Native American Totems

Discovering the medicine and lessons learned from the spirits of animals and all living things.

woodpecker totem

Perhaps you had never considered that a visit from a woodpecker might be a message from an animal spirit wishing to guide you into some wisdom. Then again, if you have landed on this page you must have had some sort of inkling because you searched to see what the meaning might be if the woodpecker is working as one of your totems. My guess would be that if it is not a bird that you see often, if it came more than once, or you dreamed about one, that it is most certainly wanting to share some lessons with you.

In many American Indian traditions this bird, the woodpecker, is connected to the heartbeat of Mother Earth herself. The drumming of the heartbeat of earth has more than a few mystical connections. A couple that come to mind are the rhythms of new life to shapeshifting applications. Many a shaman has learned to ride the drum beats into a different dimension.

Obviously, there are many different kinds of woodpeckers in the world. Most of them are colored with black and white feathers and many will have at least some red on their heads. The black and white of the feathers tells us that we should be seeing the issues and aspects of our lives clearly. Sometimes, things can be pretty clear when we look at them in a black or white perspective.

The red found on the head of many species of the woodpecker symbolizes the stimulation of mental activities and also the head chakra centers. It is associated with the stimulation and wakening of new mental faculties. New ways to look at things or new wisdom in general. Even the pecking that we associate with the woodpecker is a symbol of these same reflections.

We can associate the act of digging in to a topic for more analysis with the woodpecker, too. They peck holes into trees and wood to get grubs and other insects for a meal. When we dig into a book for knowledge we feed on the wisdom we find.

If you are being visited by the animal spirit of woodpecker there are a few things that you should be asking:

  • Are you looking at your life rationally?
  • Are the people around you discriminate? Are you?
  • Do you just jump into a new situation with no analysis of what is involved?

We might find that the woodpecker has pecked into our vision to stimulate new rhythms for us to dance to. Rhythm is a pretty powerful means of affecting physical energy. We humans, often, get so wrapped up in our daily mental and spiritual activities that we do not pay attention to our physical needs. That might be the reason for the visits from woodpecker. He might also be telling you to drum new changes into your life.

A good book to read about how the woodpecker lives in the wild along with images of different types of woodpeckers is the one below. Often, when we meditate about the real animal, it opens up or drums up the message that the spirit animal is trying to convey.

Many cultures have lore and myths that include the woodpecker. Most have to do with the drumming or the pecking rhythm characteristics of this bird. Europeans felt that the woodpecker was a prophet of the weather as it drummed out the message that change was coming. In Greek mythology the woodpecker sat on the throne of the god of thunder, Zeus. The Babylonians associated it with fertility.

Basically, woodpecker is the symbol of the rhythm of life and of discrimination. We should find our own beats of the drum to follow in our journey and do what is best for ourselves and not what others might tell us to peck at. Woodpecker comes with the message that you have the foundation and it is now safe for you to follow your own rhythms.

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