“Power echoes in
each beat I keep.
Summoned by Zeus,
I hide in Apollo’s hem,
watching from on high
as along the ground you creep.
I clutch Mother’s ancient bones, then
into the East Wind I leap!
I carry the whispered Wisdom
of Creator’s Will…
Inspire excellence in thought and deed…
Cleanse souls, evoke Justice and banish all Ill.
I carry like Lighting in my fists
and Thunder on my back!
Great Mystery leaves subtle tracks,
but, with me as your guide,
the path will be straight.
All is well within your grasp so
fear not Icarus’ fate!
Singed is better than fallen,
and life is best spent with a true mate."
Who sings now?
“We are obliged to respect, defend and maintain the common bonds of union and fellowship that exist among all members of the human race.” Marcus Tullius Cicero
“Keep your dreams alive! Understand to achieve anything requires Faith and Belief in yourself, vision, hard work, determination, and dedication. Remember, all things are possible for those who Believe.” Gail Devers
“One can never consent to creep when one feels an impulse to soar. " Helen Keller
“He clasps the crag with crooked hands;
Close to the sun in lonely lands,
Ringed with the azure world, he stands.
The wrinkled sea beneath him crawls;
He watches from his mountain walls,
and like a thunderbolt he falls.” Alfred, Lord Tennyson, “The Eagle”
Bald Eagles build their nests in tall sturdy trees and craggy inaccessible cliffs close to large bodies of open water like lakes, seacoasts, rivers and marshes. They have specific territories for nesting, winter feeding and year-round residence. In North America, it can be found from Alaska to California, from Maine to Florida. Those that live in Canada and Northern U.S. migrate to warmer climates during winter and those that live in southern U.S. will migrate north to find relief and better food during the hottest moths. About half of all of America’s Bald Eagles live in Alaska!
Eagles live up to 35 years in the wild and 50 in captivity. Fish, particularly Salmon, is the key food in their diet, although they will also eat: ducks, muskrats, turtles, rabbits, snakes, rats, other small mammals like squirrels, young of larger mammals like fawns, and carrion, although they are excellent hunters and seldom need to eat carrion. They can only fly with prey less than half their own body weight, although they have been known to swim to shore with larger salmon, using their wings like oars! Eagles have been known to drown from going after fish that were too large for them. Males weigh around 9 pounds and females around 12 pounds. As with other raptors, the female is larger as she protects the nest. Males bring the necessary items to construct the nest, but it is the female who actually puts it together. Eagles mate for life, and their courting displays involve aerial acrobatics which end in a mid-flight mating which can end in death for the couple. These are important factors to note when looking at it as a Totem.
“I, with a deeper instinct, choose a man who compels my strength, who makes enormous demands on me, who does not doubt my courage or my toughness, who does not believe me naive or innocent, who has the courage to treat me like a woman.” Anais Nin
“It takes a lot of courage to release the familiar and seemingly secure to embrace the new. But there is no real security in what is no longer meaningful. There is more security in the adventurous and exciting, for in movement there is life, and in change there is power.” Alan Cohen
“You cannot believe in honor until you have achieved it. Better keep yourself clean and bright; you are the window through which you must see the world.” Sir Walter Besant
Eagles mate for life. Courting behavior begins in early April, and 1-3 eggs are typically hatched between late May and early June. Eagle people need to pay particular attention to whom they choose as a life mate. Only a true equal will compliment or satisfy the loyal Eagle, and lesser mates will most likely result in a dramatic or traumatic relationship conclusion. Those early training feathers eaglets grow to assist them while learning how to fly indicates that Eagle people will have their own intense learning period in which to develop. They may feel awkward or more capable than their role models, but Eagle people must have a period in which they test their wings and learn to become proficient in however they choose on flying through their life. When it comes to nest-building, males are driven to provide all that the best materials, and females have a definite plan on how to set up their home and keep it in order. Both will be dissatisfied if they are not given control of these areas, even if they themselves don’t understand why they are upset.
“Children are remarkable for their intelligence and ardor, for their curiosity, their intolerance of shams, the clarity and ruthlessness of their vision.” Aldous Huxley
Eagle children often experience extremely difficult childhoods, and Eagle parents can experience all kinds of difficulties from loosing faith with their children to death in childbirth. Early challenges in the lives of Eagle people are necessary to develop the excellence and tempered spirit that marks all Eagle people. It takes Eagles five years to achieve their adult plumage, every feather must be earned. Such people are used to hardships, sacrifice, and the harsher realities of Life. Others may view them as aloof, cold, blunt, intimidating or remote because of these qualities, but Eagles care deeply about the World around them, especially those individuals that they have welcomed into their lives. Truth, honor, duty, order, peace, balance,service are all important to the Eagle, and they have an uncanny knack for seeing deeply into whatever they are looking at, to look beyond masks and see clearly Truth from Deception.
“Liberty is rendered even more precious by the recollection of servitude.” Cicero
“A life of peace, purity, and refinement leads to a calm and untroubled old age.” Cicero
“A mind without instruction can no more bear fruit than can a field, however fertile, without cultivation.” Cicero
“Faced with what is right, to leave it undone shows a lack of courage.” Confucius
In fact, Eagle people need to be actively caring for their World, whether this is through individuals or through greater works that affect many lives. It is a vital part of their spiritual make-up that keeps them healthy and happy. These intimidating and remote raptors are deeply feeling individuals, and others often do not realize just how deep an Eagle’s still waters run. It is not uncommon for feathery parent Eagles to suffer from “empty nest syndrome” by the end of each summer as their offspring take to the skies for themselves, for example. Eagle people are much the same, and need the loving kindness of their own loved ones to help them over painful transitions in the best way.
Their powerful talons are capable of exerting approximately 1,000 pounds of pressure per square inch in each foot, and they have also been known to kill prey or rivals by slamming into them midair at speeds up to 100 mph! Their large hooked beaks are designed for rending and tearing. As a Totem, this reminds us that Eagles need to be very careful about how and when they speak, for their words will be received with unusual power and are capable of tremendous damage. Likewise, Eagles need to know exactly what, when and where to grab at a situation or person for their grip is crushingly potent. Knowing when to let go can be a matter of life or death for Eagle people, for if you hold onto something too long, even that which you hold most dear… you will hit the ground at lethal speeds! Eagle people are potent communicators, both physically and spiritually. Even their prayers carry in a louder voice! Thus, they quickly learn to be careful what, how and when they speak. Eagles also reflect the power of Thunderbird, the Winds, and Storm energy.
“Just as the bird has to find the courage to let go of the branch in order to fly, so we also must let go of our branches if we are to know the exhilaration of soaring to the highest potential of our life. The branches we hold to are our inner attachments- our beliefs, ideas and memories. And then there are the outer attachments- people, possessions, positions, and privileges are a few. But as long as we hold on to them, we will live in fear (of letting go and loss) and we will never be free. And just watch those birds, by letting go of one branch they are able to spend the rest of their life alighting on a million branches… and they enjoy the view from each. Are you flying and soaring in your life? O are you stuck on one branch, cursing others as they fly past. Go on, try it… Let Go!” ~ Innerspace
Their scientific name, Haliaeetus leucocephalus, translates as “halo” sea, “aeetos” eagle, and “leukos” head. The word “bald” is an archaic term for the color white and does not refer to hair loss as it has come to mean today. So this raptor is defined as a large white-headed bird that lives by the sea. These mighty raptors have 7 foot wingspans, can fly up to altitudes of more than 10,000 feet, and can soar for hours on thermals and wind currents as they search for prey which they can see up to a mile away! Level flight speeds have been recorded at about 44 mph, and they prefer to descend gradually rather than perform a potentially lethal vertical dive. They are amazingly quiet in flight, and most often fly in low to take prey by surprise rather than dive from above. They are most noted for their tremendous soaring ability, keen sight, strength and majesty. Totemically, Eagle people are capable of reaching astounding heights. The sky, literally, is the limit! Don’t be afraid of flying too close to the sun to achieve your goals. You may get singed a bit by setting your goals so high, but ultimately you will attain them.
Golden Eagles are the only other eagle native to North America, although Natives did once refer to the Red Tail Hawk as the Red Eagle. It is one of 12 species of Eagle found worldwide, and there are six subspecies of Goldens that vary in size and plumage. The number 3 is a creation number and 3’s are important to eagle people. Golden Eagles prefer rugged terrain with abundant updrafts. It takes four years for them to achieve their adult plumage, again referring to an important learning period in one’s life, but also reminding us of the hidden 4th face of the Natural World that can represent all things Spiritual or Rebirth. Golden Eagles often make me think of the mythic Phoenix, and people called by this Teacher often find themselves going through a continuous forge of lessons and challenges in life that motivate them through a personal cycle of spiritual deaths and rebirths. This seems to be a vital piece of their soul journey through this life, and like all Eagles spiritual matters are of great importance to such people.
“Vision without action is a dream. Action without vision is simply passing the time. Action with Vision is making a positive difference.” Joel Barker
“Vision is the art of seeing what is invisible to others.” Jonathan Swift
“Vision looks inward and becomes duty. Vision looks outward and becomes aspiration. Vision looks upward and becomes faith.” Stephen S. Wise
Eagles are the carriers of visions, prophecies, divine messages, and prayers. At one time, the Golden Eagle lived in temperate Europe, Japan, Northern Asia, America and Africa. They are now predominantly mountain-dwellers but in earlier years they were so numerous that they were adapting to life in the plains and forests too. It is uplifting to note at this time that the lowland areas around Sweden and Denmark have begun to see eagles returning, and that efforts are being made to re-introduce this powerful Teacher back into Ireland where it has been extinct since about 1912. In April 2007, a pair of Golden Eagles produced the first chick to be hatched in the Republic of Ireland in nearly a century.
Golden Eagles can be trained for falconry and in Kyrgyzstan, they are still used to hunt foxes and wolves. The smaller Fox is usually killed outright by the eagle, but wolves are typically pinned down by the bird until the falconer can finish them off. While I personally don’t feel that either Foxes or Wolves typically need to be hunted, I do find this relationship between man, eagle and canine very interesting, and suggest that those called by Eagle also examine the Canine Teachers, as well as other potentially complimentary or balancing energies like Salmon, Trees, Storm, Skunk, Rabbit, Ground Hog, Crow, Grouse, Tortoise, or Snake. Special attention should be paid to Salmon as he is the Eagle’s main sustenance, and the link between Eagle and Bear Medicines. All three Teachers, Eagle Bear and Salmon, are held in equally high regard.
“Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty.” Thomas Jefferson
“When I dare to be powerful, to use my strength in the service of my vision, then it becomes less and less important whether I am afraid.” Goethe
“Rather fail with honor than succeed by fraud.” Sophocles
“It is in the character of very few men to honor without envy a friend who has prospered.” Eschylus
Elder Michael Thrasher once told D’Arcy Rheault that Eagle feathers have two sides. On one side is mind/intellect, body/movement and spirit/emotion. When these things are in balance a person is in balance. On the other side is institution/education in all it’s forms, process (the movement on one’s life path) and ceremony. When these things are in balance, a person’s life is also balanced. When these two sides are balanced there is good behavior and the Eagle flies. Of course, the Eagle doesn’t think about that. It just opens its wings and flies as Creator directs! For the Eagle’s protection, only those of proven Native descent are legally allowed to carry, use or wear a true Eagle feather. In these Traditions, to carry/use/wear an Eagle feather carries certain responsibilities and causes Creator to take immediate notice. The Eagle is Creator’s messenger and speaks with a louder voice than any other because of this Divine connection.
Those who carry such feathers must protect them, smudge them with sacred tobacco, wear or carry them to sacred ceremonies, and ensure that anything that changes the natural state of ones mind (like alcohol and drugs) must never come in contact with these sacred objects. To be given an Eagle feather is saying that this person is being acknowledged with gratitude, with love, and with ultimate respect. It is important to know these things. It is also important to remember that the feather of any bird can be held/used/carried not only for it’s own Teachings and strengths, but also serves as a connection to the Teachings and Powers of any other Avian Teacher. Did the humble Sparrow gift you with a perfect feather from it’s wing as it flew overhead from it’s nest? Then you may use the Sparrow’s gift to ask for Eagle’s puissant aid, Raven’s wisdom, Owl’s advice, etc etc. Ted Andrews is the author of several books including Animal Speak, in which he discusses at some length the care of one’s Feathers and how to connect to this type of energy. Birds of a feather flock together!
I have my own pine box in which I keep my Feathers along with Cedar and Tobacco. It is often a challenge for me to find time while in a receptive and well-balanced state to regularly smudge my Feathers, but such efforts are well worth my time. Not only do I have an opportunity to learn and strengthen, but I also honor these gifts I have been given, which honors the World, Creator, and Self in a healthy cycle of healing, respect, love, and rebirth.
“Oh, Eagle, come with wings outspread in sunny skies.
Oh, Eagle, come and bring us peace, thy gentle peace.
Oh, Eagle, come and give new life to us who pray.” Pawnee Prayer
Eagles appear largely in every culture that has any contact with them, adorn many flags, and have represented: freedom, duty, honor, liberty, honesty, vigilance, vision, courage, kingship, strength, wisdom of the Elders, omens, dreams, prophecy, Creator, Creation, the Tree of Life, the Sun and solar energy, majesty, Spirituality, Justice, living in a state of grace, illumination, and knowledge. Griffins, a cross between Lions and Raptors,would share the Wisdom of both those Teachers with a special touch of Faery magic.
Guardians of the Faerie realm, Griffins combine the elements of Earth and Air to become the King of both. Sacred to: Zeus, Taranis, Vishnu, God, Jesus Christ, various Angels, King Arthur, Agni, Bel, Ganymede, and Sumul. It’s colors are white, brown, black and gold. It sits in the North on the Wheel, and Winter is also linked to Eagle. Eagles ask us to look to the skies for signs and messages, to connect with and care for the World around us. To move forward bravely, with faith and purpose, to create a better World through our lives. How does this Teacher appear in your life?
“Above all other birds it is the soaring eagle, with its size and weight that gives the most abiding impression of power and purpose in the air. It advances solidly like a great ship cleaving the swells and thrusting aside the smaller waves. It sails directly where lesser birds are rocked and tilted by the air currents.” Edwin Way Teale, “Bird of Freedom” Atlantic Monthly 1957
“In the beginning of all things, wisdom and knowledge were with animals, for Tirawa, the One Above, did not speak directly to man. He sent certain animals to tell men that he showed himself through the beast, and that from them, and from the stars and the sun and the moon should man learn.” Eagle Chief
“When humans participate in ceremony, they enter a sacred space. Everything outside of that space shrivels in importance. Time takes on a different. Emotions flow more freely. The bodies of participants become filled with the energy of life, and this energy reaches out and blesses the creation around them. All is made new; everything becomes sacred.” Sun Bear
Potential Balancing Energies:
Wolf, Coyote, Fox, and other Canines
Crow/Raven, Robin, Blue Jay, Hawks, Owls and other birds
Squirrels and other Rodents
Trees like Oak or Pine
Salmon and other fish
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. Can you guess who is singing?