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

If you did, you will enjoy my newsletter, too. I share positive affirmations, uplifting artwork, and spiritual insights for awakening souls. You will also get a free guided meditation to help you meet your Spirit Animal! Just go to the "Cool Stuff" tab in the menu up top and click on "Newsletter" to subscribe.

Tiger Swallowtail totem animal meaning

New painting! 🙂

Tiger Swallowtail copyright 2015 by Christie (Anne) Michelsen

Tiger Swallowtail

Tiger, tiger in the sky

Flashing gold, you soar and fly

Sudden flutter softly by

Sweet and fleeting butterfly!

 

Butterfly symbolic meanings: Inspiration, intuition, higher consciousness, transformation, resurrection, flashes of insight, power of beauty, strength in vulnerability.

Specific butterfly species may carry additional meanings. Here are my thoughts on the Tiger Swallowtail:

Tiger Swallowtail Totem: Integrating One’s Power

Did you know that the Tiger Swallowtail has two color morphs, black and yellow? I didn’t know until recently that all males are yellow – only the females sometimes appear in black form. Also, only the females (of both color morphs) sport the beautiful silvery blue crescents on the bottom edge of their back wings.

It speaks to me of the special connection women have with the moon. And whether you’re a man or a woman, the ability to balance and honor both the solar (masculine, proactive) and lunar (feminine, intuitive) aspects of your inner being.

Yellow. The color of the sun. Warmth, light, vitality, action! Yellow is also the color most associated with the Solar Plexus Chakra, the power center of the body.

Black. The color of night. Rest, dreams, that which is hidden. This is the realm of intuition, and regeneration.

With its vivid black and yellow stripes and dots, the Tiger Swallowtail speaks to us of integrating these two aspects of our selves. Black on yellow, yellow on black, rhythmically interspersed with each other.

This is the rhythm of the universe. Day, night. Inbreath, outbreath. Wake and sleep.

Traditional cultures honor this rhythm. They set aside time to rest, time to pray, time to heal.

Our society tends to put a premium on action, at the expense of rest. It’s a 24/7 world now, and many of us push ourselves ruthlessly to keep up.

Do you find yourself running on caffiene-laced fumes? Routinely pushing through to find your second wind?

It’s good to test our limits once in a while, but we weren’t made to do it day after day, week after week, month after month, year after year. We think it’s a sign of strength. But sooner or later people who do this hit the wall. Burnout. Adrenal exhaustion.

Tiger Swallowtail reminds us to honor our natural rhythms.

Feeling blue, or in a black mood, is often just our body telling us to take it easy for a bit. If you find yourself feeling tired, cranky or sad, give yourself permission to let down for a while. Schedule “down time” into your calendar. Take an hour or a day or a week off if you need it.

No offense to men, but I think women have to be especially aware of our body’s need for rest at certain times. By honoring it, we honor ourselves.Yes, it means acknowledging that we are vulnerable.

But when we embrace that vulnerable side of ourselves, love it, and give it what it needs…

Wow! That’s allowing ourselves to tap deeply into our power to revitalize our lives…so we can take wing as the beautiful souls we truly are.

Did you enjoy this post? Christie

If you did, you will enjoy my newsletter, too. I share positive affirmations, uplifting artwork, and spiritual insights for awakening souls. You will also get a free guided meditation to help you meet your Spirit Animal! Just go to the "Cool Stuff" tab in the menu up top and click on "Newsletter" 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

If you did, you will enjoy my newsletter, too. I share positive affirmations, uplifting artwork, and spiritual insights for awakening souls. You will also get a free guided meditation to help you meet your Spirit Animal! Just go to the "Cool Stuff" tab in the menu up top and click on "Newsletter" to subscribe.

Bats!

Bat upside downBats! Most people find them at least a little scary. If nothing else, it can be a bit disconcerting when one swoops close to your head from above.

But unless you go out of your way to bother them, bats are typically completely harmless.  Not only that, but they bless us with amazing gifts. Nectar-eating species are wonderful pollinators. Other species eat huge numbers of flying insects and are awesome natural mosquito control.

As a Spirit Animal, Bat carries numerous and profound messages. In fact, too many to list them all here! So I’m just going to mention a few today, but if you find Bat calling to you, know that this is just the tip of the iceberg. (You might want to try to find out about the specific Bat that has come into your life, because different ones may have different messages for you.)

Sensitivity & IntuitionBlogging from A to Z April Challenge

You probably know about the Bat’s ability to navigate by echolocation. It’s so good at this that it can actually fly through the blades of a slow-moving fan. But don’t worry – it’s also astute enough to avoid doing so when the fan is going to fast for safety. (And don’t worry about bats getting caught in your hair – they’re smart enough to avoid that, too.)

This incredible ability to find their way in the dark makes Bat a powerful totem for Intuition. Bat teaches us to trust that still, small voice within to lead us safely through, even when the way seems treacherous.

Night, Rebirth, & the Sacred Feminine

Bats are, of course, nocturnal.  As a general rule, you can count on animals of the night having a strong connection to feminine energy. Bats in particular are a great symbol for this, since they tend to roost in caves and emerge en masse into the dusk. This makes them a wonderful symbol for rebirth and regeneration.  Bat is an especially appropriate ally for women coming into their power in the second half of life. This is why they are traditionally associated with witchcraft. (It is no coincidence that both bats and women have been sadly misunderstood over the ages, leading to the terrible persecution of both.)

By the way, Bats are almost always highly social, and mother bats often help raise each other’s offspring. A symbol for how important and nurturing the deep connections women have with other women really are!

Rising above Fear

Bat in flightThere is a great deal of fear surrounding Bats. But if we listen close, Bat can help us to face and rise above our fear. And when we do, we enter a higher dimension where we can truly soar!

The Bat is the only mammal that has truly learned to fly. That in itself is an expression of faith. Bat teaches us to trust in our ability to soar above the dark obstacles in our path.

Wings, Hands, Flight of Spirit

Take a look at the wings of a bat. You will see that they are made up of thin, membranous skin stretched across fingerlike bones. Yes, the wings of the Bat are really hands, adapted to flight!

Spiritually, this is super significant. Wings indicate a connection to higher self, to Spirit. Hands as wings show us that we can connect with Spirit through our daily actions. Think of everything you do as prayer, and you will be heeding the message of Bat.

Power Animal of the Arts

Bats are an excellent power animal for artists of all kinds, who intuitively translate impulses from Spirit into the physical world through their hands and bodies.

isabella pendant by Julia LowtherMy cousin Julia Lowther, a Seattle artist who raised 2 orphan flying foxes while in the Peace Corps in Western Samoa, made this observation, which I love:

“Bats, like art, are often considered useless and expendable. Though we finally understand that the survival of South Pacific island forests depend heavily on the fruit bats, we are still trying to get a similar grip on the value of art.”

Has Bat flown into your life? Post your experiences and observations below!

Upside down bat photo credit: IMG_3718 via photopin (license)
Bat in Flight photo credit: Short-tailed Fruit Bat via photopin (license)

Did you enjoy this post? Christie

If you did, you will enjoy my newsletter, too. I share positive affirmations, uplifting artwork, and spiritual insights for awakening souls. You will also get a free guided meditation to help you meet your Spirit Animal! Just go to the "Cool Stuff" tab in the menu up top and click on "Newsletter" to subscribe.