How do you feel when you first wake up? A little groggy, perhaps, fuzzy? Or maybe you’re excited and jump up right away because you know something exciting is happening today — and then you stumble a little because your feet and legs aren’t caught up with your thoughts.
All of this is normal when we come to spiritual awakening. We have to shake off the effects of our bodies and minds being in an apparently dormant, self-preserving state. When we recognize, as in a dream or maybe through a literal dream, that we have Heart, eternal Spirit, as part of our package deal, we emerge from a state a dormancy, dormancy produced by Ego, but Heart has been at work.
Others have likened the process to metamorphosis, a transition from a cocoon to a butterfly in several stages. We came here to experience such transformation, to be a beautiful, purposeful, evolving creature, a creature with energy building to maturity while appearing to be dormant.
Core Self, Heart, that piece of eternal Spirit with whom we arrived on Earth, desires us to awaken to our energy, power, and presence — to mature. This is the reason we come to this physical realm: we wish to express, live, and allow Spirit to sense the physical world of its own creation, our co-creation.
Because we needed Ego to help us survive in a physical and social structure, a disconnect happened between our core Self and our mind-soul-body. I think it is a designed disconnect that drives us on a journey of discovery; it’s simply life. The only remedy to reconnection is a spiritually-spurred prompt of this question: Who am I?
Since this is why we came, until we personally face and know Heart, we will sense a void, one causing us to feel incomplete, causing us to question ourselves. Most people at some point in life will ask Who Am I? The answer to that is I Am, an existing physical entity with eternal Spirit housed for awhile in this mind-body-soul-complex, and I personalize Spirit with my physical attributes, my thought processes, and my emotional composition, all expressed in my total life experiences.
[To be continued…]
Now that I have broached the topic of totems, I want to make a few points about the concept. Different cultures and historical traditions call the beliefs by other names and have developed rituals that differ; however, the reason for each of them is the same. We humans have always had a tendency to drift away from the connection to and lessons of nature the more “civilized” we become. This has been true throughout history.
Connections with Nature and the study of her not only helps illuminate our inner person but also gives us insight into eternal Spirit, imbued in all.
Therefore, when folks face those times of questioning, seeking, exploring, and discovering, no deep, abiding, full answers will be had without Nature as a part of that. The energies of life in all of this Universe, in all of this physical, manifested realm, can be accessed by us. Shamanism or other traditions that focus on our interrelatedness with the natural and animal realm opens wonderful doors of discovery.
The understanding and acceptance of totem animal energies in our lives is an awesome, insightful process of enlightenment as the “animal becomes a symbol of a specific force of the invisible, spiritual realm manifesting within our own life (from Ted Andrews’ wonderful book Animal Speak: The Spiritual and Magical Powers of Creatures Great and Small — (Andrews 2)).
I would like to share another story like last night’s; I have many. Last fall, Eastern bluebirds started showing up in the ‘hood. Of course, my neighbor, who I referred to last night, feeds the birds every morning, and I share in that. He had been trying to lure bluebirds for years, so he put out mealworms for them.
Finally, we began seeing bluebirds in the morning at one of the feeding trays — not frequently — and we had to really wait and look. Many times we thought we would see a streak of blue, but we weren’t sure.
Last fall, though, one evening — I have a couple brief videos of this — I heard insistent, almost annoyed birdie chatter. I looked to the other side of my house and four bluebirds were engaged in some little territorial dispute. It ended up fine, and one of the birds stayed and alit on my fence much closer than the others, who were now vanished. I spoke to him and asked him if he had a message for me. I tried to be calm, but a thrill coursed through my body. I knew, but I asked for assurance that if he had a message to leave me a feather.
I really didn’t think that would happen because he flew into the oak tree right over my head without leaving a feather before flying off. However, the next morning I went out, looked up to the branch where he had perched, and my eyes were immediately drawn to the ground at my feet — energy. The feather lay there, a gift from Spirit.
So what? This is what. I had no idea what Bluebird symbolized. I knew, though, I needed to learn. I went to Ted Andrews’ book and found this: “If a bluebird has come into your life, look for opportunities to touch the joyful and intrinsically native aspects of yourself that you may have lost touch with” (Andrews 121). That made me reflect on how I felt emotionally, mentally, and spiritually and brought up issues I realized I needed to deal with and heal over concerting my inner child — another story, another time.
I cannot tell you how wonderful it is when I call for help or when I’m sending out energy of which I am not consciously aware, and my bird totems show up, remind me, provoke me, or comfort me through reflection on their significance. Their energy resonates with my Heart, my highest Self. Gotta tell ya, it’s a meaningful, affirming connection with eternal Spirit and all of creation.
Think about it, and be blessed as you do!
Asking Nature, the Universe, eternal Spirit, and all the Spirit-infused creation to connect with us in a significant relationship that helps us cope, think, evaluate, grow, and learn — among other processes — creates part of a foundation for mental and emotional health and spiritual experience. Oh, plus joy, happiness, comfort! And in this era, we can use a whole lot more of those sorts of connections.
I will share one personal example tonight. The great horned owl has shown itself as a totem bird to me, a bird whose energy plays into my life as I receive it and use it. For several years now, I have unexpectedly encountered Owl right around my house and in the neighborhood.
Here’s my story. My neighbor has said he sometimes thinks I’m full of shit when I refer to my bird totems — kind of jokingly because we are friends — but one evening he came out while I was “speaking” with Owl. He couldn’t believe that if I didn’t hoot, Owl didn’t either. He tried it, but nothing worked. This was no big deal, but I told him Owl and I had a connection.
The next morning, I came back from walking my puppies. My neighbor was outside filling the bird feeders. He saw me standing at the end of the drive with the puppies looking up the street. He started towards me, but I waved him back and put the pups in the yard. Then, I told him to walk back to the front with me and listen.
We heard an unfamiliar sound, not really sure if it was animal or human at first. As I listened, though, I told him it was Owl. He said something like “Yeah, right.” Then, it was “I’ll be damned.” Two great horned owls flew directly at us from very far away — after I hooted. They veered up the street and perched in an oak two houses away. I hooted again, and one of them looked at me, silently and majestically spread its wings, and swooped down no higher than ten feet from the ground flew directly past us and turned its head to look straight into my eyes. It landed in a tree maybe thirty feet away, turned around, and looked at me again.
I said, “It wants my attention.” It traced the same route back to its mate, craning his neck to look at me one last time before the pair flew off. My neighbor was flabbergasted and thrilled to see such a connection with Nature, with a creature.
Owl speaks directly to part of my ability to know how others are thinking, feeling, and what they are hiding. It also helps me in tempering parts of my life. This instance the message of silent, majestic, communicating, effective flight translated to me as “Do your work; powerfully create your magic, and keep quieter about it, about the plans, about the development.” Connections and messages like this result from the energy I work with for empathic and shamanic journeys.
This brings me back to that question for any who would explore Self: how do you relate to Nature and use the power and energy available there to aid them in their life journey? We are surrounded by Spirit. We need to enter into the connections for our own blessing, for the peace and all the other benefits from these bonds can only fill this society, this Earth, with more love and light. I think we need those in abundance right now, don’t you?
Yesterday, I shared the dawn of my spiritual awakening, one which had been forming throughout my life, really. I find it encouraging to look through books with margin notes — yes, I’m one of those — from many years ago and discover how my awakening had been brooded over for decades.
After that night in 2012 — I hope you read the poem “The Birdbath Moon” — many signs started occurring, helpful events that I am sure were summoned to me by the energy which I possessed.
One great help was a weekend conference I attended the summer before that in which the presenter spoke about the pilgrimage known as the Road to Santiago across northern Spain. He had done the pilgrimage, and he referenced and spoke a little about Paulo Coelho’s book on the same topic, The Pilgrimage.
You should see some of my notes in that book and how they led to what would happen within a year. The presenter that weekend wasn’t there to discuss Coelho; his mention of it was simply an interesting side note. I read the book, meditated on it, let it sink in, and thought.
I knew that sort of magic was possible; I knew the experience, the book, and the energy it referenced and contained were all meant for me. I had questioned everything about what I was doing for some time, and I noted the idea of quitting teaching in public education in the book. Little did I know that by the next summer, I would take an early retirement package and start using that energy.
After I retired — and started looking for other work and new possibilities — one day I was walking my puppies up the street. In the book, Coelho talked about omens and nature, so when I saw a flicker feather in the middle of the sidewalk, the energy about it struck me: it was pointing forward. I whispered a thank you, bent down and picked it up, and continued up the street, looking for what I was supposed to see.
Lo and behold, a dove was only two houses up. It looked at me and started hopping. If you know mourning doves, you know how flighty they are. This one stayed on the ground, hopping only eight or so feet in front of the puppies and me. I knew it was leading me. This went on across the front of three more houses and around the corner on the main street. Dove actually led us around the corner!
And as we rounded the corner, I looked ahead and maybe 12 or 15 doves were right in front of us. They saw the dogs and alighted. Except for our guide. He looked casually at us as if to say goodbye and flew to a wire and watched. I looked down and saw the feather he had left.
Flicker and Dove were my first two feathers — gifts from the Universe, from Nature, from these creatures who wanted to say something to me. Magic.
I don’t want this to be long, but I would leave you with an encouragement. If you are seeking, the energy you put out will be answered. Open your mind, eyes, ears, and all your senses and just watch what happens.
I have much more to tell, but for tonight, this is it. Look at my picture. Find the smaller gray feathers and the one yellow/golden and black. Those are my dove and flicker. Oh, you should know that Dove has become my writing muse. Whenever I am slacking, Dove insistently appears — wherever I have traveled. Or Dove has shown itself when I have been nearing completion of projects or embarking on new ones. And Flicker? A woodpecker whose energy speaks of new rhythms of life, of tuning into my own or anyone else’s. Much more here, too, but that is for another post.
I have quite a collection of feathers now — all gifted to me, no purchases, kills, or anything like that. I have seen the feathers fall from some of the birds when I asked for one.
We are all so connected with one another and Nature and the energy of Spirit in all of this Universe. My hope and my vision is multitudes would act on the reality of our integral relationships.
How did I get to the picture of the feathers, the earthenware pot, the stones, shells, and candles — and more not pictured? An evolutionary journey happened to me. Of course, it happens to all. Because of a social media discussion yesterday, I am not writing the post I had planned about these tools.
I was asked an insightful question about voice: how do I know if the voice I listen to as Heart, that which I call eternal Spirit within me, my highest Self, is actually Heart and not Ego?
I have published a book about my discovery of this, but in that book I did not put that which I will share here today. Why? I wrote a personal expression the evening I discovered I could create my own purpose. Poems may be powerful snapshots of the soul. The one I share illustrates the conversational voice of and with my own Heart on that particular evening in August of 2012, a magical evening, truly, for me.
I refer to my awakening as an oxymoron because to me and many others it appears to be an epiphany; however, the oxymoron occurs because I call it a gradual epiphany, and epiphanies aren’t normally thought of as gradual. By definition, they are instantaneous.
My Heart, as anyone else’s, spoke throughout my life. Those times, even as a young person, when I questioned who I was and why I was here were my Heart speaking to me. Those times I felt Nature spoke to me, moved me towards something, some idea, some purpose were Heart being receptive and responsive to the energies of the Universe, those I had not entered into for various reasons.
Yet, I felt Heart saying, in essence, “Wake up! Look at this magnificence for more than the beauty. Listen to the messages here.” I almost did. I played at it. I attempted some strategies — religion, especially — that weren’t Heart responses, although throughout all of my experiences my Heart kept presenting me with those two burning questions faced by each of us at various times, many times, throughout life: Who am I? Why am I here?
Inspiration to listen came at me and to me many times. Finally, one summer almost nine years ago, things changed — but this is not the post, either, for that. The epiphany, my epiphany, arrived when all of the evidence and experiences of my many years gazed at me from a mirror, an actual mirror.
I heard that voice that had softly urged, whispered, and gently prodded all those years as my own eyes bore into my soul and mind, passed through and pierced Ego, and said, basically, “Here you are. The real you. Me, your Heart.”
I wasn’t broken, but I was relieved, inspired, blessed as I conversed and heard, with spiritual ears, my Heart, an energy within, accepting of Ego and all those shadow selves and all my past. And I knew it was Heart because there was no condemnation — only acceptance, love, and enthusiasm for what more was to come.
Now, this is long, so here is what was to come that same evening:
The Bird Bath Moon
“What is this moon called?” the Poet asked, to no one in particular.
“But a better question,” his Heart said, “would have been,
‘What power and what magic does this moon possess?’”
“It is a mystery,” the Poet said, “an enigma, unknown and unproven.”
“It is magic!” the heart of the Poet said
And continued, “Magic that you know, that you can prove, that exists.”
The Poet said, “This August full moon is the Sturgeon Moon or the Corn Moon
Or Grain Moon. The Peoples first here called it that.”
His heart asked, “Do you catch sturgeon? Do you grow corn?”
“That’s silly!” said the Poet. “You know
I do not do those things living here in the suburbs!”
“Then why call it that? I told you it is magic!” Heart whispered earnestly. “Magic You need,” Heart scarcely breathed.
“What magic do I need?” mulled Poet.
As he gazed upon the full-glowing silver orb, he thought,
“I have researched, and I know the moon
Helps Earth in many ways, so I know
Moon helps, no, she is crucial to
The ebb and flow of our oceans’ tides,
Maintaining this globe’s axial tilt — all
Life would be different, maybe non-existent for us humans…
These are magic, I suppose,” mused Poet.
Heart breathed, “What do we want?”
Poet and Heart — that core self --
Dreamed, would almost whisper those dreams,
But Poet would reconsider.
“What if I wish wrong?” he wondered, slightly tormented.
“It’s not a birthday cake!” Heart goaded and added,
“I told you: it’s the Magic of the Universe.”
“How do I realize that magic?” Poet asked.
“You are creator! Create your fate!” Heart urged silkily, in hushed tones.
Poet and his Heart wondered.
Then, Heart spoke once again,
“Moon gives more than science knows,
More of those things hearts require,
And although impalpable, are very
Real — things of Magic;
Of loves engendered and rekindled,
Of sacred rites and spiritual directions,
Of sound decisions and lost sanity,
Of hopes with feet and dreams with wings,
Of…You, Poet, Us, Discovery.
We can choose,” ending in a drawn out, sibilant whisper.
Then, Poet’s contemplative gaze
Fell upon that silver orb’s
Reflection held within the puddle of
The simple, shallow birdbath.
“What does it mean to you?” invited Heart.
Poet thought silently, “Power of life-giving
Sun, captured on full-reflecting Moon,
Moon of magic, inspiration
Moon of hope, and
Moon of dreams…
Sun captured on Moon
Moon captured in my birdbath,
Both now seen by my own eyes --
Celts of old said now is the time to wish on
The bright, intense, silver, magic, active Moon.”
Heart urgently and emphatically whispered,
“What are you? What do you want?”
Poet softly declared, “I am a writer!
That is my magic. This is my wish.”
And something, some Magic
On a still, breezeless night
In shallow water of my sheltered birdbath
Sent ripples of approval across the surface
All the power of gaseous, hissing Sun
Now tamed, now harnessed, now offered
In the full, shimmering face of the
(August 31, 2012 — a blue moon)
To the Celts, this moon was known as the Dispute moon, a time for reconciliations, such as reconciling my past, letting go of the ego “impossibilities,” and stating my dream, my desire, my purpose. This was the first time I ever had a full, conscious, internally audible conversation with my own Heart. As quickly as I could capture them, I recorded the words.
Questions to consider:
How many times have you asked yourself or simply thought about the following questions?
Who am I, really?
What is my truth?
How do my actions reveal what I really feel and believe?
What would I do with my life if I could do anything?
What is my passion?
Why am I here?
How can I discover answers to any of these questions?
If you have considered any of these questions, I hope that my experiences and writing will give you some guidance. Please read my blog and comment and share your thoughts. I would love to hear from you!