Birds, Bees, Bugs and Omens

I ventured downstairs and to the back door of my house one evening recently (I don’t remember exactly why, probably cat-related), and I discovered a herd* of slugs slugging about on the floor, not far from said door.

I don’t particularly like slugs for the simple fact they are slimy and icky. When I was camping outside (rather than inside…) last year, I would spend some time every morning flicking little ones off the underside of the tent whilst un-pitching it.

Now they’re in my house. Well, as far as the rear ‘sun room’ where the back door resides (although occasionally, but thankfully very rarely, I’ve found one somewhere else, like the bathroom floor, or kitchen windowsill). They’ve been getting in for some time, but up until this point they were only very skinny ones that had squeezed their way in somewhere; I’d see the tell-trail-signs of their silver slithering trail left behind over the surface of my cycling gloves if I’d left them on the windowsill next to that back door. The other evening though, they were larger ones.

I ignored them and went back to bed; I wasn’t going to bother plucking them up and flinging them out, only for them to slither on back in again, or at least other ones. I knew I’d have to do something about it though, which has now been in the form of purchasing a replacement door rubber seal, of which I await the delivery of. That took some searching; there’s like a million different varieties of UPVC replacement door/window rubber, or at least as many as there are species of slug in the UK (40 apparently).

This morning I was reading some more of Agrippa’s Three Books of Occult Philosophy. I arrived at the chapter (LIV) “Of divers certain animals, and other things which have a signification in augurias.”

Augurias (and auspicia), as I was going to learn, is the foretelling of things to come by animals and birds.

…they are verified by the light of natural instinct, as if from this, some lights of divination may descend upon four-footed beasts, winged, and other animals, by which they are able to presage to us of the events of things… this instinct of nature… is more sublime than all human apprehension, and very near, and most like to prophecy. By this instinct there is a certain wonderful light of divination in some animals naturally…

This makes me recall the many and varied creatures that have found their way into my house and what impact this had on me.

There were the crows on a Boxing Day morning that found their way down the chimney, and which lead me to construct verse of the occasion:

There was the vole I found in my kitchen, and something akin to this scene played out:

Actually it was the cutest little vole, whose picture I found myself “aww”ing at just recently:

There was the rat that chewed its way in through the roof, and tried to chew its way out via a plastic water-pipe, leading to an expensive plumber-bill. I never actually figured out how it got out in the end, because I couldn’t catch it and it hid under and behind the kitchen cupboards, never to be seen again, the roof since repaired.

The year before last I had a hive of bees behind some fascia board; I’d heard a strange buzzing noise when in the room on the other side of it and it took me a while to figure out what I was hearing, at first thinking it to be noisy electical items, of which my ears are sensitive to. I was supposed to do something about those (the bees) in the autumn time, but neglected to do so. I was therefore expecting them to bee there again in the next year (as internet forums warned), but no, the bees had buzzed off.

Bees are a good omen to kings, for they signify an obsequious people… To denote a people obedient to their king, they depict a bee, for this is the only one of all creatures which has a king whom the rest of the tribe of bees obey, as men serve their king.

This link between bees and royalty was use in the film Jupiter Ascending, directed by The Matrix-making Wachowskis.

More often than not, I prefer to let the creatures of the world do their thing; the mice in my roof keep to themselves and cause me no bother.

There was the live young rabbit my cat brought in (and I carried back out). And the cat himself; what does it mean to have a cat?

This is what my cat would have looked like if he’d worn a top-hat at that age.

There are also the animals I see on my travels, from little lambs I’m seeing on a daily basis now in spring, the buzzards, which Agrippa says “portend future things by their flying” of which I once or twice have seen two pairs of circling over my parent’s house at the same time. There was also the stray racing pigeon that found its way there once.

Lucky they weren’t vultures or “ugly owls”…

…vultures foresee future slaughters in battles, and gather together into places where they shall be, as if they foresaw the flesh of dead carcasses… The ugly owl which no bird well resents, Foretells misfortunes, and most sad events.

There was the silent fox slinking down my road, oblivious to me stood quietly off to one side early one morning when I was out looking for Comet Neowize.

Some months ago I saw red squirrels in my area, which I didn’t think would be here, since it’s not an area of woodland.

And there was the beautiful woodpecker I found dead outside my house.

When on my cycling trips through Scotland and Ireland I came close with a few deer. There was the time three of them in the Highlands hopped from nowhere, across the fence on the right-side of the the road, across the road in front of me, and off over the fence to my left. The image still imprinted on my mind. Twice I had deer outside my tent.

Rare sightings or discoveries of things generally seem magical to me, and rather than being in any way a bad omen, tend to give me some amusement and my mood a boost.

*cornucopia is the collective term for slugs.

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