Monday, April 2, 2012

Big Bird Wings & the White Crane


During the big bird wings of Kundalini yoga (which I wrote about here), I often tell my students to see if a bird presents itself.  Sometimes we even yell birds out.  I tease them that my hawk will eat all of their song birds so they better fly faster.

I have, for as long as I can recall, seen a Red Tail Hawk during this particular Kundalini practice.  Years ago, I had a direct experience with a Red Tail, and according to totem animal medicine, a Red Tail is rare in that it is a forever totem.  It stays with you for life.

About six months ago or so, I noticed -- and this startled me -- that I was not seeing a Hawk at all but a large white bird.

A large, white crane to be exact.

Here's the thing: I can have the most mundane interaction with a bird and I immediately look up its totem significance.  It's just one of my little obsessions.

But I didn't look up the crane.

And I kept getting the crane during big bird wings...which I do many times a week.

Then a couple of Saturdays ago, I drove to Buffalo and attended a beautiful day workshop hosted by Graciel.

At the far end of the room, there was a little altar area set up and I walked over, attracted to the Our Lady of Guadalupe card that Graciel had brought.  She told me that she wasn't intending to bring it, but that the card had fallen off its place twice that morning while she was getting ready.

So she brought it for me.

But it was what was underneath Guady that really caught my attention.

See that print up there?

It's three women dancing in water...

With a crane.

Yep.  So I texted Marcy and told her to write me a big note for my desk: LOOK UP CRANES.

Finally, I am reading about crane and came across this:

Long revered in Oriental culture as a symbol of good fortune and longevity. Graceful and fluid in movement the Crane is a reminder for us to be aware of the beauty and potential within our own physical bodies. To juxtapose this grace, the Crane is a vicious fighter when defending its young or territory. This trait was also admired and observed in martial arts. And so, with its capability of vicious defense along with its grace and beauty, the crane is a perfect symbol of balance.  (source)

I love that grace and the ability to fight are put together here.  It seems more real to me than a lot of what passes for "spirituality" lately -- the beliefs that seem to deny our ability for violence, and thus, I fear, make our shadow side stronger than ever.

And working with the shadow is something I have, lately, been encouraging more in my students, and so it makes sense that crane has come for a visit. (It turns out that it could be a long term visitor. According to totem lore, the crane's lesson can take two or three years to really be learned.)

If you encounter birds and would like to read more about totems, go here.