I recently was thinking about job search and that I really need a spirit animal for guidance and motivation. I immediately felt something sinuous pushing into my consciousness and tawny and when I opened my mind to it, in strolled a lioness.
Unlike many people, I have never felt much connected with lions, whether male or female. I don't dislike them, but I would never have chosen one as a spirit animal. I'm more of a tiger or puma kind of gal. But when a lioness comes in, a lioness comes in and she can't be denied and really, she is perfect for the purpose.
I haven't looked up Lioness as a totem because the perfectness was obvious even from what I already knew. They are the supreme hunters. They are the managers of the pride. They claim a large arena and deal with entire herds without being overwhelmed. They are also observant, selective and work together. They also have a strong motive in that they have mouths to feed, which they also feed with their own bodies, creating even more drive.
I've just barely started working with Lioness. Already I can see she is going to be a teacher about how to go after what I want and need and how not to get overwhelmed. This is going to be a valuable relationship. I just hope she's patient because this is one area of my life where I am not a quick learner.
Sometimes an animal totem or messages refuses to be ignored. And so it was with Wasp yesterday. It was a cool, rainy early spring day. The last thing I expected to see, whether inside or outside, was a wasp. As I was taking out boots to wear for a stroll across the saturated lawn, a wasp fell off of a boot onto the carpet in the living room. I have never found these wasps to be very aggressive and just left it there and went about my chore. By the time I came back inside, I'd completely forgotten about it and got on with fixing supper.
After eating, I sat at the table to work on a collage. As I was going through an envelope of images, something plopped on my head and then onto my shoulder. I quickly and awkwardly swept it off in alarm. Only when I turned around did I see that it was the wasp. Crazy wasp, I thought, as it disappeared into the folds of one of my dog's blankets in a crate. Again, I wasn't worried about it stinging anything and was in the middle of a project and so let it be. I was grateful that I hadn't been stung either time but since it was so slow-moving, I'm not sure if it could sting or if it was simply near death.
That "attack" was enough to get me thinking that I needed to look up wasps as a totem. But this wasp turned up again a couple of hours later when I inadvertently stepped on it when I got up from the table after eating a snack. It was just as out of the blue as the previous two encounters. I hadn't seen it on the floor prior to sitting down and had no idea what had crunched under my shoe. RIP my wasp messenger.
So today I looked up Wasp as a totem. Unfortunately, Ted Andrews didn't include wasps in his Animal Speak book so I had to rely on the internet, which has lots of sites about animal totems and messages. I was surprised to find how accurate the descriptions were to my character. For one, there's the issue of independence. And the species in my home was Polistes carolina, known for its solitary foundresses. So am I founding a colony? Reading about this species on Wikipedia, I'm wondering if it's a message about moving. I need to do a bit more studying. Like Vulture, it's not exactly one of the most complimentary totems to have knocking on one's door, but I hope it will lead me to appreciate both wasps, myself, and the possibilities in the world around me.
During a recent Oracle Ramble on Youtube, the Oriole card from the Bird Cards came up and a shamanic journey with the Oriole as my guide occurred to me. When I tried to do this in the same manner that I've done journeying in the past, however, the journey fizzled before we got anywhere. I was imagining following the flitting of the Oriole and got nowhere. Since I was feeling due for a shamanic journey anyway, I resorted to my trusty Dolphin spirit guide.
Dolphin was immediately available to me. With Dolphin, I just take a hold of his/her fin and off we go. However, this time Dolphin stayed near the surface of the water. In the past, Dolphin would take me under water and surface in another place. And it felt rather like Dolphin was trying to buck me off or wear me out. Surely that wouldn't be the case? Or, well, maybe Dolphin is telling me to go back and try again with Oriole.
I released Dolphin and returned to Oriole, this time with more of a problem-solving attitude. How am I to go on a journey with this little bird who isn't "going" anywhere. I decided to imagine myself small, like a fairy riding the Oriole but instead I ended up inside the Oriole, seeing through its eyes. And I immediately saw why my initial human-sized approach wasn't going to work. Oriole took me down into some shrubbery and bramble and showed me three nests nestled snugly together. And that was it. That was my message. I've got three dogs currently and one is undergoing crate training. It seemed to be referring to that, but I will look for other meanings as well.
I found it very interesting that Dolphin essentially rejected me, indicating that I needed to stick with Oriole. I don't feel like the journey with Oriole was all that significant, but learning to look for different ways to journey with different guides was certainly a useful experience.
A couple of weeks ago, I decided to take my more-fierce-than-friendly terrier for a walk at the local park. This was her first time walking at this public venue. She is about a year and a half now but I haven't had much opportunity to socialize her and she is very defensive with anyone new. As it turned out, I encountered the perfect walking companion, a young man who was totally unphased by the ferocious initial reception he got when we walked near him.
He decided to walk with us of his own accord. It was not a long walk, maybe 15 minutes, but toward the end of it, he began to relate to me a dream he'd had in which claws were growing out of his hands, like wolverine. This was quite out of the blue. We hadn't been discussing anything about dreams, comics, movies, or anything remotely otherworldly. He said how it was so painful. I didn't have much to say except that he must have wolverine energy within him. I told him I had bear energy myself. This seemed to calm him. I told him it was no wonder he wasn't afraid of my little dog if he had wolverine energy in him. He agreed.
In the end, I'm glad I got a chance to confirm that for him. Goodness knows what another adult might have said to him. When I look back trying to figure out what prompted him to share that with me, what started the free associating in his mind that led to it, the only thing I can come up with is that he was thinking perhaps my dog was like a wolverine. Or maybe he somehow sensed he was talking to someone who could take it in without balking at the weirdness of it. In any case, I was grateful for his companionship on our short walk because it was good training for my dog and I hope my acceptance and willingness to share my own inner animal totem helped him as well.
Cardinal and Dove are two additions to my current team as of the past couple of days. I'm sure they are supposed to work together in some way that I have yet to fathom. It will take more thought. However, I decided to share how they appeared to me because they are rather classic ways for a power animal to declare itself. For one, they both came in a set of three in fairly close proximity. And I was actually "charged" by the dove in the last instance.
Cardinal first and unexpected. Though I have cardinals in my yard, I often will go quite some time without seeing them. At first I thought it was just a momentary gift that one lit on my back fence near the window and cheeped. I thought little of it. But then I saw the same fellow out front as I went to get in my car, again looking in my direction. Interesting. But the clincher was when I went to put food in the bowl I keep out for strays and there was a cardinal feather lying next to it. Okay, cardinal, you are accepted into my clan, though you're showier than I normally think of myself as being. Perhaps that's what I have to learn from you.
Dove came to me first from an oracle card deck but then was emphatically reinforced by real doves. Again, I do have doves around me in my neighborhood. Sometimes they have frequented my yard, sometimes not. I'm more likely to hear them once the summer is under way than to see them. In any case, they left no doubt. So first I pulled Dove from the oracle deck titled simply Bird Cards. This was in relation to my purpose and so it is significant. Though I like doves, I'm much more identified with hawk so I knew I would have to sit with dove to see how it was integrated into a life purpose for me. I took it at that time as simply a card reading. Then later that day, I saw a dove moving around in the upper branches of a large oak at the back of my property. It was primarily in silhouette because of the distance but it was clearly a dove. It was so far away, though, that I questioned its significance. Now I think it was indicating that it has been in the background waiting or perhaps even is a "shadow" aspect. The last encounter left no doubt, however. I was looking out my back window. I think I was about to go feed my dogs and was taking a moment's pause before that task. A dove came swooping out of trees in a dramatic fashion and landed on a branch directly opposite me and looked at me--a little shy and uncertain but looking nonetheless. It paced a little on its branch and eventually lit onto the ground where I couldn't see it. It's dramatic entrance, very much a "charge," as power animals are said to charge, is what convinced me that I wasn't just to read the dove card but to accept dove as a power animal. Seemingly for good measure, when I went out later in the day, a dove was on the power line in front of my house.
And so now I have two new helpers and guides to learn from. I hope others are equally blessed. Feel free to share your encounters in the comments and feel free to suggest any lessons I might learn from Cardinal and Dove. I'm finding that the messages are often quite individual, that what cardinal would have to share with me might be different from what would be shared with another or what is the "norm," but I'm always curious to hear what others know or have experienced.
Just a brief update about my experiences with Dolphin. Dolphin was an important companion for me as I went through grieving my dog Jessie, who I put down due to cancer. The grieving continues but Dolphin helped me see that she had other purposes to fulfill.
Both in the event above and in journeys since, Dolphin has proven to be a companion on journeys, something of a mediator between worlds. Dolphin knows where to take me to get what I need. The adventure continues.
While I know that some people say that a power animal is a private matter, I don't feel as though my current helper is the private sort. I had a shamanic treatment almost two weeks ago and part of it involved a power animal retrieval. Dolphin came forward as a helper for me, particularly with health issues. I was very happy to hear this. For years now I've thought that if I could become any animal, I would choose a dolphin, not because I feel that I share much with them but rather the opposite, that they represent energy rather opposite of my own. Apparently I'm needing to embrace that opposite energy.
I'm finding Dolphin to be a cheerful energy for the most part and one that leads primarily by positive reinforcement. When I inquire for an opinion and I get happiness or amusement or enthusiasm, I know I'm on the right track. When I get concern or feel that I'm being circled, I know I'm off track. I feel that Dolphin is trying to lead me to more joy in life but without directly saying how to go about it. Communicating with this power animal is a new adventure and I hope I'm able to honor Dolphin and the gifts he has to give.
This week has been a busy one in terms of bird messages. It started with a surprising group of towhees in my yard actively casting about what little flotsam had accumulated during our mild winter. I take these tossing birds as an indication that I need to look underneath the obvious to find potential treasures. I also take them as an indication to dig deeper than what's on the surface. In this instance, there was the added message of doing it with others rather than alone.
I'm considering helping to revive a park that is about 40 minutes from my home. I went to visit it on Wednesday and saw an uncommon number of crows and kestrels on my trip out there. Crows can signify many things. Protection and loyalty are two that came to mind. Since I saw them as I neared the park, I see them as indicating the level of protectiveness and devotion the residents of the area feel toward their park. They could also represent the woman I talked to at the local store who embodies that attitude toward the park.
I took the kestrels to be calling me to be watchful and prepared to grasp opportunities that come my way regarding the park.
I had another striking encounter last Sunday that I don't know what to make of and have pretty much decided it wasn't a particular message. A group of red-shouldered hawks decided to enact a mate selection ritual in the meadow behind my property. They were carrying on very vocally, which is why I ended up observing them. This is a very provocative observation only a couple of days before Valentine's Day, though I wasn't thinking about it at the time and nothing happened in my life related to mating rituals. So maybe it was a message for some other neighbor.
I pass through farm fields on my midday drive home for lunch. On November 10th, I saw a mockingbird "knock" a red-tailed hawk off of an electrical wire and send it reeling. This immediately seemed relevant to the election. A mockingbird is one that carries a variety of voices. By it's nature it's plural and an advocate for plurality. I'm hoping that it indicates that it is possible to influence Trump when people join together. Perhaps 50 yards from where the bit of drama took place, a barn swallow was sitting peacefully, completely unconcerned. They eat pesky insects on the wing. They are also considered good luck for homes. I took these as reassuring signs that the distress of much of the nation will resolve itself and our country will be safe for now.
Many ways of receiving information surround us. We commonly speak of being bombarded by messages that we need to process rapidly. When we’re tired of being bombarded, we often switch our attention to the other extreme of “off.”
This blog is going to be ongoing encouragement to turn your attention away from obvious forms of communication to more subtle ones. The world is full of quiet messages that require openness and sustained attention to notice, invite in, and understand.
I’m talking about that which is immediately around us. They may come in the form of seemingly random events, often repeated and thus moving out of the category of random. They may be encounters with people or with animals. It can take the form of noticing a certain color. Some people are drawn to numbers. Recurring dreams also require special attention, as do tarot and oracle cards that persistently show up in your readings.
In my case, these messages are usually being delivered by animals and so this blog will feature my animal encounters, especially the persistent ones, and my interpretations of them. Often I realize that a message is being delivered long before I can make sense of it. The messages coming to me seem to have intensified over the past six months—or perhaps I’ve simply become more open to them. I’ve made a conscious decision to sit with them to see how they unfold in my life and to generally be more open to them and to actively attempt to make meaning from them.
I hope reading about my experiences will encourage others to look at the world around them more closely and in new ways.
This space will primarily examine my experiences along my mystical journey. It will include messages from the world around me and my interpretations of them. I will also share some of my experiences with my power animals.