November 10, 2021

What Discovering our Spirit Animal can Teach Us.

 

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We had travelled thousands of miles with my parents to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon.

From flying into Arizona, the car ride to Sedona, and the train to the Rim we kept noticing beautiful birds of prey dotting the way.

Being from the East Coast, the landscape was breathtaking. The red rocks were amazing. Sedona was bursting from the seams with an energy like no other. But beneath it all was a deep sense of long-lost culture. And I think this is what the birds wanted me to recognize.

In one of the Hopi museums, I learned that animals are sacred in the Native American culture. Animals communicate values and spiritual beliefs of Native communities. Animal imagery is important in the creation story of tribes, clan, and families. They believe that we are caretakers of Mother Earth and that animals can aid us in healing and self-knowledge. The concept of “spirit animal” must be respected and belongs to the Indigenous Community.

Many years ago, I began a journey to find quietude and connect with nature. We lived on the water. I would meditate on the dock, feeling a deep connecting with the jumping fish, or the birds quietly searching the shoreline for food. Post-meditation, walking back to the house, I kept noticing a beautiful, majestic hawk watching over me.

Two years ago, empty-nest syndrome led to us moving 30 minutes to the city. With the Greenway as our backyard, we share our space with a few families of deer, resident hawks, owl and woodpeckers.

Becoming aware of our relationship with nature can help us discover our kinship with animals and may lead to discovering how animals can show up in our lives and provide support. Different animals represent different energies, signs, and messages.

Animals may seek us out and show up in our lives to assist with a specific crisis or provide the inspiration to answer a question. My favorite resident hawks let me know that I am on the right path.

One has just landed on the split rail fence as I share with you what the hawks have taught me.

I researched, became aware of my surroundings, and participated in guided meditations to provide me with a deeper connection to the animal world. But it is not necessary to do so much leg work if we can just become aware.

Three of the men in my life have a connection to the animal kingdom—with no research or meditation involved. Deer has consistently crossed my husband’s path for years. My son has had a connection with lizards since he was a toddler. We “saved” many 10-gallon tanks of Green Anoles on my granite countertop through the harsh winter months. His room was full of Bearded Dragons and Chinese Water Dragons throughout middle and high school. My nephew is a “snake whisperer.”

When I notice a hawk, I stop and take a moment. I welcome the hawk, and we connect in silence and respect. The hawk already knows that I identify with them.

Messages always come—maybe not as my head or ego would have wished, especially in the beginning. As we soften as our hearts and open our eyes to the beauty of the present moment, the answers are always there. We just need to be quiet enough to hear.

I listen and the hawks and I share. Sometimes I ask a question or reflect on a difficult decision I have made, and the hawk reassures my choice.

When I pass the hawk in a car or on a bicycle, I notice if the hawk is on my right or left. Right is masculine and assertive, so I consider if my energies are being expressed, or do they need to be? Left is feminine and receptive, so I know my energies are still within.

I practice being in the present moment when hawk energy appears. It does not matter if my heart is joyful, or tears of sadness are flowing, when the hawk takes flight, the energy always feels lighter, brighter, and softer. With gratitude, my eyes follow his path as he soars just above the treetops and out of sight.

Ted Andrews, author of Animal Speak, has described hawk energy:

“Hawks are one of the most intriguing and mystical birds of prey. They are the messengers, the protectors, and the visionaries of the air. Whenever the hawk shows up, pay attention. There is a message coming.”

Shortly after the trip to the Grand Canyon, I was alone on the long, tedious drive from North Carolina to upstate New York. There were multiple hawks roadside as I journeyed north for two days. The largest of the hawks was perched treetop on a barren branch on my right, just before I exited the Northway toward my childhood home. I knew a challenging situation was awaiting me, but at the same time I felt comforted by being looked upon and protected by so many hawks.

More recently, I realized that something was wrong with someone I love, as my texts went unanswered, and the phone went straight to voicemail. Our energetic, frisbee-catching black Labrador kept me busy playing his favorite game every few hours, just beyond the split rail fence. Every single time, a red-tailed hawk watched us. It was always on my left side, representing that feminine energy needed to be expressed. The hawk’s message to me was that my loved one was safe.

The next 72 hours were challenging and feeling the hawk energy definitely guided how I reacted to the situation—gently and thoroughly. That is the definition of a spirit animal and their energies at play with real life.

Most often, the hawks have confirmed that I was exactly where I was meant to be at a specific moment in time, and they have taught me so much about myself.

It is a lovely feeling, trusting that nature and the animal kingdom are there to support us.

Please take the time to slow down, notice the connection we have with nature, and appreciate the mysticism of animals, and the world we live in

 

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