The natural world is where everyday mystics truly thrive. If we are meditating more often than not, keeping our minds free of negativity, and training ourselves to always stop and seek the deeper meaning behind everything we experience, then we are in tune with our higher selves. And being in tune with our higher selves means we're in tune with the higher part of all things. Which means all things will conspire to answer our questions and tell us what we need to know.
What's really happening?
It's not that any sentient being has seen our devotion and deemed us worthy of receiving secret knowledge. It just that we've tuned our inner radio dials to pick up the wisdom that is constantly playing on the channel of our higher selves. The Spirit Station. Goddess 33.3 FM. The music was there the whole time. We just have to tune in to hear it.
Now that we have the right station playing, its music (the collective wisdom of all things) comes to us easily and in a reliably steady flow. Sometimes we might get so busy with everyday life that it becomes but a dull background noise, sure. But it's always there, loud and clear for us, and all we need to do is turn our attention in its direction.
How the music comes to us...
The wisdom of the Universe comes to us in everything we see, hear, and experience. And one of my favorite ways is through the animal kingdom. Every now and then, an animal or bird will do something unusual. Once, a pine marten walked into the middle of the road, stopped and stared at me as I drove closer. I had to stop the car. Another time, a wild albino turkey. Recently, the biggest shaggiest billy goat I've ever seen. That was just the other day. I still haven't interpreted his message, although the first thing that comes to my mind is "I am the great big billy goat gruff!" a line from a story my mother used to read to me at bedtime. So there's that. Maybe it's Mom, saying hello as autumn unfolds and the Veil grows thin. (Didn't that sound mystical?)
Whenever a fellow creature seems to be doing a little dance to get my attention, I take it as a message, and I do my best to listen.
How do I know what they're saying?
I cheat, that's how.
I mean, yes, I first use common sense. For example, last week a beautiful monarch butterfly circled my head, then gently tapped herself into the back of my house, then circled my head, then tapped my house, then again, and then again. 4 Times. I can use what I know about butterflies--they transform themselves, becoming more beautiful. I can combine that with what I know about the number 4, that it has to do with foundation, structure, planning. And I can think about where my energy has been regarding the house, because that's what the butterfly kept tapping. I want new siding. I've been waiting quite some time to line up with new siding. So without any outside help, I interpreted this as an indication that I'm in tune and aligned with energy of re-siding the house. And that means it's at hand. It can happen at any time now.
That one was easy. But as I mentioned, I also have a cheat.
Animal Speak by Ted Andrews
This book, Animal Speak, is my animal-to-english dictionary. There are chapters for many animals, reptiles, amphibians, insects and birds. I just open to the page about the critter I've seen, read all the symbolism attributed to it by many of the world's spiritual traditions. They're amazingly similar, and I always believe every legend carries within it a kernel of truth.
There's a companion book, Animal Wise by the same author. I own several copies of each because I wear them out with use.
I also love using the card deck by the same author, Animal Wise Tarot.
These are not available in ebook. Only paper. They are a part of my large reference library. I recommend them.
So after thinking about what message I intuitively received from the creature, I open these books, and read what mystics and shamans down through the ages, all around the world, have believed about its symbolism. Usually, something makes me shout, "That's it!"
Whenever an animal acts in an unusual manner--a deer grazing is not unusual. A deer sleeping on my front lawn is--I implement the following process.
First I let my intuition play. What does it seem to me like this animal symbolizes? What myths or legends do I think of in association with her? What is his behavior telling me? What's been on my mind lately? What kind of mood am I in? My mood is crucial. Everything we experience comes to us in reaction to the energy we are emitting. So my mood tells me a lot about whatever this animal is saying.
Second, I hit the books and read what Ted Andrews says this animal symbolizes, based on his extensive research into indigenous spirituality. I have more references too, other animal themed tarot card decks and animal behavior books, so if I don't feel like I'm getting the message, I use them. As I read, my thinking-mind relaxes, and that opens up my intuition.
Third, I put it all together with what's been most in my face and on my mind lately, and voila! I have a pretty good idea what the message is.
It's not always personal
Sometimes there's energy too big not to pick up, for a person who's in tune. On 9/8/2001, I woke to a gigantic turkey vulture, sitting on the fence outside my house. Its back was toward me, its wings spread wide. The wing span was at least 8 feet. I know that because each section of fence was 4 feet, and the wings stretched from the post on which he stood, to the next post on either side.
I grabbed my camera and sneaked outside in my jammies, creeping softly so she wouldn't fly away. It was a little camcorder, as this was before our phones were pocket-sized NASAs. That bird looked right over his shoulder at me. I swore she was saying, "Are you getting this? This is big."
He--no, I'm sure right now it was a she. So she faced west, wings wide, and I thought of the way Wiccans stand, arms wide, to open the western gate, the gate between the land of the living and the land of the dead. In funeral rites, it's traditional to open the Western Gate in order to allow the soul to cross to the other side. Of course we know that the instant the eyes close in death, they open to life. There's no help needed. But we do love our rituals.
And yes, Cathartes Aura does regularly perch with wings spread, to let the sun dry away the overnight dew. But they do not regularly do it ten feet from my house, while looking me right in the eye repeatedly.
I filmed that bird holding open the gate to the other side for a long time. I still have the VHS tape I recorded. Three days later was 9/11, and a lot of people passed through those western gates. I believe the energy was vibrating hard and powerfully, and the bird picked up on that energy, and since I was tuned in to nature, I was able to see it too. It wasn't a warning. There was nothing I was supposed to do. It was simply that I'd tuned into the channel and felt what was playing there. Remember that. You tune in and see what's there. There's no accompanying assignment. It's just knowledge.
It's usually much simpler
Usually, the message is much simpler than a global event like 9/11. It's usually about something that's in my vicinity, either something I want to avoid, or something I can look forward to. Sometimes it's a hint about a decision I'm trying to make. Sometimes it's telling me I'm working too hard. It's always a reflection as well as a clue. Everything in our lives is.
If you pay attention to the natural world around you, you'll start receiving messages too. And having insider information is a huge advantage in life, don't you agree?
Next time we'll talk about The Everyday Mystic and the Dead. Don't worry. It won't be scary.