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.

Spirit Animals: 4 birds that symbolize Vision – what’s the difference?

snowy owl
Photo by English

HAPPY SPRING! Someone was telling me recently about going up to Brockway Mountain for the spring raptor migration. Apparently they won’t migrate across Lake Superior, and instead go around the land way, with the result that sometimes you can see dozens of eagles and other birds of prey in one day at this spot. Wow!

I don’t know if I’ll have the chance to get up that way this spring. If I do I’ll certainly share the experience with you. But just hearing about it got me thinking about vision.

Raptors (birds of prey) all have amazingly sharp eyesight to help them locate and catch their prey. As spirit animals, they all represent Vision – the kind of energy that can help us gain focus and clarity in our lives. However, each one channels this energy in a slightly different way.

Here is my interpretation of the different flavors of Vision as represented by a few of the most popular raptors:

eagle-detailEagle:  Eagle is the consummate crown chakra animal. Its energy is all about spiritual vision, and connection with the sacred. Don’t be surprised if Eagle shows up for you as a confirmation that you are on the right spiritual path.

red-tailed-hawk-947416_640
Photo by skeeze

Hawk: To me, Hawk feels more aligned with the third eye chakra. Its vision is more about observation and intuition, and developing those powers within you so that you can gain clarity on your path and goals in the world. This spirit animal may show up to help you gain more clarity around your life purpose or self-realization.

peregrine falconFalcon: Falcons are amazing fliers and hunt on the wing, barreling into their prey (typically smaller birds but also ducks) at a couple hundred miles per hour. Falcon vision is about keeping your goals in sight and taking swift decisive action to achieve them.

horned owl
Photo by Chräcker Heller

Owl: The most mysterious of the raptors, Owl is nocturnal and has incredible night vision. It can also turn its head 270 degrees around! Spiritually, this translates into deep intuition and full awareness of what is going on at all levels of being. Owl also has a strong connection to the deep feminine.

Hopefully this will help you to sort out what kind of “vision” is being referred to if one of these “vision birds” flies into your awareness!

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.

If Red Tailed Hawk is Your Spirit Animal…

Red tailed hawk with preyWhere I live in Upper Michigan, Red Tailed Hawks are a common sight. (They are probably the most common North American hawk, and can be sighted year-round throughout most of the continental U.S.) You usually see them either majestically circling on uplifts of air, or sitting in a tree or on a power line, apparently doing nothing.

Appearances are deceiving.

Unlike the Peregrine Falcon, the Red Tailed Hawk hunts by perching in a likely spot and waiting and watching for its prey. (This makes sense because Falcons prey largely on birds, while Red Tails prefer mice, squirrels and other small mammals.) It is an efficient way to hunt; allowing the Hawk to remain physically relaxed while waiting for prey to appear. However, don’t mistake relaxation for laziness. The Hawk has to remain hyper-alert. Overlooking even the slightest movement below may mean a missed meal.

So, if Red Tailed Hawks don’t hunt on the wing, why do we see them so often soaring in the skies?

Well, apparently they just love to fly! And who could blame them for taking wing in celebration after a well-earned meal? But according to master falconer John Blakeman, there’s more to it than that. He believes that a sated Red-Tail’s flight serves an important purpose: as the hawk flies above the landscape, it takes in information that could help it land its next meal.

“…(A)s our Parkway red-tails have flown around their Philadelphia neighborhood in the last year, in all seasons and weather conditions, they have been diligently recording just where they’ve seen potential prey. That’s where they are going to go when they want to hunt, when they or their eyasses are hungry. They have learned to cogently read the entire landscape the occupy, and know exactly where the next meal’s most likely to be found.”

What does Red Tailed Hawk teach us?

If you find yourself drawn to the Red-Tail, consider what it has to tell you about choosing and pursuing your goals in life.

First, Hawks in general are all about Vision. The eyes of Hawks and other raptors (birds of prey) have special adaptations that allow them to see with far more clarity and focus than we do.

When Hawk appears to you, it’s a call to pay attention to the vision you have for your life. Red-Tail teaches us to take in the whole scene first, before planning your course of action. Get a feel for the lay of the land and where the best opportunities are likely to be. Then stake out your territory.

But don’t waste your energy in mindless activity. Instead, take a relaxed position and wait and watch until something juicy comes into view. Then, don’t let it out of your sight but claim your prize quickly and decisively.

What if it’s not a Red-Tail?

The Red-Tailed Hawk is just one of many species of hawks in the world. (There are over a dozen hawk species native to North America alone.) They don’t all hunt in the same way. If you suspect that Hawk is your spirit animal, pay close attention to what particular species you are dealing with. Remember, there is more than one way to approach a goal. Studying the hunting habits of your particular hawk can help you find the style that is best for you!

photo credit: Red Tailed Hawk via photopin (license)

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.