October 08, 2009

Magpies and balance.

Today has been a Magpie day. Everywhere I looked magpies were flying or sitting. At one stage 7 of them. They were on our roof, across the ways roof, in our tree and in the park when we went to catch up on the progress of Autumn in the woods.
This was in the park, there were many more but this was the one who wanted to be photographed.
At one time I was quite bothered if I saw magpies around. The old fables and tales were uppermost in my mind. Bad luck, evil all the old superstitious tales.

Then I started to rethink,what if?
What if -
Magpie was there to help me?
What if-
Magpie could teach me something?
Food for thought so I started to read up on the old lore about these birds.

Some of their other names were Two tone ambler, Pioden, Snag Break.
They are associated with Hermes, The Pleides. Allied with Hawthorn and the elements of fire and air.
Their festival is reputed to be Beltaine. That would be right if you think that the year starts to grow at Beltaine and this in turn initiates it's death at Samhain.
These birds were once important in augury, just think of the old rhymes.
One for sorrow
two for joy
three for a girl
four for a boy
five for silver
six for gold
seven for a secret never to be told
eights a wish
nine is a kiss
10? a bird you must not miss (Magpie song from children's program that used to be on here in UK)
There are many versions of this rhyme across the UK.

So going back to magpies, for me I found that they taught the secret of balance, you have to have the dark and light sides to balance each other. Nothing is grey after all. It made me realise I was off balance. I was seeing only what I wanted to see, avoiding the dark side that was also possible in my situation or with people and events.

I've had magpie in my life for a long long time, from my fears as a child and into adulthood. I always had to see a second if I saw one. One was bad and struck fear in me. I always said good morning or hello when I saw one. Actually I still do that:)
So what did magpie say to me?
Fear , trickery, thief, bright bird, worry, evil, pain.
What if?
Trickery, all is not what it seems.
Black and white? A magpies plumage has many other colours in it.
So it isn't always cut and dried, right or wrong.
There is a middle ground, a balance.
I started to explore my knowledge of magpie.

FEAR. In old days Magpies were supposed to bring or foretell death. If you saw them around the roof woe betide you or your family.

THIEF. They love bright glittery things. Silver paper, jewels, glass. But also all that glitters is not gold as the saying goes. They are attracted to bright things, they take them to their nests. Do they do this when they are mating? Is it a display ritual? Maybe.

Bright Bird. They are easy to see, they stand out. Does that help them or is it a disadvantage in hunting? No, they can devastate the small bird population.
So colourful is not necessarily a bad thing(Note to self, there is a reason for your bright colours)
It doesn't stop them surviving and very well at that.
So could it be that my fear of magpies was a test?
Do I acknowledge it and them?
Yes I do and welcome their presence in my life.

So for me Magpie is a teacher. I just need to listen to the lesson he brings. Am I learning it yet? I do hope so. Can I embrace Magpies lesson? Can I then use it to move on to the next part of the wheel and the spiral?
Magpie brings me courage and a warrior spirit. How will I use this?
Will I be able to?
YES. I will use it to grow, to open myself, to take down the invisible shields. I will still shield when necessary but with the knowledge I am doing so.
Not with a rebuff built in.
MAGPIE, black and white carries all the colours of the spectrum between. So a rainbow between black and white? All the colours but we only see those two.
Is that because they are stronger, brighter, more dominant?
At this dark half of the year magpie gives me hope. It gives me a sense of the balance of life. No I don't like the way it decimates small bird populations but that is its way of life and I can't change it. I can only look on and accept that Nature isn't all fluffy bunnies and love and light. She has a darker clawed side and that balances the light.

We have our dark and light sides, for me being a witch means trying to balance those to the best of my ability. Do you?
What will you take into this dark half of the year and what will you discard? What have you grown and what has failed for you?
One of the prompts on an artist board I was on was My Hat.
I wrote this:-
My hat has feathers several.
A magpie, a rook, an owl and a fun feather.
My hat has a brim, it has charisma.
My hat is black.
It has ribbons dangling and a cat on it.
My hat is me.
What is your hat?


Debra She Who Seeks said...

I like your insight that magpies represent balance between darkness and light. We have tons of magpies here in Alberta. Most people hate them, but I think they're beautiful. I only hate them in the summer at 5:00 a.m. when they gather in a tree outside my bedroom window to have a noisy and lengthy dispute over something or another.

Anonymous said...

I don't have a problem with magpies at all...I think people don't like them because they are part of the crow family and crows always get a bad press.

For the dark half of the year...mmm...I'll have to think about that one...as for my hat...sharp, pointy and always honest...with big full blown roses all around the brim...just like a rose bush...beauty laced with thorns.

Sue Simpson said...

Very inspiring and thoughtful post Sue. Hmmmm I'll think on the hat question. Absolutely lovely post though, plenty to think about.
Sue xxx

Blue Witch said...

Sue? Sue? Your name can't be Sue, it's Amber!! (see comment from Sue)

"I always had to see a second if I saw one."

I do that - Mr BW always tells me he jsut saw another one in the hedgerow. He is always more optimistic than me.

Wonderful post.

enthusiastic crochetoholic said...

I have been inundated with mgpies this year. I have the smallest of trees in my garden and yet somehow up to 7 magpies at one time perch on it.
I was always told that it was unlucky to see one magpie but then someone else said it is only unlucky for the magpie as they mate for life and so to see a lone magpie signifies that something has happened to it's mate. Don't know if that is true or not but it stopped my fear of seeing one magpie although deep down I am always glad to see the second one.

They harrass next door's cat and come down to pinch it's food. I now have to hide the food under the patio chair so the cat can eat in peace!.

Antoinette said...

I love this post! We have loads of magpies around where we live, (Australian magpies though - I think they are bigger? They do have a rep here for being very bolshie in Spring time/nesting season). I find them hilarious and highly intelligent. They have a certain cheeky trickster energy, and they are incredibly loyal to their mates and family.

My little girl has made friends with one in our park. Every time she goes out there, the magpie manages to find her and they have this big long chat, and play a kind of peek-a-boo game behind a tree. It is quite a sight to behold!

I love the idea of the balance between light and dark, rather than a black and white interpretation.

My hat is wide and floppy, colourful, and slightly worn and patched. It is darned with red wool. It has owl feathers also, and the feather of a black swan. It is slightly rakish and doesn't take itself too seriously.

Poetry for Brigid Imbolc

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