Plant Totem – Quaking Aspen

The Quaking Aspen tree has totem medicine or lessons and gifts that it can give us.  This medicine can come to you on a daily or regular basis or it can also be a part of your birth totems in the Native American tradition.  Quaking Aspens get their name from the leaves that flutter in a breeze and can be found in the colder climates of North America.

If the Aspen is a part of your birth totems, you were born under the Rest and Cleansing Moon which fall between January 20th and February 18.

Physical medicine comes from the leaves, bark and buds of this lovely tree. This member of the Tall People gives us these to be used as a tonic or a tea to aide with liver and digestive problems.  Other uses of the Quaking Aspen are as a relaxant, for faintness, for hay fever, for internal organs and as an astringent. If used daily it can help with skin conditions such as eczema, ulcers and burns.

Powder scraped from the bark of a Quaking Aspen is sometimes used as a deodorant. It has also been said that this powder can be used to help with cataracts.

Fence with Aspens Dry Brush print
Fence with Aspens Dry Brush by sedanistudio at Zazzle.

Teas and tonics can help with respiratory problems such as congestion, hay fever, asthma and bronchitis.  Quaking Aspen teas and tonics can also help in reducing toxicity in our bodies and congestion of the digestive system. Native Americans also used teas from the Quaking Aspen as a substitute for quinine.

As a spiritual totem the bell like song of the Quaking Aspen increases your sense of play and belief in magic much like the Otter who shares in the birth totem medicine under the Rest and Cleansing Moon.

In the Native American view, the Tall People (trees) give us many gifts and lessons to help us in our daily lives. The Quaking Aspen is just one of many.

~ Mitakuye Oyasin ~ We are all related

Antelope Animal Totem Medicine

The lesson from Antelope is Action. It is said that when time was just beginning and the “Tribe of Man” was still small, Antelope could see that the two-leggeds were naked, hungry, and in danger of fading from existence. Our Ancestors could vanish from Mother Earth if action was not taken.

Antelope acted and went into camp.  He called all the two-leggeds together for Council.

“Great Spirit has sent me to teach you a lesson. The lesson is to do.  There is no reason to be fearful if you know what to do and then do it.”  Antelope said.

“And what should we do?” the People asked.

“If you are naked and cold, you should kill me and take my coat to keep you warm.  It is my gift to you.  Do it.”

“We will, ” said the People. “But what about our hunger? We are starving. What should we do to save ourselves?

“If you are hungry, you should kill me and take my flesh.  It will nourish you and make you strong.  It is my gift to you and a part of my evolution. It is my service.  Do it.”

You see, Antelope knew that the humans would survive the Ice Age if they learned to eat meat. Before the great mountains of ice began to move across Mother Earth, fruits and vegetables had been plentiful. There had been no need to eat from the bodies of the animals. The clans of the second world ate Antelope.  They took the wisdom and instinct of the four-leggeds into their bodies and learned from each creature’s essence how to survive.  They were taught never to waste or to take more than they needed. When they were in need the two-leggeds knew to take action.

Antelope taught humans to honor the gifts sent from the Great Spirit  and to avoid the indiscriminate destruction of life.

Antelope signifies knowledgeable action. Observing brother Antelope, you become aware of your mortality and the short time span you have on this planet. Antelope medicine is the knowledge of life’s circle. Knowing of death, Antelope can truly live. Action is the key and essence of living.

Antelope medicine gives you strength of mind and heart and the ability to take quick and decisive action to get things done.

“Do it now. Don’t wait any longer.” says Brother Antelope.

~Mitakuye Oyasin~ We are all related

Native American Basket Symbols

Have you ever wondered what the Native American basket symbols mean when you see them? Sometimes it seems obvious if the symbol is of an animal, although the meaning might be different than you might expect. I just saw a most incredible collection of Native American baskets and it gave me the idea for this post. I have listed some of the meanings that I have found and hope that you find them interesting.

frog basket symbol

Feathers: A single feather on a basket would designate honor or it is also the symbol for prayers. A circle of feathers woven into a basket symbolizes the sun and also our Creator.

Frog: If a frog is woven into the basket design it represents fertility and also the season of Spring.

Bear: If the weaver placed a bear in their basket design it represents power and strength along with it being the symbol of leadership.

Deer: When sister or brother deer has been woven into the design of a basket it represents the protector of the home along with being the symbol for sacrifice.

Turtle: Weaving a turtle into the basket design represents a long life and can also be placed in a design to annoy Coyote (the trickster) who does not appreciate the slow and steady progress of brother turtle.

Apache Basketry

Apache Basketry

Whirling Logs: Often times the Whirling Logs are misinterpreted to be a swastika. The direction is reversed in the whirling logs design and actually signifies the circle of life and the four seasons of the year. If you look closely you can see one in the Apache basket above.

Certainly, there are many symbols that are found in Native American basket designs. I just touched on the ones that I see the most often in my encounters. Perhaps you can share with us a symbol in a basket that you are familiar with and what it represents. Feel free to leave it in a comment below.

~Mitakuye Oyasin~ We are all related

Native American Give Away Ceremony

A sacred path lesson that is worth noting at this time of year is the Native American tradition known as the Give-Away Ceremony. Some traditions called it the Potlatch Ceremony and it may have had other names throughout history but the sacred lesson is the same no matter what the name. It is the practice of giving away useful and even beloved possessions to others. Not with the thought of having strings attached to the gift or having regrets from having given the gift but to sacrifice something important to ourselves in order to allow for personal growth in the future.

World governments do not necessarily understand this concept but the Native Americans and other cultures have throughout the centuries. There is a shame to be owned by those of us who are not willing to help those less fortunate than us. I am not talking about giving away useless or broken items but things that would benefit someone else and be a sacrifice on our part. That does not necessarily mean monetary gifts, either. It can be an item that still has a good potential for use but we are not using it any longer. It is a way to honor both the item and the person who will use it now. The Give-Away is a way for us to release encumbrances that block our forward movement in personal growth.

Have you heard the term “indian giver”? It is a term that the Europeans used because they misunderstood the Native American tradition of the Give-Away. It was considered perfectly fine to take back a gift if the gift was not being used by the person it was given to. Not using it was a sign of disrespect. So, the First Peoples had no qualms of taking back a gift and giving it to someone who would show it respect and use it.

Many Ponies

Many Ponies
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Native Tradition has always been one of sharing what one has. No one is ever abandoned, orphaned, or left without the necessities of life like food, shelter, and help. When the People share all that they have then honor and abundance is provided for all. There is no rationale for some people to live in luxury while others of the tribe are starving. Isn’t there a lesson there that we can all learn from?

If you were drawn to this post today, you may be in need of the reminder that sometimes we need to let go or release ourselves from the things in life that are stifling our growth. It could be old ideas, habits, or belongings that we need to release from our mindset. Just let them go. Sometimes even attitudes that we have allowed ourselves to keep, like a need to be needed by others, is a piece that we need to give away, let go of, and allow ourselves to grow. We need to drop the fear of scarcity from our minds and learn to trust that the Great Spirit will take care of us with exactly what we need and not necessarily what we thing we want.

~Mitakuye Oyasin~ We are all related

Weaves The Web Mother Of The October Moon

The Clan Mother of the October Moon is Weaves The Web who is the Mother of Creativity. This Creatress is also known as the Manifester of Dreams and brings visions into reality. The Mother of the October Moon is the Guardian of Life Force and teaches women to give birth to their dreams. She is also the Keeper of our Survival Instinct and the Mother of the Creative and or Destructive within us.

Weaves The Web is one of the Thirteen Original Clan Mothers and one that I hold dear to my own heart. As the Mother of the October Moon she teaches us how to employ our innate desire to create in such a way that we can make our dreams into a substantive form or a reality.

We learn how to use our energy to build or possibly change our needs by tapping into our very Life Force from Weaves The Web. She teaches us how to bring life to our visions through our actions and our artistic talents.


Deborah Hiatt

The message from the Mother of the October Moon that speaks the most to me is her lesson of how to create something new from something old. Most of all her message of destroying the restrictions we have put within our hearts that limit our own creativity. We humans often put limits on ourselves in so many aspects of our lives and we must learn to let them go so that we can grow in a healthy way. In order to do this, we must look at the truths within ourselves. Weaves The Web, the Clan Mother of the October Moon teaches us to always Work With Truth. I love this message, don’t you?

~Mitakuye Oyasin~ We are all related