The Forest & the Chickadee

Last night, before I entered fully the realm of dreams, I found myself inside a lush green forest. Before me was a large fallen tree covered with moss, and flitting atop the felled tree was a chickadee. For several moments I watched the chickadee, wondering as I did, what it was trying to show or tell me. The chickadee never took flight, but rather hopped around on the log, pecking at it and then looking in my direction. That was it.

Before I fell into sleep, I remember telling myself that I needed to recall this vision I was given the next morning. I knew there was a message, but, as often happens during these moments before sleep, I was unable fully to decipher it at the time it was occurring. Throughout the morning and into the afternoon I thought often of that chickadee in the forest. It was not the first time I had paid attention to these social birds and their messages, but it was the first time one had visited me before sleep.

Chickadee, the bird of Truth. It was, I knew, no accident that this bird had visited me on the night of such an important date. 12-12-12. Yesterday was not only a day to receive and send out Love, it was a day to face our fears. I saw clearly during mediation that my second and fifth chakras were still holding onto past pain and, as much as I wanted them to spin in their full vibrancy, I knew they were lagging with residual density.

The 2nd and 5th chakras are intimately linked. Together they spin the energies of our creative truths, something important for a writer of truth. This morning I mailed a chapter of my memoir to a publisher. I sent the second chapter, and although I tried to deny it, I felt the tether of fear and guilt. Intellectually it’s easy to explain away our fears, especially when we can see that logically they are unfounded. Inside the forest of the heart though, we find the truth.

I took my dogs for a walk this afternoon, as is my custom. Instead of going into the forest, we walked around the adjoining neighborhoods. The first trigger to meet me came in the form of a large German Shepard, who bounded, seemingly out of no where, towards me and my two dogs. Immediately fear came rushing in (most of my live I have feared  dogs, having two of my own has healed much of this). Thankfully, I recovered quickly from my initial impulse to flee by stepping into my heart-center and sending the energy of love out to the dog. Although he followed us for a little while, he seemed to want to play more than anything else, and I calmly encouraged him to “go home,” until, finally, he did.

Apparently that was just a warm-up. Later in the walk I found myself picking the blown plastic bags and other garbage off the side of the road, as I often do, and stuffing it all into a grocery bag I had found. Since I was also holding a dog leash in each hand, I looked around and contemplated the trash toters lining the road-side. Which one should I put it in? I peered into one with a half-broken lid, and, seeing trash inside, tossed it in. I could hear the engine of the garbage truck in the distance. It would not be there for long. No harm done, or so I thought. No sooner had I tossed the bag in, then the owner of the house came rushing out his front door in a full rage. His words were heated and to the point. He didn’t want my dog waste smelling up his trash can, and I needed to remove it (I won’t repeat his actual words). Again, I felt my heart race in reaction. I was just trying to clean up your neighborhood, I wanted to say. Instead, a jumble of words came out as I tried to explain to this enraged individual that I was not throwing away my dogs’ waste, but the trash I had collected on the side of the road. I needn’t have bothered though, he didn’t want to hear it. Before I could finish, he was back int the house and I was left flustered and feeling like I had just failed a test. I retrieved the bag and went home.

I knew that man’s anger was not about me, that I was just the excuse he was looking for to let of steam. I knew that my actions were well-intended, even if I had made a “mistake” by choosing his trash can, but that awful feeling stayed with me throughout the day.  I grew up with a man not unlike this man, and I was bullied in school. I was used to feeling guilty for doing nothing wrong. I was used to taking un-deserved blame. I was used to being the victim. But, I had hoped I was finally free of it.

We get these triggers in our lives when we need reminders that we still have aspects of ourselves we need to pay attention to and heal. Later, when I was back home and had settled down a bit, I decided to meditate. Entering that heart-centered place of Love, I envisioned a soft pink energy around my neighbor’s home. I felt, with empathy, what it was like to live there, and what it was like to be him. I understood his anger and his fear, I saw how it was linked to mine. I knew we were meant to have this interaction today, and I sent the energy of love and forgiveness to us both.

Sometimes life’s lessons hit us hard and by surprise. One day we’re feeling great, the next defeated by a test. Each test, though, is our opportunity to learn. I knew, as a healer, I could send love to this individual, and I also realized, I needed some healing of my own.

The Spider’s Dream Tale #spidersymbolism #dreamsymbolism #animalguides


Two nights ago, before I went to sleep, I placed Doreen Virtue’s Divine Guidance book on  the shelf beside my bed, closed my eyes and took her advice. I asked the Divine to show me my life’s path in the form of a dream, knowing it would be my job to interpret the symbolism in whatever form it manifested.

Here is the dream I was given:  I was at my parents’ house, sitting on their expansive breezeway. It was dusk, the light coming in through the open wall was darkening, creating shadows around the chairs where we sat and scattered the light around the brick floor.  My mother, stepfather, and two other men were there with me. One of the men was Stephen King, the other one unknown. Stephen was there because he was working with my stepfather on a building project for his house. He was lounging on a chair, acting aloof. After we were introduced, I told him I knew his niece ( I really do know his niece). He seemed largely unimpressed.

I then noticed a large white orb in the form of a tarantula spider’s sac under his leg (or my stepfather’s, I’m not sure which). When I realized what I was looking at, I started to panic, knowing this orb would eventually hatch and countless baby spiders would emerge and find their way into the house (I appeared to be still living there). I noticed more small white sacs throughout the breezeway, and my nervousness increased. I wanted to box them inside my daughter’s pink poodle lunch box and send them down the stream beside my parents’ home, but my mother beside me argued against this.

The next morning as I thought about the dream my initial reaction was disappointment. This was my vision? Another difficult dream with my parents and spiders to boot! Then I remembered reading about spiders in Ted Andrew’s book, Animal Speak, in which he refers to them as the totem of the writer (see pages 344-347). In lore, the spider is sometimes called the “weaver of illusion,” or the “grandmother – the link to the past and the future.” It was starting to make sense. I am actively weaving the past and the future together in my life and in my memoir writing.

The body of the spider is in the shape of an 8, the symbol of infinity, “the wheel of life.” The body itself is a bridge, connecting the past with the future. What then of my fears? It could not be an accident that Stephen King, the writer of fears manifested, appeared with the spiders. My anxiety was clearly palpable in my dream. It could be said that many of my childhood fears, aside from my earliest memory, originated within my childhood homes and the words and interactions I had with my mother and stepfather. It could be said that my greatest resistance as a writer is birthing from these sources. Hence, the impulse to send the spiders down the stream.

Spiders, Ted Andrews also writes,  balance the male and female energy. Perhaps it is not accidental that the mother in my dream was urging me not to send those unborn spiders down the stream, even though in actuality her life reaction to my writing has been quite different. We are, after all, the writers/weavers of our own destinies.

Spider is also symbolic of death and rebirth. Andrews writes, “Spider teaches us that through polarity and balance creativity is stimulated.” Life is about balance, as is writing. Sometimes this balance is hard-won, but when we get the hang of it, we realize falling off is nearly impossible. Through my writing, I have certainly been reborn.

Although tarantulas don’t spin webs, they do spin threads. They also make their homes within the earth. They combine gentleness and strength, as well as agility. They are night workers, linking them to the moon and dreams – a source of creative inspiration and wisdom for many, including me.

As I do each morning, I took my dogs for a walk in the woods, listening and looking for signs from nature.  As I turned into my driveway, I saw before me in the sky a large eagle formed out of the clouds. Its head was turned toward the south (the direction of overcoming obstacles and awakening the inner child; trust; and resurrection). The eagle itself was in the eastern section of the sky (the direction of healing, creativity, and rebirth).

Eagle, according to Andrews (see pages 136 -141), is the symbol of healing, creation, and resurrection. The “balance of being of the earth, but not in it.” The bald eagle feathers have links to grandmother medicine, wisdom, healing, and creation. They are connected to the number three, new birth, and creativity. “The willingness to use your passions to purify and to use your abilities even if it means being scorched a little.”

Eagle vision is 8x greater than humans, linking it, like the spider, to the infinity symbol. Andrews writes, “To accept eagle as a totem is to accept a powerful new dimension to life, and heightened responsibility for your spiritual growth. But only through doing so do you learn how to move between the worlds, touch all life with healing, and become the mediator and the bearer of new creative force within the world.” Was this a sign telling me that my pull to be a healer and a writer, somehow combining the two, was a path that was unfolding to me?

A half an hour later, I was outside hanging up the laundry beside our apple tree. I heard the voice of Chickadee and looked up to see three of the little birds singing down at me. This was not the first time Chickadee has appeared to me, asking to be heard. The last time it was seven birds leading me to feathers, this time it was in the form of three asking for my attention. Andrews states that the chickadee (see page 125 – 126) is the bird of truth.  The number three is associated with birth and creativity. Because there are seven types of chickadees, the bird is linked to the number seven and the seven primary chakras in balance. I have had chickadee in my life since I was a child, just as I have held fast to the symbolism inherent in my name.