“Blackbird singing in the dead of nightThe Beatles
Take these broken wings and learn to fly
All your life
You were only waiting for this moment to arise.”
This morning my beautiful daughter and I had breakfast on the patio in glorious sunshine. We had no sooner tucked in when a blackbird hopping hither and yon, called in great distress. Initially we watched, wondering what it was that upset this beautiful creature. Then we began to investigate, breakfast forgotten.
It’s iridescent plumage had sheens of other colours and I in my ignorance couldn’t tell if it were male or female. The next thing you know the cat slinks from beneath the car. Both of us, in unison, exclaimed that she was the most likely culprit. And so began our search for an injured bird, or stray feathers at least, all the while admonishing the cat for not going against its nature. There was no corroborating evidence though, nothing. We continued with our breakfast mystified.
The blackbird continued chirruping and hopping over and back. It was for all of its off kilterness fascinating to observe, but, we felt helpless too, useless. It was only when we brought the breakfast tray back inside that we discovered the answer, for there sitting on the bookshelf beneath the stairs was the comrade blackbird.
It stared at us beady eyed, head tucked into itself, tired and clearly terrified. We were both startled, and decided we had to overcome our own fears and help this creature back to its mate, who was still calling outside, still pacing to and fro.
There were two of us, six doors and a flight of stairs to negotiate and the last thing we wanted to do was upset it anymore. So we closed all doors except the one to the outside. I stood on the stairs with a bath towel over my head, doing my best to prevent it flying upstairs. My daughter, the heroine, bless her, got a soft pillow case, wrapped the bird gently in it and proceeded to release it to the wild. Then we both hugged each other as we watched them reunite through the bay window. Such an honour.
So why were we so terrified of this little winged creature? There is a terror in the responsibility, in matching your human might with the bird’s apparent frailness. What if you made matters worse? There was too that thing about birds in a house being portents of doom and neither of us wanted to be trifling with that.
Blackbirds are usually considered a good omen. They are also associated with travel to the Otherworld and it being so close to midsummer, one has to wonder. There are mysteries in there and sometimes mystery ought to remain just that.
Druid legends tell of Rhiannon’s three blackbirds which sit and sing in the world tree of other worlds. Their singing puts the listener into a trance which enables them to travel to the otherworld where they impart mystic secrets. Time to pay particular attention to my dreams and my meditations.
When blackbird flies into your life ’tis time to sit up and take notice. The magic and mystery of the underworld surfaces in your life. Essentially it is time to acknowledge your power and use it to its fullest.
In Gaelic they are called Lon Dubh. The beautiful song of the blackbird makes it a symbol of temptations, especially sexual ones. There is the story of St Benedict who was tempted by the devil in the form of a blackbird, to lust, a state he was only cured from by hurling himself into a thorney bush, naked. Now if you believe that you’ll believe anything. I have no such plans, I plan on celebrating my sensuality thank you very much.
There is also the story of St Kevin of Glendalough, who was praying hands outstretched upwards when a blackbird laid her eggs in his palm. The saint remained still until the eggs hatched and the brood flew the nest. Now there is a good man. Then again there is the nettles story, but I digress.
The blackbird is thought to be one of the three oldest animals in the world along with the trout and the stag. They represent the air, water and earth. I hope they nest in my grove, but I totem them there anyway.
In Ireland, blackbirds warn of rain when their cries are particularily shrill.
P.S. 28/06 – I never remember my dreams and when I do it is because I am supposed to. This is why I call them Celtic Visions. My first house was a cottage in rural Ireland and I lived alone there. There was a sweet old man who took on the role of my guardian and every week he walked from the bottom of the hill to my house with the aid of his walking stick to check in on me. He has long since passed and may he rest in peace. He woke me in a dream this morning, calling me to get up. Strange. I see it as a good portent though. Messages from the other world, and so it begins.