Introduction by Mark Lerner (November 28, 2018): Nancy de la Vierra wrote this crystal-clear and inspirational feature for the Scorpio-Sagittarius 1992 issue of our pioneering astrological magazine – Welcome to Planet Earth. Nance’s observations and her writing style, in my estimation, are always profound, thought-provoking and poetically-measured, to coin a phrase. [Nance was a deep student and researcher of the best poetry, novels and plays, and when we met in 1989 and for well over 25 years afterwards, she usually read three books a week. Her vocabulary was immense; her I.Q. at genius levels.] Because we have a current presidency wrapped up in total narcissistic, over-the-top, “me-ism,” something Nance truly detested as a wave moving throughout our era of human evolution, were she alive now I am not sure she could even write this kind of beautifully evocative story. The truth is – not just in the Pacific Northwest, but globally, on land, in the waters, and throughout the atmosphere – I am constantly inundated with reports of the gigantic percentage of species being decimated, and with extinctions happening year after year. The Northern Spotted Owl – Nance’s focus in this article – is still very much an endangered species for the reasons she spells out below. And, curiously, the invasion of another species of owl – the barred owl – larger in size and very different in its living habits, migrating west from other areas of our continent, has become another dynamic in northern spotted owls leaving the forests out here and possibly going extinct – if humanity does nothing to reverse the calamitous climate change affecting all of Mother Earth. At her birth, Nance’s most elevated planet (at the potent beginning of the zodiac, 1 degree of Aries) is Pallas or under its ancient Greek name Athena – the Goddess of Knowledge, Wisdom, Problem-Solving, Strategizing, and associated with its animal totem and spirit, the Owl. Nancy de la Vierra’s Giving a Hoot begins now…
I have found it especially difficult to put pen to paper on the subject of the much maligned Northern Spotted Owl. I have been asked to address this issue, and it is not due to a lack of passion or interest, but a surfeit. As I ruminate in my retreat high in the Oregon Cascades, I hear a Steller's Jay make his presence known outside my door. I'd like to think he is thanking me for the black oil sunflower seeds I have distributed for him and his forest companions, but I don't have a lot of confidence in that assertion. Of late, when I hear the politicians (especially Bush and Quayle) gravitate towards this subject, it really sets my teeth on edge. Their apparent total lack of sincere understanding on this matter is appalling.
Here in the Pacific Northwest, timber workers (who vote) have decided to make the Spotted Owl their battle cry. They and their politicians trivialize the owl's plight and so diffuse the issue of old growth forests. Blaming the owl for forest management's shortsightedness, they attempt to appeal to the self-serving masses. Somehow, the owl's very existence (to believe them) threatens their livelihood and their ability to continue in their rampant destruction of the one percent of old growth remaining here. My question to them is this: What will you do when that tiny remainder of old growth forest is gone and you have forced not only the owl, but countless other species of animal and plant life into extinction? Who will you blame then?
I find it more than a little interesting that the owl has always, in our folklore and myths, been a symbol of wisdom and the natural world. A chance encounter with a member of the species produces a primitive sense of awe. The irony of wiping out an entire species of this appealing little creature indicates at what end of the intellectual spectrum are the perpetrators. There is often a tendency to anthropomorphize when one considers owls. Perhaps it is their human-like countenances which seem to reveal discernment and sagacity. Or their apparent similar social behavior (most owls are monogamous). There are numerous classical associations as well. The Greeks believed that their goddess of wisdom, Athena,