HomeProfessional pagesMotherhood pagesCrafts pagesSCA pagesMedieval Embroidery pagesSpirituality pagesBiker pagesBooks pagesMOO pages

Name Plate

The gaelic word for wren, dreoilín, may derive from the words draoi ean, or Druid bird.

Image of Wren on Stamp
* Celtic Wren Totem page
* Wren Totem page
* Wren - Encyclopedia of the Celts


He who shall hurt the little wren
Shall never be belov'd by men.
William Blake, Auguries of Innocence

Sacred to Taranis, God of Thunder

The wren's nest as said to be protected by lightning. Whoever tried to steal wren's eggs or baby wrens would find their house struck by lightning and their hands would shrivel up. Lightning was the weapon of the thunder bull-god Taranis, who often inhabited oak trees, and the wren was sacred to Taranis.
- Philip and Stephanie Carr-Gomm: The Druid Animal Oracle: Working with the Sacred Animals of the Druid Tradition

* Taranis, The Thunderer
* Representations of Taranis
* Cult of Thor
See picture with Thor, acorns and oak leaves.
The oak is associated with long lifespan and wisdom. ... It is associated with male aspects of the sacrificial Mysteries. ... The Oak is the tree of Kingship, and was originally the soul-vessel of the sacrificial King. ... The oak is associated with lightning and the gods of lightning, such as Zeus or Jupiter, and the Celtic wheel and thunder god Taranis.
- R.J. Stewart, The Way of Merlin

* Oak, by Mara Freeman
Image of Taranis


Chun: Difficulty at the Beginning

Picture of Lightning

Difficulty at the Beginning works supreme success,
Furthering through perseverance.
Nothing should be undertaken.
It furthers one to appoint helpers.
Clouds and thunder:
The image of Difficulty at the Beginning.
Thus the superior man
Brings order out of confusion.

Thunder from the Deep: The Superior Person carefully weaves order out of confusion. Supreme success if you keep to your course. Carefully consider the first move. Seek help.

One meets difficulties as one starts a new task or introduces a new paradigm; usually because we have found the present foundations (if any) unacceptable but still in force. However, there are still basic social foundations that we can use to help accomplish our task.


The Small that is Great

Although he was little his honour was great
-The Wren Song

Tubwayhun l'makikhe d'hinnon nertun arha. (Matthew 5:5)
Aligned with the One are the humble,
those submitted to God's will;
they shall be gifted
with the productivity of the earth.
(Blessed are the meek:
for they shall inherit the earth. -KJV version)
-Aramaic translation by Neil Douglas-Klotz,
Prayers of the Cosmos

Self-realization lies not in grandiosity or apparent power, but in humility, gentleness and subtlety... Being small he is unobtrusive, and being small he can enter worlds that bigger people cannot... Being proud makes us unwieldy; being small and humble enables us to slip through the eye of a needle or down the root of a tree.
- Philip and Stephanie Carr-Gomm: The Druid Animal Oracle: Working with the Sacred Animals of the Druid Tradition

Who can free himself from achievement, and from fame,
descend and be lost amid the masses of men?
He will flow like Tao, unseen,
he will go about like Life itself with no name and no home.
Simple is he, without distinction.
To all appearances he is a fool.
His steps leave no trace. He has no power.
He achieves nothing, has no reputation.
Since he judges no one, no one judges him.
Such is the perfect man:
His boat is empty.
- Chuang Tzu

Image of Wren on person's finger


Image of wren at nest

'Birds, look up and behold your king!'

Cunning, if tempered with humor and good intent, is a way of achieving great things with an economy of effort.
- Philip and Stephanie Carr-Gomm: The Druid Animal Oracle: Working with the Sacred Animals of the Druid Tradition

* The Wren and the Meaning of His Song
* The Wren King
* Brothers Grimm fairy tale on the Bear and the Wren


the wren, whose death released the Winter sun's fastness As an important Kingship symbol, the sacrifice of the Wren provided a substitute for the sacrifice of the King himself to ensure the health and renewal of the land. ... In Ireland, the Wren was ritually hunted every St. Stephen's Day and carried in procession by the "Wren Boys"; and a number of British folk songs also refer to the ritual hunting of the wren, including the song known as the "Cutty Wren".
- Miranda Gray, Beasts of Albion: Using Ancient British Animal Guides for Self-Development.

'The wren, the wren the king of all birds
On St. Stephen's day he got caught in the furze.
Although he was little, the family was great.
Up with the kettle, down with the pan
Give us a penny to bury the wren.'

Stephen, whose name means "crown" was the first Christian martyr, stoned to death three years after the death of Christ. According to the church, the enemies of the church were furious at the success of his preaching. Catholic Online says, "They could not answer his wise argument, so they got men to lie about him, saying that he had spoken sinfully against God." He was accused of blasphemy and his defense, accusing the Sanhedrim of stubbornness and blindness toward the Holy Spirit, so enraged the council that they "rushed at him as one man, dragged him out of the city, and began to stone him." His story is related in Acts 7:58. His feast day was celebrated on December 26. This day is also known as the Boxing Day in reference to the annual distribution of cloth tools, shoes, spices, meat and cereals from the lord of the manor to his workers and the opening of alms boxes for the poor.

Did he doubt or did he try?
Answers aplenty in the bye and bye
Talk about your plenty, talk about your ills
One man gathers what another man spills
St. Stephen, words by Robert Hunter, music by Jerry Garcia

* Who was St. Stephen?
* St. Stephen - Catholic Online Saints
* Stoning of St. Stephen
* St. Stephen's day and the Wren
* Cutty Wren song
* Hunting the Wren
* The story behind the song


The Holly King and the Green Knight

Sing we of a mystery,
Now as long ago.
Blood red holly berry,
Blood upon the snow
Oak King shall rise
The waxing year to bring
Therefore bid we farewell
To the Holly King

The Oak King and the Holly King
Yuletide Carols

Sir Gawain and the Green Knight is an Arthurian tale written down in the fourteenth century. It tells a story hearkening back to the older celtic tale of Bricrui's Feast. At Yuletime, a knight all in green bursts into the feast hall offering the challenge of the Beheading Game. Only Gawain takes him up on it. After beheading the Green Knight, he must go to the Green Chapel a year hence and take the blow of the axe himself. When Gawain beheads the Green Knight, the Knight does not die, and Gawain goes through adventures in the process of fulfilling his end of the bargain.

The Green Knight is an instrument of the Goddess of Sovreignty. His story incorporates the ancient tradition of the Holly King, the King of Winter, the King of the Otherworld (Gwyn ap Nudd). He is the old year who cedes his place to the new year, in the person of Gawain, the Hawk of May, the King of Summer or Britain.

The beheading of the Green Knight expresses the same symbolic sacrifice of the old year to the new does the hunting of the wren.

Image of the Green Knight
image by Miranda Gray
from Arthurian Tarot deck


Image of the Kernunnos

wall sconce by Paul Borda
available at Goddess Gallery Online
* Sir Gawain and the Green Knight (ca. 1375-1400)
* Sir Gawain The Green Knight - and the Otherworld Journey
* Horned God and Winter Solstice
* Horned God, Oak King and Holly King
* What We Don't Know About the Ancient Celts
* The Wild Hunt Myth


"Every Man dies, but not every man really lives."
-William Wallace
* To Really Live
* Midwinter Sacrifice by Carl Larsson
* The Great Pagan Midwinter Sacrifice and the Royal Mounds at Uppsala
* Sacrifice: illustrations
The wren has the ability to release the past, leaving itself untethered to take on each new cycle in its life. - Miranda Gray, Beasts of Albion: Using Ancient British Animal Guides for Self-Development.


Naturalistic Links

An article on the song of the winter wren

Love Song of the Winter Wren

Some Wren pictures

Wren songs

Carl Brenders Wren Study

House Wren carving

Winter Wren

Winter Wren - Birder's World

Winter Wren - Birds of Nova Scotia

Músarrindill - Winter Wren

Marsh Wren

Wrens: House Wrens, Carolina Wrens and Bewick's Wrens

House Wrens


E-Mail Home Personal

Copyright © 1994-1998 Joan Schraith Cole.
Updated December 31, 1998

Moyra's Web Jewels spacer Moyra's Web Jewels