Woodblock animal totem Prints
Ingen - The Falcon 21 March - Awakening Time - 19 April
Dedicate a share of your efforts to the greater good.
The falcon is not really known as a totem in Ireland until the Medieval times when they were trained for hunting. In the American traditions they represent the spring time month after the equinox, which corresponds with the starsign Aries. The woodblock is set at Loughcrew in County Meath, where the main site, Cairn T, is aligned to the spring and autumn equinox sunrises. The design shaped like a flower or clock is engraved on the backstone, and illuminated by a beam of light.
Colour: Yellow/Green. Element: Fire.
Obair - The Squirrel 20 April - Growing Time - 20 May
Show great respect for your fellow beings.
The squirrel is a symbol of springtime on the medicine wheel, when the earth's energies are building up and pushing through the soil as the activity of the growing season begins. Corresponds with the starsign Taurus. The designs in this woodcut are taken from from the lintel stone at Newgrange and the great stone basin of in the East passage of Knowth, and represent the industry and vigour of the Irish stone age tribes.
Elements: Earth with Fire. Colour: Yellow.
Tuan - The Deer 21 May - Flowering Time - 20 June
Give assistance and help wherever needed.
In Irish mythology the Deer is a very magical sign and is most often associated with the Fianna. Fionn's wife, the mother of Oisin was in the form of a deer due to a curse upon her by a magician. The legend of Tuan Mac Carell, one of the first men to inhabit Ireland, records several transformations of an ancient who witnessed the entire History of Ireland. One morning when he was an old man he awoke to find himself in the form of a boar and he roamed the primaeval woods of Ireland. After a long time he awoke one morning as an Eagle, and escaped the flood. He watched as new tribes came to settle Ireland and great battles were fought. Then he awoke in the form of a Stag, and he became king of all the Deer in Ireland. His next awakening was as a Salmon, which was caught and eaten, and then Tuan was born again as a man. The Tuan woodblock is set at Loughcrew as the Beltine Sun rises over the central Cairn T seen from the Fire Eye Stone.
Elements: Air with Fire. Colour: Orange.
Saura - The Woodpecker 21 June - Long Days Time - 21 July
Treat the Earth and all that dwell thereon with respect.
This is the first month of the summer cycle, and starts at the summer solstice, the longest day of the year. The Woodpecker represents the kingdom of the south in the wheel of year - Water. The woodpecker is no longer found in Ireland, and does not really play a part in European folk tradition. However, it is an important Native American totem and is associated with drumming. The summer solstice has alwys been an important festival in Ireland. The layout and alignment of the ancient stone cairns in County Sligo prove that the solstice was observed by ancient people. Today, bonfires are lit at several sites around Sligo on June 23rd, the festival of St. John the Baptist. The designs about the bird show the 28 day cycle of the month. Many of the designs at the neolithic mound of Knowth seem to illustrate the different phases and cycles of the moon.
Elements: Water. Colour: Rose
Uisce - The Salmon 22 July - Ripening Time - 21 August
Work together for the benefit of all mankind.
A symbol of the summer. The salmon is a totem of the south, the kingdom of water and the emotions and relates to summer and midday.The salmon is said to represent the period of physical maturity in the human life cycle, the time of ripening and maximum development. The salmon also symbolises health and vigour, for much energy is needed for the King of the Fish to journey upstream to the spawning ground each year. The salmon is said to swim in the waters of inspiration and foreknowledge, and is associated with wisdom and strength of purpose. Salmon are the guardians of Wisdom in Ireland, and dwell in the pools where great rivers such as the Shannon and the Boyne Rise, feeding upon magical hazelnuts which fall in the water. Fionn Mac Cumhal became a wise man and understood the language of bird and beast with one taste of the Salmon of Knowledge. Tuan Mac Carell spent one of his enchanted transformations in the shape of a Salmon.
Elements: Fire & Water. Colour: Red
Broc - The Badger 22 August - Harvesting Time - 21 September
Be truthful and honest at all times.
This is the last totem of the summer cycle, the moonth before the autumn equinox. This is the time when the solar power is receding, and animals which sleep the winter out begin to prepare for hibernation. The Badger is a quiet nocturnal animal formerly found throughout the countryside, easily recognised by his black and white striped face. The Badger is a popular character in such children's stories as The Wind in the Willows. Badger is an animal of the earth and digs a home called a set, usually beneath bushes or tree roots. A tribe of badgers live here at Carrowkeel and have a set of pathways across the bog which they travel at night. The symbols used in the woodblock come from decorated stones from the Cairn at Fourknocks in North Co. Dublin.
Elements: Earth & Water. Colour: Brown & Violet.
Magik - The Raven 22 Sept. - Falling Leaves Time - 22 Oct.
Look after the well-being of mind and body.
The raven is a symbol of the autumn. It represents the period of time beginning at the autumn equinox, when the nights begins to lengthen, and the dark time of the year approaches. The raven was regarded as a messenger by the ancients, and its every appearance was taken as an omen. The Morrigan, the bloodthirsty triple war goddess of the T™atha DÈ Danann, appeared in battle as a raven who ran the blood of the enemy hosts to ice with her shrieking. In The Hobbit, tribes of ravens live on the Lonely Mountain who converse with the dwarves and bring them news of distant events. Odin, the father of the Norse gods had a pair of ravens, one on each shoulder, who flew back and fourth between Asgard and Midgard. The raven symbolises balance and harmony - it is equally at home in the air or on the ground, on it's own or with a group. Ravens dwell in ancient sites and towers, haunted and isolated, and avoid the company of man. Elements: Air & Earth. Colour: Blue
Caronach - The Serpent 23 October - Frost Time - 22 November
Show great respect for your fellow beings.
The Serpent is a creature which has been known for its magical powers since the dawn of time. Almost all cultures have myths relating to serpents as an ancient goddess of many powers. It's power to shed it's skin makes the serpent a great symbol of transformation, while It's sensitivity to vibrations and subtle energies connect it to medicine, knowledge and initiation. The early sign for Scorpio is the serpent which rises to become an eagle when initiated; the standing serpent is the ancient symbol of initiation. The Mound of the Great Serpent in Ohio depicts a giant Serpent devouring an egg, which the ancestors are said to have built to mark a great eclipse. Saint Patrick, when he banished the serpents from Ireland was challenging the pagan nature practices to replace them with the new spiritual teachings of Christ. Patrick's deeds of spiritual conquest were sometimes handed down by folklore as acts of physical dragon-slaying. In one tale he banished a demon from the glen to the north of Croagh Patrick, and she fled to the north. Later he met her again at a lake and he slew the three-headed lake Serpent Caronach in the northwest of Ireland, and the waters of the lake ran red with her blood. Today this lake which is found in County Donegal is known as Lough Derg - the Red Lake. Lough Derg is still a major site of pilgrimage, where people from all over Europe go to perform rituals of penance that have survived in a form derived, but little understood, from the rituals of our ancient ancestors many thousands of years ago. Elements: Water & Earth. Colour: Violet (Red + Blue)
Meanoiche - The Owl 23 November - Long Nights Time - 21 December
Do what you know to be right.
Long nights time is the moonth before the rebirth of the sun at the winter solstice. This, the darkest time of the year when the Sun is underground, symbolises the hidden and occulted wisdom of mankind. The winter solstice was recognised by the ancients as a cosmic gateway that gives birth to Christ-consciousness, the underlying principle behind the structure of great initiation centres such as Newgrange. The three days of the solstice is the time of the mystic death when the initiate is consciously awakened and open to the full power of cosmic radiations of a divine order. The Owl is known as a wise and patient bird in many myths and tales: they are guardians of the secret knowledge and are associated with the Otherworld. This totem emphasises the importance of withdrawal, concentration and meditation. Harry Potter's owl Hedwig is a modern use of the totem. Elements: Fire with Earth. Colour: Gold
Briongloid - The Goose 22 December - Renewal Time - 19 January
Remain close to the Great Spirit.
The renewal time begins with the winter solstice when the sun is re-born at the festival of Yule, the beginning of the bright (ascending) half of the year. The Goose was regarded as the Great Dreamer by ancient cultures. The challenge of renewal time people is to make manifest the vision of their minds eye in the physical world. The Goose has appeared as a magical totem in many fairy tales (The Goose that laid the golden egg, Mother Goose, etc.), and Goose was the traditional meal at Yule, which has now been replaced by turkey at Christ-Mass. The Goose was known as the Bird from beyond the North winds, because it migrated to its nesting grounds in the far north when snow began to fall in the autumn, and did not return until the snow vanished in early spring. The goose in the print stands by the shores of the Great River in Wilder-Land, and dreams of the Spirit of the North. Elements: Earth with Air. Colour: White
Aer - The Otter 20 January - Cleansing Time - 18 February
Work together for the benefit of all mankind.
This middle cycle of the winter season is the time when the Earth is cleansing itself before the pace of life increases and things begin to grow again. The North winds symbolise the power of the mind, and part of the Otters task is to learn the mastery of manifesting what is visualised in the mind. The Otter is known in Norse mythology as a magical creature with the power to change its shape; in early Irish Christian lore there are tales of otters befriending and feeding hermit monks. There are legends of giant otters in the lakes near Dromaheir in Co. Leitrim. Elements: Air predominates. Colour: Silver.
Rua - The Fox 19 February - Blustery Winds Time - 20 March
Take full responsibility for your actions.
This is the last totem of the annual cycle - the moonth which precedes the spring equinox, and one of the first woodblock animal designs I cut, based on a fox skull. In the Medicine Wheel Fox people, like their totem animal, are sensitive and intuitive and have a head for heights both physical and spiritual. The Fox is known in ancient myths and fables for his wit and cunning, a sacred trickster who uses clowning as part of his strategy. The founder of the great monastery Clonmacnoise, St. Ciaran, had a fox friend who carried his holy books for him. Elements : Water with Air. Colour: Blue/green.