Cassowary – Forest Warrior

Cassowary illustrated by Ravenari


Paternal Energy. Balanced Masculinity and Femininity. Strength. Stubborn. Earth Wisdom. Rainforest Wisdom. Prehistoric Wisdom. Overcoming Obstacles. The Forest Warrior. Parent of Trees. Self Defence. The Wild Heart.

General Description:

There are three living species of cassowary, one is the third largest bird in the world, living in Papua New Guinea and Australia. They are strong birds with large casques (bony growths) on their head. These casques are used in courtship, territorial disputes, attacks, and to protect their head when they careen through the forest) and strong legs, they are the only armoured bird in existence today. The legs are extraordinarily powerful and are equipped with a long innermost claw. Cassowary kicks have been fatal to humans, and the cassowary has been listed as the most dangerous bird in the world in the Guiness Book of World Records.

The cassowary is primarily frugivorous (fruit eating), they are considered a keystone species in that they distribute the seeds of 70+ species of trees that no other animals can. Their eating habits structure what trees will live in the deep rainforests, and without them – the rainforests they inhabit would radically change.

Brief mythological associations:

Cassowary’s have complex mythological stories associated with them in Australia, Papua New Guinea and other regions. One by the Ilahita people of PNG suggests that cassowaries shed their skin and turn into beautiful human women, and that if a mortal should steal the skin, he could imprison the woman. There is also a contemporary story circulated in Australia that; because they can fatally attack humans, there has been a spate of cassowary-caused fatalities among tourists in Australia, and that the government has been covering up their deaths. Clearly the cassowary is popular in all manner of storytelling.


Please remember that if this animal is contacting you, it will often be the best resource for teaching you what its lessons are. What I write is only intended to be a guide, it is not absolute, nor is it infallible.

– The cassowary brings strength and the relevance of self defense into our lives. As the powerhouse of the forest, and with the excellent ability to defend itself physically, this bird is well-equipped to teach us how to draw upon physical strength and the knowledge of our environment to defend ourselves and loved ones.

– The cassowary brings into focus paternal energy and the balance between masculinity and femininity. In particular, cassowary strengthens a father’s bond with his children, and brings his nurturing side to the surface without in any way compromising his sense of masculinity.

– The cassowary comes into our lives to emphasise how certain colours affect us, whether we’re artists or accountants, colour is important.

– Got an obstacle? Excellent. Why skirt around it when you have the strength to literally move through your obstacles? The cassowary is incredibly adept at teaching us to not only overcome obstacles, but to forcibly extinguish them by just realising that we push through them.

– Cassowary as a guide represents rainforest, prehistoric and earth wisdom. In particular however, the emphasis is placed upon the rainforest as ecosystem, and place of darkness and moisture. Rainforests are still among our most unexplored regions in the world today, and the cassowary as guide can take us into the secrets, and share with us the wisdom and lore of the rainforest and its culture.

– Cassowary is the forest warrior. It instils in us a great sense of pride in all forests everywhere (though primarily rainforests) and reminds us that we must fight for our home and what is inherently us.

– The cassowary is the wild heart of the forest. Without the cassowary, the rainforests that it inhabits have no heart, the trees that occupy it cease to exist, and no other bird has such ability to create new paths through thick understoreys. We, as people, have a wild heart inside of us. A wild place that needs to be nurtured and admired, celebrated and sometimes navigated so that we can carve new paths of understanding into ourselves, in order to look out from our core, and observe the world around us from a place of security, safety and self-confidence.

If you have Cassowary as your guide:

People with this animal as a guide will often manifest traits similar to the animal itself. I work on the philosophy that we only have one guide, and it teaches us lessons as well as representing the core aspects of our personality. Therefore –

– Cassowary people are stubborn when it comes to defending their opinions and their right to believe whatever they want to believe. They can be useless in philosophical debate, because unless the topic directly pertains to improving their lifestyle, or the lifestyle of those in their direct ‘ecosystem’ (friends, family, environment), they tend not to be personally invested in the viewpoints of others. Cassowary people need to learn how to become more open-minded and tolerant, while learning that they do not need to sacrifice their sense of self or place in the process. They are inherently very defensive people, and aren’t afraid to completely deride, criticise or harm someone else if they feel threatened.

– Cassowary people have the potential to develop an immense, and intense connection with rainforest energy, culture, and the healing aspects of the energy there. They are also generally closer to trees than most people, finding forests to be grounding, peaceful places. Like the rainforest itself, cassowary people are reluctant to share their secrets with others, including spiritual knowledge, but will share when they feel that what they have to say is particularly relevant to another. They make excellent teachers, but tend to refrain from teaching large groups of people, instead preferring to deposit the occasional profound piece of wisdom in the lap of another – who often isn’t expecting it!

– A cassowary person’s health will often be linked to the health of their environment, the two are dependent on one another. The cassowary person may be an invested gardener, someone who invests in healthy cleaning products, or someone who simply has a very clear idea of what makes a healthy environment and self. Their medicine can struggle in places of clutter, pollution and over-population, and their spirit can fail if they are forced in unhealthy environments for too long a time.

There will be other ways your guide manifests, and you will recognise them with awareness and communion.

As shadow guide/guide:

The shadow guide is the animal we often fear irrationally, that teaches us things about ourselves that are profound and difficult to confront. Often the traits we fear most within the shadow guide, are the traits that we dislike in ourselves. We must scrutinise why this is, and learn how to work with them.

– Cassowary as a shadow guide can be a truly scary bird. The fact is, this bird is responsible for human deaths than any other bird that still lives. The Australian government recognises its threat, even the military told its armed soldiers to avoid this bird whenever possible. It is physically threatening, and in the spiritual world it can be no less so. Cassowary as shadow guide often presents to people who are frightened of their own ability to defend themselves to the point of killing when needed. Often those with this beautiful animal as a shadow guide are frightened of the violence and darkness within themselves. They may see themselves as a predominantly cheerful and gentle person (and indeed they usually are), but in the process may sacrifice a sense of self-confidence by refusing to see the strength within them. A strength that can, and will, manifest in violence if need be. Cassowary confronts this part of ourselves, and often waits in the shadows of our subconscious, waiting for us to examine our shadow selves.

– Those who dislike or fear cassowary often have a problem with negotiating the really big obstacles in their lives. They tend to take a long time to even recognise an obstacle, and then longer still to determine how to broach it. They don’t like the idea of confrontation, and don’t know their emotional and spiritual self well enough (their internal environment, if you will) to navigate the idea of the obstacle, confrontation and life problems safely. We learn how to make ourselves happy, when we understand our external and internal environments, and then remove or even destroy the obstacles in our way. Cassowary brings this wisdom to the surface, but it can be a hard pill to swallow for those who are only just realising that there is so much of themselves that they simply don’t know.

– Cassowary represents an embodiment of threat and danger. It is a threatening animal (that none of us will probably ever encounter in the wild) despite its extraordinary shyness, and threatens our sense of safety. As a guide, it can threaten our sense of spiritual safety. Yet this is the paradox of cassowary for those who have it as a shadow guide, it both threatens safety, and teaches us how to rebuild our safe places within and without so that it no longer threatens us in such a manner.

Contacting Cassowary:

Like all animal helpers, this animal will only appear when right and appropriate, and cannot be forced to visit you, commune with you, or share messages with you. Cassowary is a very shy guide, and even as a shadow guide, you might only see it rarely, or get the sense that it is always holding something back from you. With cassowary, this may very well be the case. At any rate, you are more likely to contact cassowary in wooded areas – either physically, or by imagining a rainforest visually. They respond to drumming and other percussion instruments more readily than others too, and are placated with offerings of tropical fruits.