In all the time that I have looked into this pagan path, I have rarely–if ever–considered animal spirit guides or animal totems. I had a book, once, about communicating with one but it was when I was with the ex-husband, proving it difficult for such frivolous things as meditating or, you know, practicing a religion that wasn’t of Christian descent. Hell. I don’t remember the book in and of itself (where the hell did I put? what the hell did I do–oh, I remember now.), but I do remember spending quality time with the back of the book. It contained–can you guess it?–the super-duper-uper long list of various totem animals. I remember for a while thinking that maybe it was the fox that spoke to me, but then I got out of all of that.
It wasn’t personal, but I just didn’t really get the whole thing. I meditated and an animal came on over to contact me? I have the hardest time clearing my head long enough just to fall asleep, never mind actually meditating. Since I found meditating difficult (still do), I figured that the whole animal guide thing was not for me. A little upsetting since I liked the general concept, but it just didn’t seem like it was for me.
Since then, not. a word. Nothing. Zilch. Zip.
Then, some weeks back, feathers started to appear in my path all over the place. The Sister’s current patron, Hermes, tends to send them when he wants her attention, so I ignored them at first. And they went away. However, they came back a few weeks later and in larger increments. The feathers were all the same: the soft, pale gray of a morning dove. I would see them when I was walking the dogs, out to get the mail, taking my son for a walk… anywhere and everywhere. Irritated by this, I told The Sister to inform Hermes that I don’t play that game and I’m full of patrons at the moment. After that little snark, I came to realize that I may be overreacting…
…and that while Hermes may find it amusing, he had little to do with it.
So, I asked around for help on finding a deity that had to do with feathers. I was thinking perhaps something in the Native American arena since, you know, the bird feathers are being left for me in America. However, I couldn’t entirely rule out everything. I cannot tell you how many tabs I had open while looking through every section of “mythical birds” that Wiki had to offer. My eyes went cross-eyed and lame with all of the reading, which became glancing, which became skimming, which became unbelievable frustration. I posed the question on TC for some commentary and Devo asked: “Have you considered picking a feather up, and seeing what you feel or what comes to mind? I know it’s not a very concrete method but sometimes the simplest methods work the best.” That so did not occur to me.
Simplicity and me, we are obviously not close friends.
Yesterday, when I was taking one of the dogs outside, I saw a feather in the yard. Bearing in mind what Devo had recommended, I picked up the feather. I thought I’d get this great shock of electricity and an EUREKA! moment would occur. It did no such thing. Instead, I held onto the greasy little feather and closed my eyes. Slowly, in my mind’s eye, there resolved the imagine of the American bald eagle. Yep. The very symbol of our land. I didn’t see the whole bird, just the head, but I think that stems from the fact that the feathers are of a light color and the only lightly colored feathers that I can picture on an eagle are the ones on its head.
So. The eagle.
I started doing random researches about eagles in mythology. I got a lot for Vishnu’s bird mount and Zeus turning in to one, but little else. I was rapidly growing frustrated before my brain kicked in and said, “THERE ARE ANIMAL SPIRIT GUIDES, REMEMBER?” So, just as a “ha, ha; yeah right” kind of thing, I did a search for the characteristics that an eagle, as spirit guide, have to offer. The list is as follows: swiftness; courage; strength; wisdom; keen sight; illumination of spirit; healing; creation; knowledge of magic; ability to see hidden spiritual truths; rising above the physical to see the spiritual; ability to see the overall pattern; dignity with grace; great power and balance; ability to see the ‘big picture’; connection with higher truths; creative and intuitive spirit; grace achieved through knowledge and hard work and lastly, respect for the boundaries of regions. (All of that was taken from Animal Spirits-dot-com.)
Phew. That is one lengthy list.
There are key phrases on there that reach out to me, of course. Then again, I think I could do that with any of the general attributes of a spirit animal, but for whatever reason, it was the eagle that came to me. And it is through the eagle that I must learn.
I think a large part of the eagle coming in to my life is my sudden interest in hedge craft and that wild path. I think a lot of it, also, stems from the fact that I’ve been giving a lot of thought to how I would like my spiritual life to merge with my physical life. I’m not saying that I want to walk around in a permanent state of spiritual uplift–I think that would prove difficult and tiresome after a while–but that I want my waking life to have more to do with the day-to-day. You know, a part of that could be to light the candle to my patrons on a daily basis, but I think it’s more than that.
I want to live my spirituality. I want a break, too, now and again, but I would really prefer it if my pagan path had something to do with my daily path.
I think courage, strength, and wisdom are a two-fold arrow. Not only, I feel, is this animal trying to tell me that in so doing what I described above, I am going to need those three things. However, I think, considering the timing of this, that it may also have to do with the unemployment thing. I need courage and strength to get through this whole kind of thing and I am going to be getting lots o’ wisdom from this battle. I’ve found myself rather depressed about the whole thing lately and unable to see a positive outcome in all of this. With the entrance of the eagle, I’d like to think that I can start to see a positive outcome in all of this.
I posted on the forum that I was pretty sure the eagle symbolized an animal spirit guide of some sort. And there were general congratulations before the big question: Now what are you going to do with this? And my response? NO IDEA! I have, literally, no idea. All three patrons are taking a backseat to this, I can feel that. However, I don’t know what the eagle is supposed to teach me or show me. I don’t know how to contact him, either, without meditation. And as I’ve mentioned that is both tricky and impossible when it comes to me. So, again, how do we communicate? How do we connect?
And what the hell is all of this supposed to mean?
Got me! It should be interesting learning all of this new stuff, though.