We do not find much in the way of explaining garden totems when looking at possible messages and medicines derived from plants that we would grow in a garden. That seems odd because there are several plants of nature that carry symbolism and have specific lessons to teach us. For the most part the plants that we can find information on are trees and some flowers but not so much what we would grow ourselves. Certainly many tribal traditions were considered farmers and many held the three sisters (corn, squash and beans) in high regards but none seemed to put much significance to the plants that were grown to feed the people. They were life sustaining but did not seem to have much to teach us.
So, I have been reflecting on this for a couple of days now. Is there medicine from these plants in a garden? I believe that there are but maybe it is in a more general way than a specific way for a single plant. For me, working in my garden is one of the ways that I get spiritual energy. I was born under an earth sign and having my hands in the soil makes me feel connected to the Creator in many ways. I could also say that gardening is in my blood as both my Indian ancestors and my European ancestors grew crops. Granted it was something to help feed the families but it was and still is a way to connect with nature in general.
When we garden we are encouraging growth and that can be something that becomes significant in our spiritual journey. As humans there is always room to grow so the act of gardening is showing that we are open to the growth of our inner selves. I think that we can also safely say that it is full of feminine energy because of the nurturing and creation of a life.
My reflection on this topic started when I began to research tomatoes to see what lessons my favorite garden plant might have for me. I found some interesting facts about this fruit that we call a vegetable but nothing in the way of totem medicine. For instance, did you know that this versatile plant originated right here in North America? Mexico to be precise. From what I gathered it did not grow anywhere else and was introduced to Europe after Columbus and the Spaniards returned from their explorations on this continent. I also saw a statistic that said that Americans consume about 22 to 24 pounds of tomatoes per person in any given year. Another stat said that around 93% of all gardens in the US have tomato plants growing in them.
At first I was a little disappointed that there did not seem to be specific lessons from the plants that we grow to feed ourselves but then I sat down and started to write down what came to my own mind. Patience would most assuredly be a message as we have to be patient as the seeds begin to sprout and then grow into the produce that we will consume after harvesting. Respect came to mind because maintaining the garden and the soil shows a great deal of respect for Mother Earth and the gifts that we receive by taking care of the needs of the ground and the plants growing in it. Family and the importance of it also was something that I jotted down. As a gardener we are taking care of a plant family but also our physical family by providing food for them to eat. It can also symbolize connecting to our own roots. Sharing is another symbol that can be associated with garden plants, we share the bounty from our own labor with our family and usually friends and neighbors. Physical fitness because if you have ever gardened you know that it is not for wimps! It is hard work.
So, even though we may not find a specific lesson from a specific plant; garden plants do have several messages and lessons for us to apply to our own spiritual journey. If you would like to learn more about how I garden, you might enjoy reading about gardening in Indiana.
Just out of curiosity what is your favorite plant from the garden?
If you have landed on this page after having done a search, you might be feeling a connection with the duck totem. As I write this post today the mating season and raising of young is in full swing for the birds and fowl of my area of the planet. I have been observing a duck couple over the last few weeks and decided that some of my readers might be getting some medicine from this animal spirit and would like to know a little more about it.
Spring and summer are when ducks have the strongest messages for those who have duck medicine although they can work with any of us at any time of the year. This creature teacher gives lessons in emotional comfort and protection. Ducks are the most common of the waterfowl and because of their strong connection to the water they carry a feminine energy. They also represent the astral plane and are associated with the human emotional state.
All living things on this planet need water in order to sustain life. Our friends, the ducks, remind us to drink from the waters of life and to be aware of our emotional needs. Ducks glide across the water with such grace which translates to showing us how to handle our emotions with a greater grace and comfort when they are one of our totems. Another message from duck is how to swim through the various waters of life that we encounter so that we do not get tangled up in the debris that may be floating around us. We should learn to protect ourselves from negative emotions while gliding through those waters. We should not close off our emotional needs and should be willing to explore how we feel to be a healthier human.
Ducks have a community frame of mind. They can be very affectionate and will often return to places that they feel safe and comfortable. The message for humans would be to remind us to return to those parts of ourselves that we find comfort in. Revisit activities that make us comfortable and safe while we do them.
There are several breeds of ducks and any of them can walk or swim with you as a totem. It might be a white duck, a mallard or any of the other species. If you are drawn to a specific breed, notice the coloring of it because that will be a hint of why it might be visiting you. A white duck may be telling you that you need a little more purity and truth in your emotional being. The green from the head of a mallard might indicate that this will be a time of growth and healing while mostly brown feathers give the message of being grounded with a time of new growth.
We are fortunate this time of year to have a female mallard return to our property to have her young. She is so much fun to watch and when those ducklings get big enough to follow her around it is so adorable to watch. I feel honored that she finds my little space of the world safe enough to return to each year.
We are going to look at the totem of wolf today but in a more specific manner than I normally do. Last week, one of my readers stated that she wished that she could find out what her birth totem was. So, today we are going to look at the animal spirit that has been walking by her side since the day she took her first breath which was March 2nd. I feel a real connection for this post as she shares both the birth totem and date of birth with my husband. The year is slightly different but that does not really matter. My father also walks with Wolf medicine.
Jo Ann was born during the Big Winds Moon which is the last moon governed by Waboose the Spirit Keeper of the North which is known as the White Buffalo in the English language. Our ancestors looked at wolf as a teacher and a pathfinder who would always return to the clan to share the knowledge he had gained while on the hunt.
People like Jo Ann, my father and my husband have a strong sense of family whether that pertains to actual relatives or the “pack” of friends in their lives. They are known for their loyalty much like the cousin spirit of dog. Wolves feel strongly about the society that they live in. With that being said, a person with wolf medicine also carries a strong urge for being an individual and can successfully be a part of both levels. They can be an active and productive part of society while still maintaining their own ideas and dreams.
Wolf people have a kinship with the moon and its cycles which symbolizes psychic energy. Whether they have realized it in their consciousness they are intuitive in their very nature. They will often spot the hidden parts of any situation or the hidden traits of individuals without even thinking about it.
Compassion is often a term associated with people who walk with Wolf. It has a lot to do with their seeking of knowledge to share with their fellow humans that will allow them to reach new heights. One can not do this without compassion for mankind. The gracious sharing of a teacher is different than one who has knowledge but will not pass it on to others. There is a kindness and considerate nature to one who seeks wisdom for the better of the whole like wolf.
Just as a wolf in the wild, people who walk along side wolf in spirit are very conscious of territory. They need a well defined area when it comes to home or work. This also transcends over to relationships. Being social spirits, companionship is very important to people with the wolf totem.
Out of curiosity I looked up the name of Jo Ann to see if there was a connection to wolf there, also. Her name means “God is gracious”. I see a connection as a gracious person is often a compassionate person. Teachers are gracious and kind in sharing what they know to those who do not know the same things that wolf does. Also the connection of a higher spirit fits together with the intuitive nature from a different plane of consciousness.
This has been a very fun post for me to write for you all today. As I meditated on the information and looked at my resources I saw so much of my father and husband in the message. How about you Jo Ann? Does any of this fit you?
Today marks 61 years since I came into this life journey. Being born on April 22nd gives me the birth totem of the beaver. In the animal world beaver is the builder and the doer of things. Being strong in both water and earth energy there is a strong sense of family and home with those of us who have beaver medicine. We are prone to creating situations that do not back us into corners because we instinctively know that in order to be industrious we must always look at alternatives in everything that we do.
Beavers will have several entrances and exits to any dam that they construct. They do not plan to get trapped in their own home. I find myself doing this when traveling, even if it is a just a trip to the grocery store. Where I currently live, I have four different routes that I can take to get to the same store. Quirky? Maybe. However, knowing the different ways to get to the same point has been beneficial more than once. A bad car accident has traffic backed up for a mile or so. I know that I can turn around or get to a certain intersection and get out of the dammed up traffic. Just last week we had an exorbitant amount of rainfall and two of the roads that I can take were closed due to water covering the roads. I knew two other ways to go to get to the store for our weekly grocery needs.
Beavers Building at Allposters.com
Those of us with Beaver medicine love to work and we like the sense of achievement when the job is complete. We know that when building our dreams it can not usually be done alone. We love working as a team and can take on the group mind set easily. We value the talents and abilities of others knowing that each contributes his or her own piece of the puzzle and that when the task is complete there was a harmony that made it happen. We do not like big egos as they impede or dam up the process of completion.
I have another connection with beaver in my given name. When I was a kid and found that Beverly means a dweller in the beaver meadow, I was not a happy little camper. Why in the world would my mother name me a name that had such a weird meaning? She had not planned to give me the name of Beverly. I was supposed to be named Vickie. The story goes that while in labor she lapsed into a dream state and saw a girl on a rock. She had given birth to me while still in the dream and the nurse asked her, “What is her name?” Mom was seeing the girl on the rock and said, “Beverly. Her name is Beverly.” So, the nurse puts my name down as Beverly. I have come to believe that this was no coincidence. I think that spirits guided Mom in that dream because I was meant to have the strong connection with the beaver totem. Those of you that are regular readers might pick up on the little detail that the girl was sitting on a rock, too. You might recall my spiritual relationship with the Stone People and how I can renew my energies through the stones.
Under the glow of the Pink Moon 61 one years ago, a girl child was born and has traveled through live with the guidance of the beaver totem never far from her side. Her name came from a dream state which connected her with an even stronger bond to this spirit animal. During her 60th year she was given her spiritual name while standing among the presence of ancient stone formations…kind of cool, huh?
I haven’t done this in a while but today we are going to have a little history lesson. Many times in life some of our best medicine comes from those who have come before us. Sarah Winnemucca is not a name that comes to mind when people are asked about a notable American Indian in the history of this continent. I think she should be, though. When we think about it, there are not many women of Native descent that are remembered in the annals of history.
Sarah was a Paiute who lived near the eastern slope of the Sierra Nevadas. She was born in 1844 and witnessed some of the first white settlers to go through her country on their way to California. She and her people encountered the lawless gold miners and the far from scrupulous officials of the government. Unlike most women of her time, she chose to speak out about the despicable acts against her people. Winnemucca spoke out about the sexual assaults of the women of her tribe that happened much too often. She also noted that when the Indians would try to retaliate over these attacks on their women, it was most times represented by the settlers as savage lawlessness.
When she was a teenager she was hired as a maid for a prominent white settler. It was during this employment that she learned the English language quite well. By 1868 she was working as an interpreter in an Indian Office and moved to Camp McDermitt. She spent about ten years at the agency and witnessed first hand the blatant corruption of the office. By the 1880′s, Sarah became quite outspoken against the American government and wrote a book titled Life Among The Piutes. After the publication of this autobiography, she began to travel across the nation giving public speeches and lectures.
During her public engagements and through her book, Winnemucca brought to light the cruelty and inhumanity that happened during the expansion of the West. She also explained to those in the crowd that the Native societies were much more humane than they had been described by the people whose atrocities were meant to be covered up. She exposed corruption and begged for separate autonomous tribal communities where Natives could live life apart from the white settlers.
It was not unusual for her to let the people she was talking to know that she felt that the Americans were the ones who really deserved the label of savage. She let them know that she was personally calling to them for some justice. Decades later activists would ask for the same things and tell some of the same stories but none were as articulate in their message as Sarah Winnemucca.
I hope you enjoyed this little history lesson about a remarkable woman who was way before her time. How brave she must have been, her courage spurred by her outrage at the suffering and injustice that her people and other Native Peoples had to survive. I don’t know about you but I would have loved to have met this woman!