Posts Tagged ‘Mary Oliver’

Owls

Friday, December 7th, 2012
~
This picture was taken by Eileen Muir the other day. Owls have been turning up a lot in her life lately. There is something to be said of the symbolism of different animals. When we get to spend time with them in the wild we often feel blessed.
The experience of communing with a wild animal is often granted to us when we find stillness and silence in the woods. In the context of the practice of Yoga, these chance communions can fill us with sattva and allow us glimpses of purusha. Achieving this stillness often requires an awareness of self. In this sense these moments are opportunities for svadhyaya, or study of the self, a niyama from the second limb of Yoga

Beauty

By Mary Oliver

When the owl

on her plush and soundless wings

rises

from the black waves

of the oak leaves,

or floats

out of the needles

of the pines

that are moaning,

that are tossing,

I think:

o she is beautiful

with her eyes

like burning moons,

with her feet

like twisted braids

of old gold

flexing and curling-

and I am glad to see her-

some wild loyalty has me

to the root of the heart-

even when she ruffles down

into the feild

and she jabs like a mad thing

and it’s hopeless,

it’s also wonderful,

so I thank whatever made her-

this beast of a bird

with her thick breast

and her shimmering wings-

whose nest, in the dark trees,

is trimmed with screams and bones-

whose beak

is the most terrible cup

I will ever enter.

~

Owls have held powerful symbolism for many indigenous cultures. The book Animal Speak by Ted Andrews offers this survey on different cultural perspectives of the owl’s significance:

Owls: the mystery of magic, omes, silent wisdom and vision in the night

Symbol of feminine, moon, night- ties to fertility and seduction
worshiped as idol and hated as reincarnation of the devil
Great healing powers- bird of prophecy and wisdom
Greeks- associated w athena- higher wisdom “gaurdian of the acropolis”
Gnostics- associated w lillith- first wife of adam who refused to be submissive
Pawnee- protection
Ojibwa- evil and death
Pueblo- skeleton man- god of death/also fertility
symbolically associated with clairvoyance, astral projection, magic
Ancient rome- beleifs that owls extract secrets- a symbol of the darkness within
***One who works with owl medicine will be able to see and hear what others try to hide. you will hear what is not being said, and you will see what is hidden or in the shadows…this can make others uncomfortable because they will not be able to deceive you about their motives or actions. Owl people have a unique ability to see into the darkness of others souls and life. This is very scary to most people.***
Owls fly silently- those with owl totems should practice silence- keep silent and go about your buisness- this will bring you the greatest success.

Mary Oliver: How I Go to the Woods

Friday, November 2nd, 2012

How I Go to the Woods
by Mary Oliver

Ordinarily I go to the woods alone, with not a single
friend, for they are all smilers and talkers and therefore
unsuitable.

I don’t really want to be witnessed talking to the catbirds
or hugging the old black oak tree. I have my way of
praying, as you no doubt have yours.

Besides, when I am alone I can become invisible, I can sit
on the top of a dune as motionless as an uprise of weeds,
until the foxes run by unconcerned. I can hear the almost
unhearable sound of the roses singing.

If you have ever gone to the woods with me, I must love
you very much.

Photographs by Beth Maciorowski’s Photography