Monday, 24 November 2014

The Medicine Wheel, my grouse, our new friend

Medicine Wheel
Back when hubby was first diagnosed with cancer, I bought him a Medicine Wheel carving by David R. Maracle.

Native Spirituality is beautiful. When I taught Gr. 6, we delved quite a bit into this part of the curriculum. I bought all sorts of curriculum materials from sources out west. Manitoba has some fabulous projects and resources for teachers.

The Medicine Wheel

The Medicine Wheel represent such a strong part of Aboriginal Culture.
The four colours, each representing a different direction.
The Medicine Wheel is a tool to teach people about their place in the universe, and their relationship to all things created by our Creator.

East, the yellow represents sun, fire, spring, new beginnings, as the rising sun moves us to action.
South: summer, red, passion, water, plants, emotional energy.
West: black, fall, setting sun, earth, physical energy, preparing for winter.
North: white, winter, spirituality, time of wisdom, contemplation, mental energy, healing and dreams.

The Grouse

My theory is that the grouse was being chased by a predator. Around our forest and fields we have Coopers and Sharp shin hawks. Merlins have very dark backs and more pointed wings; they're from the falcon family. We have a fair number of Red-tailed hawks, as well. It must have been going at great speed to break its neck. I heard it hit the window.

What to do with it? Very important to me, I wanted to take some photos. This is an opportunity I seldom have: getting close-ups. We have quite a number in our forest. They take off when we go walkies, often they are in the sumacs, munching on the berries. They are difficult for me to photograph.
Joe, Jenn, Danielle

I posted a photo on the Facebook Lanark Bird group. Danielle asked what I would do with my grouse. I said I didn't know. Last year, when hubby found a barred owl on the highway, he brought it home, I harvested some feathers, took photos, then I put it deep into the forest where the coyotes or our wolf harvested it. I didn't want it to go to waste.

Our new friend

Secondly, I wanted to harvest some feathers. I'm a bit squeamish, and plucked some. Then, a Native Grandmother suggested she would be happy to make us a smudging feather. I didn't have the nerve to harvest the wings myself. Yesterday, we drove into the city to see her. Taking the requisite gift of loose tobacco, we were blessed with a wonderful conversation and a healing smudging.

Danielle is an amazing healer, teacher, and artisan. Her Native name is Light Feather, and she has a Facebook page: Light Feather Creations's Page She comes from the same small Acadian town as my daughter's Mother-in-law! It's a small world, indeed! Danielle gave me some anti-poison ivy oil, you know how I get into that all the time! Plus a beautiful medicine pouch for hubby, with sage, cedar, tobacco and beads of the four colours of the Medicine Wheel. She taught us about the Medicine Wheel. Things I had forgotten.

Here is the grouse right after it broke its neck.


Olga Hebert said...

For some reason feathers make me unaccountably squeamish but my grandson is enthralled with them. We recently saw feathers under a digital microscope at the museum. They look as though they have zippers on them.

PerthDailyPhoto said...

It's so awful when things like that happen. I've had doves crash into my kitchen window but luckily they've just stunned themselves. Although they do have to watch out for the peregrine falcon that's always on the hunt.. it's a tough old world out there in the wild :)Your medicine wheel sounds fascinating Jennifer, alongside a positive state of mind it could work wonders.

William Kendall said...

The poor thing. I've seen grouse occasionally foraging at my parents' former home in cottage country. They're interesting birds.

Red said...

Grouse are kind of goofy. One theory is they see tree reflections in the widow and think they are flying through the forest. We do not consider aboriginal healing a fraction as much as we should. Thanks for describing what some of the things mean.

Judy said...

The feathers are beautiful!!! I am so glad the bird's death is being used!

Karen said...

I remember grouse flying into my livingroom window when we first built the house. (I guess they hadn't gotten used to a house being here yet) My husband would run out and grab them and clean them for the freezer. When we had enough for a meal, out they would come. He took the wings and tacked them open to the railings where they would dry. They made nice fans.

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

I feel bad about the grouse but am glad it's death has a meaning and that you learned about it. Danielle obviously is a wise woman and will be a good friend.

Hilary said...

Wonderful post, Jenn. I'm interested in such things also. We keep all feathers we find. One of my other bloggie people sent me a feather keeper, in fact. Too bad about the grouse but I hope its feathers and the rest can help bring your hubbie some comfort and strength.

Cloudia said...

Thank you for teaching us about the medicine wheel; things i never knew!

You are in the midst of Nature, and you live up to the honor.

Sending your hubby love and prayer!

ALOHA from Honolulu

Yamini MacLean said...

Hari OM
It received honour in its passing - such care itself can only bring benefit! YAM xx