,
is the expert woodchopper.
Often as big as a crow, it is the largest of the woodpeckers.
It has the conspicuous red crest. The
red-headed woodpecker is also very common. While most woodpeckers,
particularly males, have
some red on the head, the red-headed woodpecker has a red mantle
of feathers that covers its
head and neck.
The red found in the head area of any woodpecker reflects a
stimulation of the mental activities
and the head chakra centers. It reflects a stimulation, and
wakening of new mental faculties. This
is even further symbolized by the pecking that is the trademark
of this bird.
Woodpeckers peck holes in trees and wood to get at grubs and
other insects. This digging in,
especially with the head, reflects increasing analysis. Their
bills are strong and sharply pointed,
and their skulls are heavier, facilitating the hammering. Their
sharp bill and it's long barbed
tongue can be likened to the art of discrimination.
If a woodpecker has drummed out a song for you, then you should
ask yourself some specific
questions. Are you looking at aspects of your life rationally?
Are others round you not
discriminating in their activities? Are you? Are you or others
in your life just jumping into
situations with little or no analysis?
Sometimes the woodpecker will show up just to stimulate new
rhythms. Rhythm is a powerful
means of affecting the physical energies. Sometimes it is easy
to get so wrapped up in our daily
mental and spiritual activities that we neglect the physical.
This can be when the woodpecker
shows up. It may also reflect a need to drum some new changes
and rhythms into your life.
The woodpecker has strong hooked claws for firm holds upon a
tree. Its tail feathers help to prop
it upright. It also has a peculiar up and down flight. It will
fly, coast down, fly and then coast
down. It flies in a manner and rhythm unique to itself. All
of this serves to emphasize the fact
that it will become increasingly important for you to follow
your own unique rhythms and flight.
Do what works for you in the manner best for you. When woodpecker
comes into your life, it
indicates that the foundation is there. It is now safe to follow
your own rhythms.
There are about 180 species of woodpeckers in the world. Most
spend their entire lives in trees.
Woodpeckers are climbers. They climb by propping their stiff
pointed tail feathers against a
support while shifting its leg hold. With its body close to
the trunk or branch and its head
bobbing, the bird hitches upwards, back down spiraling and nimbly
darts sideways at incredible
speeds. Because of their speed predators have difficulty catching
Their flight patterns are unique. Woodpeckers fly up, coast
down then fly upwards again. Those
with this totem often find that their path in life wont
always conform to society's standards and
that their personal unique rhythm needs to be honored. Woodpeckers
teach us to honor our
personal truth and move through life with perseverance and inner
strength. By staying grounded
in our pursuits our goals can be obtained.
Woodpeckers are opportunists. They know when to fly out from
a perch to catch insects in the air
or on the ground. Their barbed tongues and strong chiseled beaks
symbolize life lessons
associated with discernment and proper use of speech for those
with this totem.
In spring the loud calls of woodpeckers often augmented by drumming
on hollow wood are the
sounds of males holding territories. Woodpeckers defend their
territory aggressively. Those with
this medicine need to be in control of their personal environment
and will not tolerate others
trying to change it. Although personal space is very important
for woodpecker medicine people
control issues can sometimes be a problem and flexibility needs
to be learned.
The woodpecker is known as the Earths drummer. Drumming is the
heartbeat of mother earth
and is associated with shamanism and the ability to move into
other dimensions at will. For
those with this totem the woodpecker represents self-discovery.
As they peck into and through
trees and dead wood, hidden layers of ones psyche are revealed.
Those with this medicine are
good analysts and have strong mental capabilities. They make
excellent psychiatrists and
psychologists. Woodpeckers are active birds so caution is advised
to maintain balance when
reviewing any situation or issue. Too much analyzing can result
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