Symbolic Meaning of Woodpecker

Published on May 11, 2011 by Amy

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Great Spotted Woodpecker
Great Spotted Woodpecker

To be sure, the woodpecker is an attention-grabber, and those who claim this amazing bird as their totem will attest to its ability to shake up awareness.

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Nothing breaks the silence of a hiking in the woods like the urgent, rapid-fire percussion of a woodpecker’s rapping against a tree.

A Quick-List of woodpecker symbolic meaning:

  • Balance
  • Progress
  • Signaling
  • Returning
  • Protection
  • Initiation
  • Attention
  • Prophesy
  • Listening
  • Opportunity
  • Discernment
  • Communication
  • Determination

Woodpeckers are extremely opportunistic themselves. Each tree is a door, revealing tender morsels of food (grubs and ants are their favorites). Other trees will yield against their beak-hammering to provide great mansions for their young.

When the woodpecker comes tapping into our awareness, it’s also a signal to use our heads. Just as the woodpecker uses its head (beak) to hammer out solutions (food, shelter), we too can use our intellect in finding solutions to our own barriers.

The symbolic meaning of woodpeckers also point to a need for creative vision. Being opportunistic, woodpeckers can see value everywhere, even in dead trees. Have you ditched an idea or given up on a project? The woodpecker may be trying to tell you to breathe new life into your project, just as they build new homes into dead trees.

Further, the symbolic meaning of woodpecker indicates a return to our roots, or having trust in our basic (gut) feelings. Dr. Carl Jung observed the woodpecker as a symbol of a return to the womb of creativity. In this observation the tree is symbolic of a womb; earthy, grounded, sturdy and secure. The woodpecker’s home within the tree is analogous of a fierce determination to return and protect that which is sacred to us.

When this bird comes pecking, it is a call for us to return to our roots, back to the womb of our ideas and use our intellect and discernment to follow through with our plans.

This analogy is doubly profound in the case of red-headed woodpeckers as the color red is associated with the root chakra. Prime, protective energy. Another clear sign for being aware of our core impulses, and our basic beliefs.

Native North American wisdom recognized the protective home-based themes of the woodpecker too. Prairie tribes had a myth that the title of protector of humankind was once vied for by the turkey and the woodpecker. The woodpecker won the title because of her ability to make such marvelous nests wherein the spiritual seed of humankind would always be sheltered from predatory threat.

The woodpecker may also remind us to be mindful of our words. It has a narrow tongue, extremely effective for picking up food in narrow places. This is symbolic for using a narrow route to get the most profound effect. The woodpecker asks us to use fewer words to make a stronger impact in our statement.

Drumming has historically marked the beginning of events such as processions, honorable ceremonies, even war. Perhaps this is why the woodpecker (and its beak-drumming ways) was often associated with Roman battle, war and victory.

Native North American wisdom also prescribes drumming as a means to journeying (transcendentalism), and so many tribes considered the woodpecker as an other-worldly messenger, and a prophet.

Source: whats-your-sign

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