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Animal Species: Insect

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      31.05.2009 15:11
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      "Life is just a chance to grow a soul." A. Powell Davies

      "Two-spirited and humble,
      I patiently tend to the land
      for I know that even the smallest effort
      might one day raise mountains
      or move you vast distances
      from where you now stand.
      Follow me and I will show you
      that the past never dies.
      Lovingly I linger in all that remains.
      Study Life, and learn!
      Become the apple of Creator's eye,
      or be caught in the net
      of your self-imposed lies.
      Haste makes waste, but
      Discretion breeds spiritual evolution!
      I feed the flocks, tend the dead,
      call wisdom from watery depths,
      bring renewal to the Earth,
      digest your memory,
      and symbolize those most well-read!"
      ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
      "The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched. They must be felt with the heart." ~Helen Keller

      "We must always change, renew, rejuvenate ourselves; otherwise we harden." ~ Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

      "To work in the world lovingly means that we are defining what we will be for, rather than reacting to what we are against." ~ Christina Baldwin

      "A man may fish with the worm that hath eat of a king, and eat of the fish that hath fed of that worm."~ William Shakespeare Hamlet

      There are over 5,500 named species of worm known worldwide, and they can be found just about everywhere except the polar regions and arid deserts. These invertebrates range in size from less than an inch to tapeworms found in whales up to 120 feet long! For the purposes of this article, I will be talking about the common Earthworm, megadriles which include the families Tubificidae, Lumbriculidae, and Enchytraeidae, and are characterized by having a multilayer-ed clitellum, vascular system with true capillaries, and male pores behind the female pores. A clitellum is a ring or saddle-shaped region of glandular tissue in the body wall of certain annelids, like earthworms and some leeches, that after copulation secretes a cocoon in which the eggs and sperm are deposited for fertilization and development.

      Although earthworms (aka nightcrawlers, dew-worms, angleworms, and rainworms) are hermaphroditic (having both male and female reproductive systems), it takes two worms to mate and reproduce. They face in opposite directions side by side to align the male and female reproductive parts of their bodies. They secrete a tremendous amount of mucus until they are enclosed in a slime tube, copulate, and go their separate ways having exchanged sperm.

      The clitellum then secretes a second mucous ring which slides forward over the body, passing the opening where eggs are produced. Several ripe eggs leave the body, stick to the ring which continues moving forward until it passes the sperm receptacles. Now that the eggs are fertilized, the ring slips off the worm's "head", seals at both ends and becomes a sort of cocoon which is left in the soil. Eventually the eggs hatch and tiny worms escape into the soil to enrich the Earth, eat and create more worms.

      "The good we secure for ourselves is precarious and uncertain until it is secured for all of us and incorporated into our common life." ~ Jane Addams

      "Most of us are about as eager to be changed as we were to be born, and go through our changes in a similar state of shock." ~ author James Baldwin

      Having both genders in one body is the sign of a Two-spirited Teacher. The term "Two-spirited" (first discussed in Starfish Totem "Who Sings Now?" XIX) was derived from interpretations of Native languages and has been used to describe people who display both male and female characteristics. In these Traditions, the Two-Spirited are sacred gifts to society from Creator. It is believed that such people are gifted with a greater vision, a more balanced view of the world as a whole, and a closer connection to Creator.

      Honored and also feared for these qualities, their advice was sought on matters of weight and they fulfilled certain roles in society. Including: healers, medicine people, gravediggers/undertakers, teachers of oral traditions and songs, war-time nurses, prophets, bestowers of lucky names, admired crafters, official matchmakers, ceremonial dancers, council member/leaders, hunter/trapper/fishers, warrior/raiders, guides, diplomats, and vision seekers.

      Not every Native Nation recognized the Two-spirited, and some even outlawed them. While the subject of Gay and Lesbian rights is no longer the barely whispered of tabu in our society that it once was, society at large still has a long way to go before attaining a truly enlightened and balanced view that transcends mere physical realities and looks to the eternal soul, which knows no gender.

      When looking at the World in a Two-Spirited way, I believed one of Earthworm's specific messages to our people is that it takes two dedicated individuals to most successfully raise a family, whatever the physical gender of those two may be. Earthworm teaches us that a truly balanced perspective in Life is vital. We should nurture, develop and honor all sides of our selves; masculine, feminine and divine. Each has their merits, each has their unique pitfalls and each is inextricably entwined with the others. Imagine what the World might be like where everyone was raised to respect everyone/thing else no matter their nature, and each generation was raised to pass these ideals onto the next generation.

      Earthworms have a closed circulatory system with two main blood vessels that extend through the length of their body; the ventral blood vessel which leads the blood to the posterior and a dorsal blood vessel which leads to the anterior end. While numbers will vary, a typical earthworm will have 5 pairs of hearts throughout it's body! The hearts, brain, and breathing organs are located in the first few segments of the worm, and the rest of the body is filled with intestines which digest the soil, un-decayed leaf and plant matter upon which feeds it.

      The mouth is covered by a flap ( the prostomium) which helps the earthworm sense light and vibrations. Earthworms travel underground by muscular contractions which alternately lengthen and shorten the body. While shortened, it is anchored by the many setae (tiny bristles) along it's segmented body, typically four setae per segment although this too can vary. The burrowing process is helped along by a lubricant mucus secretion which can cause a gurgling sound from underground when they are disturbed and retreat along their moistened tunnels rapidly.

      "True creativity quite simply starts with balancing your emotions and activating the power of the heart. Through practicing emotional management from the heart, you tap into the highest form of creativity possible--recreating your perceptions of reality."~Doc Childre

      "Presence is a rare quality in a world of 20-second sound bites, nonstop stimulation, and gnawing anxiety. What underlies presence? Clearly, it is not intellectual prowess or Mensa would rule the world. More than once we all have been bored to tears by the intellectual aloofness of someone disconnected from everyday reality, adrift in a conceptual universe of his or her own creation...Could presence be heart-generated coherence in the world of personal magnetics? People with presence have an ineffable quality about them; they are "present," surprisingly attentive, and undistracted. A fullness, a centeredness, a wholeness radiates from them. We enjoy being "in their presence." You can build presence. It is the natural radiance of heart security." ~ Doc Childre and Bruce Cryer "From Chaos to Coherence"

      "When pure sincerity forms within, it is outwardly realized in other people's hearts" ~ Lao Tzu

      "To understand the heart and mind of a person, look not at what he has already achieved, but at what he aspires to."~ Kahlil Gibran

      "I will govern my life and thoughts as if the whole world were to see the one and read the other, for what does it signify to make anything a secret to my neighbor, when to God, who is the searcher of our hearts, all our privacies are open?"~Seneca

      The numbers 5 and 10 are significant here. The Earthworm's ten hearts, five for the masculine and five for the feminine, echo it's Balanced nature. The number 10 and it's derivatives represents Fullness without Totality, fullness of the moment if you will. Summer is a full day season for example, but not the totality of the year. Ten can also indicate an end of an important cycle, a change in circumstances that is imminent. It takes 10 lunar months to bring a human baby from conception to birth.

      There are 10 Sephiroth in many versions of the Kaballah, most currencies and the most common number system used today is based on the number 10. A typically healthy baby is born with 10 fingers and 10 toes with which to learn how to count in this intuitive number system. This is a central belief to Chinese numerology as well. In Tarot, 10 cards represent the ending of one sequence and the beginning of another, and a series of everyday feelings, events, and situations associated with each of the 4 suits. Living in the moment is as important to Earthworm people, as moving towards completion.

      Five is half of ten, half of the set. In Judaism, the fifth letter is "hei" which denotes an outcry, literally "hey!". The symbolism of this number in this tradition, as I understand it, is that of two halves crying out for each other, seeking completion. In other traditions, we each have 5 senses and there are five points in the Pentacle representing the four earthly elements (Earth, Air, Fire and Water) which are completed by the 5th element; the Divine Breath of Life or Spirit. In Tarot fives, as the midway point to the completion of 10, can represent a point of crisis or instability. In Numerology, the Life Path number is determined by the date of birth. For example, if you were born June 4th, 1970, that is the 6th month, 4th day and the numbers of the year would add up to 18. 1+8= 9, so your equation would be 6+4+9= 19, which becomes 1+9= 10, and 1+0=1.

      Using this method, those born with a Life Path number of 5 have entered this plane with a highly progressive mindset, with the attitude and skills to make the world a better place.You are one of those people who are always striving to find answers to the many questions that life poses. The byword for a positive Life Path 5 is constant change and improvement. 5's want to be unrestrained and tend to be most compassionate and freedom-loving.

      Your love of freedom extends to humanity at large, and concern for your fellow man, their freedom and welfare, may be foremost in your mind. Life Paths 1, the end result of the number 10, are skilled and innovative leaders who excel at getting the ball rolling and initiating new projects. Earthworm would like to spread these concepts of making the world a better place, employing compassion and true freedom. Earthworm would like nothing better than for us to become the leaders in society who get this ball rolling and start cultivating our world with full and expansive hearts!

      In esoteric lore, the cosmic memory of Akasha, Spirit or Silent Knowledge often referred to as the Akashic Records, is in essence all spiritual Traditions, the collective unconscious and memories of our entire race, which is potentially accessible by each of us. We need only remember how to regain entry to this Divine inheritance, by using these Traditions which are templates or maps designed to teach and lead us into Remembrance of long forgotten or abandoned Mysteries.

      The root word of "religion" is much debated. The Latin word "religio" has been translated by Lucretius, Lactancius and Tertullianus from the word "religare" which translates as "to connect or reconnect" and refers to "the bond of piety that binds to God". Cicero believed it came from "relegere" which translates as "to gather, to read again, to re-examine carefully". The various religions around the world are meant to create a sense of unity, a feeling of connection between members of humanity, and to the Divine. Not everyone needs religious dogma or ceremony to feel these things, but everyone, at one point or another, does need a reminder.

      Put simply, the methods of reaching this goal of Universal Awakening can vary widely, the goal itself is most important. However you reconnect, accessing this Divine well and striving for enlightenment is a wonderful place to begin truly cultivating our world, awakening our compassion, freeing ourselves and humanity of our self-imposed fetters, and finally starting the great Healing our World needs so desperately. Only then will we truly be complete.

      "Leaders are the ones who keep faith with the past, keep step with the present, and keep the promise to posterity." ~ Harold J. Seymour

      "True health is the harmony of life within us, consisting of peace of mind, happiness and well-being. It is not merely a question of physical fitness, but is rather a result of the soul finding free expression through the mind and body of the individual." -- Dr. Randolph Stone

      "The work I do to let go of my suffering diminishes the suffering of the whole universe. When I have room for my own pain, I have room for the pain of others. Only then can I be transformed into joy. As I heal, the Earth heals." -- Christiane Northrup, MD

      During large rainstorms, earthworms will surface in large numbers. There are four theories about this behavior. Some say that waterlogged soil has insufficient oxygen for them, but as earthworms can survive underwater for several hours if it contains oxygen this theory is generally rejected. Earthworms have no lungs and their breathing consists of oxygen from the air passively diffusing through the skin directly into the body. Which is why they dry out so quickly in direct light and open air; a serious hazard for all worms.

      Some species come to the surface to mate, but this does not necessarily relate to the rainstorms themselves so that theory is likewise frequently dismissed. Some believe that they come to the surface at this time to take advantage of the moist conditions to travel more quickly than they can underground. Others theorize that the carbon dioxide produced by the many various underground respirating organisms dissolves into the rainwater forming carbonic acid which would then make the ground too acidic for the worms.

      It could easily be any combination of these things, although I always thought as a child that it would be really difficult to move through liquid soil, especially for a creature like this which anchors and pulls itself along the ground with bristly hairs! Whatever the reason, I do know that when we needed worms for a fishing expedition we would go out the night before with a bucket or hose, saturate a likely area, and then turn on our flashlights and gather up the bait as they came to the surface.

      I can also remember as a very young girl (under five) noticing that worms wore themselves out, died and dried out if they tried traversing too hot and impermeable an area, say a long stretch of sidewalk, under the blazing sun. For many years I used to keep an eye open for potentially stranded earthworms, especially after a quick rainshower, and would scoop them up to relocate them somewhere more suitably dark, moist, and dirt-filled. Earthworms don't have eyes, but the do have light sensitive cells, which are also sensitive to chemicals and touch, scattered across their skin. They can't see images or forms, but they are able to detect light and changes in light intensity.

      Earthworm is a powerful Totem that speaks of Renewal, especially renewal of the Earth, a truly vital Singer at this point in our history. It is possible for a dissected worm to heal and become two separate worms, and as a Totem this Teacher can also help us to heal from devastating wounds; physical, mental or spiritual. Stamina, transformation and healing of all sorts can be helped by the Earthworm.

      On the Medicine Wheel given to us by Sun Bear, Renewal is a gift of the Spirit Keeper of the North along with Peridot, which stimulates personal growth, and Red Clover, a Healer herb especially useful for Cleansing. Cleansing is an essential step before any healing or renewal as you wouldn't want to renew harmful habits, destructive thoughts or emotional baggage. Earthworm encourages us to proceed in all endeavors slowly, with conscious thought and full heart. Having a balanced Heart chakra is important to those called by this Teacher.

      "Wheresoever you go, go with all your heart." Confucius

      "The workings of the human heart are the profoundest mystery of the universe. One moment they make us despair of our kind, and the next we see in them the reflection of the divine image." ~Charles W. Chestnut

      "The day isn't far off when the economic problem will take the back seat where it belongs, and the heart and head will be occupied or reoccupied, by our real problems of life and of human relations, of creation and behavior and religion." ~ John Maynard Keynes

      Worms have been around for 120 million years. Cleopatra claimed that they were sacred beings and Aristotle called them the "intestines" of the soil. Earthworms aerate the soil with their burrowing which allows for proper drainage and helps to keep soil healthy. They are essential in the natural composting process as they convert dead organic matter into rich soil, leave soil enriched with their high nitrogen/phosphate/potash body waste (castings), encourage healthy plant growth, break down stones up to 1/20 of an inch in their crop all of which creates a more perfectly balanced selection of minerals and plant nutrients in a more accessible form in the top 6 inches of soil where they live.

      Good soil can have as many as a million worms per acre, and successful gardeners and farmers should encourage a healthy worm population in their growing spaces. Earthworm populations depend on both physical and chemical properties of the soil. Factors such as soil temperature, moisture, pH, salts, aeration and texture, as well as available food, and the ability of the species to reproduce and disperse affect the population. Most earthworms favor a neutral to slightly acidic soil. Today, society's frequent application of chemical fertilizers, sprays and dusts can have a ruinous effect on earthworm populations, and I would love to see a healthy return to more organic methods in this, and many other areas.

      In conjunction with Renewal, Earthworm teaches us how to examine our lives, digest our experiences properly, and extract all the best to carry forward with us. This Teacher not only helps us to achieve new growth or healing, it also prepares us for these necessary transformations, and cleansing is an important part of this preparation. This Teacher also speaks to us about the insignificance of size. Often we are discouraged by the odds against us, feeling as if our efforts are too small to be noticed let alone affect successful change. Yet this tiny and humble Teacher renews the whole World one small piece at a time.

      Earthworms are a vital base to a healthy environment, and feed many different animals including: crows, robins, starlings, thrushes, gulls, ground beetles, moles, shrews and other rodents, slugs, hedgehogs, foxes, fish, toads and other amphibians, various insects, snakes and other reptiles. Fish, Toads and Snakes are all symbolic of Wisdom (like the Apple on which Worm may feed!), and humble Worm which feeds on dead organic matter and the smallest bones of the Earth, is the Teacher that feeds them! There are a great many Teachers which make excellent balancing energy for those called by Earthworm.

      As a child two specific worms taught me. Richard Scarry's character Lowly Worm with his single shoe and feathered hat, and the magazine "Cricket" was a great inspiration and delight to me with it's host of buggy cartoon characters that parade across the bottoms of the pages. These characters include an earthworm known by seperate names depending on which end you are speaking to!

      Both of these delightful literary worms taught me that pereceived handicaps, like being very small, aren't really handicaps at all. They helped to teach me the importance of learning from everything around me, no matter how small or insignificant they may seem. They encouraged my great love of learning, my rapid consumption of literature, and how to feed my inner self with intangible Beauty found everywhere, from the stones under your feet to the poetry in a book. The Wormholes science theorizes about are theoretical structures in spacetime that form tube-like connections between two separate regions of the Universe. This Teacher can show us how to make intuitive leaps across great barriers, and how to honor our connections to each other, All Our Relations, and Creator. How does Earthworm appear in your life?

      "It may be doubted whether there are any other animals which have played so important a part in the history of the world, as have these lowly creatures." ~ Charles Darwin, who studied worms for 39 years!

      "The heart of a fool is in his mouth, but the mouth of the wise man is in his heart." ~ Benjamin Franklin
      "The heart has reasons that reason does not understand." ~ Jacques Bénigne Bossuel

      "In our deepest moments of struggle, frustration, fear, and confusion, we are being called upon to reach in and touch our hearts. Then, we will know what to do, what to say, how to be. What is right is always in our deepest heart of hearts. It is from the deepest part of our hearts that we are capable of reaching out and touching another human being. It is, after all, one heart touching another heart." ~ Roberta Sage Hamilton

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