Zoo Ethics: On the Cold-Blooded Murder of a Young Giraffe

My heart is breaking.

Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson


I don’t like any zoo, but I am especially outraged by the action of the Copenhagen Zoo in Denmark on Sunday (February 9).  I am hardly alone:  More than 27,000 people signed a “save Marius petition,” when the zoo announced that zoo officials intended to kill the adorable and much-loved 18-month old Marius. Many thousands of other people around the world have taken to the Internet to express their sadness, their bewilderment, and their horror at this completely unnecessary, even ghoulish act.   It caused revulsion in most people who read about it.  It was an execution many noted.  The reason the zoo gave for killing Marius struck just about every ordinary person as bizarre:  He was killed because his genes were too similar to those of other zoo giraffes in a European breeding program.  “He cannot add anything further to the breeding programme that does not already exist,” a European…

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Finding Your South Totem Animal


In the last post, we discussed finding our nine Totem Animals, or Guardian Animal Spirits. Please go back and refer to that post again to refresh your memory. I had a few computer problems and so this article was unfortunately delayed.

            Today we will talk about how to find the Totem Animal Guide of our South direction and why this is important.

            Totem Animal Guides represent the “Medicine” that a person bears with them during their time on Earth. These animals represent power and the talents or gifts of an individual.

            As explained before, every person has seven directions around them at all times: the four compass directions, plus above, below and within. The other two Totem Animals walk on our right and left sides and can be said to represent our masculine and feminine aspects.

            The South Totem Animal protects our inner child. Its goal is to help us maintain innocence in our personality—certainly a very important characteristic to hang onto in our crazy dysfunctional world. It is an animal which will show up in our day when we need to be humble and learn to trust.

            The South Wind of the Medicine Wheel represents our day to day walk through life as well as many other things, so when we apply this Totem Animal meaning to our day to day walk, it represents the idea of maintaining innocence and humility as we journey daily in life. Keeping an eye out for this animal, once we have discovered who it is, will signal to us that it’s time to relax a bit, trust and allow, rather than pushing and trying to control. It suggests a time to let go and let God and Goddess, trusting that They are in control and knowing the Godhead always has the best in mind for us. They are our healers and well-wishers not our tormentors. There are dark spirits who do those things.

            Just as we performed a meditation to find our East Totem Animal, it is time to do the same for the South.

            There are a couple of things we should remember first:

1)    The animal may be a four-legged creature, mammal, aquatic, bird, reptile or insect. So don’t argue with what presents itself. Accept it and we will figure out its characteristics later.

2)    Turn off all media which may interfere with your concentration or cause a distraction i.e. if you have critters or kids perhaps get someone to watch them while you take a little break.


So let’s start.

1)    Sit or lie in a comfortable place. Close your eyes.

2)    Take a few deep breaths and go through your body systematically from your feet to the top of your head, relaxing every part of your body.

3)    Imagine a pair of grounding rods extending from the bottom of your feet into the centre of the Earth.

4)    Now visualize a ball of white light at the bottom of your feet. Draw the light up your legs, through them and gradually filling your whole body until the light pours out the top of your head into a fountain of white brightness all around you.

5)    Let everything go. Clear your mind.


6)    Imagine yourself on the top of a large mesa as in the south west United States. It is warm and bright and the sun is directly overhead. It is the middle of the day. You feel relaxed and comfortable. The ground beneath and around you is covered with reddish small rocks and dirt. The elevation is not un-nerving to you even if heights normally bother you.

7)    You become aware of someone beside you. You turn and look and realize that you as a young innocent child are standing beside yourself of the present.

8)    Take note of this child’s appearance, what it is wearing and its age.

9)    Now turn and face your younger self directly. Continue to stare at their face and body. Be aware of another shape beginning to wrap itself around your younger self and becoming like an armor enclosing the innocent one.

10) As it fully covers the child, be aware that this armor is in fact a living being, the Totem Animal of your South direction whom you wish to meet.

11) Do not be afraid as this being materializes, this entity is one of your protectors. It is a powerful creature sent to keep you safe and living your life with humility and as negative karma-free as possible.

12) You may ask this being any questions that come immediately to your mind or you have prepared beforehand. The answers may come in the form of words, feelings, pictures, movies etc.

13) Reach out and touch the protective entity and allow yourself to feel its spirit and energy. Take some time to get to know it and find out more about its purpose where you are concerned.

14) You may ask this Animal Spirit for a gift. You will find a present in your hand to give it in return.

15) Now bid goodbye to your South Totem Animal. As you watch, it will dissolve around your child-self and then your child-self will also dissolve in front of you as well.

16) Take a moment to view your surroundings once again and take note of any changes.

17) Find yourself back in your room in your own body. Take a deep breath. Be aware of your body. Take a few more deep breaths.

18) Bring the white light back down through your body and into the ball of light at the base of your feet.

19) Release the grounding rods from the Earth’s core.

20) Take another deep breath. Wiggle your fingers and toes and open your eyes.


Now it’s time to write down all that you can remember of the meditation and what happened. Be aware in your day-to-day life of the appearance of hints of your South Totem Animal in any aspect. You may wish to obtain physical objects which can remind you of the entity. Please avoid obtaining objects which would involve the death of a Totem Animal.

You may write to me if you have any questions or concerns at thesongofsophia@aol.com and I will try to answer you as soon as possible.

The following sites may assist and help you to interpret some of the animal meanings.














Many Blessings to you all.

Hedgewytch Lynne

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Balancing Your System With Your Totem Animals: Part One


Part One: Finding Your East Totem Animal Guide

             Human beings are part of the population of the planet. They make up a very small percentage of the species walking, crawling, flying, swimming and simply existing on the Earth. Within every living creature is an invisible (not able to be seen with the naked eye) soul, composed of purely spiritual matter, and, believe it or not, the physical bodies of those living beings, which appear to be solid, are in fact composed also of spiritual energy which is vibrating at a much slower speed and thus appears to be solid.

            As life happens around and to us, we can often find ourselves feeling off-balance. That out-of-balance problem can manifest on any of our body’s levels: physical, emotional, mental and spiritual.

            The Ancient Ones of our planet understood that one of the best ways to re-establish balance in any of our bodies is through sound. Sound interacts powerfully at the atomic level and can stabilize vibrational frequencies which have slipped off track.

            Just as the Godhead created everything through sound, we can seek sound to re-boot our inner computers. The Vedas of India have specific mantras useful for those purposes, but other Peoples also use sound energies which are just as effective.

            The Medicine Wheel teaches that all humans have Nine different Animal Spirit Guides or Totems available to lend power to us in any given situation.

            Animal Spirit Guides are there to act as teachers or archetypes of behaviour, to give their power to us, and also lend their unique sound to heal and strengthen the parts of us needing help.

            All of us have Seven directions around us including East, South, West, North (as we move around the Wheel of Life and as the Sun moves through the day) plus Above, Below and Within. Within not only fills us, but is representative of all that is around us. It is our Godhead representative. Our Watcher. The Way the Godhead or Great Mystery presents itself to us.

            The last two Totem Animals walk beside us, one on our right and one on our left. They often have been showing up in our lives for years. I have learned to associate them with the two faces of our sexuality, the male and the female. The right side represents the masculine and the left, the feminine.


            For years, Dogs have presented themselves to me. From the time I was really little, dogs have come into my life, sometimes for just an afternoon, but always having a very specific effect upon me.

            When I grew up, I realized I needed a dog walking beside me in the physical to feel balance, and so I got a dog and have had a few over the years. I can’t seem to go more than nine months without one.

            The other being who drops in regularly is Hawk. Hawk drops feathers in front of my car when I am driving along. I can find them everywhere. Hawk calls me from above and warns me of danger, plus shows up in the most sacred of places to sing to me, often several at a time. They seem to come representing the deepest aspect of creation and spiritual intuition.

            Many years ago, when I asked who were the totem animals walking beside me everyday of my life, Dog appeared on my right, my masculine side, and Hawk on my left, my feminine side.

            To determine your totem animals, you can obtain a deck of Medicine Cards by Jamie Sams and David Carson from the Medicine Cards: The Discovery of Power Through The Ways of Animals by Jamie Sams and David Carson, illustrated by Angela C. Werneke and published by Bear and Company of Santa Fe, New Mexico in 1988. ISBN 0-929680-53-X

            If you are unable to obtain a deck, you can go on a meditation to determine your totem animals. Here is one which I have used many times over the years. Read this meditation over, memorize it and try it yourself. You will need a quiet space. Turn off all media.



1)    Close your eyes and take a deep breath.

2)    Go through your body and relax every part from the tips of your toes to the top of your head. Keep concentrating on your breathing taking slow, deep breaths.

3)    Visualize a pair of grounding rods projecting from the bottom of your feet and going deep into the Earth.

4)    Imagine a white light at the bottom of your feet and draw the light up through your body until it bursts out of the top of your head like a fountain all around you.

5)    Now see yourself in a field of wildflowers at Dawn. The Sun is just beginning to come up and you can feel the difference between the Air and the Earth.

6)    Relax and inhale the fragrance of nature. See flowers all around you and look to the East at the rising Sun. Ask the Sun to show you your Totem Animal—a mammal, bird, reptile, insect, or aquatic—which will lend you its power in the East, the place of new life, creativity, birth and re-birth, Dawn and Spring.

7)    Ask that animal to come to you and show you how it can help you. Hear its sound, touch its skin and feel its essence beside you.

8)    Now, allow yourself to merge into its body and spend some time seeing life through its eyes, experiencing the planet as it does. Feel and hear it make its sound.

9)    Now retreat from its body and return to your own in the field. Thank the Totem animal for its help. It may wish to give you a gift and so reach out your hand and accept whatever it may offer you. You will find tobacco, corn meal or small blue seed beads in your hand, to offer in exchange and appreciation.

10) Bid your new friend goodbye. Take note of any changes in the field around you.

11) Take a deep breath and bring yourself back to the room. Take several deep breaths. Bring the white light back down through your body and into the earth.

12) Wiggle your fingers and toes. Open your eyes. Write down everything you can remember.

           Now you have your East Totem Animal. It is time to learn everything you can about it and take note of its appearance in your day and world. You may wish to get pictures of it, jewellery or clothing with its image. Bring it into your life. Your East Animal Totem Guide is the one you call upon when beginning anything new. It is your helper for starting fresh.

           Very important: It’s sound, cry or song will help to balance your second chakra, your chakra of creativity, your birth chakra, when it is off-balance. It is a personal mantra for you. You may wish to imitate the sound yourself, get recordings of it to relax to or learn to hear the sound with your inner ear. Whatever method you choose will be beneficial to balancing your system.

           If you have any questions, please leave comments for me. I read them first before I approve them and so if you have a private message, you may use the form below and I can get back to you if you wish more personal information.

           We will be continuing with this topic, working our way through all Nine Totem Animals and learning more as we go along.

            I hope you enjoy this exercise.


Hedgewytch Lynne



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            The Yule Sabbath began on December 21st, the shortest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere.

            In the old traditions of some, it is the time of the departure of the Holly King and the arrival of the Oak King.

            The tradition of the Yule Log, in the old Norse faith, represents the Giant Ash Tree of the World called Yggdrasil—remember Avatar the movie—and was traditionally taken from an Ash tree, usually harvested from one’s own land (preferably that had fallen without the help of man), or received as a gift. It was usually quite large, a veritable log, which would burn for twelve days and keep everyone warm during the Yule celebrations. When placed in the hearth of the home, the fireplace, the source of heat and life—or at least one end of it—it was decorated with holly and mistletoe in a spirit of joy and reverence, offered libations and sustenance—cider and flour—and then lit by a piece of the previous year’s log which was saved for the occasion, thus bringing the wheel of life full circle.

            It was burned for a full night and then kept smoldering for twelve days—the twelve days of Christmas—and then extinguished and a piece kept back as explained above.

            We can see many variations have come from this practice, even our own Christmas tree, the upright version of Yggdrasil, a Tree of the World for ourselves.


            This year take a moment to think about the tradition of the Yule Log. If you honoured the festival by using a modern Christmas Tree, consider using natural decorations in addition to the artificial ones you may already have in place. Holly abounds in the Pacific Northwest and so can be found everywhere in the forest. Cinnamon sticks and food offerings like candy canes and popcorn can represent the libations offered to the original Yule Log.

            Leave your tree up for the full twelve days, just like the Yule Log would be burned and run it right through to January the 6th, Epiphany or Christmas of the Eastern Orthodox Church. If you started your Yule Celebration this year of the 21st of December, you would keep the tree up or the log smoldering till New Year’s Day.

            Either way, this could be a fun thing to add to your seasonal celebrations. Teach your children all about the Tree of the World and what it means and how you can bring it into your own home to honour and respect its gift.

            Many traditions have trees in their celebrations and stories of trees, from the tree in the Garden of Eden, the Vedic Tree of Life, or the ‘tree’ i.e. ‘cross’ Jesus was crucified on. Interesting note: in Norse traditions, Odin hung on the Tree of the World, Yggdrasil, for nine days wounded by a spear. It is said He sacrificed Himself to Himself, God to God. Sound familiar?

            All these stories should be reassuring to us and unite us in understanding that the beliefs we have do come from an original source, Whether the Tree of Life or the Tree of the knowledge of good and evil from the Garden of Eden, or the Tree of Life from the Kabalah, the Celts or the Navajo.

            Let’s embrace the similarities of the traditions, research our own stories and those of others, and add respect for universal spirituality to our celebrations this year.

Blessed Be,

 Hedgewytch Lynne

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Expectations & Reality—Making a Better, Happier, Stronger YOU

Expectations & Reality—Making a Better, Happier, Stronger YOU.

via Expectations & Reality—Making a Better, Happier, Stronger YOU.

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            Hallowe’en is upon us!

             I’ve been doing a little research on the actual event and it really is a mixed bag of tricks. From Samhain to All Hallows Eve to All Saints Day, this celebration moves through so-called pagan festivals to more conventional Catholic ones. Remember Pagan is a term foisted onto older religions by the more aggressive Christian fathers of the conquering peoples. It is originally a Middle English word that comes from the Latin word paganus which means civilian or country dweller. So the unsophisticated people who worshipped, often, more than one god, were referred to as country dwellers. The city dwellers would be more sophisticated and worship the popular god or gods of the state.

             I had thought about writing extensive articles on the history of the holiday but during my research—which just kept getting more and more bogged down in the twists and turns of folk culture and religious attempts at expropriation—I found this amazing series of You Tube videos that just say it all.

            So please watch these, a documentary from the History Channel, and be surprised to find out the story of our modern Hallowe’en celebrations is in fact a very young one.


            Hedgewytch Lynne

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