Owl Medicine

When I asked for Spirit to bring me signs and animal medicine, I did not know what would happen.

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One of Darlene’s Goddesses…fire

Late one night last week I woke up hearing a strange sound.  At first I thought it was the mice family in Mi Casa.   No signs of mice as I searched around the kitchen.  I was sure I heard the noise coming from there.   At 3am I found myself wide awake and so spent time on the couch while Tracy slept sound in the bedroom.

Finally tired I went back to bed.   The next morning as Tracy and I were making breakfast, I saw something moving in the water barrel outside the house.   Coal the bull had been there in the night and drank half the water in the barrel.   I rushed outside to see and found an owl had drowned.   The water was too low for it to get out.   With tears in my eyes I scooped the little bird out.  It was a screech-owl, full-grown.   I took it inside and wrapped it in my favorite wool cloth, a piece of a blanket we found on the Land in one of the casitas.

I was so upset with myself for letting the water get down too low.   What to do?

I needed to talk to Vickie who knew about ceremony with animals.  She had just performed a ceremony with the whale bones that had been gifted to the land many years ago.   The bones had been moved from their sacred place behind Towhee.   The last resident there had brought the bones inside the house.   Vickie felt strongly that they needed to go back outside where they had been placed so long ago.

She called all of us to do a small ceremony for the bones and the gifts they brought to the Land.   We stood in a circle behind Towhee where a small grove of juniper trees grew.   There we called in the four directions and Vickie said a prayer.   She asked Spirit to bless the land once again, to bring balance back to a place that had fallen into disarray.

Tracy, Darlene and I stood quietly as she spoke the words needed now.

It was a simple gesture but felt powerful and we all felt that something special was taking place on the land.    Womyn were starting to come again.   Volunteers had confirmed to come and work.   Visitors were set to come in the next few months.   We all felt the energy shifting and we were apart of a small miracle taking place on this wild land.

So when the owl came, at first I was so upset and sad.

I had to do something to make it right.   Vickie felt strongly a ceremony was needed.   I also knew that Darlene had strong Owl medicine.   She had brought feathers with her from a large owl.  She spoke of how they came to her, like a messenger on the wind.

I knew I had to bring the owl to her.  I headed up to Windsong with the little owl.   I was crying before I entered the home.   Darlene embraced me, knowing something was wrong.   I showed her the owl and she just stared at me exclaiming “Ohhhhh….”

We talked about what to do, how to go about honoring the spirit of the owl in my arms still.   I took her out and stroked her.  She opened her eyes that had been closed.   I realised that my strokes had opened the eyes, and looked at me as if she was alive.   She actually still felt somewhat warm, parts of her.  Her body was not yet stiff.   I continued to pet her, hoping for a miracle, but no.

I still felt life in her somehow and I could not explain why.

Darlene immediately said we needed to wrap it in a red cloth.  She explained about using the body, honoring the medicine that had come to me.   So I did.   I began to accept the gift, knowing that the spirit was already at peace.

Darlene showed me what to do with the claws.  I picked out two quartz nearby on the land near Windsong.   I curled them in her claws and wrapped them in sinew.   They would stiffen holding the crystals.   I had to use my cutters.  I became very calm and went inside myself, communing with the energy of the animal.   We spread the wings out and I used my cutters once again.    We sat outside and began the ritual of removing the skin, feathers and all.   As I was doing this I felt something round and hard inside the body.

It was an egg!!!  Imagine that?!  No wonder I still felt life inside her!!

Carefully I removed it.   Darlene was staring at me.  She explained how unusual all of this was.  Spirit was very strongly communicating with me, giving, showing, here.

Darlene and Vickie being there at this important time felt powerful.  They were my guides, my teachers, my helpers.   I was so thankful for their presence.

The egg was still soft and did not harden.   Even so I gently put it in a bowl of sand I scooped from the arroyo just below Windsong.   Maybe, just maybe…..

Then I was remembering about the mice.   How Tracy and I had discussed the problem.  I remembered discussing about predatory birds and how we needed more on the land.   We were told to put mice in the trees to lure them in.   So I did.   That is what brought the owl that night.  I had just put two mice I had trapped and unfortunately killed, up in the trees nearby Mi Casa.   I checked that morning, they had been taken.

I remember saying a prayer to bring the winged predators to the Land, perhaps somehow, I could raise a foundling to hunt on the land for us.   That would take care of much of the rodent problem surrounding the houses.   Was this a response to my prayer?

Hmmmm

My life was becoming very meaningful these days, in a way I had waited for.    Years ago I was told I had strong medicine with animals, the earth and the elements.  It had been passed down to me from my ancestors.  My own great-grandmother was a Mayan Medicine Woman.   I knew she was one of my guides and she helped me and was with me here.

So the little owl, did she give her life so I may learn about animal medicine?   What was owl medicine?    It is time to learn again.

We took the parts of the body and put them in salt, covered them completely.  They will cure for a time and then I will use them, make a fan, use some in a staff found on the land.  The claws will be used as amulets and I will honor this spirit by learning and listening and moving forward.

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Darlene
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Little Owl She made
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Darlene does not know how gifted she is….

Darlene also shared with me a morning prayer passed down from a Lakota Man.   Before he died he wanted to pass on his knowledge and secrets about ceremony and healing.   This was many years ago.   She says that he is telling her to pass on the knowledge to me now.   I am honored and wide-eyed.   I feel like a child, learning anew.

Every morning I now go out to greet the sunrise and say the morning prayer.  I give thanks for my life, the womyn who are my family now.   To all that is.

Thank you Spirit.

Thank you Owl.

I give many thanks to my tribal systers as we move through our days in a sacred way.

Aho!

Little Owl

One important note….Vickie came up with an ingenious idea to put a piece of wood inside the barrel.  So I did.   Now there is a piece of wood that sticks out of the barrel.  The bottom is weighted down by a large rock.  As the water lowers, the stick gives any animal a place to climb out to safety.  I am so thankful for you Vickie!!!

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Lone Star

One late morning I looked out my front window and there was Coal the bull.  Only this time he was not alone.  He had a black calf by his side trying to suckle on him!   The little guy had a small star on his forehead.   So easy to name him Star.   Well I ran outside and told Tracy to come take a look.    I called to the old bull but he just took off and away they both went.  Well my first instinct as a mother was to rescue the calf from a bull that had no milk.

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I  jumped into my sneakers and ran after the two.  Across the land, straight south they headed up the hill.   The calf did not know what to make of me.  He must not have been that old, no more than a week.   He was adorable and he would stop, take a break and turn to study me.

 What was this human doing chasing me?!   

Finally I separated Star from Coal.    Coal just stood there and stared at me.   He did not seem to care about the calf and went off eating his way here and there.

I decided to sit and sing to Star.  He cocked his head and stayed put.   He was thin and looked hungry.  I talked to him, told him we would find his mom.   Funny thing is the night before I had  heard a cow lowing behind the house.  I took my flashlight and finally ran into what I thought was Coal.   Now I am thinking it was the mom.  She had a huge piece of cactus stuck to the side of her face.  I wanted to get a needle nose and my gloves but she had turned and gone through the bushes.   She had drank her fill of the barrel  of water set outside behind the house.

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back yard watering hole

 

The birds also love the back yard.  It is the only water nearby,  cold, clean and from deep down in the ground.   It is now a sanctuary for colorful birds, rabbits and now Coal, a momma cow and who knows what next.

Star was now in need of his mom and I had only one thought, to bring him up front to the nearest neighbor who I knew had cattle.

Finally I roped the little guy and we had a tussle.  He thought he could buck his way out of it  but I held tight.    Eventually I got him down to Mi Casa.   Tracy went and got my gloves, some water and the camera.

 

I asked her to come find me in about an hour.  By then hopefully I would have him near the last cattle gate.   It had to be at least 2 or 3 miles.   Star learned how to walk with me down the road.  Several times he leaned against me he was so tired.

Tracy had caught up to me but we were still  a distance from our  nearest neighbor.  We inched our  way down the road until just before sunset.   I was so hopeful we would find his mom or at least someone who would know what to do.

I finally arrived past the last  gate.  I banged on the door  of the small rock  house on the side of the road.   Out stepped an old man named Eli.

He came out and saw the calf.  I explained the situation .   It was not his and he did not know who’s it was.  He had a cousin Sal but he was a good 6 or 7 miles farther south.

 

“You know we live out here like it was the 1800’s.”  He told Tracy.

His place did look that way.   It could have been right out of the 19th century.   The stone house had to be that old.

 

He wanted to know if she was related to the ladies at the end of the road.
“No ”  Tracy explained she only came out on the weekends.

No need to give out info about the Land.

 

We left a message with Sal who did not answer the phone.  I felt sure if Eli  kept the calf overnight, he would figure out who’s it was.   All the neighbors were related in some way and most of them have cattle.

Well  he would not keep the calf.  Where would he put it?  He knew how much work it was to take the calf.

What had I gotten us into?!

 

We could not keep star so I asked Sal to help me put him in the truck.  I moved all the supplies I had to the far back.   Sal managed to get the baby into the back seat.   I got in on the other side next to him and Tracy drove us all, including Lily next to her in the passenger seat.

Over the arroyo and down a  side road we had never been,  we found a nice gated ranch.   There we met another neighbor   Tony, his wife and his son Antonio.  Antonio had been hunting coyote who had been after their  new calves.    He had the cattle all locked up in the barn for the night.

Well  no one wanted the calf or the responsibility of it.  Tony explained that putting a calf into our truck could be considered cattle rustling.   Someone might think we were stealing the foundling.  Okay back home to get the little guy out of our truck and quick!!

We got  the number of the local cattle inspector  and I tried calling him.  All of a sudden it became so cold.   The wind had picked up and it started to snow.  Nothing else to do.  Both ranchers had told us to take the little guy back where we found it.

What ?!  After all that?!!    It was after dark now and we were both tired.

We could not imagine just letting the poor thing go.  For sure it would not make it without his momma.   Would he be able to find her?  Maybe if we kept him warm overnight, just until the sun came up.

Tracy started rearranging furniture in the other bedroom.   She had been working on a sign for the Land and we used that as a blockade to keep him somewhat contained.

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I decided to try and feed him so I took the milk from the fridge, heated it up and took a dish glove.   He would have none of it!    Well nothing was working and all he wanted was out.    Tracy thought we should let him go and so I did.  I opened the door and out he wandered into the night.   He never made a sound.  I prayed that the momma was still alive and they would find each other.

The next morning I got a call from our neighbor in the south, Sal.  Yes he was missing a cow and its calf.   If only we could have left Star with Eli.

Sal searched for days.  He showed up while I was in Albuquerque collecting our new guest and friend Darlene from the airport.   Vickie our other guest gave us a call.  She had Sal there.  He wanted to know where we had seen the baby.  Had we seen the momma cow?   I relayed all that had happened the day before.

I know he searched for the pair.   He said that he had gotten Coal the bull but we saw Coal a few days later in our back yard.

Finally after a week passed, we thought for sure the little calf had perished.  We had visions of coyotes feasting in the night.   It was not something we wanted to think about.    I asked Spirit to watch over him and hoped.

Then one afternoon I hear Vickie calling in the distance.  “Indygo?”

 

“I’m out here in the garden.”

“They found the calf and the momma cow!”

“They are both safe and healthy!”

Wow!!!!     They made it !

 

How about that?!

Such a relief to know that Star was okay and he found his momma at last.    It’s nice to know there are still happy endings.