In feathered robes the choir collects;
until one Singer interjects…
“I am a common guest
at houses around the globe,
yet I am seldom noticed
in my drab and earthy robe.
Appearances are deceiving,
and size is no measure of worth.
Accept no less than your true value
for nobility can be found in those of basest birth.
Awaken and give voice to joy
that wells from heart and throat!
Assertion, humility, co-operation and hard work
will help you hit the highest notes.”
The next voice arises
like an amiable shout.
This Teacher keeps Truth
from simply flickering out…
“Do you accept Truth with a smile?
Or do you deny, hide and pout?
It can sometimes seem brutal,
but that is not what Truth is really about…
Truth is a Joy,
lying hidden in plain sight!
Truth is a Healer,
that can set all broken things aright.
Truth is a Warden
freeing you from bonds you didn’t even see.
Put on your black cap of Wisdom, and think hard
upon the truths Mother shares with thee!
Expressing Truth, like a cheery song,
is one small lesson that you may learn from me.
Modest scholar and Teacher,
robed in black and white…
Great ideas begin as small inspirations,
and Truth shared should be a welcome light."
*A third voice lifts in liquid song.
Hooded in black, cloaked in gray,
Wisdom hidden ‘neath it’s scarlet vest,
hear now what this Teacher has to say…
“Do you feel challenged by Change?
Without it, your garden would not grow!
I’ll help you plant new seeds of thought,
and tell you when to strive for the next
Compassion drove me onto the thorns,
that his torturous crown I might relieve.
I may teach you to manifest Creator’s will
in all you that you say, do, or believe.
Knight Errant for the lovely Springtime,
I herald Renewal,
Joyous Change and
manifesting the will Sublime."*
A brash fourth completes this Quartet,
bearing lessons we best not forget!
“Like the Magician, I teach you
how to bring your tools to bear…
to balance between this world,
and the blue road of spirit, with tenacity and care…
How to use in proportion
your talents, learning, and intuition…
that you may reach your full potential
and become a virtuoso musician!
Although I sing of universal powers
and spiritual connection between
paternal Sky and maternal Earth…
I am a Robber Baron and few see my true worth..
My song is seldom held in high esteem…
my expression is oft perceived as an agitated scream!"
From first light to last
these Singers are there…
playing their games.
Who can tell me their names?
“The important thing is this: To be able at any moment to sacrifice what we are for what we could become.” Charles Dubois
“Look at him. Cheeky little blighter. I can’t think why, but he’s decided to make friends with you.” Ben Weatherstaff from The Secret Garden (film)
“His red waistcoat was like satin and he puffed his tiny breast out and was so fine and so grand and so pretty that it was really as if he were showing her how important and like a human person a robin could be. Mistress Mary forgot that she had ever been contrary in her life when he allowed her to draw closer and closer to him, and bend down and talk and try to make something like robin sounds.” excerpt from Frances Hodgson Burnett’s The Secret Garden
The American Robin is a member of the Thrush family which includes: wood thrushes, bluebirds, common blackbirds, African thrushes, desert wheatears, European robins, mistle thrush, laughing thrush, and a wide variety of other thrushes of various names. As always, the entire family should be examined by those who feel called by the Robin, as well as any other potential balancing energies.
Robins are, perhaps, the most common symbol of the arrival of Spring and the coming of new life. Curiously enough, the American Robin often winters over in the same area in which they build nests with the coming of warmer weather and greater food supply. They simply spend more time in the trees than on our lawns where we are used to seeing them. Here in the USA, only robins who nest in areas with particularly harsh winters and low food supplies during that season will actually fly off somewhere else for the season.
Typically, robins gather together in large flocks during the winter and roost together. Hundreds of robins can share a winter roost, and we often don’t recognize them when seen in this large a gathering. In the summer during nesting, females typically sleep in the nest while males gather in likely roosting spots. After nesting, females will join the males in sharing the communal roost.
“Awake, thou wintry earth -
Fling off thy sadness!
Fair vernal flowers, laugh forth
Your ancient gladness!” Thomas Blackburn
“If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant; if we did not sometimes taste of adversity, prosperity would not be so welcome.” Anne Bradstreet
“No matter how long the winter, spring is sure to follow.” Proverb
So, while the Robin symbolizes the coming of Spring and new growth in our lives, it also speaks to us about the courage needed to weather the Winter and achieve the metaphorical Spring we seek. The Robin teaches us to gather together as a community during the harsh and lean times. His red breast is a symbolic “fire in the belly” that speaks of the ambition needed to achieve any new growth. The humble Robin can also symbolize Sacrifice, Passion and Creativity. Perhaps the most common tale as to how the Robin received his red waistcoat says that he was present when they crucified Jesus Christ. Seeing the cruel crown of thorns, the little Robin was inspired to try to remove the awful crown and drove himself onto the thorns trying to get a grip. This is the kind of Compassion, selfless Sacrifice and fiery Creativity that Robin symbolizes. This story also links our modest Teacher to the love, wisdom and spiritual teachings of Christ.
Through Sacrifice, Passion, Creativity, Faith in both Self and Creator, and steadfast Courage even in our darkest hour we will achieve new growth in all areas of our lives, especially spiritual growth. This Teacher asks us to incorporate these elements into our daily lives. This herald of Spring tells us that these elements synonymous with Spring are always present in our lives, even when we are in the midst of Winter and cannot see them.
“Sweat plus sacrifice equals success.” Charlie Finley
“There is one armor that the world of men and women, as a world, has never yet put on. The churches have long bungled with its fastenings, but the world has gone untended, and few have been those in whose hands the mystical sword of the spirit has shone with daily use. This armor, waiting to be worn, is the armor of brotherhood and sacrifice, the world of unselfishness, a conquering sword, with the power, where used, to unite the world in love. And there are none who may not put it on. " M.A. DeWolfe Howe
“Passion is universal humanity. Without it religion, history, romance and art would be useless.” Honoré de Balzac
Earthworms are a favored food especially important during nesting. Curiously, the Robin will eat different types of food at different times of the day. Earthworms and other insects are eaten during the early part of the day, while fruit is favored later in the day. Particular attention should be paid to Earthworm and it’s relationship to the Robin as they are key balancing energies, and their messages resonate well together.
Most songbirds lay their eggs at daybreak, but the little Robin typically lays her blue eggs late in the morning or even early afternoon! While an American Robin can produce three successful broods in one year, only about 40% of robin nests successfully produce young. 25% of fledglings survive until November, and after that point only about half of the remaining number will survive to the next year! Lucky robins can live to be 14 years old in the wild, but this plucky bird faces many dangers and predators.
Because they do so much foraging on lawns, they are particularly susceptible to poisoning from chemicals. In fact, the Robin was a key indicator for the dangers of DDT, which sometimes poisoned birds outright, but also weakened the shells of their eggs, resulting in fewer hatchlings. This bird was instrumental in bringing the use of this dangerous spray to an end, and he asks us to be more green in gardening and lawn-care habits, as well as daily life in general. There are many perfectly good methods for pest control that require not a single harmful chemical, and in the end, we all would benefit by adopting a more eco-friendly approach.
“Man’s heart away from nature becomes hard.” Luther Standing Bear
“Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves.” John Muir
“Gardening is about enjoying the smell of things growing in the soil, getting dirty without feeling guilty, and generally taking the time to soak up a little peace and serenity.” Lindley Karstens
Robins may lay anywhere from 2-5 eggs that take about two weeks to hatch and another 15 days or so to fledge out the young. This Teacher often appears to us in his capacity as a messenger to tell us of time of potential growth coming to our lives that will typically last around two weeks. Major changes can take up to 6 years according to this Teacher as this is how long it takes for a Robin population to completely turn over.
These birds are often observed “listening” for worms. Everyone has seen flocks of robins scattered across a lawn, heads cocked as they hop about looking for a meal. Actually, they are watching the ground for the tiny movements that indicate a worm is traveling close to the surface. This is a reminder to pay attention to fine details if we wish our efforts to yield the greatest reward. Robin encourages us, always, to be positively involved with the Earth; to dig, plant, garden. In this way, our road to renewal, spiritual or otherwise, will unfold naturally and with the greatest blessings.
“Bearing His cross, while Christ passed forth forlorn, His God-like forehead by the mock crown torn,
A little bird took from that crown one thorn.
To soothe the dear Redeemer’s throbbing head, That bird did what she could; His blood, ’tis said,
Down dropping, dyed her tender bosom red.
Since then no wanton boy disturbs her nest;
Weasel nor wild cat will her young molest;
All sacred deem the bird of ruddy breast.” Hoskyns-Abrahall, The Redbreast- A Breton Legend in “English Lyrics”
“Thus wandered these poor innocents,
Till death did end their grief;
In one another’s arms they died,
As wanting due relief;
No burial this pretty pair
Of any man receives,
Till Robin Redbreast piously
Did cover them with leaves.” Babes in the Woods
“A robin feathering his nest
Has very little time to rest
Whilst gathering his bits of twine and twig
Though quite intent in his pursuit
He has a merry tune to toot
He knows a song
Will move the job along.” Spoonful of Sugar lyrics
The European Robin was sacred to Thor and considered a storm bird. In the lore of the British Isles, it is generally considered to be very bad luck to kill a robin. The hands that kill a robin will never stop shaking or may grow a suspicious lump, and whomever breaks the eggs of a robin will find something of their own broken soon after. Which is why all the other Birds were so upset in that old Mother Goose nursery rhyme, “Who Killed Cock Robin?”, although it is believed by some that this poem actually refers to the death of Robin Hood.
Robins have tapped upon windows to warn of Death, and have tenderly covered the bodies of those who have died with leaves in many tales and poems over the years. People have made wishes upon the first robin sighted each Spring, and have foretold weather by a singing robins position. Linked to Robin Hood and King Arthur, it was the bold and friendly Robin who helps set in motion all the great changes, healing, and awakenings that occur in Frances Hodgson Burnett’s The Secret Garden. Without him, Mary might never have found a way into the Garden, nor any of them finally attained the healing each so desperately needed. Robins claim and defend their territory through song first, and most territory disputes don’t go beyond a battle of sound. Their loud distinct song lets everyone know that this bit belongs to Robin and he will defend it if necessary. This reminds us to be loud and clear in our intentions, and our boundaries. Robin reminds us of the importance of setting up a Sacred Space for ourselves in which to commune with Creator, Nature and All Our Relations. This bold little Singer reminds us of the strength to be found in lifting our own voices in song too, not least of which is the encouragement of new growth in all areas of our life. How does this humble and compassionate Teacher appear in your life?
“If I can stop one heart from breaking, I shall not live in vain. If I can ease one life the aching, or cool one pain, or help one fainting robin unto his nest again, I shall not live in vain.” Emily Dickinson
“And it was like that with Colin when he first saw and heard and felt the Springtime inside the four high walls of a hidden garden. That afternoon the whole world seemed to devote itself to being perfect and radiantly beautiful and kind to one boy. Perhaps out of pure heavenly goodness the spring came and crowned everything it possibly could into that one place.” The Secret Garden
“The spell was broken. My uncle learned to laugh, and I learned to cry. The secret garden is always open now. Open, and awake, and alive. If you look the right way, you can see that the whole world is a garden.” Mary Lennox from The Secret Garden
Potential Balancing Energies
Crow/Raven , Sparrow , Chickadee , thrushes, towhees, wrens and other birds, Cricket/Grasshopper, Grasses, Blackberry/Raspberry and other small fruits, Hawk, Earthworm, Snake , Owl , Cat, Trees like Pine , Cottonwood , Oak , Apple , Rowan/Mt Ash , Cherry, Dogwood, Chokecherry, Hawthorn, Juniper, Honeysuckle, snails, Dragonfly , Bees , Flies , and other insects, Spider , Lepidoptera (Butterflies and caterpillars) , Squirrels and Chipmunks, Bobcat, Raccoon, Fox, Roses , Sunflower , Asclepias and other plants
Key Concepts: Renewal, Life/Death/Rebirth cycle, Sacred Heart, Compassion, Sacrifice, connection to Earth, Conservation, Passion, Creativity, Courage, Faith, defining Sacred Space, Healing, Inner Strength, Fortune, Natural Order/Law/Magic
Associated with : Jesus, Robin Hood, Puck and Fae energy, Pan, Cernunnos, Thor, Taranis, Winter Solstice, Vali, Pashupati, Veles, Pachacamac
Each Who Sings Now? poem is inspired by a Teacher found in Nature; tree, stone, animal, plant, etc. All Our Relations are still willing to teach anyone willing to gratefully listen. Nothing is ever truly lost as long as there is still someone willing to look for it. This particular poem looks at several feathered Teachers that can be found around the world. Today’s Singer is highlighted within this Choir in bold text. Can you guess who is singing?