Tarot Symbolism – Heron

I woke up ridiculously early this morning. With all the Virgo energy abounding right now my first thoughts were about organising my life. I’ve been slightly obsessed with planners and filofaxes after watching a video by Kelly Ann Maddox (who I had a fabulous reading with recently – do check her out). I’ve been going through periods of time where I feel utterly overwhelmed with stuff to do: writing, admin, research for writing, blog planning, personal projects and all of it is in the PC and the laptop and the ipad – stuff everywhere in cyber space. Suddenly I knew that I needed to bring in into reality, make it tangible, make it real. I purchased a piece of hematite to encourage more grounded energy because despite being a Taurus, I live with my head in the stars a lot of the time. Last night, with my new stone held in my hands, I worked on growing metaphorical roots out of my feet.

So this morning I jumped out of bed intent on a quick walk before starting my day. The sun broke as soon as I stepped outside. I picked ripe apples off the tree for breakfast and made my way to the canal. The stillness of the water offset the busy roads and morning workers. As I wandered across the bridge, I said hello to the geese and ducks. I always talk to the birds. And then I saw it…

Right in front of me stood a heron. He stood majestically, staring out over the water, turning his head slightly as I moved towards him to watch me but he didn’t move. I took out my camera to take a few snaps and slowly he walked along the pavement ahead of me, like he was guiding me. We reached the willow tree, a tree I feel a close affinity with, and he stood poised for the perfect photo opportunity.

Herons are one of my power animals. They only come at important times in my life so I know this is a turning point. I remember one Christmas day some years ago, it was so foggy outside I couldn’t even see across the road. As I walked into my study, something caught my eye. Suddenly from out of the mist, a heron flew right up to my window, it’s large wings sweeping it upwards at the very last moment. Changes were coming.

DeathHerons have long legs so they can wade in deep waters and they are typically solitary birds. Symbolically they represent the need to be grounded which then affords us the ability to explore the deeper waters of the intuitive, unconscious mind. Heron is poised, balanced, patient. He teaches us to be self-reliant, independent and follow our own path. When hunting for fish, heron strikes with great precision with its sharp beak. In turn, heron teaches us to take advantage of the moment and not to hesitate. With their connection to Earth, Water and Air elements, heron can help when we need to multitask or use a variety of skills in order to achieve our objective.

In the Tarot of the Old Path, heron appears on the Death card (in this deck named The Close). On this card we see the shadowy figure of death aligned with an owl – a bird of night. The baby in the foreground is aligned with the heron, a day bird. Between the baby and death flies a butterfly, showing transition. Herons tend to feed in the early morning or early evening, times of transition between day and night. When herons appear in our lives, they can indicate we are coming to a gentle transition in our own lives, the end of one chapter and the beginning of a new one. As the card of the Close shows us, there is no death, it is simply  cycle. If we can be at peace with what is, find our own inner stillness, listen to our intuition, then we too can recognise that from the waters of death, new life emerges.

If you are going through times of transition and would like some guidance, I offer readings here