Friday, December 07, 2007
Whose Your Daemon?
It's an interesting concept; that our spirit can be represented by some animal form. The North American Indians went as far as making this part of their nomenclature. It raises an interesting question: what animal spirit would represent you and me?
Nicole Kidman chose the kitten and a tiger, and I have to admit, I have a similar altercation, as it were, between a 'lower, passive' spirit, and a more 'assertive' spirit. I thought about it over lunch and I guess I would choose - wait for it - the parrot as my kitten, and the eagle as my tiger.
Interestingly, at school I was nicknamed Tintin for a while, but for the most part: 'Bird'. Not sure why, think it was a combination of doing an English oral on birds in Std 6, and being dumb enough to distribute scrapbooks and information books on my hobbie to a critically amused audience. The name was further reinforced by my being fleet of foot, and because cycling to school blew my hair into a sort of punk blond hair style (which vaguely imitated the cockatiels' 'kuif') and a Bart Simpson overbite which I was told was like a beak. External braces somehow contributed to the rickety 'birdy' appearance.
I can't blame my class mates entirely though. I bred cockatiels and lovebirds when I was in High School and occasionally went into the aviary before school to feed them. I'd arrive at school and learn, to my dismay, I had some bird poo on the back of my blazer. This happened a few times and that's how the name stuck - like poo to a blazer.
I find the parrot metaphor interesting. A parrot is a colorful, much parodied bird, but it is also intelligent and expressive and curious. It's also reminiscent of a ventriloquist's dummy; that is the parrot says what is observably true often unacceptable to say, but nevertheless true. I'm all of those. I'm also not the most socially well adjusted human being on the planet, and I think I do have the habit of regurgitating information that isn't necessarily mind - but information I have taken to heart. This blog is enough evidence of this. But it's not the full story either.
I remember reading the loving Richard Bach's story of the seagull, Jonathan Livingstone. There is something pure and heartbreakingly sad about the seagull, who mews and sweeps over the oceans of the world, and can only feed by dipping its beak and its body into the waters of the world. A dangerous manoeuvre to be sure.
I don't identify 100% with the seagull, because they are also scavengers. I am not sure they are that dignified. I aspire and sometimes explore the strength and vision of the eagle, with its predatory and strategic approach.
Nevertheless the eagle is a fragile creature, itself easily hunted by men, and shot (whether on a telephone or mountaintop perch). It is a perceptive and powerful creature, disciplined and hardy, and an explorer of the heights. More than other quality, this animal embodies the beauty of freedom and truth, expressed by its beautiful strong angelic wings. The eagle is able to see the details and the surrounding terrain better than perhaps any other animal. It is also able to move effortlessly over this environment. This is a quality I believe myself capable of, on occasion, and one is obviously consistently inspired towards this sort of power of presence and perception.