Today is World Penguin Day! For more info see this page: https://www.awarenessdays.co.uk/awareness-days-calendar/world-penguin-day-2017/
Anyone who knows me knows I love penguins. These adorable, majestic birds feel like they make up a part of my very being, such is my abiding love for them.
Penguins first came into my life in the form of a cuddly toy from my late Uncle Tony. The imaginatively named Pengy was a gift for my first Christmas and one of my favourite cuddly friends growing up. He still watches over me to this day.
As I grew so did my obsession with all things Penguin. When my Danish cousin came to visit in 2006 she counted all of my penguin items and the total was nearing 100. I’ve been trying to heal my hoarding tendencies the last few years so most of the penguins have found new homes, but my favourites remain.
When I started exploring spirituality in the early 2000’s I came across the concept of animal guides, or totems. I found it fascinating but also incredibly frustrating. Where was Penguin? Eventually I found a book that included my soul brethren, and I finally understood why Penguin feels so much a part of me.
I found this beautiful vow while reading ‘Active Hope: How to Face the Mess We’re in Without Going Crazy’ by Joanna Macy and Chris Johnston. I thought they would make a lovely reflection for Earth Day. The vows are written by Joanna, and are shared here with her permission.
I vow to myself and to each of you:
To commit myself daily to the healing of our world and the welfare of all beings.
To live on Earth more lightly and less violently in the food, products and energy I consume.
To draw strength and guidance from the living Earth, the ancestors, the future generations, and my brothers and sisters of all species.
To support others in our work for the world and to ask for help when I need it.
To pursue a daily practice that clarifies my mind, strengths my heart, and supports me in observing these vows.
You can find out more about Joanna and her ecology work here: http://www.joannamacy.net/aboutjoannamacy.html
‘Active Hope: How to Face the Mess We’re in Without Going Crazy’ by Joanna Macy and Chris Johnston.
Amazon UK link: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Active-Hope-without-Going-Crazy/dp/1577319729
Amazon US link: https://www.amazon.com/Active-Hope-without-Going-Crazy-ebook/dp/B007C8K79C
You can find out more about Earth Day here: http://www.earthday.org/about/
There are many theories about whether the Set-beast is based on a real animal, whether it is a compilation of creatures (like Ammit), or a completely mythological being.
While watching the ‘Grasslands’ episode of Sir David Attenborough’s ‘Planet Earth II’ I came face to face with an Ice Age relic: the Saiga Antelope. Just look at that nose! How can you not see a resemblance to the Egyptian God Set when you look at it?
By Vladimir Yu. Arkhipov, Arkhivov – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=8955913
Our garden is filled with so many beautiful plants and trees, but my heart was captured this Autumn by our Hawthorns. They live at the very top, acting as a boundary between us and the field behind.
In folklore lone Hawthorns are said to be connected to Fairies. They have white flowers and red berries, and anything red and white was often linked to the Fair Folk. Animals like cattle and hounds with red and white markings were associated with them. Hawthorns were often used as field boundaries, like ours, and so can have a protective element. Because of the white summer blossom they are also referred to as Whitethorns. Ours do have thorns but not many. Perhaps they’re friendlier and don’t feel threatened.
Today I’m introducing Kirsty Mitchell Photography
(Click on the pictures to be led to the full photographs)
Good Swan, Bad Swan: Dancing Swan Lake: http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/p01s4wy9 via @bbciplayer
I’ve loved ballet since I was very young, and Swan Lake always captivated me. This documentary explores the mythology of the Swan Maiden, and the psychology behind the characters of Odette and Odile.
We are reminded of duality through this double role. Odette, the White Swan, is the unobtainable ideal of the Prince, innocence and light. Odile, the Black Swan, is desire, sensuality, manipulation and the dark.
Every year the RSPB holds a Birdwatch event where you count the highest number of certain birds you see in an hour. It helps them gather data on the decline or (hopefully) rise of particular Bird species commonly seen in British gardens.
It’s good fun and free, so if you’re in the UK there’s still time to take part. Download the starter pack from the website, stock up the bird feeders and have fun! It’s this weekend, and only takes one hour. Great for children too.
This could also be turned into a devotional activity, especially to honour nature deities and those with bird forms.