The Contemporary New England Witch

The Contemporary New England Witch
Author Ms.Faith

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Squirrels, crows, chipmunks & deer - Pests or a lesson for us from Mother Nature? One witch's opinion

 Good Evening,

Tonight I want to talk to you about nature and our role of co-existing within it.  For that is what we do, co-exist with the natural world around us.  Whether we grow a lawn of deep, lush green grass or grow a plant indoors, have pets we care for or the squirrels and chipmunks we slow down for on the roads, we live on this glorious planet with all the animals and birds  as our neighbors.

Many of nature's wild creatures never come within our living area but as we continue to develop more and more land, turning forests and woodlots into neighborhoods and backyards as we also attempt to assert our standards of control over the land we now claim as ours. 

We can drive by hundreds of acres of wooded land that borders our roadways, at least in New England, and give nary a thought to the little furry creatures scampering amongst the dried leaves and underbrush as we pass. Yet let us develop some of that same forest and put in a yard, pretty ornamental trees and hang up a bird feeder or two, well, then suddenly those same furry, little woodland creatures become Public Enemy No 1. 

Don't misunderstand me, I eat meat and eggs, fish and fowl, but seldom do those who dislike the little squirrels and chipmunks care to eat them. They just find them a nuisance and want them rid of.  People either like or dislike deer, squirrels, crows, chipmunks, snakes, possums, woodchucks, rabbits and mice.  People will shoot, poison, trap, beat and drown these 'pests' without a second thought, but would be horrified themselves if anyone abused a dog or cat.

I'm not telling you, gentle reader, what to do, if anything in these situations. That's entirely up to you.  I'm just making some simple observations. Perhaps to people who would kill them,  these wild animals lives mean less because they are smaller? Not 'domesticated', or they are 'wild?', scary or foreign to what we are comfortable with? I don't know. 

I know for me, I grew up in the country. We had all sorts of wild life around us always. We had squirrels scampering in the trees, chipmunks playing on the stone walls, all sorts of birds at the feeders including the crows and black birds and deer, woodchucks, possum, skunks and mice around. 

We had tad poles, frogs, turtles even gigantic prehistoric looking snapping turtles, quail, wild turkey, partridge and once I had the experience of an incredible, huge snowy white owl fly right over my head while walking deep in the woods one day.  I grew up around all of these creatures of nature and always felt as if I fit in with the natural world around me, not the commonly held belief that the natural world should fit in with my world.

I've often thought it would be difficult for me to live in the heart of a major city.  Not having nature just outside my door would be a big challenge for me. I often look about me and see what types of animals are around me that day, then I look up the 'animal medicine' or totem of the various creatures. 

The term 'animal medicine' is a Native American term that refers to the natural magickal properties of each animal and these magickal properties can be correlated to you and your energies the day you spot one of these animals.  We can  learn a lot from animals, nature and the natural world around us, if we would but take a moment to observe and listen. 

For instance the animal medicine or magickal properties squirrel brings into our lives is  'Gathering'. The squirrel is the boy scout of the animal world, always prepared. Squirrel medicine teaches us to gather and collect our energy and strength for times of stress and crisis.  Squirrel also teaches us steadfast dedication to gathering and putting away for the cold winter months, to prepare for the lean times by putting away enough in times of abundance.  As many will notice, determination and perseverance are also strong traits of the squirrel, who will not give up when searching out a new food source or trying to figure out a squirrel proof feeder.  They are also very intelligent and have a complex communication system amongst other squirrels. 

I saw a documentary several years ago that depicted the attempts of engineers and scientists to develop an obstacle course that had to be followed precisely for a squirrel to 'break the code' and get to the food source.  This obstacle course by the end of the experiment was extremely difficult with ladders needing to be climbed, little cars driven along plastic tube roads and ropes to be shimmied. The squirrel needed to go through many complex, difficult problem solving situations before they were rewarded with the food reward, peanuts (which they love above all else!) and though some of the obstacle courses designed by the scientists took a month or more for a squirrel to 'break the code' the amazing thing is after one squirrel figured it out, in less than 24 hours every other squirrel in the neighborhood was also able to negotiate the obstacle course to get to the reward, proving to scientists that squirrels have a complex, advanced communication system with one another, that we are just starting to appreciate. 

Seriously folks, I know people who can't follow a simple set of directions with GPS!! Yet we treat squirrels as if they are simply furry vermin with no use or gifts for us. 

Chipmunks have gifts for us also, actually all animals can aide our existence if we can get down off of our 'top of the food chain which makes us better than every other living thing' pedestal  for a moment or two.  When Chipmunk appears in your life,  it is important to look at your home and completing projects around the house. Chipmunk builds a complex burrow that offers protection for their young with several exits and storage areas. Taking care of home projects and responsibilities is the medicine of Chipmunk.  Also Chipmunk teaches us to put away for a rainy day like squirrel, and this animal totem can teach us to read the voices of others, to know the truth and lies in their voices, teaching us to trust what we hear in their voice rather than their actual words.
Deer, beautiful and gentle (who didn't cry when Bambi's mother died?) teaches us gentleness, love and compassion for others, especially those with wounded spirits.  If you are fortunate enough to have deer in your yard, place deer feeders on the edge of your property to feed them. They are the larger of the animals found around these parts and we are crowding them out and starving them out with our gardens of flowers we selfishly refuse to share.  There are many deer resistant plants you can plant that will keep the deer just grazing the grass and leave your gardens alone. This takes effort and planning, as learning to co-exist with other beings may take effort, yet its worth it. I have not had a deer in my yard since I moved from the country over 30 years ago, and I sorely miss the sight of such gentle, beautiful creatures that only wish to exist in peace.

The Crow totem teaches us Law. The crow is the keeper of sacred law, Crow can bend the laws of the universe and shape shift. Crow teaches us to live our life according to our personal law, the rules which make us authentic. Crow causes us to see the differences between man's laws and sacred law, which are not the same. For the sake of this discussion human law allows us to eliminate these animals or 'pests' from our lives by killing with various methods all acceptable and according to man's laws. Yet sacred law asks me where I get the authority to take another's life, not to eat, nor to help with survival, to cloth or create shelter.  It asks me where I get the authority to eliminate  a living creature just because I don't wish it to be where I wish to be, thereby labeling it a nuisance, or perhaps it causes damage to buildings and structures. Ah, does that give me the right? Sacred law says no. 

I guess my point is, co-existing with other creatures on this earth isn't always easy. Should it be? Just because I am capable of taking an animals life with no consequences to me, because its easy, should I? 

I feel as humans with the abilities we have, that we have been given a tremendous responsibility to care for this earth and its creatures.  In many cases today, many of these creatures can no longer exist without us!

Perhaps our co-existing shouldn't be so easy, not when one is so obviously the dominant force thereby making the other less significant because we deem it so.  Hey, we've created an amazingly complex, advanced and technological civilization. We've surpassed every other civilization that has every existed when considering modern technology, science and medicine.  Shouldn't we put just a little bit more effort into trying to find a way to co-exist with animals and other creatures of nature?  For sadly, if we can't or can't be bothered to, then any hopes or prayers we have for world peace amongst humans is just a fantasy that we have no intention of ever fulfilling.

Peace and Happiness

Some of the information concerning animal totem medicine was taken from  these sources:

 Medicine Cards written by Jamie Sams & David Carson published by St. Martin's Press

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