The Long Nights Time
Animal Totem : Owl
Astrological Sun sign : Sagittarius
This is the last of the cycles influenced by the spirit of the West with its qualities of introspection, and is the time of new opportunities.
At this time of the year in the Northern hemisphere, the air is crisp and clean and one can see clearly in all directions, and to people born at this time, growth is a question of determining the direction of ones life and of having a clear ~sighting~ of the goal or target. In so open an environment the individual is vulnerable and needs to be on guard against falling prey to the forces of greed, indifference and cruelty.
This is the period of long nights and short days, the darkest month when the power of the Sun has departed and chilling winds herald the arrival of the first flurry of snow. But it is also a time of thanksgiving for the abundance that has been gathered and stored in preparation for the winter to come. The waning solar energy stimulates hope and encourages foresight and vision.
The influencing wind is the West wind. With the influencing direction being North-West.
The West Winds have a keen edge which enables their direction to be more sharply defined and thereby help those to attain a clear sense of direction in life. The West winds are not strong and blustery and constantly changing their influence, but more penetrating and therefore stimulating and arousing the generation of inner fire.
The north-west direction immediately precedes a cosmic ~gateway~ at the entrance of the north-north-west which on the Medicine Wheel was concerned with re-birth. In ancient northern European cultures it was celebrated as Yule around 22nd December and ~recognised~ the birth of cosmic consciousness. The north-west direction on the Wheel is a very potent place because it symbolises initiation as an essential preliminary to spiritual rebirth which some have described as ~Christ-consciousness~. Its polarity is in the south-east of the Flowering Time which precedes another cosmic ~gateway~ which symbolised the entrance into human incarnation on the Medicine Wheel.
The north-west was the ~gateway~ of intution into the mysteries of life and in order to pass through it one had to demonstrate that one had learned correct use of the powers with which one had been entrusted. The greatest of these powers was the power of creative thought.
On the Medicine Wheel the north-west is also the place of karma where the un-integrated experiences of the past formulate patterns that are repeated into future lives until their lessons have been learned and applied.
The north-west direction is thus the direction for determining what to aim for and for learning how to take control of the constant movement of change.
Just as the grizzly bear which is the totem animal of the West is able to survive by its own strength, so the emphasis of the north-west is on self reliance and on the power that comes from within.
The influencing elements are Fire with Earth. Elemental Earth helps to stabilise and sustain, and this influence is vital in the realisation of ideas and ideals. It is the influence of step-by-step progress that ensures there is a firm footing with each move forward. Its emphasis is on carefulness, but this has to be properly discerned. Otherwise it can develop into –over-cautiousness and placidity. Elemental Fire in its cyclical activity stimulates and inspires and provides the spark of idealism. It also motivates activity.
Birth and Animal Totem – Owl.
Owls are soft-feathered and short tailed birds with large heads, flattened face with enormous eyes, and partly idden hooked beaks. They are nocturnal creatures and might be described as the night-time equivalent of hawks and falcons.
The barn owl is an effective and powerful totem. It has a white face, pale feathers and long legs. It lives alone or in pairs and roosts in hollow trees, church towers and farm buildings. It hunts at night and feeds mostly on small rodents. The female barn owl lays four to seven eggs which take 33 days to incubate. During this time the male brings her food. Owls are caring about their young.
Although many people regard the owl as a creature of dark augury, this attitude stems from times when everything was done to denigrate what had previously been held sacred. In pre-Christian times the owl was associated with the mind and with wisdom and sacred science. It was a sacred bird. The owl is associated with wisdom that is ~hidden~ and with light that shines in the darkness, like the Moon.
The Path of Owl is intended to lead to the discovery that whatever is required outwardly must first exist inwardly. That which is Without was first that which was Within.
The prime purpose is for the tempering of opposites in order to attain good management of one’s potentials. In the American Indian culture the weaving of a blanket required the mingling of many skills. It was treasured as a gift because it represented in an enduring form the inner beauty of the one who has woven it. It symbolised too, the necessity for a balanced heart and mind and the need for rational though to be balanced with feeling that comes from the heart. That is the path of Owl. The primary function of Owl is elevation and exaltation. It requires opportunity for raising the intellect and elevating the morality to obtain the clarity of vision that is spiritual insight.
Mineral Totem – Obsidian
Obsidian is a glassy, solidified lava from a volcano that has fused so quickly that there are not crystals in it. It contains silica, aluminium and sometimes potassium, iron oxide and sodium. It is capable of being fashioned to provide a sharp cutting edge, and was often made into knives and arrowheads as well as jewelry.
Since obsidian comes from deep within the earth, it is related to the inner nature of the human being, which can be very powerful and deserves to be respected. The American Indian attributed obsidian with the power to sharpen both the outer and inner vision and with stimulating the foresight so that one could ~see~ into the future.
Obsidian is translucent and usually black, and small spherical forms of obsidian are sometimes referred to as ~Apache Tears~. The name is derived from an incident in Arizona when a band of Pineal Apaches were ambushed by military regulars. Most were killed and the survivors rather than submit, threw themselves over a cliff edge. Tears were shed by the women and maidens of the tribe at the base of the cliff for a moon, and a legendary tale says the tears were embedded into black stones and that whoever possessed one of these ~Apache tears~ would never themselves suffer grave sorrow. Apache Tears are said to balance the emotions and to be a protection against emotional traumas. Certainly they are a powerful meditation tool.
When you look within your heart may you find an endless expanse where you can let your dreams run free, where your soul and spirit can dance.
Happy Birthday Sagittarius!