“It was the Snow Goose that I really had in mind when I designated us the Snowbirds-redux. Just the fact that the species has a mystic tie to the Aurora Borealis (which I long to experience now that we are living in the great northern plains) is enough for me. And I knew from my favorite myths and fairy tales (and don’t forget Mother Goose) that the anser hyperborean – the goose from beyond the north wind – was my personal totem. She/he represents for instance, the Writer, with the apt symbol of the goosefeather (pre-keyboard) and the designation of helping to ‘move through creative blocks and stimulate the imagination.’

I wonder if Phillip Pullman had something of the above in mind when he wrote the brilliant trilogy ‘His Dark Materials’ and created the lovely and powerful character of Serafina Pekkala, the Queen of the Lapland Witches, whose personal daemon/spirit/soul was the Snow Goose, Kaisa? I do know that Pullman saw the goose as a symbol of vigilance and protection. And the expanded realm of that grand tale incorporates all the mystery of migration and the eternal quest, on both inner and outer levels of consciousness.”

– from “Snow Goose Redux,” blog entry of 11/29/2011

I wrote the above entry last November, thinking I had stumbled upon a lovely personal fable when I discovered a lone white goose among the thousands of Canada geese which winter at our bends of the Otter Tail River. And the tale evolved in my imagination the day a mate arrived and only grew in fancy as I assigned a story to their plight and progress. Alas. I now admit that I didn’t fess up when the local wildlife ranger at the Prairie Wetlands visitor center patiently explained that what I had undoubtedly witnessed were two fugitive domestic geese.

Oh well. Poetic license. So what if I made them a mystical omen and a welcome to life on Mt. Faith? I speculated about their provenence, narrated their tale to myself, and recorded their courtship and disposition. If they appeared only to enchant me, it was enough.

The snow goose is a symbol of many things in different cultures – the aforementioned Aurora Borealis, as well as a tie to Boreas, the Greek god of the North Wind.  It is the sacred bird of the Temple of Juno in Rome, represents the values of ancestral heritage (my persistent personal theme), shamanic flight, and the winter solstice.

And fittingly, with this winter solstice I now get to sit in my cozy chair and  revel in their presence. (Webster’s New World Dictionary, “revel – to make merry, be noisily festive, delight in, celebrate”)

Another enchanting omen.


“Snowgeese Staging” – Marilyn Edmonds

(DeSota Refuge, north west Missouri)

This entry was posted in art, Birds, favorite things, IMAGINATION, minnesota life, mythology, Wild Life, writing. Bookmark the permalink.

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