Ted Andrews/Animal-Speak: Grackle
Keynote: Overcoming Excess and Emotional Life Congestion
Cycle of power: Early Spring
Although the grackle is often considered part of the blackbird family, along with crows and starlings, it actually is not. It is part of the meadowlark and oriole family of birds. It is a large black bird with an extra-long tail. About its head and shoulders are iridescent feathers that change from blue to green to purple or bronze, depending on the light.
This coloring often reflects a need for those to whom the grackle comes to look at what is going on in their life differently. It says that situations are not what they appear to be and you may not be looking at them correctly--particularly anything dealing with the emotions.
Keep in mind that black is the color of the inner and the feminine. The purple and bronze coloring about the head especially usually indicates that emotions are coloring our thinking process. The grackle can help us to correct this.
During courting season, the male grackle will fold its tail, creating a diamond-like trough. This diamond shape is often reflective of activation. It hints at a need to become active in regards to emotional situations. Have we been too passive in our emotions? Are we simply rehashing and talking about them without doing anything to correct the emotional situations in our life? The grackle is a noisy, chattering bird and may be a reminder to quit talking and *do* something.
Grackles are very sociable birds as well. It is not unusual to find people that are in the midst of unbalanced emotional states constantly narrating and rehashing the conditions in every social situation. It can be therapeutic to speak of problems, but many social occasions do nothing but aggravate the conditions and feelings surrounding them. Again it can reflect we may be talking about things too much and not doing something about them.
Grackles have inside their mouths on the hard palate a keel which helps them cut open acorns and eat them. We have often heard the expression, "It's a tough nut to crack." Well, this reflects the role a grackle can serve as a totem. Dealing constructively with our emotions and those people and things in our life which aggravate them can be a tough nut to crack. The grackle can show us how best to do this.
Grackles love to live in pine trees. Pine trees are very therapeutic to emotional states. In a form of homeopathic medicine known as flower essences, the essence of pine can be used to help alleviate strong emotional states, particularly feelings of guilt. Again this reflects the grackle showing up as a sign to help you clear the emotions.
Emotions that are not dealt with can congest our life, aggravating or even creating congestion in the body at some level. The grackle can serve as a warning to be careful of this possibility, but it can also help show us how to prevent it from occurring. The droppings of grackles can serve to culture fungi which, if the wind blows, can cause a pneumonia-like infection.
Most illness is symbolic. Congestion, especially pneumonia-like in appearance can tell us that we are holding in our emotions. It can reflect a suppressed crying or a refusal to deal with certain long-standing problems and issues. (Have we neglected situations, giving them time to be cultured?) It can reflect a refusal to take in new life and new approaches to life, and so we become congested with old emotions.
The grackle shows us how to handle this. It can teach the proper expression of emotions. They can show us where excesses are dissipating our life force and facilitating a congestion of growth and movement. They can teach how to get back to creative and beneficial experiences and expressions of emotion.