Friday, October 10, 2014

A Murder of Crows

A Murder of Crows

Have you ever thought about how we choose to identify particular groups of birds? For example, we talk of a clutch of chicks and a brood of chickens, or a muster of peacocks and a brace of pheasants. We have a convocations of eagles, a parliament of owls, a richness of martens, a cast of falcons, and a crèche of penguins.

And don’t forget about the wing of plovers, fling of sandpipers, exaltation of larks, host of sparrows, gaggle of geese, watch of nightingales, bevy of swans, stand of flamingos, charm of hummingbirds, and bellowing of bullfinches.

We even get to the gulp of cormorants, kettle of vultures, murmeration of starlings, descent of woodpeckers, herd of wrens, and wake of buzzards.

Each of these, in turn, gives us a visual sense of the particular birds it describes.

And then, there is the murder of crows.

It sounds so ominous.

Nature has been trying to send me some not-so-subtle messages of late, including my Walk on the Beach, my Seasons of Life lesson, and my session with the Treetop Whispers.

She is not done yet.

Nature has been sending me crows. To be precise, she has been sending me a full murder of crows. Why couldn’t she have sent me a nice charm of hummingbirds instead?

After seeing this murder of crows repeatedly for about 2 months now, I hesitantly decided to do a little research and discover just what message they might be trying to convey to me, hoping that it was not just a premonition of death. And here’s what I discovered.

The crow is a spirit animal, or messenger, associated with life mysteries and magic. Native Americans view the crow as a totem and spirit guide that provides insight and means of supporting intentions.

Ok, so my crows represent life mysteries. I have plenty of those. But why is she sending me so many? Why a full murder, to be exact?

Throughout history, the crow has come to be associated with both positive and negative symbolic meanings, including life magic and the mystery of creation, the idea of destiny and personal transformation, alchemy (transforming elements into other elements), intelligence, higher perspective, being fearless or audacious, flexibility, adaptability, and trickery, manipulation, and mischievousness.

That’s quite a list.

Crows are also often associated with bad omens, death, or dark witchcraft, but also carries the power of prophetic insight and symbolizes the void or core of creation.

Now it’s getting interesting.

You see, I have been struggling with a lot lately, particularly in terms of the transformations that are currently taking place in my life. And the crow, which is black with tints of iridescent blue in the right light, is symbolic of the onset of creation, of the void, or what has not yet taken form yet. The crow carries the energy of life mysteries and the power for deep inner transformation.

Inner transformation. Precisely what I am struggling with at this very moment. So my crows are trying to help me with my chrysalization.

But it gets even better.

Crows often build their nests in very tall trees, providing them with better vision or perspective on their surroundings. As a totem, crows help to provide a position from which to see things from a higher perspective.

They provide the “big picture,” folks. And the crow is a protective spirit, too, able to raise the alarm when intruders or predators approach.

So, my crows are helping me transform, protecting me, and providing me better vision. What more could I ask?

Crows are also a lesson in fearlessness and determination. They encourage us to develop our personal power and speak our truths more loudly.

Wait, speak our truths? I just wrote about that yesterday…And now my crows are telling me to find my voice? Can that be right?

The crow, as custodian of ancient magical laws and wisdom, provides us with an instant flash of our authentic self. The crow sees our soul-self and in her call we hear the echoes within the body as we try to remember the language that she speaks. Crows bring the gifts of clairvoyance and change, while teaching the animal magic of shifting dimensions and mystical messages.

Our authentic self.

In other words, my recent repeated encounters with my murder of crows have been trying to show me to let go of the fear and resistance I have been experiencing, and to truly open myself up to the new transformation that is budding inside.

The crow represents the need to embrace our true identity, the Authentic Self, announcing that the time of change is here and now. She tells us that it is time to let go of the old self and all that is holding us back to enable us to step into our authentic power.

So in that sense, the crow is, perhaps, a harbinger of death, as she helps to usher out the old and midwives the birth of the new in its place. But with each “death” comes rebirth and regeneration. The crow represents the changes of life and death, and the changes in the cycles of life, just as I wrote about the Seasons of Life recently.

The murder of crows that has camped themselves out in my backyard are simply reinforcing the lessons that I have been taught recently: be patient, be aware and alert, and release resistance to showing my true self to the world. With the help of my murder of crows, the results are bound to be amazing.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Treetop Whispers

Treetop Whispers

The treetops all whisper
In rustling tones
While water trips over
The glistening stones.
Alone in a pocket
Of natural bliss,
I sit in the sunshine,
And welcome its kiss.

While Fall’s cool embraces
Rush over my skin,
I feel a new tension,
That builds from within.
Unsure where it leads me,
I question the source
And wonder its meaning –
Fear, guilt, or remorse?

I sit in reflection
Poised over the creek,
Hoping so desperately
To find what I seek.
The future is hidden
Behind textured layers,
And I only hope that
It answers my prayers.

And though I so often
Feel lost and alone,
I just close my eyes and
I know I am home.
The struggle I’m facing
Is timeless and true,
And even in struggle
The answers ensue.

I sit in the stillness,
Alert and aware,
And listen to symbols
And signs that are there.
To focus and flourish
I must turn inside,
And unsheath my talents,
No longer to hide.

So much lies before me
I see it, and yet,
The pathway to reach it,
Is still to be set.
In the depths of my winter,
I struggle to find
The rest that will bring me
To places sublime.

I pray to the goddess,
To Nature, for aid,
Assist me in realizing
Real plans most well-laid.
Impatient and anxious,
It’s hard to reveal
The aspects I’ve always
Worked hard to conceal.

But now, as I enter
The Spring of my year,
I know that these talents
Are nothing to fear.
Though Nature has given
A few silent cues,
I’m hearing quite loudly
I’ve nothing to lose.

A Fall Embrace

A Fall Embrace

The sun wraps around me
Like the embrace
Of a life-long friend.
The comfort it’s transmitting
Warms my spirit,
And promises never to end.
The heat of its touch curls
In delicate tendrils
To tickle me with delight.
Reaching recesses hidden,
Kept covered and darkened,
And well of out sight.
It intimately strokes
My cheek and my hair,
In a gentle reminder not to worry.
The peace its embrace provides
Sustains me now,
And prods me not to hurry.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

The Seasons of Life

The Seasons of Life

I have been struggling of late. It’s silly, really. I’m finally making enough money that I don’t have to be worried about paying my bills, and I don’t have to spend hours on the computer scouring for jobs that I know aren’t there. I should be content.

And yet, I’m not.

I have had this progressively deepening sense of anxiety that all is not right with my world. And it has been wearing me down, stealing my sleep, sapping my energy and enthusiasm.

And I couldn’t figure it out.

Until this morning, when my cats – being the incorrigible troublemakers that they are – woke me before I was ready and forced me physically out of bed. And as I rose, I stepped to the window and saw the sun literally setting the tree line on fire with fall colors.
And then it hit me. Much like my Beach Walk a few weeks ago. Suddenly, I understood what I’ve been going through. It didn’t make me like it any better, but at least now it all was falling into place.

Life is a cycle of seasons. And I mean that far beyond the typical metaphor of birth, development, adulthood, and death.

As we grow in life, we repeatedly progress through necessary cycles, just as the earth does each year, that help us to experience proper regeneration and renewal.

Each cycle begins with a rebirth – Spring, if you will, that happens mostly out of sight of the naked eye. This is the season of regeneration, where the tender young shoots are nourished beneath the surface, sucking critical supplements from the soil that surrounds them. Each tender shoot has the potential to grow into something large and beautiful, if only the proper conditions are provided.

As the climate warms, the days lengthen, and the sun becomes more demanding, the cycle enters summer, the season of growth. Summer is when we see it all come to fruition. It is the season of production. We can visibly see the fruits grown and ripen before our eyes. Those tiny shoots that were all but invisible during Springtime, now present themselves with a flourish and a presence that is all but impossible to ignore. Not every shoot will live to see the Summer, but those that do will make their debut with a flourish.

And Summer, inevitably, transitions to Autumn, the season of harvest. It is in the Fall that we are able to reap the luscious fruits of our Summer growth. Autumn is a time of reward, when we can pack away the abundance of produce from the summer plants, storing it up to dole out in delicious reminders of our distant warmth as the mood hits us. Autumn is the season of fulfilment. Fall has always been my favorite season of all.

But as the days begin to shorten, and temperatures dip lower, the Autumn must inevitably bow to Winter. Oh how we dread Winter. It is the season of death, of decay, of cold and impersonal days. We huddle inside our homes during Winter, just praying that Spring will come swiftly, swooping in like swallows over a field before we succumb.

But Winter cannot be rushed, either.

For Winter is the season of rest. It is the time for us to replenish our depleted resources, to draw warmth from the hearth and huddle together in community. Though Winter seems dead on the outside, it is actually the root of all life. Before regrowth, there must be death to allow for regeneration. Winter, with its icy touch, reminds us of the good things that are to come if only we can be patient enough to let the seasons flow.

And so our lives move on, through the seasons, not just physically, but mentally, spiritually, and emotionally as well. For every winter season, there is a corresponding Spring, Summer, and Autumn. We cannot rush the progression of the pattern, or the entire balance of the process is lost.

This is the lesson I gleaned from the sun-burnished leaves this morning. While I was highly cognizant of my recent “winter,” when I was searching for employment as well as mission and purpose in my life, I had neglected to understand that I must progress through the corresponding Spring and Summer before I can reap the rewards of Autumn. The seasons must not be rushed, or slighted, or their produce will be inferior.

A “hot house” tomato does not develop with the same succulent flavors as one that is kissed by months of summer sunshine in the backyard garden. So, too, must my shoots be given the proper time and sustenance to come to their full maturity before they may be harvested.

So, like my “Walk on the Beach,” nature is showing me the importance of patience lately. Our lives are a continuous cycle, and we must experience the full repetition of each cycle in order to provide ourselves the proper regeneration and move on. And, like the Doctor, each regeneration takes on a whole new face, changing with the cycles to best fit our current circumstances.

And so, I shall embrace the seasonal cycle of my life, paying closer attention to its changing needs as we move from one aspect to the next, instead of focusing on the Autumn harvest that must surely be looming large.

I shall not despair in the “winter of my discontent,” as Shakespeare wrote, but I shall embrace Winter’s transformative and restorative powers that will bring even brighter blooms in its wake.