Power Bird

Jan. 6th, 2013 12:41 am
epsilon_pegasi: (owl to the sun)
[personal profile] epsilon_pegasi
I hate to post twice in one day but I just so happen to be typing all these up now. As a great horned owl person, I have trouble relating to most other birds and bird people, so I thought this would be of interest too.

Great horned owl is intensity, power, fire and earth. It is defined by action, feels alive in aggression, is prey to nothing.

For this owl, flight is about strength. Great horned owl is all muscles, pushing downwards against air, against the wind with exertion and the subtle flicking of feathers. Wings are symbols of power, not freedom. Flight is for survival, find the prey, and dive with silence and speed born of strength. Talons clench, crushing bones. Beak snaps necks, tears into flesh, while the filoplumes feel the tickle of fur and the tongue feels the hot blood. Swallowing whole, until the facial disk fluffs forward and an ache comes from the belly. The bones fall to the base of the tree. Owl lives on the graves of those who give it life.

Gripping a rough branch, beak preens feathers, gently rearranging the prickling shield against the cold winds. Ear tufts perk at surprise, flatten when aggressing. Head turns and bobs to locate the rustle. The owl hears the world as much as sees it, keeping an image in the mind of the world based on sound. Location is judged by the change in sound at the turn of the facial disk. Sight drawn to motion, the rustle of leaves, a pigeon taking off is a sensory bombardment of motion and noise. Its relationship with its mate kept strong with calls as much as mutual preening.

Owls can be sensitive, and have been known to die of grief after a mate is killed. Great horned owl reacts with anger to pain. Annoyed easily, it threatens at the mobbing of crows. It is devoted to persons and places, territorial and possessive, stubborn. Owl takes itself very seriously. It attacks intruders without hesitation, and will eat any other owls it kills.

The great horned owls call is an omen of death to many cultures. It is the only species of owl recorded killing a human.

epsilon_pegasi: (giraffe: portrait)
[personal profile] epsilon_pegasi
I'm typing up my writings in preparation for a personal site and thought this short introduction to "my" giraffe might be of interest:

What giraffe sees is far away.

Giraffe belongs to the open spaces. Wide and lacking coverage, the giraffe feels safe only where all is visible. Above it, and breathing it in. Aware, vigilant seer who is always seen. There is no hiding when you’re a giraffe. Always seeking threats, never relaxing the aerial visions. The giraffe fears only what it cannot see, too many lions to focus on, what unknowns lurk in shadows and bushes. A giraffe must know. But the threats, when found, are either far away or close enough to kick. Cautious of the world though it may be, the giraffe is above-it-all in more than a literal sense, feeling almost otherworldly in its consciousness. Detached.

Eyes wide on the horizon, stilts walk without feeling the ground, giraffe lives in the treetops while the hooves remain earthbound. But for the tickle of grass against the ankles, the world of under-foot is too far to know, or care. Giraffe moves as if levitating, drifting through life without attachments. The giraffe does not form lasting bonds, groups being loose and ever-changing. A giraffe may make company of zebras, or birds even, but isn’t prone to kinship.

Neck is more than height. It is for touching, a way to communicate desire or competition. A strong appendage that will take beatings of bones and poundings of flesh. Feel the air blowing around it, catching scents from above, and hearing the distance. Blood rushes through it, pounding, for war, for love, for food. It is the life-giver to a giraffe. The tongue extends onwards towards leaves, wrapping around rough branches, taking even the thorns, which the mouth is hard enough to devour without feeling their pricks. Many things to the giraffe are without feeling.

The Egyptians made the hieroglyphic of “prophecy” in the shape of a giraffe, and depicted them in tombs as a means to foretell danger, because its keen vision saw beyond the horizons of others. In The Book of Going Forth by Day, the giraffe is said to be a demon that guards travelers in the underworld. They were kept as pets by many cultures, and the giraffe, though wild, can take captivity in stride, not being a creature willful for wildness.

faolchu_rua: (discovery)
[personal profile] faolchu_rua
I hesitated posting this here, largely because it was stream-of-consciousness this morning and doesn't necessarily aim to make any real argument or point. If it doesn't really suit the goals of the group, please do let me know.


I am sitting in a small classroom at the run-through for national conference presentations. Men surround me, older, physically larger than I.

Is there ever a moment when I am completely unaware of how out-numbered I am in this place? Thinking, and yet not -thinking-, of survival strategies in any new territory?

I scope out safety: the new, female capoeira scholar to my front-right, a young female professor behind me to the left, the trans-identified man directly in front of me. In their own way, in their queerness and in their gender, I know they will protect me if this goes sour. I have established a pack of four in an inherently volatile space.

The presentations progress; my potential dissertation advisor -- huge, arrogant, intimidating to everyone, including the younger professors in the room -- gives a bumbling presentation in which technology fails and a shallow argument is made. No one questions him; even amongst humans hierarchy is recognized. One other professor, male, makes a largely complimentary comment.

Annoyed by the silence the presenter turns on me, eyes angry though his voice is mockingly amused.

"You know this material, Kaitlyn. Say something."

Blood rushes to my face as my heart pounds thick against my chest. I do not count the beats, but take some comfort in the awareness that my body is doing as it should in the face of a potential threat. A tail I do not have tucks, though my every physical muscle is taut, ready to fight or flee if the words coming out of my mouth -- submissive, agreeing with the statement given moments before, expanding on them just enough to get the aggressor to leave me alone -- are not enough of a display to prove that I am nothing. Nothing to pursue. Nothing to hurt.

He backs away, and I realize that I have been staring at my desk since he confronted me. A quick glance to those named earlier reassures, and I exhale. I take in air once again through my mouth, allow the tension in my back to release. The tiny hairs behind my neck fall as though they had risen as ruff, protective in display and in function. I played the game successfully, but even such a brief encounter is enough to leave me yearning to move on and away. I allow my mind to wander through the bulk of the remaining presentations; the freedom of imagined movement through a familiar Maryland forest soothes. I do not see the body in which I run, for I am behind the gaze, wholly myself.

This is red wolf to me of late. Instantaneously, fluidly here; albeit most often in moments of duress or physical pain. There is little conflict between something human and something not; I am what I need to be in any given moment and thus inherently, permanently both. I have created myth around her in order to have a way of putting the identity into words that others would understand, I have pondered psychological definitions as well, given the recognition of how that aspect of self comes to the fore when I need protection or strength.

But red wolf, in and of itself, is not something so readily written in words, just lived. Accurately conveying that way of being continues to elude me.
epsilon_pegasi: (marbled cat portrait)
[personal profile] epsilon_pegasi
Trying to identify the essence of the marbled cat is like trying to identify the shape of smoke. Like smoke, the marbled cat is defined by its ever-changing, paradoxical shifting form. The marbled cat is smoke in shape, having traits of both the large and small felines. For a long time it was a loss to find where in the gene classification it belonged. A cat made of the pieces of other cats.

Subtle and unseen but striking to behold, the marbled cat has many traits unlike other felines entirely, making it both feline and other-than-feline in essence and form. The full zygomatic arch of the skull, the long canine teeth which are remnants of another time, combined with their own recent adaptations of smallness, a tail the length of the body, an arched back, and a coat pattern unique to the species, make the marbled cat a creature of its own design. Indefinable, it undulates between past and future, large and small feline.

The marbled cat may curl its tail in a circle when sitting and holds it parallel to the spine and upwards when moving, never letting it fall lower or touch the ground. The tail is a most important appendage, more than claws, or teeth, it is necessary for movement in the treetops, necessary for the agility and balancing abilities that allows this cat to capture it's life's blood. An acrobat with its baton.

The spine is supple as oiled sinew. Arched, then contorting, curving, forming to the shape of the branch it stands on. It's like a young green sapling itself, strong enough to hold the fruit but flexible enough to bend to the strongest wind. The back legs are longer than the front, looking clumsily made of mismatched parts when on the ground. Paws are large and toes conform to every nook in the branch, pads feeling the shape and roughness underneath, claws keeping the contact. Legs muscles made for springing, balancing branch to branch. Form shifting from round crouch to straight leap, sleek in body, light, formless.

Each cat has their own unique coat pattern that can vary more wildly between individuals than in any other cat species. Each is like a quilt made of parts of other fabrics. Mottled down the spine, spotted on the legs, marbled down the sides, rosetted on the shoulder, striped on the face, running random down the tail. But always soft, thick, tongue rough against the plush.

The marbled cat perceives the world mainly through sight and touch. Large eyes capture every light. Movement fascinating to behold, shadows and sparks of bright through the branches giving definition to the forms it will chase. Cheeks rub against bark to define boundaries. Whiskers feeling every twig and leaf brush past with a tingling pressure on the cheeks. Scent is a signature. Sounds give shape to the unseen.

The marbled cat energy is intense and subtle, sweet and spicy, easy to see and impossible to behold. It cannot be captured, categorized, or caught in a grasp. It deludes touch, defies shape, a substance that is everything and nothing. In-between here and there. It is said to be a ghost.
burningbright: (meirya)
[personal profile] burningbright
There's been a discussion on unmet needs in the therian community over on Werelist, and one idea someone brought up was that of beta-readers, copy-editors for some of the articles and essays written in the community.

So... I volunteer my services as a beta-reader if anyone wants 'em. I could probably use someone to help proof-read my own stuff before I publish it on Beyond Awakening or Birds of a Feather as well, if anyone is interested in that sort of thing.
yourdeer: (pull)
[personal profile] yourdeer
    About a year ago, my father and I were on a long drive. Our journey was mostly through rural countryside, narrow roads winding between wheat fields, alongside which poppies craned their soft heads to the July sun.

    Earlier that day I had collected the sour apples that had fallen on our car and eaten them, core and all; previously in that week, on a visit to a nature preserve, we had both departed from the path to collect wild blueberries and mushrooms. My father, his bulk supported on thin legs and fragile ankles, moved between the trees and shrubs in a gait somewhere between a lumber and a trot. I found and followed deer paths and trod the slope delicately, movement unhindered by the wearing of age. We left the park with our hands stained purple, edible mushrooms held gently in my father's palms.

    In the car, both of us sitting quietly, I could not help but think of missing my partner. I wished so much to share this, this wilderness and rural summer on another continent bringing deer, raccoon to surface every other moment. I resolved to document all I saw and did for the remaining week, to collect, to present. I picked flowers, collected feathers, pine cones, snail shells, seeds, took photos, wrote. And in that absence of my love I felt horse as I had not in years - the feeling of running, of pulling, of the strength of my chest and back and the speed of my legs, all for another. As I gazed out the window of the car I felt a gallop, thick knees and flat hoofs pumped by legs, pulling the welcome weight and importance of purpose.

    And thinking about this animal that I had not felt in years (then 21, I had not understood myself in terms of horse since age 13), realizing it and understanding myself in it, I thought of what parts of us are animal. What parts of our personality translate into the form of another creature and take off, informing our actions and senses of self?
    I thought about my father, who, I am lucky to say, is one of my truest role models and influences in my life. I thought about his infallible work ethic and energy, his persistence, the sacrifices he chose to make to create a comfortable and safe life for his family. I thought about how burly he is but on such thin legs and delicate feet, about his perpetual beard, eager laugh, and warmth in welcoming old friends and new acquaintances alike, his slow words and thoughtfulness. And I thought, what animal is my father? I expected some sort of ungulate, perhaps because of the sudden revelation of horse I had just had - perhaps another equine, perhaps buffalo, perhaps caribou?
    After letting this sit on my mind for a time, I formulated the question in my head, and asked it. I framed it from the back forwards, presenting my thought in the expository way that my father and I have in common that often drives so many others to frustration, that always makes me think of Treebeard and his cautioning to "not be too hasty."
    I asked him, "If you were an animal, what would you be?" And, "I don't mean what your favorite animal is, or what animal you would WANT to be. I mean, what animal do you think is most like your personality?" I clarified, "It can be anything - mammals, but birds, fish, and bugs too," and told him to take his time answering.

    I sat waiting for a while, listening to the quiet as he thought. And as per request before he answered, I explained to him how animal identity works for me: how deer, raccoon, hyena, lion, and horse each explain parts of me and allow me to know myself. Knowing now that he could choose more than one, he fell back into thought.
    When he finally answered, it was first with, "Bear." When I asked why, he explained that bears are often seen as something other than they are, and a lot of what he thought was "truer" about them was what he felt about himself. They are perceived as vicious but are often gentle, shy, and silly; they are perceived as slow and lazy but are often quick and suddenly powerful; they are perceived as carnivorous but spend much of their time feeding as much as possible on berries, sweet little snacks; above all, their most passionate actions are in protection of family. He paused for a short time, and then with a wry smile and sigh, added, "And bee, because I feel the need to keep working constantly, until I'm dead." (This last I struggle to articulate, because my father's words are written here in translation from Polish, and the way he said it in our native language somehow lends an extra flavor of doggedness so self-necessitated as to be pathetic.)

    There wasn't much to say after that - I took a while to digest what he'd said, to think about it, understand, and muse on what it is we understand about ourselves. My father is not notable for how much he loves animals - certainly, he is affectionate with family pets and as excited as anyone to point out footprints of a fox in the snow - but his thoughts are in the beams of houses, stone and mortar, roofing tiles and drawings on graph paper. He thought only for a matter of minutes, but it seemed a testament to how well he knows himself to be able to say what he is in the context of animals so quickly. For an older immigrant man, a gentle, sentimental, devoted workaholic with a strong sense of family and surprising sweet tooth to think for only several minutes understand his self in bee and bear - it made sense to me.

    Talk turned easily to family we were visiting, to landscape, to plans for the next day and return home. We never returned to the subject, but it's a conversation that comes to mind quite frequently. It was easy to talk about. And of course, I can understand my father the way I do myself - through the lens of an animal.
citrakayah: (watching)
[personal profile] citrakayah
Disclaimer: This essay relies quite a bit on my hindsight and memory. Both, unless one is a robot, are often very flawed, even if they are the only hindsight and memory I can make use of for this purpose. Do kindly keep that in mind when reading.

Also, this may border what the spirit of the group says should be posted here; if so someone tell me and I'll delete it.


yourdeer: (kenn monster)
[personal profile] yourdeer
I realize I haven't really introduced myself.

My parents, Polish immigrants, call me Mania (Mah-nyah); it is my nickname since childhood. As a little thing my fingers were always bent to form hands into paws, arms spread as wings, toes pointed into hoofs - I was any animal, all the animals; I could find a home in cat, dog, mouse, horse, hawk. I remember my mother urging me to uncurl my fingers and hold my hands normally, her discomfort with my need for paws. I remember my dad helping me make a jumping course in the backyard by hammering nails into picket stakes that I could force into the ground and place a dowel across and gallop around, leaping over, whinnying.
My childhood friends christened me Mare - with my deep love of horses - drawing, riding, pride in imitating snorts and whinnies, it was naturally what made sense when we sought nicknames in a childish pledge of eternal friendship.
My best friend, and I in our quiet teenage mischief lived in the symbols of fox and raccoon - she with her quiet rage, pride in her tail, and physical playfulness, me a little more friendly with stripes and little deft hands and curious nose, we gave testament to this with countless drawings, figurines, and matching fox and raccoon plushies.
I wrote a lot of stories in high school, and found it easy as one heavily invested in fantasy novels to create a species that would be the focal point for my drawings and fictions for four years: a patchwork and exaggerated combination of horse, deer, hyena, and raccoon: a blunt, toothy head with long delicate ears, a long maned neck, long thin legs ending in deft and ankled paws, a barrel chest, arching hip, matriarchal social structure, and vastly bushy striped tail. When I made prints at the local Staples they knew me as "the girl with the bunnyhorses".
My ex-girlfriend called me a lion, and it perplexed and somehow hurt me - I did not feel, at the time, like lion was anything pleasant - entitled, possessive, lazily male. She had meant it lightly, a pet name referring to my then-spiky mane and boyishness, but I was doubtful for a long time before embracing it as a sleepy, possessive, protective, and sexually starved identity of the adolescent lion with half-grown mane, lanky legs and stark ribcage, of not-there-yet, of waiting.
Deer had been building slowly for years and then came to the surface all at once. One of my favorite books as a child was about deer; at home in northern New England the white-tail and its tracks and bones were a common finding; across the road a hunting camp had a buck every season and brought venison to my parents which I refused to eat; I found a skeleton of a doe the first winter after leaving home and cleaned and disassembled it and reassembled it in sections - it hangs in my bedroom at my apartment. Deer was woken up within me by another animal-person who was living as such, while I had been tucking away any animality for years. It was pointed out to me that I was doe, skittish with a long, quiveringly sensitive neck, long thin legs, alternating indignation and readiness to flee. I have heard "You really are a deer" numerous times from numerous people over the past year.

At the present juncture I let these all flow through me as distillations of the aspects of my character, I am each at different times. Sometimes it is the stress and strength and powerful destructive jaws of the hyena that I feel; sometimes the deft paws, mischief, indignity and confidence of the raccoon; sometimes the willingness to pull for another, the heavy hoofs, steady gate and flat teeth of the horse; sometimes the desire, entitlement and sleepy possessiveness of the lion; usually the swiveling ears, skittishness, the long neck and the quiet of the doe.
feralkiss: Clouded leopard walking up to the viewer, intense look and tongue licking its lips. (raveneye)
[personal profile] feralkiss
It's me again, 'just wanted to let you know that I also have a new article up at Beyond Awakening if you're interested; you can comment either here or there. :)


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