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Summer is here in her full glory. The Goddess has blessed us with a rainbow of flowers, green grass and sky so blue it almost hurts to look at it. The critters abound in nature from the tiniest ant to the largest moose. A bird sings a lovely morning tune as you open your eyes on a beautiful new day. A deer nibbles on fresh greens in your back yard. A raccoon chatters scoldingly at you. A butterfly flutters around your head as you weed the garden. Perhaps you see them each day for a week as you interact with nature. Perhaps when you see an animal your eyes connect and you become one with it for a moment. What does this mean? What do these animals stand for? What is the lore associated with them? Is this a totem animal for you or a spirit guide? 

 

To seek your answers I recommend two books for beginning your research. Animal Wisdom by Jessica Dawn Palmer (Thorsons, 2001) and Wildlife Folklore by Laura C Martin (The Globe Pequot Press, 1994) offer two unique insights into many aspects of animals. Wildlife Folklore is divided into sections on mammals, insects and arachnids, and reptiles and amphibians.

 

Palmer covers a variety of animals all listed conveniently in alphabetical order. Each animal has a scientific family name and species name. She provides a brief biological section discussing size, habitat and characteristics. She moves on to legends and traditions including a list of gods or goddesses associated with the animal. She too covers many cultures when describing the different legends, discussing hieroglyphs. Native American lore and much more. The cross cultural perspective allows the reader to connect with the different ancestry or societies throughout the world. Her final section is Medicine and Power which includes a direction, element, traits and associations. Palmer describes how to connect with and utilize the energy of the animal she is describing. 

 

Martin provides the common name, scientific name and description. Then she discusses folklore and beliefs from a multitude of cultural perspectives. These range from Egyptian, Native American, Greek, European and so on. She covers many different ages from the ancient through medieval and forward. These are short descriptions which give a brief look at how a particular animal has been viewed across many cultures and times.

 

These two books are great reference books for the home library. These offer insight into the energy of many creatures to help you better understand scientific, magical and mythical aspects of our co-habitants on earth – animals.

 

~review by Eileen Troemel

Author: Jessica Dawn Palmer

Thorsons, 2001

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