The Legend of the Thunderbird
The following is the legend of "How the Thunderbird Came to Be", from the book The Medicine Wheel Earth Astrology by Sun Bear and Wabun.
Once there was a big hawk, the biggest hawk that had ever lived on the earth. This hawk was so big that his wings darkened two lodges when he flew over the village. Luckily for the people, this hawk was good and kindly toward all those who were around him.
Besides being big, this hawk was also very powerful. He could sing a special song and all of the hawks from all over the territory would catch any rain clouds that were in the vicinity and bring them toward him. It was even said that he had a song that would make mice and rabbits jump up into his talons when he circles low over the earth. He was a very powerful hawk.
This hawk was so powerful that the Thunder Beings one time, decided to give him a special song that he could sing that would draw them to him. They told him that to sing that song correctly he first had to build a circular lodge large enough for himself and all of the other animals he wanted to invite to hear the son. They told hi that he had to make a circular altar of a special kind and put particular things from the mineral, the plant and the animal kingdoms on it. They told him that he had to give thanks to the Great Spirit before he sang this song and that he had to fee gratitude to the Thunderers for sharing their power with him.
One summer he decided to sing his song, so he did as the Thunderers told him. Hi invited ravens, a vulture and an osprey to come into the lodge with him. They accepted, and when the song was done and the Thunderers had come, they all left the lodge knowing that they had been given special power from having heard the song.
Big Hawk had gathered remarkable powers to him, and now touch of his wings could heal his friends from the gravest wounds. All of the power that he had, become too much for Big Hawk, and, instead of remembering to give thanks every morning to the Great Spirit, he began to get huffed up and to go around singing, "I am the most powerful hawk of them all. I am great Kaik Kaik Kaik."
The Great Spirit looked at the hawk and was patient, hoping that he would remember. But he did not. He just got more and more huffed up.
The next summer he decided that, once again, he would sing the song of the Thunder Beings so he could get even more power. He decided that he was so powerful he didn't have to bother building the lodge or making the preparations he had been told to make. He didn't even bother to give thanks to the Great Spirit or the Thunderers. This time, he invited all the birds and animals who would come to witness his power.
He began to sing his song just sitting in his nest in the biggest tree around, and he preened himself and huffed himself up more as the Thunderers approached. Suddenly, a bold of lightning shot out form one of the clouds and burst into a ball of flame just as it touched the tip of Big Hawk's wing. Just as suddenly, the ball of flame and the hawk disappeared before any of the other animals were hurt. All those who had been there, looked around not believing their eyes.
Big Hawk found himself up in the sky talking with the Great Spirit.
"Big Hawk," said the Great Spirit, "you have become too arrogant. You forget to give your thanks. You forget to ceremonies that you have been given. You forget the real source of your power. Since you have insulted the Thunder Beings by misusing the gift that they gave to you, you will now become their servant. You will still be a big, handsome bird, but you will no longer be able to call the thunder. Now they will call you. Whenever the Thunderers go out to do their work, you will go with them. So you don't get too huffed up from people sing you, you will always be hidden partly behind the clouds. You'll appear to some as a strange cloud formation. You'll appear to others as a fiery shape created by lightning. Only those with very clear sight will see you as you are, as the bird of fire, the Thunderbird. Go now, and serve those you have hurt until you learn the pleasure that can come from serving and from remembering your place in the universe."
And so the Thunderbird came to the people.
How Thunderbirdbird Sky Came to Be
(origins of our company name)
by Candice Creelman
© copyright 2008
Many years ago, I was drawn to begin learning about the traditional Native teachings. Ever since I was a child, I was fascinated by the Shamanic ways and the idea of the Medicine Man or Woman in the Native culture.
In early 1991, I went through a severe bout of depression and near suicide and asked God for help, as I knew I couldn't live like that anymore. I was drawn, through a series of synchronistic events, to finding a book called The Secrets of Shamanism. This began my journey into this world.
For many years, I only had books to learn from. I came across the Sun Bear book, The Medicine Wheel Earth Astrology that the above story came from. I learned about myself in the descriptions of my medicine wheel sign, Long Snows Moon. I also learned that because of when I was born (December 15), I also belonged to the Thunderbird Clan. I read and re-read the story of how the Thunderbird came to be, as I somehow identified with this being.
Many years later, after I had graduated from the Theatre Production program, and when I was at the end of my two years at Grant MacEwan in Edmonton where I was studying voice and composition, I received several strong messages that I was to go to Toronto to pursue music, in what I could only call a profoundly strong and vivid premonition. These messages were so strong that they overpowered my fear of leaving what was familiar to me.
I made all of my plans to move across the country to Toronto - a major city where I knew absolutely no one. Besides that, I had already made plans to go to school and take a music business program, so I knew that I at least had a definite reason to go there. Again, the guidance was so strong that I was doing the right thing, that fear never entered into the equation. Not until about three weeks before I was about to move.
One night, as I sat on my couch watching television in my apartment in Edmonton, I started to have the realization of what it was I was getting myself into. "Holy S***, I'm moving to Toronto!!!" I was suddenly struck with an intense panic that I was making a huge mistake, but by this time, it was much too late to change my mind. I had my apartment lined up and paid for, applied, been accepted and was waiting for my student loan to pay for my tuition. Not to mention the fact that by this time, I had talked this move up so much to everyone, that I couldn't go back on my decision. I knew I was committed.
So I asked for a sign. I meditated for a long time that night to be shown an obvious, "2 x 4" kind of sign that even I would consciously and immediately understand as being my sign that I was making the right decision. I asked for it to be so obvious, that it would not only get though my fear, but through my resistance to trusting my higher guidance. Something that I could not dismiss in any way. Boy, did I get what I asked for in spades...THAT night!
What transpired over the next hour or so was so amazing that I still get goose bumps when I tell people this story. It still boggles my mind that this 'event' happened.
After praying for a sign, I suddenly had this impulse to head out onto my balcony to enjoy the wonderful summer night air. It was a beautiful night. I can remember it like it was yesterday. Warm, but not hot or muggy. A light breeze. A clear night sky where even in a brightly lit apartment complex, you could still clearly see the stars shining. And we had just had an amazing sunset. It was a perfect summer night. Even the energy in the city was peaceful, but yet vibrant and radiated that feeling of "something really great is about to happen".
I was standing on my balcony taking all of this in, when I noticed some of the famous Canadian Northern Lights began to appear as they moved across the sky from the North. Very quickly, they became more intense, bright and faster moving than I had ever seen. They streamed and streaked across the sky as if they were in a race to get to wherever somewhere.
Before long, they were dancing, changing colors, making a crackling sound and moving and changing shape so fast it was hard to keep up with. By this time, a friend of mine had come out onto the balcony to watch as well. and as well, an audience of onlookers had formed on the street. People were coming out of their apartments, out of the rec centre, and standing wherever they were in awe of what they were seeing.
I thought to myself, "if the lights were this bright and clear in the middle of a big, bright, very will lit city and apartment complex, imagine what they looked like where there was no light to block out the brilliance of the Northern Lights that night. Wow!".
I had heard of lights being so clear and intense that they would change color and change shape incredibly fast. I had even heard of them having a sound to them, but never had I witnessed it for myself. Up to that night, I had doubted if I would ever see Northern Lights like this. And there I was, watching the most incredible display of Mother Nature I had ever seen, and may ever see.
Just when I though it couldn't get any better, a shape began to form in the sky as we all watched in awe. First it was a wing, then the head, and then the beak - of what was very clearly a Hawk, Eagle or the Thunderbird. What appeared over the period of about 20 minutes was not just a vague hint of something that might resemble something in nature. It was as if Great Spirit had taken a paint brush and painted a very clear and detailed image of that great mythical being that, according to Native legend, had been hidden for thousands of years.
I wished I had a camera ready to have been able to take a photo of it, but the image will forever be etched in my mind. It was incredible! The head, body and left wing of the Great Thunderbird, etched in the sky with Northern Lights. They not only formed, but stayed in that shape for at least 10 minutes once the image was fully formed while the rest of the Northern Lights continued to move and change color and shape around the Thunderbird.
I thought to myself, "I think that was my sign." Once I had absorbed what was happening, I looked over at my friend and asked her if she saw what I saw, and she said and that it looked like an Eagle or a Hawk. I told her about how I had just prayed for a sign, and she looked at me, grinned, and said, "I think you got your sign, big time." All I could say was, "I think you're right," and thought to myself with a chuckle, "It's a Thunderbird Sky tonight."
We continued to watch as eventually the image faded away and the sky went back to normal, minus the Northern Lights, as they too, completely faded from sight.
It wasn't immediately that the words, Thunderbird Sky, became a company name. It wasn't until after I had moved to Toronto and was deeply immersed in school when that evolution took place. I had been given an assignment where we had to create a logo for my graphic design program.
I had no idea what I was going to use for a company name that could be incorporated into a logo. Almost immediately after asking the question, I remembered the night that I saw the Thunderbird in the sky, and the words that came into my mind - Thunderbird Sky. I knew right then, that was my company name. I had no idea that eventually, that name would become the foundation for healing practice which is dedicated to being of service to others - just like the lesson the Thunderbird had to learn.
The logo we still use today, was born during that graphic design class in 1996, but it was still almost 10 years before it fully became a company.
I've met so many people that have told me that when they look at that logo, and read the company name on our business cards or brochures, that they have the strong sense, as they have put it, "You really are the Thunderbird, and the Thunderbird is you."
I feel incredibly blessed and honoured when anyone says this to me, and even now, recognize the incredible gift that the Thunderbird has given me. I have learned from the experience of this mythical being, and the legend that is told about him, about what it means to be of service and the joy that it brings. And by doing the work of Creator, I am walking the path that I came here to do.
Lessons from the Thunderbird
The story of the Thunderbird taught me to always be careful that I don't go into ego with anything I do, but I had forgotten the part of the lesson of being in service will always bring the greatest joy. The Thunderbird is also a healing bird, which at the time that I had this incredible experience, and later came up with the company name, I had no idea I would be embarking on a healing path. So as I retyped the myth and came to that part, I realized that Thunderbird came to me for a reason. To remind me that the path I'm on is one of healing and being of service. He reminded me to have gratitude for my gifts, and also to honour them as they are gifts from Great Spirit. He reminded me that in sharing those gifts in a way that shows my gratitude and honours them, that I will always walk in alignment with Spirit.
The moral of the story is, if you are ever in doubt or in need of assistance, all you have to do is ask for guidance from Creator, and if you ask clearly enough, and listen and pay attention, you will always get what it is you need and ask for. It's our jobs to recognize it when it happens. Those signs won't always be so obvious as a Thunderbird appearing in the Northern Lights, but they do happen. We just have to have the ears, eyes and most importantly, the heart to hear them.
It is only when you are open to receive,
that true miracles happen!
copyright candice creelman april 2008
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