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.