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Keynote: Transformation. Passage into happiness and fertility.
In an ancient Pima tale, the bluebird is described as having
been an ugly color, but then one day
it found a sacred lake where no water ever flowed in or out.
The bird bathed in it four times
every morning for four mornings, singing a sacred song. On that
fourth morning, it came out of
the river with no feathers at all. When it bathed itself again
on the fifth morning, it came out of
the sacred lake with its blue feathers. The bluebird became
a symbol of transformation through
sacred song and sacred acts.
In the Pueblo tradition, great importance is placed upon rituals
and ceremonies honoring the six
directions. In the Niman Kachina ceremony, the bluebird represented
the southwest direction.
The southeast and southwest directions represented the rising
and setting of the shortest day; thus
the bluebird was a symbol of the setting on the shortest day
of the year, the winter solstice.
Hence the bluebird is considered a winter birt, but it often
indicates that each day that follows
will have greater sunshine.
The bluebird is also often considered a spring bird, representing
the movement out of winter into
spring. It is a bird of transition, of passage--from winter
to summer, from child to adult, night to
day, barrenness to fertility.
In the north the appearance of the bluebird heralds the coming
of spring. Its habitat is one of
open fields with scattered trees and is one of the few birds
that has benefited by the spread of
agriculture, and thus it is often a sign that we will also benefit
from the agriculture within our
own life. The things we have planted and the seeds we have sown
will come to fruition.
Among the Pueblo, bluebird feathers were used to promote snow
and ice, moisture that will
bring new growth. Because of this and other similar associations,
the bluebird is also related to
fertility on all levels.
The bluebird is a guardian of all passages and transitions that
we make or are about to make. We
speak often of the bluebird of happiness, and this is rightly
so. It makes our movements more
fertile, productive, and protected so that we can attain the
happiness we need in life.
When the bluebirds show up, we are about to see a change in
the climate. Darkness will soon
fade and more sunshine will arrive. Our own fertility in our
endeavors will increase, and our
passages and movement in all endeavors will be protected. Those
things or people who had
hindered our endeavors will find themselves bogged down in their
own "ice and snow."
Keynote: Modesty, Unassuming Confidence and Happiness
Cycle of Power: Winter and Summer (changes of seasons)
The bluebird is a native of North America. Although once common,
they are now quite rare. This
often is a reminder that we are born to happiness and fulfillment,
but we sometimes get so lost
and wrapped up in the everyday events of our lives that our
happiness and fulfillment seem rare.
When bluebirds show up as a totem, it should first of all remind
you to take time to enjoy
Bluebirds are part of the thrush family, and you may wish to
read about thrushes to learn more of
the bluebird. The males are entirely blue, while the females
are blue only in the wings.
Occasionally there will be some warm reddish tones on the chest
as well. Pay attention to the
colors and where they are located. This will provide some insight.
To the Cherokees, blue is the color of the North, while in many
magical traditions, it is the color
of the East. The edges of many Jewish prayer shawls were often
the color of blue. Blue is
associated with the throat chakra and creative expression. Blue
is symbolic, so ask yourself what
blue means to you personally.
The idea of the bluebird being symbolic of happiness is fairly
recent. The concept has developed
more within this century than any other time. As far as I have
been able to discover, the bluebird
did not play any major role in Indian myths or tales.
This bird always has a plaintive song and modest, unassuming
appearance. Its shoulders are
hunched up when perched, giving an impression as if ready to
dive. This can be symbolic of a
need to work hard and play hard. Are you trying to shoulder
too much responsibility?
To the Pueblo, bluebirds are considered winter birds because
they descend to the lowlands with
the snow and cold during that season. This transition from winter
to summer is dramatic in the
area of the western home of the Pueblo. It is a transition from
great coldness to summer heat.
This is symbolic of a passage, a time of movement into another
level of being. Specifically, it is
connected to the transformation of a girl into a woman, and
thus the bluebird is also sometimes
connected to puberty rites. This, of course, has connection
to human fertility and a new
confidence and happiness in coming into your own.
Other Pueblo rites revolved around the use of bluebird feathers
as prayer sticks. They were
considered beneficial for snow and ice, and for bringing the
summer rainy season. There are also
rites in the Pueblo tradition that tie them to the fertility
of the land.
Bluebirds are gentle and unaggressive. They do not push or bully
other birds, but they are very
scrappy when threatened. They have been known to put to flight
jays and even larger birds. Their
homes usually have an entrance facing South, the direction for
awakening the inner child. If a
bluebird has come into your life, look for opportunities to
touch the joyful and intrinsically
native aspects of yourself that you may have lost touch with.
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