Gourds Adorned: Gail Ratliffe, Artist

Blue Jay

The blue-crested jay was one of the earliest creatures to be created in a number of North Indian and European myths and folklore. It was believed to carry messages between dimensions. Being a member of the crow or raven family, it was believed to be a trickster. It can mimic other creatures, especially the hawks.

The blue jay is secretive about its nest and often flies unseen, betrayed only by its shrill cries. They are known to store their food, especially acorns. This is symbolic for people to plan for the future.

In Europe, Blue jays were believed to be linked to the Great Oak trees. They helped in the revival of the Giant Oak by seeding. Therefore, Celtic people believed these birds to be souls of Celtic Druids forever planting their sacred seeds, the great oaks.

Some Celtic and American stories state that once the Jay was actually larger in size and that he trapped by humans and harnessed to a plow. The jay broke free and asked the Great Spirit to make him smaller so that it would never be enslaved again. That is why it is believed that Jay has black features on its chest – the mark of the plow.

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