My Power Symbol for 2016 – the Violet-Backed Starling

I taught 2 workshops recently on Painting Your Power Symbol for 2016.  My first workshop was so full that I didn’t have much time to work on my own symbol, though I wanted to paint a fish for working on my financial goals and releasing my money blocks.  I never finished that painting but there is plenty of time.

In the second workshop, I had a bit more time to work on my own since the group was smaller.  I was working on my health issues and how I want to break through them this year. I came up with a cute chubby little bird and I looked around online and saw a painting so I based the idea for my painting on that one and painted away.  I painted this cute chubby bird, full of vibrant purples and didn’t think much of it, I just knew I was drawn to these colors and this shape of bird.

image of Heather Shalhoub's painting in progress violet backed starling

Heather Shalhoub’s painting in progress of a violet backed starling

Well, today I was talking with a friend about spirit animals and I mentioned that I keep seeing blackbirds or starlings, especially in large swarms swooping in patterns across the sky, so startling, that I can only describe it as beautiful yet a little scary and overwhelming like I feel like I could be in a Hitchcock movie. I also seem to have starlings live above the tower room in my apartment.  I decided to google birds with purple backs, since that is what I painted and believe it or not…one exists and not only does it exist…it is a type of starling! It is called a Violet-backed starling, also known as an amethyst starling or plum colored starling. Pretty freakin’ cool!

The symbolism of starlings has a lot to do with:

  • speaking your voice while being sensitive to others and being too sensitive to the words of others (too sensitive to what others say, who me?)
  • communication in groups
  • balancing your feminine and masculine power (like this has not been coming up in most conversations I have had lately)  
  • using all the resources available to you to achieve your goals and be fierce
  • holding on too tightly to ideas, perceptions or people (clingy when feeling insecure? who me?)
  • gaining a sense of protection and hope.

That is some powerful stuff. I look forward to finishing my power symbol painting now that I know more about the bird that I was drawn to.

Photo of a violet-backed starling by Anna Eksteen as posted on

Photo by Anna Eksteen as posted on, click the photo to view the original source

My Starling Sources: 

“Animal Totem: Starling.” Animal Totem: Starling. Web. 22 Jan. 2016.

“Animal Totems: Dictionary of Birdswritten by StarStuffs ©” Animal Spirit Totems Dictionary of Birds. Web. 22 Jan. 2016.

“Wild Facts Sabi Sabi Private Game Reserve | Violet-backed Starling.” Sabi Sabi Luxury Safari Lodges. Web. 22 Jan. 2016.

“Violet-backed Starling.” TrekNature. Web. 22 Jan. 2016.