Wednesday, June 22, 2011

So, Glaux... you like owls huh?

Yes I like owls. It's kind of a thing for me.  Let me explain.

When I was in high school I was that weird girl who was in all the school plays and painted her lips black and wore a biker jacket.  I was also openly Wiccan, which really means I'd read a few Scott Cunningham and Ray Buckland books and I was really jazzed about this Lilith character I'd read about.

Anyway, in spite of myself I was a real book hound proto-librarian type who loved to do research. I still have the (now very full) index cards that I started back then on each of the sepheroth. Much like today, if it had to do with the occult I wanted to know it.

I was dating this guy who was in a garage band and was really into Native American spirituality. I think it had something to do with idolizing Jim Morrison. He lent me a book, Ted Andrew's Animal Speak.  I thought this book was amazing. AH. MAY. ZING.  Because of it I was determined to find my totem animal spirit.

Armed with the wherewithal that only a sixteen year old can muster I boldly trekked out into the woods to commune with nature. I was certain that if I simply went out into the world with intent that the universe would make apparent my very own totem spirit in a matter of minutes.  This did not happen.

What did happen was that I missed lunch. And dinner.  And nothing happened.  No forest critters appeared from the brush for consideration as a totem.  No chipmunks.  No blackbirds.  No nothin' for hours.

The sun was setting, and I knew it was time to turn back towards home.  The sky shifted orange and pink, and then to deep lavender.  I was out of the woods and walking through the field next to my house when a monster tried to eat me.  It came out of nowhere, aimed straight for my head. I ducked to the ground, prone and terrified.

Of course, you can all guess what had happened now, but then, in the moment, I thought the sky was falling for certain.  And yes, when I finally got the nerve up to peek at the tree behind me, there she was. Perched in a bare tree, silhouetted in the fading purple sky, the unmistakable outline of an owl. She is a great horned owl, and she sings me to sleep every night thereafter that I spent in my parent's home. In the evening she wings by my window.

Flash forward into my early twenties as I am coming into my own as a magician.  Every witch needs her fetch, and mine came in the form of a screech owl.  I was now deeply into the mysteries of Lilith, and came to understand her as a kind of great cosmic mothering owl-spirit.  I took my first magical name, Noctua, Latin for screech owl.  I cut my staff from a grove where a nest of screech owlettes makes their home.  I go on late night walks just to listen to them call out.

And on into my thirties when I have collected my lineages and degrees, and have molded a truly magical life for myself.  Athena starts talking to me.  She gives me a few tasks to complete, and I perform most of them (one being the work of this blog).  I begin to see that the "great cosmic mothering owl-spirit" is an archetype in many ancient European cultures. Lilith, Athena, Blodeuwedd, Ereshkegal, Calleach, the Burney Relief Goddess, and so on.  I take another name. This time Glaux, Greek for owl.

I don't know where the owl will fly me next.  Right now she is embedded as the archetypical Black Goddess of the American Folkloric Witchcraft/Spiral Castle tradition I am working.  She looms large as a life-sized copy of the Burney Relief over the desk I sit at now.  I am surrounded by owl trinkets and paraphernalia.  A wooden flute carved into an owl that makes hooting noises, an obsidian carved owl from my trip to Mexico, a maneki neko inspired owl from "Japan" in Epcot, several stuffed hedwigs, a stained glass owl from my mother in law.  There are literally hundreds of them.

Do I like owls? Yes. And I've come to think that, just maybe, they like me back.


  1. Yes!

    My similar owl encounter didn't come until I was older, the last time we lived at this apartment complex shortly before we bought our house. We were walking the rent check over to the office one night just at dusk when, like you described, SWOOOOOP over and I'm ducking and going "WTF?!" and C. is all "What are you talking about?" I looked up, and perched at the topmost top of the biggest tree beside the office is a great horned owl, visible as just a silhouette against the darkening sky. He was right there, and C. to this day maintains no memory of the event! My fetch came in the form of a barn owl, not a great horned, know the drill from there. ;)

  2. Wow! I had no idea that you'd been swoop-de-hooted as well! Just figures. I have a barn owl gift for you when next we meet.

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