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Sunday, May 03, 2009

Sunday Morning: Magpies, Flutes

I've been researching several different avenues of thought while working on my most recent "project". Thinking back to two weeks previous when I was ready to resign myself to letting this project slip, considering myself having had some sort of abnormality hit my ability to put cohesive ideas together, you know even a sentence was an elusive unattainable goal.

My circumstance had deteriorated to the point nothing short of resigning myself to failure seemed imminent. Here I am a short time further down the road to death, time capriciously dragging me along with its usual cold and unrelenting way, at a point of possible relief. I have found a new muse and that muse is working wonders for me. It's what it takes with me, finding that particular shiny thing that will make me tick, thrill with the stimulation. It's like this with me each time I find a new, real object of brilliance.

Sometimes I drive myself and everyone around me completely on the highway to crazy - please don't let me get blocked or I really swing off balance. Yes, and in reference to that highway to crazy, anyone who knows me understands that highway is simply one on-ramp ahead.

For my project research I've been wandering into an area that hits close to familial ties. My father is part Blackfoot, to clarify, and my new writing project has been taking me down the roads into that history. I knew that the Native Americans developed something quite similar to the Western Zodiac and the Chinese Zodiac - utilizing animals in nature as the assigned 'totem' of persons born with specific time periods. I simply had not ever looked into that - but with my new story it fit, will enliven the vibe.

Anyway, late last night while up hitting the keys I discovered this site that lays out individual animal totems. Of course I had to find out mine. Unsurprising to me, yet to my delight, I'm a Magpie. Anyone who knows me will completely understand this correlation. One of my long-time favorite descriptive words, shiny. It's how things that capture my attention and adoration appear to me. Hell it's how I seemingly find people, fall into adventures and wallow into interests. A light jumps out at me, I just 'know' - and I'm right more often than wrong. It may not mean that shiny thing is something of absolute greatness but they fit somehow, will bring things to me that will, in the scheme of the Big Real, work in positive ways.

Interesting for me, regardless of whether or not it has to do with anything, I also have an alarming amount of black and white apparel in my everyday wardrobe. My favorite store, White House Black Market.

According to the article I located:
Magpie symbolic meanings are numerous and varied. This stands to reason because the magpie herself is a varied creature. Her colorful character is a delight to observe with symbolic eyes because she is so unpredictable, high-spirited and expressive.
Among her many common attributes, here are a few magpie symbolic meanings:
* opportunistic
* intellect
* perceptive
* flashy
* refined
* communicative
* social
* deceptive
* illusion
* expressive
* willful

The magpie's speech is symbolic of communication and creative expression. When we hear the magpie speak it is a message to us that we might need to listen to what is being spoken to us - listen with more attention. The chatter of the magpie is also a symbolic message that we may need to speak our minds more clearly....speak up, express our opinions, be creative with our spoken words.

The magpie's obsession with shiny things is symbolic of our tendency to chase after false ideas or perceptions.
(that's sort of freaky) When the magpie comes into our lives it is often a reminder that we may have to re-evaluate our priorities. Are we chasing after unsuitable desires? Are we serving a false ideal? Are we putting materialism ahead of matters of the soul?

The magpie builds its home in the thickest "V" of trees. Forks or V's in nature are symbolic of gateways or paths into the spirit realm. In this fashion, the magpie asks us about our level of spiritual perception. Specifically, the magpie asks to keep an open mind in matters of the spirit. She also asks us where our spiritual foundation is and encourages us to open the gateways of higher (spiritual) vision.

Her plumage is also symbolic. With striking colouration, the magpie is symbolic of flamboyance, expression, and glamour. When we see her, we do a double-take because her appearance commands our attention. This is a message for us to not hide ourselves away from the world. The magpie beckons us to reveal our brilliance (physical and otherwise) to the world. We are each composed of incredible beauty and grace - the magpie is a reminder that we must express these attributes outwardly in a glamorous display just as she does.

And just when we get to know the symbolic meaning of the magpie, she eludes us and leaves us guessing what she's all about. In nature she has been known to be shy and reclusive - yet in cities she is noted to be extremely sociable with humans. Typically, she is a scavenger...but she has also been witnessed taking down small birds and rodents - acting as a bird of prey (which is not her classification).

These and other oddities in her behavior are symbolic of illusion and perception. The magpie's message here is that not all things are what they appear to be, and we should not set our judgements in stone. Further, this aspect of the magpie is a message that we do not have to be bound to perceptions. In other words, we may want to consider departing from our habitual behaviors and avoid being type-caste into a specific role. In ancient European cultures the magpie is said to predict omens.

Magpie symbolic meanings take on a brighter note in the East, where the Chinese regard the magpie as a good luck symbol, joy, marital bliss, sexual happiness, and long lasting fortune. When the Chinese hear the cry of a magpie it is said to be an announcement of the arrival of friends and family.

The ancient Roman's viewed the magpie as a creature of high intellect and reasoning powers. She is also an attribute of Bacchus, the God of wine.
(Now that's funny I bought this lovely bottle of Chilean merlot the other night, we had to drink the entire thing. I love good wine.)

In Native American animal lore, the magpie was also viewed as having intellect. However, more often than not she was faulted for trickery and her intelligence was typically used in deceptive schemes. She cannot be judged too harshly though because her tricks are always played out with a light-hearted, good-natured intention.

As you can see, the magpie symbolic meanings are as diverse and colorful as the magpie herself. Her messages are many, and she gives them to us with a free and happy heart.

Interesting - here is the website Magpie descriptor. To locate your animal totem if you're so inclined, Native American Animal Totems

I have a cousin who makes and plays High Spirit wooden flutes featured playing in the below video. There has always been someone in the family who has created them. My grandfather made archery bows that were wooden works of art. Certain things stay with you no matter how far you roam in this world from your family, your roots. I may resemble my Scandinavian mother a bit more than my father but there is something within me that vibrates to the sound of the wooden flutes.

A music video to fit the mood for this Sunday morning and my last night's writing. Now I'm off to go light some pinion in the Chiminea on the porch and have a cup of green tea. My idea of church.


  1. jerseyirish6:55 PM

    Sunny, Interesting family background info, glad the muses visited and gave you the inspiration to write. Played the flute as a child a regular one, always loved the sound of it, still do today. In our school district a 3rd grade requirment is that they learn to play a wooden flute-a-phone. At the end of the school year the 3rd graders put on a spring concert playing their flutes. Son hated it, daughter loved it


  2. JI, this is something I don't do much of, but plan to more. Was in a cool state of mind when I wrote it, was up since 3:00 a.m. writing. I'm working on a story that I've stalled around on for a while but really want to do. Events have transpired recently that have prompted inspiration and so I'm moving forward with it.

    I have a varied family background. Interesting childhood you could say. lol My cousin in Southern Utah makes these flutes and plays them in festivals and Native events.

  3. Fantastic post, my friend. Fantastic and fascinating. First of all, I wholly agree with your idea of "church". I have rarely found greater spiritual sense than when surrounded by the sounds of the Earth, comfortable in my own skin.

    I agree with the capricious nature of your Muse, and I know the feeling of being unable to string together two words, let alone sentences. I've found though, as I "force" myself to just sit down and write, that the more often I do so, the more my Muse comes and settles in with me. It has surprised me on more than one occasion, I always had the assumption I needed Muse there first, before I thought the first word...

    Thank you so much for the insight into YOU. It's always a special opportunity for me to get personal and find out more about the fuel behind the fire. I love learning about people, what inspires them, and why it does so. Thanks for putting it all there and being open to the experience.

    Lastly, THANK YOU for putting up the link to the totem site! I'm a Wolf ... something that I'm completely suprised and delighted by!!