What eagles can teach us about Courtship

courtshipThere is always much to be learned from the animal world, even about courtship . . . and even from eagles.

I myself made many bad relationship choices in my youth; I always seemed to go for flash and no substance in men. And part of that came from not valuing myself enough.

How many of us settle for less than we deserve, rather than be courageous enough to be on our own? I believe it’s a common issue among both men and women.

Thankfully, I eventually matured and learned that not wanting to be alone was a poor relationship standard. Once I learned to respect and value myself, I no longer made those poor choices.

I believe learning to value ourselves, just as we are, is one of the most important, character-building things we can do for ourselves.

So I really enjoyed reading the following two teachings from Native American elders about how to choose a mate.

High standards indeed! And we can all [both men and women] learn a valuable lesson from it.

” … It amazes me that in the animal world, the female of every species chooses the fastest runner, the best hunter, the strongest fighter for her mate. Yet a woman, who is supposed to be Creator’s finest achievement, often will lay down with any and sometimes every man who comes her way. If anything is going to change for the better, we women must lead the way to higher moral ground. We have to begin teaching our daughters and sons that they have great worth and great responsibility.” Navajo elder


(As told by the Wintu Tribal Elders of California)

When it comes time for the female Eagle to choose her mate, she prepares herself for many suitors. And many come before her.

She looks them over quite well and then picks one to fly with for awhile. If she likes the way he flies she finds a small stick, picks it up and flies high with it.

At some point she will drop the stick to see if the male can catch it. If he does, then she finds a larger stick and flies with it much higher this time.

Each time the male catches the sticks, she continues to pick up larger and larger sticks.

When she finds the largest, heaviest stick that she herself can carry, the stick is at this point almost the size of a small log! But she can still fly very high with this large stick.

At any time in this process, if the male fails to catch the stick, she flies away from him as her signal that the test is now over.

She begins her search all over again.

And when she again finds a male she is interested in, she starts testing him in the exact same way.

And she will continue this “testing” until she finds the male Eagle who can catch all the sticks. And when she does, she chooses him, and will mate with him for life.

One of the reasons for this test is that at some point they will build a nest together high up and will then have their Eaglettes.

When the babies begin to learn to fly, they sometimes fall instead. It is then that the male must catch his young. And he does!

The female Eagle and their Eaglettes have depended on him to be strong for them.

Just as we Native women and children need to depend upon our Native men.

So what I would like to offer to you my friends is this:

Sisters, how well do you “test” your suitors before you allow them into your life?

And my Brothers, how well have you caught the “sticks” for your women and your children?

Whatever our past has been like, if we need to change, let’s do so now together.

Our children are counting on us to make these good choices for them and for their children.

Aho!… All My Relations.

Molly Larkin

Molly Larkin is the co-author of the international best-seller "The Wind Is My Mother; The Life and Teachings of a Native American Shaman”  and other books on health. She is passionate about helping people live life to their fullest potential through her classes, healing practice and blog at www.MollyLarkin.com

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