Are you living your Purpose? A spirit animal’s perspective

“The purpose of life is Life.” – Joseph Campbell

circle sm

I channeled this painting for a client recently. The image came first, but it felt like something was missing. So I took a break and started cleaning out a shelf in the studio. And as luck would have it a piece of paper fell out with these words printed on it:

The Sun is a Circle/The Moon is a Circle/The Earth is a Circle/We are a Circle

Everything that is, is alive/And everything has a place on the Circle.

I remembered someone handing that sheet of paper to me at an event I attended last fall, but I don’t know who the author is (or if it even has an author.) Regardless, it seemed to provide the missing element.

The message that comes through to me here is all about grounding, and balancing, and relaxing into the art of being.

Being, in terms of feeling oneself a part of all that is.

Knowing that simply being is enough.

We often spend such time and energy worrying about “Purpose.” And indeed some of us do have a burning mission in life. 

That’s beautiful when it happens, but what if your purpose isn’t clear to you? 

I think the bird in this painting has something to say about that.

You might think at first that it is a Crow. I did, when I first saw it in my mind’s eye. But once I got it down on paper it was quite clear that this spirit animal was not a Crow, but a Grackle.

A Common Grackle, to be precise.

Grackles are indeed common birds. If you live in the eastern half of North America you’ve probably seen these black birds gathering in noisy flocks in treetops, or strutting across your lawn. They are boisterous, opportunistic birds that eat nearly anything and are actually much more likely than crows to steal corn.

At first glance you might not think there was much about a Grackle to write home about, with its somber dress and creaky voice. But if you look more closely at the Common Grackle you will see that it is really quite a striking bird. Its head and neck are not actually black but are covered in iridescent feathers ranging from purple to green to bronze. It has a distinctive white eye that contrasts sharply with its body. And its elongated, v-shaped tail lends a graceful touch to its figure.

To me the Grackle’s message is to appreciate the beauty, magic and majesty of ordinary, everyday life. To honor one’s physical being and delight in the strength and power of the body as a divine vehicle for Spirit. 

It also connotes the night, a time of feminine power. In fact, the grackle
with its white eye resembles the feminine “yin” of the famous Chinese yin-yang symbol.

We are all a part of the body of Mother Earth. Our bodies, our blood: her soil and water sparked to life. Our breath and her air are one. Her fire burns in our souls.

Is it not enough to simply be? Were we not born into the world as sacred beings? Can not our most simple, everyday actions become so infused with love that they are in themselves a prayer that is felt, seen, heard and understood without need for words or explanation?

That is the power of the divine feminine – a power that is felt, wordless, in the body and expressed naturally when we share the joy of living with others.

Just as a gorgeous iridescent rainbow lies hidden in the Grackle’s “black” feathers, so there is hidden treasure in the commonness of our lives.  A treasure we often miss in our pursuit of Purpose.

But sometimes, when we allow ourselves to quiet down, to ground ourselves and simply be, Purpose has a way of revealing itself after all.


This artwork is available as an 11″ x 14″ fine art print.  Click here to purchase.  

 

Did you enjoy this post? Christie

Did you enjoy this post? If you did, you will enjoy my newsletter, too. I share positive affirmations, spirit animal information and artwork, and spiritual insights for awakening souls. You will also get a free guided meditation to help you meet your Spirit Animal! Just hit the “follow” tab in the menu up top to subscribe.

Fall cleaning (Vulture spirit meaning)

turkey vulture feather Somebody handed me a feather the other day. A very long, dark brown flight feather. Neither of us knew what sort of bird had dropped it. But I took it home and looked it up on the Feather Atlas (one of the better things our taxpayer dollars have been spent on.)

Turns out it is from a turkey vulture. I had to chuckle, as for me it was a timely coincidence.

I’m in the midst of a big transition, and as part of the process I”m cleaning and organizing my entire house – closets, attic, the whole nine yards.

Vulture: Symbol of Purification

Despite Vulture’s sordid looks and its diet of decaying flesh, its symbolic meaning has to do with purification and transformation. One of the stories I love about Vulture came from the native people of Costa Rica, who believed that the Vulture is responsible for carrying the souls of the dead up to heaven.

Fall is nearly here – the season of decline and decay. But it is also a season of beauty when seeds are being sown for new growth and new life.

Cleaning house is lots of hard work – especially when you’re digging through 20 years of accumulated stuff. But I’m already feeling clearer and lighter, and look forward to renewed energy and time for exciting new projects once the process is complete.

Whatever is happening in your life right now, take some time today to give thanks for the cycle of life and honor the way it is manifesting for you right now. Give it time – whatever is happening, this too shall pass! 🙂

(I don’t think I’ve introduced my spirit animal affirmation posters here yet. I’ll do it more formally in the next post, but for now just have to include the Vulture one!):

Spirit Animal affirmation poster - vulture

Did you enjoy this post? Christie

Did you enjoy this post? If you did, you will enjoy my newsletter, too. I share positive affirmations, spirit animal information and artwork, and spiritual insights for awakening souls. You will also get a free guided meditation to help you meet your Spirit Animal! Just hit the “follow” tab in the menu up top to subscribe.

What is the spirit animal meaning of the Nighthawk?

Nighthawk

Animal Totem for Creative People

Flying Nighthawk watercolor paintingIn an international study conducted by Adobe, slightly over 50% of U.S. respondents, and 39% overall, considered themselves to be creative people. What’s more, the overwhelming majority viewed creativity as being valuable to society and a key driver of economic growth.

However, when the same people were asked if they thought they were living up to their creative potential, the story changed. Only one out of four felt that they were.

How about you? Do you feel your creative self could use a boost? Perhaps it’s time to pay a visit to Nighthawk.

Meet the Nighthawk

Nighthawk is a wonderful spirit animal for creatives of any type – healers, artists, musicians, writers, entrepreneurs, or anybody who uses their intuition. I’ll explain why in a moment. First, though, let me introduce you to this bird.

The Nighthawk is not actually a hawk. It’s a member of the nightjar family, which is related to the whippoorwill. With its long wings, stubby body and round head, it looks a bit like a bat. In fact, Nighthawks have a lot in common with bats. They, too, are a crepuscular animal, meaning they are most active at dawn and dusk. Like bats (and unlike hawks), they feed primarily on small winged insects.

If you live in Nighthawk territory and spend much time outside, you’ve probably experienced them passing overhead on many occasions. They are more common than many people realize. Nighthawks are often mistaken for bats, because they swoop around in a very similar manner to those flying mammals.

Nighthawks spend a lot of time on the wing. They have big eyes and very small bills, but don’t let the small size of the beak fool you. A Nighthawk’s mouth is incredibly wide, and that is its secret to success. With its massive mouth open wide, it flies through the air and catches insects for its dinner.

At first, the Nighthawk may strike you as a drab-looking creature. With its unpretentious, mottled brown and gray coloration, it rarely gets chosen for posters and calendars. However, if you ever get the chance to see one up close you will appreciate the utilitarian beauty of its plumage. Because it nests on the ground, it has beautiful barred feathers which blend in perfectly with fallen leaves, dry grass and gravel. On its underside, though, it does sport white patches that show up when it takes wing. These include a white “V” on the throat and white bars across the tail and wings. The wing patches sometimes create a flashing effect as it flies.

Like many creative people, the Nighthawk is quite adaptable. It’s capable of thriving in many different habitats, although it prefers open areas. You’ll even find Nighthawks in the city, where flat urban rooftops provide safe places for them to lay and incubate their eggs.

Nighthawk as Spirit Animal

The Nighthawk is a spectacular spirit animal for creative people and anyone interested in accessing their intuition or searching for higher truth. That is because it represents a bridge between the spirit and the mundane.

This is reflected in the time of day when it is active –neither night nor day but both. It takes flight during those magical ‘between’ times when our intuition tends to be a little stronger. Most traditions align the darkness with more of a feminine energy, and the light with masculine energy. Crepuscular animals like the nighthawk combine both. That is a very powerful thing. (In fact, psychological testing has repeatedly shown that highly creative people tend towards being “psychologically androgynous” – incorporating more of the psychological characteristics of the opposite gender than average.)

Staying Grounded While on the Wing

Even though the Nighthawk spends a lot of time on the wing, it nests on the ground. Like all creatures that fly on the wing, it can be a helpful guide when we are undertaking in higher purpose, spiritual work. But because it is a ground-nesting bird, the Nighthawk offers that down-to-earth connection, too.

Sometimes it’s hard for people who are interested in expanding their spirituality to ground themselves and to relate to and function well in the physical world. If you are having a hard time feeling grounded, if you feel like you’re walking 2 feet above the ground, or if people accuse you of being spacy, the Nighthawk is a wonderful spirit animal to spend some time with. It can help you ground yourself without leaving that wonderful ‘upper realm’ kind of space.

On the other hand, this bird doesn’t actually build a nest on the ground; it just lays its eggs directly on the ground and sits on them. If Nighthawk appears to you, it may be a sign to pay attention to your ‘nest egg.’ Are you tending to your savings and your retirement plans the way you should?

Opening to Inspiration and Abundance

Another wonderful lesson Nighthawk offers to creative people can be learned by observing its feeding habits. The Nighthawk actively sights and chases down its prey, which represents clarity of vision and the willingness to take action. Its fluid swoops and dives as it moves through the dusk are heart-stoppingly beautiful; like a sort of aerial ballet. At the same time, this bird totally opens itself to receiving. With that big, wide-open mouth, it effortlessly opens up and lets the nourishment come in. It is very, very open to abundance.

Often very creative or spiritual people have a hard time learning to receive. That image of being totally open to taking what you need in order to do your calling in the world is a wonderful one to keep in mind if you struggle with abundance. It can relate to both material and creative abundance. Remember the white bars on the Nighthawk’s wings? You can think of those as the flashes of insight that come to you when you put yourself in motion in the practice of your art. In other words, if you find yourself struggling with creative blocks, imagine yourself as a Nighthawk. Relax into the physical process of doing your work. Enjoy the flight – the process of your creative work. Trust that Spirit will provide the insight you need. The outcome will take care of itself.

In short, the Nighthawk symbolizes remaining open to Spirit and being willing to receive what Spirit sends your way. That’s where your creative inspiration or healing work comes from, after all, isn’t it?

Did you enjoy this post? Christie

Did you enjoy this post? If you did, you will enjoy my newsletter, too. I share positive affirmations, spirit animal information and artwork, and spiritual insights for awakening souls. You will also get a free guided meditation to help you meet your Spirit Animal! Just hit the “follow” tab in the menu up top to subscribe.

Power Animals: What does Nighthawk symbolize?

Nighthawk paintingAre you familiar with Nighthawks? If not, you probably have seen them flying overhead on summer evenings, but most likely mistook them for Bats.

Nighthawks are not hawks at all but  night-flying, insect-eating birds related to the Whippoorwill.

The Nighthawk is a wonderful power animal for many reasons, but today I’m just going to focus on one of them. If you look at a Nighthawk with its beak shut you might think it had a very small mouth, since its bill is indeed tiny. But when it opens its mouth… wow! That sucker is HUGE!

The Nighthawk feeds with ease simply by swooping through the air and opening its wide, wide mouth to scoop up insects. What a wonderful symbol of abundance!

Nighthawk teaches us that abundance results from two mindsets: taking action, and opening oneself to receiving the goods. Nice! 🙂

(This article is a sort of sneak preview. I will be sharing a LOT more about Nighthawk symbolism in an upcoming article for The Essence of Spirit, Mind, Body. If you’re not familiar with this interactive magazine, check it out – it’s awesome. You can get it on the Apple app store here.)

Did you enjoy this post? Christie

Did you enjoy this post? If you did, you will enjoy my newsletter, too. I share positive affirmations, spirit animal information and artwork, and spiritual insights for awakening souls. You will also get a free guided meditation to help you meet your Spirit Animal! Just hit the “follow” tab in the menu up top to subscribe.

Watercolor and the Art of Life

People think watercolor is difficult.

“You can’t control it,” they say.

And, “It’s so unforgiving!”

“You just need to learn its secrets,” I tell them. “When you do, your watercolors will take wing all on their own.”

Goshawk watercolor painting
“Goshawk in flight,” watercolor sketch 11″x 11″. Click on the bird to read about its symbolic meaning!

Here are the secrets of watercolor:

1. You don’t paint with watercolor. You set it up for success. You create the framework. Then, all you have to do is encourage the water to follow the framework. The water does the painting for you.

2. Watercolor isn’t unforgiving. You can lift it, scrub it, paint over it. Or just turn over a new leaf of paper and start over. The only thing that’s not forgiving is our rigid vision of perfection.

Doesn’t it sound a lot like life?

Did you enjoy this post? Anne