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Emma-Jayne Saanen

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The Murder of Crow

The Murder of Crow © April 2010

A portrait of a carrion crow, specifically the carrion crow I saved earlier in the week which was murdered by a national animal welfare charity. You can read more about the story so far by going here: [link]

Fineliners and coloured pencils on A4 canson illustration paper.

For sale: £35 (plus postage). The money will go to Corvid Aid: [link]

In the office…

Regardless of yesterday’s brutal events, life goes on.

Yesterday morning (from 4am), I was out on the hills to the south east of Dumbarton (an area near the Craggs Circular path, by Overtoun House) assisting our park ranger with a Black Grouse survey. While we didn’t hear or see any of the birds, we did find some of their scat and some of the other teams heard a few cocks. One person even spotted a hen resting in a tree.

I love being out on the hills, watching the world awaken as the sun rises, being embraced by Sky above and Earth below.

Pondering Invisibility

Florish

Flourish

I have been watching Richard Hammond’s Invisible Worlds , a programme that uses technology to reveal things the human eye can’t see.

But turn this idea on its head … the eyes of other-than-humans may not see us.

On Sunday afternoon, I was making the most of the beautiful weather to visit the Brucehill Cliffs and to do some butterfly surveying. I take my time to do this, and I often stop and feel the world around me.

But does the world feel me?

I try to be aware of what is happening around me, but it is difficult. People, human and otherwise couldn’t possibly be aware of everything. I am nothing but an obstacle to the bee, a passing shadow to the willow, and a minor speck in the vast timescale that the Brucehill Cliff considers a lifetime.

I am invisible in the world.

Folks with interests in animal magic/totemism may attribute significance to the sight of crows squabbling in the meadow … but the crows couldn’t care less about you. The crows are being crows, and we are looking for meaning in a world where their might not be one.

There isn’t really any point to this ramble, but it interesting to consider that things which capture your interest may not even be aware of your presence. It isn’t a bad thing, nor a good thing, it just is. I like the idea of being hidden in a world within the world.

In sightly more positive news, I am currently trying to raise funds for Scottish Badgers by taking part in the Glasgow Women’s 10K … while dressed as a badger. Click here to read more about it and to learn how to support the cause!

Hunting season is open …

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Tagpfauenauge_de_2009.jpg… for butterflies!

Yes, butterfly season is here again! I’m so excited! Each year, I go out the Brucehill Cliffs and spend my days catching, identifying and releasing butterflies. It is marvellous!

It also has a serious side – butterflies and moths are great indicators of the health of and biodiversity at any given site.

My interest in lepidoptery began when I started volunteering with my local park ranger service. This is my third year, and I am hooked. I really recommend this hobby as a fun way of getting to know your local land spirits!

I hope you all have a wonderful day!

The dangers of an open house …

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Canis_dirus.jpgI consider my home to be a place where animal spirits/energies/totems can come and go, as long as they cause no harm to me and mine.

On Monday of this week,I woke up experiencing a phantom shift into some sort of wolf-like creature – very stocky, heavy jaws, barrel-esque body, shortish tail and massive, MASSIVE paws. Along with this, I had the feeling of a consciousness sitting at the back of my mind – there was a masculine vibe, and he didn’t seem to want to talk.

I have random shifts from time to time, either from totems I’ve worked with or ones introducing themselves to me, so I didn’t think much of this turn of events beyond my usual “Cool! Somebody new to talk to!”

What can I say? I enjoy making contact with totems and the like.

My guest and I spent a bit of time feeling each other out while I did my day-to-day stuff: He walks on his toes, and has short non-retractable claws. His tail is short, his ears are small and his jaw is short and wide. The paws are massive, his limbs are uber-muscular and his body is hard and stocky. (Please remember that I’m a Maned Wolf, so all of this is based on my proportions!) My gut feeling is that he is an extinct species, and in my discussion on LiveJournal, a few people felt that he could be a Dire Wolf … but I’m not too sure.

In brief glimpses into what I believe is his memory, I feel cold, and I can feel his paws churning up snow to get a grip before racing off. It’s dark, and there are plenty of trees, but there is more than enough space for the snow to reach the ground. I could smell others, but couldn’t see them.

In this mindset I was able to step outside of ourselves to take a look. He is a hulking great beast, all the larger for the vast shaggy coat he has. I think his teeth protrude a bit … but he may have been thinking about snarling at me.

On Tuesday evening, I was watching MasterChef, and I felt this urge to slam about the living room, knocking books from the shelves and ramming into the furniture. It was really fucking scary, and it took what little energy I had to fight it.

“Whoa!” What the hell was that?” I asked.

My visitor was angry, he didn’t understand what I was doing sitting on my arse and watching TV. And then we started crying. (I always get freaked out when I feel someone else’s emotions). I could feel this despair and utter loneliness – much worse than I had felt for years. Though feeling his feelings, I get the idea that he is geographically home, but this isn’t his time. We cried and cried and cried.

I told him over and over again that although I didn’t know what to do, he was welcome to stay here until he knew were he wanted to be.

The feeling passed after a few hours, and since that point I haven’t felt his presence.

A few discussions with my colleagues made me realise how out of my depth I am with this type of work. My Wolfy-Guest was hurting, was lost, and I had no idea how to help him.

But the main thing on my mind at the moment was how badly this event affected me, just how strongly I felt another being inside me but not with me, with his own agenda. I want to be able to work with animal energies, but this could have ended with me being hurt. I may have to rethink my open house policy…

What to do, what to do…

I’m not really sure what to do with this blog anymore?

I write up a lot of my journeying experiences in my LiveJournal, but I am thinking about using this place to post edited versions of those. I don’t want this place to be yet another list of totem meanings …

A new visitor

This person tapped me on the shoulder on Tuesday evening, and the following day I tried to capture his essence (as it where) in my sketchbook.

Although it doesn’t look like it, my gut feeling tells me he’s a Yew. Red has a Yew vibe about her too. Hopefully, I will have the chance to investigate this over the weekend.

My Shrine (Jan 2010)

As a neo-pagan totemist and aspiring contemporary shamanist, I feel that it is important to dedicate a space in my home for the honour of the spirits who work with me, inspire me and drive my passion for the natural world.

So for your viewing pleasure, here is the current layout of my shrine.

Left side: Didgeridoo (which I do not know how to play), an antique fox tail, a maneki neko, replica coyote skull, polar bear figurine, badger figurine and replica brown bear claw necklace.

Centre top: Portrait of a Maned Wolf (my primary totem and the animal I identify as), my anger jar and my happy jar.

Centre bottom: Tea cup (where I place financial offerings), piece of a Monkey Puzzle, a Pine Cone, a Grove Snail shell, stones (one from inside a potted plant pot, one from some train tracks, and one from the beach at Ardrossan), Wood Pigeon wings, Pigeon offering pouch, blue stones in a jar, and a Leopard sweater guard.

Right side: Roe Deer antlers, Red Deer antlers, Goat figurine and a White-tailed Deer pendant.

My shrine isn’t to/for any one entity in particular, but it functions as a home for gifts with meaning, a place of celebration and a beacon – indicating my home is a place of safety to spirits who cause no harm to me and mine. It isn’t fixed, items come and go from it, but I feel it is a reflection of who I am and where I’m going.

Visiting the Cliff Spirit

My partner and I had another attempt at taking a stroll around the Brucehill Cliffs, this time taking the long path around the shore of the River Clyde.

I have lost track of how long the snow has been lying for. What I can tell you is that it is colder, and lasting longer than my living memory. Which admittedly isn’t that long.

I find long walks like this very humbling – there is so much I don’t know about the world on my doorstep. Heck, I couldn’t even identify the birds by their song! But the song was there. We both stopped now and again, just to listen.

Visiting the Cliff Spirit

On top of the Brucehill Cliffs - 03/01/10

On top of the Brucehill Cliffs – 03/01/10

Yesterday, my other half and I tried to take a stroll around the foot of the Brucehill Cliffs. It was a gloriously crisp and frosty afternoon, perfect for rambling. But we were thwarted. There is only one access point down the Cliff face , and it was dangerously iced over.

We spent some time walking back and forth along the Cliff’s back.

I will need to write about the Cliff properly at some point. But not just now. Over the winter, I feel I have lost my connection to him.

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