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.
Today, May Day, is Beltane, and Beltane was a festival of celebration for a whole culture: the ancient Celts. The way we act maybe the mayday call for help is more appropriate. Help is available — right in each of us.
The day was marked by bonfires and symbols of fertility — yes, the maypole is a phallic symbol and the girls twirling around it with flowers represent the braiding and intermingling that results in life — and it was the beginning of the summer, a time when the sheep and cattle were turned out to pasture. Beltane bonfires were meant to offer protection as the cattle passed between fires and the smoke from them. The fires were very sacred, with spring bushes and wood being used.
The fires were also considered fires of sacrifice to the god Bel, the deity of summer. It was a time to prepare for all the hard work to make the summer productive, which calls for sacrifice.
The idea of sacrifice, of getting off our asses, metaphorically, to get stuff done by giving up things that no longer serve us for our benefit and productivity is a valid principle. It’s a good time of the year to take stock and evaluate ourselves. So much promise lies ahead in the productive summer months, but it won’t happen without action on our part.
What do you need to do to further your Heart-vision and Heart-purpose? Let’s encourage one another through positive energy thoughts as we enter this season. Let’s remember the sacred fires of Beltane and know that the fire of our passion and enthusiasm to live core Self and the life Purpose we have created by Heart awakens us to the counter-productive working of our own Ego and an ego-soaked society. We move forward in vitality and strength, the dead wood being burnt away.
And we should count it a sacred time, set some time aside to consider such things — not just a passing notion. The Celts held it as a festival, everyone being involved in feast, ritual, ceremony. They moved through the cycle of the year in keeping with the seasons. They lived harmoniously with Nature, understood it, respected it.
Today people look back and say the Celts sacrificed and celebrated because their lives depended on Nature. News flash: ours do, too. Of course, it’s not exactly the same. In many ways we are a lot stupider. We know about the scientific intricacies of the environment, ecosystems, species and the effects of pollution and civilization on those, but we destroy anyway for the sake of ease and gain. It will catch up to us unless we wise up. I do what I can and hope you do the same.
The last thing I would like to mention in reference to Beltane and the Celts and many other ancient or more primitive cultures is their ability to just respect themselves and stop and celebrate, at least four times a year for the Celts. Four times a year where business stops for extended time. We think there’s something noble about forging ahead. It’s a sickness, really. We’re worth more than that, don’t you think?
I hope you can at least on a personal level take a space of time for yourself, evaluate how you feel about your Heart Purpose and Vision, and eliminate those things that aren’t bringing you joy and contentment. If we’re not experiencing happiness, we need to be checking for Ego reasoning. Heart will let us know. Connect, fellowship with your Heart, and know that I’m doing the same.
I didn’t want to let the last day of April slide by without reposting, with revisions, an article I wrote three years ago and a poem I composed years before that — it will be self-explanatory. If this nation and world had made better progress and if they had not repudiated the spirit of Earth Month, then, I would not even need to post this article. This current administration has only set us back by giant steps. The bottom line is not the bottom line.
Here is my three-year old post:
In Rachel Carson’s 1962 book Silent Spring, she brought to light the problems of environmental destruction. She methodically laid out the processes of pollution that were occurring, and her book essentially changed the way most Americans thought about using chemicals in a wholesale manner to deal with inconveniences. Enough attention accrued that the Endangered Species Act of 1973 was passed by Congress, almost unanimously, virtually the direct result of Carson’s work.
Yet, today many people refute the spirit of Carson’s work. Fracking dumps dozens of chemicals into the earth, chemicals that destroy life beyond renewability. Some are harmful and even fatal to us. The administration has auctioned off over 100,000 acres of public land at the end of 2018 for fracking. No lies can cover up the destructive nature of this process. If nature goes, we go.
The imagination and knowledge to use alternative energies exist; the problem is not enough profit and control for oligarchs. If the motivation is the bottom line at the expense of life, that is insanity, stupidity. Oh, I know the arguments, and my counter will always be the same: if Nature is destroyed beyond renewability, then we should not benefit by any products, processes, or methods that destroy her.
Large corporations and their scientists are engaged in the same sort of practices today that Carson’s work exposed as deadly to the environment and humans over 50 years ago. How can this be? Convenience? Profit? They make pseudo-humanitarian claims, but these are shallow lies.
Carson said in Silent Spring, “How could intelligent beings seek to control a few unwanted species by a method that contaminated the entire environment and brought the threat of disease and death even to their own kind?” The same logic applies to any practices destructive of the environment.
Like fracking, which is the very sort of situation that Carson examined: dumping immense quantities of poisons into the environment, especially polluting underground waters, that cause currently unmeasured consequences.
We have options. We need to use them. Capitalism unchecked by Nature and the Heart is worthless, destructive shit. Nature shows us the reality of our actions; our Heart reveals our motives. Harmony is possible.
The Moon at Half-Mast
I offer a long poem today, written immediately after viewing the devastation of the deep well Horizon oil spill.
(June 22, 2010, Pensacola, Florida)
Nearly full moon viewed in azure blue sky
Before sun had set — all Moon’s features
Clearly visible, clearly weeping.
The flag, our flag, flown at half staff
(half mast on a ship — which is the position
From which I viewed the moon
As I looked up past a sailboat mast)
A symbol of sorrow, mourning,
Community recognition of someone passing
Someone of significance, importance --
More so than the common man,
For those who have served their country, our country.
The moon, our moon — not just America’s — grieved
This day as she stared in horror, mouth agape,
At her waters she so faithfully controls,
Waters of the Gulf of Mexico,
Waters of Southern coastal United States, our states,
Appropriately salty waters, now being raped,
The vicious, belching, bellowing, black gush of
Appropriately named crude oil
Spewing, violently forcing its destructive blobs and blankets
Of life-destroying gunk on this majestic milieu
Of marine flora and fauna.
She, Moon, could not respond with frenetic action,
Like that which she viewed with her silvery face
Of the buzzing clean-up engaged in by tiny man.
She could only do three things --
Two of which she performs rather flawlessly
And the third she awkwardly and silently conveys;
Faithfully, she uses her mass and orbit
To keep this globe, our globe,
On its crucial twenty-three-and-a-half degree axis,
And she then uses those same attributes, her attributes,
To steadily, faithfully, and effortlessly urge the sea tides
To ebb and flow.
Neither natural nor effortless, though,
Are the silent sobs with which she now convulses,
Expressing the destruction and loss which people, we people,
Have caused her to witness;
She now wails and laments:
Wails over the brown unsightly blobs
Bobbing over the face of the surging blue sea;
Laments the answering, oily sheen
To the flawless silver radiation she casts in beauty;
Wails for the tiny shelled creatures and wavy, curly sea grasses
Now gasping poisoned breaths;
Laments the powdery white shores
Now pock-marked brown and gummy;
Wails over the majestic pelicans, gulls, osprey, heron
And every sea bird that gently communes with her --
All those, threatened now with a greasy, flightless end
Or a perplexing, gnawing hunger;
Laments the little fish, the dolphins, the turtles,
The rays, the crustaceans — so many creatures --
Puzzled at the noxious, smothering net
Now enclosing and settling upon them, around them --
The cycle of life disrupted by this unnatural death.
And through the salty and now oily tears
Of her devastated domain she cries with the undulating sea surface,
“Not I, Not I, Not I, Not I
Did this, Did this, Did this, Did this!”
And the waves answer,
“Who did, Who did, Who did, Who did?”
And what do we, we humans, say?
Moon glows at half mast over the sea.
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!