It was dark in the room, as it often is during the daytime. My children, lapsed back into younger years, opened the seldom used front door to let the wild bird inside. It flew, or rather seemed to stumble, bumping along the floor for awhile until it settled under the couch into sleep. There it stayed for quite some time. I can’t tell you exactly how long, as dream time stretches and bends in funny ways. And soon enough the dream shifted, and my feathered seer disappeared.
I left the pileated woodpecker behind in the room we once referred to as our children’s playroom, but is now a library/game room, and found myself inside a museum. Well, that’s not entirely correct. If memory serves me, I was first outside. Once again, the light was muted as you often see in movies to build dramatic effect. Here the old blended with the new, again, and I found my eyes pulled to the stones. No surprise, really. That’s where the seer resides and reads the secrets held within.
I was excited. Sure that there had once been a circle in a place now built up by more modern hands. “See that one,” I pointed, “and that one!” The position, size, and alignment could not be accidental. And then it all began to fall apart. Suddenly I was inside the museum in need of a restroom. Here I found myself literally exposed. The bathroom was more an office than a cell, open to windowed rooms with people inside, and a wide open door where others walked by. And there I sat in the center with my pants down, exposed and worried about what others were seeing and perceiving. My sight pulled in angst to the world constructed around me while the inner spirit struggled to break free and wander back outside with the stones.
I am not surprised by the dream. When one ignores the first sign, another one will inevitably appear. About a week ago, I dreamt of another “play room.” This one was hidden inside my sister’s house. When I stepped inside this unexpected wonder, a child’s dream unfolded. Gradually I was draw to the vast windows where I stood in awe peering into the vast wilderness beyond. As in the dream last night, there were feathered beings. More than one. Young and downy, their colors muted into balls of fluff. Fledglings impossibly large, and birthed forth in autumn instead of spring. No, I thought, it could not be. They were so healthy and vibrant. Filled with the promise of life.
Before I woke completely into morning, I had another dream experience that has lingered with me. It is a brief recall. This time I found myself inside a vehicle with the radio turned on against my will, playing a recording of my voice. The first sounds were those of coughing, as though I was clearing my lungs of congestion. Then the coughing turned into a humming of sorts. “No,” I said embarrassed, “Don’t listen to that.” My voice on display, to my ears, echoed back to me dissonance as I resisted. Then strength grew into a sound that sung of freedom. It felt powerful and clear, now that all the gunk had cleared. “Take care,” the voice urged before it stopped. “Take care of you.”
I find myself now wondering, in the sometimes harsh light of day, how many of us are feeling the same way. This long year that has held fear and constriction for so many of us has, no doubt, left imprints on us. Perhaps, like me, you have used the pandemic and political turmoil as an excuse not to wander outside the confines of containment, and by containment I don’t mean those imposed to preserve health. Rather, I am referring to the free spirit that is a winged thing always yearning to fly. Always yearning to sing to the tune of inner truth. I must remind myself to play. To wander into magic, even if it involves outer restrictions. To let the feathered seer awaken once again and commune with the mysteries of life that return the wonder of the inner child.
Neglecting the soul is never a good thing, as I was reminded before I woke to this day. If we ignore its yearnings, a restlessness sets in. And sometimes, that restless turns to malaise.
It was 3:30 in the morning when my husband got up to use the bathroom and I woke from an owl peering at me. A Great Horned Owl.
I had been walking at dusk down the roads nearby my house. When I arrived at the crossroads in my dream, I turned towards my left, the direction of home. There he was, getting ready for flight.
You have returned to guide me.
I was sure it was Eagle. I had seen the white of his tail as he stood. The white crown of his head, turned to face me, was unmistakable.
And then he transformed into Owl. Feathered features became nearly camouflaged into the darkening day, but unmistakable were the ears. They were tufted into horns.
She rose to take the place of the one I had depended upon for so long. The bird of great strength and vision. Filled with yang energy, Eagle showed me how to harness the sun and look with keen vision at the world below. The guide of the nation that I call home. A bird sacred to the native people whose voices were silenced, their stories erased. A guide stolen to adorn the new nation. The great horned owl calls us to hear the truth that has been hidden. The truth that many refuse to hear.
I had a lot to think about. So much, that each time I tried to will my mind back to sleep, it would write lines for me to record. And, so, at 4am I rose, thinking of everything that the birds were telling me. Three in total, but more on the third later, as well as the white light blinking over my neighbor’s garage, Strange, it has never done that before, like a beacon in a lighthouse, calling a ship home.
It was all starting to come together.
Yesterday, before I went to bed, I had been cleaning out the office room. Culling through books and dusting shelves before I tackled the plastic storage unit filled with photos and various mementos of memories. I hadn’t sorted it, just added to it, since the year my son was born. That was nearly 15 years ago. Now seemed to be the right time.
To get to it, I had to move pictures resting on the floor and not on our walls. I chose only one to rehang. An owl with tufted ears made over scraps of words by my son years ago. I took a nail and found a place amidst the other art that adorns our stairwell. Choosing a spot a hands-width from the railing, I knew it would be bumped, and might even fall upon someone’s descent. Oh well, I thought. I’ll place it there anyway. Its silver frame standing out amid all the blacks, bumped lightly on my way down this morning.
In the dream that pulled me from sleep, it was not Eagle’s voice who replied, but Owl’s, I am the one guiding you now.
The “you,” felt like a “we.”
A few days ago, I was drawing cards for someone else. Someone who was considering a new path in life that would also affect me and those I hold dear. The first card I drew was the Queen of Cups. The Significator Card. The Queen who has guided me since I shuffled my first Tarot deck many years ago.
It had been awhile since I had been called to bring forth the cards, but they still brought a feeling of home to my hands. There she was, sitting on her throne. Her familiar face gazing upon the chalice in her hands. Her feet, crossed at the ankles, blue like the water around her. Baby mermaids gazing down at her, a cherub nestled, partly hidden, at the base of her throne, while her eyes fix on the golden chalice, too large for one hand, held in her grasp.
Strange, I had never paid much attention to the right foot hiding the left. The left hand touching lightly the hold of the right as it balances the hold of the chalice. So intent she/I was on the vessel.
I have been dreaming about water a lot at night, but that is nothing new. Water is my primary element, followed by earth. It pulls me into my dreams, and into the hidden realms within.
When I woke early this morning from the owl, I knew her to be female. Whereas Eagle embodies the divine masculine energy of the universe, Owl is a master of the divinely feminine forces. Owl rules the night. She sees through the darkness, a guide of the hidden. She asks us to explore the paths we like to hide, guiding us through the shadowland to get back “home” to the true self. She is master of the element of water, whereas eagle, her masculine counter-part, dives by day into the element of water for sustenance when he is not ruling the sky. He is part water and part earth, but mostly he is air and fire.
When Covid-19 started spreading rapidly across our globe, I kept thinking about the fires it was replacing. All those fires ravaging the lands across Earth, extinguishing so much precious life. Feeding fears of survival worldwide.
Now we have a corona viral host trying to nest in our lungs. If it brings death, it feels like drowning. It is nearly undeniable there is a struggle of forces occurring within and outside of us. A struggle for a return to balance.
About a week ago, I had another dream that woke me. I had been walking another path. This one filled with the light of day. Blindly wrapped in my own thoughts, I passed a large doll severed at the waist, and thought of Russian nesting dolls, instead of seeing it for what it was.
It didn’t wait long to catch me. Before I had taken a few steps beyond its severed bottom, the doll took life. The bottom half rejoined the top, and it began to chase me. Look at me? See me! You cannot escape me, it glared into my face. I recognized her by her teeth, long gnashing fangs.
Years ago, I took a shamanic journey to meet fear. I thought I would be afraid at what I saw, but I wasn’t. Instead, I discovered that it was both empowering and a relief to look at the face of my fear. Before me was an almost shapeless form, like a nesting doll, but all black. Its skin glistened like tar. The only feature recognizable as living was its face. Its dominate features were long, white teeth, shaped into fangs.
And so it would appear fear has made her return to me, calling out to be seen. I don’t think I’m alone. There is a global fear, in the form a virus trying to find a host inside of us. It is already taking over life and destroying life as we are used to knowing it.
It is difficult not to feel fear right now. To feel uprooted and insecure. It’s difficult to know what to do, or where to turn to for security and comfort.
Yesterday, while I was taking a shower, I found myself inside the image of a giant redwood tree. There I sat, cradled into the base of her trunk. Held inside this nest created by this mighty tree, rooted firmly to Mother Earth, with her boughs extended towards the sky and sun, I felt safe. I felt home.
Many of us have been washing our hands excessively, using water and soap to rid ourselves of the fears of being contaminated by a virus that is transmitted by salivary excretions. Trying to remove unseen forces that threaten to take hold of our lives. Even if the virus itself has not found a host inside of our bodies, it has found a host inside of our minds.
This fear has severed us at the waist. We are hoarding toilet paper irrationally. The virus does not attack our guts, but our lungs, yet we have allowed ourselves to become uprooted by our fears. We are buying more food then we need, leaving others to go without. We are scrambling for stability while the foundations we have so long depended upon are crumbling around us.
I have been walking a lot outside, as many of us have who are spending time outdoors in nature to try to lesson the communal spread of the disease. When I am outside, I feel connected. The inner joy starts to spark its light within. The roads, these days, are scattered with more people and dogs, then they are with cars. Seeing fellow walkers pass by, fills me with hope. Each time I journey outside, I see or hear a woodpecker. Most days it’s a pileated. Flying over my path, calling form the trees. This is not usually such a common companion to my days, and I am grateful for the gift of its constant, guiding presence. The pileated, which I, have been referring to as my “feathered seer” for nearly three years, has become nearly a constant companion in this time of unrest.
The pileated woodpecker, with its cardinal-like crown of red feathers, and streak of crimson at its throat, has a lot to teach us about fear. The color red is symbolic of fear and also of love. It is the color of our root chakra, and also the color of the blood that gives us life.
I have now seen The Queen of Cups card from Tarot three times in the last three days. Once drawn by my hand, the other two times by people whose blogs I happened to come across. I was not searching for her, but she has found me again. She has found all of us. And, so has Judgement and Fire.
Three times, in the same manner, I have seen the Judgement card and the Two of Wands. I have also seen the fiery wands held in struggle in one path, the air of freedom in another.
There are many ways to read the cards, and one must follow the guidance within to understand their messages in light of the circumstances one is working with. Each time I see the Judgement card, I am given the image of rebirth. The card literally shows naked bodies rising from caskets floating upon water. Could there be a more fitting card for our time?
The word “judgement” is subjective. The human mind judges, the higher mind does not. This card, next to the Two of Wands, strengthens the choice we seem to be offered by this viral pandemic that can be perceived as a harsh, or even cruel, gift. That is the choice of our free will. We can face our fears and explore the shadowland of the self in the path back to unity and balance, igniting the true light along the way, or we can succumb, as we have many times in our collective history, to the fear that severs and divides us.
The Two of Wands literally offers us the world in our hands. The old path, the wand to the right, is being traded for the new/truth path, as the querent takes the staff to his left, while holding the world in the palm of his right hand. He has, it appears, chosen his inner truth to become his new guide. Before him is a land open and fresh, wrapped in the embrace of water. The womb of Mother Earth.
Can we, collectively and individually, make the return to our true roots? Can we face our fears and weave the broken threads of our global community back into unity? Can we clear that which threatens to drown us individually, and realize that we are all, in essence, seeds from the same source? All elements reside inside all of us. There is light, and also darkness. There is the sun, and also the moon. Long, long ago, our ancestors knew that when fire joined in perfect balance with water, united through spirt/air and rooted in earth, the true, divine star of the self thrived.
The birds give me hope. Their paths can guide us back home.
I had brought one more thing for my journey, which was not mentioned in Part 2. In the pocket of my shorts was a small bag stuffed with tobacco, the procuring of which is a small story by itself. When I asked my friend Darlene what I should bring for an offering, her definitive answer was “tobacco.” There was no budging her, but I tried. The thought of buying a tin of tobacco, or a packet of cigarettes, filled me with mild terror. Irrational perhaps, but a childhood that involved the illegal growing and smoking of “pot” by my parental figures turned me against all manner of smoking. The only cigarette I’ve smoked was in one very vivid dream. That was enough for me.
So, here I was faced with one of many tests during this journey, before it even started. How to procure some tobacco. And, as I was thinking about how best to find some, a little voice inside my head came to the rescue with one word, “Etsy.” You can find just about anything on Etsy and sure enough a quick search led me to a source of natural tobacco. Perfect. I could handle buying tobacco safely through the internet with the happy knowing that it would be packaged as pure, unadulterated leaves. My little bag of tobacco arrived within a couple days of ordering, accompanied by a lovely handmade floral magnet. I had my offering.
Which, as I walked along the wooded trail filled with mosquitos, kept creeping out of my shallow pocket until it finally dropped somewhere not too far away from the white feather. Like the crow, the feather seemed perfectly placed before me, another sign often found during my journeys. And, although I had yet to feel the familiar nudging of spirit through my left hand, which may be because it was too busy grasping a walking pole, I took it as another positive omen that I was on the “right path.”
It is sometimes said that true signs come in sets of three, and number three that day came in the form of a song. Sharp and sudden the voice of the pileated woodpecker pierced the silence surrounding us. Once again I found my breath stop inside my throat. My “feathered seer had appeared. I should not have been surprised, but somehow I had forgotten the dream of this sacred messenger seven months before when it flew before me atop a “Native American hill.” Looking into my eyes with the message, “Don’t be afraid to see.” Weeks later, I had met Chocorua capped in snow. And now, here I was upon its oldest trail.
Funny how the mind works, only now I am recalling the dream through my old blog post. Putting the pieces together as I write. “Do not be afraid to see.” I had been thinking, as I walked, how much I was trying to see with my outer sight. The bent trees to give me clues to the sacred places. The faces in stone. “Are the bugs flying into your eyes?” I eventually asked my husband through frustration as I every time I brought my sunglass to rest atop my head, my eyes became magnets to the swarming insects.
No doubt another messenger, but not a wholly welcome one. Sometimes we try too hard to “see” outside of us. I am thinking of the “ghosts” I glimpsed while walking beside stream that felt sacred at the base of the mountain. I had felt the impulse to pause. To look back as the outer eyes blurred to the inner. And there they were, a small group of people from the time before white men, gathered at the waters, their heads turned slightly sideways towards me. “We see you,” they seemed to be offering in a welcome without judgement.
I did not linger, but took the gift of their presence and tucked it inside. It would be a mostly quiet walk. The other hikers not making their presence known until 2/3 of our way to our destination. Instead, we had one more messenger waiting to greet us as we worked our way uphill through the heat and bugs.
Note: I started writing this post and then came across the #writephoto prompt post by Sue Vincent and opened it up to this image. Therefore, the blog post has now become my response to her weekly photo prompt.
In April of 2017 I played the role of “The Feathered Seer” during the Silent Eye School of Consciousness’s annual ritual workshop weekend. Although acting is not my element, this role that I was asked to undertake did not feel like acting. It felt like home. Yesterday, I wrote about the concept of home and how I feel most aligned with that state of being when I am in England, walking the ancient lands. I have no doubt I have walked these lands, perhaps many times, in former lives. It’s a knowing so deep it goes beyond the visceral and straight to the heart of the soul.
The Feathered Seer is a part of me, woven into my being. She is my guide, but she is also me. Through the ancient lands she follows me, and I follow her. She takes my hand and leads me so I will remember. And, I believe, so that others will remember too.
In physical form, she adopts the form of the pileated woodpecker. That other-worldly creature who flies through the woods with her red head, calling the soul home to the roots of being, and drumming the language of the ancients back into the heart.
Last night she came to me during dreamtime as I stood atop a sacred Native American hillside. Flying her feathers of darkness before my face to peer into my eyes. Weeks prior, she had arrived in physical form. Flying before my path before the Silent Eye group gathered at Castlerigg.