CURRENT TOTEMS ARTICLE
Totems: Peacock, Part 1 of 2
Have your notions about what’s real, and true, and beautiful been ripped into little pieces and tossed into the air, only to fall down like confetti around your shoulders that are carrying the weight of the world? Things don’t work the way they used to, you say? Yes, it’s true that enormous change is occurring, but it’s necessary, so that you and I and the rest of life will survive. I AM PEACOCK. My beauty, and the beauty in life and nature still exist. Love still IS. Kindness still opens the heart, and helps community to function. Focus on those things in order to get through. Love and beauty and kindness will guide you through the new, let you release the old, and ultimately, bring forth regeneration.
A couple of weeks before I began writing this article, I started opening up to guidance about which totem was most appropriate for these strange and difficult times. At first, I thought maybe it was wolverine, who sometimes nips at me, reminding me that I haven’t yet written about him. But no, wolverine didn’t feel quite right. And as fascinating as tarantulas are, ultimately, I was guided to write about Peacock. And no wonder. I found that peacocks are inextricably interwoven with the life and death rhythms of Nature. Peacock could be the poster child for this time of pandemic in which those of us who are sensitive to the cycles of nature, realize that humans can no longer let greed dictate the abuse and overuse of the Earth’s natural resources – not if we expect to survive. Peacock totem reminds us that we are in the midst of a cycle of birth and death, and that hopefully, we will resurrect more fully realized and sensitive to life.
During the short time we lessened industrial development, restricted travel, and gave great bodies of water a chance to cleanse, Nature rebounded exquisitely. As people did not populate outside spaces as much, many wildlife species showed up where they had not dared to flourish before. Pollution levels went down, so people in cities began breathing easier; stars were more visible at night. It’s hard not to begin imagining what our world really could be like. And whether we’ve been spending time alone, or are sheltering with family, we’ve become more introspective, examining how we’re living and working. In some cases, that might include depression and deep unhappiness at first, realizing that a large part of life is running us, and that for a long while, we’ve been spinning in circles like a hamster on a wheel. The big question is – will we transform enough, in time, to change the direction in which Mother Earth is headed. Peacock totem has something to say about that.
Peacocks, (genus Pavo) also known as Peafowl are among the most beautiful creatures on Earth. They are part of the pheasant family. Though they are native to India, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Java, they can now be found in zoos and gardens all over the world. Technically, only the males are peacocks and the females are peahens; however, most of the time, both sexes are referred to as peacocks. Despite the fact that peacocks are sometimes quarrelsome, males often have several females in their harems. Each female usually lays three to five eggs. Peacocks generally live about 25 years, which is long for Aves. A group of peacocks is called a muster or an ostentation. Wild peacocks roost in trees at night, but nest on the ground under shrubs. They feed on plants, flower petals and seeds, but get the large amount of protein they need for their rather large bodies, from insects and even small reptiles, amphibians or arthropods. A hungry peacock will also eat a small snake. Peacocks require a large amount of water. If this totem is in your life, make sure you’re drinking enough water.
The crest at the top of the heads of both male and female emphasizes the use of the crown chakra to connect with the Divine, and the I Am presence within ourselves, and also with the I Am presence in every being on this planet. The realization that we are all ONE will make us re-create our world into one where Love, Justice, and Empathy reign. The more of us who do that, the faster things will evolve.
The colors of the peacock are a significant part of its Medicine. Although several hundred variations of color and pattern in peacocks have morphed among peafowl breeders, the original colorations of wild peacocks are as follows: The Indian peacock, found in India and Sri Lanka, has iridescent green, blue, and also blue-green plumage. No painter could ever match the color and texture of those greens and blues. Years ago, someone kindly sent me a collection of peacock tail feathers, which I have always kept in my office. Upon close inspection one sees that each green has many different greens – emerald, lime, chartreuse. I am writing this in May 2020, when everything is new; a lot of healing is taking place on the Earth. The color of the leaves on the trees is spring green, which is also one of the greens in the feathers. Green is the color of the 4th chakra. The heart chakra rules healing, unconditional love and compassion. It also rules the 4 Directions encompassing the world, and the 4 Elements, shortening the healing process through creating new growth patterns.
The blues are turquoise and deep blue, and that rich sapphire blue of the torso feathers. Blue is the color palette of the 5th and 6th chakras – the throat and pituitary centers. The lighter blue of the 5th chakra assists us in speaking our truth. The deeper blue of the 6th is the bridge and the balance between our physical and spiritual bodies. And behind and beneath those colors is a rich coppery bronze, which is actually a combination of blues and reds. And, interestingly, when metal copper gets old, it turns green. So that they blend in with their surroundings, baby chicks are a non-descript tawny, dirty-ish white, or yellow color.
The Green peacock comes from Java and Burma, and differs from the Indian in that the male has green and gold plumage with black wings and a sheen of blue. Gold is the color of the 8th chakra, which is a little above our bodies, over the head. This chakra is your connection to your Higher Self and your life purpose. One of the silver linings of this pandemic is that many of us are revising what we want to do with our lives, and how we are going to fulfill our purpose for being here. Everyone on the planet at this time is here for a specific reason that contributes to the whole. Unlike the Indian peafowl, the Green peahen is similar to the male, only having shorter upper tail coverts, with more copper in the neck, and less iridescence overall. Black is the absence of color, but black is required for all other colors to have depth and variation of hue. It is associated with power, mystery and authority.
The Congo peacock inhabits African rain forests. The male peacock’s tail feathers are shorter than those of both the Indian and Green species, and the ocelli (the eyes in the feathers) are much less pronounced. Females of the Indian and African species are dull gray and/or earthy brown. Gray is a neutral color that has no direct effect on energy, but provides a certain calm stability. Research has shown that office workers are most productive in light grey surroundings.
Those feathers: Have you ever thought about all the things feathers actually do? Oh sure, we notice them for their beauty, especially in the case of peacocks, and for the fact that they enable flight, but they do more. Flight feathers not only provide lift surfaces for a bird’s wings and tail, but they also protect it from heat loss by insulating the body. Down feathers add to this.
Males have long and colorful tails with iridescent feathers. The tail of a male peacock is about two meters in length, and makes up more than 60% of his body length. That beautiful display that we love to see is an upper tail of highly elongated covert feathers (covert feathers are called that because they cover other feathers). These covert feathers cover the base of the tail feathers. A male peacock may have more than 200 covert feathers, yet even with that long train of feathers, peacocks can fly. Yes, the peacock is one of the largest flying birds, though it doesn’t fly fast or far. Train rattling is when the male furiously vibrates and rattles his feathers as he makes his display for the female. Wing shaking also gets the female’s attention. He is the epitome of self-possession, as he turns and poses with grace and aplomb. We would do well to endure our hardships with the same self-possession and courage, while affirming future goodness.
Cie Simurro- Thunderbird Starwoman has been a Healer, Writer, Minister, Advocate and Steward for the natural world for over 45 years; author of this column for 20 years.
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