A rogue hen

Despacita: rogue hen.

One of our hens, Despacita, went missing a month ago. She wasn’t in the chicken tractors in the mornings when the flock was let out to free-range. My mate Will and I assumed that she was dead.

About a week after assuming her demise, I spied Despacita balancing on the back fence before hopping into the chicken yard to eat. She lives!  But Despacita continued to avoid spending the night inside the chicken tractor with her flock. Because most everyone loves the taste of chicken–coyote and human alike–this hen’s behavior didn’t make any evolutionary sense to me. Until this weekend.

Walking back from my sit spot in the woods yesterday, I stopped when I heard a distinct peeping noise coming from under the stairs to our house. In the shadowy world beneath our deck, I saw a number of chicks scamper back to Despacita and disappear into her feathered wings. 

I don’t have a firm chick count as of this writing but Despacita has at least 8 chicks. [Now the count is up to 12] And today I learned that she’s also sitting on a fairly large clutch of fertilized eggs positioned well out of my reach.

It’s the middle of winter, mind you, and I haven’t seen an egg from any of my chickens for weeks. It seems ill-advised, suicidal even, to leave one’s flock behind and take up residence outside the bounds of protection, but belonging and fencing can cost us our lives insofar as they rob us of the ability to steward our precious life energy.

I admire a rogue hen. As we placed the feeders, waterers, and fencing around Despacita and her babies yesterday, I chuckled to myself. Thanks to her hard-headed determination, everything this hen needs to realize life on her terms is now being provided to her. 

As I waver and wonder about getting a day job or doubling down on my own efforts to provide spiritual care in this age of climate collapse, girlfriend is showing me how it’s done. 


Despacita’s example raises several themes for possible journey intentions this week:

Is the desire to belong, be normal, or otherwise conform with your flock’s expectations interfering with your ability to realize your vision for life? How might you free yourself up (even a little) for a season?

Do you have generative instincts you want to honor but feel that now is the wrong time or that the project is too risky? How might you break the rules to honor your deepest instincts?

Does all of your life energy go to feed the lives and agendas of others? How might you stockpile and incubate some of your creative output in order to hatch your own dreams?

And, as always, if none of this speaks to you, you are invited to journey for any intentions you hold.


Gaia Shamanism is offering free online journey circles on Wednesdays from 4-6 pm PST. 

This weekly circle is an opportunity to hone the practice of journeywork in a  spiritual container of mutual support, real talk, and humor.

If you would like to join us this Wednesday, January 26, at 4 pm PST, feel free to email me at anna “at” gaiashamanism “dot” com.   All skill levels are welcome.

One Reply to “A rogue hen”

  1. Thank you for offering these journeys. I’ve enjoyed your site for quite awhile, and am appreciative of you letting me post on it. I plan to get in on one of your journeys when I retire, 16 weeks away! The time hasn’t lined up for me.
    Believe in good things, we turn our beliefs into events. I believe love will prevail even though it seems to be well hidden at time. We are eternal, this is just another scheduled performance we must pass through on our continued expansion. Thank you again for the work you are doing.

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