Totem Animal: Rhinoceros

The rhinoceros holds an ancient wisdom…

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They have been around for about 50 million years starting with their ancestor, Paraceratherium, the largest of all rhino species. They stood over 16 feet tall at their shoulder! This ancestor is also shared by horses and tapirs. Rhinos have actually been mistaken for horse-like creatures before. After being described by a historian around 400 BC, the myth of the unicorn began. A magical beast with a horn atop it’s head. The horn was said to have the power to protect one from poisoning if used as a cup. They were prized in medieval times and rhinos and narwhals were hunted to provide the gift of a “unicorn’s horn” to the king. Even today the rhino is poached for it’s horn which is used in traditional Chinese medicine, powdered and used for fevers. Unfortunately, this and habitat loss has led to the extinction to certain species of rhino such as the western black rhino and the northern white rhino.

Rhino might appear to be a lumbering brute but is in fact fast and agile for it’s appearance and is seldom aggressive. Males will use aggression when defending their territory. They will charge head on but not attacking with their horns as one may think. Their horns are actually soft being made out of keratin. They instead use their teeth, the lower incisors which can reach up to five inches long! They typically live solitary lives, only grouping up during mating season. A group is called a crash.

So what ancient wisdom do these creatures hold? They are strong and heavy, planting themselves firmly into the earth. They teach us to be grounded and stay connected to Mother Nature. Rhino holds all the wisdom needed in life. If rhino has come to you, it is time you believe the same in yourself. You know the answers; you have the wisdom. Be strong with your decisions and know why you are making them. Rhino knows when to use aggression and when to be gentle. We, too, should practice this balance. It is time we take the knowledge we hold inside us and use it to charge forward in life. You know what is best for you. Take that and run! Do not hold yourself back! You can go far if you take out self-judgement and fear.

Be careful not to trample others as you stampede through life with your newfound confidence. Help them as you go. Share your wisdom and help others find their own inner knowledge. We all have rhino’s ancient wisdom inside us. It is time to put it to use!

I hope you enjoyed learning about the rhinoceros with me. I sure learned a lot I hadn’t known before. For instance, the word rhinoceros is derived from two Greek words, “rhino” and “keras”. Together they literally mean “nose horn”. Thanks for stopping by this week! Check back next Monday to learn what squirrel’s message is!

Until next time,

“You’re braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.”

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Rhino Totem prints and products available on Redbubble
& Society6

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Sources:
Animal Speak by Ted Andrews
https://www.sunsigns.org/rhinoceros-animal-totem-symbolism-meanings/
https://www.britannica.com/topic/unicorn
https://www.britannica.com/animal/rhinoceros-mammal
http://www.bbc.com/earth/story/20150518-the-epic-history-of-rhinos
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For: Sudan and Northern White Rhinos

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My newest totem animal piece is in honor of Sudan, the last male northern white rhinoceros. You may have heard that he died a few days ago from a leg infection and age related problems. There are only two northern white rhinos left, both older females. The western black rhino was declared extinct in 2013 and unfortunately the northern white is not far behind. Scientists are doing what they can to attempt the creation of a “science lab” offspring but any success in achieving such a feat is uncertain.

Extinction from natural causes can not be prevented but this sadly could have been. The northern white rhino, a subspecies of the southern white rhino, has arrived at such a fate due to poaching and loss of habitat. It is truly sad to know there is still so much negligence in the world. So many humans still believe they are truly superior to any other living creature. It’s sickening.

Please, animals are not here for our amusement. They are not here to decorate our homes. We do not need to wear them to look good. We do not need to kill them to slice off a horn, some skin, a skull, a lucky foot on a keychain….Seriously? Why? Stop spending money on this shit people! It is terrible, cruel, horribly selfish and ignorant.

(Ahem)…Anyways…

…my latest piece was very calming to create (if you can believe it, haha) and I’m very happy with how it turned out. I still need to add the color but this will mostly be shading. I mean, it’s a white rhino so the color should be easy! This piece remained simple but sometimes that’s how it goes. It seems to work with this gentle giant’s demeanor. I will have a new totem animal post ready for Monday morning with the symbolism for Rhino.

Is there anything you’d like to add about Sedan or northern white rhinos? Share your thoughts in the comments below! Thanks for stopping by.

Until next time,

“Since the beginning of time, we have been the guardians and the healers of the forest. We have too long forgotten the magic powers of nature. The time has come to call on them again. Remember: all the magic of creation exists within a single tiny seed.”

 

Sources:
http://time.com/5209390/sudan-rhino-rhinoceros-northern-white/
https://news.nationalgeographic.com/2018/03/northern-white-rhino-male-sudan-death-extinction-spd/
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/20/science/rhino-sudan-extinct. html
Ending quote from the movie, Ferngully: The Last Rainforest

Totem Animal: Owl

Owls are everywhere! There are over 200 different species of owls in habitats ranging from deserts to forests to snowy tundras. They are all around us yet we seldom even notice. Being nocturnal and having fantastic camouflage, they could be right in front of our faces and still go unnoticed. But if you are one of the lucky ones who has witnessed this avian king, perhaps they have a message for you.

No, it’s not your invitation to Hogwarts. Although Owl represents wisdom, it is what makes them wise that I find most interesting. Owl sees through the darkness where others cannot. Owl is a silent flyer, in order to swiftly snatch his prey in the dead of night. He moves through the night without even a single swoosh from a feather. Native Americans have called them “deceiver feathers”. Deception is Owl’s way.

His eyes are not spherical but instead immobile tubes. This is why Owl can rotate his head 270 degrees to be aware of everything around him. Owl’s ears are asymmetrical on either side of his head so he can hear multiple dimensions.

If Owl has presented himself to you it may be time to heighten your senses to see everything more clearly. Pay attention and broaden your perspective to better judge a situation your in. You may come off a little intimidating to others but this is only because you can see through the dark. No one can deceive you when you have the vision of Owl.

Owl might be warning you that you are being deceived by yourself or another. Beware of others who may seek to harm you. Owl is associated with white magic and also with black magic. Make sure you don’t end up on the wrong end. Stay sharp and strike with the precision of Owl when necessary.

 

My mother would hear an owl calling in the night from time to time. A short time later a loved one would pass. Whether it was a family member or a beloved pet, the Owl seemed to deliver the warning. Death is another symbol of Owl. Though it should not always be taken literally. Sometimes the call of Owl represents the death of a chapter, renewal.

I hope you have found some insight on this week’s post. What experiences have you had with Owl recently? There is a lot more symbolism that I didn’t cover today. I would love to hear your story in the comments below!

 

I am very pleased with how this piece came out. I really enjoy incorporating Zentangle and feather patterns. Theye simply go together. It just shows how there are patterns through out the universe, just repeating….repeating…..over….and over….into a beautiful existence. All the same, all connected. It just depends on how far back you stand and look. Thanks for stopping by this week.

Until next time,

“Pin feathers and golly fluff!”

Art by Logan

Totem Animal: Raccoon

Raccoon is a powerful totem. These fuzzy ninjas of the night represent protection and generosity. It is common for males to band together for greater strength against predators or other male raccoons from different territories. A group of raccoons is called a gaze. The gaze will have a dominant male who will stand watch and defend the group while the others forage for food. The best morsels will be given to the dominant male as a sign of respect and gratitude for the protection he offers. Raccoon is generous and protects the young and elderly. They are the guardians for those who feel like a dark horse, the underdog. They offer strength and wisdom gained from self experiences.

If Raccoon has bumbled it’s way across your path, it is time to share your wisdom with others in need. Does anyone around you need help or guidance that you can offer? You possess knowledge that you have worked hard to obtain. It is time to share this with others. Do not become a crutch but rather equip them with the tools necessary to obtain their own strength. Lift them up, dust them off and show them the way. Speak up when others speak ill behind another’s back. Do not tolerate unfounded judgement and gossip. Recognize the guardian within you. The protector is always rewarded for their great deeds. Though beware of those who refuse to help themselves; those who are lazy and greedy. They will drain you of your resources while refusing to learn how to stand on their own.

Perhaps it is you that needs to be lifted up. Are you stuck in self pity and feeling like you’ve hit rock bottom. Change your perspective and see the strength you hold within. Do not become a victim but fight. Help someone. Do not become selfish but instead be giving. The gratitude and appreciation you will receive for helping another will give you the boost of confidence you need.

On the contrary, Raccoon could be warning you to take time for yourself. Female raccoons often live solitary lives excluding mating season and when raising young. Have you been giving too much energy and have left nothing to care for yourself. An empty pot feeds no one. If you do not tend to your own needs first, you will have nothing to offer those who depend on you. Take time for yourself and recharge.

It’s no surprise that I enjoyed creating this piece. I enjoy creating all my totems yet I believe Raccoon may be my cutest so far. I still need to add color to

this piece as well as moose and owl. I’ll talk about Owl symbolism next week! My prismacolor pencils are preforming beautifully and I can’t wait to finish these three totems completely. I have much more coming that I’m excited to share with everyone. I hope you’ve enjoyed learning the different totem animals with me. I know I have!

What raccoon stories do you have to share? Leave a comment below and thanks for stopping by this week!

Until next time,

“Don’t call me raccoon. -I’m sorry. I took it too far. I meant trash panda.”

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Sources: Medicine Cards by Jamie Sams & David Carson

https://www.nationalgeographic.com/animals/mammals/r/raccoon/

http://insider.si.edu/2013/07/suburban-life-does-not-alter-solitary-ways-of-the-raccoon/

https://academic.oup.com/jmammal/article/89/3/646/862216

Totem Animal: Moose

I have always wanted to see a moose in the wild. I have yet to have the opportunity but until then I can incorporate them into my work. I enjoyed creating this piece very much. I still try to rush through my work sometimes if I get too antsy but creating zentangles and doing so in pen forces me to slow down. To enjoy it more rather than being overwhelmed, feeling the urge to hurry and finish pieces. It is not the destination. It is the journey.

Moose is a powerful totem for self esteem. Perhaps that is why I was able to approach this piece more calmly and confidently than I felt creating the bear. If you are a lucky soul who have encountered these massive beasts in the wild, you may have heard the male and his mighty call. They confidently holler, looking for a mate as they strut their massive rack, sometimes weighing up to 40 pounds! They are the largest deer species in the world.

If Moose has crossed your path today, it may be time to start giving yourself a little more credit for your accomplishments. No matter how big or small, everything we achieve is worth a “good job” and we must tell ourselves that. Encourage yourself and become empowered with your “git ‘er done” attitude. Moose energy gives you the power to encourage others to get the work done while also not being afraid to get your own hands dirty. You are a leader; a leader that can lift the ones around you. Wisdom comes from Moose and is often associated with our elders. The wise ones that have the knowledge and encouragement that is to be given to the younger generations. Moose tend to eat tall grasses so there is no need to keep their heads low in an uncomfortable manor. You too should hold your head high, taking great pride in the success you have achieved and the enlightenment you can offer to others in having such a confident attitude.

Or maybe you are being too bull-headed? If taken too far, this confidence can be turned into selfishness. Do not stand on top of others while you keep your head held high. Becoming too egotistical is detrimental to you and your relationship with others. Do not forget that we all have something to learn and everyone has something to teach. No one is better than the other. If we lose sight of this, we are hindering our opportunities to grow further.

Between Bear and Moose, I’d say it is time to stand strong in my decisions and continue with confidence. This way of life becomes easier the more I work on my art. So I will continue to do so! Stop by again soon to check out the next totem animal, the raccoon!

I hope you enjoyed this weeks post. Have you seen a moose in the wild? What lessons has Moose taught you? Share your story in the comments below! Thanks for reading!

Until next time,

“Great men are not born great, they grow great.”

Totem Animal: Cicada

I took a small break from ZIA’s and did a realistic sketch of my latest inspiration, the cicada. I have been seeing an abundance of them this year and learning so much about them. They are oddly beautiful. Like a, “Your so ugly, your cute” kind of thing. Their colors are so vibrant with an iredescent shine. Their bulbous eyes are bizarre and there underbelly is segmented and limby. They look like something from a monster movie.

Cicada, top view

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Cicada, bottom view

You can hear them humming. A rythmical beat of all of them singing together. Well, the males at least whom call for a mate. Once they have mated, a female will lay 200- 600 eggs in a hole on a tree branch. Once the young (or nymphs) have hatched, they will make their way underground and attach themselves to the tree’s roots. There they will stay there for 14- 17 years, depending on the species, feeding on tree sap. Then when their time has come, instinct tells them to rise above ground again where they will shed their skin and become the chiming cicadas we are all familiar with. They will live for another five weeks or so above ground. This gives them just enough time to find a mate and have the next generation start the whole process over again.

Cicada study sketch

 

So what does the cicada have to tell us? By emerging from the ground in one form and so rapidly changing to the next, it shows us that a complete metamorphosis is on it’s way. We have been laying dorment for many years; transformation is upon us and we must not fight nature. Shed your skin and sing your song. The cicadas are calling to each other, telling us to use our voice. We can no longer hide underground in the dark and silence. We have been born anew and should freely express ourselves as the individuals we have strongly grown into.

Cicadas also represent happiness and joy.  Ultimately, we have tranformed from nymph to what we were truly meant to be. A greater version of ourselves than before. That is something to be joyous about. Be proud of the the person you have worked so hard to become. Your metamorphosis is complete. What a rush!

I hope you enjoyed reading about these oddities of nature. What stories do you have to share about the cicada? Leave a comment below. Thanks for stopping by this week!

Until next time,

“Great men are not born great, they grow great.”

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Sources:
**Cicada Mania – http://www.cicadamania.com/cicadas/what-do-cicadas-symbolize/** Sun Signs – http://www.sunsigns.org/cicada-animal-totem-symbolism-meanings/ **Book of Shadows by Silver Ravenwolf **National Geographic – http://www.nationalgeographic.com/animals/invertebrates/group/cicadas/**

 

 

 

Photo Journal: Bugs & Botany

The creepy crawlers have been plentiful this year. Everyday that I work outside, I find a new critter to marvel at. I have seen quite a few cicadas and cicada killers. The butterflies have been fluttering about and I have even seen a group of hummingbird moths this year. There has been an abundance of spiders as well!

With all this rain we have been getting, the gardens are full and vibrant. I can’t help but take a photo everytime I’m outside. I have compiled a few of my favorite bug and botany photos from the season. What a beautiful year!

 

Snow on the Mountain (Euphorbia Marginata)

Cicada, latin for “tree cricket”

Salsa Red Cone Flower (Echinacea)

Cicada Killer (Sphecius Speciosus)

Blackeyed Susan (Rudbeckia Hirta)

Hickory Tussock Moth Caterpillar (Lophocampa Caryae) Be careful around these guys and don’t touch them! Their hairs will get stuck in your skin and irritate you the same way poison ivy will! Itchy!!

Purple Vein Ray Petunia

Striped Petunias – Petunias originated in South America and there 35 different species.

Bumblebee enjoying Purple Loosestrife
A Bumblebee enjoying Purple Loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria)

 

Black Swallowtail, female
Black Swallowtail, female (Papilio polyxenes) also known as American Swallowtail or Parsnip Swallowtail.

Knock Out Roses
Knock Out Roses, a hybrid from the Rosa genus.

Unidentified Moth
Unidentified Moth, possibly a White-streaked Prominent – (Oligocentria lignicolor)

Thanks for stopping by this week! I hope you enjoyed my collection. If anyone can identify that last moth, please feel free to leave a comment below! Or if you have any stories about creepy crawlies you have seen this summer, please share!

Until next time,

“Ladies and gentlebugs! Larvae of all stages! Rub your legs together for the world’s greatest bug circus!”

Bloom where you are planted.

 

Totem Animal: Frog

Ribbit….Chirp…..Croak…..

You can hear them calling. It’s like a choir in the night. What are they singing? Native American teachings say they are calling for the rain. Frogs embody water medicine. Water surrounds their entire existance. They begin life in the water and they must learn to swim with it. Only when they have mastered fluidity do they transform. Then they can leap out and venture forth! 

If Frog has hopped along your path, it is time to heed your emotions. What baggage have you been carrying around with you? It disrupts your inner peace and prevents you from growing. That is why Frog has found you. It calls for the rain in order to cleanse your soul. The water washes away the filth and leaves your spirit bright. Frog tells us it is okay to cry. Our tears flush our bodies of the negativity we have buried inside. Once we eliminate what has been weighing us down, both mental and physical, we can grow by leaps and bounds!

I’ve been seeing a great deal of frogs lately. I enjoy listening to them. It is truly music to my ears. I was inspired to do my latest zentangle piece of the frog. It was easy to match tangles to the texture of the frog’s skin. I think it’s amazing how patterns are all around us and we don’t even notice. That’s why I can’t stop doing zentangle inspired art. It opens your eyes in a whole new way! It’s phantasmagorical! It’s a real word, look it up! Thanks for stopping by this week. If you need some rain, I hope it pours for you! 

Until next time,

“Take a look above you. Discover the view. If you haven’t noticed, please do.”

Things to do: Raptor Fest

This past weekend my family and I went to Raptor Fest at Schodack Island State Park. No, it wasn’t dinosaurs. It was all about birds of prey. I had to work that morning so we showed up at the tail end of the event. Haha….tail end….see what I did there. Anyways, the festival was hosted by the Audubon Society of the Capital Region. They are an organization that started in the 1890’s to protect birds and their habitats. You can read about the history of the organization here. We were able to catch a fantastic seminar about raptors in the area which covered Kestrels, a couple owls to include the Great Horned, and a couple hawks. Sharon, the representative from Audubon, gave a great presentation and was very informative. I learned about some of my favorite birds and was introduced to some new ones as well. She would bring out each raptor one at a time, perched on her arm. They were beautiful and well cared for but unfortunatley were unable to be released back into the wild for one reason or another. The Great Horned owl sadly was hit by a car and lost a wing. One of the hawks suffered an eye injury and the others were found as hatchlings and raised by people. Therefore, imprinting with humans.

There were also vendors and other organizations related to raptors and nature preserves. I wish we could have made it for the entire event but just seeing that one seminar made it worth going. We had a great time at a beautiful park on a beautifully sunny day.

Have you ever been to a Raptor Fest before? Do you have a favorite raptor?  Leave your story in the comments below! Thanks for stopping by this week!

Until next time,

“Pin feathers and golly fluff!”

Giraffes & Waffles?

Time keeps on tickin’, tickin’, tickin’ into the future! It sure is flying by and I can’t seem to find the time to get everything done! I started a new job doing landscaping so I’ve been spending a lot of time in the sunshine! …..I wasn’t able to draw much this week but I did manage to get a sketch done.

My husband inspired me to do this sketch. He will blurt out random phrases for absolutely no reason. I don’t know how he comes up with some of the the things he says. One that has stuck for a while is “giraffes and waffles”. It is completely random and it makes me smile everytime I think about it. I was trying out a new calligraphy set I have and did the entire drawing with it. I figured a calligraphy pen could produce some pretty neat designs for a zentangle related piece so I wanted to mess around with it.

And there you have….Giraffes and Waffles!

Thanks for stopping by this week! I hope you enjoy some randomness this weekend! 

Until next time,

“How long is forever?…Sometimes just one second.”