Red Winged Blackbird – Magick, Community and Activism

I have been thinking for a week about writing this blog post.  What to say, what not to say, how to say it, etc. I had a profound and beautiful experience last week and I wanted to share it, but maybe some background is necessary.
Where to begin? I’m a GenX white woman, skirting back and forth between lower class and middle class in terms of finances.  I relate to Millenials, and politically identify as a liberal Independent.  I’m a pagan (Eclectic Pantheist), a mother, a wife, and I have chronic pain and chronic illnesses.

I participated in The Woman’s March in my city on January 21.  I marched for many of my own personal reasons, and also to join in Solidarity with my sisters around the country and the world. (Is it sad that as I type this I am thinking of ways to defend my participation in this march?  There was a lot of criticism on the march, but I don’t want to spend time defending something that was actually quite beautiful and powerful.)  That march, with 10,000 people on the streets in my city was so humbling and beautiful.  People of every race, gender identity, religion, and age marched together peacefully.  It gave me so much hope, but I also knew that just marching on one day wouldn’t be enough.  We will need more marches, more follow up actions to keep this movement and other movements going.
A day or two after the Women’s March, some friends and I began talking about planning a Witches’ March.  Something in which local Pagans and Witches can come together on one day to show support for religious freedom, and protection of our Water and the Earth.  It is slowly taking form with some amazing women taking the lead on organizing details.  I was sitting with so many feelings that day. We had all heard the news that the Keystone Pipeline and Dakota Access Pipeline would be continued rather than stopped.  One part of me was still full of hopefulness after seeing such peaceful and beautiful marches all around the world.  The other part of me was feeling hopeless and pessimistic about whether we can really make a difference or not.  Will the leaders of the world and country listen to us?  Is this all too little, too late?  Not just in cases of women’s rights, but also in terms of our economy, our planet, religious freedom, and so much more.  As I sat in my home watching the events unfold politically, and also watching members of my Pagan community come together and start planning something amazing – my emotions were a bit of a rollercoaster.  I sat there in my kitchen with my fears and worries, alongside my hopefulness and optimism, and just sat with all these feelings.  Not trying to push them away but just feeling them all. It was not comfortable, but I didn’t know what else to do with these feelings except sit with them.
Eventually, I decided to ground and center my energy.  I remember thinking, “Mother Earth, I give you this energy from these feelings.  Help me turn this energy into something better.  Show me what to do”. as I released this all down into the earth. Suddenly, in that moment, I heard a very loud noise – the sound of hundreds of song birds singing outside. I looked up and saw that a large flock of birds had just descended onto my property.  There were hundreds of birds in the trees, on the grass, and on my porch.  I imagine they were on the roof of my house as well.  Looking out a different window I confirmed that they were pretty much surrounding the house.  Singing so loudly and beautifully.

I just stood at my window watching them in awe for a few minutes.  Mostly black birds.  But, yes there were other birds mixed in to the crowd.  Robins.  Starlings,  Woodpeckers even!  But the majority were those black birds and as I observed them I realized they were Red Winged Blackbirds.

I immediately went to find my copy of “Feathered Omens” by Ted Andrews, but unfortunatley Red Winged Blackbirds were not listed in that book.  So I did a quick Google Search for “Spiritual Meaning of Red Winged Blackbird” (the flock of birds still chirping away loudly in my yard and the trees surrounding the property) I found this page, and as I read it I started crying.

http://www.auntyflo.com/magic/red-winged-blackbird

Some quotes from the article that hit home with exactly the type of feelings I had been sitting with;

“These red-winged blackbirds are protective of their young ones. They also protect their mates and other birds by chasing away even larger predators. They do not fear. They only know how to showcase their courage and unified effort to protect their kin.”

“As you imbibe its strong trait, you will not fear being put in the middle of a crowd. You will show confidence and exhibit courage. Stand out even in the midst of crowd by showing your gifted talents and abilities”

“This can be interpreted that having this totem will enable you to do something that can be positively associated without you. It is like creating a legacy. To be known of something that is highly reputable and significantly recognized in the realm of this world. This can only happen if you will make yourself known to others. Someone who takes a stand on something that you strongly believe in. Never defy the essence of your existence. Speak out your idea or your positions. “

“This also teaches us the value of unity and strength in number. Unified efforts can undoubtedly lead towards the achievement of a goal. Be a team player. Let others know that you are dependable.  Learn to make ways on how are you going to protect each other against any harm especially those who are close to you – your family. Be firm but kind-hearted. Know that you can make others feel that they are loved, cared for and they are being protected. The sense of belongingness for a person is very important. “

“This creature teaches you to be live with confidence and love. This is a matter of communicating well. Learning to communicate what you think, what you feel, what you desire. Send that positive feelings to others and bring goodness to the community where you belong.”

” Red Winged Blackbird shows up as a spirit guide when…

  • You need the strength  of many.
  • You need to be a leader.
  • You need unity.
  • You are needing confidence.
  • You are forced to be part of a team.
  • You need to express your inner beauty …”

As I read and re-read these words, with tears in my eyes, the flock of birds slowly left the yard.  Not all at once, but gradually in the same way that my tears turned to resolve.  I was crying because the moment was so beautiful and I felt it was a direct response to what I had asked for when I sent that energy down into Mother Earth and asked Her for help and guidance.

So I will continue to connect with my community in every way I can.  I will continue to speak up, stand up, and speak out.  I will March.  I will sometimes yell.  Sometimes I will cry.  Sometimes I will share cute animal pictures.  I will try to balance my voice so that I am informative and helpful but also inspiring and sharing positivity when and where I can.

Last night I joined with The Ever Green Hearth in a ritual for Imbolc.  There, we all added water from our homes symbolically to Brigid’s well, joining together our energies, strengths, hopes and ideas as a community.  Then we took our wishes and dreams and threw them into the purifying fire. Brigid, hear our prayers!  Brigid thank you for your blessings!  Red Winged Blackbird, thank you for your message – to me and to others who might read this!  I will call on Red Winged Blackbird when I need some courage and need help finding my place within my community!