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Nature Spirits

38 39 birdS and bird SPiriTS magical feathers and flocks Birds and their great spirits have long been the allies of humans, as they arc across the sky and hover on the winds. Poised and precise, the eyes of the hawk and the spirit of the eagle are the helpers of shamans across the world, teaching spirit flight to the upper realms. Celtic bards wore swan feather cloaks, called the tugen, as objects of power for this purpose, swan spirits being guardians of poetry. The Celtic ogham script was said to be inspired from the shapes of the crane on land and in flight, and the crane was also sacred to bards. The secret tools of both the shaman and the storyteller were hidden within a craneskin bag, as cranes guided the journey to the underworld. Shamans today still journey to meet bird spirits, collect feathers and study their flight and songs. The raven and the crow both reveal the touch of the crone goddess, her magic visible in the shimmering colors in the black of the ravens wing. The eyes of the owl are also the eyes of the goddess who sees between the worlds and into the heart of every being, seen and unseen. The flights of these and other birds across the sky traditionally formed an augury where their movements reflected ripples on the web of life, portending events to come and reminding those far below of places unseen, distant horizons and the wonders of the air. Above Bird spirits can be seen in the weaving twisting swarms of starlings arcing across the Somerset wetlands in autumn. Anyone who has seen a flock of birds in flight must attest to their collective consciousness as they move across the sky as one.
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