The (dead) crow, the red fox & the turkey (feather)

I used to keep a journal just for animal encounters. Not just animals, insects too, and birds, and all manner of non-human life forms I met up with each day. I was interested in their symbolism and what it might mean to me. Synchronicities and patterns. The universe talking in code. I used to do a lot of things I no longer do, and these days I am acutely aware of how much I am allowing myself to be wrapped up in the mundane, favoring it over the magic of life. Not because I want to, but because I have somehow convinced myself that I must. I must search not for encounters, but for artificial messages. Messages that I must send to get readers for my new book. It is a task I do not like, but that in itself is a lesson and, therefore, a gift. How do I make magic out of the mundane? Somedays it’s easier than others.

When the jobs we feel we must do become a chore, should we continue on in toil, or should we pause and breathe into the depth of being to find the magic contained within the moment that is always offered to us? The moment upon which we trail our breath and our thoughts, whether they be rapid, or peaceful? Today there were many encounters throughout my day which felt forced, labored, without fruit. Yet, there were also pauses when I stopped to be present.

I watched the squirrel, boldly wearing red fur as it masqueraded as an acrobat climbing up, then down my apple tree stealing apples in its mouth and leaping through limbs as though gravity was a ruse. I could almost believe anything was possible until I returned to the drudgery of musts. “You must do this to sell books.” “You must do that.”

The voice inside my heart forever whispering against the pull of musts, “just let it be.” “They’ll find the words you wrote for them, somehow.” I don’t always believe in somehows, but the voice inside me tells me I should.

The crow that stopped my feet today was dead. Its head pointed downhill. Black feathers tucked above the vibrant green of grass on this sunless day. I couldn’t help but think of magic extinguished. It had fallen beneath wires. Was it electrocuted by too much force? Energy coursing outside its bounds? The owl had been found in nearly the same place, also dead, one month before. I cannot help but think of the two bird messengers in my book. Grandmother Crow. The owl who haunts the last pages with a warning…

Yet death, I am reminded by yesterday’s snake, is not an end, but a beginning. Decayed life breeds new life in that ever-lasting cycle. How can I forget the wisdom of Shesha? Did I not write his story upon the pages too?

Briefly, today, I thought about fairies. Sue had reblogged a post about the fey and for some wonderful moments, I was transported into the realm of magic not often seen. Perhaps that was why I was lead by the turkey feather, which floated up from the blackened road as though wanting to be seen. To be caught, as I drove home. So I took the ever-willing dog for a walk, and there it was still. In the middle of the road. Large, curved and perfect. Banded in brown. A solitary turkey feather waiting for my hand to receive its gift.

So I twirled it in my fingers, feeling the life still present. Blessed life. A reminder of abundance. Down the road, a red fox wandered from the twilight woods and stopped to fix my gaze. We stared as though each daring movement, until a car passed by. Some say foxes hold the secrets of the fey. Cunning, bold, stealthy. Red, like the squirrel. Have I lost touch with the red blood of Earth? I wrote the words in this book, in part, to save her. Created six warriors with a mission to repair her broken veins, forgetting, after I had finished, that one must care for the inner body, always, while caring for the outer. And so I look back upon today. To the red squirrel taking with ease the fruit of the apple back to its nest. The dead crow charged with too much power. The lone turkey feather in the middle of the road. One perfect blessing waiting to be held. And the red fox, who had ventured, for a moment, out of the hidden realm to say hello.

 

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Grandmother Crow speaking her ancient wisdom from the pages of The Labyrinth

 

 

The Beginnings of Endings

 

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Photo Credit: Pixabay

 

The owl appeared as the resurrected phoenix during my last, formal meditation as a student of the Silent Eye School of Consciousness. At some point, the seeker becomes the seen as the threshold to the mysteries are opened. The wisdom that always lies in wait within is always just a conscious breath away, but humans can be shallow breathers. In my young adult novel The Labyrinth, which is due to be released in a month or so, the voice of an owl cuts through the darkness as teens search for what they cannot find.

“Whoooo Loooooks for Yooooou?” The owl calls out to them.

Ultimately, are we not all looking for our own selves? The truth of the soul that is often only allowed to exist fully in the false protection of the shadows. The eyes, therefore, must turn inward and grow accustomed to the dark, where eventually they learn to see the light held within.  We are all seekers of wisdom, but sometimes it is worth asking what is the wisdom we truly seek?

The crow was waiting at the top of the building when I stepped outside the door of my final day of yoga teacher training. She cawed loud and strong, least I miss her presence, looking down at me as her eyes followed me to my car. Don’t forget who brought you here, she seemed to be saying, along with, you know this is only a beginning.

I have learned, over the course of these last three years in particular, how much endings are really just beginnings. Once we have crossed that threshold that marks the completion of a road along our journey, another road awaits us. The road is often unmarked or vaguely marked at best. if we knew what was waiting, would we walk with the open heart that requires trust and surrender?

And so I find myself walking across the threshold with eyes that have learned to see in the dark. Fear has become a friend that sometimes takes my hand to remind me of courage and I have grown comfortable with what is waiting to be known. I have learned that within each moment I can find the presence of teachers surrounding me. They are the trees outside my window and the birds that pass by. They are the people I encounter on the streets, and the dogs who share the couch as I write. My computer is my teacher, with all its quirks and challenges. And there is always, that ever-guiding light within.

I have become also, a friend of wait. Patience provides a soft hand that is worth holding for as long as it is offered. Magic is, after all, held in the present moment and if one pushes against the ever-flowing current of time it is lost.

Crow – A Trickster Totem?

Frequently, during healing sessions with my clients, animal energies will appear as messengers or totems. Recently, a crow made its presence known by appearing on a woman’s left shoulder. I felt a chuckle escape from my mouth, clearly this one was a bit of a trickster.

Often, our bird totems will perch themselves on our shoulders, and travel with us throughout our days. They offer us guidance and wisdom, even when we don’t know they are there, much like our spirit guides do. In fact, I view them as spirit guides specialized in the energetic characteristics of the particular animal they represent. As I told my client, sometimes they come and go as needed, sometimes they are with us for the span of our life-time. I think crow, in her case, was what you might call a primary totem animal. Her shoulder was even fatigued from its weight.

Although she could not “feel” the fatigue and muscle strain they way I could, it was significant that it was there. Crow as a totem animal guide can be a bit complex and mischievous, much like its counter-part appears in nature. They are clever survivors, and will go through any means of trickery needed to get to their desired goal.

Watch for crows in nature, and you will often find them perched on the top of trees as sentinels, looking for opportunities. Their black, feathered bodies evoke the energy of mystery and magic. Their piercing eyes mirror wisdom. They are adaptable birds, and find the means to survive in any situation they encounter. When needed, they work together to find food sources, even if it means stealing from another animal. Their diet is not limited, they’ll eat pretty much anything at hand. They’ll even turn on each other, if the circumstance threatens their individual survival.

At other times, crows act together, using sentinels and messengers to relay information regarding food sources and danger. Listen to the crow’s voice and you cannot help but feel its power. It is not usually a pleasant sound, like a song bird, but it holds an undeniable strength. When a crow passes overhead, even if it is silent, one may feel the impulse to shiver. Yes, there is mystery in the crow, which often pulls us to the place of magic and secrets.

Black is considered the color of creation, and the feminine energies of the universe. As Ted Andrews points out in Animal Speak, black represents the womb where new birth occurs. The crow, as a totem animal, can help us with this aspect of ourselves, showing us how to go within to find our inner magic and to pull out hidden gifts.

In the case of my client, the crow on her shoulder had been with her for some time, helping her to survive, but not always ethically. It was time to shift the crow’s energy, and I urged her to shake the crow off its perch from time to time, and let if fly around, switch shoulders, etc. Since she has already done much healing, I have no doubt my client will start working with crow in a new way, using its energetic gifts to delve into the truths of her soul, and use her intellect in ways that will bring light to not only herself, but to others.

Crow can draw us into the mysteries of the womb and stir it to life, but we must take care to ensure that we bring those gifts into the light in a means that will bring more than personal gain.