I awoke at 4:30 this morning, and instead of crawling back into the snuggly bed with my snuggly Hubby, I decided to get up and greet the morning. In the summer months these past few years I’ve been getting up around 5am and journaling out on the balcony. So I was glad to feel so awake and alive as I sat out there, enjoying the glorious sunrise, the birds chirping (and one who came to visit my railing!), the crisp, almost autumnal, air, my river trees that shoosh and sway like lovers dancing out their romance, and the cool scent of my spring herbs, especially my basil. I come out to the balcony simply to sniff my basil! It’s another day of wonderful here 🙂
So, I’ve started reading more about animal familiars and totems. Since I am not very knowledgeable about correct terminology or distinctions yet, I will discuss my experience with what I think of as animal familiars. Eagle seems to be my animal familiar, because I’ve had real life experiences with Eagle as well as important meditations, visions and dreams. The real life encounters with Eagle have been really cool, and have felt important to me. A couple of times when I’ve reached out to Eagle in my mind on my walks, a real eagle has appeared flying right above me. One time, the eagle seemed to look right at me as I offered greetings, and hung on the wind for a long while mere feet above my head before resuming his lunchtime hunt. I’ve also had one important experience with Wolf in a lucid dream, but that was my only experience with Wolf. It left such a mark, though, that I try to honor Wolf as well as Eagle. Wolf, in the dream, seemed to be a creature very unlike a mortal wolf, however. I guess I can’t explain it, but it stood on the edge of a lush forest that I was heading into, and Wolf came jaunting up and then stopped, engaging me deeply with his eyes. I’ve thought a lot about this dream, and what it seemed to mean at the time, and it seemed as if Wolf was protecting me from entering a place that I wasn’t ready to enter. Seems fitting, now that I can reflect on it. I like to think of both Eagle and Wolf as Watchers. At least, that term feels the most accurate for the ju-ju I get from these experiences.
I also have a thing with insects and spiders that appear in my dreams, which often coincide with major changes in my life. I frequently have waking-world encounters with spiders, and have even been bitten by one of my garden spiders, though I never got a look at him, only the two distinct fang marks he left in my belly! I know next to nothing about spiders, but I often see light colored ones with really fat little bodies and spindly legs, and I’ve dreamt of these, also. The last dream I had with spiders involved an equal number of light and dark ones that were crawling in an elegant pattern and most unlike any dream ever! I’ve historically been very frightened of insects and spiders, and I think this fear is reflected in the symbol of spiders being a major signifier for upheaval and changes in my life. Somehow, though, I think that symbol is slowly changing, as I’ve grown rather fond of spiders, especially, but also more reverent, even, of other insects. In dreams past, the insects (usually roaches) would be eating my skin off or devouring me in some way. My past dreams of spiders were usually a little less grotesque, but still gave me the heebie-jeebies. I’ve not had these kinds of dreams in a long time, and hopefully that’s changing as my opinion of insects has changed. I’m interested, however, to keep my eyes peeled for Spiders as possible familiars. I’ve taken pictures of ones I’ve been intrigued by, so perhaps I’ll investigate those further 🙂
Other animals seem to appear in my life at times when I need to be reminded of what I’m working towards. I usually think of these animals as Messengers. Some of my animal messengers have been crows, hawks, squirrels, a red fox, and now it seems: the great blue heron. These past couple of weeks, I’ve been seeing the great blue heron(s) everywhere. I see them gliding over our urban condo, I see them flying along the river, I see them standing on rocks at the waters edge; they’re everywhere! During my lunchtime walk the other day, there was a calm, lovely rain that was the perfect rain for a solitary walk along the river, and I made my way down to the river flats. This is a popular spot, but since it was raining it was almost deserted. As I approached one of my favorite spots to watch the waves, I suddenly had a feeling that someone was near. So I perked up, not wanting to startle (or be startled) by anyone that happened to be enjoying the river, also. As I carefully stepped closer in, I saw this graceful giant bird looking right at me! Suddenly, his chilly blue bird eyes still on me, he unfolded his enormous wings, and launched off from his spindly legs and took gentle flight into the air and fluttered off to the bank opposite me. I watched him until I had to head back to work 🙂 Often, when I repeatedly see an animal followed by a special encounter, I’ll then make a specific request to see that animal again, just for my own need to make sure the message (if there’s truly a message) was meant for me…I don’t know why, really, but I’ve done it in the past, and it’s worked. So yesterday, I was taking my meditative morning break, and I thought about Heron, thought about what lesson the Heron might signify…then suddenly, the great blue bird appeared out of nowhere and glided across the water, then disappeared. Wow!
I have a special fondness for trees, but again, I know very little about trees, scientifically speaking. I am very aware of them as wise creatures of the earth and I try to “speak” to them reverently. I had a neat encounter with the tree that my pendulum came from. It had been pruned, and there was a perfect couple of little round branches that were perfect for making pendulums, and the pieces just kept prodding me in that weird, psychic way that I know to heed. After making the pendulums, I felt as if I should have perhaps asked permission first, or give the tree due respect and thanks for sharing itself as my tools. So as I walk by that tree all the time (and I’m embarrassed to say that I don’t know what kind of tree it is…ahem), I started “talking” to it. Then one nice, dry day I decided to read my book under the tree, and I talked to it a bit before sitting down. Then as I sat there leaning against the trunk, I thanked it for providing me with my tools, and suddenly a leafy branch fell right into my lap. I thanked it again, and I still have that wonderful gift it willingly gave me as part of my altar goodies 🙂 Happy Tree!