The Wren – All The Best Things Come In Small Packages



Last week Wren came to me as my messenger animal totem and I had fun drawing her and listening to what she has to teach me. I am not an artist really but I do enjoy pretending I am and playing with pencils and paper 😀


I live as quite the hermit due to circumstances and responsibilities and Wren medicine is all about being part of what is going on. Amongst other things she tells us to get out there and be counted. Sing at the top of your voice and be heard above the crowd. She is nimble, agile and vibrant with energy. Wren talks of relationships with others and nurturing the here and now. She encourages adventure and living life to the full. Be bold.


In the years before Christianity took over pagan festivals, the 26th December (or in some parts the winter solstice) was a day when the wren was hunted. Wrenboys would capture the King of Birds and would parade through the town with the bird asking for money. The money from patrons would then be used to put on a Wren Ball for the whole town or village. Songs were sung and you can view some here. Later the Wren was buried with full honours in celebration and pudding was served. This tradition is said to be the acting out of the tale of Lleu Llaw Gyffes, a hero in Celtic myth, who gains his name by tricking his mother Arianrhod into lifting her curse and naming him in a tale involving a wren. As he strikes the wren “between the tendon and the bone of its leg” Arianrhod says “the fair haired one with the skillful hand is his name now” and her first curse was lifted. She was to do two more, such was her annoyance, but each time she was thwarted.

There is a lovely description of the tradition of Hunting the Wren which can be found over on Pie Religion which speaks of the humour involved (as is in all the best traditions of this sort still followed) and Steeleye Span have a little ditty to share, both of which I shall leave you to enjoy.




14 thoughts on “The Wren – All The Best Things Come In Small Packages”

    1. Thank you!

      It was also considered very unlucky to kill a wren in many quarters so most of the time we can assume they were well respected in a time where superstition was rife. Let us comfort ourselves slightly with that! In later times a stuffed representation was used.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. It has been very interesting learning all about how such a small bird made such a big impact and deciding how to borrow her medicine to grow my own spirituality.

      We have lost so many of the old traditions that, despite the odd one like this which has a negative implication, I welcome the opportunity to keep our respect for the land and animals alive by incorporating them into our daily life through re-inaction and celebration.

      As with all things, we don’t know the heart of it until we seek knowledge and then, when we do, we often find our minds and hearts changed for the better. I like that. And I want my children and grandchildren to do the same so that they too can stop and listen.

      Liked by 3 people

  1. I love wrens. One of the small joys of moving was finding that I didn’t have to leave them behind as I did hummingbirds, which I missed and will again. They have a different set of associations for North America; the wren-catching tradition apparently didn’t cross the ocean. There are also about 10 species of wren found in the US. What they are here is tough and adaptable little guys; they’re found in just about every climate and terrain, and the place I saw the most different species in one locale was in the desert. I routinely saw half a dozen species there. Cactus Wrens are so awesome. They love apples (they eat cactus fruit along with the usual insect diet of wrens), and with a little patience, I managed to get two that hung around my house in Texas to sit on my hand and eat apple bits out of it.

    Liked by 1 person

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