Four years or so ago I was befriended by two wild red-tailed hawks who lived in the same area I did. They left me three feathers, which I treasure. They flew along above me, landed on fences near where I walked so I could see them up close and they always drew my attention upward with their spine-tingling call. They became my friends. And they changed something inside me, opening a door to the natural world, through which I’ve eagerly run (as fast as a disabled person can run, anyway). 🙂 Their fellowship eventually led me to my friendships with tree spirits this summer, five of whose names were given me: Siri, Ren (meaning lotus or reborn), Ena (kindness, grace), Sistine (chapel) and the young ash, Silvine (forest), who came to me in a dream in an elf-like form and so brightened my world.
In these past years, I’ve grown to understand that all critters, the mammals we love because they’re so much like us, but also birds and reptiles and insects, trees, plants, stones—they’re all our brothers and sisters, literally. We are made from the dust of the earth and so are they. We will return to the dust of the earth and so do they. We are different manifestations of the Love that Mother Earth feels for the life she has participated in creating.
We humans are related to all of life, to all growing things. I didn’t realize this until these last years and I think most people still don’t know. I think we did know long ago, but we forgot. I believe the memories of our past lives, including the many we lived when we were at one with nature, are stored in our spiritual DNA. If that door has not yet been opened by someone, it will be, I hope while I’m still living.
We humans tend to be disrespectful of people different from us, of their religions, politics, gender identities, skin colors, cultures; but we absolutely ignore the truth of the Earth: One form of our Divine Mother is the Earth. A divine being inhabits or is the earth. I believe divine beings inhabit all of the planets in our solar system (if not the universe.) This bestowed divinity outflows from our Creator, whom we call by many different names: God, Love, Christ, Universe, Allah, Buddha, Great Mystery, Goddess—all human attempts to name and understand what is said to be unknowable.
God is the One Who Is, the great, loving being who created/creates everything, all life, including us–each born with the divinely-given right to worship as we choose. We are born with the right to find our own paths to answer our deepest, most meaningful questions, those beyond mere human understanding.
Many religions worship more than one god. I believe we Christians, who worship One God (yet who has three aspects, God, the Father; Christ, the Son and the Holy Spirit), call other manifestations such as the gods of other religions by different names, like Archangels, angels or even saints. After all, if you have said, “Your will is my will, Lord,” and you practice this above all else, asking for nothing other than divine direction, you will, “do things greater than I,” Christ said.
I am a Christian. I am becoming an earth-based Christian. I didn’t consciously ask for this shift, yet on some level I must have. (Good books on this subject are said to be: JESUS THROUGH PAGAN EYES: BRIDGING NEOPAGAN PERSPECTIVES with a PROGRESSIVE VISION OF CHRIST by Reverend Mark Townsend; and PAGANS AND CHRISTIANS: THE PERSONAL SPIRITUAL EXPERIENCE, by Gus Di Zerega. I’d like to read them both.)
I’m trying to understand what is happening to me this way: At Universal Christ’s thought of creation, beauty emerged. Our beautiful world is his thought. Love is his thought. The beauty in us is his thought. I know being a Christian means I am to see Christ’s light inside each person, a soul made of love and, therefore, I am to respect them. Now I am more aware that Christ’s light is Mother Earth–she is the love he gave us to experience physical lives. Some say we fell into physical life and, with our dark sides, we created and became monsters. This is why the light took physical form in great teachers such as Jesus Christ, the Buddha and the Dalai Lama in our world. Surely, this is why Mother Earth is a being of light. Some of us can’t see this because these nature ideas sound like pagan worship, or we are offended by we-are-all-one thoughts and choose not to believe them. “I am in no way like him or her or a rock.” Some of us are too busy and are not looking for love and light, anyway. “Outta my way, or I’ll step on you.”
We know that degradation of the earth, of each other, of life, is human caused by our dark sides. I wonder if the huge black and red Tarantula Hawk wasps who buzzed me all summer, the cockroaches on this property built in a water-gulch they call their own, and flies and mosquitoes are effects of our dark actions? Did our dark selves emerge from love, or did our use of free will twist light into darkness? If light and love are the essence of creation, and I believe they are, how can we and all else be anything other than light and love?
I’m reading Sun Bear’s, DANCING WITH THE WHEEL. He explains how to create a Medicine Wheel, a place for humility, healing and connection with the earth and the Creator. Thirty-six rocks are prayerfully placed on the Earth, some as the outer circle, with rocks inside it dividing it into four quadrants. The Creator stone is placed in the center of the wheel. Seven rocks encircle the Creator stone; they represent Earth Mother, Father Sun, Grandmother Moon and the four Clans, or families, one of which each of us belongs to.
Four Spirit Keepers are included in the outer circle, guarding the four directions, north, east, south and west; and between them lay three stones each, for a total of twelve, called the Twelve Moons, which we know as the twelve astrological signs. This is the complete outer circle. Three stones are placed inside it from the Creator to each of the four Spirit Keepers and they represent the qualities to which we aspire, according to our quadrant of birth. For example, those on the Spirit Path of the North (three moons or astrological signs) are seeking, living out the processes of Cleansing, Renewal and Purity. We travel around the wheel as we age, learning what life is like for others and the teachings of the Creator. The book is written with tenderness, a sacred, prayerful attitude that respects all of life, and with a lot of practical psychology. I’ve made my own little medicine wheel inside my apartment on paper with images in place of stones.
I guess I’m thinking about all this because I have recently had what I can only call Critter Care Week. I regularly see one red-tailed hawk in the area, but several weeks ago, it flew down through the branches of a pine tree, making quite a ruckus, and right past my head. Now that was an attention grabber! Last week, my daughter went out to go to work, fumbling for her keys and when she looked up, about six or seven feet away, a hawk was standing on top of our car. It startled her because she had never been so close to a large bird. She stood there and finally said, “Well, I have to go to work now.” The bird did not move until she stepped to the car and instead of taking off into the sky, it flew several yards away, landed on the ground and stared at her. She took its picture. It is the same one I often see. The beings I call critters are trying to communicate with us humans. They want to commune with us and perhaps to warn. Handle the coming change with grace and acceptance. Listen to your intuition. Get off your rear and do something. You’re killing our Mother!
But this week, I have wondered at all the creatures saying hello, coming so close, prompting me to look them up in animal-guides books, since I don’t know what they’re trying to tell me. Grasshoppers, huge red and green ones hopping toward me and next to me. Lizards are pretty common here, but this week I cannot not see them and it seems like they’re having a baby boom. Some of the newborns have been so tiny, I wanted to pick them up and bring them home. They move away if I get too close, but they don’t run. Then there are the black and yellow butterflies that fly a circle around my head and go on their way. Yesterday, I walked by a large bush and a sparrow was at head height, several feet away, looking at me, so I stopped. I had to smile and wondered why it did not fly off. A clear-white hummingbird fluttered by a moment later and I sensed a, ‘Hello!’
But my biggest surprise came three or four nights ago. Roxie and I were on our last walk of the day, about 10:30 p.m. We turned a corner and walked a short stretch and there on the grass, in the light from the building, was a snake. A striking, shiny snake with black and white stripes. (I looked it up; it was a California King Snake.) The strange part to me later was that I bent toward it. It was so beautiful, I wanted to touch it. I really don’t like snakes and this was not normal behavior for me. It slid away when I moved toward it, and I said, simply, “Thank you for your message.”
So, I have been thinking. What if a whole bunch of us, millions and millions of us, asked sincerely to know creatures other than ourselves, and learned to hear their messages? What if we all began to dream about them and brought their messages to the world? They are breaking down barriers. They are trying to get through to us. Will we hear them?
- Here are some short descriptions of the messages of the multiple brothers and sisters who came close this week, inducing awe and joy in me. These descriptions are from ANIMAL SPEAK by Ted Andrews; ANIMAL SPIRIT GUIDES by Stephen D Farmer, Ph.D; and a bit from Sun Bear in DANCING WITH THE WHEEL.
HAWK: An important message is coming. Look at the bigger picture. Hawk awakens our vision and inspires us to find our creative life purpose, as psychic energies rapidly develop. The comments of hawk people are powerful; be careful not to ‘tear others’ heads off.’
GRASSHOPPER: Listen to your own inner voices and intuition to make uncanny leaps forward. Life becomes difficult when refusing to move.
LIZARD: Perception of subtle movements, physical and ethereal. Helps to dream and to remember them. Blends conscious with subconscious, to dream while awake. Listen to our own intuition.
BUTTERFLY: Live fully in the light after having endured the fear and darkness of the unknown. They are associated with fairies and elves and awaken in us a lightness of spirit and joy in the dance of life.
SPARROW: A symbol of triumph after long suffering. Have we forgotten our self-worth or given up our dignity? Assert our wills and energy and vitality will awaken.
HUMMINGBIRD: Helps to find joy and sweetness in life. Associated with fairies and rainbows. A symbol for achieving that which seems impossible. Helps to open our hearts to draw love into our lives.
SNAKE: A symbol of sexuality, healing, death, rebirth and transformation. Before they shed their skin, their eyes cloud over. As skin sheds, their eyes clear up, and they see the world from an entirely new perspective. Old self dies as new self emerges. Opening to new dimensions and levels of awareness. Dramatic physical or emotional healing coming from an unexpected source.
Wow, what a time it’s been! Messages coming from every direction. They’re all here for us, if we will open our hearts and minds, see them and listen.