This morning, on our early bike ride to beat the heat, I glanced up and caught a sacred sight: five perfectly aligned snow geese flying northeasterly. It was such a magnificent moment it took my breath away. I felt an immediate sense of well-being and the awe of this prophetic sign, a messenger of “good news,” as the cultures of Japan and China consider the goose to be. I knew some significant change was about to occur.
Five seems to be our auspicious number lately. Yesterday morn, again on an early bike ride, we saw five crows perched side by side on a high garden fence. It was grand, since crows are very near and dear to my heart. Moving back another day, on yet another ride, I noticed a silver gleam on the street. A quarter—5 X 5—with its eagle side up! Birds and five’s, can life get any better?
In numerology, five is the number associated with movement, change, adventure, and freedom. Some sort of “quickening” happens that allows for an opening or expansion, because five is known to signify life itself. “Regeneration” is the energetic signature of number five.
The goose, according to Native American tradition, portends some sort of change is about to occur, similar to their migratory transitions from summer to winter residency when the seasons pass one into another. So the medicine of the goose is aligned with new beginnings and the wisdom to allow the phases of our lives to fill and empty—to let go with grace and move on to the next joyful adventure. Geese can not only fly into our sleeping dreams as a divine visitation but also are outer messengers, like the morning vision of the five snow geese, befitting a spiritual call to embark on a transformative quest.
Author Ted Andrews, in “Animal Speak,” links the symbolic qualities of the goose to the number eight and the symbol of infinity. In the long mythological history of this revered bird, one specific Egyptian Creation myth tells us the Cosmic Egg was laid by a Nile Goose, being a embodiment of the Great Mother, whose offspring was the Sun god, Ra, “hatched” into the world. The same Egyptian hieroglyph means both the World Egg and an unborn embryo. From his book, “Totems,” Brad Steiger notes that in an even earlier version of Creation, it was Mother goose who laid the egg wherein the whole planet emerged. He goes on to say the goose represents Brahma and the principle of Creation for the Hindu.1
We heard last night that a dear friend is in hospice care and about to pass on at any moment. It was shocking news in this stressful time for so many. Pancreatic cancer is a swift ravager of the physical body, but also a soul-chosen vehicle of transition from this level of life to the inner world. Our friend’s about to experience the Great Change when his soul will soar upward into the Light of Joy—renewed and free. Perhaps the snow geese were the mystical envoy to let us know of his upcoming release for his next exciting adventure. These elegant geese herald that he is about to fly high into the Golden Sun. We celebrate your liberation. Go with our love, dear Jim, good and true friend.
Birds have an ancient mythology and mysticism.
Cool Facts about the Snow Goose:
• The dark color of the blue morph Snow Goose is controlled by a single gene, with dark being partially dominant over white. If a pure dark goose mates with a white goose, the offspring will all be dark (possibly with white bellies). If two white geese mate, they have only white offspring. If two dark geese mate, they will have mostly dark offspring, but might have a few white ones too.
• Snow Geese chicks are well developed when they hatch, with open eyes and down-covered bodies that already show whether the adult will have white or dark plumage. Within a few days they are able to maintain a constant body temperature on their own. They grow quickly, with the males outpacing the females.
• The creamy white eggs of Snow Geese stain easily. People can sometimes tell what order the eggs were laid in, just by the color of the shells (the dirtiest shells belong to the oldest eggs).
• Should a goose become injured during [their] migration trek, another goose will leave the migrating flock to stay with its fallen comrade. The goose will stay with the injured until he has recovered or until his final breath.
• Geese have intricate methods of communication, not only do they sense when their brethren are in trouble, they also work as a team to communicate warnings, as well as messages of prime landing sites.2
• In wintering and migrating flocks that are feeding, lookouts keep an eye out for eagles and other predators. Upon sighting a threat they call out to the rest of the flock, which may take flight.
• Snow Geese make epic journeys by air, but they are impressive on foot, too. Within the first three weeks of hatching, goslings may walk up to 50 miles with their parents from the nest to a more suitable brood-rearing area. Molting Snow Geese can outrun many predators.
• Females forage up to 18 hours a day once they arrive at breeding grounds, but eat little once they begin incubating the eggs.
• Food passes through the Snow Goose’s digestive tract in only an hour or two, generating 6 to 15 droppings per hour. The defecation rate is highest when a goose is grubbing for rhizomes, because such food is very high in fiber and the goose inevitably swallows mud.
• The oldest Snow Goose on record, noted in Texas in 1999, was 27 and a half.3
3. All these facts, except #4 and #5 are direct quotes from: http://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/snow_goose/lifehistory
Text © by Zane Maser, 2012. Snow geese photos from WikiCommons. All rights reserved worldwide.
My editorial guru and technological wizard is Chris Maser, my delightful husband.
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