The Woodpecker represents knowledge of personal truth, inner strength and mental strength. Its cycle of power is summer. The Woodpecker, known as the Earth’s drummer, is connected to Native American drumming. Drumming is the heartbeat of mother earth and is associated with shamanism and the ability to move into other dimensions at will. For those with this totem, the woodpecker represents self- discovery. As they peck into and through trees and dead wood, hidden layers of one’s psyche are revealed. Those with this medicine are good analysts and have strong mental capabilities. They make excellent psychiatrists and psychologists. Woodpeckers are active birds, so caution is advised to maintain balance when reviewing any situation or issue. Too much analyzing can result in procrastination.
In spring the loud calls of woodpeckers often augmented by drumming on hollow wood are the sounds of males holding territories. Woodpeckers defend their territories aggressively. Those with this medicine need to be in control of their personal environment and will not tolerate others trying to change it. Although personal space is very important for woodpecker medicine people, control issues can sometimes be a problem and flexibility needs to be learned.
Woodpeckers dig into trees to find bugs and grubs to eat, which denotes digging into something, the art of discrimination and increased analysis. They also have a peculiar way of flying with a rhythm and manner unique to itself. All of this serves to say: be conscious of flying to your own rhythm, and don’t be afraid to dig in to make the best choice for what is right for you. Sometimes it also means you need to drum up a little change and get some renewed rhythm!
There are about 180 species of woodpeckers in the world. Most spend their entire lives in trees. Woodpeckers are climbers. They climb by propping their stiff pointed tail feathers against a support while shifting their leg holds. With its body close to the trunk or branch and its head bobbing, the bird hitches upwards, back down spiraling and nimbly darts sideways at incredible speeds. Because of their speed, predators have difficulty catching them.
Their flight patterns are unique. Woodpeckers fly up, coast down, then fly upwards again. Those with this totem often find that their path in life won’t always conform to society’s standards and that their personal unique rhythm needs to be honored. Woodpeckers teach us to honor our personal truth and move through life with perseverance and inner strength. By staying grounded in our pursuits, our goals can be obtained.
If the Woodpecker has shown up in your life, it may be telling you to stimulate new rhythms. Rhythm is a powerful means of affecting physical energies. Sometimes we get so wrapped up in our daily lives that we neglect our physical bodies. Woodpecker says that you may need to drum out some change in the rhythms of your life.
Woodpeckers are opportunists. They know when to fly out from a perch to catch insects in the air or on the ground. Their barbed tongues and strong chiseled beaks symbolize life lessons associated with discernment and proper use of speech for those with this totem.
If the Woodpecker flies into your life, it is telling you that the foundation is there. It is now safe to follow your own rhythms.