Thursday, September 22, 2005

Visit to White Owl Island

I approached Owl Island with some trepidation. After all, I had grown up with folkloric beliefs about owls being bad luck. Travellers and gypsies, like Native Americans, believe the owl to be a messenger of death. Both nations say that the owl `calls your name' when you die.
But this journey, for me, is all about confronting fears and superstitions, and understanding the foundations of folklore and belief. It is about delving deep into the tales and traditions I grew up with, and learning the universal truths behind them. As I watched Maeve's stong arms work the tiller, I thought of the way owls were venerated by other cultures, and the ceremony that lay ahead of me when I reached the island.

With all the wisdom attributed to the Owl, I could well believe that would extend to foreknowledge of death, but perhaps my culture had seized on only that and the superstitions about owls had obscured the rest of the story.

We embrace life, not death. No Dukkerer will ever tell anyone they are going to die, even if it is written all over the cards.``That's the one prediction even an idiot can make," my gypsy mentor used to say with a laugh. ``The secret of dukkering is to tell people they are going to live."
So it was with mixed feelings that I climbed out of the boat and onto the shore.The initiation was beautiful - I can still smell the honey and I still see the eyes of the Priestess - wide, wise eyes that shone like silver in the moonlight.

I followed the path that led to the owl, feeling at peace. She was bigger than any owl I have ever seen, snowy white, with eyes that seemed to reflect everything around them. I saw myself reflected in her eyes, and realised I was right. With her great wisdom, she knew everything about me - but there was nothing to fear.`

`What do I need to know as I continue this journey?” I asked.

The great silver eyes never blinked. I saw myself as in a mirror, rising stronger from the storms and fires of life, stumbling and falling but never staying down, always somehow finding the strength to start again.

``What you have always known,” the Great Owl said. ``That the only force stronger than you is love. It gives you your strength. The harder life becomes, the greater love grows. It is a rose that blooms in the desert, a fire that burns without fuel, the only thing you need to sustain you on your journey.”

I thanked the Great Owl with all humility, and I felt my strength returning. When love is the center of my life, the decisions are easy.

I reached into my pocket and found a rose quartz crystal, which I had picked upon my travels.
I laid this down and walked quietly back through the labyrinth, following the priestesses.
But it was another wise woman I remembered as I took my leave of the island. Mother Theresa’s words echoed in my mind - ``there are no great deeds. Only small deeds done with great love.”

4 Comments:

At 11:30 PM, Blogger Leonie Bryant said...

Gail,
Thankyou for your story - wise words once more. It is amazing how the Wyse White Owl is holding up a mirror to each of us.

 
At 11:57 PM, Blogger Fran said...

True: I have a feeling that baby owls are so soft and needing that all parent owls know love and caring despite our attitude to carnivors. I once met a delightful nest of owl babies and still fill with wonder when I think of them. Fran

 
At 5:32 AM, Blogger Imogen Crest said...

Superstition is worth overhauling for a new belief, isn't it? We had the same stories to do with ravens, none of which are true. I love owls and ravens, because they just are.

 
At 4:25 PM, Blogger le Enchanteur said...

I am so pleased that you challenged those superstitions. Some folks were stunned that I had the Raven as a totem but I have found her ability to bring magic to my life is awesome.

 

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