Thursday, January 7, 2016

Owl Medicine - A lot happens in the silence...

"A wise old owl sat in an oak;
The more he saw the less he spoke;
The less he spoke the more he heard;
Why can’t we all be like that wise old bird?'

I have always been fascinated by owls and by the idea that humans will feel certain connections to the animal world at different times in their life. This knowledge is old and sacred and has been taught to me by the people I have been blessed to know from the First Nations, who have always understood this and held reverence for life and the natural world.

For example, the bear and the wolf are two animals around which I hold a strong affinity. As a little girl if I couldn't get to sleep at night I would imagine myself surrounded by bear cubs and for some reason this comforted me enough so that I could drift into sleep. Truth be told, even as an adult, on those long nights when insomnia takes hold, my mind will once again turn to the comfort of bears. And as an adult, the mother bear in me shows her face frequently in my need to keep the people close to me safe, well fed, and comfortable.

The wolf, on the other hand, is an animal I have always felt a strong need to protect. Ever since my grade 5 class was shown a documentary on the extermination of these clever and loyal creatures (during which I broke down and cried inconsolably for a half hour after the movie ended), I've been on a mission to educate people about the fact that wolves are neither big nor bad but more likely, misunderstood.

But it's only recently that I've become connected to the medicine of owls and the possibility that it's been owl I've most related to all along. Owl is nocturnal and sees in the dark. Owl sees things others can't. Owl is predatory, but only in such a way that ensures her own survival. Owl listens more and talks less. For years I felt the need to fill silence. To entertain with the part of my personality that relates to the otter, but it's only recently that I've begun to realize that my true nature is silence. And observation. Getting out of my own way so that I can go about the business of listening to the world around me instead of drowning it out with my voice.

I am a teacher, but I am also a student. And I realize now that I will never learn when I speak. I only learn when I listen.

And so my reminder for today is to be more like the owl because a lot happens in the silence.

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