Kookaburra: Animal Dreaming


For years and years, the only thing I knew about the kookaburra was that he sits in an old gum tree, merry merry king of the bush is he…

I, of course, now know more!  I can tell you that the kookaburra is a member of the kingfisher family although they are not associated with water.  Instead they are found in dry eucalyptus forests and woodland, using their call, their laughter to mark their territory.  If you’ve drawn this card, you may want to reflect on whether you keep people at arms length with your jokes, self defence through humour.  What pain lies behind your laughter?  What are you trying to laugh off?  Whilst laughter itself can be healing, it can also be a way of avoiding your wounds.  This reminds me a bit of the hyena from the wild unknown animal spirit cards.

Kookaburras are almost exclusively carnivorous, eating mice, snakes, insects, small reptiles, and the young of other birds, making it hard for them to make friends… They wait on a branch, perched until they see their prey and then they swoop down and pounce.  They kill the snakes by picking them up and dropping them on the ground, not taking responsibility for death themselves.  Think about what this might mean symbolically, the snake is about change, transformation and the kookaburra is about healing.  Interestingly, snakes are known to eat kookaburra babies, so it’s all very cyclical.

These birds mate for life and a couple can be assisted by grown up children to help raise the chicks.  They can pass the nesting trees and their territory down to the next generation.

With it’s dawn chorus, the kookaburra is associated with the rising sun.  In one Dreaming, the kookaburra was created to waken the people and day creatures.  In another, the job of the kookaburra was to waken the people whose job it was to start the fire of the sun.  These are jobs the kookaburra does with glee, singing loud, laughing and starting the day with delight.  However, it’s important that the kookaburra is respected and never made fun of, he is not as confident as he appears and to do so runs the risk of no more sun…

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