To find happiness, we must understand suffering.
My Journey with Goose
"Follow me; I know the way. I won't leave you behind."
Goose has been an Animal Ally that has been patiently sitting in the background of my spirit for years now. I greatly identified with Serafina Pekkala and her goose Kaisa when I read The Golden Compass as a high schooler; I was never really sure why, but Goose just felt right. Since then, she has stayed with me. She was home. She was family. And at her root, that is what Goose does--she works with you as you discover your family and the healing your family needs. Goose tells me she is for ancestor work, healing and compassion, specifically. And it was only recently that she shared this with me.
My great grandmother, whose name my homestead bears because it was once hers and my great grandfather's home, is currently in the hospital. She has fluid around her lungs and heart, and hospice care is being discussed because she is not a candidate for surgery at ninety years old. As I sat visiting with her while my grandmother and great aunt spoke with the doctor, she was full of questions about the farm. She wanted to know if the rose bush at the back still blooms, if I've visited the "branch" (creek) on the property. I assured her everything was just like it had always been, and that David and I have been working diligently to bring it back to its former beauty.
As with any family, there are so many lovely and painful stories. There are triumphs, and there are tribulations. When I left the hospital that night, I was grieving. Grieving for my grandma and great aunt who were faced with the needs of my great grandmother--her need for peace and comfort in her twilight hours. Grieving for my great grandmother who fluctuates between confusion and certainty. Grieving for the inevitable expressions of pain between family members who need healing themselves.
I was listening to Thich Naht Hanh’s Happiness, Love, and Liberation discussion after I left the hospital, and was praying affirmatively that my great grandmother would experience peace and comfort, and would know she is not alone. As I looked into the sky, two geese flew overhead. Goose reminded me that she is family medicine, and that she stays with the wounded and dying until it is time to fly back home to her gaggle. That is where my family and I are with my great grandmother. And what a difficult thing, friends.
How do you comfort someone who knows they are passing? How do you practice strength when you feel your soul crumpling? Goose is there with her strong wings. She will lift you; she will teach you patience; she will teach you healing.
"Have the courage to go home to yourself and get in touch with the suffering; listen to yourself, to it; embrace it tenderly."
Goose may not seem like the poster child for courage, but if you've ever been near a mother goose and her goslings when she thinks you need to take a step back, you'll see where I'm coming from. Goose unflinchingly flings herself honking, wings spread, ready to face the challenge. She leaves her gaggle, the one place of certainty, when her mate goes down--and she protects him until the end. Sometimes that means she flies back alone.
In this solitary flight she must be in touch with the suffering. She must embrace it like she embraces the sky, like the winds. She must trust it, and understand it is all part of the Divine Plan. It is all part of the beautiful blanket of life we're all patched into.
Call out to Goose when you are trying to heal the past pains between family members, when you are in a time of transition and death with a family member, or when you are doing healing ancestral work. She is ready to accompany you.
Goose as an Ally
If you're on this page, maybe you were searching for the message Goose is trying to convey to you. Or, you are seeking to heal familial pain. As I've said before, our greatest Allies often come to us in times of our greatest need, and the work of healing and death is a great need.
Like me, you may have witnessed Goose flying overhead, or meandering around a pond. Perhaps a whimsical illustration of Goose caught your eye, and now you're seeing her over and over again. Deep in your heart, you hear her calling.
While Goose may not seem like a grand or preferable Animal Ally to some, she is a beautiful, caring friend. She carries the elements of air and water, pairing her innate wisdom with emotional healing for those that seek her Medicine.
Practicing meditation with Goose near a body of water or while listening to the sounds of water is one way you can reach out, especially when searching for peace. She also tells me that the sounds of thunderstorms draw her in when you are trying to overcome a challenge or obstacle.
If you have a goose feather, you may want to place it at an altar or near a picture of the one for whom you seek healing and comfort. Pictures or figurines of Goose will work, as well. Giving Goose a sacred space is one way to honor her and begin requesting and building an alliance.
Harmony and Balance,