Saturday, October 22, 2016

March Totems: Goose

In our tradition we divide the year not only by eight solar and agricultural holidays, but also by the Kalends. We celebrate twelve months of the year by the common calendar, plus a special thirteenth month for Samhain.  These month cycles are associated with different totemic spirits. Each month is assigned an animal, a bird (or other flying creature), and a tree. March's totems are Hare, Birch, and Goose.

The totemic associations are as follows:

Hare (Gearr) – lunar magic, fertility, sensitivity, swiftness, intuition
Birch (Beithe) – new beginnings, healing, cleansing
Goose (Geadh) - feminine power, springtime, questing, vigilance


Frau Holt by Nigel Jackson
The goose is the companion of that ancient and powerful goddess, Hulda, as Mother Goose. The goose is a fierce defender of its family and territory, and many ancient gates and warrior's graves have been adorned with the motif of the goose. We often speak of “a wild goose chase” as geese are notoriously difficult to capture or kill.

Several goddesses and witches of folklore have been identified by their having a goose foot (La Reine Pedauque), and thus the goose is a symbol of defensive feminine power.

The call of the goose in flight is said to be the same as the baying of the Gabriel hounds of the Wild Hunt. Hulda, whose bed is made of goose feathers, is said to lead this ride.  When she shakes out her bed the snow falls from goose feathers.

The goose is a symbol of early springtime, as it denotes both snow and returning light.  The goose who lays the golden egg is laying the growing sun of spring.

Geese mate for life and are associated with marital fidelity. Geese are also known for their furious mating habits, and a “goose” is sometimes used as slang for a prostitute. Their feathers are often used in bedding to bestow blessings of fertility and fidelity on the couple who sleeps there.

Geese are the symbol of migration, and therefore represent both the changing of the seasons, and the call to quest.  It is unknown how geese navigate over long distances, returning year after year, but return they do. This is symbolic of the dedication of the initate to remain true to the path.

When flying geese travel in a V formation. This way of flying makes it easier to travel long distances without fatigue, as it puts the greatest strain on the leader who “cuts”  a path through the air for the followers to more easily travel behind. Thus, the goose can be a symbol of leadership.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...