Meet the Animals II
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Zparkler the Alpaca – Alpacas live in the Andes of South America, where they have been exclusively domestic animals for thousands of years. They are gentle, intelligent, observant and inquisitive creatures. When alarmed, they will jump straight up with their feet together, like this one. The ballet slippers seem natural to the pose.
Bear Bench – The bear was thought to possess diplomacy equal to its great strength and it is the emblem of ferocity in the protection of kindred. A bear is also a symbol of healing and personal health, strength and bravery.
Coyote – The Coyote is a clown in the natural world, and many Native American tribes think of the coyote as a trickster,or transformer. The Navajo would never kill Coyote because of their belief that it accompanied the first man and woman into the entrance of the first physical world. In the same myth, the Coyote brought along the seeds of life to spread new growth upon the world.
Deer – Graceful gentleness and Sensitivity. Although there are many types of deer, they all have on thing in common – gracefulness. Deer blend very well with their environment but are very sensitive to every sound or movement.
Dolphin – For many cultures across the world, whales and dolphins are associated with divine powers and are seen as superior beings. In ancient Greece, to kill a dolphin was equal to killing a human and was a crime punishable by death, for dolphins were seen messengers in service to the Gods.
Donkey – For those with direct experience, the donkey’s association with stubbornness seems well-founded. Yet he is also sometimes viewed as a symbol of humility, patience and even gentleness. In Christianity, the Virgin Mary is thought to have ridden a donkey to Bethlehem, and Jesus rode one into Jerusalem.
Dragon Boat – Dragons – unlike donkeys – aren’t easy to associate with, or find. In Chinese legend some guard the gods in heaven, others are responsible for fierce storms, some are merely river dragons and others, like their western counterparts, greedily guard their hoards of treasure. There is also a natural tendency to depict them as occasionally nicer than their appearance seems to indicate. This one has formed part of himself into a sort of boat and appears willing to offer a ride to anyone who wants one.
Duck – Ducks can elude their enemies in many ways, either by flying, running, swimming or diving; when her ducklings are threatened they will swim for cover while the adult pretends to be disabled by a broken wing. They are rightfully seen as symbols of resourcefulness.
Elephant – The elephant is a symbol of the strength of the mind in Buddhism. Exhibiting noble gentleness, it represents the calm majesty possessed by one who is on the path. Specifically, it embodies the boundless powers of the Buddha which are miraculous aspiration, effort, intention, and analysis.
Frog – Frog is a creature of great importance in Northwest Coastal Indian art and culture. As a creature that inhabits two worlds, water and land, Frog is revered for his power to travel between the natural and supernatural realms. Frogs are primary spirit helpers of shamans. A great communicator, Frog often represents the common ground or voice of the people. His songs are believed to contain divine power.
Giraffe – The giraffe is a graceful animal whose long neck represents the ability to take the long view, seeing past and present and combining them into a vision of the future. The giraffe teaches us to increase our understanding by viewing life from all angles. The heart of the giraffe is large. In some African traditions, a giraffe symbol is taken to every meeting to assure that the understandings of the heart are addressed as well as those of the head. The giraffe uses strength and flexibility to align the physical, mental and spiritual faculties of all situations.
Gorilla – The gorilla is a symbol for the quiet power that prolongs a person’s lifespan and encourages consideration for others. Gorillas live in a community of their fellows, calmly for the most part, accepting of their duties to each other and united in their care for the young.
Heron – In Chinese tradition, the heron represents longevity and good fortune. Here one is rising from the water where she has had the good fortune to catch a small fish. She’d be happy to have a small child on her back as well.
Lion – The lion is often regarded as the king of the forests and of the other animals. Thus he has long been seen as a symbol of power and grandeur. Chinese tradition extends this to include protection from evil spirits.
Mermaid – Mermaids are supernatural, sea-dwelling creatures with the head and upper body of a beautiful woman and the lower body of a fish. They appear above water combing their long hair with one hand, holding a mirror in the other. In the numerous tales told of them, they foretell the future, endow mortals with supernatural powers, or entice their mortal lovers to follow them into the sea.
Moose – On the nice side, the moose is a symbol of value, integrity, being headstrong, unstoppable force, and longevity. On the down side, stay well away from the real ones. They are grumpy, short-tempered and way too big. Also, no moose has ever won a beauty contest.
Navajo Pony – As a Native American symbol, the Horse combines the grounded power of the earth with the whispers of wisdom found in the spirit winds. The Horse has long been honored as helper, messenger, and guide to knowledge of the spirit. A wild freedom and nobility is represented in him.
Ostrich – The ostrich is fabled for sticking his head in the sand to ignore perceived crisis. It reminds us of the folly of a see-no-evil, hear-no-evil approach to living our lives. Luckily for the ostrich’s survival, the head in the sand fable is just that – pure fable.
Panda – In China, people have believed for thousands of years that pandas are special. Ancient emperors of China kept giant pandas as pets. Two thousand year old texts tell of their mystical powers. People thought that they could ward off evil spirits and natural disasters. Today, pandas are believed to be a symbol of peace and good fortune.
Peacock – In Christian symbolism, the peacock stands for immortality. According to Sufi legend, the Original Spirit was created in the shape of a peacock. And in Asia, the peacock is a symbol of such compassion and empathy that it is thought to die of grief at the passing of its mate. Its feathers are considered protective.
Pig – Pigs may symbolize a lot of different things to different people and cultures, but this particular pig seems to symbolize joyful flight, racing headlong for the fun of it. You should ride him sometime.
Rabbit – The rabbit often appears in folklore as the trickster archetype, as he uses his cunning to outwit his enemies. Because bunnies pop up in great abundance every Spring, they naturally came to symbolize fertility and rebirth.
Rooster – Rooster has a pearl necklace. I thought to give him this after reading an Aesop fable that described a rooster finding a pearl next to a single piece of barley-corn. Finding the pearl useless to him and the corn being something to eat, he did just that, leaving the pearl to lie in the dust. The moral to that story: precious things are only for those who can prize them. I didn’t much like that moral so I gave our rooster a complete pearl necklace to wear as he likes.
St Bernard – The dog is the emblem of faithfulness and guardianship. Dogs are considered loyal and temperate and the dog is a symbol of a skilled hunter. They were also associated with priests since priests were thought of as watchdogs against the devil.
Swans – Because of its pure white color, the swan is a symbol of light in many parts of the world. Though in some regions it was considered a feminine symbol of the moon, in most it was a masculine symbol of the sun. In ancient Greece, for example, the swan was linked to Apollo, the god of the Sun. The god Zeus took the shape of a swan to get close to Leda, with whom he had fallen in love. And in Celtic myth, a pair of swans steered the Sun boat across heaven.
Tropical Fish – In feng shui and other oriental traditions, the fish is a very symbolic creature which represents abundance and wealth. The varieties among them are myriad. This one looks like something you might see while diving around a coral reef – though without a saddle or a frog.