Heron Medicine

The other day as I was walking my dog around the golf course, I was feeling wistful that the egrets and herons have now moved on. Of course, the Gambel’s Quail and other migratory birds are now back, but I was missing one particular cute little egret who always sat alone at his/her own little pond away from the other birds.

So a few minutes after I realized that the little egret hadn’t been around in 2-3 days and was probably gone for the season along with the rest of the egrets, suddenly a huge great blue heron flew overhead heading west.

What a powerful, magnificent creature! I made a mental note to look up the Native American meaing of the heron.

Animal Medicine: Powers of The Great Blue Heron

HERON’S MOST SIGNIFICANT ESSENCE: Aggressive self-determination and self-reliance


What a great message. I’ve got major surgery coming up and a fairly long recuperation, with a feisty puppy who has a strong prey drive toward my cat. It all feels overwhelming. The powerful heron is a reminder that I can do it. I can prepare well, I can go through the pain and trauma, and I can successfully recuperate. Not only that, I can continue to enjoy and develop my new-found happiness in a new region, with wonderful new friends.

Recently I went to a free city plaza concert. It featured some Native American musicians and dancers, along with a man from Japan and and a couple from Peru who were performing. These people were some of the most amazing performers I’ve ever enjoyed, and I’ve seen a lot from that genre. Very powerful, and very satisfying. A champion hoop dancer, flutists, ancestral stringed instruments, fantastic Taiko and Native American drumming, and absolutely transcendent chanting. I didn’t want it to end.

I know that Native Americans don’t like it when whitey borrows (or steals) their culture, traditions and rituals, but I’ve always felt we can’t help it because we need it. I believe that we are actually a people without a heritage except for those with a strong ethnic and/or ancestral awareness like Jews, Italians, the Irish and other racial/ethnic/regional groups. We mutts (like me) need something to identify with, and something to hold on to.

The fact that Native Americans have such a deep connection with Mother Earth — and are still connected to the raw, beautiful and visceral circumstances of Nature passed down through their generations — is something that speaks to many people. So, with respect I say that they should cut a lot of us some slack. Certainly not all – like that James Ray character and many others like him who read some stuff and concoct some trainings and even piece together their own tribes with themselves as the figurehead (Spiritual Narcissism and Mercenary motives) — but if we respect the boundaries of our Native American brothers and sisters there is much to learn and many things from which to experience profound meaning.