Friday, June 24, 2011

June Totems: Robin

American Robin
In the American Folkloric Witchcraft tradition, the Robin is one of the three totems for the month of June, along with Stag and Oak. Robin represents qualities that are kindred to these totems and to the Castle of Stone, Cernunnos and the Summer Solstice -- all of which share this portion of the Wheel of the Year with it.

In England and America, we are talking about two different birds, when we refer to the Robin. Brits are referring to the redbreast, while Americans call the thrush (Turdus migratorius) the Robin. Both birds have red feathers on their breasts, earning them an association with fire.

Most mythologies only make vague reference to the Robin, the clear distinction being the Norse, who associated the bird with Thor and considered it to be a creature of the storm.

Robins are very territorial, and their red breasts signal other males to leave their space. Even their bright and cheery song is a used as a method of battling with other males for dominance over territory. Physical confrontations, on the other hand, tend to be symbolic. Male robins don't seek to hurt each other physically.

The Robin's bright blue egg is distinctive in color. Both male and female Robins share in the feeding of the young, which is a very active process for these birds. Hatchlings are born with no feathers at all, and feedings occur at an average of every twelve minutes. Even so, Robins manage to hatch more than one brood each year. This is a testament to their growth and incredible vitality.

You can learn more about our tradition's wheel of the year through this link.

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