Birds, Breath, Balance and Blessings
So let’s view our shoot-springing gardens with love and, as birds are our joy-bringers, with their chorus in our ears and our hearts. If we lost our oomph a little during tired February, let’s rediscover it through our fascination with the wonders of nature.
The joy of the swallow, whose return we await, was brought to life in a recent Touchstone article. The sight of the first swallow for the writer is a transcendent, ecstatic moment; and I second that. Knowing its superhuman(!) abilities – a 25gm bird which travels 200 miles per day and can fly at 69 mp, for goodness sake! – it seems miraculous that soon, when I pause in the park silently asking to see wonders, dozens of swallows will circle round my knees veering, rising and swooping… It is our private magical vortex, amazingly always invisible to the playground and dog-route users.
That joy to come reminds me to look now: yesterday, I felt almost voyeuristic seeing a blue tit fully engrossed in the most thorough bath I’ve ever witnessed; like the swallows’ flight, it was pure embodied joy. This is the nearest image I’ve found to the thrunging, de-grunging, splashing totality of what I saw.
At this time of balance, the avian world is in flux. Too late now to cut hedges in case we disturb them; better to watch their courtship rituals and birds flying with huge grasses and twigs as they start nest-building.
Join an evocation of early-morning spring in the next clip; be overwhelmed and imbued with the sounds and sights of the massing birds with this gentle, 3 minute expression of beauty; golden plover massing in the UK, on the border of England and Wales.
At this stage I usually remind everone that this mailing loves to sing and dance, so here’s a gentle ‘Lullaby of Spring’ from Donovan to sway to.
Birds will be laying soon, Easter with the eggs of Oestre approaches, and the world burgeons. And so can all the plans that we’ve been germinating over the cold, dark times. But a word to the wise – spring ecstacy can see us scattering our energies in all directions and achieving nothing! The previous clips are both gentle for a reason. Let’s balance that creative urge with our will: focus on one thing, break it down into small achievable stages, and carry it through to completion. And then on to the next. The days are getting longer; there is time for everything.
The Mythic Strain
Lastly, the Mabinogi reminds us that we can call on birds for our support.Throughout the four branches, the birds of Rhiannon can lull us into enchanted sleep, bringing deep peace to the afflicted. In the second branch Branwen daughter of Lir, was humiliated by her husband, the King of Ireland. But she trained a starling with kindness to take a message to her brother, the giant Bran, who set out to rescue her. Bran’s totem is the Raven, and Branwen means ‘White Raven.’
In the fourth branch of the Mabinogi the ancient king Math, son of Mathonwy, the holder of the harmonies, received messages from his kingdom from the winds – and presumably their messengers, the birds; just as the ravens Huginn and Muninn reported to Odin. The translation of their names is ‘thought’ and ‘memory’ which today we can send flying through our imaginations to gather all that we need to make our fresh paths clear.
Our corvids are most intelligent birds; they communicate with each other and are tool-makers, as we are; they are worthy of a mailshot all their own, but for the moment, I’ll leave you to google them – they’re fascinating! With all that guile and initiative, it’s no wonder that the chough, that Cornish red-legged corvid, is the totem bird of King Arthur. And it’s no wonder that birds of all descriptions can be our teachers as we look to them this month…
~Find your balance within; breathe; look outwards to nature; feel the inner and outer harnonising
- ~What messages have the birds for us? With a question in your mind, which bird do you notice? Decide which direction is your past and which your future and see which way they fly. Does their flight or what they do cast light on your question? It’s purely subjective, but every slowing and deepening thought connects us to our intuition
- ~Playfully, lightly, look up and notice all birds. Which flock, which squawk, which answer your whistle? ~Hoot at night and see if an owl answers
- ~Send your memory out like a raven; let it fly and weave patterns with thought – where will they take you? Trust others to pick up all that you do not pursue
- ~Breathe deep! Either instinctively or according to your usual practice
- ~Take the overview – see wide and clear like the birds, in visualisation or imagination
- ~Like a hawk, focus your will on a new project, until it’s firm in your grasp
- ~Sleep with open windows to be blessed with the dawn chorus
- ~In your feelings be a bird; light, flexible, beautiful, singing, coasting the thermals of your life to conserve your energy. Be busy and eager.
And most importantly, every time you take wing to become enlivened by possibilities that can only be viewed from a wider perspective, emulate the Lapwing and the Golden Plover you saw on the clip earlier – come back to earth; to your nest on the good earth, to nurture and grow your potential here and now, in every precious minute.